|“||A multiverse of worlds vibrating and replicating...and a multiverse that should have been one, became many.||”|
— Crisis on Infinite Earths, #1 (April 1985)
A parallel universe is a self contained universe that occupies the same space as the primary universe, but it exists on another plane of reality, kept separate by differing ‘vibrational speeds’.
In other words, another dimension.
- See Multiverse at the DC Database
- See Multiverse at Wikipedia.org
- See Ages of Comics for more information on the Ages of Comics.
DC has at least six Multiverses: the "original" Pre-Crisis multiverse, Hypertime, 52 Multiverse, The New 52 Multiverse, the "evolved" Pre-Crisis multiverse, and the Dark Multiverse. The Pre-Crisis multiverse covers the Golden, Silver, and Bronze age of comics.
Naming of Realities
It should be mentioned that DC (like Marvel) has no consistent way to name realties. Sometimes a reality is presented as a possible future for an Earth in one place and stated to be a "distinct parallel world" in another. For example, Earth-AD has been stated to be a possible future for Earth-One but was also stated at being "revealed as a distinct parallel world"
Original Pre-Crisis Multiverse
Pre-Crisis is a term used to describe characters, items, realities or events that took place prior to 1986.
The Original Multiverse was supposedly created as the result of interference in the Big Bang by Krona. He 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). Krona 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
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Main Article: Crisis on Infinite Earths
- See Crisis on Infinite Earths series at the DC Database
- Crisis on Infinite Earths series at Wikipedia.org
In the mid 80's, the Crisis on Infinite Earths series effectively re-booted the internal DC universe from the dawn of time onward.
A new history was written – one that rendered many of the older DC stories apocryphal. Characters, timelines, and events from the varying alternate realities were condensed into one modernized mainstream reality, excising many characters that would otherwise be construed as redundant. This new reality was given the name "New Earth".
Zero Hour/Hypertime Multiverse (Post-Crisis)
- See Post-Crisis at the DC Database
- See Hypertime Multiverse at the DC Database
- See New Earth at the DC Database
After Crisis on Infinite Earths, it quickly became clear that Harbinger's claim that only a single Earth (called "New Earth") with a singe history existed was untrue.
A pocket universe created by the Time Trapper was discovered but it didn't explain other discrepancies (such as the existence of Mon-El and the Legion's numerous visits to the 20th century). The proof that there were still multiple timelines was revealed when Waverider came back to 1991 from 2041 to prevent a hero from going bad, wiping out all other heroes, and taking over the world by used his powers to view each hero's "future" and getting different results each time (which per the claim in Crisis on Infinite Earths about there being only one timeline should have not happened).
New Earth's history, present, and future also proved to be unstable as various events such as Zero Hour, JLA/Avengers, Infinite Crisis and Trinity caused alterations. While these were one time alterations not constant continuity issues that eventually required the creation of yet more Earths (such as Earth-85), the real continuity gremlin would come in the form of hypertime.
If Crisis had supposedly wiped out all parallel Earths and made only one timeline then what were these other realities? The answer to that was hypertime. Unlike the original Pre-Crisis multiverse hypertime realties could briefly remerge, interact, and then diverge again. This would cause changes to history that are usually not even noticed by the inhabitants of a timeline. Compounding matters is that some of these hypertime realties were effectively identical to Pre-Crisis realties that had been destroyed (Earth-Three and Earth-Twelve) or absorbed to make New Earth (Earth-S). In fact, one of the oldest official alternate Earths, Earth-Forty, is a hypertime reality.
Then it was shown that the events of Infinite Crisis had created a local multiverse of 52 realities via hypertime one of which was functionally identical to Earth-Two and another identical to Earth-S. Each of these realities has is own set of alternate timelines but it has not been stated just how broad those alternate timelines are.
The Flash created a darker timeline due to saving his mother from Professor Zoom. His effort to restore the timeline was interfered with causing three previous realities to be merged into one. This new reality was called Prime Earth. This action rippled through the local 52 multiverse altering large parts of it.
- See Convergence (Event) for more details.
Brainiac created a world where he placed cities from worlds that were part of various DC multiverses on. The keeper of this world, originally a part of Brainiac, renamed himself Telos and decides on having the various cities fight each other to decide which of the universes will survive. Eventually the world becomes unstable thanks to the actions of Paradox Hal and threatened to shatter the multiverse. To prevent this Telos transported several of the heroes to the original Crisis to prevent the destruction of the original multiverse. According to Telos "They have done it. Reality is resetting, stabilizing. Each world has evolved, but they all still exist." As each Earth in the Pre-Crisis multiverse had it own set of timelines it is unclear what Telos meant by "evolved".
It is revealed that the New Earth Superman had been sent to Prime Earth. Due to to the actions of Mister Mxyzptlk the histories of the New Earth and Prime Earth Supermen were merged forming "A new, existence-wide, single reality, rebuilt from two. A timeline and history both familiar... and new. With lives realigned. Consistent with the memories and experiences of all. Everything solidified. Locked in... so it fits." What effect this had on the local 52 multiverse is unknown.
- See Dark Multiverse for more details
Underneath the 52/New 53 multiverse exists an older and larger Dark Multiverse. In it 'every fear, each bad decision, give birth to a malformed world of nightmare'. Worlds that by all rights should not even exist. As a result "these worlds are doomed to rot apart, and die, because they are wrong at their core." Five heavy Prime Earth metals actually come from the Dark Multiverse: Nth Metal, Promethium, Dionesium, Electrum, and Batmanium. How the Dark Universe relates to Hypertime is unknown.
Worlds of the Multiverses
While Crisis on Infinite Earths: Absolute Edition lists some 114 Earths (and the Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia added 14 more) only a handful are important to the Superfriends. To keep realties of the various multiverses straight the wikipage on them has Pre-Crisis Earths below 52 are spelled out (ie Earth-Two), 52 multiverses Earths use a hyphen and number (ie Earth-2), and New 52 Earths use a space and number (ie Earth 2). Earths of the Dark Multiverse use a negative number (ie Earth -54).
Main Article: Earth-Forty
Based on Crisis on Infinite Earths: Absolute Edition this would appear to be the oldest officially recognized parallel Earth (see Earth-Two-A and Earth-Quality below as to why that is not exactly true); it is also a hypertime reality. It's main relevance is that Super Friends #30 (March 1, 1980) makes reference to events of Wonder Woman, Vol. 1 #168 (February, 1967) which were assigned to this Earth.
One notable feature is this Earth had both Earth-Two and Earth-One elements; Superman and Batman both started careers c. 1940 and Superman had a Superboy career (but in Metropolises not Smallville). However, Batman retired in the 1960s passing on the mantel to his son so at best this reality interacted with the one the Superfriends resided in creating distortions in its history and memories.
This was effectively where the stories originally published by Quality comics occurred. Since the first issue of Quality comics (Feature Funnies #1) appeared in 1937 this makes it the oldest officially recognized alternate reality owned by DC. Unlike Earth-One and Earth-Two, Earth-Quality had several large-scale international wars before WWII which was also very different.
Stores involving the Earth-Quality Robin Hood abruptly changed to those of the Earth-One version in February 1957.
Many Earth-Quality characters had Earth-Two counterparts who migrated to Earth-X (a Nazi won WWII earth) in stages: Pearl Harbor migration (Summer 1941), Santa Barbara migration (23 February 1942), and Final migration (1 April 1942). These included (but was not limited to) Plastic Man, the aviator hero Blackhawk, and the Freedom Fighters. When Earth-X was encountered years later all but the Freedom Fighters had died fighting in a WWII that had lasted until 1968.
Main Article: Earth-Two-A
The Earth-Two-A universe is very similar to the universe known as Earth-Two. It was originally presented by E. Nelson Bridwell in the Superman Family letters page to explain the various differences between the Earth-Two and actual Golden Age Superman. Mark Gruenwald used this information as the foundation of yet another Earth which Gruenwald called "Earth-E" (which given the name Earth-216 in the Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Compendium) Furthermore Convergence #0 heavily implies that Earth-Two didn't actually appear until The Flash #123 (Sept 1961) meaning that where ever Golden Age stories took place it was not Earth-Two.
- See List of Earth-Two Characters for a complete list of Earth-Two inhabitants.
- See Also: Earth-Two Timeline from Blaklion
Earth-Two is a parallel universe and a designation attributed to the planet Earth, and the Universe it inhabited. This Earth-Two continuity includes close counterparts to DC’s Golden Age heroes, including the Justice Society of America, whose careers began at the dawn of World War II, concurrently with their first appearances in comics. The two Earths were closely linked in terms of parallel development, although Earth-Two individuals usually predated their Earth-One counterparts by a few decades.
There is also a hypertime version of the Pre-Crisis Earth-Two called Earth-2.
Earth-S is one of the infinite number of divergent realities that made up the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Multiverse. The predominant heroic teams were the Marvel Family, the Crime Crusader Club and the Squadron of Justice, while the main team of supervillains were the Monster Society of Evil. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Earth-S was effectively merged with Earth-One, Earth-Two, Earth-Four, and Earth-X to form one composite universe, called the New Earth.
- Earth-S first appeared Whiz Comics, Vol. 1 #2 (February, 1940).
- Earth-S is first named in Shazam!, Vol. 1 #1 (February, 1973).
Earth-S had a counter-earth in the same reality called Earth-S-Twin but it was not an alternate reality.
There is also a hypertime version of Earth-S called Earth-5 or Earth 5.
Main Article: Earth-One
Earth-One was a parallel universe and a designation attributed to the planet Earth, and the Universe it inhabited. This Earth-One continuity includes DC’s Silver Age heroes, including the Justice League of America.
Despite the similarity in name this is different from the reality where the events in Superman: Earth One, Batman: Earth One, and Teen Titans: Earth One take place. To reduce the confusion that reality is called Earth-1/Earth 1.
- For a complete list of Earth-One inhabitants, see List of Earth-One Characters.
Earth-1A, Earth B, and Earth-Twelve: aka Earth-Thirty-Two
Main Article: Earth-Thirty-Two
Even through the stories in the Super Friends TV series and the Super Friends comic book were supposed to take place on Earth-One it quickly became obvious they couldn't and fans gave the reality the name "Earth-1A". However, it was also noted that other stores that were supposed to take place on Earth-One couldn't and that there was a rough pattern to them: edited by Murray Boltinoff, written by Bob Hancy, or E. Nelson Bridwell and/or appearing in an issue of Brave and the Bold and World's Finest Comics. This pattern resulted in the name "Earth-B".
Some people included DC's humor comics (like the the Inferior Five) as part of Earth-B while others listed it as a separate reality called Earth-Twelve. Super Powers Volumes 1, 2, 3 and Super Powers Collection comics are all formally identified as happening on Earth-Thirty-Two so it seems reasonable to include Super Friends TV series and the Super Friends comic book series as also being set in that reality. According to the DC One Million 80-Page Giant #1 (Aug. 1, 1999), the universe is apparently part of Hypertime (which explains why comic stories set on Earth-Thirty-Two appeared after Crisis). Similar to the Post-Crisis Earth, Earth-Thirty-Two mixed elements from various Earths (for example, it had both a Justice Society and a Justice League). It may have even had its own version of the Marvel Family (but given that there is also a hypertime version of Earth-S this may have been the result of a brief merging of the two realities). Since Earth-Thirty-Two was most similar to Earth-One it may have been where the 1991 "Swamp Thing" animated series happened as Swamp Thing's portrayal is closer to the Pre-Crisis version of the character from the comics.
- It should be noted that it is Conjectural on the part of this wiki to assume Earth-Thirty-Two was a hypertime reality. This addresses the majority of continuity issues within the Superfriends TV show and comics as well those between the two. It can also allow the majority animated versions of the characters up to The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1986) "be part" of the same reality rather generating more Earths to deal with continuity hiccups.
Despite the similar name this is a different reality from Earth-Twelve and where the Batman Beyond comics take place in.
This hypertime reality has a slightly divergent timeline where the Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Batman Beyond TV series all take place.
The 1988 "Superman" animated series is another slightly divergent reality where Lex Luthor was a corrupt businessman and used Kryptonite as a means of defending himself (though in this reality he had it made into ring). Due to its hypertime nature this reality picked up several Earth-Thirty-Two elements such as Superman being adopted rather then passed off as the Kent's actual son and his costume (including his cape) being indestructible.
This is the reality where the stories of the DC Super Friends comics and toyline take place. Note that this is a different reality from the one where Super Friends TV show and comics of the 1970s-1980s took place.
- ↑ As seen in Warpland.
- ↑ Superman Vol 1 #295
- ↑ Crisis on Infinite Earths: Absolute Edition
- ↑ Action Comics #976
- ↑ For comics it first appeared in 1945 but was seen in newspapers from 1943-1946 and an ashcan comic was put out in 1940.
- ↑ Crisis on Infinite Earths: Absolute Edition
- ↑ The Official Crisis on Infinite Earths Index
- ↑ Omniverse #1 (1977)
- ↑ Convergence #0 has The Flash (vol. 1) #123 (Sept 1961) as the first appearance of "Pre-Crisis Earth-Two Metropolis". But the only Earth-Two city shown in that comic is Keystone City; meaning it is the first appearance of Earth-Two
- ↑ Go to the DC Database for more on Whiz Comics, Vol. 1 #2 (February, 1940).
- ↑ Go to the DC Database for more on Shazam!, Vol. 1 #1 (February, 1973).
- ↑ Crisis on Infinite Earths: Absolute Edition
- ↑ Official Crisis on Infinite Earth Crossover Index
- ↑ This series was written by E. Nelson Bridwell which put it on "Earth-B"
- ↑ The Multiversity Guidebook #1