Multiverse (DC Comics)

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A depiction of several alternate Earths within the Multiverse and the variations of the Flash inhabiting each Earth. Art by Dan Jurgens and Art Thibert

The DC Multiverse is a fictional continuity construct that exists in stories published by comic book company DC Comics. The DC Multiverse contains alternate versions of the DC Comics Earth, allowing writers the creative freedom to explore alternative versions of characters and their histories without contradicting the continuity of the main universe. The number of alternate universes used by the Multiverse construct has varied over the years due to DC Comics' policy of using or abandoning the concept at various points in its publishing history.[1]

Originally, there was no consistency in spelling regarding "numbered" Earths — they would be either spelled out as words or use numbers even within the same story (such as was the case with Earth-Three in 1964) but a tradition of spelling them out developed. Because the current Multiverse (brought back via Infinite Crisis and 52) uses numbers some people mistakenly believe that this was a way DC separates the current multiverse from the "original" one.

History[edit]

Pre-Crisis[edit]

Although DC Comics continued publishing from the 1930s through the 1950s, the Golden Age of Comic Books had come to a close in the late 1940s or early 1950s, and most superhero comic books had ceased publication. The only superhero features to survive without long interruptions from the Golden Age to the present were Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Green Arrow. In 1956, DC's Showcase anthology provided a starting point for the new Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen. It was firmly established in the Flash's first appearance that the Golden Age Flash was a comic book character within the DC Universe, whose fictional exploits inspired Barry Allen to take on the name. With the success of this character, more Golden Age characters' names were reused with new heroes, often having new costumes, identities or powers, such as Green Lantern, the Atom, and Hawkman. In order to facilitate crossovers between heroes from the main DC Universe and the Golden Age, an explanation was provided in one story that resonance from parallel worlds can be detected by some people who go on to write stories based upon the information they are receiving.

The first parallel universe was introduced in 1953 in Wonder Woman #59, in which Wonder Woman fell through a space-time warp and encountered her double, whose name, Tara Terruna, translated as Wonder Woman. After battling the villain Duke Dazam, Wonder Woman returned home.

The parallel universe concept was not used again until Wonder Woman #89 (April 1957), which featured an alternate Earth where crime predominated. The second was "Magic-Land", an alternate Earth where magic, instead of science, was the dominant force in the world. However, its existence has been ignored in current DC Multiverse continuity. It appeared in Gardner Fox's "Secret of the Sinister Sorcerers" in Justice League of America #2.

The story "Flash of Two Worlds" appeared in The Flash #123 and established the Multiverse concept. In the story, the Barry Allen version of the Flash uses his powers of super-speed vibration to climb a rope suspended in mid-air and accidentally vibrates from Earth-One to Earth-Two where he meets Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash. He surmises that events on Earth-2 must have found their way into the dreams of Gardner Fox who wrote the comics featuring Jay Garrick's Flash. At the end of JLA #22 the Fiddler, to stop the JLA and JSA capturing him, says that as there is an Earth-1 and an Earth-2 there must be an Earth-Three. Although he was unable to transport himself away in time, the Multiverse concept was touched upon here.

Subsequently, in Justice League of America 29 (August 1964), an Earth-Three was introduced, albeit with reversal of the attributes of the initial two DC alternate earths. Its Crime Syndicate of America consisted of an evil Ultraman (alternate Superman), Superwoman (alternate Wonder Woman), Owlman (alternate Batman), Johnny Quick (alternate Flash) and Power Ring (alternate Green Lantern). Initially imprisoned in the void between alternate universes, the Crime Syndicate later escaped, although did not reappear in main DC continuity for another fifteen years.

Four years later, in Flash 179 (May 1968), the Earth-One Flash found himself on Earth-Prime, an alternate Earth in which DC superheroes were only comic book characters within the ambit of DC Comics. Although initially without metahuman beings of its own, Earth-Prime gradually became differentiated from our own world as it developed such heroic adventurers. However, its history and geography were initially otherwise almost identical to our own world. Again, however, Earth-Prime did not subsequently feature within the Justice League of America/Justice Society of America cross-universe 'crises' pairings for over another decade. That changed when the Justice League, Justice Society and Earth-Two's All Star Squadron confronted time traveler Per Degaton, who had changed the course of history on Earth-Prime through removal of Soviet and American nuclear missiles during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. As a result, it escalated into nuclear war as a result of Degaton's interference. The three superhero teams fought Per Degaton and his allies within the Crime Syndicate of America, released from their imposed interdimensional prison to restore the earlier path of history instead of the events of "Crisis on Earth Prime" (Justice League of America 207-209: September-November 1982)

In 1973, the fourth and fifth major alternate Earths were introduced, named Earth-X. In Justice League of America 107 (October 1973), members of the Justice League of America and Justice Society of America were thrown out of their usual dual universe settings, into an alternate Earth where an Axis victory in World War II had occurred. There, the displaced JLA and JSA members encountered the Freedom Fighters, a group of metahuman anti-Nazi resistance members, including Uncle Sam, The Ray, Black Condor, Dollman and Phantom Lady. It was subsequently disclosed that an artificial intelligence had helped to insure the ascendancy of its alternate Nazi Germany.

Earlier that year, DC had revived the earlier defunct Fawcett Comics superheroes of the forties and fifties in a revived Captain Marvel series (Shazam 1 (May 1973).) It would still be several more years before the superheroes of Earth-One and Earth-Two learnt about the existence of the domain of the Marvel Family and other Fawcett Comics figures, now known as Earth-S. However, that occurred during "Crisis on Earth-S" (Justice League of America 136 (November 1976)).

In February 1982, the final named pre-Crisis alternate Earth appeared- aimed at younger comics readers, Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew was set on Earth-C, where anthropomorphic funny animals were the dominant life forms. The series ran for about a year but from 1983, nothing further was heard about these characters until two decades later and the events of Final Crisis.

As can be noted from the accounts of Earths S and X above, each universe's Earth has its own set of superheroes (or supervillains, in the case of Earth-Three), with their own unique characteristics and life histories. In several cases, characters from other publishers acquired by DC, previously established within a fictional universe of their own, were, and have been incorporated into the Multiverse in various alternate universes.

Claw the Unconquered #7 (May/June 1976), by David Micheline and Ernie Chan, contained one of the first anecdotal mentions of the Multiverse in a DC Comics title, including the term "Multiverse". In Star Hunters #7 (October/November 1978), with co-plotter Bob Layton and penciler Rich Buckler, Micheline offered a description of multiple co-existing parallel Earths. It also described an ancient war between the forces of light and dark using agents scattered across multiple universes.

Crisis on Infinite Earths[edit]

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, in 1985 DC Comics published the 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths. The series featured appearances by nearly every DC Comics character published and told a story that allowed the company, at the end of the series, to 'reboot' its entire line of comics: a cosmic battle ending with the recreation of the comics universe from the dawn of time with a single universe. This allowed DC to launch a new era with a reinvention of its major character franchises, such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

One by one, a villain known as the Anti-Monitor destroyed several alternate universes. In Crisis on Infinite Earths 1 (April 1985), the aforementioned Earth-Three and its universe was obliterated by a transdimensional antimatter firestorm, killing the Crime Syndicate of America and its heroic Alexander Luthor and his wife Lois Lane Luthor. In Crisis on Infinite Earths 4 (July 1985), Earth-Six a new alternate Earth was introduced and then obliterated by the antimatter storm within several frames of the same comic- its sole survivor was its former global queen, Lady Quark, whose family was slain in the process. At the same time, the final significant pre-Crisis alternate Earth was introduced- Earth-Four, inhabited by Captain Atom and other superheroes from the defunct Charlton Comics company.

Heroes of the remaining last five universes (Earth-One, Earth-Two, Earth-Four, Earth-S, and Earth-X) along with a handful of survivors from other universes (Pariah, Lady Quark, Alexander Luthor, Jr.) held off the destruction of the last five universes long enough to defeat the Anti-Monitor.

After this, during a time travel incident, the Big Bang was altered, and only one, merged universe. consequently came into existence. In the modern day, this new DC Universe combined elements of the last five universes, along with completely new elements. For example, there was still a Flash named Jay Garrick who was a member of the Justice Society, which had existed during the 1940s, and another Flash named Barry Allen who became a member of the Justice League decades later, but there was only one Superman, who had a modified history, different in some subsequent respects from both the Earth-One and the Earth-Two versions.

Several pre-Crisis characters (most importantly the Kara Zor-El Supergirl and Barry Allen) were killed during Crisis on Infinite Earths, and as a result were either initially erased from history, as in Supergirl's case, or simply proclaimed dead, as in Barry Allen's case, in the new singular universe. Wonder Woman was thought to have been slain in the final issue, but was revealed to have been thrown backwards through time, reverting to the clay from which she was formed. This set the stage for her reintroduction into the reformed DC Universe and the relaunch of the Wonder Woman comic, helmed by George Pérez. Other characters and concepts, such as Streaky the Supercat, Comet the Super-Horse, and the Space Canine Patrol Agents vanished without explanation within the altered continuity and presumably never existed.

Initially, most of the superhero characters remembered the Multiverse, but after some time their memories acclimated to the new timeline, and the pre-Crisis Multiverse was forgotten, except for only one character who remembered it: Psycho-Pirate.

Post-Crisis[edit]

Although the Multiverse concept was discarded after the publication of Crisis, several comics published after it made references to it. A story in Animal Man by Grant Morrison referred to the Multiverse, with its effects coming undone as comic books, along with characters who no longer or never had existed emerging from the Psycho-Pirate’s mask inside Arkham Asylum. Keith Giffen's character Ambush Bug demonstrated an awareness of the events in Crisis in his various mini-series, in which it was referred to as "Crisis on the only Earth we're still allowed to use". The Books of Magic series, published under the Vertigo label but set in the DC Universe, had a storyline by Peter Gross (beginning in The Books of Magic #51) in which a Timothy Hunter from a parallel universe traveled from universe to universe, killing and absorbing the powers of his alternate selves.

Elseworlds[edit]

Although DC maintained that the other Earths no longer existed, during the 1990s they published occasional one-shots and mini-series labeled Elseworlds, featuring alternative versions of their characters — a practice that was consistent with the concept of a Multiverse. DC officially classified these as stories that perhaps "could have" happened but had not actually occurred.[citation needed] Some one-shots and limited series without the Elseworlds label, such as Frank Miller's re-imagining of DC heroes and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, also diverged from established continuity, or in the case of The Dark Knight Returns, have had continuity diverge from them. More recently, after the events of 52 re-established the Multiverse as part of DC continuity, many alternate worlds within the Multiverse and the characters that inhabit them are now based on stories that bore the Elseworlds label.

Hypertime[edit]

In 1999, DC introduced Hypertime, a concept which provided a framework of recognition for both canonical and apocryphal stories, stating that all stories outside mainstream continuity happened in alternate timelines that had "branched out" and, in some cases, re-merged. Hypertime was a superset of the Multiverse, including not only all pre-Crisis stories set on alternate Earths, but any story set in any continuity. This concept was first referenced in The Kingdom, in which an image of what appeared to be the original Earth-Two appears. However, the concept has been subsequently used only a few times, most notably in story-arcs in the pages of The Flash and Superboy. In Booster Gold vol. 2, #30 (March 2010) Hypertime is specifically mentioned. According to Dan DiDio, Executive Vice President of DC Comics, Hypertime will not be featured in any future stories.[citation needed]

Snowflake[edit]

In Warren Ellis' Planetary series (and subsequently other series from the WildStorm imprint), the structure of the Multiverse is described as a web of 196,833 universes arranged in a pattern resembling a snowflake, each universe separated from its neighbors by a medium called the Bleed.[volume & issue needed] In the Batman-Planetary crossover, it is said that a "partial multiversal collapse" occurred in 1985, an oblique reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths. The fact that it is only a "partial collapse" indicates that there were definitely still other realities, and that the Multiverse was not as "gone" as was originally believed. At about the time of Infinite Crisis, the Bleed was shown to lie between the 52 dimensions.[citation needed]

Infinite Crisis[edit]

In 2005, DC began Infinite Crisis, a DC Universe crossover and sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths. Stories leading up to the main limited series contained scattered references to the Multiverse, such as the Return of Donna Troy mini-series, in which the titular character Donna Troy returned from the dead and remembered the various origins of her alternate selves (such as her counterpart from Earth-Seven, who became her nemesis Dark Angel), and the Captain Atom: Armageddon mini-series, which sees the main character sent to the Wildstorm Universe and inadvertently causing its destruction and recreation.

In the Infinite Crisis series itself, the Superman and Lois Lane of Earth-Two, the Superboy of Earth-Prime, and Alexander Luthor, Jr., of Earth-Three, all survivors of the destruction of the original Multiverse, reappeared and the former existence of the Multiverse was acknowledged. Earth-Two was recreated in issue #4, and the surviving heroes who originated from Earth-Two were transported there.

In addition, worlds previously described only as "Imaginary Stories" or "Elseworlds" were revealed to be universes within the Multiverse, as shown by the presence of Superman Red and Superman Blue from the Silver Age imaginary story of the same name; Superman, Jr., and Batman, Jr., from the World's Finest stories of the 1970s; the Superman from the Elseworlds story Superman: Red Son; a world featuring Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman in Aztec garb; and a world featuring characters from the first Wonder Woman pilot, as well as from the Wonder Woman television series, alongside the original Teen Titans in a militaristic setting.[2]

Eventually, Alexander's plan to recreate Earth-Two was circumvented when his equipment was destroyed by Superboy, resulting in all Earths re-merging into "New Earth". The effects of this transformation were shown during the series 52 and in the "One Year Later" storyline.

52[edit]

Interior artwork to 52 Week 52.

In the "DC Nation" column printed in the back of Week 37, Dan DiDio revealed "the secret of 52" in a coded message. The message was spelled out using the first letter of every third word and said: "the secret of fifty-two is that the Multiverse still exists". In 52 Week 52, it was revealed that the Multiverse was recreated at the end of Infinite Crisis with the creation of fifty-two separate Earths, separated by different vibrational frequencies and each with their own histories. These Earths were initially identical to New Earth until they were altered by the intervention of Mister Mind "eating time" using his powers.

All-Star Superman[edit]

In the tenth issue of the out-of-continuity series All-Star Superman, Superman creates, by himself, a parallel universe called "Earth-Q", to see if a world without a Superman or any other superheroes could work. It is revealed at the end of the issue that Earth-Q is "our" Earth, as Friedrich Nietzsche is seen creating his famous Übermensch, or "Superman", concept, and Joe Shuster is shown drawing the first modern Superman on the cover of Action Comics #1.

Countdown and Final Crisis[edit]

The yearlong series Countdown to Final Crisis, as well as the various Countdown spinoffs and Final Crisis lead-ins, feature the Multiverse extensively, as several characters traverse the Multiverse in search of New Earth's Ray Palmer, while the events of Countdown: Arena involve the villain Monarch collecting various alternative versions of DC heroes and forcing them to fight in deathmatches to decide which ones to recruit into his army.

While Crisis on Infinite Earths depicted the Multiverse as overseen by a single being known as The Monitor, Countdown, 52, and other titles have established that each of the fifty-two Earths has its own individual monitor. The original Monitor from Crisis on Infinite Earths supposedly returns during Final Crisis, now a vampiric creature and one of the various villains in the story. This was never confirmed. However, the being does resemble the original Monitor seen during the first Crisis story, though with vampiric traits.

The events on Earth-51 tie directly in to the early issues of Final Crisis and involve the fate of one of the monitors, Nix Uotan. In Final Crisis, the Multiverse is shown to be made of a cone-shaped or an upside-down pyramid, where New Earth is at the top, holding all the other Earths together. If New Earth is destroyed all the other Earths fall in a domino effect and are also destroyed.

Flashpoint and The New 52[edit]

At Los Angeles 2011 Comic-Con in June 2011, Dan DiDio, Jim Lee, Bob Harras, Eddie Berganza and Grant Morrison stated after the events of Flashpoint, the DC Multiverse has been restructured yet again as part of The New 52. For example, the main DC Earth formerly known as Earth-0 aka New Earth, the Wildstorm Universe (Earth-50) and Vertigo (its parallel Earth-13) have all been merged into the new primary reality referred to as Prime-Earth.[3]

These three realities are specifically mentioned in 52 as "The spread" as these three formerly separate publications are "shown fairly clearly that the three "broken" timelines are Vertigo, Wildstorm and the DC Universe, all of which now live together".[4]

In May 2012, the series Earth 2 and Worlds' Finest premiered. The first will chronicle the events of a completely reimagined Earth-2 with the rise of young heroes commonly associated with Earth-2, such as the Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), and Atom (Al Pratt). The second title follows the adventures of the Earth-2 Robin and Supergirl, who are stuck on the primary Earth and have since taken up the new costume identities of Huntress and Power Girl, respectively. The same month, Action Comics #9 featured a story about the Superman of Earth-23. Other Earths in the DC Multiverse have yet to be revealed or explored.

In August 2013, it was revealed at the end of the "Trinity War" event, in Justice League #23, that there is or was an Earth-3, as the Crime Syndicate crossover to Prime Earth via a gateway opened by Pandora's Box.[5]

List of universes[edit]

Originally, there was no consistency regarding "numbered" Earths — they would be either spelled out as words or use numbers even within the same story. For example, "Crisis on Earth-Three!" from 1963 (JSA #29) uses "Earth-3" and "Earth-Three" interchangeably, though a tradition of spelling out the numbers seems to have emerged in "The Most Dangerous Earth" in 1964 (JSA #30). This convention was disregarded in Crisis on Infinite Earths, and it became common practice to refer to the various Earths with numerals instead a practice continued in 52 and Countdown.

After the first Crisis, several new universes appeared despite DC's intentions to the contrary. In addition, DC ran a number of crossovers with other companies that involved travel between different realities. Technically, none of these worlds were ever part of the Multiverse.

A new Multiverse was revealed at the end of the 52 weekly limited series.[6] Unlike the original Multiverse, which was composed of an infinite number of alternate universes, this Multiverse is composed of only fifty-two alternate universes, which are referred to as New Earth and Earths 1 through 51. The alternate universes were originally identical to New Earth and contained the same history and people until Mister Mind "devoured" portions of each Earth’s history, creating new, distinct Earths with their own histories and people, such as the Nazi-themed version of the Justice League that exists in Earth-10.[7] Each of the alternate universes have their own parallel dimensions, divergent timelines, microverses, etc., branching off them.[8]

Contact between universes[edit]

Characters of the Multiverse duel in an issue of Wizard. Art by Arthur Adams.

Originally in the pre-Crisis Multiverse, most inhabitants of these various Earths were completely unaware of the other universes, outside of the superpowered populace. The writers at DC Management changed this condition for the main post-Crisis Earth populace who are completely aware of the Multiverse, as shown in Final Crisis #7. It is unclear if the populace of most of the alternate Earths of the post-Crisis 52 Multiverse are also generally aware of other Earths, though many of the superpowered populace have been shown to be aware of, and interact with these other Earths and their inhabitants.

The first character recorded to cross the gap between these various Earths was in pre-Crisis reality (chronologically in continuity, not publishing order as this tale was revealed in the series All-Star Squadron in the 1980s) and done by Uncle Sam of Earth-Two, who accidentally crossed over into Earth-X. DC Comics' first published story involving travel between alternate universes was Wonder Woman's crossing into an unnamed parallel Earth, in Wonder Woman #59 (1953). Barry Allen, the Flash of Earth-One became the first recorded individual during the Silver Age to visit another Earth, accidentally vibrating at just the right speed to appear on Earth-Two, where he met Jay Garrick, his Earth-Two counterpart, in The Flash #123.

Other characters with super-speed powers have been able to duplicate the trick, but it has not been done routinely. Magic and technological devices have done the job as well. The Justice League of America's "transmatter" device (ordinarily used to transport the team between their satellite headquarters and the ground), was pressed into service for annual events in which the League and some of their counterparts on other Earths faced a universe-crossing "crisis" of one sort or another. Wonder Woman's invisible jet was also shown to be able to vibrate her across the multiversal barrier, in Wonder Woman #300, and she also crossed over when her magic lasso was struck by lightning, in Wonder Woman #59. Superman could travel to other Earths at will while Captain Marvel used the magical Rock of Eternity to gain access to all of the Earths.

Writers have occasionally put characters from different Earths together in the same story without explanation, a continuity error often cited as a reason for eliminating the Multiverse in Crisis on Infinite Earths[9] or as an extension of "Earth-B" (cited by DC staff as the setting for team-up stories told in The Brave and the Bold, or edited by Murray Boltinoff or written by Bob Haney, which did not always conform to established continuity for Earth-One, or any other established Earth). For instance, one such story featured Catwoman committing murder, which neither the Earth-One nor Earth-Two versions would ever do as it was strictly against each character's moral code.[10]

Earth-616, Marvel Comics' main universe, is typically acknowledged as being part of a different multiverse entirely; in the JLA/Avengers crossover, even after the barriers between Earth-616 and the post-Crisis DC Earth had been deliberately weakened, it was incredibly hard to make the voyage. Thor's hammer and the Flash's speed can allow travel between the Earths; however, as the Speed Force does not exist on Earth-616, Flash cannot travel back. It was also noted in JLA/Avengers that the Earth of DC Comics is slightly larger than Earth-616, explaining how there is space for DC's fictional cities (Metropolis, Gotham City, Central City, etc.) to exist without supplanting real-life locations.

Print collections[edit]

Contact between the universes (or stories set on the other Earths) have been reprinted in the following graphic novels.

Title Material collected
Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups
Volume 1 The Flash #123, 129, 137, 151
Showcase #55-56
Green Lantern vol. 2, #40
The Brave and the Bold #61
The Spectre #7
Volume 2 The Atom #29, 36
The Brave and the Bold #62
The Flash #170, 173
Green Lantern vol. 2, #45, 52
The Spectre #3[11]
Crisis on Multiple Earths
Volume 1 Justice League of America #21-22, 29-30, 37-38, 46-47
Volume 2 Justice League of America #55-56, 64-65, 73-74, 82-82
Volume 3 Justice League of America #91-92, 100-102, 107-108, 113
Volume 4 Justice League of America #123-124, 135-137, 147-148
Volume 5 Justice League of America #159-160, 171-172, 183-185
Volume 6 Justice League of America #195-197, 207-209
All-Star Squadron #14-15
Justice Society
Volume 1 All Star Comics #58-67
DC Special #29
Volume 2 All Star Comics #68-74
Adventure Comics #461-466
Miniseries
Crisis on Infinite Earths Issues #1-12
Infinite Crisis Issues #1-7
Lord Havok and the Extremists Issues #1-6
Countdown: Arena Issues #1-4
One-shots
Power Girl Showcase #97-99
Secret Origins #11
JSA Classified #1-4
(contains a few plot-related pages from JSA #32 and #39)
Showcase Presents: Shazam Shazam #1-20, 26-29, 33
(stories are set on Earth-S)
Huntress: Dark Knight Daughter DC Comics Super Stars #11
Batman Family #18-20
Wonder Woman #271-287, 289-290, 294-295
Weekly
52 Issues #1-52
Countdown to Final Crisis Issues #51-1

Other versions[edit]

Teen Titans Go! #48 introduces its own multiverse. Each world pays references to various incarnation of the Teen Titans. The worlds shown are:

  • The majority of the story is set on a world which is menaced by the Teen Tyrants (evil Teen Titans), and is defended by the Brotherhood of Justice (heroic versions of the Brotherhood of Evil). Similar to Earth-3.
  • Malchior's (from the Teen Titans episode "Spellbound") homeworld.
  • A world similar to the past from the Teen Titans episode "Cyborg the Barbarian".
  • A world containing the teen Lobo.
  • A world consisting of the animalistic Teen Titans (from the Teen Titans episode "Bunny Raven").
  • Another future timeline with Nightwing (from the Teen Titans episode "How Long Is Forever").
  • A world consisting of the Chibi Titans.
  • A world in which the Teen Titans (as depicted in the Silver Age comics) consist of Robin, Speedy, Wonder Girl, Aqualad, and Kid Flash.
  • The home of Larry the Titan.
  • A futuristic world where the Teen Titans consist of Nightwing (a vampirish version, based on Dagon of the Team Titans), Battalion (who resembles Cyborg), Mirage (who resembles Raven), and Killowat.

Parodies[edit]

  • Bongo Comics published a comic book series featuring characters from The Simpsons and Futurama titled Futurama/Simpsons Infinitely Secret Crossover Crisis. One of the conventions of DC's Multiverse that the series parodies is the existence of one universe's characters as fictional comic book characters in another.

Other media[edit]

In the animated television series Super Friends, the superhero teams encounter crossovers with other universes. In the episode "Universe of Evil", a freak accident causes Superman to switch places with his evil counterpart.

DC Animated Universe[edit]

The DC animated universe (DCAU) has depicted the Multiverse many times. Several characters from the main DCAU have visited parallel universes that were similar to the DCAU.

  • In the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Brave New Metropolis", Lois Lane fell into a parallel Earth where Superman and Lex Luthor had taken over Metropolis, turning it into a fascist police-state. The Lois Lane of this world was also murdered by Luthor, which Superman wasn't aware until he meets her parallel universe counterpart.
  • In the Justice League episode "Legends", several members of the League were accidentally sent to a parallel universe where John Stewart's comic book idols, a pastiche of the Justice Society of America named the Justice Guild of America, live. One member of the Justice Guild hypothesized that there are an infinite number of parallel dimensions.
  • In the Justice League episode "A Better World", the Justice League were held captive by their authoritarian counterparts from another universe, the "Justice Lords". In this universe, Lex Luthor had risen to the U.S. Presidency and had started a war which had killed the Flash, sparking the Lords' takeover of the world. Later in the series, the regular Lex Luthor ran for President solely to enrage Superman.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Question Authority", the Question is surfing through Cadmus's files on a computer. One of the files is titled "Multiverse" and another file shows footage from the episode "A Better World" where the alternate Superman murders Lex Luthor. Ironically, after viewing files on the Justice Lords, he initially believes that instead of looking at an alternate universe, he is looking at the future of the universe in which the League lives. The exact means by how Cadmus came into possession of footage from the death of President Luthor seen in "A Better World" remains unknown.

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman[edit]

In Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, the show's primary protagonists, Lois Lane and Clark Kent, encountered an alternative version Clark Kent from a parallel universe in the episodes "Tempus, Anyone?" and "Lois & Clarks". In the episode "Tempus, Anyone?", the dimension included these differences:

The primary version of Lois, who was abducted by the villain Tempus and taken to this dimension, helped the alternate Clark become Superman, only to have Tempus expose his secret identity to the world on television. Despite Clark's alien origin, the world embraces him as their champion.

Later, in the episode "Lois & Clarks", the alternate Clark visits the primary L&C dimension to aid Lois in stopping Tempus while the Clark Kent of her world is trapped in a time vortex. After Tempus's defeat, it is implied that the alternate Clark would travel to the past with H.G. Wells and take his world's Lois Lane to his own time thus, under a predestination paradox, explaining her disappearance.

Smallville[edit]

The live-action television series Smallville also featured the Multiverse concept. In the season 5 episode "Lexmas", Lex Luthor visits an alternate timeline where Lionel cuts Lex out of the family fortune while Lex is married to Lana and has a son named Alexander. Clark Kent is a reporter with the Daily Planet, Chloe is publishing a book exposing LuthorCorp with Lex's help, and Jonathan Kent is a state senator.

In the season 7 episode "Apocalypse," Clark is taken to an alternate timeline where his counterpart had not arrived in Smallville and is killed by Brainiac. In that dimension, Clark Kent encounters another version of himself who is a human biological son of Martha and Jonathan and never met Lana Lang (who is a cheerleader with a different group of friends). Also in this dimension, Chloe Sullivan is engaged, Lana Lang is a married woman living in Paris, Sheriff Nancy Adams left Smallville and works as a member of the government, and Lex Luthor became president of the United States. While this dimension's Earth is destroyed by President Luthor, Clark travels back in time and sends his infant self to Earth, thus restoring his timeline.

In the season 10 episode "Luthor", Clark Kent travels to an alternate universe dubbed Earth-2 with the help of a Kryptonian mirror box. There, Lionel Luthor is his adopted father instead of Jonathan Kent. Clark is a blood-thirsty tyrant whose persona is Ultraman. He has a relationship with his step-sister, Tess. Clark Luthor killed his brother Lex. When Clark Kent travels to the alternate earth, his counterpart, Clark Luthor, travels to his. Lois Lane is engaged to Oliver Queen, who bought land in Smallville for its kryptonite. Lionel lures Clark into Oliver's kryponite trap and beats him. With the help of Oliver (who closes the kryponite portal), Clark uses the mirror box and returns to his world. Unbeknownst to him, Lionel comes with him.

Earth-2 is featured again later in the season in the episode "Kent", as Clark Luthor returns to his counterpart's world once more, and Clark Kent meets Earth-2's Jonathan Kent. After Clark Kent interacts with his deceased adoptive father's counterpart, he returns to his own world and lures Clark Luthor to the Fortress of Solitude, where he sends his counterpart back to his world.

In the fourth issue of the television series' comic book continuation Smallville Season 11, an alternative version of Chloe Sullivan from Earth-2 arrives to Clark Kent's world and reveals that her universe is destroyed before her death.[12] In issue #11, it is reveals that the Anti-Monitor is responsible for Earth-2's destruction.[13]

Batman: The Brave and the Bold[edit]

In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, a kind of "multiverse" is referenced in the episodes "Deep Cover for Batman!" and "Game Over for Owlman!", which feature several references to alternate incarnations of DC Comics heroes and villains, including Batman and Owlman. The Multiverse is briefly revisited in "Night of the Batmen!", with a large group of Batman gathered from across various Earths coming together to help an injured Bruce Wayne protect Gotham. The army of Multiverse Batmen contained various iterations of Batman from different media adaptions, such as from The Batman, the DC Animated Universe, the 60's Batman TV series, and Batman Beyond.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths[edit]

The direct-to-video feature Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths deals with the Multiverse as part of its story. The main story deals with a good Lex Luthor from his Earth (based on the pre-Crisis Earth-Three) coming to the Earth where the Justice League are located to help fight their counterparts, the Crime Syndicate. While the two Earths inhabited by the Justice League and Crime Syndicate are not named, names of other Earths are mentioned. These names are not from the official pre-Crisis nor post-Infinite Crisis Multiverse, but are nods to a degree. Examples include: "Gamma F-1", "Theta-Alpha", "Zeta-Pi", which are all Greek numbers. Earth-Prime is featured in the film, but is not the same Earth-Prime from the comics where it was "our" Earth. In the film, Earth-Prime is shown to be the cornerstone of all reality, and that decisions made by humankind on this world caused alternate Earths where the opposite decision was made to come into being. This world is shown to be a desolate barren wasteland of a planet, with ruins as far as the eye can see. It is unknown what exactly caused its desolation, though Owlman reasons that it was mankind who destroyed itself.

DC Universe Online[edit]

In the video game DC Universe Online, Brainiac decides to conquer New Earth in order to know the secret of the multiverse. After he was defeated, the heroes have to face the Council of Luthors, who wants to take control of the Nexus of Reality and rule existence through the achievement of ultimate power. But the Council of Batmen wishes to stop the Luthors and undo the damage that has been done.

Injustice: Gods Among Us[edit]

The storyline of Injustice: Gods Among Us features an alternate reality where the Joker has tricked Superman into killing Lois Lane and their unborn son and destroying Metropolis with a nuclear explosion. This tragedy completely ruins Superman's moral compass to a point of no return and the Kryptonian murders the Joker in retaliation. As time passes, he establishes a new world order as the High Councilor. Soon enough, Superman's iron-fisted rule triggers a war to ensure between the forces the Regime and those allied with Batman's Insurgency. Five years into the war, the Insurgency discovers an alternate universe where the Joker's plan did not succeed and transports several of its super heroes (Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern) to their world in order to help them defeat the Regime. Also in this universe, Lex Luthor never becomes a criminal and instead he is a selfless business man, best friend of this world's Superman and cares for the people of Metropolis.

Infinite Crisis[edit]

The video game Infinite Crisis (which is unrelated to the comic book of the same name) features a multiverse with 52 different worlds. This multiverse is threatened by a sudden assault and all realities stand on the brink of annihilation. Now, the last hope for Earth lies in the powers of the DC legends.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wallace, Dan (2008). "Alternate Earths". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 20–21. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. 
  2. ^ Infinite Crisis #6 (May 2006)
  3. ^ http://ifanboy.com/articles/features/the-definitive-guide-to-the-dc-comics-reboot/
  4. ^ The New 52 FAQ: Answering Your Questions about the Relaunched DC Universe
  5. ^ Justice League Vol 2. #23
  6. ^ Wizard Entertainment: '52' Roundup Week 52[dead link]
  7. ^ "WW: Chicago '07: Dan DiDio on 'Countdown: Arena'". Newsarama. Retrieved February 4, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Baltimore Comic-Con '07: DC Nation Panel Report". Newsarama. Retrieved February 4, 2011. 
  9. ^ Wolfman, Marv; George Perez (November 2005). "Foreword". Crisis on Infinite Earths (Absolute ed.). DC Comics. ISBN 978-1-4012-0712-0. 
  10. ^ "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #171". Comic Book Resources. September 4, 2008. 
  11. ^ "DC Comics Solicitations for Product Shipping February, 2007". Comic Book Resources. November 13, 2006. 
  12. ^ Smallville Season 11 vol. 1 #4 (August 2012)
  13. ^ Smallville Season 11 vol. 1 #10 (February 2013)

External links[edit]