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"Armageddon 2001"
Cover of Armageddon 2001 vol. 1, #2 (Oct. 1991), art by Dan Jurgens
PublisherDC Comics
Publication dateMay – October 1991
Main character(s)
Creative team
Penciller(s)Dan Jurgens

"Armageddon 2001" was a 1991 crossover event storyline published by DC Comics. It ran through a self-titled, two-issue limited series and most of the annuals DC published that year from May through October (Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #2 did not tie-in to the storyline). After the event, there were two limited series, Armageddon: The Alien Agenda #1-4 (which was a direct sequel) and Armageddon: Inferno #1-4 (which was only tangentially related).

Each participating annual explored potential possible futures for its main characters. The guiding hands behind the series were editor and writer Dennis O'Neil, writer Archie Goodwin and artist Dan Jurgens.[1]



Main article: Monarch (comics)

Monarch was an oppressive tyrant from a bleak, dystopian Earth 50 years in the future. The people were unhappy with his rule, particularly a scientist named Matthew Ryder, an expert on temporal studies, who was convinced he could use his technology to travel back in time and prevent the maniacal ruler from ever coming to power. He learned that in the late 20th century one of Earth's superheroes had become evil. In the year 2001 this hero had killed all of his comrades, assumed the identity of Monarch, and began his rise to global domination. Because Monarch always appeared in a suit of full body armor his prior identity was unknown.

Chosen by Monarch to take part in a time-travel experiment, Ryder traveled back to 1991, the year in which the series was published, and 10 years before Monarch's massacre of Earth's heroes. Ryder was determined to find out who the Monarch really was and, if possible, kill him before he could rise to power. As he travelled through the rift, his body mutated into a form of living temporal energy, and upon arriving at his destination, he took the name Waverider.


Main article: Waverider (character)

Waverider used the superhuman abilities he gained during his transformation to peer into several possible futures of different members of various superheroes in the DC Universe, seeing where they would be in the year 2001, when Monarch's rise to power began, but he was unable to pinpoint exactly who would become Monarch.[2] After several attempts, he began to rethink his approach. However, Waverider accidentally came in physical contact with Captain Atom, unleashing a storm of temporal energy that opened a gate to the future through which Monarch emerged. Monarch, it seems, had been monitoring Waverider's every move in the past ever since he left the future and merely waited for the perfect time to travel back and stop him from erasing his existence.

Hawk and Dove

Main article: Hawk and Dove

In Hawk and Dove Annual #2, Waverider looked into Hank Hall's future to see him fight and die at the hands of Monarch in 2001.[3] The Dove's power interacts with Waverider's, allowing him to see a multitude of futures to the point Waverider comments "No matter the future they fought him but never became him";[4] Waverider finally touches both Hawk and Dove to see their daughter Unity alter Monarch's mind.[5]

In Armageddon 2001 #2, in a subsequent battle with the Justice League, Monarch retreated, taking Dawn Granger, the current Dove, with him. Hank Hall (the Hawk), who was also a captive, watched as Monarch killed the Dove in front of his own eyes. Being created as two beings whose natures were supposed to be in balance, Hank became enraged when his partner's pacifist nature could no longer contain his warlike spirit. He beat Monarch to death, only to learn the horrible truth: he was the one who would be the Monarch of the future. Upon seeing Monarch's dead body and the device he was building to enslave humanity, he mused that Earth would need someone to keep the balance, so he put on Monarch's armor and continued building his machine.

Eventually, the Justice League found him, and Captain Atom, feeling guilty he let Monarch slip through the timestream in the first place, decided to fight him one-on-one. The battle caused Atom's energy and Monarch's suit to clash, creating a portal that sent both of them back in time to the Age of Dinosaurs.

The Alien Agenda

When hostile aliens encounter Monarch and Atom in the past (sometime between 230 and 65 million years ago), they attempted to enlist both (without either's knowledge) to assist them in creating a wormhole. The wormhole's creation would destroy the universe in which the primitive Earth existed, but would allow the aliens to freely travel.

The creation of the wormhole hinged on a sophisticated, bowling ball-shaped "trigger". Captain Atom next causes an explosion on the primitive Earth, which propels both him and the trigger forward in time to Emperor Nero (A.D. 54-68) era Rome. Monarch strikes a bargain to retrieve the trigger if the aliens agree to place him back in his own time. Monarch allows the aliens to place him in stasis with an alien companion and a device that will awaken them when it senses Captain Atom.

Once awake, Monarch follows Atom through Nero's Rome, the "Old West" (approx. late 1890s), and finally into World War II (estimated near 1945 - as they are testing atomic power). In the World War II era, they stumble onto an atomic test (which Atom is aware of, but Monarch is not) and Atom is blasted into the present, while Monarch's fate is left unknown.

Response and last-minute changes

At some point during the crossover it was revealed Captain Atom would be the hero who became Monarch. The conclusion of the Annual for Justice League Europe, the final crossover issue before the conclusion of the story, seemed to confirm this leak. Waverider had seen the futures of various Justice League Europe members but had not scanned Captain Atom, who was away at the time. The final panel of the issue showed Waverider about to touch Captain Atom, who had just returned, and a text box stated that the story would be concluded in the second issue of Armageddon 2001.[6]

In response to the leak, the originally-intended ending was changed at the last minute: Monarch was revealed to be, not Captain Atom, but rather the Hawk. The problem with this reveal, as many fans pointed out[citation needed], is that Waverider had seen Hank Hall fight and die against Monarch[3] and that the Dove had allowed him to see so many futures as to conclude "No matter the future they fought him but never became him",[4] making Hank Hall and Dawn Granger the only two heroes Monarch could not be. They were the only characters shown in this situation, and thus any of the other major characters could have been Monarch without creating a continuity issue.[7]

This revelation was extremely unpopular among both fans and professionals[citation needed], in part because of the continuity issue mentioned above and the disregard for the clues placed in previous issues. Additionally, it required Hawk to behave in ways that many felt to be out of character[citation needed]. This also made it impossible to continue using either Hawk or Dove as they had in the past and necessitated the cancellation of the Hawk & Dove series. Karl Kesel, the writer of Hawk & Dove, commented that "Hawk and Dove was always a love story. Then one day, Hawk went insane and murdered Dove".[8]

A storyline in JSA later revealed that the ending of Armageddon 2001 had been faked by Mordru. He had created an illusion of the Dove being murdered by a future Hawk/Monarch in order to drive the current Hawk insane. He then took control of Hawk and used him to impregnate Dove so she would give birth to a child that would inherit all the powers of the Lords of Chaos and Order. Mordru cast a spell on Dove that kept her in a comatose state for years. She did give birth to a child, but before Mordru could possess the child's body, it was instead inhabited by a reincarnated Hector Hall who aged the body to adulthood and thus caused it to become the new Doctor Fate. Much later, while searching for his wife Lyta, Hector would discover Dove and bring her out of Mordru's spell, revealing the truth of these events. She would then discover that her sister had inherited Hawk's powers after the death of Hank Hall[citation needed].

Annual tie-ins

In addition to the bookend issues, the storyline followed Waverider through multiple annuals:

Aftermath titles

Sequel miniseries


After Armageddon 2001, Waverider continued to show up (next, in the cover of Action Comics #670, with Armageddon 2001's aftermath), mostly in the Superman titles (Superman (vol. 2) #61 depicts Superman and Waverider in the Metropolis disaster area, which is the same area seen in Action Comics #670, and follows Waverider and Superman almost immediately after Armageddon 2001), before playing an important role in 1994's Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! event which was likewise controlled by Jurgens.

None of the alternate futures shown in Armageddon 2001 came true and most of their events had no impact on the DC Universe. One exception was The New Titans crossover which showed a group of super-powered teens fighting against a god-like dictator. These characters had already appeared in New Titans, having traveled back in time to prevent their future from happening.

In other media

The title "Armageddon" was given the five-part episode crossover during the eighth season of the Arrowverse series The Flash. It borrows the idea of a hero becoming a villain in the future, in the show's case Barry Allen, and a figure traveling back in time to prevent it, Despero filling the role occupied by Waverider in the original story.

See also


  1. ^ Manning, Matthew K. (2010). "1990s". In Dolan, Hannah (ed.). DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 250. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Armageddon 2001 was the DC Comics event of the summer...Written by Archie Goodwin and Denny O'Neil, and drawn by penciler Dan Jurgens.
  2. ^ Greenberger, Robert; Pasko, Martin (2010). The Essential Superman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-345-50108-0.
  3. ^ a b Hawk and Dove Annual #2, pg. 9-19
  4. ^ a b Hawk and Dove Annual #2, pg. 38, panel 4
  5. ^ Hawk and Dove Annual #2, pg. 53
  6. ^ "There was a 900 service that somebody setup that supposedly gave you inside secrets of the comic book industry. And somewhere along the line, that 900 service started saying that Monarch was going to be Captain Atom".
    Dan Jurgens as interviewed by Dylan Bruck. Wizard Magazine #179, page 49, July 27, 2006.
  7. ^ "I remember Jonathan Peterson saying to us cryptically, 'Do you guys have any future plans for Hawk and Dove?'"
    Karl Kesel & Barbara Kesel as interviewed by Dylan Bruck. Wizard Magazine #179, page 49 July 27, 2006.
  8. ^ Hawk & Dove trade paperback
  9. ^ Nevett, Chad (November 3, 2009). "Nostalgia November Day 03 — Superman Annual #3". Comics Should be Good. Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on December 27, 2009. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
  10. ^ Alan Grant, John Wagner (w), Jim Fern (p), Steve Leahloha (i). "The Last Batman Story" Batman Annual, no. 15 (1991). DC Comics.
  11. ^ Nevett, Chad (November 4, 2009). "Nostalgia November Day 04 — Batman Annual #15". Comics Should be Good. Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on December 27, 2009. Retrieved February 23, 2013.