Destiny (DC Comics)
|First appearance||Weird Mystery Tales #1 (July–August 1972)|
|Created by||Marv Wolfman
|Team affiliations||The Endless|
|Notable aliases||Potmos (Ancient Greek)|
|Abilities||nigh-omnipotent/omniscient aspect of destiny and freedom|
Destiny is a DC Comics character created by Marv Wolfman and Bernie Wrightson, first appearing in Weird Mystery Tales #1 (1972), and was regular host of that series for the first fourteen issues, after which he hosted Secrets of Haunted House. He is one of the Endless in Neil Gaiman's comic book series, The Sandman. In The Sandman Special #1, he was also referred to by his Greek name, Potmos. In 1997, he starred in an eponymous three-issue limited series written by Alisa Kwitney.
Destiny is portrayed as a tall figure, obscured within a purple or brown robe and cowl. He reads from a large book, originally known as the Cosmic Log, chained to his right wrist, which contains all past, present, and future events. He does not leave footprints, nor does he cast a shadow. Destiny is blind, although this doesn't appear to hinder him and it has been stated that, opposed to simply being blind, Destiny '...sees everything.' He is always calm, detached, and somber even in extreme situations.
Like Lucien, Cain and Abel and some other Sandman characters, Destiny first appeared as host of a 1970s DC horror comic, Weird Mystery Tales. There was, of course, no mention of his family, though a more traditional version of Death did appear in it. In his earliest appearances, he was less of a storyteller than an introducer, as most of his stories were actually told by Jack Kirby's Dr. E. Leopold Maas, an investigator of paranormal phenomena.
Destiny began appearing in some of the stories beginning in issue #10 (though he said that as all the stories he tells deal with destiny, he is in all of them, as well). By issue #15, Eve had taken over the series, and had been wheedling in since early in the run. Destiny now hosted a new title, Secrets of Haunted House, which was initially hosted by all four characters. The other hosts regarded him as the dullest storyteller, and as the hosts supposedly controlled the letters pages (responses were written in-character), that attitude was generally reflected there as well. For his birthday, Cain, Abel, and Eve gave him a sampler that said "If you're so smart, why don't you have your own book?" although, being blind, he would be unable to read it. Later, he was said to be the son of a "Mrs. Emma Destiny," but as this was in a letters column, it may have been intended as a spoof. Destiny left the series after issue #39, after which it was hosted by Abel. (House of Secrets had been canceled, and the House was said to have been torn down.)
Destiny met Superman in Superman #352, preventing Superman from helping people in order to break a forming destiny of Metropolis becoming dependent upon him, and met the New Teen Titans on several occasions, all of these written by Wolfman.
According to Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #6 (1985), Destiny is "the one being who has been able to resist Zeus' unlimited powers." It refers to the Cosmic Log as Book of Souls. It reports "Cosmic Observer" as his occupation and "inapplicable" for the field, "Known Relatives."
In The Sandman, Destiny is revealed in issue #7 as the eldest of the Endless. Destiny's realm is The Garden of Forking Ways, where he continually walks its maze-like paths. His book, referred to as the Book of Destiny rather than the Cosmic Log, is his sigil in the galleries of the other Endless.
He is the least characterized and least used of the Endless in the series. Though he was first depicted in the series in a picture at the end of the first collection, his first actual appearance is in the fourth collection, Season of Mists. In a quiet way, he seems to direct the family affairs of the Endless; it is he who calls the family meeting that begins Season of Mists.
The Books of Magic
Destiny makes a brief appearance in The Books of Magic's fourth issue "Book IV: The Road to Nowhere". In it, Mister E takes Timothy Hunter to the end of time intending to kill him. Destiny confronts them because they do not belong there. Death appears because it is time for him to die. In his final moments, Destiny remarks that he thought the end would never come and that he would never get to the last page of The Book of Destiny. He then vanishes. Before she finally ends the Universe Death sends Timothy Hunter back to his own time and forces Mr. E to find his own way back.
Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold
Destiny is also featured in the three-issue miniseries Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold, authored by Alisa Kwitney with art by Kent Williams, Michael Zulli, Scott Hampton, and Rebecca Guay. Destiny is there shown transforming the son of Byzantine Empress Theodora into a pestilence-bearing Horseman of the Apocalypse. The Horseman spreads bubonic plague throughout eras of human civilization while searching for a woman he can love and spare. The frame story focuses on the Horseman's appearance in the 21st century, where he offers a glimpse of Destiny's book to the frightened survivors of the latest plague.
Destiny met Chronos, Walker Gabriel in Chronos # 9, where it is revealed his book can be changed, and entire sections can be warped or erased, albeit at great personal cost; this applies with even more force when a time traveller such as Gabriel attempts to change the timestream to satisfy a personal wish. In Gabriel's case, he manages to save his mother from an early death, but in the process erased himself from history. Destiny also met Lobo and Supergirl in his labyrinth in The Brave and the Bold volume 2, #4. He is more nervous and absent-minded in his demeanor, as a result of having to give up his book.
Destiny lost the Book of Destiny in the opening storyline of the new Brave and the Bold series, and when Lobo and Supergirl arrive in his garden he speaks about how it was intended to reach the four men who existed outside its pages, in the process waylaid by the Luck Lords in a bid to reshape reality. As it turns out, the Challengers of the Unknown were these men, the recipients Destiny had sent it off to be procured by. After a struggle between all factions at the culmination of the arc, the Challengers arrive by Zeta Beam to Rann and acquire the book after defeating the opposition and defeating the Luck Lords. After, it was to be in their care.
After this arc, the book remained in the Challengers' hands; the Challs consulted it to follow the plan of an ancient alchemist, Megistus. Within the pages, they followed the stories of several relics Megistus sought for a master plan; amongst these were some of the most dangerous objects on the DCU. The Warlock of Ys, an old Antimatter Universe foe, even manifested on Challenger Mountain by constructing a shell for himself out of the pages of the book. Destiny himself appeared in the underground lair of the Challs, showing them his book for the final time as a reward for their sacrifice and service in defeating Megistus, in issue #12; the book revealed June Masters, an unofficial member of the Challengers, had cheated Death and managed to escape, blasting herself out of the book much like the Challengers.
The book contains everything that was, is, and will be. It is chained to Destiny's wrist. Destiny is blind, yet can somehow read from the book. The book is said to not have a separate existence from Destiny in the Lucifer series, so that Michael Demiurgos could not take it away and read from it. Destiny claims he cannot read aloud from the book because then the book becomes an element of the story it tells, which would cause disaster. However, the Challengers of the Unknown and others in new Brave and the Bold series possess the book without Destiny present and can read aloud information from the book. It may be concluded that Destiny was lying to Michael. Another possibility is that the Challengers of the Unknown's existence outside the book caused the normal rules governing the book to be altered or that simply rules have changed after Elaine replaced Yahweh. Once, Cain and Abel tried to steal Destiny's book from a pedestal, on the grounds that it would make him unable to tell stories. They had previously tried to hide it from him in a room full of duplicates.
The book represents a predestination philosophy. Everything that will happen was known must happen when the book was first written at the dawn of time. This is not always the case, because we have seen times in the new Brave and the Bold series where the book changes.
Yahweh is the author of the book. The script of the book changes after Yahweh abandons his creation, coming to a turning point of the original script (presumably what was written in The Books of Magic). Elaine Belloc, Yahweh's granddaughter has now taken over Yahweh's position, whether or not she will renew the original Script or not it is yet to be revealed.
- Weird Mystery Tales #4 letter column
- McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "The host that was first presented in a framing sequence by scribe Marv Wolfman and artist Bernie Wrightson would provide endless creative material for Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series decades later."
- Wallace, Dan (2008), "Destiny", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 100, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Jimenez, Phil (2008), "Endless, The", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 115, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Secrets of Haunted House #5
- Secrets of Sinister House #11
- Irvine, Alex (2008), "Destiny", in Dougall, Alastair, The Vertigo Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 57, ISBN 0-7566-4122-5, OCLC 213309015
- Secrets of Haunted House #18.