[[quoteright:350:[[ComicBook/CountdownToFinalCrisis http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/DC_Universe_4129.jpg]]]]

->''"It's the DC Universe. The end of the world isn't even an excuse for getting off work anymore."''
-->-- '''Linkara''', ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall''

The DC Universe is the SharedUniverse belonging to Creator/DCComics, established in 1934 and now the oldest major [[ComicBooks comic book]] publishing company. This is mostly used as a vehicle for their extensive SuperHero mythos, although the [[FantasyKitchenSink nature]] of the universe allows for almost unlimited storytelling potential in many different genres.

The DC Universe is primarily responsible for establishing the concept of the super-hero in popular culture, with Franchise/{{Batman}}, Franchise/{{Superman}} and Franchise/WonderWoman as some of their oldest and most popular characters. Their introduction of the ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII was also the first real super-hero team book, using the [[CrossOver cross-over]] to establish the first shared universe in comics history. Their massive early popularity was stunted by the invention of UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode which nearly killed the industry, and many of the [[{{Bowdlerise}} bowdlerised]] stories from this era are responsible for several negative stereotypes about the medium. There was a revival in the late fifties and early sixties with the creation of newer more imaginative updates of characters like Franchise/GreenLantern and Franchise/TheFlash, leading to DC's biggest characters forming the [[Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justice League]]. To explain the difference in continuity, they established a {{Multiverse}} with the different versions of the heroes occupying different worlds. The popularity of this team book also inspired Creator/MarvelComics to publish their own team book ComicBook/FantasticFour, leading into an era of more maturely written super-hero stories dealing with the development of characters and more serious problems.

One of their most controversial moves was the epic storyline ''ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'' during the eighties, an effort to untangle their years of ContinuitySnarl by destroying the Multiverse and establishing one linear continuity for all of the characters to co-exist in. This included revising much of the universe's history and updating the origins of many characters. The Multiverse was brought back during ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis, although the mainstream continuity has only been changed in minor ways reflecting the story-telling needs of the writers. There was a second, much more widespread reboot of the DC Universe in September 2011 with all titles being restarted back to number 1, with these titles referred to as the ''ComicBook/New52''. The titles received new number 1 issues again in June 2016, with the exception of ''Action Comics'' and ''Detective Comics'', with ''ComicBook/DCRebirth'', combining the original DCU with the New 52 in different ways.

Their distinguished competition is the Franchise/MarvelUniverse, published by Creator/MarvelComics. The two lines appear similar at first glance, but there are some very subtle differences between the two. While there are many exceptions, the main difference is that the super-hero community tends to have a stricter sense of [[BlackAndWhiteMorality black-and-white morality]] at DC. This is written as a mature philosophical stand-point, dealing with the heroic archetype and their place as trusted members of society; in the DCU the general public tend to have greater respect for their heroes and treat them with higher esteem. In turn, the heroes of the DCU must undergo the trials of having to keep their respect and morality, even when it goes under fire.

[[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused with]] [[UsefulNotes/MajorLeagueSoccer DC United.]]


[[folder:Comics series and characters set in TheDCU]]
For a more complete list of DC comics see ComicBook/DCComicsSeries.

* ComicBook/AdamStrange
* ComicBook/AmbushBug
* ComicBook/AmethystPrincessOfGemworld
* ComicBook/AngelAndTheApe
* ComicBook/AnimalMan
* ComicBook/{{Aquaman}}
* ComicBook/TheAtom
* ComicBook/{{Azrael}}
* ComicBook/{{Aztek}}
* ComicBook/{{Batgirl}}
* Franchise/{{Batman}}
* ComicBook/{{Batwoman}}
* ComicBook/BatwomanRebirth
* ComicBook/BlackAdam
* ComicBookBlackCanary
* ComicBook/BlackestNight
* ComicBook/{{Blackhawk}}
* ComicBook/BlackLightning
* ComicBook/BlackOrchid
* ComicBook/BlueBeetle
* ComicBook/BlueDevil
* ComicBook/BoosterGold
* ComicBook/{{Brainiac}}
* ComicBook/BrightestDay
* ComicBook/TheButton
* ComicBook/CaptainAtom
* ComicBook/CaptainCarrotAndHisAmazingZooCrew
* [[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel]]
* ComicBook/{{Catwoman}}
* ComicBook/ChallengersOfTheUnknown
* ComicBook/{{Checkmate}}
* ComicBook/TheCreeper
* ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths
* ComicBook/DarkNightsMetal
* ComicBook/{{Darkseid}}
* SelfDemonstrating/{{Deadman}}
* ComicBook/DemonKnights
* ComicBook/DialHForHero
* ComicBook/DoctorFate
* ComicBook/DoomPatrol
* ComicBook/DoomsdayClock
* ComicBook/ElongatedMan
* ComicBook/EnemyAce
* ComicBook/{{Etrigan}}
* ComicBook/FinalCrisis
* ComicBook/{{Firestorm}}
* Franchise/TheFlash
* ComicBook/{{Flashpoint}}
* ComicBook/FlexMentallo
* ComicBook/FreedomFighters
* ComicBook/GlobalGuardians
* ComicBook/GothamAcademy
* ComicBook/GothamCityGarage
* ComicBook/GreenArrow
* ComicBook/GreenLantern
* ComicBook/HarleyQuinn
* ComicBook/TheHauntedTank
* ComicBook/{{Hawkman}}
* ComicBook/{{Hourman}}
* ComicBook/{{Huntress}}
* ComicBook/IdentityCrisis
* ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis
* ComicBook/{{Isis}}
* ComicBook/JimmyOlsen
* [[ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}} John Constantine]]
* SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker
* ComicBook/JonahHex
* ComicBook/JusticeLeagueGenerationLost
* Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica
* ComicBook/JusticeLeagueOfAmericaRebirth
* ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica
* ComicBook/KingdomCome
* ComicBook/KryptoTheSuperdog
* ComicBook/TheLazarusContract
* ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}
* ComicBook/LexLuthor
* SelfDemonstrating/{{Lobo}}
* ComicBook/LoisLane
* ComicBook/{{Lucifer}}, prior to receiving his own series
* ComicBook/MadameXanadu
* ComicBook/{{Manhunter}}
* ComicBook/MartianManhunter
* ComicBook/MotherPanic
* ComicBook/TheNewGuardians
* ComicBook/{{Nightwing}}
* ComicBook/ThePhantomStranger
* ComicBook/PlasticMan
* ComicBook/PowerGirl
* ComicBook/TheQuestion
* ComicBook/RedRobin
* ComicBook/RedTornado
* ComicBook/ResurrectionMan
* ComicBook/{{Robin}}
* ComicBook/TheSandman
* ComicBook/ScareTactics
* ComicBook/SecretSix
* ComicBook/SgtRock
* ComicBook/{{Shadowpact}}
* ComicBook/{{Sideways}}
* ComicBook/TheSilencer
* ComicBook/TheSpectre
* ComicBook/{{Starman}}
* ComicBook/{{Static}}
* ComicBook/{{Steel}}
* ComicBook/SuicideSquad
* ComicBook/{{Superboy}}
* ComicBook/{{Supergirl}}
* Franchise/{{Superman}}
* ComicBook/SwampThing
* Creator/TangentComics
* ComicBook/TeenTitans
* ComicBook/TheTerrifics
* ComicBook/{{Tomahawk}}
* ComicBook/UnknownSoldier
* ComicBook/VandalSavage
* ComicBook/{{Vixen}}
* ComicBook/TheWarlord
* ComicBook/WonderGirl
* The ComicBook/WonderTwins
* Franchise/WonderWoman
* ComicBook/{{Zatanna}}

[[folder:TV series set in (parts of) TheDCU]]

Franchise/{{Superman}}-based (mostly in Metropolis, but given ol' Kal-El's range all bets are off):
* ''Series/TheAdventuresOfSuperman''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNewAdventuresOfSuperman''
* ''Series/TheAdventuresOfSuperboy''
* ''Series/LoisAndClark''
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' (Takes place in the Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse)
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' (Obviously, not set in Metropolis. Well, not for the majority of the series. Set mostly there towards the end, though.)
* ''WesternAnimation/KryptoTheSuperdog''
* ''Series/{{Supergirl|2015}}''
* ''Series/{{Krypton}}''

Franchise/{{Batman}}-based (in Gotham City, with rare field trips):
* ''Series/{{Batman}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' (Takes place in the Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse)
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' (Takes place in the Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse)
* ''ComicBook/BirdsOfPrey'' (short-lived series focusing on "Batman Family" members)
* ''WebAnimation/GothamGirls'' (Takes place in the Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse, female-centric online cartoon series)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman''
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold''
* ''WesternAnimation/BewareTheBatman''
* ''Series/{{Gotham}}''

[[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel]]-based
* ''Series/{{Shazam}}!''
* ''Series/TheSecretsOfIsis''
* ''[[WesternAnimation/HeroHigh Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam!]]''
* scrapped 2008 WesternAnimation

* ''Series/TheFlash1990''
* ''Series/TheFlash2014'', a spinoff of ''Series/{{Arrow}}''.

* ''Series/{{Arrow}}''

* ''Series/WonderWoman''

* ''WesternAnimation/StaticShock'' (takes place in the Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse)

* A successful 1960s cartoon was why he was included in the WesternAnimation/{{Superfriends}} to begin with.
* Failed {{pilot}}

* ''WesternAnimation/{{Superfriends}}'' (Along with its many sequels and permutations.)
* ''Legends of the Superheroes'' (A short-lived 1970s series which attempted to bring the campy style of ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' to the JLA, and failed miserably.)
* ''Justice League of America'', a failed PilotMovie based around the post-''Justice League International'' incarnation of the team.
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' (Takes place in the Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse. Crawling with minor and obscure heroes and villains.)

Other TV series:
* ''ComicBook/SwampThing'' (1990 live action series, 1991 cartoon)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheZetaProject'' (takes place in the Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse)
* ''Series/{{Powerless|2017}}'', a {{work com}} following the day-to-day lives of insurance adjustors in the DCU.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' (This may or may not also be in continuity with the DCAU below, despite its very different look and style, and fan debates over this continue as the WordOfGod has been lacking, instead giving what amounts to the continuity version of a ShipTease.)
* ''WesternAnimation/LegionOfSuperHeroes''
* ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' (Though it shares a title with ''ComicBook/YoungJustice'' it only includes a few elements from the book and includes a wide variety of DCU stories, including Teen Titans and Justice League.)
* ''Series/LegendsOfTomorrow'', a live-action show spinning off from ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' and ''Series/TheFlash2014''.

[[folder:The DC Animated Universe]]
A subset of Franchise/TheDCU is the Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse (a.k.a. the "Timmverse" or the "Diniverse"), consisting of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' and every other series, movie and comic that takes place in the same universe. It has its own {{canon}}, with more than one CrossOver between series, and is best known for its distinctive artstyle, based on the works of Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. This universe originally ended with the final season of ''[[WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Justice League Unlimited]]'' though it has been revisited since. See it's own page for a more complete list of media set therein.

Series in the DCAU:
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries''
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries''
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheZetaProject''
* ''WesternAnimation/StaticShock''
* ''WebAnimation/GothamGirls''
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' and ''Justice League Unlimited''

[[folder:DC Universe Animated Original Movies]]
In 2007, DC and Creator/WarnerBrothers began a new series of direct-to-video animated movies called WesternAnimation/DCUniverseAnimatedOriginalMovies. Mostly they focus on individual characters, including some, like Franchise/WonderWoman, who have never had their own animated series. All movies with the exception of the ''Superman/Batman'' titles (which are loosely related to each other) are standalone stories.

* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanDoomsday''
* ''[[ComicBook/DCTheNewFrontier Justice League: The New Frontier]]''
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanGothamKnight''
* ''WesternAnimation/WonderWoman2009''
* ''WesternAnimation/GreenLanternFirstFlight''
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanBatmanPublicEnemies''
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueCrisisOnTwoEarths''
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanUnderTheRedHood''
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanBatmanApocalypse''
* ''WesternAnimation/AllStarSuperman''
* ''WesternAnimation/GreenLanternEmeraldKnights''
* ''ComicBook/BatmanYearOne''
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueDoom''
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanVsTheElite''
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheDarkKnightReturns''
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanUnbound''
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueTheFlashpointParadox''
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueWar''

[[folder:The DC Extended Universe]]
Starting in 2013, the Franchise/DCExtendedUniverse includes adaptations of DCU characters into a [[SharedUniverse shared movie universe]].

* ''Film/ManOfSteel''
* ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice''
* ''Film/{{Suicide Squad|2016}}''
* ''Film/{{Wonder Woman|2017}}''
* ''Film/{{Justice League|2017}}''
* ''Film/{{Aquaman|2018}}''
* ''Film/{{Shazam|2019}}''

[[folder:Other DC Movies]]
* (1941) ''Film/TheAdventuresOfCaptainMarvel''
* (1943) ''Film/TheBatman''
* (1949) ''Film/BatmanAndRobinSerial'' (sequel to 1943 movie)
* (1966) ''Film/BatmanTheMovie''
* (1978) ''Film/SupermanTheMovie''
* (1980) ''Film/SupermanII''
* (1982) ''Film/SwampThing''
* (1983) ''Film/SupermanIII''
* (1984) ''Film/{{Supergirl}}''
* (1987) ''Film/SupermanIVTheQuestForPeace''
* (1989) ''Film/TheReturnOfSwampThing''
* Burton-Schumacher 'verse
** (1989) ''Film/{{Batman}}''
** (1992) ''Film/BatmanReturns''
** (1995) ''Film/BatmanForever''
** (1997) ''Film/BatmanAndRobin''
* (1997) ''Film/{{Steel}}''
* (2004) ''Film/{{Catwoman}}'' (InNameOnly adaptation of ''ComicBook/{{Catwoman}}'')
* (2005) ''Film/Constantine''
* Film/TheDarkKnightSaga
** (2005) ''Film/BatmanBegins''
** (2008) ''Film/TheDarkKnight''
** (2012) ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises''
* (2009) ''Film/{{Watchmen}}''
* (2010) ''Film/JonahHex'' (InNameOnly adaptation of ''ComicBook/JonahHex'')
* (2006) ''Film/SupermanReturns''
* (2011) ''Film/GreenLantern''
!!The defining characteristics of The DCU:
* BigGood: Franchise/{{Superman}} is traditionally the chairman (and often acknowledged as the most powerful member) of the Justice League, and when not acting in his capacity as a Leaguer most other heroes tend to defer to his authority and judgment if only out of respect. Sometimes generalized to the "Big Three" where Superman, Franchise/{{Batman}}, and Franchise/WonderWoman collectively comprise the Big Good of the JLA. The JLA ''itself'' is in a sense the Big Good of DCU superteams and/or the metahuman community in general.
** Explicitly shown in the ''Trinity'' maxi-series, to the point where the three become gods.
** In any story involving the entire Bat Family, Batman will be this even more so than Superman. [[TheManBehindTheMan Alfred Pennyworth]] [[BattleButler is a kind of this]] even more than Batman.
** In a similar capacity, [[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel]] is often treated like this, even in comparison to Superman, possibly due to ChildrenAreInnocent. It's explicitly stated in the comics that Billy Batson would be Marvel full-time to help people, if not for the wizard Shazam insisting that Batson himself deserves some happiness in his life, too.
** The Guardians of the Universe in ''ComicBook/GreenLantern'' used to be this for the [[Franchise/TheDCU DC Universe]] but [[DependingOnTheWriter the more cynical modern take on them]] has them acting aloof and manipulative instead.
** As of the ''Blackest Night'' arc, the Big Good for the DC Universe is The Entity, the embodiment of the Light (as in "let there be") that created the universe.
*** LightIsNotGood as it turns out -- the Entity's unforgiving of deviation from its plan.
* CanonInvasion: DC has quite a few character who initially belonged to other companies prior to being bought out. Examples include:
** Back in UsefulNotes/{{the Golden Age|of Comic Books}}, DC was formed from three nominally separate companies: Detective Comics, All-American Comics, and National Publications.
** The characters of Fawcett Comics, such as [[ComicBook/{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel]] and the Marvel Family.
** The characters of Quality Comics, such as ComicBook/PlasticMan, Kid Eternity, and the ComicBook/FreedomFighters.
** The characters of Charlton Comics, such as ComicBook/CaptainAtom, ComicBook/BlueBeetle, and The Question.
** The characters of Creator/MilestoneComics, such as ComicBook/{{Static}}, ComicBook/{{Hardware}} and ComicBook/{{Icon}} & Rocket.
** The characters of the Red Circle (formerly owned by Franchise/ArchieComics) such as the Mighty Crusaders, the Shield and the Web.
** The characters of Creator/{{Wildstorm}} Comics, such as ComicBook/{{Stormwatch}}, Grifter, ComicBook/TheAuthority and the ComicBook/WildCATs, who have joined the mainstream continuity (along with the people in the Creator/VertigoComics line) as of the ComicBook/New52. Alongside Wildstorm, they got the rights to Creator/AmericasBestComics, with the partial exception of ''ComicBook/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'' (which was creator owned by Creator/AlanMoore and Kevin O'Neill and is currently published by Top Shelf, a subsidary of Creator/IDWPublishing).
* CityOfAdventure: To each hero his own -- Metropolis for Superman, Gotham City for Batman, Central City for The Flash, Coast City for Hal Jordan, Bludhaven for Nightwing.
** WhereTheHellIsSpringfield: Perhaps each hero has his own city because he can't locate anyone else's.
*** This is being averted in modern days, where it's been established that Gotham is in New Jersey and Metropolis is in Delaware.
*** Gateway City (where Wonder Woman used to hang out before she moved to Washington) is in California.
*** So is Coast City (Green Lantern Hal Jordan's town.)
*** Keystone City (home of Golden Age and modern-day The Flashes) is in Ohio, according to JSA #15.
*** However, it's since been retconned as being located in Kansas, like Smallville, but near the border with Missouri (where Central City, home of the Silver Age Flash, is located), as per Flash vol.2 #188 (published in 2002), in which Wally West builds a bridge between the two cities.
*** Speaking of California, they inverted the usual DC practice of fictional adventure towns based on real places, by taking a real place (San Diego) and ''sinking it into the ocean,'' transforming its inhabitants into merpeople in the process. Thus it became the fictional underwater city of "Sub Diego," which ComicBook/{{Aquaman}} protected, natch.
*** Green Arrow ended up in an unusual situation with regards to this during the New 52 and Rebirth era. Traditionally he is from the fictional Star City, but during the New 52 they made him the protector of real life city Seattle. Then as part of Rebirth's return to the status quo, a group of villains blew up Seattle, ''bought the land'', and built Star City on its ashes. So yeah... That happened.
* ContinuitySnarl: To the extent that at times it feels like the whole purpose of DC's output is trying to resolve its own continuity problems.
* CrisisCrossover: The Trope Codifier with the ''Crisis on Infinite Earths''.
* CrossoverCosmology: The Greek Pantheon, via Wonder Woman show up most often. DC is also home to Kirby's Fourth World which in modern storylines is considered the replacement of the old pantheon. The [=DC=]'s version of Myth/NorseMythology played a prominent part in Creator/NeilGaiman's ''ComicBook/TheSandman'' and in other stories. It is far more mythologically accurate than that of the ''Franchise/MarvelUniverse'' (for instance Thor has red hair, Loki is Odin's brother). Incidentally the earliest appearance of Thor in DC was drawn by Creator/JackKirby before going to Marvel.
* DemotedToExtra: Practically every [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] character save for the ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica's core team has either been killed off as CListFodder or relegated to the team's reserves. It's hard to imagine that the Red Bee once had his own backup series.
** Lampshaded in James Robinson's ''ComicBook/{{Starman}}'', where the Red Bee is seriously PISSED OFF during a Thanksgiving with dead superheroes.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: People who say "DC Comics" are really saying "Detective Comics Comics".
** Debatable. "Detective Comics" could be considered the adjective. Effectively, it'd be "The comics of Detective Comic."
*** This could be "Detective Comics' Comics", but that isn't obvious from just "DC Comics".
* {{Descriptiveville}}: Major offender, a lot of cities have rather bland names.
* EarthShatteringKaboom: The DC Universe has a species of giant space critters called Sun Eaters, who do just that.
* EasilyConqueredWorld: Alien invasions Tuesday, underground monsters Thursday, and evil masterminds on Friday. If you're looking for an excuse to get off from work, you damn well better have lost your entire city, and even then, you're lucky.
* EasyRoadToHell: In both the [[Franchise/TheDCU DC]] and [[Franchise/MarvelUniverse Marvel]] 'verses there have been examples of people getting sent to Hell with magic, rather than through any fault of their own. Granted, in most such cases they were able to get out later.
* {{Elseworld}}: The TropeNamer. During the '90s and early '00s, DC's {{Elseworld}}s imprint showcased a great many "what if" tales that carried on the tradition of [[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] "imaginary stories"; the best-known was ''ComicBook/KingdomCome''. Since TheMultiverse was brought back, many of these have become full-fledged {{Alternate Universe}}s.
* {{Flanderization}}: In 1983, Batman quit the [[Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica Justice League]] and created a new team called the Outsiders after Superman saying he would not lead the League in saving Lucius Fox from being a hostage in a far away country for diplomatic reasons, and this lead to a dynamic within the DC Multiverse wherein Batman would be portrayed as a maverick and Superman a boy scout. While they patched things up later that year, 1986's ''ComicBook/TheDarkKnightReturns'' (which took place in a possible future) made Batman the ultimate outlaw anti-hero, and Superman a tool for the UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan of every political cartoon of the '80s. In the revised DC Universe, DC ran with this dynamic of Superman and Batman being at odds for about a decade before it just kind-of ran out of steam, though the recent ''Batman/Superman'' title and other ComicBook/New52 material revisited it.
* FlyingFirepower:
** ''ComicBook/{{Batman}}'' villain Firefly is this, possessing a jetpack and an arsenal of incendiary weapons.
** ''ComicBook/GlobalGuardians'': Fire, a Brazilian woman who has ''[[TechnicolorFire green]]'' WreathedInFlames and flies around. Later joined the ComicBook/JusticeLeagueInternational, creating a solid career for herself.
* GreaterScopeVillain: A few beings qualify since the New 52 (and, in-universe, even before).
** Darkseid, the first villain the Justice League faced, has been conquering the multiverse, and is responsible for the invasion [[spoiler: and subsequent destruction]] of Earth-2.
** [[spoiler: [[ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths The Anti-Monitor]]]], even more dangerous being, who made the Crime Syndicate to escape their world (Earth-3) and destroyed it. [[spoiler: He is going to kill Darkseid and is in league with his daughter]].
** [[spoiler: Brainiac]], easily number #3 on this list, his true form as giant artificial entity, capturing cities from different timelines and universes before their destruction. Vril Dox Brainiac guy is just one of his pawns.
** [[spoiler: Empty Hand]], sinister entity that led the Gentry to the invasion of the Multiverse. Currently, just decided to wait. Probably qualifies as THE Biggest Bad.
* InNameOnly:
** DC Comics created several characters during UsefulNotes/{{the Golden Age|OfComicBooks}}, but by the end of WWII the interest in superheroes died down, and most titles (except Superman and Batman) were closed or moved to other genres. UsefulNotes/{{The Silver Age|of Comic Books}} began with the relaunch of Flash... besides the name and the speed, Barry Allen had nothing in common with Jay Garrick. The same thing was done with Franchise/GreenLantern, ComicBook/{{Hawkman}}, and others. But the prize goes to ComicBook/TheAtom, who went from a rough-and-tumble boxer who was kinda short to a physicist who could shrink to subatomic size.\\\
Though in this case, things were {{retcon}}ned twice. The first time, it had been revealed that the Golden Age characters lived on [[AlternateUniverse Earth-2]], while UsefulNotes/{{the Silver Age|OfComicBooks}} characters lived on Earth-1.\\\
The second time it was retconned to fit into the new continuity created by ''ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths''. Alan Scott, for instance, was revealed to have received his power from the Starheart, an artifact created by the Guardians of the Universe (i.e., the same guys who made the Franchise/GreenLantern rings), and Jay Garrick and Barry Allen were later revealed to both have received their power from the "speed force".
** Since DC's business theory (such as it is) is about hanging onto trademarks as long as possible, they have a long history of reusing names in some odd fashion or another. Such as the 1940's superhero Johnny Thunder, the 1950's cowboy Johnny Thunder, and the 1980's noir detective Jonni Thunder. Or all those unrelated characters named ComicBook/{{Starman}}. This often leads to the point where a story tries to [[ArcWelding reconcile these different incarnations somehow]].
* IntraFranchiseCrossover:
** Of all {{Crisis Crossover}}s DC Comics had in its history, the most fitted to this trope is during ''ComicBook/FinalCrisis'', especially when Franchise/{{Superman}} goes into the [[ComicBook/TheMultiversity Multiverse]] in ''Superman Beyond'' tie-in and meet a lot of his alter-egos in parallel universes, with a lot of known Supermen like the [[ComicBook/SupermanRedSon Red Son]], as well new versions of him, like Overman (a Nazi-Aryan Superman) and President Calvin Ellis (basically UsefulNotes/BarackObama as the Son of Krypton). All of them worked together to stop Darkseid and end the Crisis.
** A first genesis of this was with ''ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'', in which Superman met his Earth-2 and later [[ComicBook/SuperboyPrime Earth-Prime]] counterparts, which became a major part of the plot of its sequel ''ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis''.
** And going even more backward, all starts with ''[[Franchise/TheFlash Flash Of Two Worlds]]'', in which Earth-1 Flash (Barry Allen) first encounters with Earth-2 Flash (Jay Garrick) after both discovered the existence of the other since Barry accidentally crossed the "vibration barrier" between [[AlternateUniverse dimensions]]. This was just the start of the CrisisCrossover events DC would have during all its history.
* {{Irony}}: Superboy Prime was initially DC Comics' way of making fun of fanboys (a StrawFan). Recently the explanation for any inconsistencies in the DC Universe is that ComicBook/SuperboyPrime punched reality so hard that it ''[[CosmicRetcon changed history]]'' (seriously). So the one character they made to make fun of the stupidity of fanboys is now the answer to those same fanboys' questions about continuity problems. It's like giving the keys of a circus to a monkey.
** Which seems to sum up RunningTheAsylum right there, whether or not that counts as irony.
* KilledOffForReal: Many DC characters that have died were thought to come back after ''ComicBook/BlackestNight''. While [[ComicBook/BrightestDay 12 random people were brought back to life]], many more stayed dead. Examples are [[ComicBook/IdentityCrisis Sue Dibny]], [[ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica Johnny Quick (Johnny Chambers)]], ComicBook/TheQuestion [[ComicBook/FiftyTwo (Charles Victor Szasz)]], the ComicBook/ElongatedMan (Ralph Dibny), Eclipso (Jean Loring), [[Franchise/TheFlash Mirror Master I (Samuel Joseph Scudder)]], [[ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica Doctor Mid-Nite I (Charles M. McNider), Sandman (Wesley Dodds), Mister Terrific I (Terry Sloane), Damage (Grant Emerson)]], [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Kal-L (Earth 2)]], and many more not listed here.
** Kobra, a longtime BigBad in Franchise/TheDCU, ''seems'' to have been Killed Off For Real (having your heart ripped clean out of your chest by ComicBook/BlackAdam will do that). However, since his minions recently resurrected his brother (who was killed off waaaaaaay back in 1978) to become the new head of their ReligionOfEvil, all bets are off.
* LeotardOfPower: Many powerful superheroes wear leotards as part of their superhero costumes.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Does it need to be said?
* MagicOrPsychic: Psychic abilities are given the same rules as science. Magic, on the other hand, bends the laws of science and can even be a broad weakness for sturdier characters, like Superman.
* TheMultiverse: Franchise/TheDCU has a long tradition, recently revived, of having numerous alternate universes.
** Pre-[[ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths Crisis]], Earth-1 represented contemporary[=/=][[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] continuity whereas the alternate Earth-2 represented UsefulNotes/{{the Golden Age|of Comic Books}} (with some minor {{retcon}}s to introduce more differences).
** The main DCU is known as New Earth or Earth-0, due to the changes made to the timeline during ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis.
** The Creator/{{Wildstorm}} universe has nominally been part of the DC Multiverse since the company was bought by DC, though crossovers are rare. With ''ComicBook/{{Flashpoint}}'', however, many Wildstorm characters have shown up as part of the main DCU.
** ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'' and ''Creator/TangentComics'' are perhaps the most famous of numerous works detailing specific {{Alternate Universe}}s.
** Occasionally mention will be made of the [[Creator/VertigoComics Vertigo Universe]], but Vertigo's recurring characters (ComicBook/TheSandman, ComicBook/SwampThing, ComicBook/{{Lucifer}}, etc.) really take place in their own little corners of Franchise/TheDCU that [[ExiledFromContinuity no longer interact with the rest of the universe]] due to ExecutiveMeddling. Up until 2011, anyway, when they made a comeback.
** ''We'' are ostensibly a part of the DC multiverse, Earth-Prime. Except between 1985 and 2005, when we didn't actually exist.
* NoCommunitiesWereHarmed: The aforementioned [[CityOfAdventure Cities Of Adventure]].
* PresentDay: Mostly. TimeTravel is common, as are series set in TheWildWest, UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, or TheFuture.
* ProductionPosse: Their adaptations have a habit of casting particular (voice) actors/actresses more than once. Listing them would not be recommendable.
* RememberTheNewGuy: DC Comics had several heroes that were created in the 70's and 80's, but were established as having been active during the 40's. Among them were Amazing-Man (chronologically, one of the earliest black superheroes) and [[ComicBook/{{Steel}} Commander Steel]], both of whom were established as having fought alongside the members of the [[ComicBook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica JSA]].
* ResearchInc: S.T.A.R. Labs (Scientific and Technological Advanced Research) is an independent group of research laboratories throughout the U.S. and across the world. It has a long history of coming up with high technology and new inventions, and has also regularly gotten involved in superheroic activities.
** Project Cadmus was into genetic engineering; its abandoned laboratories are in some caverns near Metropolis.
* RhymesOnADime: Mr. Bones, originally; it's been quietly disposed of since then.
* SealedEvilInACan:
** The PhantomZone is essentially an other-dimensional prison that holds numerous Kryptonian criminals. As such, there many stories where the prisoners escape and the heroes have to fight to throw them back into the Zone.
** The Source Wall is a huge cosmic barrier between the Source (the source of power behind existence itself) and the rest of creation. The Wall is decorated with the bodies and visages of all of the would be conquerors who have sought to claim the power of the Source for themselves, imprisoning them for all eternity. The Wall is one of the more effective Cans in fiction and only three people have ever escaped it. One of them, Yuga Khan (the father of {{ComicBook/Darkseid}}), managed to summon just enough power to free himself from the Wall...only to get himself imprisoned in it again in another bid to obtain the Source, this time for good. The second one was Darkseid himself, and he needed the help of the one who imprisoned him in the first place (Franchise/{{Superman}}) to do it. The third was Superman, who was trapped by Darkseid and required the help of every variation of Supergirl from the last twenty years to break free.
*** Following the ComicBook/New52 reboot, the Source Wall has been strongly tied into the Green Lantern books, as the Source behind it powers their lanterns and rings. Former GL Kyle Rayner (now the White Lantern) made a trip beyond the wall to re-energize the Source, but he CameBackWrong and needed quite a bit of sorting out afterwards.
*** Fun fact; the Source Wall is often used for LawyerFriendlyCameos for Creator/MarvelComics characters, with Galactus and Dr. Doom among others being depicted as figures trapped on it.
* ShoutOut
* SuperHero: Of course.
* TwoFirstNames: Various civilian identities of their superheroes.
* UnderwearOfPower: TropeMaker, really. (Although they are technically exercise trunks, not underwear.)
** As of the 2011 reboot, this has been eliminated from the uniforms of the heroes that still wore them (Superman and Batman being the foremost examples).
* AVillainNamedKhan: The supervillain Manga Khan is an intergalactic trader with a gaseous body who wears a metal suit to give him his form. The suit makes him immune to harm as well as granting him tremendous strength.
** Yuga Khan, Darkseid's father, is this.
* WeaponizedBall: The villain Sportsmaster sometimes uses shot-puts and other balls as bludgeoning weapons, as well as using trick versions that explode.
* WretchedHive: While New Earth as a whole is a much better place to live than [[Franchise/MarvelUniverse Earth-616]], there are a lot of cities where it sucks to live. [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Gotham City]] is the most iconic, with its sister city Bludhaven being so bad that Gothamites look upon it with disdain. [[ComicBook/GreenArrow Star City]] has gone to hell following ''ComicBook/JusticeLeagueCryForJustice'', as it had the misfortune of occurring so close to the ComicBook/BlackestNight. But the single worse place to live in the DCU is [[ComicBook/TheQuestion Hub City]].