"Ten years from now a hero will fall. Sick of the eternal war with the evil, he or she will make the wrong decision— take the wrong road— and our whole planet will suffer.
2001... a bad year."
A DC Comics
limited series published in 1991. It was just two issues, but the bulk of it happened in the 1991 annuals.
Ten years in the future, one of the Earth superheroes decides that the world needs order, does a Face-Heel Turn
, kills all the others and becomes an armor-clad dictator known as Monarch.
Years later, there is a man named Matthew Ryder who is unhappy with Monarch's regime. When Ryder discovers that Monarch is working on a time-travel
experiment, he pretends to be loyal and volunteers for the experiment, which turns Ryder into the time-traveling hero Waverider.
Waverider travels to 1991, knowing that one of the heroes of that era will become Monarch. Just by touching any of them, he can see their future ten years later and find which one will become Monarch.
The series was followed by Armageddon: The Alien Agenda
and Armageddon: Inferno
, the last of which brought the Justice Society of America
back from limbo.
This comic book series provides examples of:
- Bad Future: The Monarch-ruled one from which Waverider comes. The heroes' futures vary between happy and depressing, but L.E.G.I.O.N. has the worst one.
- Superman had two specifically bad futures in his alternate timelines. In one timeline, he was married to Lois Lane for a short time until a nuclear bomb created by Mainheim of Intergang went off, taking out the entire city of Metropolis, leading to his marriage to Lana Lang and his being a tough crusading enforcer of nuclear disarmament. In another timeline, his wife Lois Lane dies carrying his child, causing him to go off into outer space and fall in love with Maxima, who once pursued him so she could have his child.
- Beware the Superman: Superman in the alternate timeline where he loses Lois Lane to a nuclear bomb and becomes a tough rogue enforcer of nuclear disarmament.
- Blow Gun: In one Batman storyline, The Joker frames Batman for the Penguin's murder by having a henchman shoot a poison dart this way, thus making it appear as if Batman knocked Penguin off a side railing with his Batarang and made the villain fall to his death.
- Depopulation Bomb: Monrach's ultimate weapon used for destroying all superheroes. Captain Atom absorbs all its energy, though, saving the heroes while transporting himself and Monarch back into the prehistoric past.
- Fallen Hero: Monarch.
- Joker Immunity: In the Batman storyline, Joker causes the deaths of most of the Bat-Villains, and even dies himself when an attempt to stab Batman ends up with Joker plunging his sword into a power outlet.
- Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex: In one of Superman's probable futures, Superman tries to have a child with his wife Lois Lane, but the child causes internal bleeding within the mother, resulting in both of them dying.
- Mythology Gag/Recycled Script: One of Superman's alternate timelines is basically a more tragic version of the Superman IV: The Quest for Peace storyline, with Superman using force instead of diplomacy and the goodwill of the nations to eradicate nuclear weapons, and replacing Nuclear Man with the Justice League of America, adding a bit of the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns finale of Superman dueling with an armored Batman as part of its ending.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: President Forrest in one of Superman's alternate timelines resembles President George H.W. Bush with Skunk Stripe hair.
- Our Presidents Are Different: Superman in one of his alternate future timelines becomes President, based on the technicality that though he came from Krypton, he was born here on Earth in Smallville, Kansas.
- The Reveal: Hank Hall (Hawk) becomes Monarch.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Waverider's goal.
- Stable Time Loop: Monarch's goal, since he can't exist unless he goes back in time to force the superhero that becomes him to fight him to the death so he can make sure the future unfolds as it should.
- Time Travel
- Twenty Minutes into the Future
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Captain Atom, in the future that was explored by Waverider, loses the last of his family to a violent gang shoot-out. That, and the callous way his family's bodies were treated by the authorities, caused Captain Atom to take vengeance not only on the gangs responsible for their deaths, but on the whole world as well.