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Creator / Dark Matter (2017)

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Dark Matter was an imprint of DC Comics that spun off from the Dark Nights: Metal event by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV. It was intended to promote diversity, stronger writer-artist collaboration and dramatic reimaginings of characters and was overseen by then-DC Editor Dan DiDio.

Titles published under this banner are:

  • The Immortal Men — Five siblings who were born at the beginning of history recruit the elite to stop Armageddon. Written by James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, Batwoman) with art by Jim Lee. Ran for 6 issues.
  • Damage — Soldier Ethan Avery is cursed with the ability to unleash a monster for one hour at a time. Written by Robert Venditti (X-O Manowar, Green Lantern) with art by Tony S. Daniel. Ran for 16 issues.
  • The Silencer — This book follows a female assassin who moves to the suburbs for a normal life. Written by Dan Abnett (Annihilation, Aquaman) with art by John Romita, Jr. Ran for 18 issues.
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  • Sideways — A teenager comes into contact with dark matter and gains the ability to teleport through the dark dimension. Written by Dan Didio and Justin Jordan with art by Kenneth Rocafort. Ran for 14 issues.
  • New Challengers — An adventure book in the vein of the classic DC series Challengers of the Unknown. Written by Scott Snyder (Swamp Thing, Batman) with art by Andy Kubert. Ran for 6 issues.
  • The Curse of Brimstone — A horror book featuring a man from a dying coal town who makes a Deal with the Devil allowing him to turn into Brimstone, something that proves to be worse than the things he fights. Written by Justin Jordan with art by Philip Tan. Ran for 12 issues.
  • The Unexpected — Taking its title from an old DC horror comic, this is a mystery book featuring Neon the Unknown, Firebrand, Ascendant and Legacy Character Viking Judge, a team of enemies who hate each other only slightly less than the world around them, who get a chance to right the wrongs of their past. Written by Steve Orlando (Midnighter, Justice League of America) with art by Ryan Sook. Ran for 8 issues.

However, most of the books wound up becoming short runners. Out of all of them, The Terrifics managed to last the longest at 30 issues. (Even then, that series' last issues would end up becoming digital-only.)

Dark Matter included examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Brimstone in the previous DC Universe was The Brute in Darkseid's forces. Dark Matter's version is more akin to Etrigan and Ghost Rider.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: The Terrifics are intended to be this to the Fantastic Four (who weren't being published by Marvel for several reasons at the time the imprint started), featuring a group of characters who will come to regard each other as family. Even the name invokes the comparison.
    • Several of the new characters being introduced actually match up quite well with Marvel characters upon a closer look.
      • Damage is one to The Hulk. Both are created by military experiments with dangerous energies that create a superpowered separate persona that goes into Unstoppable Rage once it takes over and is persued by the same military that created them.
      • Sideways is one to Spider-Man. Both are Butt-Monkey teenagers that get their powers through unexpected accidents and decide to use their powers for personal gain at first before stepping up as heroes. Each also has Super Strength and Super Toughness while having a unique method of traveling (Rifts for Sideways, webs for Spider-Man) that has far more uses than just for travel as well as unique sensory capabilities (Sideways doesn't have replica for spider-sense but can use his rifts like a Magic Mirror).
      • The Silencer is one to the Winter Soldier. Both are legendary assassins that used to work for terrorist organizations and now seek to live life away from that while being unable to escape their past. Each also has minor augmentation while acting mostly as a Badass Normal (Bucky has a mechanical arm while Silencer is a metahuman whose only power is muting sound around them).
      • The Immortal Men are one to the X-Men. Both are groups who gain their powers from unique genetics who run a school for those like them and are even fighting an enemy with those genetics who feels entitled to rule over those who lack them. The team is even made out of five members with there being a single female member and one who looks bestial.
      • The Unexpected, surprisingly, share several similarities to The Defenders. A four-man team led by a mystic who are fraught with Teeth-Clenched Teamwork. Which leads to the various members...
      • Neon The Unknown is one to Doctor Strange. Both are poweful mystics with awareness of the greater multiverse who suffer from some kind of physical impairment. (Strange had his hands crippled while Neon is blind)
      • Viking Judge is one to Thor. Both are magical Norse characters that possess an enchanted weapon that intertwines their soul with a mortal weilders.
      • Firebrand is one to Iron Man. Both recieve a type of chest implant as a result of catastrophic consequences that causes them to alter their life approaches (Iron Man stopped being an arms dealer after his accident while Firebrand was a paramedic that now has to seek out fights) while being dependent on keeping their implants charged to stay alive. Each even uses a mechanical apparatus to take advantage of their implant.
      • Brimstone is one to Ghost Rider. Both transform into flaming eldritch beings because of a Deal with the Devil to help those they love but turn against said devil because the deal ultimately backfires on them.
      • The New Challengers are ones to the Exiles. Both consist of random people press-ganged into a team after being saved by a mysterious benefactor and forced to fight together through dangerous missions in other universes.
  • Butt-Monkey: Given who he's based off of, it should be no surprise that Sideways is this among the Dark Matter set. He's even forced to fight a Speed Force supervillain in his third issue sans trousers.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Damage has been MIA since the New 52, since the Teen Titans received a hard reboot (at first).
    • Metamorpho has been missing since Flashpoint (aside from a few cameos and a story in anthology series Legends of Tomorrow), having essentially been replaced by Element Woman.
    • Phantom Girl had bailed on the Legion of Super-Heroes near the end of their last series in 2013, and the Legion itself has been MIA for quite some time. Jeff Lemire has said this isn't the Legion's Phantom Girl. A later interview revealed that she is her ancestor.
    • The Strongs last showed up in a 2013 Vertigo miniseries.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover of Damage's first issue has him being thrown out of an airplane to provoke his transformation. In the book itself, he transforms inside of the airplane to escape his captors.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Several characters under the imprint derive their abilities from the Dark Multiverse and struggle to use them for good.
  • Darker and Edgier: Many of the characters sport costumes that wouldn't seem out of place from the 90s, or the early New 52. This is especially true with Brimstone and Damage, the latter of whom resembling the unholy lovechild of Doomsday and the Hulk.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Inverted with Phantom Girl. Her most recent costume had a shutter-style Cleavage Window that showed off some underboob as well as general cleavage. Her Dark Matter outfit basically fills the holes in with black.
  • In Name Only: Damage really doesn't have anything to do with the previous version of the character. His real name has changed from Grant Emerson, and his old power was to essentially cause explosions, while this version is more akin to an Hourman/Hulk combination.
  • It Can Think: Damage's Establishing Character Moment involves his persona manipulating Ethan into handing him control of their body by exploiting his resentments over how the experiments turned him into a monster and his desire to be free; a far cry from the mindless, loyal brute originally envisioned by his creators.
  • Mythology Gag: Viking Judge claims descent from Jon Haraldson of Valoric. Jon Haraldson was the name of The Brave and the Bold's Viking Prince, while Valoric was the Viking Commando in the short-lived The Bronze Age of Comic Books war comic All-Out War.
  • Walking the Earth: This, combined with Fugitive Arc, is Ethan Avery's life in Damage.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Damage's triumphant escape from a military aircraft is immediately juxtaposed with how he killed almost all the other servicemen on board who were just doing their duty; one of them even spent his last moments piloting the plane somewhere it could crash without killing any civilians. In fact, his creation was meant to reduce friendly casualties all together by defusing high-risk, heavy-opposition scenarios singlehandedly.
  • Short-Runners: The Immortal Men and New Challengers were both cancelled at 6 issues due to low sales. The Unexpected was cancelled at 8 issues.
    • Downplayed with Sideways. It ended at 13 issues which, while making it a short run, lasted longer than most new characters these days, especially ones not associated with older characters.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Damage's original promotional design is noticeably sleeker and less ghoulish than his final (and albino) depiction in the comics themselves.

Alternative Title(s): Dark Matter