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The Justice League is dead...

"In my head I was still a Teen Titan. Still just the new kid. But over time I realized that the Justice League is always growing and changing. Embracing the new. Just like they embraced me. So... it's not really a question of if we will have a new Justice League... or when... the real question is who?"
The Flash (Wally West)

Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths (formerly Dark Crisis) is a 2022 DC Comics Crisis Crossover and a major story arc in the DC Infinite Frontier line, written by Joshua Williamson. 30 years after The Death of Superman hit shelves, has DC decided to commemorate that milestone in a big way — with a story starting with the death of the entire Justice League.

The Great Darkness, a threat to the entire multiverse, is rising — leading to the members of the Justice League and the Justice League Incarnate joining forces to halt its advance. When they find the source, they only discover a multiversal graveyard and find that Pariah, the survivor from Crisis on Infinite Earths, has rebuilt the Antimatter Chamber to let the Great Darkness in, out of the belief that this can save the original multiverse.

The Justice League fight off Pariah and an army of their enemies controlled by the Great Darkness, and though they destroy the Antimatter Chamber, Pariah unleashes waves of energy. In a flash, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Emerald Knight, Hawkgirl, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, and Zatanna, along with all their allies in the Justice League Incarnate, are no more. Black Adam only narrowly escapes by the skin of his teeth to warn the world.

A danger like no other is coming. The greatest heroes in the Multiverse have fallen... And for once, it's up to everyone else to save the day. But is this truly the end of the Justice League as we once knew them?

Comics involved in Dark Crisis:

    Prelude 

    Main Story 
  • Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #1-7
  • Dark Crisis: Worlds Without a Justice League one-shots
    • Superman
    • Green Lantern
    • Wonder Woman
    • Green Arrow
    • Batman
  • Dark Crisis: Big Bang #1
  • Dark Crisis: The Dark Army #1
  • Dark Crisis: The Deadly Green #1
  • Dark Crisis: War Zone #1
  • Dark Crisis: Young Justice #1-6
  • The Flash #783-786
  • I Am Batman #15

Dark Crisis provides examples of:

  • Above Good and Evil: In issue four, the Swamp Things note that the Great Darkness isn't really evil or even malicious — it's just a force a nature that exists as a natural part of the cosmos, and is more curious then anything. Given this, they further determine, the Darkness has no reason to be going on the offensive like this, meaning it's most likely being manipulated by someone else. The Deadly Green confirms this theory by revealing that Pariah corrupted it.
  • Affably Evil: Nocturna is portrayed as this in Road to Dark Crisis, just in it for the thrill of the fight. When she encounters Spoiler, while they do fight, they also chat it up. Nocturna even casually refers to Spoiler by her real name, and chats casually with her even after their brief fight, even agreeing not to steal anything when asked.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Twice. In issue #2, Deathstroke leads the Secret Society to attack Titans Academy and in issue #5, he leads the combined Society and Legion of Doom to the Hall of Justice.
  • Arch-Enemy: Deathstroke is reemphasized as being Nightwing's greatest and most personal nemesis, with their rematch in Issue 2 (their first in-continuity one-on-one battle in over a decade) hyped up appropriately.
  • Arc Welding: The Great Darkness is used to arc weld almost every major DC story since the Crisis on Infinite Earths into a single coherent Myth Arc involving the Darkness' attempts to destroy reality and the Presence. In particular, it is explicitly stated to have been the power behind (directly or indirectly) the Anti-Monitor itself, Magog, the Anti-Life Entity from Cosmic Odyssey, Monarch/Extant, Superboy-Prime, Mister Mind becoming the Hyperfly, Darkseid and Mandrakk, Dr. Manhattan's timeline meddling, the Empty Hand and his Gentry, Barbatos, and later, Pariah's Face–Heel Turn and Deathstroke's leadership of TRUST. Subverted when Swamp Thing reveals that the Great Darkness has no agency of its own. Pariah has tapped into it entirely by accident and is channeling an otherwise apathetic force, and the rest of the story is the conjecture of Dr. Multiverse.
  • Ascended Fangirl: Red Canary used to admire Black Canary, hence modeling her costume after her, so when she gets to meet her and fight alongside her she's ecstatic.
  • Back for the Dead: Issue 2 features the return of Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman, who is seemingly finished off after his fight against Jon Kent. Considering Henshaw's tendency to come back after being seemingly killed, it remains to be seen for how long it will last.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • As the Secret Society lay siege to Titans Tower and Jon arrives to help the Titans, we cut to outside where a man with distinctive black hair, a red cape, and super-speed is bearing down on the Tower. Superman back to save the day?! Nope. It's Hank Henshaw.
    • In terms of the main antagonist, Pariah is built up as being manipulated into his mad quest by the Great Darkness. As shown in The Deadly Green, the truth is the other way around: Pariah is simply mad, and using the Great Darkness instead.
  • Big Bad: Pariah is this for the main story, Mickey Mxypltlik for the Young Justice tie-in.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Jon saves Nightwing from being shot by Deathstroke by literally hurling himself between the two; for obvious reasons, Deathstroke's bullet does nothing to him.
    • When Barry is beating the shit out of Wally thanks to Pariah's world making Barry think Wally is Eobard Thawne, Linda Park (who recently gained superspeed) shows up to smack some sense into Barry and save her husband.
    • Before Doomsday can land the killing blow on Jon, Clark arrives to block his punch, allowing father and son to drop him. Soon after, both the Justice League and the Green Lantern Corps arrive to help our heroes.
  • Big Damn Reunion: During the Final Battle against Pariah and Deathstroke, Jon Kent is reunited with his father once again, as Clark swoops in to help his son punch out Doomsday. Black Canary and Roy Harper are also reunited amidst the fighting, but the sweet moment between the two is undercut by Roy's realization of Green Arrow's absence.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Great Darkness has returned to its blissful dormancy and the Infinite Earths have been fully restored. Though the Justice League has returned, Batman reveals that they have disbanded in the need for a restructuring, though Nightwing has some ideas to replace them. Deathstroke has been Brought Down to Normal and those under the thrall of the Great Darkness has returned to normal but escaped, including Darkseid returning to Apokolips. And waiting is the wings in Amanda Waller, who is aided by the mysterious Council of Light to destroy all metahumans on Earth.
  • Brought Down to Normal: After being freed from the Great Darkness, the serum that gave Deathstroke his abilities was cleansed from him, putting him in constant agony from the injuries sustained.
  • Brutal Honesty: Black Adam doesn't mince words when he says how unimpressed he is with the Justice League Jon has assembled. He points out that some members are young (Dr. Light), untrustworthy (Harley and Killer Frost) and that the world needs capable protectors, which is not the case. He ends by saying that Jon has very little experience being a hero and no experience in being a leader and Nightwing is the one who should lead a New Justice League. However, after the utter disaster that was Slade's attack on Titans Academy, Black Adam immediately renounces his endorsement of Nightwing, expressing his disappointment in Grayson's handling of the entire situation and places the blame of the tragedy squarely on his shoulders.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Beast Boy gets a non-fatal one courtesy of Deathstroke.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Unlike the Nocturna in Suicide Squad (2021), Road to Dark Crisis reintroduces the mainstream Nocturna.
    • Dark Crisis: Young Justice #1 features Mighty Endowed, the very first enemy Young Justice faced as a team and who hadn't been seen since 1999.
    • Dark Crisis #2 features a memorable appearance from Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg-Superman.
    • Hawkman (Carter Hall) and Hawkwoman (Shayera Hol) return as part of the Justice Society of America. Previously, at the conclusion of Hawkman (2018), both had lost access to their immortality and the comic established that they lived out the rest of their final lives together and started a school for superheroes and aliens before dying.
    • Anti-Monitor reappears in the Big Bang one-shot, even sporting his more iconic armor.
  • Call-Back: When Deathstroke attacks the Legion of Doom headquarters, Lex is confident that their defences will hold off Slade's army. They don't, and Captain Cold annoyedly says "Flash...", which is a reference to a scene in The Flash (Infinite Frontier) where Wally reveals that every time the Legion of Doom headquarters is being rebuilt, he takes some pieces to sabotage its construction.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Ravager tries to assassinate Slade in his headquarters, and when foiled she goes on a blistering "The Reason You Suck" Speech calling him out for never learning his lesson and blaming everyone else for his own sins.
  • The Cavalry: In Big Bang, Wallace comes to Barry's aid against the Anti-Monitor armed with a team of multiversal superheroes including Sunshine Superman, Bat-Lantern, Tesla Strong and Kong Kenan.
  • The Cameo: Sideways at the start of Issue 3, being pursued by Deathstroke's minions.
  • Canon Immigrant: The Light, the mysterious group of antagonists that plagued the Justice League and The Team in Young Justice (2010), make the jump to comics continuity in the finale.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid:
    • Yara Flor initially isn't very receptive to the idea of joining Jon's new League, but after the attack on Titans Tower, she decides they'll need all the help they can get.
    • Jace initially blows off Jon's call for help, wanting to fight "real crime". However, after an encounter with Sinestro, he realizes he was wrong to do so and returns to help the heroes.
  • Commander Contrarian: Black Adam spends a majority of the event lambasting the superhero community's collective effort to defend themselves against the Great Darkness and Deathstroke's army of supervillains, expressing his disapproval in both Jon Kent and Dick Grayson's methods at every turn while pushing his own extreme ideology as the only way to survive the coming crisis. As soon as its clear the heroes aren't going to compromise their morality for the sake of survival, Black Adam jumps ship to join back up with Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Continuity Snarl: '
    • Justice League Incarnate established a retcon that the Great Darkness was responsible for instigating most of the major events in the DCU by influencing villains like Extant, Hal Jordan as Parallax, Superboy-Prime, even Magog in Kingdom Come. Swamp Thing would later hypothesize that the Great Darkness as he knew it wasn't actively malevolent and thus something must've corrupted it, with that being confirmed to be Pariah. Which essentially contradicts the reveal about the Great Darkness being the driving force for the other crisis events if Pariah only recently corrupted it with his madness.
    • At the start of Justice League #75 (which leads directly into the event), John Stewart is shown on Oa and apparently still going by the Green Lantern name despite having access to the Godstorm. The actual Green Lantern run where John absorbed the Godstorm ended with him adopting the new identity of the Emerald Knight after being presumed dead by the other Green Lanterns and heading into the dark sectors of space, leaving his presence on Oa and apparent return to the Corps here unexplained. Similarly, issue 2 ends with Hal and Jo rescuing and recruiting Kyle Rayner back into the Corps, who include Arisia (who was shown dead at the end of the aforementioned series) and Jessica Cruz (who was last seen as a Sinestro Corps member in the same series).
  • Dark Is Not Evil: As revealed in The Deadly Green, Pariah is the one corrupting the Great Darkness with his madness, not the other way around. Being an existence of darkness, the Great Darkness itself is without hate, just being something to strive against in an attempt to be better. John Constantine explains it succinctly.
    John Constantine: The darkness isn't the corruption in us. We're the corruption in it.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The major selling point of the event. With the main Justice League seemingly dead, the Legacy Characters, allies, and sidekicks all take charge in saving the world:
    • Nightwing is the big one. While in prior major event stories he carried a supporting role at best (his most notable ones being as a secondary character in Infinite Crisis, and the Distressed Dude in Forever Evil), pre-release materials paint him as The Hero of the entire story, with the entire hero community falling behind him in way of the Justice League's death.
      • On the other end of the spectrum, when all hope seems lost, who all arrive to aid our heroes but the Justice Society, the heroes before the League.
    • For the villains, Deathstroke primarily has been used as a Punch-Clock Villain acting in subordination to major Big Bads, but here takes the central role in leading the villainous forces as Nightwing's Arch-Enemy.
  • Death Is Cheap:
    • The Justice League, who disappear in a similar manner to what happened with Barry Allen earlier in Infinite Frontier, but are actually, unbeknownst to the wider world, just trapped in "paradise worlds" created by Pariah. Nonetheless, the team being out of commission is an important plot point for the story.
    • This is also deconstructed in-universe by showing a whole variety of reactions to their deaths from both superheroes and the public ranging from grief to wondering if they'll come back to doubting they're really dead to even a crazy few who are glad they're gone. On the whole, it's driven home that whether or not the League stays dead is irrelevant; what matters is that they're not present at the moment, and things are going to go down because of it.
    • Possibly subverted with Green Arrow, the only Leaguer not killed by Pariah, but rather Doomsday.
    • In Road to Dark Crisis, this is actually discussed between Nightwing and Jon as Nightwing points out how both Superman and Batman both died and somehow came back, thus they shouldn't think things wouldn't be the same here.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
  • Doing In the Wizard: Pariah isn't actually hearing the Great Darkness at all. He was in the dark for so long with nothing but his guilt that he went insane and developed a Split Personality to try to come up with some scheme to undo his destruction of his world that led to the first Crisis.
  • Dragon Ascendant: After Jace and Mr. Terrific are able to kill Pariah using his Anti-Matter device, Deathstroke takes over as the Final Boss.
  • Drowning Their Sorrows: In issue #4, we find Detective Chimp drunk off his rocker, angry at the heroes for Zatanna's death. Constantine suggests that others are doing this because of the Great Darkness.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: The more the Great Darkness gets it's hooks in Deathstroke and Pariah, the more pallid and sickly they look. Slade in particular eventually starts bleeding some kind of black ichor out of his eyes constantly. The second Pariah is defeated, Slade also transforms into a hulking monstrosity roughly the size of Doomsday.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The Great Darkness brilliantly plays to Pariah and Deathstroke's egos, letting them think they're controlling it when they're actually very obviously just being controlled by it. Hal points this out to Pariah, who suffers a Villainous Breakdown because of it.
  • Evil Versus Evil: In addition to the heroes, Deathstroke's Secret Society also battles Lex Luthor's Legion Of Doom in an Enemy Civil War.
  • Expy: Mickey Mxyzptlk is this towards Superboy-Prime. Both are young adults with god-like power who believes that their time period was the best and that everything and everyone after them has ruined everything and that their time to shine was robbed by them. However, while Prime was conned by Alexander Luthor and the Golden Age Superman's worry over Lois Lane-Kent and held on for years to that anger afterwards, Mickey is just a Manchild acting up because he didn't get his way.
  • Eye Scream: Beast Boy survives his shooting, but he's lost his right eye.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Black Adam runs off to join Luthor's Legion of Doom when he decides the heroes aren't ruthless enough to "do what it takes". When this fails, he ends up rejoining the heroes reluctantly.
  • Fallen Hero: Pariah, one of the key heroes from Crisis on Infinite Earths, is now in service of the Great Darkness. It's revealed that the Great Darkness corrupted him by tempting him through his lost family… or rather, he went so insane from guilt and loneliness on his own that he started using the Great Darkness himself.
  • Flat "What": In Young Justice #2, Tim mutters in a thought box "$&%#*!@ what." when Batman and the Cassie of that universe suggest that Tim dating Bernard is "just a phase" and he'll go back to Stephanie Brown.
  • For Want Of A Nail: During DC Future State, Jon pushes a new Justice League comprised of himself, Wonder Woman (Yara Flor), Batman (Jace Fox), Green Lantern (Jo Mullein), Aquawoman (Andy Curry) and Flash (Jess Chambers). But Jess doesn't exist in this reality, Andy is still a toddler, and the remaining three legacies who are available absolutely refused the call.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: For Williamson's preceding Deathstroke Inc. run, as Slade Wilson's character arc is picked up from the ending of Shadow War and resolved here.
  • From Bad to Worse: Issue #5 ends with Pariah deciding that he needs more heroes to resurrect the old multiverse, so he's hauled himself and his army to Earth-0.
  • Go Out with a Smile: As he is disintegrated by his own cannon, Pariah smiles, his hallucinations showing him his own family and world in his last moments, believing he is returning to them.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: What actually happened to Pariah. He was alone in the dark for so long that he started to hallucinate a voice claiming to want to help him, which he believes was the Great Darkness.
  • Grand Finale: For Joshua Williamson's overarching Infinite Frontier narrative, as well as a (retroactively-established) Myth Arc that has been underpinning DC since Crisis on Infinite Earths. The updated title confirms this as being a full-fledged sequel to the original Crisis.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In War Zone, Spectre does this with a case of Serial Escalation to Raven: first he throws Arsenal, then he throws Supergirl, Jaime Reyes, Kimiyo Hoshi, Cassandra Cain and Jackson Hyde, then, he chucks Doomsday. She's able to catch all but the last one, just leaping out of the way.
  • Hallucinations: It seems that Pariah was not being manipulated by the Great Darkness. Rather, he is just insane, seeing the memories of his family all on his own by using the Great Darkness as a conduit.
  • The Heart: Issue #7 firmly establishes Nightwing as this, showing that Dick is more than capable of leading the heroes of the DC Universe should Superman and the others disappear again. However, it's quite clear Dick is kinda terrified of that idea.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • To get the Green Lanterns and the Justice League back to Earth, Green Arrow opts to be the one who stays behind.
    • Defied in Big Bang: Barry Allen intends on falling into the antimatter universe with one last Infinite Mass Punch to stop the Anti-Monitor, but Bat-Lantern is able to save him and pull him out.
  • He's Back!:
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Who else but Booster Gold and Ted Kord? Jon gets them as a package deal for his new Justice League.
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: In War Zone, Iris West whistles to get Lady Shiva's attention before blasting Shiva with a faceful of laser cannon from the Hall of Justice's armory, saving Ted Kord in the process.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Seeing the Justice League get slaughtered makes Black Adam — to the surprise of no one — throw any pretenses of having learned his lesson out the window and jump headfirst right back into being a Knight Templar… even if it means betraying the heroes and joining the Legion of Doom.
  • Inadequate Inheritor:
    • Jon towards the Superman mantle. Unlike Clark, who'd everyone would happily lay down their lives to protect the world by his side, very few people side with Jon when he calls for a new Justice League. In fact, Black Adam tells him that he shouldn't be the one to make the charge, it should be Nightwing.
    • A team-wide example comes in the form of Jon's initial attempt to create a new Justice League, which completely falls apart by Issue 3 as the Secret Society's Open Season on all surviving superheroes starts kicking into high gear. Black Adam and Damian Wayne both quit the team, while the remaining members all decide to retreat back to their respective cities to defend their loved ones in the worst case scenario they are targeted as well. This leaves Jon as the only "founding" member of the roster who is still active.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: There are more than a few shots where it's really obvious Black Adam is being modeled after Dwayne Johnson.
  • Jerkass Ball: When Cassie Sandsmark asks those associated with Tim Drake, Conner Kent and Bart Allen to help find them after their disappearance, all don't for various reasons: Nightwing wants to give Tim his space, Jonathan Kent is busy with forming his own League, and Wally West and the Flash Family... are all protecting Central City, and Wally is also just an ass. This is so Cassie needs to resort to other means, but Wally in particular would easily be able to track Bart down since he can easily travel between universes and across time. However, strangely enough, Wally being a jerk wasn't even necessary, since not only is four speedsters for one city complete overkill, but in the pages of The Flash, Wally and the family travel the multiverse to find Barry Allen.
  • Jumped at the Call: The only heroes who don't just say yes to Jon's offer to join a new Justice League, but outright jump at the opportunity are Dr. Light, Booster Gold, and the Blue Beetles.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Black Adam turns to the Legion of Doom to fight the Secret Society when he decides the heroes aren't ruthless enough for his tastes. They try… and they get their asses kicked, with Deathstroke quickly and easily ensnaring the Legion with his new Darkness-given Mind Control powers.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: In Dark Crisis: Big Bang, the Flash's notes about the new infinite multiverse has Earth-1996 be home to "Mysterious 'amalgamated' (?) heroes", and unlike the other Earths that are the setting for previous DC works, it's left suspiciously unnamed. It's pretty blatant that it's the Amalgam Universe, which couldn't be explicitly identified due to co-ownership with Marvel Comics.
  • Legacy Character: Riffed on when Black Adam notices that Jon has both Blue Beetles — Reyes and Kord — on his new team, wondering if that isn't a little redundant.
  • Legion of Doom: The Trope Namer returns at the end of Issue 3, lead by Luthor and comprised of (so far) Vandal Savage, Black Manta, Scarecrow, Punchline, Gorilla Grodd, Cheetah, Sinestro, Captain Cold, Heatwave, Captain Boomerang, Weather Wizard, and Golden Glider.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: As previously established, this is where Pariah put Barry Allen — an Earth in Multiverse-2 designed to be his perfect world. Worlds Without a Justice League reveals he's done the same with the "essences" of the other Leaguers, placing them on worlds based on their "innermost hopes". Issue 3 has Hal realize that these worlds are actually meant to be weapons.
    • Barry Allen gets a world where his mother is still alive, he gets to actually raise his kids properly and Wally is still his partner. The world is very much the Silver Age, complete with cheesy jokes and puns.
      • Ace West is seemingly integrated into Barry's world when he and Wally try to rescue Barry. In Ace's world, Wally is happily retired, having handed the reins over to Ace, who is now a superhero called Burst, working alongside Irey and Jai West, while being in a relationship with Emiko Queen. His father Daniel West is also alive and supportive of his superhero career.
    • Clark Kent's world is one where the Kents still have their secret identities, Jon never left with Jor-El, and Clark got to raise his son until he was 18. While he still clashes with Jon, he accepts that as being part of parenting, and says he wouldn't trade a second of it.
    • Arthur Curry's world sees Thomas Curry still alive, and married to Atlanna. Jackson is still his successor as Aquaman and his daughter Andy grows into a happy adult and is dating Jess Chambers. However, Arthur knows this world is fake.
    • John Stewart's world is an entire sector of space guarded by him and his own Green Lantern Corps, joined by Kyle Rayner, Jason Todd, and Natasha Irons. Hal Jordan ends up dropping into this world after he, the real Kyle and Jo confront Pariah.
  • Mad Scientist: Pariah's role ad this is expanded on to an extreme degree, as he plans to destroy quite a lot to return what was lost. Emphasis on the "mad," as the voice he kept hearing was all in his head, with him truly being insane.
  • Make an Example of Them: Black Adam's suggestion for how to respond to Deathstroke's assault on Titans Tower? Brutally murder the captured Count Vertigo and string his mangled corpse up in front of the Hall of Justice as an example to other supervillains. Needless to say, the other heroes do not agree with this.
  • The Man Behind the Man: In Dark Crisis #4, Alec Holland and Levi Kamei believe who they're facing either isn't the real Great Darkness or is the Great Darkness being used by someone else, suggesting that Pariah really is controlling the Great Darkness for his evil deeds.
  • Motive Rant: In Dark Crisis: Young Justice #5, Mickey Mxyzptlk rants to Tim, Conner and Bart that the reason he dragged them into his little world is because he believes that the three were cheated out of the roles they were meant to be in by other characters that he believes shouldn't exist and he wants to return to that time.
  • Negative Continuity:
    • The third issue opens with a panel of Bratgirl from Teen Titans Academy with a pair of adults who are implied to be her parents or at least her relatives. This is despite the fact that Bratgirl was confirmed to be an orphan.
    • Jason Todd tells Roy Harper that he "remembers" and will help him find Roy's daughter Lian. This makes absolutely no sense on two regards. The first being that Jason only briefly heard of Lian's existence once in New Teen Titans (and if that's canon, it muddles things even worse because Jason was an adolescent and Roy was pushing 20 in that story). The second being that Lian didn't exist and was never mentioned at all during Red Hood and the Outlaws or in any of the post-Flashpoint comics Roy and Jason were both in. So the fact that he would have an idea or care about Lian at all makes no sense.
    • The fourth issue states the Multiverse has been reborn as infinite Earths again, despite that throughout the Infinite Frontier titles it was outright stated that the infinite worlds were already back. Suicide Squad especially had Amanda Waller namedrop worlds like Earth-420 in regards to the villains she's captured.
  • Never My Fault: Deathstroke hijacks Pariah as the main threat in the final battle because he thinks the world should end for causing so much pain, especially to his children, once again omitting the fact that he was the direct cause of the bulk of their suffering for most of their lives.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • During his attempt to recruit Jace Fox in New York, Jon jumps the gun by swooping in to immediately apprehend the Trigger Twins, who Jace was in the middle of pursuing. Jace then explains that he was actually manipulating the Twins into leading him to the location of their arms supplier and that Jon only ruined the plan with his interference.
    • Barry and Hal's hunt for the Justice League and searching for Batman accidentally causes Pariah's plan to come to fruition and revives the original Multiverse.
    • Wally's casual sabotage of the Legion of Doom headquarters means that their security systems aren't functioning properly when Deathstroke attacks them, leading them to lose.
  • Not Quite Dead: As with Barry Allen, Pariah is using the Justice League's essences to power an artificial multiverse where they can live out their happiest fantasies.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: An especially cruel one from Hank Henshaw to Jon, saying they're both "pretenders" towards Superman.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Just as the event spotlights the lower echelon superheroes, so to does it bring the lesser villains into focus. The Secret Society (led by Deathstroke, who usually plays the role of mercenary) resultantly eschews big names like Lex Luthor or Joker in favor of B and C-Listers like Hyena or Firefly, but they're still treated as big deals and the story emphasizes that — silly costumes or not — these are dangerous criminals willing to do awful things, up to and including murdering children. And this is driven home when Deathstroke's Secret Society and Luthor's Legion of Doom clash… and it's a Curb-Stomp Battle in the former's favor, in total defiance of Popularity Power.
  • Older Than They Look: Dr. Light is understandably insulted when Black Adam mockingly insinuates she's a teenager by asking how old she is (she's very much an adult and is in fact one of the oldest members of Jon's team).
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • One of the signs that the Justice League realize that something's wrong is that Darkseid is suddenly fighting like a brute, which is a far cry from his usual style of combat.
    • What tips Tim off that he and Young Justice aren't actually in their past is that Bruce randomly displays homophobia when Tim brings up dating Bernard, the polar opposite of how the real Bruce reacted.
  • Out of the Frying Pan: Titans Academy just recovered from being destroyed during a previous battle with Red X. Now Slade and an army of supervillains suddenly show up on their doorstep to kill everybody there.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Straw Fan Mickey Mxyzptlk in the Young Justice tie-in is hinted to be rather narrow-minded. In addition to wanting Tim Drake, Bart Allen and Conner Kent to be like how they were in the 1990s, he has an illusion of Batman tell Tim that his relationship with his boyfriend Bernard is "just a phase" and that he's supposed to be with Stephanie Brown, plus he later rants about the new characters he doesn't care about and claims shouldn't exist, who all happen to be some kind of minority (the characters shown in the relevant panel include the lesbian Batwoman Katherine Kane, the non-binary Kid Quick, the African-American Batman Jace Fox and the Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott, who at the time was recently established to be gay like his son Obsidian and his Earth 2 counterpart). And this is without bringing up the flagrantly misogynist streak he demonstrates towards Cassie Sandsmark.
  • Perfection Is Impossible: This is the reason why the Infinite Earths failed to be resurrected in previous events. As Dr. Light points out, everyone trying to control them, to be perfect, but they need to be free to grow.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Black Adam believes that Deathstroke's crusade with the Secret Society of Supervillains is out of control and way over the line and the Legion of Doom including Lex Luthor, Cheetah, Punchline, Sinestro, The Rogues, Scarecrow and even Grodd, Vandal Savage and Black Manta all agree.
  • Ragtag Band of Misfits:
    • Issue 1 introduces a new Justice League, comprised of Superman (Jon Kent), Supergirl, Robin (Damian Wayne), Aquaman (Jackson Hyde), Frankenstein's Monster, Blue Beetle (both Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes), Booster Gold, Harley Quinn and Dr. Light (Kimiyo Hoshi). Jon asked everyone and these are the only people who said yes. Black Adam sees the team as a lost cause.
    • In The Dark Army, Damian recruits Power Girl, the aforementioned Kimiyo Hoshi, Red Canary and Sideways to hunt for a way to stop the Darkness.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hank Henshaw gives one to Jon Kent while beating the daylights out of him, mockingly suggesting that he and Henshaw are the same; just pale imitations of the real Superman.
  • Reconstruction: Of more minor superheroes and supervillains that don't get editorial pushes, shunting all the A-Listers aside so that the lesser knowns, legacy characters, sidekicks, and supporting casts can get the limelight and show that they're just as awesome and important as characters like Batman or Joker.
  • Refusal of the Call: When Jon seeks to create a new Justice League, a lot of heroes refuse it for various reasons, many of them either feeling not up to it, feeling their place is with their homes defending it or believing that they shouldn't be there after what happened to the original League.
  • The Reveal: Issue #4 reveals some truths about what's going on:
    • According to Lex Luthor, the Omniverse created by the events of Dark Nights: Death Metal is false, but is actually an imbalance in the Multiverse. Pariah's plan ends up removing that and leading to the rebirth of the original Multiverse.
    • The Swamp Things suggest that the Great Darkness isn't good nor evil, it's just a force of nature and that whatever is out there is either not the Great Darkness or the Great Darkness is being manipulated. Issue #5 and the Dark Green one-shot confirms that, but they can't figure out what's going on.
    • In The Dark Army, it's revealed that the Monitor created the Kimiyo Hoshi Dr. Light
    • Big Bang reveals what the unknown Earths 24, 27, 28, 46, and 49 of the New 52 multiverse are:
    • Big Bang revealing the numbers of various established universes outside of the original New 52, after the infinite multiverse is restored.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • A minor one in the first issue, where Knight and Squire from Batman Inc. are shown fighting cultists in London. The problem is that the Knight and Squire shown are Cyril Sheldrake and Beryl Hutchinson when the former is dead while the latter took up his mantle in 2013. The current Squire should be Beryl's protege Amina Eluko, who debuted in Tom Taylor's Batman: The Detective.
    • Another minor one is Barry getting his modern suit back. As a result of living in his Silver Age-inspired dream world, Barry escapes wearing his Silver Age suit with the aid of Wally, Ace and Linda. However, in his follow-up appearance in Dark Crisis, he's wearing his modern suit that has Tron Lines.
    • In Big Bang, Earth-55, the world of DCeased, shows Superman and Guy Gardner flying with Supergirl. However, at the time the title came out, Kara was still under the thrall of the Anti-Life Equation, thus it's currently under this.
    • In The Stinger for the final issue, one of the events shown is Batman's fight with Failsafe over in Batman (Chip Zdarsky). However, while this says this happened post-Dark Crisis, a note on issue #125 says that the story happens before Dark Crisis.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Deathstroke's army attacks the Hall of Justice, Black Adam once again tells off the heroes, telling them that they're not the Justice League. Nightwing tells him they're not, they're the Titans.
  • Signs of the End Times: As the crisis gets underway, apocalyptic cults the world over start going on the attack while raving about the end times coming.
  • Snap Back: Black Adam returns to the cape-less costume he's worn before the New 52, when he was an anti-hero (at best) not afraid to side with villains. This coincides with him disavowing Jon's Justice League.
  • Spoiler Cover: In the lead-up to the story, DC pushed a "who will survive?" thing for the League. Before the FCBD issue had even released, promo art and various covers for tie-ins revealed Black Adam would survive.
  • The Stinger: In the final issue, we see Amanda Waller confronting the Council of Light, who has apparently been active for quite some time, with her idea to control the metahuman population. However, they decide to go further, wanting to eradicate them and she is joined by four others - Peacemaker, a female Peacemaker, a strange Bizarro/Joker/Sinestro fusion man and a hulking machine.
  • Straw Fan: Mickey Mxyzptlk. He portrays the fan who believes that the 90's DCU heroes were robbed of their time to shine by other characters and also that they shouldn't even grow beyond their base characteristics. It's telling that he hates the idea of Tim being with someone other than Stephanie Brown, that he believes Bart should be nothing but a comic relief and even rejects the idea of bringing in Cassie and creates a version of her old self because she looked "too old".
  • Storming the Castle: In issue #5, Nightwing calls in every hero he can to the Hall of Justice, knowing doing so will draw in Deathstroke and the other infected villains. Indeed, the villains attack the Hall, ready to put an end to the heroes.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: After being freed from Pariah's control, Deathstroke decides to continue fighting the heroes and casting the multiverse into darkness, claiming that the world needs to die so it'll stop hurting everyone, especially his children.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham:
    • Not a single speedster hero is on Earth-0 during the events of Dark Crisis, which helps with maintaining Deathstroke's threat — especially when he attacks Titans Tower. Wally, Ace, Jay, Max and Jesse have left to find Barry, while Bart is whisked away to some warped recreation of Young Justice in the '90s. With the exception of Bart, they all return in time for issue #5.
    • In I Am Batman #14 and #15, Jace is accused of being a coward by Sinestro for refusing Jon Kent's call for aid and choosing to not take part in the fight against Deathstroke's forces. After defeating Sinestro, Jace realizes he was in the wrong for trying to stay out of the Crisis and immediately rides off to the Hall of Justice to fight in the Final Battle to avert this trope.
  • Take That!:
    • Dark Crisis: Young Justice #2 is essentially an extended potshot towards those who want the original Young Justice to return to the status quo from the '90s, refusing to let them grow as characters or shoehorning them into roles that don't fit them, such as Bart becoming the Flash. This is especially apparent when "Batman" tells Tim that dating Bernard is "just a phase".
    • World Without a Justice League: Superman is about Clark having his ideal life... which just happens to be the opposite of the status quo shifts introduced in Brian Michael Bendis' run: namely, that Clark got to see Jon actually grow up rather than miss it (the story explores Jon's life from age 12 to 18, which is what Clark missed in Bendis' run) and the Kents still operating with secret identities.
  • Take That, Audience!: Mickey Mxyzptlk has taken Superboy-Prime's place as the villain who embodies toxic fans now that the latter has matured and pulled a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Talking to Themself: The true nature of Pariah's conversations with the Great Darkness is that he is simply talking to himself. Once his role in the crisis is clarified, this becomes more obvious, with him whispering to someone who clearly does not exist. When Yara Flor uses the Lasso of Truth on him, the voice apparently is silenced, clarifying that it was only in his own head.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies:
    • Inverted with Justice League Issue 75, which is outright sold on the entire team dying... Except for one member, who turned out to be Black Adam.
    • Promotional material states that a major hero dies in Issue 1, and that this event incites the rest of the main story. This ends up being Beast Boy… except he doesn't actually die. Issue #4 suggests that Beast Boy's current state is him thinking he should be dead.
    • The solicitation for issue #5 implies a Justice Leaguer will have to make a Heroic Sacrifice to ensure the rest of the League's return to Earth-0. Issue #5 has the assembled heroes realise that because Green Arrow actually died at Doomsday's hands prior to being placed in Pariah's machine, he won't be able to return home with the rest of the group. Ollie outright tells the other heroes that stopping Pariah is more important than trying to find a way to save him.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In The Dark Army, Kimiyo Hoshi gets a massive power boost once she blasts the Orrery to keep it out of the hands of the possessed Justice League Incarnate. This power boost means she's now the incarnation of the Light of the Multiverse.
  • Total Party Kill: All members of the Justice League Incarnate are killed, and the same is nearly true of the Justice League — but Black Adam survives.
  • Tragic Villain: Pariah. He doesn't want to help the Great Darkness, but he's driven to through psychological torture and temptation in the form of visions of his family being returned to him and a worse crisis occurring if he doesn't. Played further by The Deadly Green. He isn’t actually being manipulated by the Great Darkness. Rather, his madness has grown to the point that he is hallucinating his family all on his own, and he is manipulating the Great Darkness instead.
  • Villain Decay: All of the heavy hitters of the "Dark Army," consisting of Ares, Darkseid, Doomsday, Eclipso, the Empty Hand, Nekron, Neron, and the Upside-Down Man, are reduced to puppets of the Great Darkness. In and of itself, this would not be too bad, as the Great Darkness is immensely powerful, but the reveal that it is not the fault of the Great Darkness at all, but rather an insane Pariah unknowingly tapping into a small sliver of the more-or-less neutral Great Darkness with technology cheapens both the manipulated and the apparent manipulator.
  • Victory Pose On Person:
    • At the end of issue 1 of Dark Crisis: Young Justice, Cassie Sandsmark wearing her original outfit is seen performing a victory pose with one foot on the head of the defeated supervillainess "The Mighty Endowed".
    • During Dark Crisis: War Zone #1, Red Canary defeats Copperhead and is seen posing on her with one foot.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Deathstroke is trying to stop the Great Darkness too, but his methods are so vile and extreme that the heroes have to oppose him as much as it… especially given that his plans involve killing them all. That and he's really just Pariah's pawn.
  • Wham Line: In Issue 3, Hal Jordan realizes the exact nature of what happened to the Justice League:
    Hal Jordan: These are not worlds, Pariah. The Great Darkness... is not using... the Justice... League to restore your Multiverse... It's turning them into... WEAPONS! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!
  • Wham Shot:
    • Issue 3 has two of them:
    • Issue #4 ends with the rebirth of the actual Multiverse, overwhelming the 52 created since the Infinite Crisis.
    • The Deadly Green has a Swamp Thing-powered Jon Kent tear part of Pariah's machine out of a pillar of darkness, clarifying that he has been using it all along, not the other way around.
    • Issue #6 concludes with Pariah dead but his army of supervillains still possessed because his power transferred over to Slade Wilson, who has both Nightwing and Ravager in his clutches.
    • In The Dark Army, Dr. Multiverse looks at Damian's team and sees various multiversal versions of our heroes... except Damian, who all of them is wearing the same Batman costume.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After the invasion of Titans Tower, Black Adam starts trying to berate Nightwing and Jon before the latter tells him off and tells him that if he wants to lead the new League, then he needs to do so.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Many of the Secret Society are more than willing to threaten, hurt, or kill the younger heroes as readily as the adults. Special note goes to Hyena, who outright threatens to gut Bratgirl alive if Nightwing doesn't let himself be beaten to death by Deathstroke.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Alan Scott gives one of these to Nightwing to slap him out of his depression in issue #4.
  • You Are Not Ready:
    • Black Adam initially tears down Jon's aspirations to create a new Justice League specifically because he is too young and inexperienced to fill the shoes of his predecessors, especially when there are more qualified candidates like Nightwing still roaming around. But when Nightwing fails to protect Titans Academy for the second time in a row, Black Adam decides to pull rank and establish himself as leader with the intention of whipping every other hero into shape.
    • Damian Wayne eventually agrees with Black Adam's belief that Jon's League will not be ready when shit inevitably hits the fan, resulting in him solemnly declaring that "there is no Justice League" before walking away from Jon and Yara.

Alternative Title(s): Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths

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