Could Arrow's Damien Darhk have ties to the New Gods?
That's a popular fan theory that started last week on Reddit and has since been making its way through the comics blogosphere...and it's certainly not Impossible.
At the end of last week's episode, Darhk unfolded a box etched with quasi-mystical markings on the outside, some of which appeared to match etchings from the cave where John Constantine took Oliver during the "Haunted" episode last week. Whatever the device is, Darhk had hoped to force Ray Palmer to help him power it using the white dwarf star alloy that powers the A.T.O.M. suit, but Team Arrow rescued him before he could. After Ray got away, one of Darhk's minions told him they thought they had figured out how to simulate the power source -- and Darhk told them to use it on an item, which he unfolded from the box into a flat map-like shape on a table.
The notion that it could be a Father Box -- the Apokoliptian version of a Mother Box, the powerful, wearable computers that help the denizens of New Genesis in a variety of circumstances -- was an instant hit, and the arcane "circuitry" having a vaguely Kirby-esque look did nothing to discourage fans from jumping on board with it.
The Father Box, as seen in some recent comics, also does have a more literally box-like appearance than most incarnations of the Mother Box, as seen at right.
Of course, a Mother Box or a Father Box would come with the need for a special power source, and in the comics, that source is tied to Apokolips specifically in the case of Father Boxes. They're also keyed to their owner, so Darhk could wake a sleeping giant if he tried to activate one without the blessings of the owner.
It's hard to say just how likely this is. Early on, a The Flash Season Zero comic book made it appear as though Harrison Wells might have ties to the New Gods, by using Kirby-inspired designs for some of his futuristic tech and weapons. That obviously didn't turn out to be the case. And with Darkseid consistently rumored as the big bad for the planned Justice League feature films, it might be borderline impossible to get him on the show...not that we couldn't see, perhaps, another villain known for working under Darkseid -- say Steppenwolf, Kalibak or the like. It just feels less likely.
That said, there is a precedent for humans being used as pawns by Darkseid's lackeys -- most notably, Morgan Edge, who ran Intergang. He believed himself to be doing the "great and good" work of Darkseid but was, in fact, working merely for Desaad, who was masquerading as his own master to amuse himself by toying with the Earthman.
Others have different ideas: the first, and most likely, given the presence of Hawkman and Hawkgirl in The Flash, Arrow and DC's Legends of Tomorrow, is that it's a piece of Thanagarian technology.
So far, Thanagar and the alien origins of the Hawks hasn't yet been referenced in any of the promotional material for Legends, but that doesn't preclude it from becoming part of the canon. Even in Geoff Johns's reincarnation-powered reinvention of the Hawks, the original "version" still came from Thanagar, prior to being buried in Ancient Egypt.
So an Absorbascon has been proposed, and that's a pretty sensible alternative to the Father Box option. An Absorbascon is a Thanagarian device that enables its user to telepathically read the minds of other sentient life forms. An Absorbascon is only effective against non-Thanagarians. Used primarily as an educational tool, it can also be used as a weapon or a tool of espionage. Hawkman and Hawkwoman used the Absorbascon to learn about Earth's cultures and languages. A Thanagarian can also use this device to interpret the vocal patterns of lower order animals such as birds., which is how the Hawks can communicate with birds.
Since we know that Vandal Savage wants The Hawks specifically, and since Neal McDonough has implied to ComicBook.com that he's at least aware of, if not in fact tied to, Savage, it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume he could be hoping to get his hands on the Hawks and/or their power before Savage can.
"I think our season -- the Earth is in such dire jeopardy that for us to take it upon ourselves to start acting as the galactic police is probably more than we can handle," showrunner Phil Klemmer told me during a recent set visit to the Waverider, the Legends of Tomorrow time machine/space ship, when I asked about the possibility of seeing Rann, Thanagar or other DC planets.
So, it seems unlikely any alien world will play a big role in the near future of the CWverse, but that doesn't mean their history and technology can't. An Absorbascon would be a pretty useful tool to anybody.
Other concepts -- such as the AI Kilg%re and the Brother Eye satellite and/or OMAC directives -- were mentioned as well, but it seems less likely that will take, since those concepts are strongly tied to Maxwell Lord in the comics, and he's currently the Big Bad on Supergirl.
That said, the appearance of what appears to be the numbers 2, 3 and 5 on the unfolded box seem to suggest a terrestrial origin or at least terrestrial (and not Egyptian) modification.
it could of course, also be something we haven't thought of. The microweave circuitry of Booster Gold's outfit, for starters, could look like this if it were applied to something other than clothing. Booster is unlikely to appear on The CW since there's reportedly a movie in development, but there's nothing to say his son -- Rip Hunter, star of Legends -- might not have access to similar tech. Any number of time travelers, in fact, could have it.
We also know that there are tech geniuses from the DC Universe as-yet untapped in the shows. Ted Kord is just one, but there are likely a half-dozen others who could have developed some device to tap into the latent powers of magic. Yes, we know Darhk, Constantine, Reiter and some others have engaged with it, but it's clearly not a major force in the world yet...so somebody could have developed a way to tap into it, and could be in danger as a result.
All of this is interesting, but it's worth noting that even in the comics, where Darhk isn't quite as impressive as his Arrow counterpart, he has some pretty sophisticated technology he's working with. It could just as easily be that he's stolen tech from John Henry Irons's Amertek, or even something Curtis Holt was developing before Palmer Tech. Only time will tell...!