In the dark corners of the DC universe, there was an underground fight club, ran by Darkseid and the New Gods of Apokolips
The DC universe is full of many unique features, spawning from its array of complex characters. From teams of supervillains to multiversal heroes, there is not much left unaccounted for. It does not come as much surprise, then, that the world of DC had its own underground fight club.
Making its first appearance in the Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle limited series (By Grant Morrison, Pasqual Ferry, Billy Dallas Patton, and Freddie E. Williams II), the Dark Side Club was an underground operation run by Darkseid and the New Gods of Apokolips, who were on Earth in human guises, looking for new servants.
The Dark Side Club was a fighting tournament in which drugged and brainwashed meta-humans fought against their will in battles that were often deadly. Numerous individuals were forced to participate in the Club, most of which were young metas, including Zatara, Aquagirl, Static Shock, and more. Many of the heroes manage to escape, which backfires on Darkseid–who was going as Boss Dark Side at the time–as the superhero community grows aware of the Club’s existence.
Despite being outed by the escaped heroes, Dark Side continued his operations, hiring the Terror Titans, led by the Clock King, to help gather more fighters. The villains target the Teen Titans and capture members Red Devil and Miss Martian, drugging and mentally scarring the former until he is almost unrecognizable to his teammate. Due to her Martian physiology, however, the drugs the villains used did not have a lasting impact on Miss Martian, and she escaped alongside Red Devil, vowing to come back for those left behind.
The Terror Titans continued to aid the Dark Side Club and, with the help of former Teen Titan and Deathstroke’s daughter, Ravager, indoctrinated the captured meta-humans. At the same time, we learn that the Clock King has his own agenda, using those in captivity to form his own team, the Martyr Militia, led by the Star-Spangled Kid. Ravager eventually defects from the group, targeting the Clock King. However, the Militia corners her. As they converge, we learn that Miss Martian had infiltrated the Club under the guise of the Star-Spangled Kid, joining the Clock King’s team and using her psychic powers to free the captive heroes of mind-control. The released heroes take down the Terror Titans, ending their affiliation with the Club.
The Club reappears in Final Crisis, being investigated by Dan Turpin after he receives a tip from the Question. The trail leads him to Boss Dark Side. He learns that the villain has been forcing the captured children to learn the Anti-Life Equation, creating a corrupted army that attacks Turpin. The confrontation eventually leads Turpin to become the resurrected Darkseid’s host body. The fate of the Club is unknown, though one assumes it shut down following Darkseid’s death.
The Dark Side Club is a horrific demonstration of the lengths the New Gods are willing to go to rule the world. Darkseid and his minions systematically targeted young heroes, who are more susceptible to manipulation, using them for his cruel purposes. Ultimately, however, the heroes were able to stop him from achieving his goals. Other mediums have explored meta-trafficking, including during the third season of Young Justice, which also explored the accompanying trauma of such events. As a whole, the Dark Side Club shows that the Apokoliptian New Gods are the living embodiment of immorality.