'Justice League': History of Earth vs. Apokolips Explained

Millennia ago, in the time before the Old Gods died, it took the combined armies of man, Amazon, [...]

Millennia ago, in the time before the Old Gods died, it took the combined armies of man, Amazon, and Atlantean to turn back an invasion by Steppenwolf, the head of Apokolips's army and uncle to Darkseid, the DC Universe's greatest despot.

That is the mythology behind Justice League, the just-released team-up film that brings together the various heroes of DC's film universe in their biggest and arguably brightest adventure yet.

The narrative centers on Steppenwolf, who had been turned away but not killed thousands of years ago, emerging from his exile to reclaim and assemble three Mother Boxes. The alien technology, which has seemingly limitless potential, is most powerful when the three are combined, creating a powerful and deadly wave of destruction that allows Steppenwolf and his Parademons to conquer or even destroy worlds.

It was such an event that brought together the three armies years ago, with the assistance of Zeus and some of the Old Gods as well (who, as described in Wonder Woman, have since perished, leaving her their sole heir).

Steppenwolf invaded Earth in a time before recorded history, uniting the tribes of man with the Amazons and Atlanteans. They turned him back, but fearing what might happen if anyone had the power of the three Mother Boxes, or should Steppenwolf return or worse, they were split between the factions, with the Amazons and the Atlanteans each protecting theirs while mankind simply hid their Mother Box so that no one tribe would possess it.

As revealed in the short film attached to the Wonder Woman Blu-ray, the British army would eventually find the box during World War I, but it would ultimately end up in the hands of the Americans, as no one could figure out what it ws or did. Eventually it would be used by Dr. Silas Stone to attempt to mend his son Victor's broken body, creating Cyborg. It was that connection to the Box -- and the powers it gave him -- that would allow Cyborg to be key to defeating Steppenwolf when he came to Earth again millennia later, easily overtaking the guards in Atlantis and Themyscira.

It turns out, apparently, that it is harder to steal something that is lost and misunderstood than it is to steal something that is known and guarded. Who knew?

Justice League is in theaters now.