10 Darkest Storylines Not Set On Prime Earth

DC Comics is widely known for having a darker feel than Marvel and featuring darker heroes and villains like Batman, the Joker and Black Adam, who have just had a very successful run at the box office. Nevertheless, many of their stories are still full of bright spots.


Some stories, however, take the meaning of the word “dark” to a whole new level. These stories are filled with violence, despair and little hope for the world. However, the darkest storylines seem to be happening throughout the multiverse, allowing writers to slay fan-favorite characters without contradicting Prime Earth’s story. These are 10 of the darkest DC stories from across the multiverse.

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The dark knight returns

Arguably one of the most famous graphic novels of all time, The dark knight returns takes place on an Earth where Batman is retired, superheroes are illegal unless they work for the government, and Superman is the face of all registered superhumans.

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Gotham is overrun by gangs until Batman returns to help the people take Gotham back. The plot has dark elements throughout, including a key moment when Batman almost kills Joker, only for his nemesis to finish the job himself to make it look like Batman started killing. However, Batman’s survival after his battle with Superman and plans for rebellion show that there is still hope for this world.

freedom fighterDC freedom fighters

While the titular team may not be cooler than the Justice League, the Freedom Fighters story is steeped in darkness and a war lost.

The Freedom Fighters story is set in an alternate reality where the Axis powers won WWII, meaning the whole world is under Nazi rule, including a Nazi version of the Justice League. The freedom fighters are the only ones who can fight back, but it’s a slowly losing battle. While there is still hope for this world, a world so ruled is easily one of the darkest found in the multiverse.

GuardianBefore Watchmen Crimebusters DC Comics

Guardian is another famous DC comic that became a smash hit, so much so that a sequel, doomsday clockwas written to bring the characters into the mainstream DC Universe.

In an alternate timeline as the United States slowly moves towards World War III with the Soviet Union, a group of superheroes attempt to hunt down a superhero killer, coming into conflict with the government and one of their own. Guardian is a dark series that seeks to deconstruct the superhero genre, intertwining it with political messages and warnings, forcing the characters to make morally questionable decisions that could change the fate of the world.

injusticeInjustice Superman with red eyes

injustice shows Superman at his lowest, performing terrible deeds during his reign – and showcasing one of the darkest recent worlds in DC history.

In this story, Joker tricks Superman into accidentally killing his wife and unborn child, which also destroys Metropolis in the process. Enraged, Superman kills Joker and eventually takes over Earth, killing anyone who tries to stop him including characters like Green Arrow and the Green Lantern Corp. Watching Superman, the hero meant to be the purest force of good in DC, transform into A Murderous Dictator is enough to make any fan despair over the fate of the universe of injustice.

flash pointThe Flash in Justice League The Flashpoint Paradox

It takes place in another alternate timeline caused by the Flash. flash point takes over the world and completely transforms it into a chaotic, war-torn dystopian wasteland.

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As the Flash goes back in time to rescue his mother, an alternate timeline was created where Atlantis and the Amazons go to war and destroy the world in their struggle. Many heroes and characters are already dead, and more would die as the story progressed. Because of that, and the heavy violence and dark themes, it’s no surprise that this is one of the darkest comics out there.

Batman & DraculaBatman & Dracula

Decades ago, Batman faced the Lord of Vampires himself in the Batman & Dracula trilogy – and lost his humanity in the process.

After becoming a vampire to kill Dracula, Batman’s humanity is slowly lost over the course of the trilogy, eventually leading him to kill his entire villain gallery. In the end, his best friends are forced to hatch a plan to kill him, which Batman willingly carries out after a final fight that ends with no survivors. As dark as the story is, Batman’s ultimate realization of what has become of him shows that there was still some good in him in the end.

DCeasedDCeased Batman Mattina Cover

DCeased is widely known for having one of the best portrayals of zombie superheroes in comics, and that leads into the darkness that comes with it.

In this world, Darkseid’s Anti-Life equation changes, turning humans into zombies that spread unlife everywhere. This world is particularly dark considering that great heroes like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman have all succumbed to the virus and the survivors are forced to leave Earth. While there was a brief glimmer of hope after a cure was found, that hope may soon be gone as the final part of the DCeased The story is currently a work in progress and will feature countless worlds turned into zombie hordes.

Last knight on earthDC Batman, last knight on earth

Billed as “The Last Batman Story”, Last knight on earth follows Batman as he journeys through a post-apocalyptic world with the Joker’s severed, still-living head and tries to figure out what happened to the world. And what he finds is shocking.

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Turning its back on the heroes after a debate between Superman and Lex Luthor results in Superman’s death, the world has descended into chaos ruled by a mysterious being known as Omega. The heroes are all dead, and what few remain are led by Wonder Woman as the Resistance. The comic shows what happens when faith in heroes is lost, and the gory, brutal pages in it only make this case even clearer.

The Batman Who LaughsThe Batman Who Laughs wears a spiked helmet and armor

Batman Who Laughs quickly made a name for himself upon his debut, with fans wanting to see him in a live-action film. His origin story only goes to show how much of a sadistic criminal mastermind he is – and why his universe exists in the Dark Multiverse.

In this world shown through a one-shot, Batman is infected with Joker poison by a dying Joker. The poison consumes Batman, turning him into a psychotic criminal mastermind who murders all his allies and every single hero on Earth, and enslaves the remaining populace. The story serves as a lesson in what might become of Batman if he strayed from his ideals and how Joker should become.

DC vs Vampires

That Batman & Dracula The trilogy wasn’t the only time DC heroes messed with vampires. But the ongoing series DC vs Vampires makes Batman’s first fight with Dracula look like nothing.

In this world, vampires, led by the Vampire King Nightwing, slowly infiltrate society before striking all at once. They take complete control of Earth, turning almost every hero and villain into vampires and forcing the remaining humans into blood camps. What makes matters even grimmer is that even if the remaining heroes, led by Green Arrow, manage to defeat the vampires, the world is already in ruins and there is very little the heroes can do to fix everything already destroyed by the blood sucking nightmares .

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