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"They're change machines. The Boxes don't think in terms of healing or killing, alive or dead. They rearrange matter at the will of their masters. Regenerate. Reinstate."
Cyborg[src]

A Mother Box, also called a Change Engine, is a perpetual energy matrix of Apokoliptian origin.[1] The three Mother Boxes present on Earth arrived alongside Darkseid during his attempted invasion thousands of years ago, but were subsequently left in the hands of the Amazons, Atlanteans and humans.

During Steppenwolf's attack on Earth, the Mother Boxes were used to revive Superman by the Justice League to fight off the Apokoliptian warlord and were successfully separated, preventing The Unity's energy from terraforming the Earth.

History

First Invasion of Earth

Thousands of years ago, Darkseid led an attack on Earth. Darkseid brought three Mother Boxes with him to use to terraform the Earth into a planet similar to Apokolips. However, Darkseid was defeated by the alliance of mankind, the Amazons, and the Atlanteans, with assistance from the Old Gods and the Green Lantern Yalan Gur. The Mother Boxes were successfully separated by Zeus, left for the forces of Earth to guard. While the Amazons and the Atlanteans kept theirs guarded in vaults, mankind buried their Mother Box so that nobody could ever find it again.[2]

Rediscovery

After the bombings in Liège along the western Belgian front during World War I, a powerful object believed to be the Mother Box was found by the Allied Powers. They sent the Wonder Men led by Etta Candy to investigate and retrieve the object, providing them with a picture of a Mother Box.[3]

Whether the mission succeeded or not, is unknown. At the end of World War II, the Nazis managed to find the Mother Box entrusted to mankind in an Italian monastery. The Nazis arranged to send it to Hitler, but the Box was intercepted by the Allies and reached the United States in 1944, safeguarded under the United States Department of Defense.[2]

They conducted numerous studies but were unable to date it due to its age. The Box was then shelved in an archive, up until when it was then sent to Doctor Silas Stone, who recognized it as a perpetual energy matrix. Silas' studies of the Box led him to theorize it as the key to unlimited energy, paving the way for advancements in scientific research such as cellular regeneration, but he ultimately concluded that it was too volatile a technology to use.[4]

Creation of Cyborg

Dr. Silas Stone activates a Mother Box to save his son

In 2015, 33 years later, Silas Stone attempted to help his critically injured son, Victor Stone. However, nothing Silas attempted worked to stabilize his son's condition. As he created a video log describing his failed attempts, including attempts to use the Mother Box in the government's possession, the Box activated suddenly, pulsating with energy as it began to move towards Victor as though it were alive.

Upon reaching Victor, the box began repairing his body, fusing him with nearby technology as Victor screamed in agony. The video log abruptly ended with Silas hastily shutting it off. Footage of his revival would later be obtained from S.T.A.R. Labs' database by Lex Luthor.[5]

The Death of Superman

Steppenwolf's hologram appears to Lex Luthor

Following the death of Superman, a projection of Steppenwolf was seen surrounded by three Mother Boxes, standing before Lex Luthor as he was about to be arrested. Around the same time, one Mother Box activated, described by Victor Stone as being 'lit up like Christmas'.[5]

Kryptonian Resurrection

"A Box has the power reinstate anterior particle relationships."
"So you mean in the way that particles of matter can't be created or destroyed, their relations just transform."
"Burn down a house, the particles still exist. Particles of house become particles of smoke."
"Anyone with a match can turn a house to smoke."
"But a Mother Box..."
"Turns smoke back into a house."
"I know we're all thinking the same thing right now. Who's gonna say it? I'm not gonna say it.
"
Justice League realizing they can bring back Superman

During Steppenwolf's attempt to conquer Earth, after being informed by Cyborg of the Mother Boxes' capabilities, the Justice League realized that the one they possessed could be used to resurrect Superman. While some weren't wholeheartedly on board with the idea, they concocted a plan and took the Mother Box to the Genesis Chamber in Scout Ship 0344, where they placed Clark's body in the Chamber's pool. Unfortunately, the Chamber's circuitry was fried by Lex Luthor during his creation of Doomsday. Cyborg explained that they'd need a massive surge of energy to activate the Box in order to revive Superman successfully, and Flash decided to utilize his speed to create an electric charge to jumpstart the Box to work in tandem with the Chamber's pool. Barry then ran to a separate area of the ship, and Cyborg started a countdown, telling Barry he'd need to time his shock at the exact moment the Box touched the water.

The process was successful and Clark was resurrected, although the revival left him disoriented and with temporary memory loss. Cyborg's auto-defence system perceived Superman to be a threat and was unable to stop himself from attacking the newly resurrected Kryptonian, which caused him to retaliate in kind. Ultimately, the fight ended when Lois Lane arrived on the scene, her appearance causing him stop fighting and causing the two of them to fly away to his home where he began to regain his memories and was later reunited with his mother. After Clark recovered, he helped the Justice League defeat Steppenwolf[4].

Unity

Superman and Cyborg break the Unity

After Superman had been resurrected, Silas Stone retrieved the Mother Box and took it to his lab. Steppenwolf caught up to Sials, at which point he sealed himself in a containment chamber with the Mother Box and shot it with extreme heat, killing himself in the process. Steppenwolf retrieved the third Mother Box, not noticing that the heat it had absorbed made it traceable via thermo-scanning satellites.

As Steppenwolf united the three Mother Boxes and waited for them to synchronise, the Justice League tracked him down and launched a full-scale assault on his base. The Flash build up enough electricity to charge Cyborg, who struggled to interface with the Unity. When a parademon shot the Flash, the Unity was able to resist Cyborg's infiltration and achieved synchronicity, causing an explosion that atomised the entire area, with only the Flash surviving via his ability to turn intangible.

The Flash then went beyond the speed of light and reversed time to seconds before the Unity could fully synchronise, directing his charge towards Cyborg and allowing him to interface with it. Cyborg found himself in a simulated environment where he was greeted by his parents and himself prior to the accident. They offered to give him back his old body and revive his parents if he cooperates, to which Cyborg shoots them down and forcibly separates the Mother Boxes, who then transform into spectral hags as they fight back. The act of prying them apart by Superman and Victor resulted in them being destroyed, as was noted by DeSaad.

"All hands on deck." ―Billy Batson, Shazam!
"All hands on deck." ―Billy Batson, Shazam!
This article section is incomplete and requires expansion.

Capabilities

The Mother Boxes show their true faces.

  • Self-Sentience: The Mother Boxes are sentient to a degree and capable of even "feeling" emotions, such as fear when they 'sensed' Superman. Upon the conclusion of their battle with Doomsday, the shockwave from Superman's death cries jolted two of the Mother Boxes into temporarily awakening and the other to remain awake and communicate this to Steppenwolf. When Cyborg fused with the Unity, the Mother Boxes realized his intent and took on a set of forms closest to him in order to dissuade the hero from stopping the Unity.
  • Biological manipulation: Mother Boxes are able to manipulate life on a cellular level, including augmentations of biological functions, by utilizing a unique energy field. One such Box was able to resurrect the deceased Superman when combined with a Kryptonian Genesis Chamber in Scout Ship 0344 and a massive electrical charge from the Flash. A Mother Box was also able to stabilize the critical condition of Victor Stone, reviving him from near-death.[4]
    • Biomechatronic enhancement: While reviving Victor Stone, a Mother Box was able to generate mechatronic body parts in place of the ones he had lost, as seen on the metahuman archive files collected by Lex Luthor. This process is seen to be extremely painful, as it grafts organic and inorganic parts together, effectively creating a cyborg.[5]
    • Cellular regeneration: The Box's energy can heal and restore lifeforms. After Superman's resurrection, the large hole in his chest caused by Doomsday had completely healed.[4]
  • Boom Tube generation: Mother Boxes are able to open extra-dimensional point-to-point cylindrical portals for transportation used by the New Gods of Apokolips. This was used by Steppenwolf to arrive on Themyscira.
  • Terraformation: The Mother Boxes' original purpose was to use their immense power to reshape a planet into another version of Apokolips. When three Mother Boxes are united, the combined energy would've terraformed Earth, had it not been for Zeus' intervention. The explosion of pure energy generated by the boxes successfully synchronizing is enough to destroy all in its path including super-powered beings, even the likes of Superman, due to its matter manipulating properties.
  • Radiation metabolization: According to Cyborg, the highly radioactive base of Steppenwolf was no longer radioactive because the Mother Boxes harvested all of the radiation to build his base and its fortifications.
  • Communication with Apokolips: The Mother Boxes also served as a means to establish a communication method for Steppenwolf to inform and receive information directly from Apokolips.

Gallery

Behind the scenes

"The Mother Boxes were created on Steppenwolf's home planet. They are instruments that can convert energy to create or reform matter. Then, if you put the three Mother Boxes together, they become an unstoppable force, the Unity, which Steppenwolf uses to conquer planets."
Justice League producer Charles Roven[src]
  • The U.S. government's Mother Box has a code name: "US GOV Object 6-19-82". The numbers can be interpreted as "June 1982", the month of publication of Cyborg's origin story in Tales of the New Teen Titans #1.
  • Director David Ayer revealed that the original script for Suicide Squad involved Enchantress under the control of a Mother Box with Steppenwolf prepping an invasion with a Boom Tube. [6]
  • According to the first main script of the Wonder Woman movie, the Mother Box on Themyscira was originally planned to be shown to activate in the post-credit scene.

References