The Multiverse consists of multiple versions of the universe existing in the same physical space, but separated from each other.
The Bleed is the anti-matter that fills the space between the realities of the Multiverse, separating them.
The Multiverse is being targeted by entities, called the Monitors, who wish to end all existence so they can maintain order. They have already decimate several parallel earths, which then are somehow contained in a glass tube-like structure, inside their ships. The Monitors have being destroying parallel earths one by one, in a specific order but that order wasn't followed to the letter by one of them, resulting on many alternate earth inhabitants finding about the Monitors' plan and later their attempts to transport themselves to other universes.
Known universes in the Multiverse
- For more information see: Earth
The main universe of Smallville, where Superman's adventures take place. Its designation is unknown but it was indicated that it is not the Prime Earth. It remains unclear if this comment will turn out to be true or not. This Earth has also been referred to, probably mistakenly, as Earth-1.
- For more information see: Earth-2
This Earth was a parallel universe that co-existed as one with the Earth of the main Smallville universe. This Earth is probably mistakenly referred to as Earth-2, as its real designation is unknown. When shown, it was always in grey and dull colors. Operating as a metaphorical mirror, all of its residents appeared to be similar and yet different from those of their Earth-1 counterparts. The main difference of this Earth from the other universes is that Kal-El of Krypton was raised by Lionel Luthor instead of the Kents, like on the main Smallville Earth, and as a result he became his world's most powerful super villain, Ultraman. Travel between Earth-2 and the main Earth of Smallville was achieved through the Kryptonian mirror box, or through Jor-El's Fortress of Solitude. It was revealed that Earth-2 was destroyed by the Monitors. Its last survivor was Chloe Sullivan, who succeeded to travel to the main Earth of Smallville but was later killed there by the Monitors.
This Earth was destroyed when it was torn asunder by collision with Earth-37, toppling into one another, because of a Bleed quake caused by a Monitor who did not follow the protocol.
This Earth was a parallel universe that co-existed as one with the Earth of the main Smallville universe. Not much is known about this universe as it was never shown, only merely mentioned. Its main feature was that its version of Clark Kent was a normal human and a wannabe hero, rather than a Kryptonian with super powers, and Bruce Wayne instead of being a superhero is actually a psychopathic killer. Like many other universes, this Earth was also decimated. Earth-13 was destroyed when Earth-9 and 37 were torn asunder by collision, toppling into one another and shattering reality on Earth-13, because of a Bleed quake caused by a Monitor who did not follow the protocol. Its version of Clark managed to travel to the main Earth of Smallville. Unfortunately, he was followed by Bruce and he was killed by him there. Bruce Wayne remains the last survivor of his Earth, as he is held prisoner on Mars.
This Earth was destroyed when it was torn asunder by collision with Earth-9, toppling into one another, because of a Bleed quake caused by a Monitor who did not follow the protocol.
- For more information see: Earth-Majestic
This Earth is a parallel universe that co-exists as one with the Earth of the main Smallville universe. It is referred to as Earth-Majestic and its designation is unknown. It derives this name from its greatest superhero Mister Majestic, the alternate version of Superman. This Earth is the latest target of the Monitors, as they have already started the process to decimate it. It was later destroyed like the other Earths before it with the consciousness of Jor-El being the last survivor of this universe.
This Earth is a parallel universe that co-exists as one with the Earth of the main Smallville universe. It is referred to as Earth "Omega" and its designation is unknown. It derives this name from the Omega symbol, which is used by Darkseid. This Earth was attacked and seized by Apokolips and the two planets have collided with each other. Among the ruins are several fallen ships that belonged to the Monitors, wrecked Manhunters and skeletons of dead people. This Earth hasn't been destroyed entirely yet because when the Monitors arrived there, Darkseid had already conquered that world. A catastrophic battle followed between the two parts, destroying almost everything around them. However the Monitors, who even though suffered many casualties, succeeded to break Darkseid. After Superman made a deal with Darkseid, he gave him the crystal shard that contains the presence of Jor-El from Earth-Majestic. Darkseid threw the shard into the distance and a fortress of solitude formed, with Darkseid saying it could be a new beginning, a "New Genesis."
In the 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.
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 but a tradition of spelling them out developed.
Pre-Crisis, although DC Comics continued publishing from the 30s through the 50s, the Golden Age of comic books had come to a close in the late 40s or early 50s, and most superhero comic books had ceased publication. 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. 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 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. At the end of Justice League of America #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-3. 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/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".
In 1973, the fourth and fifth major alternate Earths were introduced, named Earth-X, 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.
In 1976, the superheroes of Earth-One and Earth-Two learned about the existence of the domain of the Marvel Family and other Fawcett Comics figures, now known as Earth-S.
In February 1982, the final named pre-Crisis alternate Earth appeared 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.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, in 1985 DC Comics published the 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. One by one, a villain known as the Anti-Monitor destroyed several alternate universes. 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. Earth-Six, a new alternate Earth, was introduced and then obliterated by the antimatter storm, 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.
Although DC maintained that the other Earths no longer existed, during the 90s 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.
In 2005, DC began Infinite Crisis, a DC Universe crossover and sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths. 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 and the surviving heroes who originated from Earth-Two were transported there. 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 Captain Atom was sent to the Wildstorm Universe and inadvertently caused its destruction and recreation. In addition, worlds previously described as Elseworlds were revealed to be universes within the Multiverse.
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".
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.
The yearlong series Countdown to Final Crisis feature the Multiverse extensively, as several characters traverse the Multiverse in search of New Earth's Ray Palmer, while the villain Monarch collects various alternative versions of DC heroes and forces them to fight in death matches 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 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. 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.
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.
In May 2012, the series Earth 2 and Worlds' Finest premiered. The first chronicles 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 others. 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 a now decimated Earth-3. It is revealed that the leader of the Secret Society, previously known as "The Outsider", was actually an Earth-3 version of Alfred Pennyworth. He gains possession Pandora's Box to open a portal to Earth-3 from which the Crime Syndicate emerges. The Crime Syndicate then proceeds to attack the fallen Justice League members and claims Prime Earth now belongs to them. This line-up consists of Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, Johnny Quick, Power Ring, Deathstorm, Sea King, who does not survive the trip to Prime Earth and two new members: Atomica, who had posed as Atom while working as a mole for the Secrety Society, and Grid, a sentient computer virus in a robot body made from Cyborg's old prosthetic parts. They have also brought with them their greatest enemy as a prisoner, who is later revealed to be Alexander Luthor a.k.a. Mazahs. Superwoman is revealed to be pregnant with Mazahs' child and all along she has been manipulating her fellow teammates only to betray them. In the aftermath, most of the Crime Syndicate as well as Mazahs are defeated and killed by the joined forces of villains and the remaining superheroes, who haven't been imprisoned by the Syndicate. Ultraman and Superwoman are captured with Owlman still on the loose. It is later revealed that the entity that destroyed the Crime Syndicate's world is the Anti-Monitor who declares "Darkseid shall be mine."
In August 2014, a new limited series called Multiversity will comprise seven complete adventures, each set in a different parallel universe, a two part framing story, and comprehensive guidebook to the many worlds of the Multiverse. The series will include the Vampire Justice League of Earth-43, the Justice Riders of Earth-18, Superdemon, Doc Fate, the super-sons of Superman and Batman of Earth-16, the rampaging Retaliators of Earth-8, the Atomic Knights of Justice, Dino-Cop, Sister Miracle, Lady Quark, the legion of Sivanas and the Nazi New Reichsmen of Earth-10.