|First appearance||New Gods vol. 1 #7,
|Created by||Jack Kirby (writer & artist)|
|Place of origin||Apokolips|
|Team affiliations||Darkseid's Elite|
As one of the New Gods, Steppenwolf (which is German for "wolf of the steppe", or coyote) is the younger brother of Heggra, and the uncle of Uxas (Darkseid). He is also a member of Darkseid's Elite. He leads the military of Apokolips and also rides a hover bike which may be at the same level of technology as Orion's.
Steppenwolf is one of the earliest survivors of Doomsday, the monster who once killed Superman. Two hundred and forty-five thousand years ago, Steppenwolf takes an Apokolips shuttle with Darkseid, Master Mayhem and a small crew to the planet of Bylan 5. The planet holds delicate natural materials Apokolips needs for weaponry, material which would be destroyed in the event of an invasion. The forcible marriage of Darkseid to the planet's princess comes to an end when Doomsday attacks. Master Mayhem is swiftly torn apart. Darkseid ignores Steppenwolf's orders to use Omega Beams and engages the creature in hand-to-hand combat. Steppenwolf sees the destruction wrought has doomed the planet and all who live on it. He teleports Darkseid out of harm's way, agreeing with Darkseid not to mention this to anyone. Doomsday escapes by stowing away on the Apokolips shuttle.
Most of Steppenwolf's appearances under the pen of Jack Kirby are in flashbacks: his debut, in New Gods #7, was a flashback story where he is introduced and helped Darkseid murder the wife of Darkseid's hated rival, Highfather. Highfather later tracks down and kills Steppenwolf in retaliation as the murder reignites the war between the two sides.
Steppenwolf appears later when Mister Miracle gains godlike powers over life and death. He torments Scott Free over his role in killing his mother (or alleged mother figure as is claimed) and in return is physically tortured. Scott ends up healing him, instead of killing him as he desires. He is sent with Darkseid's legions.
He is seen in New Gods V2 #6, with a new costume (a Kirby redesign for the figure's Super Power action figure). Though considered a "mockery", Steppenwolf is given the job of running Darkseid's military forces. He is later seen fighting The Flash (Barry Allen) and the Justice League of America.
With The New 52 reboot that takes place following the 2011 Flashpoint limited series, a new version of Earth-2 (home of the Justice Society of America) is introduced. In the continuity of that parallel world, Steppenwolf leads a massive invasion of the planet by Darkseid's parademons. Ultimately, Earth's heroes manage to successfully repel the invaders, but the Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman of that world are all killed in battle. Five years later, Steppenwolf is apparently hiding on Earth-2 and there is a $300 million reward for him. He is eventually killed by that world's version of Bizarro, whom Steppenwolf had employed as a soldier and indoctrinated into fighting for Apokolips.
Steppenwolf also appears briefly in an issue of Justice League within The New 52 taking part in the torturing of Superman on the Prime Earth. Steppenwolf is seen as support for Darkseid when he moves to attack the Anti-Monitor.
Steppenwolf is an immortal with superhuman strength, speed and stamina appropriate to his race. He is an experienced military leader, having served as the head of Apokolips's armed forces, and when going into battle personally often commands units of the dog cavalry - warriors riding enormous dogs, for the carnage and mass deaths he causes when he leads forces. Steppenwolf wields several weapons, including a cable-snare in which he can entrap opponents and from which he can fire lethal radion beams. His main weapon is his electro-axe. He is a master swordsman and a formidable hand-to-hand combatant.