Kalibak is the son of Darkseid, the ruler of the planet Apokolips, and the sorceress Suli, whom Darkseid secretly married against the wishes of his mother, Queen Heggra. After the birth of Kalibak, Heggra had the torturer Desaad poison Suli, and forced Darkseid to marry Tigra, who bore him a son, Orion. Kalibak was trained in Apokolip’s special powers force, while Orion was raised on the peaceful world of New Genesis. Orion and Kalibak fought each other since childhood, under circumstances yet to be revealed. Kalibak has always resented Orion feeling his half-brother was always the favoured son. As an adult, Kalibak became known as “Kalibak the Cruel” and the “Scourge of Apokolips” for his savagery in battle and the horrors of his “Torment Chambers”.
In Death of the New Gods, Kalibak is killed, but briefly comes back as a human in Final Crisis. His soul is later transferred into the body of a half-human half-tiger creature. He engages Captain Marvel's butler Tawny in battle and is mortally wounded.