Day 95: Glorious Godfrey!

An audience filled with zombified-faces, pupil-less eyes, gaping mouths. The caption, a quote by Adolf Hitler — “That is the great thing about our movement — that these members are uniform not only in ideas, but, even, the facial expression is almost the same!” — Voices speak out:

Yessir! It’s the truth! Glorious Godfrey is speaking the truth!

He’s voicing what’s in our hearts!

Tell it, Godfrey! Tell us how our pride is being attacked and dragged in the dust!

It’s the others, Godfrey! Those who don’t think right!

This is our world! Our world! They have no right to meddle with it!

The one who seeks believers must be a believer himself! And such a striking and vigorous dynamo of belief is Glorious Godfrey! In a troubled, fearful world he faces his audience with his truth and fire! — Which is magnified by an awe-inspiring setting!

Yes, this is the arena of the vainglorious Godfrey, agent of Apokolips and auburn-haired Adonis who is on Earth to recruit an army of Earthlings in service to the great Darkseid’s cause. In the tradition of television evangelists, his sermons are at once honey-sweet and silky smooth and then sizzling with hellfire and brimstone, always asking his captivated audience to contribute. But this master of the Justifiers, this preacher of eternal death, isn’t asking for mere money from his flock; Glorious Godfrey wants his “friends” to give up their lives for the Master of the Holocaust!

A smile of benevolence spread across his handsome, almost beautiful face, Godfrey’s arms are stretched open in welcome to the congregation. The setting is a tent revival meeting, with hundreds in attendance, spotlights shining on the audience. A super-scientific organ is being played behind Godfrey and innumerable servants — a chorus, believers holding placards (reading LIFE HAS ITS PRATFALLS! ANTI-LIFE IS PROTECTION; LIFE WILL MAKE YOU DOUBT! ANTI-LIFE WILL MAKE YOU RIGHT!; YOU CAN JUSTIFY ANYTHING WITH ANTI-LIFE!; and JUDGE OTHERS! ENSLAVE OTHERS! KILL OTHERS! ANTI-LIFE WILL GIVE YOU THE RIGHT!) — and a beady-eyed fellow wielding Justifier helmets. Godfrey, decked out in a white, Romanesque tunic, begins his oration:

I hear you, right thinkers! You’re shouting Anti-Life — the positive belief! Listen, as the great organ catches your words and finds the wonderful music in them! And what am I, Glorious Godfrey, but another poor instrument that vibrates to your message? And I say, come to me! And I shall give you the power to wield death!

The minion holding Justifier helmets, says, “Wield death! Wield pain! You can be justified — if you wear one of these!” A giant image of Darkseid is transmitted on a video screen behind Godfrey as he continues:

Yes, friends! Though Life is ever filled with those who threaten us, it is Anti-Life which gives us the power to eliminate them! The holocaust is coming! The day of Apokolips on Earth! The Day of Darkseid, who brings this power for only us to use! Yes, it is his gift to us, friends! The Cosmic Hunting License! The right to point the finger or the gun! Who can stand against us, friends? Certainly not the others! They can be recognized for what they are! But not us, friends, Not us! When we wear this helmet, we feel unified! Glorified! Justified! Step up, friends! Take your helmet! Be superior! Be fierce! Be a Justifier! It’s Darkseid’s gift of Anti-Life — It’s the “Happiness Package!

The scene cuts to Uncle Willie and young Donnie’s apartment, where a gargantuan Justifier has the invalid child in his grip. The opening caption reads:

Thus, Apokolips makes contact with Earth! Thus, the harbingers of holocaust link up with the human minds and hearts that wait to act in chaos! Like the ancient witchdoctors of old, Glorious Godfrey sounds the clarion call and begins the dance of death in modern times! The message of Anti-Life is powerful! — And its disciples must strike first at the Forever People

After that Justifier — in actuality, a suicide bomber — almost obliterates Donnie and the Super-Kids, Mark Moonrider contemplates the fanatic. “The Justifier died willingly — but in vain! But his death tells us many things! All from New Genesis, who have come to Earth — are being sought out — for death!” Vykin the Black observes, “And the one who sent the Justifier to kill us — can only be — Glorious Godfrey!” The team springs into action, bids Donnie farewell and jump aboard the Super-Cycle. Beautiful Dreamer notes, “Wherever Glorious Godfrey and his Justifiers are — Mother Box will reach out and find them!” The beloved Forever People device is pinging excitedly as Vykin adds, “It’s coming! Revelationists like Godfrey have strong emotion flows! Mother Box is picking his up!”

Then we see what Glorious Godfrey has wrought on our planet as Justifiers swarm over the city performing a litany of horrors: rounding up innocent citizens to serve as tormented playthings of the malevolent Desaad; entering libraries and while decrying the “decadent” books, using a flamethrower to destroy the contents; and targeting specific merchants by painting giant “S’s” on their storefronts.

This new Apokolips villain is next seen getting his splendid head of hair attended to as his lieutenants report and technicians work the video-screen controls, which depicts Justifiers smashing store windows and painting “S’s.” The caption states: “From his headquarters, Glorious Godfrey watches his Justifiers in action as he prepares for a new audience!” And then his hairdresser gushes to the preacher, “You look wonderful, Godfrey! You’ll sweep your new audience off its feet!” Gazing at his face in a hand mirror, Godfrey agrees, “My little legion is doing well, too! There’s one of them defacing a store with an ‘S’ for scapegoat!”

Lieutenant: Anti-Life is a heady, exhilarating experience, Godfrey! They’re in ecstasy!

Godfrey: Yes, they no longer think! They revel in violent emotion! They will do anything I say — in order to feed their emotion! They are now no more than zombies in my control!

Video-screen Technician: Godfrey! The screen image is gone –! It now registers a moving blip!

Godfrey: It can only be a phasing vehicle! We’ve got visitors not native to Earth! It seems that one of our Justifiers has failed in his mission to kill some of our opposition! I suppose they’re welcome to die here, if they wish! Our Justifiers will see to that — won’t they?

Second lieutenant: As long as I command them, the Justifiers will do their duty, Godfrey!

Placing an assuring hand on the second lieutenant’s shoulder, Godfrey says will a broad smile, “I knew I picked the right man for the job! You were a nobody before Anti-Life gave you power!” The underling replies, “No harm shall come to you, Godfrey! I am tireless in your service!”

The Super-Cycle phases in near the Godfrey encampment — “There it is,” says Serifan, “A giant tent — the traditional setting for Glorious Godfrey’s revelations!” Adds Big Bear, “And there below are the busloads of discontents arriving to hear those revelations!” Beautiful Dreamer and Mother Box sense the tent is heavily guarded, so the group combines to become The Infinity Man, who travels through the ground itself to confront Godfrey and his Justifiers. As our amalgamated hero lifts from the very stage itself, a Justifier blurts, “Wha–! A ghost — rising from the ground!” Godfrey, in the middle of another sermon, says “Hold, friends! One moment!”

Justifiers, flanking Godfrey (looking terrified with arms stretched high), fire into the form of The Infinity Man. Says one, “The intruder grows solid! Omega shots can get him now!” The evangelist screams, “Blast him! Blast him! Protect Glorious Godfrey!” After IM turns back the bullets on the perpetrators, Godfrey rants, “You fool! Do you think your spectacular gimmickry can stop this operation? The forces of Apokolips are many! — And mighty!

The Infinity Man takes notice of the giant, high-tech organ and retorts to the villain, “Your secret is wind, Godfrey! An evil wind that rushes from your throat — and this demon’s organ! Which must be destroyed!” And, despite Godfrey’s plea — “No! No! You can’t!” — blast rays from The Infinity Man’s hand destroys the musical instrument. “Its sonic chords will no longer stimulate the brute instincts that drive men into your service!” Still, Godfrey in undaunted, telling his attacker, “You control the natural forces as one would instruments! But you still cannot stop me!” Then, turning as if to initiate a final confrontation — “We shall find out, Godfrey — right now!” — a cold hand drops on the space warrior’s shoulder. It is Darkseid, who tells the hero, “This is not Godfrey you face, but great, consummate power — so devastating — that it rocks even one such as yourself!” The Infinity Man is zapped into oblivion (or at least into its vicinity) and The Forever People return, only to be rendered unconscious for the pleasure of Desaad. As the new-agers are being loaded into an Aero-Van, Godfrey senses his influence rapidly eroding with the Master of the Holocaust. As Darkseid and Desaad discuss the purpose of the “Camp of the Damned” — extracting the Anti-Life Equation — Godfrey’s instinct for self-preservation come into play. “But surely you can’t mean — Surely not even the great Darkseid believes in the existence of the Anti-Life Equation! Why, if one could master such an equation — he could control the minds of all living things in the universe — with a mere word! I-I believe in Anti-Life, great Darkseid — but it can only be induced in others by the means of inventive selling!

Darkseid nods to his resident preacher and proceeds to rebuke him. “I like you, Glorious Godfrey! You’re a shallow, precious child — the Revelationist — happy with the sweeping sound of words! But I am the Revelation! The Tiger-Force at the core of all things! When you cry out in your dreams — it is Darkseid that you see! The Anti-Life Equation exists! Locked in the mind of someone here on Earth! — And only I dare reach for it! I shall create chaos here! Shake up the planet! — Shake up that mind! I have many servitors to help me do that! Each with his own methods, eh, Desaad?’ Godfrey objects as would a petulant sibling, “You favor him always, great Darkseid! Think of what my Justifiers do in your cause!”

Desaad bows to leave but not without throwing a slight to the humiliated preacher. “I beg to depart from this petty situation, sire!” Turning to Godfrey, the tormentor smiles wickedly and says, “You’re a loud, petulant bumpkin, Godfrey! Like all Revelationists, you’ve got imagination, but not finesse! But I, Good Godfrey, have both! I leave now for my ‘camp,’ which Darkseid knows is terror, refined to perfection!

We don’t see Glorious Godfrey until the tail-end of the “Happyland” saga. “The Omega Effect” opens as Justifiers, aloft on their nifty Flight Shoes buzz by the stationary Super-Cycle and one of them orders the Forever People mode of transportation destroyed. “Turn down the noise on your ‘Flight Shoes!’ Glorious Godfrey is still receiving recruits in his great tent!” The battle of the Super-Cycle begins and, standing regally before his tent, a Justifier on one knee with head down below the preacher’s patting hand, Godfrey is concerned with the altercation. “What’s going on up there!!!” A Justifier reports, “That infernal ‘New Genesis’ gadget parked on that hill — it just picked off our security patrol!!”

Godfrey: Well, we can’t have that sort of thing going on!! Destroy that abomination!!

Justifier: We’ll volunteer for the job, Glorious Godfrey!! Give us the chance to serve you!!

Godfrey: These are new recruits!! Can they do it??

Justifier: Zealots will do anything!! Just point them in the proper direction, Godfrey!

Godfrey: You Earthmen are the shining embodiment of “Anti-Life!” You leap at the throat of death — because you’re transformed!!

Justifier: Belief in Anti-Life makes all justifiable! Belief in you, Glorious Godfrey, makes us “Justifiers!

Godfrey: Then, “To arms!!” Get your weapons and instructions!! — And finish that job!!!

Justifier: Yahooo!! We’ll blast that thing into twisted junk!!!

Lieutenant: They’re really eager to destroy! What’s the secret, Godfrey? The helmet? The uniform? The creed??

Godfrey: Earthmen are given all these things at birth!! I merely justify their readiness to use them!! That’s why they love me!!!

We last see Godfrey in the series at the conclusion of the Battle for the Super-Cycle. As a scene of the big Roman “pull-out” from ancient Britain shifts to a majestic-looking Godfrey, the caption reads:

Strength is also the creed of Glorious Godfrey, who preaches Darkseid’s Revelation of Conflict!! Godfrey is neither lost in time nor space!! He is where he must be!! — At the point of conflict!!

Godfrey: My followers are ready!! My Justifiers champ at the bit!! — In one moment they’ll surge over that hill! — Weapons blazing!! — Shouting with the joy that comes in the release of destruction!! Kill, men, kill!! Darkseid absolves you of all guilt!!”

Serifan and the Super-Cycle hold their own and Godfrey becomes impatient, ordering his men, “I’ve wasted enough zealots!! Use the Induction Rifle!!” The device seems to destroy the cycle and copy-cat cowboy. A Justifier revels, “It’s done with, Glorious Godfrey!! But just before the stone struck — I thought I saw — some strange phenomenon!” Godfrey says, “I saw it, too! A thin flash of light!! It was probably friction caused by colliding rock!! And, so, we shall leave that mound as it is!! A monument to Darkseid’s power!! Break tents!! It’s time we moved elsewhere!

Godfrey is a captivating and particularly vile bad guy in the Fourth World and we certainly see quite a few humans of his type here on real Earth. Self-important, grandiose, vain to a fault, and believing he has so many virtues he does not, in fact, possess — humility, compassion, empathy — Glorious Godfrey has no true convictions other than in himself and his ability as a salesman, seeing the quest for the Anti-Life Equation — Darkseid’s search to control all life in the universe — as merely a marketing challenge… I’m just flabbergasted and suspect strongly there’s never been a comic book villain quite like him. All hail Godfrey!!!