How many Source Walls are there in the Multiverse? Is each ‘Earth’ a planet of a universe? How many Darkseids are there?

On December 1st, 2014, /u/DroppedPJK asked the following on /r/DCcomics:

Could someone explain this Multiversity map thing? From what I understand there is only one SOURCE WALL and all the Earths are somehow separated by this “bleed.”

Does that mean if someone from Earth 2 and Earth 1 went to the same exact point on the source wall they would meet?

Is it safe to assume that with different Earths, that they all have their own sort of universe like Mars 1 and Mars 2?

Is there only ONE DARKSEID that plagues the entire multiverse or multiple versions of him?

Yeah, it’s a little confusing. For those not sure what /u/DroppedPJK is referring to, you can see the first teaser map they released for Multiversity here and the even crazier, more complicated one here.

From what I understand there is only one SOURCE WALL and all the Earths are somehow separated by this “bleed.”

Yep, that seems to be the case now in the New 52, although it’s going to get a bit more complicated than that. The Bleed is also a bit more complicated.

Also, it didn’t always seem to be this way though. From wikipedia:

Superman Prime being… primey

In Countdown, it is revealed that the 52 universes are each surrounded by a source wall, with the Bleed between the source walls of the various universes. The Monitors refer to an impending disaster if they do not act to stop travel between the 52 universes, and in issue #38 of Countdown, they finally reveal that each time a being passes between universes, they break a little of each universes’ source wall. If a source wall is breached too many times, it will collapse and lead to chaos and the destruction of its universe. In Countdown #23, Superman-Prime operates out of a cave within the Source Wall itself, specifically a section bordering Earth-15. He mentions its deterioration and later blasts it with his heat vision, causing a devastating chain-reaction which seemingly obliterated the 15th universe.

This seems to imply that each universe had its own seperate enclosing Source Wall but I think you could still actually marry all of that with the stuff we’re finding out now.

the_flash_by_kearse-d4v0mgd
Flash Fact!
The wall itself was not created or depicted by Jack Kirby, although he did refer to “a final barrier” before the Source and described the imprisoned giants around it. It was first shown in the The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans cross-over and was created by Walt Simonson and Chris Claremont.

Does that mean if someone from Earth 2 and Earth 1 went to the same exact point on the source wall they would meet?

Maybe, but probably not.

The problem with those maps, while supremely cool, is that they’re not just representing physical, three dimensional space in 2D, but actually showing parallel worlds and expressing 4th, 5th and higher dimensions. That said, I’ve cracked open the part of my brain that’s actually a trained writer and I think we can solve this with two metaphors.

The Bleed

Metaphor 1

Think of each of those parallel worlds as bubbles in a bottle of Coca-Cola. Inside each bubbles is an entire universe, while they’re separated from one another by that actual soft drink, which is The Bleed. In this metaphor the glass is the Source Wall – it encloses all the universes and the bleed.

Metaphor 2

The other problem is that these universes aren’t like bubbles, floating next to one another, or like they’re depicted in those maps but are instead layered on top of one another. Since the multiverse was first introduced in 1961 in Flash of Two Worlds, all the different univeses have been described as occupying the same space in time but simply vibrating at different frequencies. This was how Flash used to travel between them and you’ll have seen another reference in Multiversity #1 with the ship we see being navigated by music, specifically vibrations.

So the Source Wall is infinitely long, just as each universe, and our own, is, so that it can surround it, but the parts of it directly touching other universes are as out of reach as those worlds are. The Bleed is more like the sharps and flats between the unique notes of each universe while the wall is the page, separating us from the composer (The Source).

Note: While I’m very confident of this position and explanation I make no gaguarantees that Morrison won’t write something that contradicts it all before the end of Multiversity ;)

Is it safe to assume that with different Earths, that they all have their own sort of universe like Mars 1 and Mars 2?

When we talk about earths what we’re really talking about is parallel universes that together make a multiverse. We use Earth regularly because it’s our point of reference but each of those Earths on that map represents a universe as infinite as our own.

So, yeah each Earth has their own Mars, Jupiter, Krypton etc.

Is there only ONE DARKSEID that plagues the entire multiverse or multiple versions of him?

So, this is once again complicated. As you can see from this disambiguation page on the DC Wiki, there used to be a bunch of different versions, one for each ‘Earth’/Universe.

As /u/watwait very accurately stated, though, since the New 52 it’s been shown – in the comics and on those maps – that there is now only one New Genesis and one Apokolips, so there’s only one version of each of the New Gods and of Darkseid and his minions too.

Know you’d already got some good answers, but hope this expands a bit more and is helpful :)

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One thought on “How many Source Walls are there in the Multiverse? Is each ‘Earth’ a planet of a universe? How many Darkseids are there?

  1. Tony says:

    As /u/watwait very accurately stated, though, since the New 52 it’s been shown – in the comics and on those maps – that there is now only one New Genesis and one Apokolips, so there’s only one version of each of the New Gods and of Darkseid and his minions too.

    I can’t remember where (and my memory could be failing me here), but I recall Geoff Johns recently saying something to the effect of Darkseid and the rest of the New Gods being outside of the Multiverse, hence why there aren’t multiple versions of them running around (made me wonder if that was the case with all gods). If that were the case, then the post-Flashpoint Darkseid should be the same one as the post-Crisis one and theoretically, the pre-Crisis one. This could get complicated, given the events at the end of Convergence. If the Crisis on Infinite Earths is truly erased (I haven’t read issue 8 of Convergence, so I don’t know if all of CoIE is gone, or only the events shortly after Barry and Kara died are gone), that means the original Legion of Superheroes is out there in some universe, which means the Darkseid they fought during the Great Darkness Saga exists-and he doesn’t appear to be the same Darkseid as the one who is currently appearing in JLA.
    I love the multiverse and continuity, but attempting to square continuity issues with one another can be a headache!

    Like

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