What’s the deal with the Anti-Monitor?

On January 19th, 2015, /u/Cyber85 asked the following on /r/DCcomics:

Can someone explain who the ant monitor is? I keep seeing that name pop around when I read comics.

The Ant!

Oh man – I love that people are asking about the Ant! He was a villain of the Teen Titans back in 1966! He was a thief so I guess he had to monitor stuff and…

Oh, you meant the Anti-monitor. Well, he’s (it’s?) cool too. Here’s what you need to know. :)

From the DC Wiki disambiguation page’s tl;dr version:

The Anti-Monitor is a supremely powerful being who controls the Antimatter Universe, acting as an evil counterpart to his brother the Monitor. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths he almost succeeded in destroying the positive matter Multiverse, killing untold billions in the process. He has been involved with the Sinestro Corps and the Black Lantern Corps. Anti-Monitor was created by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, first appearing in Crisis on Infinite Earths #2 (1985)

Care to go a bit deeper?

Firstly we have to go back to the 1960s when DC first introduced the Multiverse, mainly so they could say the heroes of the Golden Age were on Earth-Two and let them and the Silver Age Justice League meet and have team-ups. These stories are collected under the loose banner of Crisis on Multiple Earths and after establishing Earth-Two soon went on to introduce Earth-Three – where an evil version of the JLA, the Crime Syndicate of America, lived – Earth-Four, Earth-S, Earth-X… you get the idea.

Now things get a little more complicated. Because of numerous reboots, retcons, changes and with so many parallel universes, in the early 1980’s DC decided it was time to simplify things – which brings us to Crises on Infinite Earths. The idea was an event that would destroy most of the continuity and take the best bits and merge them into one, single timeline and continuity – and the Anti-monitor was the villain to do just that.

Krona

The Anti-monitor’s origin actually goes back to The Guardians of the Universe of Green Lantern fame, from before they were the Guardians:

Billions of years ago, a Maltusian scientist named Krona, performed a forbidden experiment in an effort to see the origin of the universe. His irresponsible actions disrupted the process of cosmic creation, resulting in an additional, opposite universe.

Krona’s experiment, along with creating the Antimatter Universe, is also what created the DC Multiverse, which was, apparently, never meant to happen and which is fairly important for where this is all going. Anyway, from the Anti-monitor’s wiki:

The Anti-Monitor’s first design

The Monitor

In [the Antimatter universe], the Anti-Monitor was born on one of the moons as an excess of great energy taking form. At that same time in the positive matter universe, The Monitor was born of similar origin … Once he sensed The Monitor in the positive universe, [the Anti-monitor] began a 1,000,000,000 year long war with him, which ended in both of them losing consciousness.

Well 9 billion years pass and a new scientist, Pariah, decides to look at the origins of the universe – which wakes them both back up.

…the Anti-Monitor and The Monitor were freed and the Anti-Monitor converted the anti-matter into energy and used it to destroy Pariah’s universe. After destroying this universe, he drained its energy once again and became even stronger. Along with this, the destruction of a positive matter universe caused the anti-matter universe to expand and make the Anti-Monitor even stronger. With this knowledge in hand, the Anti-Monitor set out to destroy all of the positive matter universes and, therefore, make himself as powerful as possible.

The Anti-Monitor new design after fighting Supergirl

Crises on Infinite Earths was a hell of a ride and basically concerned the Anti-monitor travelling across the Multiverse destroying universe after universe – including a great scene where he destroys Earth-Three – and getting stronger and stronger, while the Monitor tries to collect heroes together to stop him.

The original Crime Syndicate

He was ridiculously powerful too:

The Anti-Monitor was one of the most formidable foes ever faced by the heroes. In addition to possessing vast size (varying from several meters to hundreds of meters), he has destroyed and absorbed countless universes. The Monitor explains that over a thousand universes have been destroyed. Even the Spectre was unable to defeat him even after being augmented by many powerful sorcerers, including a fifth dimensional imp. Therefore, he wields enough power to destroy a universe.

He’s also invulnerable, can project and absorb energy, create constructs, and alter reality. He makes Superman look like a reasonable power set.


The Monitor actually dies due to the machinations of the Anti-monitor but after heaps of twists and turns, victories and defeats – including the death of Supergirl in one of the big confrontations – the story eventually ends with heroes destroying the Anti-monitor and Earth-One, Earth-Two, Earth-S, Earth-X and Earth-Four being the only universes in the entire, infinite multiverse to survive – and then these are merged into one universe, creating New Earth like it was, apparently, always meant to be. Here the Justice Society existed decades before the Justice League, Captain Marvel (now known as Shazam) and all his related characters now lived on the same Earth as Superman and Batman, as did characters from Earth-X like Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. Most people didn’t even remember that it was ever any different!

So, that was the end of him?

Anti-Monitor in the machine

Nope! His remains were used 20 years later by the antagonists of Infinite Crisis (2005). They used them to power a machine because they wanted to remake one of the lost Earths that had been destroyed. In the end this actually just creating a new Multiverse of 52 parallel worlds, many of whom bore a strong resemblance to counterparts that had existed before Crises on Infinite Earths.

I’m being deliberately vague here as both Crises on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis are great reads and I wouldn’t want to ruin them for you too much :)

Recreating the Multiverse actually brought the Anti-monitor back to life for real. Funnily enough, while there seemed to only ever be only one Anti-monitor each of these new universes now had a Monitor, known, creatively, as The Monitors. The Anti-monitor went on to play a part in the Sinestro Corps War (during which he’s killed), Blackest Night (during which he’s resurrected) and Brightest Day (during which he did… stuff) storylines. However, his role in these wasn’t nearly akin to his Multiverse destroying efforts so I’ll lead you to read his wiki if you want to know more details on any of them.

52 Monitors

New 52, new Anti-monitor?

The new (New 52) Crime Syndicate, once again from Earth 3

We haven’t seen much of the New 52 version of the Anti-Monitor (hence why that wiki is so short) since the massive reboot at the end of Flashpoint but it’s been hinted a few times that something huge is coming – and once again it’s linked with the Crime Syndicate from Earth 3!

Hope this helps clear things up :)

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One thought on “What’s the deal with the Anti-Monitor?

  1. Tony says:

    (Yes, I do believe you’re going to see a lot of comments from me)
    Regarding the Anti-Monitor-it amuses me that here is a being who consumes universes and he’d destroyed all but 5 of them by the time he killed Supergirl. It had been established that he grew in power as each universe was destroyed, and since he had destroyed a near infinite amount (in actuality, I imagine the DC multiverse wasn’t really infinite), he should have been all-powerful. He should have been able to flick his pinky and kill Superman and Supergirl. But he clearly wasn’t *that* powerful (still, being able to bat around the pre-Crisis Superman is a feat few can match).
    And then comes Crisis #12, where he more or less stands around and lets the heroes pound on him. Oh sure, they were ineffectual, but for someone who wanted them dead, he didn’t do much more than provide them with a punching bag. You’d think someone that powerful would do more than stand around doing nothing. That’s one of my minor quibbles with the Crisis. I have more as well (why was Hal not there in some capacity?) as more substantial ones, which is why I found this amusing:

    I’m being deliberately vague here as both Crises on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis are great reads and I wouldn’t want to ruin them for you too much :)

    I think CoIE is ok as a story, but it’s too long. It’s like a precursor to decompressed stories of today. As for IC, it had such potential in the first issue, especially that ending, which had Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman divided over ideological issues, and ones that were at the core of all three characters. The criticisms each of them had of the others were warranted, and I’d love to have seen them fleshed out. Sadly, the story shifted away from that to Superbrat Prime, and by the end of it, Supes, Bats, and Wondy were all friends again. It was too pat. But it, like CoIE sure did look gorgeous.

    Like

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