Maximillian "Maxie" Zeus is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe. He is a criminal mastermind who believes that he is the god Zeus from Greek mythology. He is an occasional enemy of Batman. He first appeared in Detective Comics #483 (April-May 1979).
Fictional character biography
Maxie, originally a slightly built, almost mild man, is originally a history teacher and a married man. Through unrevealed circumstances he loses his wife and his sanity. He becomes a crimelord, and uses his cunning and intelligence to rise to power amidst the chaos in Gotham City's underworld caused by the city's numerous insane criminals. He fights Batman on several occasions before being committed to Arkham Asylum, where he remains until escaping to form a team of superhuman agents, the New Olympians. He attempts to kidnap Olympic athlete Lacinia Nitocris and force her to marry him and become a mother figure for his daughter Medea. This plot is foiled by Batman and the Outsiders, who beat the Olympians in a series of Olympic-style games.
An electrified, emaciated version of Maxie Zeus appears in the graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean. Batman finds him connected to the electroshock therapy room of Arkham Asylum, perpetually receiving electrical currents. Here, Maxie's insanity more resembles a messianic complex and apparently exhibits coprophilia.
Maxie is one of the villains that escape Arkham when Bane brings down the walls of Arkham Asylum in the Knightfall storyline. Maxie's escape attempt is disrupted when he collides with a tree.
Some time later, however, he is drawn into a plot engineered by the children of Ares — Deimos, Phobos, and Eris to merge Gotham City with Ares' throne capital, the Aeropagus. The intent is re-establish Ares' rule on earth. Maxie is killed as a result of that plot and his sacrifice brought about Ares' return. However, their scheme is foiled by Wonder Woman and her allies, and Ares himself banished his children back to Tartarus.
In current issues of Robin, the vigilante Violet is trying to track down an illegal casino named "Maxie's", with chips bearing a Zeus-like profile. Presumably, Maxie somehow survived his encounter with the Children of Ares. After Violet is discovered by Zeus's guards, both Robin and Violet manage to escape unharmed, as detectives that Robin was working with on the case raid the casino and arrest Zeus, who surrenders without a fight after an officer physically threatens him.
Because of his generally ordinary appearance and (at least in comparison to other inmates) comparatively quiet form of insanity, Maxie Zeus is frequently underestimated by Arkham staff members. Since he believed himself to be a god, Maxie seemed to regard "mortal affairs" as irrelevant and rarely provided discipline problems. Thus he was initially kept in the asylum's minimal security wing, which contributed to his ability to escape during the Batman and the Outsiders
storyline. Prior to said escape, Batman, who had no such illusions about his enemy, advises Arkham authorities over a dozen times to move Maxie to the maximum security wing but was disregarded.
In other media
Maxie Zeus appears as an enemy in the NES Batman videogame
. He rushes at Batman. He looks nothing like his other appearances.
Batman: The Animated Series
In Batman: The Animated Series,
Maximillian Zeus (voiced by Steve Susskind
) is a shipping tycoon with underworld connections. In his debut episode, "Fire From Olympus
", after recovering from a serious financial crisis after turning to smuggling following a run of bad business, Maxie went insane, developed a god complex
, and started to believe that he was the Greek god Zeus
and his lawyer-girlfriend was the muse Clio
. When Batman arrived at the top of his building, Maxie believed he was Hades
, as no 'mortal' could reach 'Mount Olympus
' without his permission. Maxie stole a giant lightning gun which he used on "pitiful mortals" who dared to oppose him, although on a couple of occasions he seemed to revert to normal. When his girlfriend tried to stop him, he had her bound and gagged to the barrel of the lightning gun by his henchmen, though she was saved by Batman before she could be killed. Maxie was eventually taken down by Batman with help from Mrs. Zeus. While being dragged through Arkham Asylum
, he looked at the prisoners watching him and believed that he saw a Greek deity
in their place: the Joker
the trickster god, Two-Face
was the "double-faced" Janus
(actually a Roman god
), and Poison Ivy
was the goddess Demeter
Maxie Zeus appeared in The Batman
episode "Thunder" voiced by Phil LaMarr
. Maxie here is an eccentric/deluded multimillionare and owner of Zeus Industries, who is obsessed with Greek mythology, and runs for mayor against Marion Grange. In that episode, Maxie Zeus rode in his airship New Olympus in order to make Gotham City his kingdom
after losing his election against Grange. Batman and Batgirl
defeated him. In "Rumors," Zeus later reappeared in a cameo as one of the many villains captured by Rumor.
In this interpretation, he wears high-tech armor with gloves that generate electricity and is, for the most part, sane. The gladiator armor suit he wears is more similar to Roman mythology than Greek.
In the above graphic novel, Maxie appears as an emaciated ECT patient who has become addicted to the electrical current being fed into his body, believing it to be "Fire from Heaven." This is fitting as the god Zeus was often associated with lightning. Maxie is even more insane than before, having developed messianic delusions
in addition to his god complex
. On the one occasion in the story in which he and Batman cross paths, he compares himself to the supreme gods in many mythologies, and Jesus Christ
of Christianity. He also doesn't recognise Batman, warmly addressing him as "a pilgrim."