Mother Boxes are small portable supercomputers created by the New Gods. They were invented by the Apokoliptian scientist Himon the Artificer using the mysterious Element X. They have vast undefined abilities which range from teleportation via Boom Tubes, to energy manipulation. Each Mother Box is sentient and provides its user with unconditional love. They get their name from the fact that they act as caretakers to their users, and provide them with love, in a sense becoming a mother to them.
Mother Boxes can only be manufactured by a being of the Fourth World, and not all such beings can do so. It is implied that the character of the maker influences the successful creation of a mother box, and that each Box has a fragment of the builder's personality encoded within. Metron stated that each mother box shares a mystical rapport with nature, and that they have a direct link to the Source, from which they draw their power. So, in a way, a Mother Box is best described as a computer link to god.
Mother Boxes are generally shaped as a box, although this form is not necessary. Mister Miracle had his Mother Box circuitry woven into his suit. They communicate through repetitive pings, which can be understood by their user. They have been known to self-destruct after their user dies although this is not always the case.
Each Mother box can access the energy to perform a vast variety of abilities. To date, mother boxes have shown capable of:
- Summoning Boom Tubes
- Matter transmutation
- Energy manipulation
- Force Field creation
- Gravity control
- Emotion Control
- Illusion casting
- Fire manipulation
- Dimensional manipulation
- Teleportation/portal creation
They appear to have a vast, possibly unlimited variety of abilities, but are generally limited in range to the user's personal space.
Notable Mother Boxes
Among the most famous Mother Boxes is the one possessed by Mister Miracle, who had its circuitry woven into the circuitry of his suit. Orion was also given a mother box by Mortalla, wife of Darkseid, in hopes of using the Box's circuitry to turn him in favor of Darkseid; he used this box to keep his emotions, bestial rage, and appearance in check. This box was lent to Oracle during the Mageddon crisis. The Mother Box of the Forever People was also notable, which they use to summon Infinity Man.
A Mother Box was given to Iron Man in JLA/Avengers by Metron. He used it to predict JLA 's movements, and it interfaced with his suit. A mother Box was used by Captain Marvel to access his lightning when Shazam was on New Genesis. Shilo Norman possessed the last remaining Mother Box—sometimes referred to as a "Motherboxxx"—to survive the war and destruction of Apokolips and New Genesis. Another Mother Box was lent to Jack Knight in his quest to reach Throneworld, and the memories and personality of his father, Ted Knight, were encoded as the Mother Box's artificial intelligence. It discussed was progress with Seyg-El, grandfather of Superman, and counseled Jack in his quests to the Legion of Superheroes' time and to Rann.
A lone Parademon, who had looted no less than ten mother boxes from citizens of New Genesis he had killed, demonstrated a degree of free will unknown to other parademons. It is unclear, however, if this Parademon achieved his freedom due to his exposure to the Mother Boxes or if it was a normal part of his personality. He escaped to Earth and eventually joined with the Secret Six. Although his captive Mother Boxes would not allow him to open Boom Tubes, they did choose to help the Parademon in some aspects, and agreed to self-destruct in order to defend his teammates with a suicide charge in his final moments.
In DC's Future State, a Mother Box was located in the Phantom Zone. Cyborg Superman knew about it and led the House of El there, under the guise that it would help them escape the Phantom Zone. When the group found it and used it to open up a portal, Cyborg Superman attempted to steal it for himself but the Els stopped him and used it to return home.
Apokoliptian versions of Mother Boxes also exist and are known as Father Boxes. These boxes communicate with a "ting!" sound instead of a "ping!" sound, and summon "Hush Tubes" instead of Boom Tubes.
In an alternate future of JLA: Rock of Ages, Granny Goodness at one point invaded the central computer on New Genesis and somehow got fused with it, becoming an insane Grandmother box. It is destroyed in a suicide attack by Wonder Woman. It attacked with "firepit" blasts and teleportational abilities.
After striking Batman with the Omega Effect, Darkseid used a Mother Box-esque device called an Ancestor Box. Within this box seems to be some sort of hyperdimensional creature Darkseid refers to as a "Hyper-Adapter". This box seems to be able to warp time and space, accounting for Batman's travels through time during the Return of Bruce Wayne. The Hyper-Adapter may have some connection to the Hyper Fauna fought by Batman in the aforementioned return, or the sentient Omega fought by Shiloh Norman.
Upon the destruction of the android known as Gonzo the Mechanical Bastard, Father Time converted its body into an "orphan box" in the shape of glasses, to be wielded against the Mathemagicians of the Anti-Life Equation.