's recent "Theological Wednesday
" post has spurred me on to post about a topic I've been kicking around in my head for a while now...just how does the afterlife work in the Marvel and DC Universes?
It's been firmly established in both universes that there IS life after death, and that there is a Heaven and Hell...but there's little consistency as to what each place is like, or who gets to go where. As Adam pointed out, in one book Zauriel (who would have some expertise in such matters) states that suicide is an instant ticket to Hell (no matter the circumstances), while another book shows Adrian "Vigilante" Chase doing penance in purgatory, suggesting that it's not as harsh as all that. (And since "Quiver" showed that Oliver Queen made it into Heaven, it's apparent that the DC Universe operates under a very
One of the goofier metaphysical aspects of the DC Afterlife is the idea (established by Doug Wheeler in Swamp Thing
before it went over to Vertigo) that one's afterlife is tied to the physical location of one's death...Wheeler's concept was that Heaven and Hell had developed "pockets" of alien philosophies of the afterlife, due to the influx of alien souls who had died on Earth during the Invasion!
crossover. Wheeler's story also showed that Abin Sur had been stranded in Earth's Heaven since his crash, separated from his own people...as I recall, he set off for his own world's Heaven at the end of the story, reasoning that he had all eternity to make the journey. Thankfully, this concept has been ignored since then. (After all, what kind of Paradise is it if you're separated from everyone you knew back home?)
But how do DC's parallel Earths (both pre-Crisis and post-52 versions) jibe with the hereafter? Does each world get a separate afterlife? Did Kal-L go to Heaven-2? Would Earth-3's Heaven and Hell be "reverse" realms where the ruthless are rewarded for their ambition and the innocent are punished for their weakness?
Or is there just one all-encompassing realm containing all the souls of all the worlds (even the ones that were wiped out of existence)? This theory would seem to be supported by the Hawk & Dove Annual
where the Icicle, an Earth-2 villain who died before the new Earth was "rebooted," appears in Purgatory alongside several deceased Earth-1 villains before being allowed to move on to Heaven. Of course, that could just be part of the editorial dictate that there was only one world and the Icicle was always part of it.
The Marvel Universe's afterlife seems even more ill-defined...as amusing as the Milligan/Dragotta/Allred Dead Girl
mini-series was, I just can't regard it as canon.
One thing's for sure...the residents of these worlds' after-realms have got
to have some interesting "Can You Top This?" conversations about how they got there.