Created by New Genesian scientist Himon using the mysterious Element X, they are generally thought to be sentient, miniaturized, portable supercomputers, although their true nature and origins are unknown. They possess wondrous powers and abilities not understood even by their users, the God
Mother Boxes are sentient, autonomous computers typically found on New Genesis. The term 'living computer' should be understood as an approximation; they seem to be part living being, part highly developed machine. They look like small boxes, about the size of a Terran house brick at largest.
Created by New Genesian scientist Himon using the mysterious Element X, they are generally thought to be sentient, miniaturized, portable supercomputers, although their true nature and origins are unknown. They possess wondrous powers and abilities not understood even by their users, the Gods of New Genesis. These range from teleportation (they can summon Boom Tubes) to energy manipulation. Mother Boxes have been seen healing the injured, including Darkseid himself, after he was beaten by Doomsday. Metron stated that each Mother Box shares "a mystical rapport with nature." They provide their owner with unconditional love and self-destruct when their owner dies.
Mother Boxes have sacrificed themselves for causes they have believed in and are greatly respected by the people of New Genesis. In physical appearance they are most often in the shape of a small box worn much like a common day PDA on Earth. They can also be much larger (as is the one carried by the Forever People), and do not always need to be in the shape of a box. Mr. Miracle had the circuitry of a Mother Box woven into the hood of his costume. They usually communicate with a repetitive "ping!" which can be understood by their users.
Mother Boxes can access the energy of the Source for various effects. They can (among other things):
- Change the gravitational constant of an area
- Transfer energy from one place to another
- Control the mental state of a host
- Communicate telepathically with a host or other life form
- Manipulate the life-force of a host to sustain it past fatal injuries
- Open or close Boom-tubes
- Take over and control non-sentient machines
- Evolve non-sentient machines
- Merge sentient beings into a single more powerful being
- Sustain a life form in a hostile environment such as space
- Return its host to life and heal extensively fatal injuries
- Grant its host different, special abilities each with their own effects and skills
Mother Boxes have an affinity for the Source and are believed to draw their power from it. Viewed from that perspective, they can be seen as a computer that links Man to God.
The New Gods view Mother Boxes as common appliances, inasmuch as a sentient device can be called an "appliance."
Other individuals have been given access to them at specific times, when they are in need of aid. Most notably, Superman was given one when he went in pursuit of Doomsday.
It should be noted that Mother Boxes could only be manufactured by a being born either on New Genesis or Apokolips, and not even all could do it (at least one attempt in Apokolips failed). Construction of a Mother Box requires a great deal of training.
Noted Mother Boxes include:
- That of Mister Miracle and Shilo Norman.
- The Mother Box of the Forever People, which can summon the Infinity-Man.
- The Mother Box used by the Marvel Family to access the magic lightning when the wizard Shazam was on New Genesis.
- The Mother Box of Orion, which controls his rage (and bestial appearance).
- Danger Sense
- Life Sense
- Omniscience: a Mother Box can sense everything that's going on around it.
- Omni-knowledge: a Mother Box has access to all the knowledge of the New Gods.
- Knowledge Projection: A Mother Box is capable of sharing and projecting its understanding of past, present and alternating future events for all to see.
- Energy Transference: A Mother Box can transfer its energy to its user. In addition, through his or her affection for Mother Box, the user can transfer energy back to it. Only one such attempt is allowed per day.
- Source Conduit: Mother Boxes have been seen to access the energy of the Source for various effects such as:
- Gravity Manipulation: Change the gravitational constant of an area,
- Emotion Control: Control the mental state of a host
- Telepathy: Communicate telepathically with a host or other life form,
- Health Manipulation: Manipulate the life-force of a host to sustain it past fatal injuries,
- Boom-Tubes: ability to open or close boom-tubes. Any character that possesses both a Mother Box and a sample of X-Element can automatically create a Boom Tube capable of transporting individuals or group between intra-/inter-galactically, or inter-dimensionally.
- Machine Animation/Control: Take over and control non-sentient machines, including the ability to evolve non-sentient machines.
- Gestalt: Merge sentient beings into a single more powerful being,
- Life Support: Sustain a life form in a hostile environment such as space, and many others.
- Matter/Energy Manipulation: Through its connection to The Source of all things, a Mother Box has limitless capacity to alternate and rearrange all manner of material across existence for any desired purpose.
An Apokoliptian variation of a mother box, a creation and a much coveted tool among Darkseid's Elite. As its counterpart feeds from the life giving Source these derive power from its dark half; the power of Anti-life.
- In Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle storyline, only one Mother Box has survived the destruction of New Genesis. It is owned by Shilo Norman (the third Mister Miracle), who sometimes calls it "Motherboxxx".
- In the possible future seen in the JLA: Rock of Ages storyline (also by Morrison), Granny Goodness has been transformed into an insane computer called the "Grandmother Box" or, more commonly, "Granny Box".
- In the DC Extended Universe, a Mother Box which had been under the possession of S.T.A.R. Labs rebuilds the body of Victor Stone, turning him into Cyborg.
- Additionally in the DC Extended Universe, the mother boxes combine together to form The Unity and terraform planets into Apokolips.