Created by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Adventure Comics #361 (Oct. 1967)

Text from the Legion Help File

Dominators portrait from Who's Who #1 (1990); art by Chris Sprouse and Al Gordon.

The Dominators are one of the oldest races in the galaxy. Little is known about their earliest history, but they are believed to have once adhered to the religious doctrines of the Dark Circle until they happened to discover science. They developed a caste system by which they lived very strictly, at first assigning rank by a disk on one's clothing, later, the disk was tattooed onto a Dominator's head at birth (the bigger the disk, the higher the rank). A Dominator is referred to only by his rank; only the highest Dominators in the hierarchy have names, as well as certain Dominators whose positions require them to operate in named societies (such as ambassadors). The Dominators have always been a warlike race, and in the Earth year 2000 BCE, they had conquered one of the largest galactic empires ever, stretching all the way to Khundia. The expansion of the Dominion was not halted until the late twentieth century, after the invasion of Earth (see below), by Vril Dox of the L.E.G.I.O.N. The home planet of the spindly yellow-skinned race is Elia. Elia once had a sister planet, but at some point before the twentieth century, the rulers of Elia had a difference of opinion with the rulers of the sister planet and destroyed it. Fragments of that planet still rain down on Elia even in the thirtieth century. Elia is probably the most advanced planet in the galaxy for biotechnology and genetic engineering; many of the Dominators' buildings, vehicles and machines have actually been grown or bred rather than constructed.

Earth first encountered the Dominators in the late twentieth century, when the Dominators discovered the huge amount of variance in human genetic structure, expressed mainly in super-heroes. The Dominators isolated the genetic factor which, in some humans, caused the development of superhuman powers at times of great physical stress, and dubbed it the "metagene," a name that has caught on on Earth. The Dominators organized an alliance of planetary armies and governments to attack Earth with a twofold agenda: to prevent Earth from potentially developing an army of super-powered beings capable of attacking them, and research into the human metagene for the sake of developing a Dominion army of that sort. The alliance took Australia hostage and demanded that Earth surrender its super-heroes to the Dominion, but Earth managed to drive the alliance off, and then split it apart by tricking a Dominator into revealing the latter part of the agenda in full hearing of the other races' representatives. A minor castling, against the will of his superiors, created and detonated a bomb that would kill all humans who possessed the metagene, but a group of heroes whose powers were not based on the metagene led a mission to Elia and put together an antidote. The Dominator threat was, the Earthlings thought, over (Invasion! #1-3)

They were wrong. the Dominators were now obsessed with Earth, and had left a few agents on Earth to gather metagene-possessing humans for experimentation. The Dominators placed these humans in "mutation camps" and managed some awesome feats of controlled mutation, such as the creation of large groups of people with similar metahuman powers. The Dominators intended to invade Earth a second time, but the plan was discovered by Valor, who teamed up with the underground movement on Elia called the Sub-Domina that was run by a female named 362 and included a youngster called Mac, and leading Dominion scientists 556 and 097, who were members of the Diamond Caste, which rejected the whole caste system. Tapping into a vein of widespread resentment among the common Dominator, Valor helped overthrow the ruling caste and free the Earthling prisoners. The higher castemen were stripped of their disks and exiled to the Aral region, where their planet became known as Dolminus, and they became instrumental in the revival of the Dark Circle. The Dominion abolished the caste system (although many clung to it out of religious conviction and kept its trappings active) and became democratically run, and many worlds between Elia and Earth were populated with the freed mutation-camp prisoners to ensure that Earth would have warning of any future impending Dominion invasion, should the peace ever falter. (Legion v.4 Annual #2)

During galaxy-wide upheavals in the twenty-eighth century, the religious zealots managed to gain control of the planet and re-institute the caste system. The Dominion once again returned to violence and conquest.

In the middle of the thirtieth century, the Dominators tried to invade the United Planets, but were not strong enough to beat the U. P. army. Due to mounting losses, a faction in favor of peace came into power on Elia and began negotiations with the United Planets, under the ambassador Goltann in 2978. There were many who were opposed to such negotiations, and so the Legion was asked to escort the Dominion negotiating team to Weber's World through a different dimension. In that dimension they were attacked by a group calling themselves the Unkillables, products of Dominion genetic engineering on human subjects who were descended from human history's greatest assassins, such as Brutus, John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald. The attack had been orchestrated by the ruling caste which had been displaced from power. Thanks to the Legion, the ambassadors (who were actually traveling through real space, and an illusion was guarded by the Legion to create a diversion) got to Weber's World safely. (Adventure Comics #361) Negotiations lasted for several years, culminating in a peace treaty signed right after the Earthwar in 2982. (Superboy and the Legion #243-245)

This peace treaty was adhered to even when the militant party came back into power, at least overtly. In fact, though, relations became steadily worse, almost leading to war when Universo had Ambassador Relnic lead some Legionnaires there in 2987 (Legion v.3 #29-34) Later that year, a Dominion base on Kathoon was discovered and its plot to destroy Weber's World foiled by the second Legion of Substitute Heroes. (Legion v.3 Annual #3) Renewed negotiations with the Dominators, this time with a less cooperative ambassador named Wuuthlan, went nowhere. (Legion v.3 #29, 40) In addition, the Dominion leaders on Elia began a new tactic of covertly obtaining control of a world's government...a trick that almost worked on Daxam before its destruction by Glorith in early 2988 (Legion v.4 Annual #1), and which was later used on Earth.

The Dominion managed to secretly tamper with the election computers, assuring that their candidate for president, Tayla Wellington, would be elected. They then proceeded to have Earth secede from the United Planets and its division of the Science Police separated as well. They had the Legion harassed and eventually disbanded, and managed to put Dominion sympathizers or employees in all important government positions. Several underground movements were started to end the Dominion manipulation of Earthgov, and the rest of the galaxy condemned many Earthgov actions, but there was never any concrete proof of external manipulation, rather, the Dominion was claimed by Wellington to be a sovereign Earth's allies.

This changed in late 2994, when they foresaw the potential re-formation of the Legion and tried to prevent it by hiring Roxxas the Butcher to quietly kill ex-Legionnaires. Instead, the insane Roxxas did the job ostentatiously, forcing Earthgov to cover its tracks by hiring private detectives to hunt him down. When Roxxas got wind of his pursuit, he decided that the Dominion had abandoned him, and told all about its control over Earth's government. (Legion v.4 #1-12) These revelations forced the Dominion to use more repressive tactics, including the summary executions of the "Tornado Twins" (#17), the destruction of Earth's moon, the shutdown of its defenses and the detonation of its Fusion Powerspheres, in a program called "Triple Strike," (although the Dominators did not actually set it off, they would have soon if they had not been beaten to it). (#19) They brought in their most experienced military commander, called Pinnacle Command, to handle the now-open war, but despite the use of the genetically-engineered BION (#26-27) and human genetic experimental subjects (#29-30), their hold on Earth faltered. The assassination of Wellington, who appealed for the United Planets' help over galaxy-wide holovision (#29) brought in the United Planets fleet, and with the help of the Legionnaires discovered in Batch SW6, the underground won several important engagements. While Pinnacle Command was struggling to maintain his hold on Earth, unknown forces laid siege to Elia, depriving him of critical support. Pinnacle Command was captured for the U. P. by the young Laurel Gand (#34), and, after being shown the situation on Elia, agreed to order his armies to surrender Earth in exchange for the U. P.'s allowing them to fight for Elia. (#35)

In May, 2995, Earth was freed and Pinnacle Command was made to stand trial for his war crimes. It was later discovered that the forces that conquered Elia were Khundish, and appeared to have been assisted by members of the Legion of Super-Heroes...actually Chameleon Chief imitating them in order to frame them for treason against the United Planets. (#54)

Other 30th-century Dominators of note are an unnamed male Dominator whose disk has been scraped and who served as an aide to the crime boss Starfinger until his assassination (Legion v.4 #13, 37, 57), Sentry Alba, who was the first one to spot Batch SW6 after their escape from their pods (Legion v.4 #25) and a young unnamed female Dominator, who was experimented on and given teleportational powers. She had been attacked by a xenophobic lynch mob in Paris and originally thought the Legionnaires who came to rescue her were among her tormentors, but they were able to convince her of their benevolence and she helped them defeat Grimbor and the Archduke of Paris, who were inciting the mobs. (Legionnaires #12-14)

Appearances + References