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Quote1 The Light would no longer shine as bright and the Great Darkness would slumber and no longer attempt to extinguish it. A compromise of near-perfect harmony. Or so it would seem. The Great Darkness continued to exert its influence even as it slumbered. Avatars and puppets all working to weaken the new universe and extinguish the Light. Quote2
Doctor Multiverse src

The Great Darkness is the true source and the embodiment of all darkness in the multiverse. It is a primordial entity that existed since the beginning of time alongside The Presence/God, and when he said "let there be light", the Darkness retreated and stayed inactive for unknown ages. The Darkness has taken numerous forms throughout history and has many aspects.

The Beginning

In the beginning, there was only the Great Darkness that lived in the primordial Void. It was so vast that the newborn Light was unnoticeable in comparison. However, the Light expanded until eventually it became everything. In protest, the Great Darkness screamed, creating a flaw on the Light's immaculate perfection, beginning the birth of the Multiverse.[2][3][4]

Some time before Perpetua created the first Multiverse, the Great Darkness spawned a "daughter" in the Void and entrusted her to "the Shadows" of a subsection of the Void called The Dark Garden.[5]


During the world-shattering event known as the Crisis on Infinite Earths, a cult known as the Brujeria wakened it, hoping to destroy God and re-shape the world. This was the culmination of a series of arcane machinations labelled as "American Gothic." John Constantine and the Swamp Thing worked for a long time to prevent the awakening, and chose to oppose the Evil. Siding with them was a gathering of supernatural heroes, as well as parts of the angelic and demonic armies of Heaven and Hell. Another faction of Hell, led by the Demons Three, sided with the Darkness. As the source of selfish impulse, Anti-Monitor himself was, in a way, under the influence of the Great Darkness.[6]

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"Peace" between Darkness and Light

The Primordial Darkness soon gained consciousness. Several heroes tried to battle it, but they were easily defeated and drawn into its almost infinite being. The encounters taught the Darkness a great deal. Etrigan told the Darkness that it was Evil, Dr. Fate explained that Evil was despicable, and the Spectre taught it revenge. All the encounters only served to further strengthen the Darkness and point its aggression towards Heaven. Finally, Swamp Thing entered the Darkness, and tried to explain his theory of evil—that good and evil define each other and that one cannot exist without its counterpart. The Darkness then reached its hand towards Heaven, and to the surprise of everyone, the Light reached out His hand as well. The two of them embraced. The world was never the same again. Good and Evil would still exist, but Light and Dark would remain locked in a truce, a truce supposedly contingent on the multiverse remaining limited to a single world.[7]


The event sparked a civil war in Hell, that ended with it being ruled by a Triumvirate, composed of Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Azazel.[8] The realm of the Darkness has since become known as the Shadowlands, a power source for beings such as the Shade, Culp, Obsidian, and others.[9][10]

Deeds in the Dark

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The influence of Darkness

Some, like Doctor Multiverse came to believe that the Great Darkness cared not for good or evil, life or creation. All the Great Darkness truly desired is for the end of all things, for everything to be nothing once again, as it was before creation. However, this was untrue.[6]

The Darkness did not seek to undo the cosmos- it simply wished to engage with the light above, to participate and observe the great stories of the multiverse. In its own words, "your flicker is the only light I get."[11]

In the ruins of Multiverse-2, Pariah made psychic contact with a portion of the Great Darkness,[12] causing the fragment of the Great Darkness' power to be corrupted by his madness.[11]. This tainted portion of the Great Darkness became the The Empty Hand.

Pariah unconsciously used his corrupted fragment of the Great Darkness to exert his influence across reality. Though he believed he served the Darkness, in truth, it was under his influence, tainted by his own desires. Many beings unknowingly served his ends as they assaulted the cosmos, including Gog, the Anti-Life Entity, Extant, Superboy-Prime, and Mister Mind. Eventually, this tumultuous cosmic upheaval resulted in the Infinite Crisis, apparently resulting in the return of the multiverse, breaking the truce between the darkness and the light. The Source dispatched a new order of Monitors to contain and maintain this new multiverse, so that their efforts might slow the seemingly inevitable awakening of the Great Darkness.

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The Return

However, Darkseid, one of the few beings aware of the true nature and existence of the Great Darkness, had other plans. Darkseid manipulated prophecy and destiny to trigger a Final Crisis, intending to draw out the Great Darkness so that he might control it. His plans succeeded, but at the cost of his own life, resulting in the shattering of his Godhead. At this moment, when the Multiverse was weakest, Pariah's dark influence manifested in Mandrakk, the First Monitor, who it had corrupted. However, his son, Nix Uotan, activated the multiverse's immune system against this Ultimate Enemy: Superheroes. Mandrakk was defeated, and the Miracle Machine healed the fabric of the multiverse.

According to Doctor Multiverse, Pariah's influence touched Doctor Manhattan and pushed the quantum life-form to steal time and history from the heroes of Earth-0, a change that would echo out through the rest of the Multiverse. Elsewhere, the Right Hand of the Great Darkness, the hand it had once used to make truce with the Light, became something new under Pariah's influence- the Empty Hand. The Empty Hand grew an army of Gentry from the carcass of the old Multiverse, Multiverse-2.[6]

The Empty Hand made its base in the ruins of Earth 7, already destroyed at its behest, to construct the Oblivion Machine and end the never-ending tale of the super-heroes once and for all. Confronted by Superman of Earth 23 and several other heroes, it informed them that it would soon strike with legions at its command, and informed them it already destroyed "Multiverse-2" before banishing them back to Earth 8 so that it could complete its plans; they, in turn, formed Justice Incarnate and warned the heroes of 50 worlds in order to prepare against it.[13]

Pariah's influence continued to spread. Soon, Barbatos attacked, and nearly suceeded in sinking the whole of creation into the Dark Multiverse, beginning the Metal Wars. Though Barbatos and its servants were defeated, this set off a chain of events that resulted in a drastic restructuring of the multiverse.[6]

Dark Crisis

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The Darkness in the Dark Crisis

Pariah drew power from the Darkness to create worlds of his own to act as tailor-made prisons for the Multiverse's superheroes.[14] However everyone, including Pariah himself, assumed that the Darkness was controlling him and he was merely its "voice".[15]

Following the recreation of the Multiverse by the Hands due to Wonder Woman's actions,[16] Darkseid, his shattered godhead reformed, engaged in a renewed effort to steal the power of the Great Darkness for himself, utilizing a reborn Roy Harper, the Psycho-Pirate, and a brainwashed Barry Allen. After his plans were thwarted, he revealed to X-Tract that a great war was coming.[17]

Under Pariah's influence, the Darkness manipulated Darkseid into obtaining a crack in the Multiverse and delivering it to the Empty Hand, the Darkness's one willing servant. The Hand used the crack to open a rift into Multiverse-2 and crossed over, daring Darkseid to follow him. Darkseid did so, and was captured and brainwashed by the Darkness.

While working as an agent of T.R.U.S.T., Slade Wilson received a visions from the Weird of the danger of the Great Darkness,[18] and built a power base, vowing to use it to oppose the Darkness.[19] To this end, he seized control of T.R.U.S.T. (in actuality a new form of the Secret Society of Supervillains) and began shoring up defenses against the coming Darkness. However, as a result of a scheme by Geo-Force, Deathstroke was killed, and in the process of being resurrected by his followers, Slade fell prey to the Great Darkness' power, and served it as Pariah's general on Earth during the Dark Crisis.[20]

Justice League Dark realized that the Darkness, an elemental force which is neither good nor evil, was acting very strangely by recruiting and directing an army of supervillains.[21] They sent a task force, including John Constantine, into the Starheart to try and investigate the Darkness. The Darkness pulled Constantine away from the others and told him that it had no intentions of destroying the Multiverse and was not responsible for the Dark Crisis. The others found Pariah's Antimatter Chamber from the first Crisis at the heart of the Darkness, and Constantine realized that Pariah had corrupted the Darkness rather than the other way around as they had assumed.[11]



  • This character or object is an adaptation of Darkness, a character or object in traditional stories. These include, but may not be limited to religious texts, myth, and/or folk lore. More information on the original can be found at Wikipedia.org.
  • The Great Darkness is not to be confused with the Legion of Super-Heroes storyline, "The Great Darkness Saga".
  • The true nature of the Great Darkness was often mistaken for evil itself or a malevolent force seeking to return existence to nothingness by using puppets to weaken the Light. This was far from the truth, as the Great Darkness itself explained to John Constantine that the corruption had always been at the heart of them and that it would watch them undo it in glory or would watch their own hubris be their downfall. All the Great Darkness wants is to watch the great story of the Multiverse until it ends on its own.[11]
  • The Great Darkness is a fan of David Bowie.[11]



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