Morgan Edge returns to Supergirl this week, once again providing a foil for Lena Luthor and representing the face of corporate evil — but unlike season one’s Maxwell Lord, Edge is not driven by principle and fearful of aliens but rather is happy enough to use people with powers to accomplish his ends if he can.
An upcoming episode has promised Bloodsport, a character who was used by Lex Luthor in his first comics appearance in a way that seems likely to be echoed by Edge in the TV series.
Another character trait from elsewhere in the Superman mythology, which seems to have found its way to Edge's character on TV? Well, while he might hate his father, it is hard to avoid one way in which Morgan seems to take after dear old dad: Vincent Edge was humiliated and removed from his office in the comics at one point after a sexual harassment scandal. You can tie that pretty closely to Morgan's first TV appearance, when he continuously used flirtation and misogyny in an attempt to get the upper hand over Lena Luthor.
So just who is Morgan Edge, and what is his deal?
In the comics, Morgan Edge is the son of Vincent Edge, a wealthy and corrupt media magnate who, among other things, may have orchestrated the death of his wife (Morgan’s mother). It was his hatred of his father, shouted to the heavens, that created a lasting relationship between Edge and the hordes of Apokolips when the heavens seemingly answered him in the form of a vision of Darkseid.
The relationship between Edge and Darkseid was a part of his journey in both the pre- and post-Crisis on Infinite Earths versions of his character, but we will focus on the post-Crisis take, since that appears more in line with what Supergirl has done in the recent past and seems likely to pursue with the TV version of Edge’s character.
Worth noting, though, is this: in the pre-Crisis era, Edge was developed by creator Jack Kirby to explore the idea of organized crime developing roots in corporate America, and may have been a commentary on his own corporate overlords at DC on some level.
DC editorial reportedly asked Kirby to keep Edge around, and the villainous version of the character was revealed to be an impostor, freeing up a smarmy-but-not-actually-EVIL Edge to recur for years.
In both versions of the backstory, Edge at was the money and brains behind Intergang, an organized crime group that uses superhumans as muscle and used alien tech. In the post-Crisis Superman comics, Morgan took over his father’s business interests and forced Vincent into early retirement. Those interests included GBS, a TV station that employed Cat Grant, Jimmy Olsen, and Clark Kent at various times over the years.
Edge was not the sharpest tool in the shed, and often found himself being manipulated or deceived by those closest to him: even though he had literally years of contact throughout his long adult life with “Darkseid,” it would eventually be revealed that it was in fact DeSaad, Darkseid’s lackey, who had made a deal with Edge while impersonating his boss, and that the agreements they made were not going to be honored by the despot himself.
It was Apokoliptian technology that allowed Edge to make Intergang the most formidable criminal force in Metropolis, but without Darkseid’s backing, and with increased scrutiny from Superman, law enforcement, and the press, Edge was eventually brought down.
During her time as the gossip columnist at the Daily Planet, Grant entered into a relationship with Morgan Edge, not realizing that he was as morally bankrupt as his father. He lavished gifts on Cat and her son, but when she started to realize the kind of extra-curricular activities he was into, she made a decision: while remaining in a relationship with Edge, Grant began gathering evidence and eventually co-wrote an expose on Edge’s criminal ties for the Daily Planet with Clark Kent.
Edge continued to try to manipulate Intergang from prison, although eventually his father (now free to resume his role at the company) would wrest control of the business, cutting off Morgan’s resources and leaving what remained of Intergang with no reason to remain loyal to him.
Eventually, Edge would write a tell-all autobiography from prison that would implicate his father in many of his own crimes as well as intimating that Grant slept her way into her stories.
When he got out of prison, he financed a version of the Superman Revenge Squad, using metahumans and aliens with existing grudges against the Man of Steel to do his dirty work for him.
Years later, he would resurface, now seemingly having severed his overt criminal ties, as an anti-Kryptonian pundit on a TV news magazine show.
He would be reinvented once again following DC's 2011 The New 52 reboot. This version of Edge, a black man, was not overtly criminal but certainly unscrupulous. He sponsored a show featuring the Challengers of the Unknown before they all abandoned it due to his shady business practices.
At the start of The New 52, he owned the Daily Planet, but sold it to Lex Luthor in the final months of the pre-Rebirth status quo.