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DCMultiverseMap

Right. This is the overall cosmology interpretation I came to after reading far too many comics over way too many years. It is just my opinion.

It is not meant to be an official page for the wiki. I can't stress that enough. I have (hopefully) convinced someone more qualified to do that. But I thought it would be a shame to let this languish in my sandbox.

Not every section talks about tiers and stuff. That's because I've come to the personal conclusion that most of DC's cosmology doesn't fit very well in a tiering system based primarily on mathematical terms like infinities. Not saying the system is bad, just that I'm not sure they mesh too well. Or, more likely, I'm not nearly well versed enough in it to figure out how they mesh. Some people would look at a lot of this stuff and, out of a desire to get bigger tiers, try to default to 1-A. Again, I'm not so sure. The relationship between mortals and metaphysical realms is very paradoxical from a tiering system standpoint, in my opinion. But you can see that for yourself by reading below.

Intro

Although the most commonly used image of the DC Multiverse, the above image is not fully comprehensive, meaning not everything in this article can be found on it. Citations for scans can be found at the bottom of the page.

The following sections will serve as an overview of the main layers and structures in the cosmology of DC Comics. It is primarily intended to cover the most important realms, and so should not be taken as a completely exhaustive list of every minor realm that has ever appeared. Furthermore, the DC Multiverse contains various collections of universes called multiverses (in the lower case), but these should not be thought to refer to the entirety of DC, called the DC Multiverse, the DCU, etc.

This page will contain major spoilers for stories as recent as February 2020.

Canon and Continuity

Following the drop-off in sales of the New 52, DC's co-publishers, Jim Lee and Dan Didio, decided to shift the company's gears in the direction of "canon over continuity". They voted against restricting creators to a strict continuity (i.e. New 52 Continuity, Post-Crisis Continuity, etc.) and wanted to open up a wider playing field for potential stories. Such a philosophy had been present before in the form of Hypertime (created by Grant Morrison and first implemented by Mark Waid), but never on such a company-wide level.

To this end, 2015 saw two stories that greatly shaped things to come: Multiversity, which ended in June, and Convergence, which ended in July. Grant Morrison provided a cosmological framework that both clarified and integrated a huge number of disparate concepts, arguably the most important of which was the idea that the 52 Universes were just the "Local Multiverse". And then, following the conclusion of Convergence, it was made company policy that all stories, even Elseworld ones, were now fair game for authors in the wider DC canon. This company philosophy of "Everything Matters" carried forward into the present with runs like Jurgens' Action Comics, which showed that even far-reaching continuities like Lego DC were part of the wider canon, Doomsday Clock, which introduced the Metaverse concept and the idea that no reboot ever truly removed the past from canon, and Snyder's Justice League, which fully embraced the idea of Hypertime (scans showing the above examples are present in their relevant sections further below).

Three of the four images below have the links in the picture:

As you can see, company philosophy has finally caught up with the idea of Hypertime, created decades ago. As such, the goal of this article is to examine the cosmology of DC Comics in as comprehensive a manner as possible.

Caveat #1: Dimensions and Scott Snyder

With the recent Justice League run by Scott Snyder, there is potential for confusion regarding his usage of the word "dimension." He uses it to mean planes of existence that govern levels of reality. In this way, his Fourth Dimension, for example, governs all of Time, and his Fifth and Sixth Dimensions are unassociated with normal geometric dimensions (in the case of the Fifth, this had already been the case for decades). This should have been self-evident from the start, however, as his First Dimension, points, do not correspond to the 1-D in geometric dimensions. Likewise, his Second Dimension, lines, do not correspond to 2-D, and his Third Dimension, matter, is obviously different from geometric 3-D[2].

In addition, his Second Dimension is not even meant to have a spatial connotation in the first place, as it is literally stated to include things like effect-causing actions, each individual moving in a "line"[3]. It should be clear why this is not a geometric spatial dimension in any sense of the term.

Finally, perhaps the biggest wrench in the idea that realms such as the Monitor Sphere are literally 4D, even if you ignore the above and assume the first four are three spatial + one time, is Mr. Mxyzptlk's own words. Seen in the third scan below: "The Multiverse, as you live it, puny heads, exists in four dimensions..." He is talking to the Justice League and explaining to them that they experience the first four dimensions. In Snyder's terms, stasis, action, the world of matter, and the passage of time.

Also, please note that even in the real world, as well as in DC's cosmology, that geometric spatial dimensions do not include time. The concept of 4D is entirely dependent on context, often being a shorthand method for writing "3 spatial + 1 time". Temporal dimensions will be discussed separately in this article.

Caveat #2: "Universe", "Multiverse", "World", and "Creation"

Any one of the above terms can be used to refer to the totality of everything. Context is king here. Do not assume that because your favorite character can destroy the "multiverse" that they can destroy all of the Map. Likewise, do not assume that because your least favorite character says "universe" that they mean a single, physics-based spacetime continuum.

The Material Realms

Structure of a Single Universe

This section will describe the physical size and number of geometric spatial dimensions of a single universe. This information logically applies to every universe within the Orrery because universes all occupy the same physical space[7] at different vibrational frequencies within it.

First, it is important to note that this section is describing universes with a lowercase "u". When talking about realms within the Orrery such as Earth-1 or Earth-2, etc., DC officially considers each "Universe" with a capital "u" to mean the universe + alternate timelines of that universe + alternate dimensions.[8]

Three-Dimensional Size

Universes in DC are far larger than the observable universe of our real world. Infinitely larger, in fact. Without relying on flowery language, there are multiple statements of universes being truly infinite in size.

There is of course the commonly cited material below, which reference distances in the trillions of light years. These statements and the ones above are not mutually exclusive.

Geometric Dimensions

As for geometric spatial dimensions, refer to the third scan below regarding the upper limit of individual universes. Remember, there are higher levels of spatial dimensions in DC's cosmology, but only this one specifically refers to the upper limit of spatial dimensions for an individual universe.

Temporal Dimensions

Finally, a single universe has one temporal dimension, giving it a linear timeline.

Tier

Universal feats should normally be regarded as either High 3-A or Low 2-C. Why not 1-B? Due to our Power-scaling Rules for Marvel and DC Comics, it is strongly advised not to immediately consider universal feats as encompassing all 11 spatial dimensions unless spatial dimensions are explicitly referenced in the context of the relevant storyline. Furthermore, in cases of characters creating new universes, we cannot assume those universes automatically conform to the same spatial dimensions and would assume Low 2-C.

The Metaverse, Local Multiverses, and Infinite Universes

Metaverse

The Metaverse as used here was introduced in Doomsday Clock as a way of ironing out continuity issues and different multiverses within the greater DC Multiverse. As shown above, it is only one universe, the so-called "main" universe, that is central to each reboot. As it is only one universe, manipulating or destroying the Metaverse is not inherently grounds for anything above Low 2-C.

Local Multiverses

Convergence was the first extremely direct confirmation that a previous iteration of the multiverse had been saved following its reboot, but the Metaverse has expanded that concept. Each reboot that changes the Metaverse and results in a new multiverse does NOT remove the previous iteration from existence. They all exist together, and always have. As such, destroying or threatening a "multiverse" is heavily dependent on the context and era of the story, and whether or not the entire Orrery itself (discussed further below) was threatened.

Total Number of Universes in the Orrery

As seen below, the actual number of universes in DC is infinite. This was the case in Pre-Crisis, Post-Crisis, and Post-Flashpoint continuity. Every event/decision, no matter how small, spawns a new timeline.

Tier

Multiversal feats involving the entirety of timelines are infinitely above baseline 2-A, unless of course the feat specifies a particular amount of timelines, in which case it can range from anywhere between 2-C and 2-A.

Antimatter Universe

The Antimatter Universe is a singular realm within the Multiverse, unlike the various positive matter universes. Its creation and nature are bound to the Anti-Life Equation and most of its inhabitants are inherently evil rather than good. While its physical size is much larger than any positive matter universe, meaning destroying all matter within it would be a much higher degree of High 3-A, destroying it entirely would still just be a Low 2-C feat.

As shown below, the Antimatter Universe of the prior version of Creation, made by Perpetua, surrounded everything else, separating it from the Void beyond. This version would have likely been of a higher-dimensional nature than the current one, but it will likely never apply to any character.

Higher Spatial Dimensions

DC's cosmology is repeatedly referenced to have a large number of higher spatial dimensions beyond the 11 that make up a single universe. Different numbers are given by different characters with differing amounts of cosmic knowledge. They are listed below, in ascending order. The first, third, and fourth are Post-Crisis statements. The fifth is from DC's Pre-Flashpoint Wildstorm imprint, which canonically crossed over with mainline Post-Crisis DC on many occasions and, most importantly, shared the Bleed with DC even before it was folded over properly in 52. The second is Pre-Crisis, and the last is Post-Flashpoint.

The Cathexis storyline[40] demonstrates that beings which exist with higher geometric dimensions are infinitely beyond beings with only three, and qualify for higher tiers as a result. The Cathexis, for example, are Tier Low 1-C due to their sixth-dimensional existence. They exist on a qualitatively higher level than cubelanders and their geometric dimensions make them invulnerable to cubelander attacks. Their creation, the sentient energy Id, grants wishes and is portrayed as unstoppable to cubelanders. They were only made beatable because the Flash was able to use their own creation to split them into beings with three spatial dimensions, at which point their creation was ordered to self-destruct and they were banished back to their homeworld.

Bleedspace and the Nature of the Fifth Dimension

First of all, note that the Fifth Dimension is not actually a physical realm, but it is placed here for ease of explanation.

Bleed

The Bleed, also called Bleedspace and Hyperspace, is a dimension that can only be conventionally accessed by moving up through higher dimensions[41]. It is the dimension that contains all universes, serving as the membrane keeping them apart and the "Bulk" encompassing them. The Bleed itself, despite being a dimensional space to lower-dimensional beings, is composed of Ultramenstruum, the essence of Life according to Monitor Zillo Valla.

Fifth Dimension

The Fifth Dimension, as far back as the 90s, was defined as a plane completely surpassing geometric spatial dimensions, as well as surpassing time. Instead it was defined as Imagination, a designation carried forward into current comics by Scott Snyder.

Due to their existing outside the Third and Fourth Dimensions (Snyder-defined), beings from this level of reality can interact with the lower Dimensions in tangible ways. They can "physically" interact with Time itself, and their attacks upon each other can accidentally damage many places and times[49] in the lower Dimensions.

It is a very reasonable interpretation that the Bleed itself is in fact, or at least has a direct relationship with, the Fifth Dimension. The House of Heroes, rotating through the Bleed, was stated to rotate through the Fifth Dimension, and Mr. Mxyzptlk refers to Imagination as the blood of the Multiverse. The Fifth Dimension itself is revealed to be made of a substance depicted like blood.

In addition to the above points, the Monitors refer to Bleed as the substance of life itself, draining it out of Creation and draining the life out of stories (this evidence can be found in the Monitor Sphere section further down). Given that Mxyz uses "unimagination" and reduces the story back to sketches, everything seems to line up.

Finally, it is important to note that the Bleed clearly exists differently on different levels of reality. To the mortals living within normal universes, it is a higher-dimensional Bulk space. To the Fifth-Dimensional beings and presumably to the Sphere of the Gods (a realm composed of story, which we go over below), it exists as an energy flowing through Creation. And to the Monitors, it exists as a tangible substance that can be handled and consumed like a drink, draining Life out of the story of Creation.

The Orrery of Worlds

The Orrery of Worlds is the construct encompassing the universes and the Bleed/Bulk between and around them, originally created during the first contact of Monitor-Mind the Overvoid with the new Creation within it. It also contains the Rock of Eternity and House of Heroes which exist outside the universes. When Science Monitor Dax Novu contacted Creation and was shocked by the existence of story, Monitor-Mind created a concept to contain Creation, scabbing it over in divine metal. At the bottom of the Orrery is the World Forge inhabited by Alpheus the World Forger and his Dragon, Barbatos.

The third scan above should raise a question in the minds of those familiar with Grant Morrison's Multiverse map, given that the scan comes from the very same issue the map does. Where is the Sphere of the Gods? If the Orrery is the divine metal that scabbed over the Flaw in the Overvoid, containing it, and the Monitor Sphere, made out of the Overvoid around it, looks upon the Flaw, the Sphere of the Gods would seem to be missing entirely. There is only one plausible explanation, and it is very important that the subsection on Wonderworld is read before skipping ahead to the Sphere of the Gods.

As shown in the prior section about geometric dimensions, feats of creation or destruction at the level of the Orrery or Bleed are 1-B, given the levels of existence contained within.

The Boundary of the Orrery

Speed Force

The Speed Force is a dimension of energy that touches all parts of the Orrery. It is described as the limit to matter on the main Multiverse Map by Grant Morrison. Max Mercury, the most knowledgeable speedster of the Flash Family, stated that the Speed Force is the kinetic boundary between the present and the "time barrier". To get a better idea of what that means, we will need to examine a realm called the "Timestream". Despite the confusing name, this dimension does not refer to a universe's timeline. First, examine the scans below.

Timestream

In the Speed Force, time does not exist in a linear fashion. Rather, all pasts and presents exist at once, with the entrance to the Timestream visible beyond. The Timestream, as shown below, "contains" all times within the Orrery.

Given statements on the nature of Hypertime discussed further down, along with the fact that those within the Timestream can view timelines as discrete entities, it is reasonable to suggest that this dimension is what Grant Morrison refers to in The Return of Bruce Wayne as "plane time" (two temporal dimensions), whereas normal universes have "line time" (one temporal dimension). It is also reasonable to assume that the realm known as the Heart of Chronos is synonymous with the Timestream, given its near-identical depiction and function.

Do note that it is completely impossible to say with 100% certainty where this realm would be on the Multiverse Map. However, due to the Wonderworld material below, the fact that the Orrery is an encasement for the entire Flaw, and the fact that the Timestream either intersects or borders the Speed Force, it is very likely that the Timestream is not actually a dimensional layer above the Speed Force, but rather part of the boundary of the Orrery itself.

Wonderworld

Wonderworld is an enormous, primal world orbiting the perimeter of the Orrery. Despite having very few appearances, it was deemed important enough by Morrison to dedicate an entire entry to on the left side of the Multiverse Map, and it gives us some very important information that helps to tie several disparate ideas together.

As seen in the scans above, Wonderworld is defined consistently as being located on the outermost limit to space and time. Both in writing, and in its depiction on the Multiverse Map, where it is shown to be on the outer edge of the Orrery, stated to be orbiting Creation itself (Creation clearly defined here as the material multiverse).

The Metaphysical Realms

These realms are those existing beyond our conception of a physics-based spatiotemporal multiverse. Many DC writers are fond of collectively referring to them as Realms of Consciousness, the Imaginal Realms, the Far Realms, and the Distant Realms. Most of them exist within what was later termed the Sphere of the Gods. They are one reason DC is somewhat of a difficult verse to constrain within a rigid tiering system, because their very nature defines them as illogical and incomprehensible to a human being that is thinking in terms of hierarchies. They are paradoxically more real than the material realms, and yet they often depend on the material realms to define their image[79].

First of all, some background information will be needed to properly frame a lot of the concepts discussed herein.

Let's start off with this[80]:

DCImaginal1

Writer Jerry Prosser explains exactly why these realms are difficult to analyze: a human being cannot describe events and stories taking place beyond the concepts of time and space without paradoxically framing them in those two concepts. Keep that in mind as we move forward.

Next, examine the following two images:

Plato theorized that material reality is just a lesser, shadowy copy of the ideal reality, the Realm of Forms/Realm of Ideas. By their very nature, Ideas completely transcend the concepts of space and time. Plotinus incorporated this thinking into his ideas, splitting reality into very general layers. There is an all-encompassing divine oneness called the One/Unknowable, which emanates into a lesser reality called the Nous/Intellect which contains Platonic Forms and the World Soul (split into the collective human Soul as well as the soul of Nature), below which is the world of matter, where individual souls reside in material bodies and are subject to the laws of the material cosmos.

Finally, familiarize yourself with the concept of the implicate and explicate order. Created by theoretical physicist David Bohm, this is (on a very basic level) a kind of "scientific" interpretation of Platonic cosmology. The implicate is a primal reality wherein space and time as we understand them are not the determinants for existence; the explicate, our material reality, is what we experience, where things like matter, time and space are derived from the fundamental implicate order.

'What does this even matter?'

Nothing, just some passing statements in random comics. Unless of course there's a plethora of evidence that DC functions pretty much exactly in the manner described above.

Elemental Realms

The Green, the Red, the Grey, the Rot, the Clear, the Melt, the White, etc.

These realms are a bit more complicated to analyze than the Sphere of the Gods because they have multiple layers to them. Often they are simply referring to the realm pertaining to the Earth, one single planet, while other instances refer to the collective whole that encompasses the entire multiverse (and sometimes different sublevels, like galaxies and universes). Furthermore, take the Rot as an example. A layer near the surface was absolutely not beyond material time, although it did have an altered flow of time[83], while the deepest layer was shown to be a timeless void[84], explicitly stated to be different from something like a portal or loop in time.

As these realms all exist in the same general manner (although it is heavily implied that the realms pertaining to the life web are lesser in some way than purer elemental realms such as the Melt and the White), there is no problem scaling them to each other, especially since all the relevant information comes from the "least powerful" realms.

The Elemental Realms are listed here prior to the Sphere of the Gods because realms in the Sphere, like Limbo (not Comic Book Limbo), are stated to be beyond them[85], although it is made clear that the Elemental Realms touch them.

The Red

The Red is the elemental source of animal life. It has existed since the beginning of Creation and houses the Platonic Forms for all animals. The full scope of the Red transcends space and time altogether, although if we were to only talk about the Red as it pertains to one universe's Earth then that would not be true.

It is necessary to look at what level of power comes with being one with the entire Red, and for that we look to the Animal Masters. Since the dawn of Creation, beings have been granted the duty and power of imagination to serve as Animal Masters, those responsible for imagining into being new forms of animals.

What happened after the first scan is extremely important. Animal Master-level power, in other words being in total control of the entire Red, enabled them to not only transcend into the Void and take root there, but also to recreate all of Creation[94] from that level. Buddy described it as being in a state of pure mind, everywhere and nowhere at once, a hidden universe behind the material one where thought is the template.

The Green

The Green is like the Red, but for flora instead of fauna. Also similarly to the Red, it is referred to inconsistently from context to context. Many times the stories will only refer to the Green pertaining to planet Earth in one universe, while other stories make it explicitly clear that the entire Green far surpasses that.

The Parliament of Worlds

When Swamp Thing became one with not only the Green but the Clear, the Melt, the White, and the unnamed Fire Realm, he transcended into the Parliament of Worlds. This is a metaphysical level of reality where global consciousnesses exist (take a glance back at Plotinus' World Soul concept). They are capable of constructing realms of space and time to help others (like Alec Holland's spirit) but themselves have no basis in material reality.

Elemental Realms and Becoming God

Elemental realms provide a path to true Godhood in that achieving perfect oneness with them grants enlightenment - the realization that all is One and that by extension, you are the One. This has happened twice - once with Animal Man and once with Swamp Thing.

  • After realizing the truth of the implicate and explicate nature of reality, Buddy became the Body of God and the Soul of the World[102]. He realized that everything is a part of the whole, and this understanding allowed him to transcend into a state where he was the whole. In other words, he climbed up the hierarchy on Plotinus' map, just as Neoplatonism says you can.

The Sphere of the Gods

SphereOfTheGods

The Sphere of the Gods is the overarching realm containing the godly and magical realms of the DCU, and possesses an immaterial, metaphysical nature. It is home to the Archetypal Powers and Intelligences of the DCU (note here the blatant references to Plato and Plotinus). The realm is stated to be made of literal possibility, and formed as an encompassing sphere around Creation before Creation had even finished forming. It is deeply tied to, and possibly indistinguishable from, the ideas and beliefs of mortals.

The very first thing you should note here is from the Map itself. Refer back to Wonderworld, stated to orbit creation itself on the utmost limit to space and time. From that, it is quite clear that Morrison is taking his Platonic references seriously, as the Realm of Ideas is supposed to completely transcend the concepts of space and time by their very nature.

The Sphere's realms, inhabitants, and stories, from an in-universe point of view, are made of pure narrative/idea, with its inhabitants playing out predetermined roles[104]. Inhabitants in these realms, such as in Faerie, have to make their own "time" in order for events to happen[105], as the actual material time does not touch them, as shown in various subsections below. It is notable that both demons[106] and angels[107] are imprisoned and punished by subjecting them to time.

Beginning with the absolute basics: what is the Sphere of the Gods, literally? It is pure possibility, not part of the material world, contains Platonic, archetypal worlds populated by living ideas, and is "fiction" (narrative).

The Sphere is the source of magic, the fundamental power of creation and belief, and destroying said energy would result in the destruction of the material world as a necessary consequence. Again, tying back into philosophy, as the material world is an emanation of the Realm of Ideas.

It is odd that a realm of "fiction" should be so important that destroying it would necessarily destroy everything below it, when the things below it are what shape its form. The best in-universe explanation, written by Neil Gaiman, of the importance of the Sphere of the Gods is given by Queen Titania of Faerie to Tim Hunter: "They give your world meaning. They do not exist, and thus they are all that matters". In other words, the Sphere of the Gods is both stated to be, and explained as, a copy-paste of Plato's Realm of Ideas. Put another way, by writer Simon Spurrier, they are "realer than real".

This concept of existing more than material existence was connected to the common statement "Darkseid Is." by the YouTube channel The Imaginary Axis. Introduced by Grant Morrison, it is similar to Yahweh's statement to Moses, translated one way as "I am he who is." The implication being, the object of the statement really exists; lower beings like those within the Orrery have a less real existence in comparison.

Events in the Sphere of the Gods work based on narrative, not on normal causality, and it is not only recently that they were stated to be made not of matter and space and time but of possibility. These cosmological ideas date back to the early 90s, when other writers (Morrison, Prosser, Gaiman, etc.) were also first referencing Platonic ideas and the theory of implicate and explicate orders.

Nature of the Inhabitants of the Sphere of the Gods

Assuming the seemingly throwaway references to Plato and Plotinus on the Multiverse Map are to be taken seriously, there should be significant evidence that the inhabitants of the Sphere of the Gods adhere to the nature of the Realm of Forms/the Nous. In other words, they need to display evidence that they actually function like Platonic Ideas.

Below are scans ranging across decades, showing consistency regarding the nature of the Far Realms' inhabitants.

First, the very basics: they manifest in the material world as emanations of their true forms, called godheads. This is straight from Plotinus.

Next, existing as Forms:

Finally, existing outside the material realm's spatiotemporal physics:

Following subsections will compile the evidence for the realms themselves conforming to Platonic nature.

Collective Unconscious

Harking back to neo-platonic terminology, this is pretty much literally the World Soul, the collective ideal form of mortal souls, split into individual souls upon emanating down to the material world.

It seems reasonable to assume that the reason belief and narrative are so inherent to the Sphere of the Gods is that the crest of the Collective Unconscious of creation's mortals lies "above it". There is important precedent for collective belief having important retroactive impacts on godly beings, and even Creation itself. For example, the Dream of Cats story from Sandman, as well as the external forces described by the Presence in the original Lucifer run.

The Collective Unconscious has always existed on a level beyond real time and space, with the only "time" and "space" being that which a mind imagines for itself. Thoughts can spontaneously create actual universes that are more "real" than the real universe. Then recall Queen Titania's statement about the distant realms above.

Mortals and the Sphere of the Gods

Without special methods such as boom tubes or magic portals, the Sphere of the Gods can only be reached normally by transcending physicality to exist as pure mind[147]. It is also possible for mortals, in transcending physicality, to use the power of widespread belief to elevate themselves into the Sphere of the Gods as true residents, seen with the Lords of Order (and presumably Chaos) below:

These methods coincide, again, with the neo-platonic method of returning up the ladder through contemplation, prayer, and belief, making yourself closer to the divine Oneness at the very top.

Mortals can enter the realms of the Sphere via magic portals, but once there they can only interact with a "shell" of the realm due to its extradimensional nature[149].

And finally, in case it needed to be confirmed: the Sphere of the Gods is without a doubt not part of the Orrery of Worlds.

The Silver City, Heaven, and Hell

The Silver City, much like Urgrund of the Old Gods in the subsection below, is described as existing before Creation, and also shared the similarity of Lucifer's explosive fall occurring at the dawn of time, much like the final sundering of Urgrund occurring at the dawn of time.

In addition, various writers play with the idea that all other gods and their myths and/or pantheons are just retellings of the Truth[151]. For example, all wars are mere shades and reflections of Lucifer's rebellion[152].

When beings from these realms manifest in the mortal world, they are not made of matter[153], no matter how much they look like it.

These realms seem to completely transcend any notion of distance and time. Heaven is stated to be beyond space and beyond time, but in addition to that, scale is meaningless and there is no time passage.

The Silver City looks down upon Creation, holds the Tower of Unendingly High which contains the Logos, and is the birthplace of Will and Contemplation. Recall that Contemplation, to philosophers like Plotinus, is the route to heading back up the ladder to achieve Oneness.

Hell is the opposite of Heaven, and is its reflection.

The Godworlds (Urgrund, New Genesis, and Apokolips)

Called many names by various peoples, the Godworld of the Old Gods is most commonly referred to as Urgrund. It's second-most used name is Asgaard, not to be confused with the Asgard of Norse mythology. Urgrund's existence is referred to as the Second World (World meaning era of Creation). It was formed in the center of the Ancient Cosmos, a realm repeatedly referred to as existing before Creation and time. Urgrund was so vast that human minds cannot comprehend the smallest part of it. Unfortunately, the Godworld fell to conflict when Lokee metamorphosed into the God of True Evil[168], resulting in its sundering. In the fires of the Old Gods' destruction, beings called the Shadow Elements came into being. They ruled the ashes for a timeless time prior to creations' rebirth. The destruction of the Second World released the Godwave, a flood of Source energy powerful enough to remake Creation at least up to the level of New Genesis and Apokolips[169].

The twin worlds of Apokolips and New Genesis were formed from the equal halves of the planet of the Old Gods after it shattered. These worlds exist within their own universe, with their own space and stars, what their inhabitants refer to as the "true world" in comparison to the "mortal universes".

This realm, later revealed in Multiversity to be within the newly-christened Sphere of the Gods, is repeatedly stated in varying ways to exist:

Finally, a couple miscellaneous but relevant facts:

Skyland and Underworld

Skyland is the encompassing realm that contains the realms of the Gods of the Third World. It is home to at least 100 million Pantheons[188], each one a reflection of the Presence's true creation story[189]. This interpretation was further supported in the same run by showing how Kali is actually an aspect of Michael[190], despite Kali being viewed as a discrete entity by the Hindu Pantheon. The various Pantheons were able to come into existence due to the Source energy seeded through the reborn cosmos[191] when Urgrund exploded as time began. They derive power from mortal belief[192].

Much like other residents of the Sphere, inhabitants of these realms can incarnate in the material realms while their true forms are abstracta[193].

Underworld is the overarching realm that contains the specific afterlife realms of all the Pantheons of Skyland, such as Hades and Pluto. It also contains the Phantom Zone, the dimension discovered and used by Kryptonians to banish prisoners to.

Finally, it is important to note that Gods can and do conform their realm to accommodate human perspective when they have visitors.

Dream and Nightmare

Possibly named for the convenience of categorization, "Dream" is similar to Skyland in that it contains various magical realms, including the Halls of the Endless (i.e. the Dreaming, the Fulcrum, etc.), Faerie, Gemworld, the realms of Santa and the Easter Bunny, and more. It is notable for being the initial birthplace of the Pantheons[207]. After all, gods and their stories are reinterpretations of the truth filtered through mortal belief, and where else are these beliefs conceived but in Dream?

Comic Book Limbo

Limbo, but more accurately defined in Animal Man as Comic Book Limbo, is the realm where the forgotten of the Orrery end up. It is not a permanent consignment - characters that were forgotten but are later reintroduced in stories leave Limbo and return to lower levels of reality. There are no stories in Limbo except for the Book of Infinite Pages, which contains every story of Creation. By definition, and it is explicitly stated to be so, this means that Limbo has no space and no time, much like the Sphere of the Gods. It goes one step further into nothingness, however, since the Sphere of the Gods is made of story, while Comic Book Limbo does not even have that.

Limbo exists separately from the Orrery, floating between it and the Thought Robot. It was stated that, when crashing out of the Orrery to end up in Limbo, the Ultima Thule was drifting into the Void.

The Monitor Sphere

The Monitor Sphere is home to Nil, the world of the Monitor race. As the mystery of the Orrery and Thought Robot caused Monitor-Mind to invent narratives to go along with it, the Monitor Sphere and Nil took shape outside the Sphere of the Gods. Recall from the prior section how moving from the multiverse to Comic Book Limbo required passing through the Void. This is reflected in the statements that Nil is part of the Void and that Monitor nanotech arrives from the Void to attack Limbo[224]. As you will see in this section, the Monitor Sphere is, similar to Science Monitor Dax Novu, a part of the Overvoid given shape by hyper-stories.

The beings of this world are notable for being the only ones (that we know of) capable of bottling and consuming Bleed as a tangible substance[225]. This is extremely significant: we know that, from the perspective of lower mortal "germs", Bleed is the Bulk Space enclosing the worlds of the Orrery. We know also that Bleed is the substance of Life, from Zillo Valla, and Imagination, from Mxyzptlk. In metafictional terms, it is what gives life to the stories of the DCU. But the Monitors are capable of extracting it as a tangible substance, draining Creation dry. This interpretation is confirmed by Morrison himself: what Mandrakk is doing by extracting Bleed as a consumable is sucking the life out of the story. See the scans below:

On to Nil itself. You may have noticed a pattern by now of elevating levels of existence corresponding to less and less "real-ness" as we would think of it in real life. Beings in the Orrery are made of matter and operate within physical space and time. Beings in the Sphere of the Gods are pure idea and operate within metaphysical story. Beings in Limbo lack even story. And Nil takes this pattern to the next level, as far as reasonably possible before achieving the pure absolute Nothingness/Oneness of the Overvoid.

The world of the Monitors is the Blank, the Nil, the Gone, the edge of everything where form and meaning surrender to the nothingness of the Overvoid. Its inhabitants have 5555 terms for "nothing", and presumably a similar number of types of nothing. See the scan[228] below:

Nil1

As a quick aside, Monitor tech operates in concept space and can be used to construct realities[229]. Note once again the adherence to Platonic, "form --> matter" cosmology.

Moving on to more concrete properties, we begin with Grant Morrison. According to him, Nil is an archetypal world. We could have gathered as much from the reference to Primal Forms (note for the umpteenth time in this article the on-the-nose reference to the World of Forms concept) in a Fundamental World, but it's always good to have direct confirmation. We then move on to the oft-misinterpreted lines regarding scale, space, and time being more profound in Nil. In the above scan, note that Nil is where "form and meaning surrender to the Overvoid". This is because the entirety of the Monitor Sphere/Nil are the thoughts of the Overvoid[230], making a narrative for itself based on the Orrery and the Thought Robot. Everything is more meaningful and profound in Nil because, unlike the lower realms, Superman is interfacing with the active mind of the Overvoid. For example, time, rather than being an abstract temporal dimension, is a clockwork pattern painted across the sky. And to further distinguish Nil from the Sphere of the Gods and the Orrery, Nil's "story" is a hyper story that self-assembles with the thoughts of the Overvoid.

Finally, although the writing quality is subjective, the Unexpected series did not make Nil just a normal place people can travel to. It was accessed because a unique Nth Metal isotope resonated with Ultramenstruum to create a hole in reality, sending the team outside the multiverse[236].

The Dark Multiverse and the Great Darkness

The Dark Multiverse is an unintended side effect of the process of creating new universes/timelines coupled with the treachery of Barbatos. It consists of infinite worlds of nightmare, similar to the infinite timelines of the main DCU, and it also has its own dark version of the Sphere of the Gods, referred to variously as the Other Place, the Abyss, and, most importantly, the Great Darkness. It is directly stated that Perpetua's original Creation had nothing to do with the formation of the Dark Multiverse.

The importance of the bottom row of scans below cannot be overstated when it comes to determining the location of the Dark Multiverse. Although certain realms (such as the Dreaming and the Phantom Zone) have stronger connections than normal to the Dark Multiverse, the Dark Multiverse itself is specifically stated to be nowhere in the main DCU.

In the 2018 relaunch of Justice League Dark, James Tynion integrated a very old concept with a very new concept - that of the Great Darkness seen in Alan Moore's celebrated Swamp Thing run, and the Dark Multiverse created in the Rebirth era by Scott Snyder. Tynion specifically references the actual Great Darkness storyline from Moore's Swamp Thing, when Sargon and Zatara died.

Those who have read issues 49 and 50 of Swamp Thing Vol 2 will remember that the Great Darkness was not sleeping in hell, but in the void beyond. Translating that into modern cosmology, the Great Darkness would have existed somewhere outside the Sphere of the Gods, which is exactly what Tynion did when he brought back the Great Darkness as the dark opposite to the Sphere of the Gods, connected to the Dark Multiverse, and used it as the origin location for the Otherkind.

The Great Darkness/Dark Sphere of the Gods is not only the home of the Otherkind, it is also synonymous with/contains the Shadowlands, stated to be the place the primordial darkness retreated to when the Creator said, "Let there be light." Certain individuals are able to tap into this realm's power, which serves as the origin of their abilities.

The Source Wall and the Totality of Creation

The World Tree

Also referred to as Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowledge, and the Tree of the Seven Gates of Dawn and of the Deep Time, this structure is a foundation for all Creation and could potentially impact more than one Creation in the Void. It is located in the Abysmal Plane, a realm described as "nowhere, where nothing really exists". The realm can be reached by falling through cracks in time to a place where "there is no past, present, or future". Given the "meaning beyond understanding" statement below, it is likely that the Tree and the Abysmal Plane are simply metaphorical forms for a cosmic structure impossible to depict. The first scan describing Yggdrasil's relationship to Creation implies that the full body of Yggdrasil extends beyond Creation itself. This does seem to be confirmed, as Yggdrasil's roots can extend even into non-space and non-time after Creation's end[246]

It seems that being a "foundation of Creation" means Yggdrasil is the source for a number of concepts vital to Creation's structure. Time being one of them, as seen above, but also the elemental realms like the Red[256] and the Green[257].


The Promethean Galaxy/Final Barrier/Source Wall

First, background: In the earliest days of Jack Kirby's cosmology, the concept of the Source Wall was not entirely formed, and it was instead referred to as the Final Barrier. The Final Barrier was located in its own special part of reality and incorporated aspects, such as the bound Promethean Giants, of the concept later fully fleshed out as the Promethean Galaxy.

The Promethean Galaxy was odd because, while it was the "border" so to speak of the part of reality containing the Source Wall, it did not make sense for a literal galaxy to always be the entry point to the front of the Source Wall, which was always said to surround literally everything, across every dimension and realm. As the Source Wall became a fully developed concept used by multitudes of writers, the Promethean Galaxy and Final Barrier were two important concepts left "on the table" but somewhat unexplained.

In the Justice League run by Scott Snyder and James Tynion, the duo go a long way toward synthesizing things. The Promethean Galaxy is revealed not to be a literal galaxy but a realm as old as Creation with a loose fabric of reality, where things lose perspective and all roads to the Source come to a close. This reveal lines up nicely with the fact that, whenever mortal characters would journey to the Source Wall in past comics, it is always, or almost always, done by characters using portal abilities.

The Source Wall surrounds the entire DC Multiverse, separating it from the Overvoid. It exists in all realms and transects all dimensions. Due to the inconsistent nature of comics, there have been a few times where passing through the Source Wall only on a universal level allows beings to travel between universes[259], either into the Bleed or into past versions of Creation.

'Tier'

Characters cannot be called 1-A, or even Tier 1, for existing in, or affecting, the Promethean Galaxy/Final Barrier/Source Wall. It should be obvious why: this realm exists on every level of reality. A Tier 4 being that portals themselves to the outer edge of their reality to the Promethean Galaxy is still a Tier 4 being, and they are only experiencing the Promethean Galaxy on a lower-dimensional level.

The Sixth Dimension

The Sixth Dimension is a plane of existence where the prior version of the Multiverse was designed and set in motion by Perpetua. It is stated to be beyond Imagination and beyond everything on the Multiverse Map. To our current understanding, it was also only made accessible to lower beings like Mr. Mxyzptlk after the Source Wall was broken open. These facts imply the Sixth Dimension is outside even the Source Wall.

The Greater Omniverse

There are an infinite number of Creations that rise and fall in the Overvoid, made by various Creators such as the Super Celestials. Although we may refer to them as such in our human terms, they cannot truly be said to come "before" or "after" one another, due to the lack of any kind of time in the Overvoid. One of the other Creations is likely, though not confirmed, Multiverse-2[271], which was destroyed by the Empty Hand.

The various Multiverses are evaluated by the Judges of the Source, with the ones that failed to achieve their perfect state consigned to destruction.

The idea of the fall of Creation back into nothingness, at least the main DCU Creation, is often referred to as the Mahapralaya, the Sleep of Brahma, when all Creation folds back into itself to return to the nothingness it emerged from. Creation is then reborn in the timeless time, with duality being born first and then the rest[276].

Father Time, Mother Night, and the True Extent of the Endless

When all was void, when no Creation had yet been made, the Council of the First Circle set down the rules for what would be allowed. One of the members of the Council, Glory, is referred to as Shekinah, which is the "Glory of the Divine Presence". This makes it extremely likely that the Council of the First Circle are aspects of God.

Night and Time are the parents of the Endless, and it is their interplay that makes all versions of Creation possible. This is one of many instances in which knowledge of greater context is needed to accurately interpret the text. In the context of this story, as well as in all of Gaiman's work and most Vertigo titles, "universe" is used for its less physics-based meaning: the totality of all Creation. This is shown by Desire's statement[282] and the location of the City of the Stars[283]

Now we must examine exactly how "endless" the Endless are. It is displayed more than once that they are explicitly not bound to one Creation. When we see Dream, or Destiny, or Death, we are only looking at one point of view. Furthermore, Destiny is drawn transcending Creation on the Multiverse Map. See the scans below:

Now, if the Council of the First Circle set down the rules for everything when all was still Void, and Dream (presumably his siblings as well) was present, that means that the true extent of the Endless goes far beyond one single Multiverse, it is inherent to God's entire Greater Omniverse. And that is supported by Death appearing in Lucifer's completely separate Creation.

Mansions of Silence

Little is known about the realm called the Mansions of Silence other than that it is supposedly beyond Death's reach, houses all the rejected Creations, is not "real", is far beyond Heaven, and is where Lucifer consigned Tsuki-yomi after killing him, preventing him from passing into non-existence like other dead Gods. The Mansions and the rejected Creations within were destroyed by Lucifer.

Hypertime

We now come to Hypertime. It can be said that there are two lenses to view this concept through: a basic, functional level, and a complete, metafictional level. That is not to say that there are two Hypertimes or that one is more correct than the other, but that most stories referencing it will simply depict the first for ease of explanation.

The basic: Hypertime is defined by the Fuginauts as an abstraction[295] that contains every universe/timeline in DC Comics. It is distinct from the Timestream in that, while the timelines all exist in the Timestream, they burrow through[296] Hypertime. The Hypertime abstraction has a manifestation, likely an emanation going by Morrison's cosmological contributions, called the Branefold Interior, where the Fuginauts exist not only to maintain boundaries between timelines but also between the Multiverse and Dark Multiverse.

At its most basic level, Hypertime is a concept that allows all parts of DC to interact with one another. However, to understand what the "Hypertime abstraction" actually is, we need to look deeper. First, watch the following short clip of Grant Morrison explaining Hypertime.

Hypertime

Hypertime

The key takeaways from the video are that 1) Hypertime is essentially all of DC publishing history from our perspective, not from an in-universe perspective, 2) It is a tool for connecting everything regardless of notions of "continuity", and 3) Morrison sometimes uses geometry as a metaphor for discussing Hypertime, calling it "cube time". This is shown in The Return of Bruce Wayne.

Grant Morrison describes DC Comics as a war between the ink (published material) and the white page (God). Hypertime as it was conceived is basically all the ink.

The Source/The Overvoid/The Presence = God

Despite generally being associated with different parts of DC cosmology, these various entities are actually one entity when viewed in their transcendent whole as the Void beyond all Creations. One God, with each of the three being points of view or potentially emanations, all existing as completely transcendent to the Greater Omniverse.

God has appeared in various aspects to lower beings but is in truth an unbounded Void, infinite and eternal, where all things become one and, simultaneously, none. We saw above that all the Creations of the Greater Omniverse sum up to zero in comparison.

Another way some writers refer to the state of ultimate oneness and nothingness is Brahman/Sea of Brahma, the universal spirit, God's unconscious, etc. As described, they are the exact same thing as the previous three, just referred to in a different way.

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