Morgan Edge is the longstanding and underutilized Superman villain who is debuting on Supergirl. Edge may be a seedy businessman, but he’s more than just a hirsute Lex Luthor stand-in.
Created by comics legend Jack Kirby, Morgan Edge brought with him a new type of crime for Superman to fight: the high-tech mafia known as Intergang, which in turn, connected to Kirby’s Fourth World opus and led Superman to Darkseid.
Bringing Edge into Supergirl could hint at the expansion of Intergang to National City, and considering his media-mogul status, could make Kara’s heroism reach beyond just her own stomping grounds. He could, after all, use the media against her, creating an enemy she simply can’t punch her way to victory.
But the question remains: who the hell is he? Like Kara, the audience doesn’t quite know what to expect from him. With that in mind, we’ve looked back at Morgan Edge’s history in – comics and elsewhere – to find clues that might help us understand where he’s going in the new season.
Here are 15 Things You Never Knew About Morgan Edge.
16. Complicated history
Admittedly, Morgan Edge isn’t a huge character. He’s not as well known as Lex Luthor or Brainiac, and his history is one of the most muddled.
To preserve the conflicted nature of the character while also keeping the plot moving forward, Jack Kirby came up with a clone storyline. The clone created by Darkseid’s Evil Factory™ was responsible for Edge’s more overt forms of villainy: consorting with Intergang and the attempted murders of Jimmy Olsen, Guardian, and Goody Rickels.
Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, Edge was more villainous, but no longer involved with the Daily Planet, even though he was dating Cat Grant. He went to prison, but this may have been retconned because many years later he no longer worked with Intergang or owned WGBS. Rather, he was a political pundit.
15. The Supergirl Connection
Morgan Edge’s anti-Kryptonian sentiments became very popular during the New Krypton arc. It also didn’t help the good Kryptonians like Supergirl who were just trying to make life better for everyone else. She, along with Nightwing and Flamebird (not the Batman-related characters with the same names), found themselves at odds with Edge, who had turned public opinion against them. Before New Krypton, he also had a problem with Cat Grant.
The post-Crisis version of Edge was much more of an overt villain, and once he was revealed as such, he was sent to prison. While there, he penned a scathing memoir where he slagged both his father and Cat Grant.
Cat had long investigated Edge and helped bring him down; as revenge, he claimed in his bestseller that Cat had slept with sources to obtain information and with editors to obtain the best assignments. This is all fertile ground for the Supergirl series to utilize throughout this season.
14. He was a big supporter of Black Lightning
The problem with being a villain is that there are other villains who are going to want to kill you because they want your power or because, well, they’re villains. Being a villain also makes the hero less inclined to be around when you need them most.
The 100, a shady (and somewhat mystical) criminal organization set up shop in Metropolis, which was cutting into Intergang’s bottom line. It also didn’t help that they once kidnapped Edge and tried to cut into his bottom line.
When Black Lightning came to Metropolis, he quickly went to war with the 100. Morgan Edge was excited about this and used his platform to promote Black Lightning as a great hero, which also made Edge himself look less seedy by association.
13. He was supposed to be a one-off villain
Not only was Jack Kirby constantly undermined by, well, everyone, but many of his authorial decisions were also overturned for the sake of keeping the story going.
Morgan Edge was meant to be a one-off character whom Jack would use to make his point about corporate malfeasance, introduce Intergang, and then be either killed off or jailed. Instead, he was told to keep Edge around.
Kirby made lemonade, as per usual. He developed Edge into a more three-dimensional villain— yes, he would do bad things, but it was sometimes against his better nature. He also had a clone he could blame the really evil stuff on, which was convenient.
12. He may be worse than Lex Luthor
Lex is still the cooler bad guy with the better tailor, but Morgan Edge does offer something unique. When he’s in full-on evil mode, he doesn’t have time for safe driving. Nope, he can’t even make a minor course correction to avoid driving over a raccoon!
The scene played out conventionally, with a manic Edge deciding that while he could easily navigate around the vermin, it’d be better just to kill the damn thing. Of course, it would dirty up his wheel with entrails, blood, and compressed bone, but sometimes you just need a thrill.
Regardless of working for Intergang and being an accessory to several murders, this scene actually offended a number of fans, with one writing into the DC Letters section: “Lex Luthor treats people like animals, but even he does not run them over intentionally.”
11. He appeared briefly in the DCAU
The DCAU, which began with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 and ended with Justice League Unlimited in 2004, is considered by many to be the best adaptation of the DC Comics brand of all time. That said, due to the vast catalogue of characters, not everyone was able to get their due.
Morgan Edge was seen briefly in a single episode of Justice League, in the “Secret Society” two-parter. Here, he was a black-market collector and lived on a secret, private island (which is incredibly cool and promising). He purchased Clayface who was confined in biohazard containers (okay, creepy), but was targeted by Gorilla Grodd and the Society because they wanted Clayface for themselves. E
dge tried to escape the team by disguising himself as a chef, only to be captured and then frozen to death by Killer Frost (aw crap). Well, can’t win them all.
10. Rutger Hauer played him in Smallville
Morgan Edge has been frequently adapted into animation and live-action over the last three decades. Most notably, he was portrayed by film legend Rutger Hauer (who also portrayed Roy Batty in Blade Runner and the titular derelict in Hobo with a Shotgun) in an episode of Smallville in 2003.
Hauer’s Morgan Edge was more of a gangster than a businessman, though he had major dealings with both Lex and Lionel Luthor, often teaming with one against the other for financial gains or greater power.
The next year, Rutger Hauer would go on to play Wayne Enterprises board member William Earle in Batman Begins. Oddly, Earle’s arc was similar to Edge’s, including the manipulative fatherly relationship each of his characters attempted to nurture with Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, and Clark Kent.
9. He won his company in a poker game
Edge kept the details of his past secret. Maybe because his character was retconned so many times he couldn’t keep his own backstory straight.
Regardless of the reason why, there are a few things he preferred to stay secret — namely that he won WGBS in a poker game. Frankly, this is an awesome origin story. Wouldn’t you shout it from the tallest building and bring it up at every cocktail party you ever went to? It’s the party story ever. “I won a company in a poker game.”
It not only makes you sound cool, but it makes you seem dangerous; imagine what you would have to put up against said company. Sure, people might think you’re glib, but you tell the story enough, and people would believe it.
8. There’s a Bizarro Morgan Edge
Superman’s defective clone Bizarro left Earth to make his own world. Naturally, it’s called Htrae, which is “Earth” backward. The cube-shaped planet features Bizarro versions of DC characters which are every bit as grating as they sound.
Also, rather than talking backward like a Twin Peaks Lodge entity, the Bizarro language is the same as ours, just opposite. In other words, calling someone ugly is a compliment and calling them stupid means they’re smart.
There’s a Bizarro Lois Lane, a Bizarro Justice League, and even a Bizarro Morgan Edge. Why would someone give Bizarro a Duplicator Ray? Why would anyone allow someone of Bizarro’s incredible strength and impressive idiocy to run off into the universe? This proves that the Justice League isn’t very good at their job.
7. Morgan Edge isn’t his real name
Are you surprised “Morgan Edge” is a made-up name? For some reason, he was ashamed of his humble beginnings and decided to change his name once he obtained his first company in a poker game. Maybe he became self-aware, realizing he was in a comic book and wanted a flashier name.
Either way, Morris Edelstein decided to lean into the windfall and change his life completely. After receiving a broadcasting award, Edge brought his mother up on stage and subtlety revealed that he had kept his name a secret because he had been ashamed of his Jewish ancestry, but was now comfortable in himself and his successes to open himself up.
It was 1977 when this story was produced, and there were even fewer Jewish characters in comics than there were African Americans. That Edge was a Jewish character— let alone a major and complicated one— was a major step forward for the medium at the time.
6. He has connections to Darkseid
While mobster Bruno “Ugly” Manheim is Darkseid’s Intergang-connected proxy on Earth, it was originally Morgan Edge who betrayed humanity and worked for the gods of Apokolips— sometimes.
Both Edge and his clone have worked for Intergang (and, knowingly by extension, Darkseid). In return for money and power, Edge and Intergang would arm criminals with Apokolips god-technology to undermine superheroes and distract them from Darkseid’s machinations to conquer Earth and obtain the Anti-Life Equation.
While it’s unlikely, we do hope that the Morgan Edge we see in Supergirl has a connection to the Fourth World. It would open up an entirely new kind of threat for Kara to face— supervillains and evil Kryptonians are one thing, alien gods from a world that is constantly on fire are in a league of their own.
5. He was radically altered after Crisis on Infinite Earths
DC is the oldest comic book company in the world, so continuity can get tricky. In 1985, editor Julie Schwartz decided to “give continuity an enema” with Crisis on Infinite Earths, which would allow the company to refresh and restart their brand.
This changed most of the characters in the company, including Morgan Edge. He was returned to his blatantly evil status quo that was more in-line with Jack Kirby’s original vision of the character. He knowingly worked with Intergang and Darkseid, killed a raccoon, and funded the Superman Revenge Squad.
While not appearing as often as he did pre-Crisis, Edge was involved in one of the final Superman events prior to the New 52. In the New Krypton arc, Edge was a famous political pundit who worked with General Lane to create anti-Kryptonian propaganda. Considering the events of season 2 of Supergirl, we wouldn’t be surprised if their version of Morgan Edge did the same.
4. Morgan Edge doesn’t care for Don Rickles
Morgan Edge’s clone ran his company and badly wanted legendary comedian Don Rickles to sign with him. Clearly, this called for an evil plan. It also just so happens that Edge employs a man named Goody Rickels (sic) who is Don’s exact lookalike. Unfortunately, Goody Rickels is a real pain, so Edge sends him on an errand that’s actually a trap to have aliens kill him.
Through slapstick and accidents, Goody manages to defeat the aliens. Then the real Don Rickles arrives and the two team up. Superman and Jimmy Olsen even cameo in their own title, strangely enough.
Why did any of this fever dream need to happen? Why was it a two-part story? Because Jack Kirby was a fan of Don Rickles. That’s a good enough explanation for us. Oh, and because editorial wanted a two-parter focused almost entirely on Rickles to sell more comics.
3. New 52 Morgan Edge
The New 52 Morgan Edge is an odd character. He was turned into an African American, but has more Lex Luthor traits than he did before (bald, industrious). Rather than having a media conglomerate, he’s an all-around businessman. The two villains were already similar enough, but this only confused the matter further.
However, there was something incredibly cool about this version of Edge: he sponsored the Challengers of the Unknown – a rarely utilized group of sci-fi superheroes. Their adventures were often absolutely insane (as per Jack Kirby). Essentially, they’re the Fantastic Four who spend less time on Earth.
Morgan Edge’s role as benefactor served to make him look good by association, but also created the possibility that he was manipulating them to some secret end. The group eventually kicked him to the curb because he was so ruthless, and the story was never followed up on because the New 52 was a mess.
2. Jack Kirby used him to troll DC’s owners
Jack Kirby often used comics to explore the real world and apply social commentary to the problems he saw within it. He also had no problem rankling his bosses. He created Morgan Edge and Intergang to explore organized crime’s connection to corporate America. Kirby was particularly interested in the deeply corrupted Kinney National Company, an entertainment conglomerate which broke anti-trust laws and engaged in price-fixing. They also owned DC Comics at the time Kirby was satirizing them. You could imagine how uncomfortable some of those meetings became.
Either because Kinney was unaware or otherwise uncaring, Jack Kirby never received any blowback for his constant jabs. Considering that Kirby was constantly undermined by editorial, the fact that one of his largest and most obvious transgressions against authority went unnoticed is a delightful irony.
1. His role in Supergirl
Not much is known yet about how great of an impact Morgan Edge will have on Supergirl. So far, it looks like the beginning of the season will focus on Edge and fellow billionaire Lena Luthor’s feud, which will see the two tossing bundles of money at each other.
Lena’s actress Katie McGrath claims that Edge’s sexism fuels his hatred for Lena and Supergirl. Supergirl Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg calls their version of Edge “maniacal.”
We’re hoping Adrian Pasdar will make the character more three-dimensional, even if he’s just meant to be the villain. The character’s basis in media manipulation and punditry could mean a great shift in the series. Edge can’t fight Supergirl, so perhaps he attacks her credibility and character in the media. Likewise, Kara can’t win a fight by punching public opinion.
In this way, Edge could be her biggest villain yet— one that she defeats with her brain rather than her fists.
Did we miss any Morgan Edge facts? What do you think of the new season of Supergirl so far? Let us know in the comments!
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