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Powers, history and origins of DC villains

Zack Snyder’s latest Justice League trailer has brought some news to audiences, including Grandma Kindness’s involvement in the film. The reveal took everyone by surprise, as there weren’t even any rumors of an actress playing the character, but the director has confirmed that what we see in the preview is, in fact, Darkseid’s lieutenant.

Maybe you remember the character for her role in DC’s animations, maybe you’ve seen a bit of her in the comics, or maybe you have no idea who is the dreaded Grandma Kindness. Either way, here we’ll take you through the villain’s story, along with her origins and powers, so you know what to expect from her participation in the Justice League!

Origins

Cover of Senhor Milagre # 2 from 1971, where Grandma Kindness made her first appearance.

While the character’s name might suggest otherwise, Grandma Kindness has been a villain since she first appeared in the comics. Created by Jack Kirby, it first appeared in 1971, making its first appearance in the second volume of the Senhor Milagre series, starring Scott Free, the hero who gives the HQ its name. Scott grew up in the villain’s orphanage in Apokolips and left the planet after rebelling against the regime imposed by Darkseid. In the volume, Grandma Kindness appears in the story to confront him, using her soldiers to try to destroy the hero.

The story is part of the fourth world created by Kirby, who introduced the mythology around the new gods. Being endowed with incredible powers, the New Gods have fought an eternal battle between good and evil. They inhabit New Genesis and Apokolips, two planets that came to exist outside of conventional time and space, in what, like the saga, is called the Fourth World.

Phyllis diller

In the book Tales to Astonish, a biography of Kirby written by Ronin Ro and published in 2004, it is stated that the visual inspiration for the character came from Phyllis Diller, a famous American actress and comedian.

Grandma’s story of kindness

Grandma Kindness is perhaps best known for being one of Darkseid’s best lieutenants, but the early years of her life were quite different. Initially, she was part of the lower class of the Apokolips, which was oppressed under the leadership of the villain. As a child, Kindness was taken from his family to be trained and join the forces of Darkseid’s elite soldiers.

As part of the training, the character received a dog that she was supposed to train, which she named Mercy (a word that means mercy in English). Mercy and kindness have come very close over time, but as a last step before officially becoming part of the elite force, the character would have to kill the animal she had become attached to. Grandma Kindness refused, killing her trainer for giving the order, and when questioned by Darkseid, she justifies her decision by stating that killing the dog would have deprived the villain of a great tool, as the animal would obey Darkseid even better than ‘she did.

Despite the fine strategy, Grandma still has to kill the dog when Darkseid decides to put his argument to the test, ordering Mercy to kill Kindness. Struggling to survive, she ends up killing the animal, and that’s how the villain decides she graduated with honors, and her excellent Mercy professional training shows her aptitude for training the villain’s troops, as they should have the same loyalty blindly demonstrated by the dog.

Grandma’s cuteness in the comics.

From there, she becomes responsible for training Darkseid’s elite soldiers, using torture and brainwashing to make them “fit” for the ruler of Apokolips. She runs the Apokolips “orphanage”, turning orphans into fanatic warriors through her training, which often employs methods that parody elements of childcare, distorting what one would expect of the situation. It’s the same as the character name, since Grandma Kindness doesn’t seem to be referring to a bad person, even though it’s reality.

In addition, the character is also responsible for preparing the Furies, a group of elite warriors who serve Darkseid. The unit, made up entirely of women, also forms the guard of honor of the sovereign Apokolips. Furies have been created by her since childhood, being conditioned to be loyal to Grandma Kindness, and most importantly Darkseid.

The aforementioned Scott Free grew up in his orphanage, although he was born to New Genesis and not Apokolips. As a boy, Scott was sent to the planet due to a peace treaty between the two, which determined that he and Darkseid’s son changed places, as he was the son of Heavenly Father, ruler of the New Genesis. Scott was the first child to escape Grandma Kindness.

Personality

In Justice League Unlimited, Grandma Kindness’s personality is very similar to the original.

As can be seen from the methods used by the character, Grandma Kindness is a cruel and even sadistic woman, and in reality there is nothing nice about her. According to the villain herself, in Apokolips there is no room for mercy, and she certainly puts this principle into practice through the tortures and punishments she inflicts on those she trains.

For her, strength is what must be valued and there is no room for compassion. Additionally, the villain is very bossy and controlling, but she also manages to be extremely manipulative, as evidenced by her success in molding her students to be completely devoted to herself and, most importantly, Darkseid.

Her worst traits may not be obvious at first, as she is able to hide her true nature whenever she wants, but sooner or later her cruelty always comes to the fore. One of the only positive traits of Grandma Kindness is loyalty – however, the villain dedicates her totally and exclusively to Darkseid, who in turn is also quite evil.

Powers and capacities

The version of the villain seen in Young Justice.

Being one of the New Gods, Grandma Kindness has superhuman characteristics, such as speed, reflexes, and even intelligence superior to the inhabitants of Earth. Additionally, the character is immortal, although he looks quite old. It is very sturdy, very strong and has enough strength to lift several tons of weight.

The villain also has great fighting skills, which match her training history and ability to train elite warriors for Darkseid. Yet it is as a leader and strategist that she truly stands out, managing to masterfully control different types of troops, trained on her own. Finally, Grandma Kindness also has great interrogation skills, being an extremely skilled torturer at extracting important information.

Adaptations

Desaad, Darkseid, and Grandma Kindness will be on the Snyder Cup.

Grandma Kindness’ participation in Zack Snyder’s Justice League will mark the character’s debut in theaters. Despite this, the character has appeared in other media in addition to the comics, including live action.

In the animations, the villain has been in Justice League Without Limits and the Superman animated series before. More recently, Grandma Goodness has also appeared in the animation of Harlequin and in Young Justice. Already in live-action, the character competed in Smallville, where she was played by Christine Willes, and commanded an orphanage on Earth, creating an army for Darkseid.

It is not yet clear who will play the character in Snyder’s film, and his participation in the production may be quite brief. It’s possible that Grandma Kindness played a role in Darkseid’s first invasion of Earth, or that she was in the movie to establish it for the future of the DCEU under Snyder. Either way, the new version of Justice League will be released soon, and Grandma Kindness’s role in the plot will finally be revealed.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League will arrive on HBO Max on March 18. It was recently announced that the film will be simultaneously released globally, although details on how the film will be available in countries that do not yet have access to the WarnerMedia streaming platform, such as Brazil, have not been revealed.

What do you expect from Grandma Kindness in Snyder’s film? Share your theories here!

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