- The Dark Multiverse in general. Imagine a multiverse where unstable universes that shouldn't exist do exist. A multiverse where the worst possible scenario that could happen did happen. A multiverse based off of a person's fears, hopes and regrets. A multiverse where these unstable universes eventually start to rot and decay. And the monstrous inhabitants of these universes serve a giant dragon under the false pretense of having their worlds restored. Worlds will live, worlds will die indeed...
- The origins of Barbatos' seven Dark Knights, all of whom are spawns based off Bruce Wayne's darkest fears:
- The Batman Who Laughs' origin: A Batman who was forced to watch the Joker kill Commissioner Gordon and his entire rogues gallery before exposing Joker toxin to a group of children whose parents he killed in order to create a perfect fusion of Batman and the Joker. In his rage, Batman did the one thing everyone wanted him to do: Kill the Joker. Unfortunately, this caused a special Joker toxin to be released into him and changed his moral code into that of the Joker's while keeping Bruce Wayne's orderly mind. What's one of the things he did when the transformation was beginning? He called upon Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood and Red Robin to explain what has happened to him. They told him they'll do everything in their power to save him. But then he revealed that the real reason he called them was because he knew they would be the first people to realize something different about him and alert the other heroes...something he cannot allow to happen. And then he did something they were unprepared for: pull out a pair of hidden machine guns and shoot them all down like dogs. A week later, he had all the Justice League massacred! Not just killed, massacred! Oh, and he "convinced" his version of Damian Wayne into becoming a Joker monster himself and turned the children the Joker exposed his toxin to into his army of Rabid Robins. Worse, he then proceeded to take out armies of villains and alien tyrants (victims implied to be like the Legion of Doom and Darkseid respectively), and it is even implied that he even takes out The Spectre himself! With just precision, and blood. Oh, and the only reason he became Barbatos' lieutenant? So he could do it all again. And again. And again. And again.
- The Dawnbreaker's origin: A teenage Bruce Wayne who was given a Green Lantern ring immediately after the deaths of his parents, when his fear has been obliterated by grief and hate. Bruce overpowered the ring's law against killing through sheer willpower, enabling him to use lethal force and vaporize Joe Chill. After attempting to revive his parents only to put them down when they came back as reanimated corpses, Bruce went on a killing spree, eliminating all of Gotham's criminals and anyone who criticized what he's doing, including Jim Gordon. Bruce saw no real reason for anyone to live in the void left by his parents' death and "unlocked" a new ability, Blackout, which extinguishes all light by bringing that void into the world and slaughtering his targets with eldritch constructs; this is how he killed the Green Lantern Corps when they tried to reclaim the ring.
- The Drowned's origin: Bryce Wayne, a female version of Bruce Wayne who had lost her lover Sylvester Kyle (a male Selina Kyle) at the hands of metahumans, causing Bryce's suspicions towards metahumans to become full-fledged hatred and an intense paranoia that resulted in Bryce killing any metahumans she encountered as potential threats. When the Atlanteans tried to make peace Bryce killed their queen, Aquawoman and started a war. Bryce painfully experimented on herself to gain not only Atlantean abilities as well as those of all manner of sealife but also the ability to corrupt anything she came into contact with into aquatic monsters. Finally, Bryce used the corruption effect of her "Dead Water" to flood the world and turn everyone into her thralls.
- The Murder Machine's origin: A Batman who was forced to watch Alfred die at the hands of Bane while under interrogation. He worked with Cyborg to create an artificial intelligence based on Alfred. The Alfred Protocol began killing Batman's enemies to keep Bruce safe, leading Cyborg to declare that it had gone too far; Bruce wanted to reprogram the AI, but when Cyborg insisted on deleting it, it forcibly merged with Bruce, turning him into a robot Batman capable of controlling nanotechnology and creating hardlight copies of himself and Alfred. Batman then killed the entire Justice League, leaving Cyborg for last. Cyborg begged him not to become this "Murder Machine" but "Batman" renounced his humanity as well as Thomas and Martha Wayne, claiming that as long as he remains as he is, he will never be separated from Alfred, whom he now considers his real father, again. And then he killed Cyborg by ripping his head and spinal cord out of his body.
- The Merciless' origin: A Batman who was in love with Wonder Woman and who fought alongside her against Ares. When Wonder Woman was apparently killed Batman stole Ares' helmet and became the new God of War, killing Ares but became corrupted by the power of the helmet. What he didn't know was that Wonder Woman had just been stunned and when she regained consciousness, she begged Batman to remove the helmet but he refused and killed her when she tried to take it by force, an act which he still seems to regret despite going on to wipe out the Amazons as well as the gods themselves. Later, he stole the coins required to enter the Underworld from the Amazons, turning them into restless souls under his command.
- The Devastator's origin: The Superman of his world went mad and began attacking everything, even killing Lois Lane. Batman attempted to stop him with a Kryptonite spear, only to lose his arm in an injury that would surely be fatal. With no other choice and with all hope lost, having seen the symbol of Earth's hope become its greatest threat, Batman injected himself with the Doomsday virus, regenerating his arm and turning him into a Doomsday monster with Bruce Wayne's mind. He killed Superman easily and then proceeded to infect everyone with the Doomsday virus, turning them into mindless Doomsday monsters, under the belief that doing so will protect them against the inevitable disappointment of hope. Oh, and while he was in Prime Earth he effortlessly took down Firestorm, Wally West, Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz at the Fortress of Solitude, and finally taking out Lobo by spearing him with his own hook and tossing him into the sun! Regardless whether he has a Healing Factor or not, his predicament is not pretty.
- The Red Death's origin: A Batman who, after losing his entire family, kidnapped the Flash in an attempt to go back in time and save them while their whole world was collapsing around them. Flash told him to stop as he knows going back in time would result in horrible changes to the timeline, but Batman didn't listen and strapped him to the Batmobile to utilize the Speed Force, but instead of going back in time, Batman and the Flash fused into a single being with the latter reduced to an impotent voice in Batman's head. The Red Death then learned to use the Speed Force to age people to death, slaughtering all who cross him while what's left of the Flash can only watch and beg Batman to stop.
- And then there's Barbatos' himself. He is a giant dragon who was responsible for destroying unstable worlds born from the Forge of Worlds while the stable ones lived on. But he eventually turned on his master, the Forger of Worlds and allowed the unstable worlds to survive past their normal expectancy, creating the Dark Multiverse.
- Heck, just the fact that Barbatos had been manipulating all of Bruce Wayne's life for the sole purpose of freeing him is scary. How much of Batman's accomplishments and failures were of Bruce's own actions and how much of it were of Barbatos' manipulations?
- When the Teen Titans and the Suicide Squad get separated from Robin, Nightwing, Green Arrow, Killer Croc and Harley Quinn, Dark Damian captures them and turns them into Joker monsters just like him. With the exception of Raven, who gets placed in a pod attached to the Batman Who Laughs' Batmobile. Why? So he can make her give into her dark side and call upon the powers of Trigon.
- When Batman realizes he's trapped in the Dark Multiverse and tries to get out, Barbatos decides he's done playing and shows Batman all the universes in the Dark Multiverse. And from these universes comes a whole army of twisted versions of not just Batman, but of all the DC heroes and villains. Then he shows him images of the Justice League fighting the Dark Knights and it looks like they're losing! Batman is so horrified that he begs Barbatos to stop and that he gives up. Wow. It would have to take a lot for someone to make Batman say, "I give up!"
- When the heroes finally start to get the upper hand thanks to the Element X/Tenth Metal, Barbatos decides to use his final contingency plan: have the Batman Who Laughs' dark matter mix with the Monitor's matter and the Anti-Monitor's brain's anti-matter, resulting in a catastrophe that will leave nothing but darkness and allowing the Dark Multiverse and Barbatos to rule all of existence.
- Post- Dark Nights: Metal brings another evil Batman extracted by Batman Who Laughs in place of the others Dark Knights: The Grim Knight.
- His origin started off after when his parents were killed by Joe Chill in the alleyway, but instead of running away (or in some cases Joe Chill running away with the goods) he picks up the discarded handgun from Joe Chill while he was picking up his parents' fortunes and shoots him dead. His descent into Batman was later diverged from the usual origin stories of Batman, as instead of a vigilante who follows a Thou Shalt Not Kill rule, he later becomes Batman who vows to kill anyone who is suspected of crime (thus leading to several well-known villains being dead and Red Hood being killed at Ace Chemicals, thus preventing the rise of The Joker) and goes so far as to kill Jim Gordon's police force for trying to take him down and takes down two GCPD-affiliated blimps into a crash collision course to Arkham and Blackgate. That being said, he later turned Gotham into a fortified city where citizens live in fear lest they get a Kill Sat right at their doorstep if they were to fall out of line.
- Kulls mere presence at Castle Bat is unsettling and sad when its recalled that in an earlier issue The Batman Who Laughs told Diana that he met and murdered the children they had together on other Earths, and remarked on their ferocity, even writing down their names to keep. What is it about Kull that makes her vicious enough to be worth bringing back to Castle Bat to take on Diana?
Nightmare Fuel / Dark Nights: Metal
Being a Superhero Horror comic centered on dark futures, Dark Nights: Metal has no shortage of nightmares.