Multiverse (DC Comics)


The DC Multiverse is a fictional continuity construct that exists in stories published by comic book company DC Comics. The DC Multiverse consists of numerous worlds, most of them outside DC's main continuity, allowing writers the creative freedom to explore alternative versions of characters and their histories without contradicting the official continuity, permanently altering it, or both. 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.
Originally, there was no consistency 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.


Publication information

Publisher: DC Comics
First appearance: Flash #123 (September, 1961)
Created by:


In story information

Official Name: Multiverse
Aliases: Elseworlds, Hypertime
Status:

History

The Original Multiverse

History

In the Beginning

Krona was a member of the ancient race of powerful, blue-skinned humanoid immortals from the planet Maltus (they would later relocate to Oa and style themselves the Guardians of the Universe). He was a scientist obsessed with observing the creation of the universe, despite an Oan legend that said discovering that secret would cause a great calamity. Krona created a machine that allowed him to see into the moment of creation. Somehow, his experiment disrupted the process of creation, with terrible consequences -- it caused the creation of not a single universe, but the generation of an infinite number of universes.

Flash of Two Worlds

From the perspective of the Earth-One Universe, the first travel to another parallel universe occured when The Flash (Barry Allen) accidently changed his vibrational frequency to match that of Earth-Two, where he met Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash. That meeting resulted in years of interaction between the original super-hero team, The Justice Society of America, and their younger Earth-One counterparts, The Justice League of America.

As Barry Allen was the first traveller, the honor of naming the two Earths fell to him - his universe's Earth was called Earth-One, Jay Garrick's became Earth-Two. As noted years later by the elder Superman, the JSA were too polite to mention that they were around first

Over the years, various other Earths (i.e. an Earth part of another parallel universe) were visited by super-heroes (and villains).

Crime Syndicate

After Earth-Two, the next parallel world encountered by the JLA was that of Earth-Three, a partially "reversed" Earth populated by their evil "opposites", the Crime Syndicate of America. However the general populace of Earth-Three reflected a society based on laws and good values, despite the majority of their super powered beings having an evil nature. The Syndicate would eventually be imprisoned by the JLA and JSA, escaping at various times throughout the years to cause trouble.

The End of All Things

The Multiverse co-existed with an Antimatter Universe. The Anti-Monitor caused a wave of antimatter to sweep across the infinite universes in an effort to gain absolute power and remake existence to his liking. He was opposed by his opposite number, The Monitor.

The Monitor's plans did not completely work against the Anti-Monitor, ultimately costing the Monitor his life. Five universes remained. The heroes, at the Spectre's urging, pooled their resources and traveled back to the Dawn of Time where they confronted the Anti-Monitor. The villains, meanwhile (1,000,000,000 years later), traveled to Oa to try to stop Krona from peering back in time and creating the Multiverse (and the Antimatter Universe the Anti-Monitor came from).

The Anti-Monitor revealed to the assembled heroes that he lured them to him to absorb their life forces. He explained:Only here, before creation can the future be changed! When Krona taps the cosmic forces, opening the door between matter and antimatter ... it shall be my hand he sees! My hand which shall destroy the positive matter multiverse for now and forever! My hand which shall make the antimatter universe supreme! ... The Multiverse will no longer exist!

However, the Spectre, aided by Earths' mightiest sorcerors, managed to (apparently) defeat him.

As Krona peered back through the cosmic veil, the Big Bang began:

In the beginning there were many. A Multiversal infinitude ... so cold and so dark for so long ... that even the burning light was imperceptible ... but then the light grew, and the Multiverse shuddered .. and the darkness screamed as much in pain as in relief. For in that instant a Universe was born. A Universe with mighty worlds orbiting burning suns. A Universe reborn at the Dawn of Time. What had been many became one.[3]

As explained later by Harbinger, in this reality, there only ever was one Earth with one history.[4]

From a functional perspective, the histories and peoples of Earth-One, Earth-Two, Earth-Four, Earth-S, and Earth-X were effectively merged to form one composite universe, the Post-Crisis Earth. Earth-One became a sort of template, onto which the other Earths were apparently added.

Characteristics

Area/Dimensions: Infinite

Location Details

Universe: n/a

Identity: The existence of the Original Multiverse was unknown to the general populace of any one particular planet. 

The Multiverse consisted of multiple versions of the universe existing in the same physical space, but separated from each other by their vibrational resonances.

As Allen explained to Garrick in their first meeting:

"..I vibrated so fast -- I tore a gap in the vibratory shields separating our worlds! As you know -- two objects can occupy the same space and time -- if they vibrate at different speeds!

My theory is, both Earths were created at the same time in two quite similar universes! They vibrate differently -- which keeps them apart! Life, customs -- even languages -- evolved on your earth almost exactly as they did on my Earth! Destiny must have decreed there'd be a Flash -- on each Earth!"

Passage of Time
The JSA and JLA would get together once a year when the temporal matrices of the two universes were at their closest point, using a dimensional transporter [6].

As Batman once explained about the differences between Earth-One and Earth-Two:
"This Earth (Earth-Two) rotates at a slower speed -- time passes less quickly than on our Earth!"
Green Arrow added:
"The idea is that Earth-Two is about twenty years behind because of some time flux."

Miscellaneous

List of Original Universes

Below is a partial list of notable alternate worlds, and universes with known numerical designations. Beyond these, many other alternate worlds have been visited or explored by denizens of the DC Universe.[8]
  • Antimatter Universe: The home universe of Oa's antimatter counterpart, Qward.
  • Earth-One: The Modern Age of heroes including Martian Manhunter and the JLA.
  • Earth-Two: World War II's JSA.
  • Earth-Three: Evil counterparts of Earth-One's heroes
  • Earth-Four: The homeworld of Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Nightshade, The Question, Peacemaker, Thunderbolt, Judomaster, and Sarge Steel.
  • Earth-Five: A world with no krypton or superheroes, The Phantom Stranger Brings Earth-One's Batman to this universe to prevent the Deaths of his Parents and inspires this world's Bruce Wayne to Grow up to become Batman.
  • Earth-Six: The United States lost the Revolutionary War. Lady Quark and Lord Volt rule America as superpowered monarchs.
  • Earth-Seven: Homeworld of Dark Angel.
  • Earth-Twelve: Homeworld of the Inferior Five
  • Earth-Fourteen: Jack Kirby's Fourth World.
  • Earth-96: Kingdom Come.
  • Earth-97: Tangent Comics
  • Earth-276: The Home Universe of Captain Thunder.
  • Earth-1191: Tales of the Multiverse: Batman-Vampire.
  • Amalgam Universe : World created by the merging of the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe.[9]
  • Earth-A: The evil Johnny Thunder of Earth-One altered the history of the Justice League to create the Lawless League.
  • Earth-C: Home to anthropomorphic animals including Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew.
  • Earth-D: Consisted of the Justice Alliance of America and other analogues of heroes from Earth-One, but were more ethnically diverse.
  • Earth-Prime: Homeworld of Ultraa and Superboy-Prime.
  • Earth-S: The Marvel Family's Earth.
  • Earth-X: The adopted home of Earth-Two natives the Freedom Fighters.
  • Limbo: A Dimension Inhabited by Long Forgotten DC Characters.

Interregnum Multiverse

History

This Multiverse existed only during Alexander Luthor's attempts to recreate the Original Multiverse during Infinite Crisis. Luthor's plan to use the Multiversal essences of natives of the original Universes to recreate Earth-Two also required:
"the rest of the Multiverse back as well. I need thousands and thousands of worlds. Worlds I can sift through like sand, one grain at a time, combining and mixing until I find it. Until I find the perfect Earth."
Luthor further noted that:
"The Superman of Earth-Two is the key to the return of the rest of the Multiverse. For some reason I can't explain or understand, and
probably never will ... everything comes from Superman." [11]
After activating his device and the program "Earth: Spawn", a multitude of Earths (and their respective Universes) appeared.
The elder Superman, Kal-L, explained to his younger counterpart that:

"your Earth [New Earth] has been splintered back into a multiverse made up of thousands of worlds. But the Multiverse is unstable. The Earths will become weaker and weaker as they're divided. And if they aren't brought back together soon, the entire universe will explode in a new Big Bang. Everything will be destroyed. We need to get back to Earth-One." [12]
That proved a difficult task, as the sky was filled with visions of multiple Earths, some mirroring Pre-Crisis Earths, others representing visions of past and future timelines, some known, some unknown.
The Earths collapsed back into a New Earth at the end of the Crisis.

Characteristics

Area/Dimensions: Presumably infinite in each of the created Universes, although may only have consisted of multiple versions of Earth separated by their vibrational resonances.
Location Details
Universe: n/a
Identity: The existence of the Interregnum Multiverse was seen by the general populace of New Earth. 

List of Interregnum Universes

Below is a partial list of alternate worlds created by Alexander Luthor in his attempt to create the perfect Earth.
  • Earth-0: A Bizarro Earth.
  • Earth-One: New Earth with the elements of the other Earths removed.
  • Earth-One + Earth-Two + Earth-Three: Combined elements of these Earths.
  • Earth-25G: Unseen.
  • Earth-97: The Tangent Earth.
  • Earth-154: An Earth where Superman and Batman both had sons carrying on their legacies; combined by Luthor with Earth-462.
  • Earth-247: The Legion of Super-Heroes future.
  • Earth-462: Various alternate versions of World War II superheroes fighting Nazis; combined by Luthor with Earth-154.
  • Earth-898: Western heroes of the 19th Century.
  • Earth-3181: Unseen.
  • Earth-Prime: Unseen.
  • Earth-Q: Unseen.
  • Earth-S: The original home of the Marvel Family

52 Multiverse

History

In the Beginning
After the events of Infinite Crisis, the remaining Earths created by Alexander Luthor collapsed back together, combining historical remnants to form one New Earth. However, the single universe was too small to contain the energy inside it and it began replicating - into 52 identical Universes, a new Multiverse.
As Rip Hunter revealed to Booster Gold aboard his Time Sphere, in the few seconds after the creation of this new Multiverse, the Earths (and their corresponding Universes) "will occupy the same space, each on a different vibrational plane".
During their efforts to stop the vastly powerful Mr. Mind from destroying every universe, Hunter described Mind's efforts as "eating years and events from this universe's history -- altering the Earth with every flap of his wings". This resulted in the Earths changing, becoming different from New Earth in varying degrees.

Hunter further states that "the notion that there's a Multiverse beyond the reality we know -- that's too dangerous a secret to spread." However, he had let that very thing slip in front of Doctor Sivana.
Hunter also revealed that there is a coming Megaverse. How this may relate to other multiverses previously encountered (ex. the Marvel Universe), if at all, remains to be seen.

Characteristics

Area/Dimensions: Infinite in each of the 52 Universes
Location Details
Universe: n/a
Identity: The existence of the full 52 Multiverse is unknown to the general populace of any one particular planet.
The general populace of New Earth (Earth-0) is fully aware of various other populated Earths though are not fully aware of the exact nature of the 52 other realities as of the end of Final Crisis.

It remains unknown if the general populace of the other Earths in the 52 Multiverse are also aware of other existing realities in the 52 multiverse.
The parallel dimensions were separated by an an interdimensional sub-reality barrier called The Bleed. The Bleed was also spatially connected with the Source Wall, the Multiversal Nexus and the Nanoverse. The Bleed was completely collapsed in the Final Crisis event by Nix Uotan.

The Source Wall and the Anti-Life Equation exist between each matter universe. Knowledge and control of the Anti-Life Equation, the Speed Force, and quantum mechanics were needed to travel between universes. [14] Some have learned to travel the universes between the dimensions without knowledge of the Anti-Life Equation such as Professor Michael Holt of Earth-2 though on a limited basis.

The Multiversal Nexus is the reality in between known parallel matter based universes. Currently, the Nexus is occupied by the Monitors and their satellite station. From here, they observe and analyze variances within the Multiverse; specifically citing instances wherein individuals migrate from one reality to another.

According to the Guardians of the Universe:

... upon Earth now rest 51 more parallel Earths -- and beyond this universe, 51 parallel universes ... if Earth is ever annihilated, it will start a chain reaction that will destroy the others. The Multiverse will collapse, leaving only our opposite antimatter universe in existence. [15]
The Guardians' Book of Oa contains a prophecy called "The Blackest Night" which states:
A face of metal and flesh shall speak of the secrets of the 52. Fear will rise. Willpower will gather. And a wave of light will unleash the truth behind the power of the ring.[16]
The meaning, or truth, of this prophecy remains to be seen.

List of 52 Universes

The following is a list of the other Earths thus created, as seen for the first time:
  • Earth-0 aka New Earth aka The DC Universe: The Earth existing in the primary reality following the Infinite
    Crisis and Final Crisis events. [17] Specifically referred to as Earth-0/Zero in Final Crisis #7.
  • Earth-1: Originally this Earth was defended by characters that resemble the Silver-Age Heroes of Pre-Crisis Earth-One. It has now been repurposed as an Earth featuring 21st century modern takes on the DC heroes.[18]
  • Earth-2: This Earth is defended by Justice Society Infinity, a successive version of the original Justice Society whose members include Batman's daughter, the Huntress, and an older Robin. Reminiscent of Pre-Crisis Earth-Two.[19]
  • Earth-3 aka Crime Society Universe: Criminal versions of Earth-2's JSA. [20][21]
  • Earth-4 aka Charlton Universe: Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, and the Question, among others, are the heroes of this Earth. Reminiscent of Pre-Crisis Earth-Four. [22]
  • Earth-5 aka Fawcett Universe: The Marvel Family are Earth's main heroes on a world of magic. Reminiscent of Pre-Crisis Earth-S. [23]
  • Earth-6: World including version of Ray Palmer who becomes The Ray.
  • Earth-7: World including version of Courtney Whitmore who becomes known as Starwoman.
  • Earth-8: Home world of Lord Havok and the Extremists. This Earth contains heroes similar to those of Marvel Comics. [24][25]
  • Earth-9: The Tangent Universe
  • Earth-10 aka Quality Universe: The original Freedom Fighters fight Nazi counterparts of the JLA. [26]
  • Earth-11: A reverse gender Earth.[27]
  • Earth-12 aka The Next Generation Universe: A future world inhabited by a version of Batman "beyond anything ever seen". [28]
  • Earth-13: World of dark and arcane heroes.
  • Earth-14: unknown
  • Earth-15: A populated parellel developed Earth whose people have evolved to become "nearly perfect beings" [29] of their own personal development. [30] Earth-15 was completely destroyed by Kal-El (Earth-Prime). The source dimension and other inhabited planets of that dimension continue to exist.
  • Earth-16 aka The Super-Sons Universe: Home of the Super-Sons. Source Earth of Christopher Kent the alternate Superman. Once designated to be the Source Earth of the 52 multiverse version of The Supersons, but is has been revealed that there are no other Kryptonian relatives to Christopher Kent in this reality.
  • Earth-17: A post-apocalyptic world where the Atomic Knights protect the last signs of life. [31] On this Earth, science and magic apparently co-exist - this Earth's greatest hero is Superdemon
  • Earth-18 aka The Justice Riders Universe: A world where the JLA are a group of lawmen who ride the Wild West. [32]
  • Earth-19 aka Gotham by Gaslight Universe: Batman fights Jack the Ripper in the 1880s. [33]
  • Earth-20: Home to a group of pulp-inspired heroes, the Society of Super-Heroes, led by Doc Fate
  • Earth-21 aka DC: The New Frontier Universe: A world where the Cold War has recently ended, and a new age of heroes has begun. [34] [35]
  • Earth-22 aka Kingdom Come Universe: A near-future world brought to the brink of apocalypse by warring superheroes. Starman confirms that before he came back to the 21st Century during the Lightning Saga, he was accidently shunted to Earth-22 ("No one liked each other there very much!"). [36] [37]
  • Earth-23: unknown
  • Earth-24: unknown
  • Earth-25: unknown
  • Earth-26: Home of the cartoon animal superheroes Captain Carrot & The Zoo Crew.[38]
  • Earth-27: unknown
  • Earth-28: unknown
  • Earth-29: unknown
  • Earth-30 aka Red Son Universe: Superman is a champion of Cold War-era Soviet Russia. [39]
  • Earth-31: A "darker version of the future;" AKA Frank Miller's Batman universe [40]
  • Earth-32 aka In Darkest Knight Universe: Bruce Wayne becomes Green Lantern instead of Hal Jordan. [41]
  • Earth-33: A mystical earth where all of the heroes have magic-based powers, including Bat-Mage, and Kal-El, wielder of Kryptonian Magicks. Ruled by the multiversal seer Oracle.
  • Earth-34 aka The Amazonia Universe: Wonder Woman frees Britain from oppression under the reign of King Jack. [42] [43]
  • Earth-35: unknown
  • Earth-36: unknown
  • Earth-37: Thrillkiller Universe
  • Earth-38: Homeworld to a Captain Atom who leads the Atomic Knights.
  • Earth-39: Homeworld of Daniel Garrett who became Blue Beetle the same way as Jamie Reyes.
  • Earth-40: The Liberty Files world, where costumed heroes and villains have joined World War II. [44]
  • Earth-41: unknown
  • Earth-42: unknown
  • Earth-43: A world of vampires and the supernatural, inhabited by a vampire Batman. [45]
  • Earth-44: Unknown, but it's main heroes were a group of robots called the Metal Men, led by "Doc Tornado".[46]
  • Earth-45: unknown
  • Earth-46: unknown
  • Earth-47: unknown
  • Earth-48 aka The War World Universe: Native home of the Forerunners, creatures bred by the Monitors from all the alien races of the solar system after the destruction of all human life on Earth in a war against other planets. This universe's counterpart of J'onn J'onzz is a general in the Martian army.
  • Earth-49: An Earth who's sun has been turned into a Red Sun by Firestorm. Superman, Supergirl and other heroes that need the sun's yellow rays must wear suits identical to Superboy-Prime's.
  • Earth-50: The Wildstorm Universe. [47]
  • Earth-51: "A near perfect world. No mention of crime, war, poverty, disease .." [48] Universe-51 was later destroyed as a result of Monarch's Containment Suit being destroyed at the hands of Superman-Prime.

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