Despero was created by Bernard Sachs, Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky. He made his first appearance as an enemy of the Justice League in Justice League of America #1 - The World of No Return!
Despero is the tyrant ruler of Kalanor who has fought the Justice League on numerous occasions. He is one of their first villains and has appeared repeatedly throughout their history. Though he first appeared as a pink skinned alien genius who had a third eye that granted him hypnotic powers, he is now one of the most physically powerful villains the League as ever faced while at the same time retaining all his mental abilities. His new found power comes from recreating himself in the Flame of Py'tar, which was the last remnant of the same nuclear energy responsible for creating his race.
On Despero's home world of Kalanor, the people of the world were much like humans but with much better technology. They were able to develop a nuclear energy source of incredible power. Many thought this new power was dangerous but the warnings were ignored and the planet was ravaged by high energy plasmas. Most of the species of Kalanor were eradicated, but those that survived were mutated into entirely different beings. Despero's race emerged and quickly became dominant through telepathic subjugation of the other species. There was much unrest on Kalanor and war brought out with Despero's father coming out the victor. When Despero was of age, he killed his father and took control of Kalanor.
Despero first appeared in Justice League of America #1, and enslaved the Justice League with his mental abilities. The Flash was stopped by escaping citizens of Kalanor and offered to help them against Despero. Despero forced Flash to a chess like game with the stakes being the fate of his friends. Despero used his hypnotic powers to trick the Flash into losing. Snapper Carr, who was watching in the shadows, was able to foil Despero's plot by freeing the League. Despero was then imprisoned for his crimes.
After escaping Takron Galtos, Despero recreated himself in the Flames of Py'tar. He returned to Earth to exact revenge on the League with his new found powers and recreated the Flames of Py'tar to fuel his power. Able to bend reality to his will, Despero quickly defeated the League and captured Batman and Vixen. Batman learned the source of Despero's powers, escaped from his restraints, and freed Vixen. Vixen brought the League back for another battle in which Gypsy distracted Despero with an illusion of being incinerated by a sun. Though Despero knew it was an illusion, the distraction gave Vibe time to destroy the Flames of Py'tar, removing Despero's energy source and causing Despero to consume himself.
Despero survived as formless conscious matter. His will and hatred eventually created a new body for him to attack the Justice League once more. Unaware of the changes to the League while he was reconstituting himself, Despero sought out the League members from when he last fought them. He destroyed the comatose Steel, who was on life support at the old JLA HQ, and then targeted Gypsy. He killed both of her parents and was about to kill her when J'onn J'onzz arrived. Defeating J'onn with a psychic attack, Despero was about finish off Gypsy when Guy Gardner intervened and catapulted Despero away. Ending up in downtown Manhattan, the League found Despero and attacked him in force, but their combined might could not bring him down. They were unable to stop his rampage, losing the "life" of Mr. Miracle, who was unbeknownst to them an android replacement.
Despero was about to kill Ted Kord when the Martian Manhunter gifted him with Mayavanna, a sacred gift of Martians that reaches into another's mind and provides a reality more powerful than what we take to be reality. This gift grants the receiver a reality where they obtain that which they want most. Despero sees himself killing the League and destroying the world and finally becomes at peace. Mollified by this new found peace he reverted into a fetus of Despero and was eventually given to Manga Khan for safekeeping; never one to take something for free, Khan left his servant robot L-Ron with the League in exchange.
Manga Khan eventually sold Despero along with a control collar to a race of aliens, who used him to attack a Khund outpost. Unfortunately for them, the ship they were controlling him from was destroyed by a Khund ship, and with the remote control destroyed, Despero was freed. Realizing what the Martian had done to him, Despero set out once again on his quest to destroy the Justice League.
Hateful as ever, Despero returned to Earth to exact his revenge for his perceived humiliation, destroying much of New York to draw out his quarry. Despero is attacked by Guy Gardner, Power Girl, Ice, Fire, Metamorpho, Flash, Rocket Red, and Martian Manhunter. After defeating much of this initial force, Despero is attacked by Lobo who has been hired to return him to Lord Manga. After Despero and Lobo clash, resulting in Lobo being knocked away, Rocket Red leads Despero to a less populated area to fight. Eventually Despero is battling the Justice League of America, The Justice League of Europe, The Conglomerate, and Lobo, simultaneously.
Meanwhile, Kilowog had been working on a new control device for Manga Khan's slave collar that Despero was still wearing. Unfortunately the only compatible circuitry came from L-Ron. After constructing the device from L-Ron's circuits Kilowog used the device to subdue Despero. Unexpectedly, the device actually imprinted L-Ron's consciousness into Despero's body and vice-versa. L-Ron, now in Despero's body, left with Manga Kahn, (he would later join the Justice League Task Force, still in Despero's body) while Despero was seemingly destroyed when L-Ron's body was destroyed, after attacking the remnants of the JLI in the raggedly put together body.
His consciousness does survive the loss of his body, becoming a free floating essence. In this form, he possesses the bodies of a number of people, using their abilities to further his own ends. He also temporarily regains control of his body, struggling with L-Ron for his body while at the same time battling Supergirl. He was surprised when she grew wings of flames and burned him with magical fire. Once L-Ron regained control, Despero attempted to possess Supergirl, but as said by Lord Satanus, she could not become possessed because she is an angel. Despero's spirit was seemingly destroyed, but he eventually returns and recovers his physical body.
JSA/JLA: Virtue and Vice
In JSA/JLA: Virtue and Vice, Despero stumbles upon Johnny Sorrow while traversing the Abyssal Plains, as their physical bodies had been destroyed. They concoct a plan to enact revenge on the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America. Despero then possesses Lex Luthor, who was at the time the president of the United States. Johnny Sorrow then travels to the Rock of Eternity, paralyzes Shazam, and releases the Seven Deadly Sins upon the world. Amidst a world of chaos, the evil duo battles the two superhero teams. Despero battles most of the JSA and the JLA at the same time, seemingly unstoppable until Captain Marvel, using the wisdom of Solomon, thinks of a way to expel him from Luthor's body. With the aid of Kyle Rayner and Alan Scott, they redirect the gaze of Johnny Sorrow to exorcise Despero and end the threat.
Before Infinite Crisis, in Crisis of Conscience, Despero attacks the Justice League again. This time specifically trying to enslave them all as "Justice" for what Zatanna and the League did to the minds of criminals who learned too much. Only Superman and Red Tornado still opposed him by the time Zatanna showed up to stop him.
During the events of Blackest Night, Vixen, Dr Light, Plastic Man, and Red Tornado are discussing the future of the Justice League when Despero bursts in, having already defeated Gypsy. Zatanna again shows up to save the League and is about to send Despero to the center of the Earth before he mysteriously disappears.
He is next seen when Starro the Conqueror invaded Kalanor. Starro fails to enslave Despero with his starfish but when Despero challenged Starro and attempted to awe him with mental images of his battles with the Justice League, Starro overwhelmed him, drawing on the mental strength from the trillions of minds linked to him. Despero is shocked by this and Starro beheads him. Unknown to Starro, Despero survives, only feigning death. He was later approached by Vril Dox who offered to help him regenerate his body more quickly than it would naturally in exchange for his help in assassinating Starro.
Time Masters: Vanishing Point
An earlier version of Despero (from the original Justice League days) was plucked from the time stream by Black Beetle. Alongside Ultra Humanite, Degaton and Black Beetle.
He became a member of the Time Stealers; however, they were defeated.
In the New 52 Despero remains in his monstrous form from the Pre 52 continuity. In his first appearance he attacks the Justice League Watchtower while the majority of the members are away; leaving only Firestorm, Element Woman and Atomica to fight him.
Despero is too much of a match for them however as he had almost defeated the larger (and more powerful) roster of the Justice League in a previous off-panel encounter. Using his telepathic powers hi separate's Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch thus eliminating Firestorm and knocking them out cold. Element Woman is torn in half by Despero while she's switching through a wide variety of elemental forms, thus leaving Atomica as the last line of defense.
Martian Manhunter appears and explains that he held back his telepathic abilities in his previous battle with the Justice League and decides not to do so with Despero. Manhunter reverses the synapses in Despero's brain and renders him unconscious.
Forever Evil: Justice League of America
Despero is working alongside the Crime Syndicate during the events of Forever Evil. Wanting revenge on Martian Manhunter due to their last encounter he attacks the remaining members of the Justice League of America.
It was up to Stargirl and Martian Manhunter to defeat him; a task not easily accomplished.
Death of Hawkman
During the Death of Hawkman mini-series, Despero escaped imprisonment and returned to his homeworld of Kalanor. It was there that he killed the elders whom had exiled him and used his powers of mental manipulation to resurrect his loyal followers. With a sizable force at his disposal he began an assault on the people of Rann and Thanagar; using his telepathy to control the minds of it's citizens to use as a makeshift army against those who oppose him.
Using the citizens of Rann and Thanagar he is able to build a giant zeta-portal and uses it to fuse his body with a massive amount of Nth Metal. He is then attacked by Hawkman and Adam Strange, but the two are unable to defeat him in a head-on confrontation. Eventually they destroy the giant zeta-portal that Despero had built; but Hawkman and Adam Strange are lost in the process.
Three months later it is shown that Adan Strange is seemingly displaced in time; Hawkman is killed and Despero has reformed, seemingly immortal.
- Height: 8'1"
- Weight: 850 lbs.
- Planet of Origin: Kalanor
- Eye Color: Yellow
- Hair Color: None
Powers and Abilities
Despero was gifted with an array of vast powers. Many were part of a natural permutation of his being while others were gifted onto him by the Flame of Py'tar.
Despero's Third Eye is the source of his mental powers, attempts to remove the eye have failed as it regenerates no matter how much damage it has sustained.
- Telekinesis - Despero can project telekinetic shields to use as protection or concentrate his telekinetic energy to fire a psionic beam from his third eye; these beams have an incredible damage potential as they have been used to KO Powergirl.
- Illusions - Despero can project illusions into the minds of his targets. He did such to Martian Manhunter to give him visions of Despero killing all of his loved ones on Mars.
- Telepathy - Despero has a high degree of telepathic strength and can use it to bend and manipulate the minds of others to his will. In the past he has used his telepathic prowess to control the minds of Martian Manhunter and Aquaman. Despero can also use his telepathy in a defensive manner to shield his mind and the minds of those around him from other telepaths. The strength of his defense is so great that even Starro the Conqueror couldn't control Despero without destroying the source of Despero's mental strength (his third eye) first.
- Astral Projection - Despero can project his consciousness into others; utilizing a sort of spiritual form; to manipulate the minds of others.
- Possession - Despero can leap from body to body, as he did when L-Ron inhabited his original body.
Despero's physical prowess is greater than that of Superman or Martian Manhunter. He has a larger physical build than others on his homeworld -- this can be attributed to his time spent bathing in the Flame of Py'tar.
- Flame Projection - Despero can spew a hot flame from his mouth to burn or fry his foes.
- Genuis Level Intellect - Despero has a high level of intelligence and is a master strategist in combat.
Flame of Py'tar Enhancements
For a short period of time, Despero had enhanced his powers greatly due to using the Flame of Py'tar as a direct power source. His abilities under the flame are as follows:
- Reality Warping– Being Fueled by the Flame of Py'tar also allowed him to bend reality to his will, turning skyscrapers to dragon-like creatures and stones into demons.
- Teleportation - Despero can teleport great distances in an instant.
Despero has since lost these abilities due to the connection between he and the flame being broken.
The "Justice League" animated series had Despero as the leader of a massive cult in the two-part episode Hearts and Minds. He used the Flame of Py'tar (the life-force of Kalanor) to subjugated his people and empower his troops to overwhelm and conquer planets. Katma Tui, Kilowog, and two other Green Lanterns were sent to stop him but they were overpowered by Despero's troops. Katma joined the Kalanorian resistance while Kilowog went to Earth to seek out John Stewart and the Justice League.
Despero was defeated when the Martian linked himself with the Flame of Py'tar and awakened it, turning Kalanor into a lush paradise while absorbing Despero into the Earth.
Despero appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Eyes of Despero!" voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. This version differs from his comics counterpart as he also has eyes on the palms of his hands in addition to his third eye. In the episode Despero is trying to defeat the Green Lantern Corps. Despero is beaten by Batman with the help of Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, Sinestro, G'Nort & Mogo
Despero appears in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. He is among the super villains that attack Superman and Batman trying to claim the money which Lex Luthor had promised to anyone who could arrest Superman & Batman.
Despero also appears the Young Justice episode 11, season 2 concerned. This incarnation of Despero don't speak, but instead has a sentient robot communicate for him. His skin is purple, rather than pink. He is physically very powerful, being able to effortlessly defeat Superboy and Captain Marvel in H2H combat within a few moments. An intergalactic gladiator, he comes to prove himself against earth's resident heroes. He is eventually defeated with a magical attack from Zatanna, and taken into custody by The Reach.