DC Comics has created the best multiverse in comics, and it’s not even close. DC first introduced to multiverse to comics in 1953’s Wonder Woman #59, with Wonder Woman traveling to another Earth. Later, in The Flash #123, Earth-2 debuted as the home of DC’s Golden Age greats. Since then, DC’s multiverse has given readers amazing stories, allowing them to spend time with different versions of their favorite characters.
There have been several epic multiverse stories over the decades. Flashpoint is a favorite of DC brass, so the company has remade it in various media. 2022 saw a sequel, Flashpoint Beyond, a book that got a better reception from readers and critics than expected. It also set things up for another part in this alternate Earth’s saga. However, maybe DC should give Flashpoint its own book, something they’ve done before multiple times over the years, with examples stretching into the Silver Age.
A Quick History Of The DC Multiverse
DC does things differently than Marvel, and their respective multiverses, and how they use them, are quite different. A big part of that is the reason that the DC Multiverse debuted. DC wanted to bring back its Golden Age heroes, but the existence of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman in their history meant that the worlds would have to be separate. So, Earth-2 was basically the same as Earth-1, with a few different cities and their respective heroes. Earth-2 wasn’t going to be a one-off gimmick, it was going to become an important part of the DC mythos, just like it had been two decades before. Marvel’s multiverse was good for one-off stories, for the most part, with the publisher not really doing anything long-term with their multiverse until the ’90s. DC’s multiverse was created to be a long-term thing, especially somewhere like Earth-2.
For a while, Earth-2 was mostly appearing in Justice League of America. This book was also the home to most of the other multiversal adventures. The Justice League would go to Earth-X to help the Freedom Fighters battle the Nazi’s newest superpowered titan, have a few months having their own adventures and fighting League enemies like Dr. Light or the Key, battle the Crime Syndicate from Earth-3, and then have an adventure with the heroes of Earth-2. It was the way the book worked and fans loved it. They began to get very attached to the multiversal heroes, especially those of Earth-2, and DC started spending more time there.
By the 1970s, the crossovers between the generational heroes led to DC reviving All-Star Comics with issue #58, giving readers the adventures of the Justice Society and the other Golden Age heroes. They also began introducing new characters to Earth-2, like Power Girl and Huntress, and soon Earth-2 characters were appearing in the superhero anthology books like Adventures Comics, Superman Family, and more. In the ’80s, All-Star Comics became All-Star Squadron, and the children of the Justice Society got their own book with Infinity Inc. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t last long, as Crisis on Infinite Earths would do away with Earth-2, folding its characters and history into Earth-1, creating the hybrid Earth that was the home to post-Crisis DC. The DC Multiverse was gone, but that wasn’t the end of DC”s brilliant multiversal stories.
From 1985 to 2005, DC readers still got exposed to different Earths, in the pages of Elseworlds stories. These one-shots and miniseries would take readers to different worlds, where the heroes of the DC Universe were subtly or vastly different from what readers were used to. This lasted throughout the ’80s and ’90s. The ’00s would see a new generation of writers join DC, ones who had come of age during the Bronze Age of the late ’70s to early ’80s. They wanted to work in the DC Multiverse they had grown up in, not the DC Universe that was the modern reality. As the 20th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths got closer, these creators began the build-up to Infinite Crisis, a story that would finally bring the Multiverse back to prominence. The Multiverse would make its full return in 52, but DC didn’t really take advantage of it as much as they seemed like they were going to.
A Flashpoint Of Change
Flashpoint turned DC on its ear, both in the short-term of the story and with its far-reaching consequences. Flashpoint would birth two new universes – the first being theFlashpoint universe, where Barry Allen saving his mother’s life caused a world where Thomas Wayne became Batman and Martha Wayne became the Joker after Bruce was killed in Crime Alley, Superman was found by the government and experimented on underground for years, Cyborg was Earth’s greatest hero, and a war between the Amazons and Atlantis threatened to destroy the entire planet. This was the setting of Flashpoint and Barry Allen and Thomas Wayne’s method of saving the day created the New 52. This new DC Universe would give many heroes new origins, rebooting the history of the DC Multiverse.
During this time, it can be argued that every single book that DC was putting out was a multiverse book. However, if one was making that argument for Flashpoint, it would also have to be made for Crisis, so the point’s moot. What isn’t is that during this time, DC did do the most with its multiverse since its return in 52. The Justice Society of America had become popular with readers again through the ’00s, and DC gave those characters two of their own books – Earth 2, which began at the same time Justice League #1did, with Darkseid’s attack on Earth, and told the stories of the Wonders, and World’s Finest, which starred Huntress and Power Girl after they had been somehow transported to Prime Earth.
World’s Finest didn’t last the whole New 52, but Earth 2 continued to be published in some form or another until the end of the controversial reboot. Readers also got a book set on Injustice Earth during this period, fleshing out the bestselling video game. DC used its multiverse pretty well in the post-Flashpoint period, but the one world that wasn’t revisited was the Flashpoint Earth. As far as anyone knew, it had faded from existence and no longer existed. This idea was the dominant way of thinking until “The Button,” a DC Rebirth era crossover between Batman and The Flash. Meant to tease the Watchmen/DC crossover plot that was all the rage in those early Rebirth days, “The Button” also brought readers back to Flashpoint Earth with Flashpoint Batman making an appearance. This was the first time DC let readers know that the Flashpoint Earth still existed and it was the beginning of a slow burn that would end with Flashpoint Beyond, which brought Flashpoint Batman back to his world.
Flashpoint Beyond saw Thomas Wayne continually try to “fix” his world so Bruce would come back to life, but soon realized that was impossible. Instead, Flashpoint Batman built a new Batman family, as he became the adopted parent of Gilda Dent’s son and was able to bring Martha out of the Joker. The book also teased that Krypton hadn’t been destroyed, and Kal-El was sent as the vanguard for a Kryptonian invasion, which was now being led by his father Jor-El. Flashpoint Beyond set the stage for a return to Flashpoint Earth, leaving a lot of storytelling potential.
A Flashpoint Series Would Serve The New Plots Better
Flashpoint Beyond was able to grab readers because it focused on what was the best part of Flashpoint: the Batman stuff. In the modern era, DC loves to push Batman and Batman-related stories, but there’s a sameness to all of those Bat-books. Thomas Wayne’s Batman is a breath of fresh air for an often staid character. DC puts out tons of Batman books, many of which take place in their own universes, but they’re all basically the same Batman. Flashpoint Batman isn’t and he has own character, motivations, and skills. Batman is inescapable for DC fans, so it was nice to get a Batman that wasn’t exactly what all the others was.
Flashpoint Beyond is part of the DC Multiverse now, and because it has its own Batman front and center, it’s only a matter of time before DC returns to it. The publisher just can’t help itself when it comes to Batman. And sure, most fans would be satisfied with just a sequel miniseries where the new Flashpoint Batman Family led the heroes of their Earth against Jor-El’s Kryptonians. However, that would be wasting a perfect cromulent universe of characters. The new Batman Family and how their dynamic affects the Flashpoint Gotham, where Thomas Wayne is a casino operator with the Penguin as his Alfred, would be great to see play out. Will this new Wayne family cure Martha and allow her to heal or will it drive her to become an even worse Joker? These are solid plots that DC can explore in an ongoing series.
There’s also the question of the rest of the Trinity. DC’s most recent multiversal tales can be very Batman oriented, but they also explore the dynamic between the Trinities of their respective universes. The Injustice comics and Dark Knights of Steel, two of the longer running multiversal stories of recent years, all had Batman in a starring role but also used Superman and Wonder Woman, both of whom have their own stories in the Flashpoint universe. Superman’s is all tied up with the Kryptonian invasion, allowing creators to explore how he feels about this Earth. Superman was held captive for decades, held underground. Since then, he’s escaped and traveled the Earth, so it would be interesting to see if this character, who should hate humanity completely, may have softened towards humanity. How that affects the Kryptonian invasion, whether he would fight on his father’s side or choose to fight for Earth, and how his choice affects things going forward are the kind of great story hooks that would keep readers coming back.
Wonder Woman also played a role in Flashpoint Beyond. Batman freed her from the clutches of the Atlanteans as a distraction, allowing her to get a measure of revenge for the Amazons, which appear to have taken some massive losses in their war against Atlantis. There’s a lot to explore there. Would Wonder Woman’s return allow Themyscira to make a comeback in their war? Would it matter at all? How has imprisonment changed Wonder Woman? There’s also the other characters of the Flashpoint Earth that Flashpoint Beyond didn’t deal with. What’s Cyborg been up to? Where’s Citizen Cold? What about Dick Grayson and his rebels in Europe? Flashpoint did a great job of creating an entire DC Universe back when it came out. There is so much to work with that DC really needs to make this into an ongoing series.
Flashpoint Earth Could Become The New Earth-2
Earth-2 was the most popular Earth for a long time. DC did a great job of developing it over the pre-Crisis years, and that development meant that the characters of Earth-2 were destined to play a bigger role in the future of DC. The publisher consolidated those beloved heroes and villains into the history of the post-Crisis Earth and soon built their corner of the DC Universe into a beloved one. This changed during the New 52, and DC sent them to their own Earth again. Now all of these characters are home on one Earth. Earth-2 holds nostalgia for many fans, but it’s surplus to requirements right now.
However, Flashpoint Earth could and should follow in its footsteps. Flashpoint Beyond set up enough plots for a return to that Earth to take place in an ongoing series instead of another mini. There’s a Batman at the center of the whole thing, which is crucial for DC. There’s an opening story arc with the Kryptonian invasion. There’s the Trinity and a new dynamic between them. There is an entire universe of characters to choose from.
DC has used its multiverse perfectly over the years. Setting ongoing books there has given readers an alternative to the mainline DC Universe. Flashpoint Earth is very popular, proven by Flashpoint, and the many miniseries and adaptations it spawned, including The Flash (2023) film. Giving this Earth its own ongoing series could make it into the new Earth-2, a fresh world full of surprises that comic readers love and return to month after month.
Thomas Wayne Batman and the entire Flashpoint reality returned in a recent DC miniseries, proving this universe can sustain an ongoing comic. Read More