Spoilers ahead for Dark Days: The Forge #1, out today.
Don't look now: it's another new crisis!
(Apologies to the Kirby Krackle for that joke.)
While the launch of DC's Dark Days summer event today may not answer many questions -- and trust us, it raises plenty! -- longtime DC fans likely recognized some story elements that hint at something very big and very bad for the future of the DCU.
First of all, one of the upcoming Dark Nights titles gets a little tease in the form of two of the Immortal Men, who appear and talk about the mysteries of the universe with one another for a bit.
At one point, the lead Immortal Man tells his partner, ""the world of the public heroes is careening toward a crisis unlike anything they've seen before."
That word -- "Crisis" -- has a pretty significant history at DC Comics. The company celebrated its 50th anniversary in Crisis on Infinite Earths, which rebooted the long-running superhero continuity and is arguably the defining event comic in the history of either Marvel or DC. Two decades later, they followed it up with a sequel titled Infinite Crisis, and a few years after that audiences got Final Crisis, which was a bit more on the surreal and cerebral side as far as comic book mega-events go.
So with the last Crisis being called Final Crisis and the fact that the word "crisis" may be loaded at DC but also gets used in a more small-C "crisis" way every day, why should we believe this is as big a deal as we're building it up to be?
The image above is what's called a cosmic tuning fork. Giant structures built by the Monitor during Crisis on Infinite Earths, the "tuning forks" helped to slow the merging of multiple earths during the Crisis.
For context: the universes in DC's multiverse occupy the same physical space but are separated by different "vibrational frequencies." One of the ways The Anti-Monitor hoped to destroy all of reality was to cause the remaining Earths he had not already destroyed to vibrate at the same rate, ultimately colliding into one another and causing a cataclysmic event.0comments
The implication is that this particular tuning fork was constructed using Nth Metal by Carter Hall/Hawkman, who warns against "following in my footsteps." It isn't clear just what his footsteps are, but since numerous of the Dark Nights titles reference people who have crossed over into a Dark Dimension in one way or another, it seems likely that's where Batman hopes to go, with the help of this tuning fork (which, while designed to keep universes apart, could presumably be repurposed to travel the multiverse).
For Batman to be seeking out a cosmic tuning fork, things must be...very very dangerous. The threat of the Dark Dimension is not the only major, looming darkness, as Superman will soon be squaring off against Doctor Manhattan in Doomsday Clock, but it seems the larger DC Universe might be headed for another battle of Crisis-level proportions...complete with callbacks to the great-granddaddy of comic book events itself.