Bronze Age (1972 – 1986)
Steppenwolf’s first appearance (in 1972’s NEW GODS #7) is actually a story told in flashback. Here it was revealed how Darkseid manipulated Apokolips into war by having his uncle Steppenwolf murder Avia, the wife of New Genesis’s ruler Izaya. A bloody conflict then arose between the worlds of New Genesis and Apokolips. In New Genesis’s retaliation, Darkseid’s world was devastated, and Steppenwolf was killed. Nevertheless, Darkseid would later resurrect Steppenwolf using his Omega Effect whenever he pleased, assuring that he would always be around to command his forces.
Post Crisis (1986 – 2010)
During the countdown to the cosmic event known as the Final Crisis, the New Gods of New Genesis and Apokolips were killed off in a long-foretold conflict. Not long after, all of them were reborn on Earth in new forms, as a gang of criminals operating from a place called “the Dark Side Club.”
Among the cruelties on display at the Dark Side Club were metahuman gladiatorial fights. Steppenwolf, a member of the club’s board, did not appreciate the way the criminal known as Clock King had been using unpredictable metahumans as fighters in his arena. But Clock King, weary of the once proud warrior, decapitated him. It was an ignoble end to such a planetary terror. But Steppenwolf would rise again in a new universe, more fearsome than before.
The New 52 (2012 – 2016)
In the wake of 2011’s Flashpoint event, the history of the New Gods was altered. In this new reality, Darkseid invaded the universe of Earth 2 before setting his sights on the Prime Earth, and it was his uncle Steppenwolf who led an armada to the parallel world in what would eventually be named the Apokolips War. Steppenwolf’s invasion of Earth was so thorough, that he killed Earth 2's Wonder Woman and Superman during their final attack against him.
Steppenwolf retreated after Batman sacrificed his life to send all of Steppenwolf's legion of Parademons back to Apokolips through the Boom Tubes. Stranded on Earth 2 and unable to return home, Steppenwolf spent the next five years in hiding.
With the help of his half-Amazon daughter Fury, Steppenwolf conquered and declared himself absolute ruler of Earth 2. But, moments after doing so, he was killed by Brutaal, a twisted clone of Superman. Darkseid would later find a way to resurrect his evil uncle during the Darkseid War.
Following the continuity-changing events of 2016’s DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1, Steppenwolf has not yet been seen in the DC universe. Though it’s only a matter of time before Darkseid resurrects his favorite uncle to lead his forces once more against the heroes of Earth.