Elseworlds is an imprint of DC comics, the basic premise of which is to take familiar characters from their comic roster and put them in altered surroundings, time periods, or imagine them with an altered backstory. The imprint came about in 1989 with the publication of Gotham by Gaslight, which re-imagined Batman in the Victorian Era and pitted him against none other than Jack The Ripper. Over the years DC has published 100’s of these so called imaginary tales, and here is a look at some of my favourite ones.
Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty
The story follows a feud between the Wayne family and the immortal Vandal Savage, a feud which starts in the 13th century and ends in the 24th Century. The story is split into three parts, Dark Past which features a knight named Joshua Wainwright during the Crusades, Dark Present which features Bruce Wayne in the 20th century as Batman, and Dark Future , which features Brenna Wayne as Batwoman.
Superman: Red Son
In Red Son, Superman’s rocket ship lands on a Ukrainian collective farm rather than in Kansas. Instead of fighting for “… truth, justice, and the American Way”, Superman is described in Soviet radio broadcasts “… as the Champion of the common worker who fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact.”
Superman & Batman: Generations 1,2 &3
In which Superman and Batman age in real time from their first appearances in the 1930’s all the way through to the 30th century, the 3 series explores the dynamics of the two main characters, as well as their impact on their legacies.
This story is set in a future that deals with a growing conflict between the visibly out-of-touch “traditional” superheroes, and a growing population of largely amoral and dangerously irresponsible new vigilantes, in many cases the offspring of the traditional heroes. Between these two groups is Batman and his assembled team, who attempt to contain the escalating disaster, foil the machinations of Lex Luthor, and prevent a world-ending superhuman war.
JSA The Liberty Files/ Unholy Three
The Liberty File Set in Egypt, 1942, the Bat (a.k.a. Batman) has been ordered to work with two new partners, the Clock (a.k.a. Hourman) and the Owl (a.k.a. Doctor Mid-Nite), as a group codenamed the Unholy Three. Their mission is to find Jack the Grin (a.k.a. the Joker), a smuggler who has stolen information about an unidentified German secret weapon.
And in its sequel, The Unholy Three set In 1948, with the war over, the Bat is now fighting criminals in Gotham City. He had briefly worked with the Clock and Mister Terrific, but Sloane blamed him for his fiancee’s death and said he couldn’t work with him. The Clock also retired to his civilian identity of Rex Tyler and returned to running his company. The Bat and the Clock are re-activated as government agents when two former KGB agents, the Parasite and Steelwolf, are working for an unknown employer. They are killing superheroes and seeking a plan called the Trigger. The Bat and the Clock are introduced to Clark Kent (a.k.a. Superman) a new agent who, despite his inexperience, is placed in charge of the group.