Ancient texts of Hindu mythology posit an infinite number of universes, each with its own gods. Modern comic texts have made a habit of blowing them all to smithereens. Welcome to Ten Things: Ten Destroyed Realities!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and three different versions of Earth-3, Presents:
TEN THINGS: TEN DESTROYED REALITIES!
Publishing its first comics in the ’40s, the comic book division of Charlton Publishing existed solely to keep their presses (which, unlike most comic publishers, were in-house) running. As such, the name of the game was speed, with Charlton’s prolific creators churning out romances, westerns, war books, and more. The mid-sixties brought the Action Heroes era, shepherded by editor Dick Giordano, bringing us movie and TV star Peacemaker, the debut of Ted Kord as Blue Beetle, and a revival of Captain Atom. The adventures of Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt (seen here) were inspired by the Golden Age Amazing-Man and Daredevil, influencing Iron Fist and other heroes yet to come. Charlton ceased publishing in 1984, and a number of their heroes were sold to DC Comics, just in time to debut during Crisis on Infinite Earths. Their world was retroactively dubbed Earth-4, and was one of five destroyed worlds whose histories were merged into New Earth, with the Charlton Action Heroes now part of the prime reality.
Peter Cannon is, sadly, no longer part of that deal, his rights having reverted to his creator, Peter Morisi, then to his estate after Morisi’s death.
An alternate reality of the Marvel Universe, Earth-1298 was first encountered when Havok of the X-Men was seemingly killed circa 1998. Rather than oblivion, Havok’s consciousness was shunted into his alternate counterpart, forcing him to figure out how to survive in a world where nothing was as it seemed. Eventually, Havok absorbed the energies of the Nexus of All Realities to fight his possessed ex-girlfriend and Captain America, shattering the moon and awakening a strange being sleeping in the core of the world. The planet was clearly destroyed as Havok teleported himself back to Earth-616, though one 2007 story seems to have retconned that,
Fortunately, retcons only count if I say they count. #MyListMyRules
Debuting during the events of Multiversity, Earth-44 is the home of the Metal League, a group of heroes created by Doc Will Tornado. Mirroring members of both the Justice League and the Metal Men (like Lead Green Arrow here), the Metal League were the only heroes of Earth-44. When Perpetua set out to take over all the multiverses, she gave Tornado an ultimatum to join her forces or die.
He (metaphorically) flipped her the bird, causing Perpetua to huck his world at the Justice League like a volleyball, destroying it and its inhabitants.
More commonly known as Marvel 2099, the future reality of Earth-928 was initially presented as the future of the Marvel Universe. The resurrection of Doctor Doom in 2099 led to a full-scale, albeit short-lived, heroic era there, including new versions of Spider-Man, Hulk, and The Punisher. The Human Torch (seen here) and Fantastic Four of Earth-616 were found in suspended animation and revived, with Captain America and Thor not far behind. Earth-928 quickly unraveled not long after, with the future OF this future showing Earth getting destroyed. Thanks to #TimeTravelShenanigans, Earth-928’s reality has been rewritten and Spider-Man 2099 has even operated in the modern reality for an extended period, but mark my words: They’ll blow it up again, soon.
When the Zero Hour Crisis rewrote the history of New Earth, the future of the Legion of Super-Heroes was altered as well, heralding the first reboot era. The history of most Legionnaires was altered and new heroes (like Monstress, seen here) joined the team’s ranks. This reality was destroyed by the actions of the Fatal Five, with the surviving Legionnaires lost in time and space, leading to another rebooted future. During the Infinite Crisis, Alexander Luthor was able to access this reality briefly, with all three Legions joining forces against a whiny foe who shall remain nameless.
Better known as The Ultimate Universe, the reality of Earth-1610 was a strange patchwork echo of Earth-616, with familiar characters acting in ways that can only be described as “WHAT A TWIST!!!” Though Spider-Man Miles Morales is probably the best-known native, The Ghost Rider (seen here) is one of many heroes who briefly appeared before this world’s demise during Secret Wars.
It’s one of the prime examples of my theory that alternate reality tales, no matter how popular with fans, just aren’t treated with the same respect and care as stories in the “real” world.
Hey, remember that whole Zero Hour thing that rebooted the Legion of Super-Heroes? Part of the reason that became necessary was the damage done to the Legion by the removal of Superboy from history during the first Crisis. Creator John Byrne (who, it must be noted, is the one who wanted no Superboy in the first place) came up with the idea that The Time Trapper had either created or been able to preserve a portion of Earth-1 continuity that included Smallville, Superboy, and other shared elements of Superman and Legion stories past. This included Matrix, depicted here wearing the face of Lana Lang, who escaped to New Earth. Controversially, a trio of Kryptonians DID NOT survive, as Superman executed them after they devastated the world.
The Earth-23 designation was given almost twenty years later in the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths: Absolute Edition, and should not be confused with Multiversity-era Earth-23, home of President Superman.
During his brief return to glory in the ’90s, Mighty Mouse became embroiled in a universe-spanning battle against the evil Anti-Minotaur, including his evil counterpart, Mangy Mouse, and his early prototype, Super Mouse. He also meets Mighty Mousette of Earth-♀, who enjoys a brief flirtation with Mighty Mouse in their pursuit of the villain. Upon finding his world, Mighty Mouse is sidetracked by Mangy, while Mighty Mousette destroys Anti-Minotaur’s machinery, then gets caught in a villainous crossfire that costs her life. Mighty Mouse and a cadre of his most powerful allies save their world, but Mousette and her world are seemingly gone forever.
At least, until the next time Mighty Mouse’s star rises for a year or two, maybe around 2027 or so?
A world created when Baron Strucker the Fifth traveled back in time to destroy the Avengers with a combination of magic and future technology, When he absorbed the biomechanical body of Death’s Head, Strucker became the all-powerful Charnel and began wiping out the heroes of Earth-616. The surviving Avengers, under the command of Captain America, mobilized to fight Charnel, sacrificing most of their number before tearing the android/sorcerer in half and sending his component halves to different time-eras and wiping their world from existence by the power of #TimeTravelShenanigans.
While it’s not the first alternate reality in comic books, Earth-2 was for many years the primary example, and has become the template for alternate reality tales. Featuring the original heroes from DC’s Golden Age, such as the original Hawkman, Earth-2 became a recurring fixture in the adventures of the Justice League, with the Justice Society showing up every summer for a crossover. Seeing two Flashes, Atoms, or Supermans in action was half the fun, with the action expanding throughout the Bronze Age to encompass additional worlds like Earth-X (the heroes of Quality Comics), Earth-S (the heroes of Fawcett Comics), and the aforementioned Earth-4, all of which became part of the reformed New Earth continuity in 1986.
Once again, this week’s topic, Ten Destroyed Realities, is all me, but feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra to suggest a topic of your own! There’s always more Ten Things madness on my Twitter or check out the full Twitter archive here! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, especially since big two comics are averaging 2.75 blowed-up-Earths-per-month since 1986. Either way, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!