"My readings indicate you were exposed to an extra-universal material that destroys positive matter on contact, a substance known as antimatter."
Gideon to Barry Allen[src]

Antimatter or anti-matter[1] is an extra-universal substance that destroys any matter on contact within the multiverse, having the ability to completely destroy a universe and erase it from existence. During the Anti-Monitor Crisis, a wave of antimatter, brought on by the malevolent Anti-Monitor, destroyed all Earths in the multiverse and killed all living beings within them, leaving only seven Paragons, seeking refuge at the Vanishing Point, as survivors.

Overview

Non-sapient species, such as animals, can easily pick up on incoming antimatter. Supergirl noted that all the animals in National City were going nuts before the antimatter even entered the solar system of Earth-38.[2]

It cannot reach extra-dimensional planes of existence like the Speed Force and Purgatory, and locations outside of space and time such as the Vanishing Point.[1][3]

Its presence on Earth-TUD5 caused Jennifer Pierce to turn into pure energy against her will and enter a shared "safe place," between worlds, along with two other Jennifers from different Earths in the multiverse. Thus Jennifer of Earth-TUD5 was saved from the destruction of the multiverse while her doppelgängers perished. She later surfaced on Earth-Prime, hours after the Anti-Monitor was defeated.

Origin

According to Gideon, antimatter is an extra-universal material, meaning that it does not exist within the multiverse, which is mostly made up of positive matter; rather, antimatter exists outside it: in the netherverse—the antimatter universe.[4] Cosmic beings originating from the netherverse such as the Anti-Monitor can manipulate antimatter and use it to obliterate entire positive matter universes.[2]

Antimatter walls

Barry finding an antimatter wall.

In the Speed Force, barriers known as antimatter walls appear when an antimatter wave has a possibility of hitting on a specific date in the respective universe. This can bar a speedster's physical body from time traveling to that date and the few succeeding dates (such as when Barry Allen attempted to time travel to December 11, 2019; a day after a supposed Crisis, but was ejected by the Speed Force). Though speedsters in their prime (as opposed to inexperienced and/or old-aged speedsters) are able to beam their mind to those dates with less-lethal consequences with the assistance of a machine such as a neural hyper-collider, which can harness neural electricity and transfer it across superluminal particles (also known as tachyons) to project one's consciousness across space-time.[4]

History

Mar Novu's experiment

Thousands of years ago on the planet Maltus, Xneen worked with her husband and fellow scientist Mar Novu to conduct an experiment to travel to the dawn of time to witness the birth of the universe. When Mar Novu entered the temporal zone, as an unforeseen consequence of his presence in the zone, it was rendered unstable and Xneen, who was monitoring Mar from their lab, began getting new reading suggesting the presence of antimatter. She urged her husband to get back out of the temporal zone, but he then found himself at the dawn of time; in the antimatter universe. This led to the creation of his antimatter doppelgänger; the Anti-Monitor.[3]

Discovery and detection

"Good to see you again, Barry."
"You too, Jay."
"You were right; you were hit with a dose of pure antimatter. Lucky you have speed healing, or
that scratch coulda wiped ya out of existence."
"So is there a way that I can time travel past the barrier?"
"
You wanna tell me why the hell you were time traveling to begin with?"
"I needed to see for myself if the Monitor was telling the truth about what happened to me—and
I know what you're gonna say about time traveling."
"Actually, I was gonna tell you you made the right call. For the past year, I've been detecting antimatter signatures across the multiverse. Now, we don't know their origin. But if my algorithm is correct,
all Earths could be in danger."
—Jay Garrick and Barry Allen[src]

Jay Garrick detects antimatter readings across the multiverse

Between 2018 and 2019, Jay Garrick detected a number of antimatter signatures throughout the multiverse. By October 2019, he had marked multiple antimatter signatures on his map, as he detected them near Earths-2, 6, 7, 17, 21, 26, 32, and X.[4]

Barry's leg wounded by antimatter.

When Barry Allen attempted to travel to December 11, 2019 in October 2019, (in an attempt to learn what happened after he, according to the Monitor, was destined to die in the Crisis on December 10 of that year) an antimatter wall blocked his path; causing the Speed Force to eject Barry back to his native time period, leaving him with a bad cut on his leg, which his speed healing was slow to mend. As he was told when he met with Jay on the subject, if not for Barry's accelerated healing factor, the antimatter would've consumed him out of existence. The reasons for the antimatter's presence within the Speed Force were the impending antimatter wave to hit Earth-1 on December 10, 2019 and the uncertainty and numerous possibilities of future events.[4]

Consuming universes

Earth-2 is destroyed by antimatter.

In October 2019, the Anti-Monitor detected Mar Novu's presence on Earth-2. He test-fired the antimatter cannon he'd built, releasing a wave of antimatter on that world; killing its population and ultimately destroying the universe. However, Oliver Queen and John Diggle of Earth-1 managed to escape back to their home universe with Earth-2's Laurel Lance in tow (leaving Laurel as that Earth's sole survivor).[5] This resulted in the loss of Team Flash's allies Harry Wells and Jesse Quick.

Argo City being consumed by antimatter.

Immediately before midnight on December 9, 2019, Nash Wells was tricked by the Anti-Monitor into opening the Nexus and thus allowing the Anti-Monitor Crisis to begin immediately on December 10, 2019. The antimatter cannon began releasing a continuous antimatter wave, which destroyed Earths 9, 66, 89, and X.[2] However, The Ray was briefly rescued from Earth-X to help save the remaining universes.[6]

Earth-38 is about to be destroyed by antimatter.

The antimatter wave reached Earth-38 and destroyed Argo City first, leaving Clark Kent, Lois Lane and their son, Jonathan, as the only survivors. Although the quantum towers that Mar Novu had erected held the wave at bay, the shadow demons of the Anti-Monitor attacked the quantum towers and eventually destroyed it, allowing the antimatter wave to destroy Earth along with the rest of the universe. However, thanks to the coordinated efforts of heroes from both Earth-1 and Earth-38, as well as L-Corp, the D.E.O., the governments of Earth, Harbinger, Novu, and Oliver Queen's sacrifice, 3 billion humans and aliens were able to escape to Earth-1.[2]

Also on December 10, 2019, the antimatter wave reached Earth-TUD5 and as a result, it destroyed the entire universe. However right before that, Pariah managed to teleport Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning to Earth-1, leaving him the only known survivor (however, unknown to Jefferson at the time, his daughter Jennifer was shielded from the antimatter due to her unusual reaction to its presence in their universe).[7]

Earth-1 is about to be destroyed by antimatter.

The antimatter wave continued to destroy universe after universe, until it finally reached Earth-1, not only killing the native lifeforms on its surface, but killed the Earth-38 refugees, as well as any other denizens of evacuated worlds. After a brief battle against a Mobius-possessed Lyla Michaels, it consumed those on the Waverider time vessel as well, except the seven Paragons, whom Pariah teleported to the Vanishing Point (putting them out of the Anti-Monitor's reach) before the timeship was destroyed.[8]

Post-Crisis

After the multiverse was restored and the Anti-Monitor was defeated, when Jefferson Pierce traveled back to Freeland, he and Jennifer Pierce (the latter of whom had recently popped up on Earth-Prime after the Crisis ended) were scanned by Peter Gambi, who found that they both had small traces of antimatter on them.[9]

Abra Kadabra created an antimatter bomb, which he had planned to destroy Central City with, as revenge against the Flash. However, Barry convinced him out of this act, and Abra disarmed the bomb. When Fuerza attacked soon after, Abra instead fruitlessly tried to use the bomb against her, resulting in his death.[10]

Appearances

The Flash

Season 1

Season 4

Season 6

Season 7


Arrow

Season 8

Supergirl

Season 5

Batwoman

Season 1

Black Lightning

Season 3

DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Season 5

Comics

Crisis on Infinite Earths Giant

Trivia

"Every pet in National City is having a nervous breakdown. This feels bigger than Leviathan."
"The USGS didn't register an early warning, so it took everyone
completely by surprise."
"She does mean
eveyone, because this earthquake is, quite literally, worldwide."
"But the seismic activity wasn't coming from
within the planet; it's coming from without."
"That's—"
"Extra-normal?"
"I was gonna say 'impossible', but okay."
"Yes, yes, a fair descriptor. As would be, uh...'unfeasible', 'unthinkable', 'absurd', 'outlandish'. But, however you choose to describe this event, one thing is absolutely certain.
We have—"
"A major Crisis on our hands.
"
—Kara Danvers, Alex Danvers, Querl Dox and J'onn J'onzz on Earth-38's oncoming demise.[src]
  • Antimatter causes planets to have something like worldwide earthquakes even when outside their solar systems. However, the shaking comes from outside the planet rather than from its interior.[2]
  • Antimatter cannot reach spiritual planes of existence, like the Speed Force (though the Anti-Monitor himself was still able to attack Barry when the latter was moving through the Speed Force)[3] and Purgatory. Logically, Heaven and Hell would also be unaffected. The Fifth Dimension is also known to be immune.[11]
    • In other words, only the third dimension of the multiverse is affected. As seen when Mar Novu travelled to the dawn of time via the temporal zone, antimatter can reach that sector (the fourth dimension); rendering it unstable, though not obliterating it.[3]
  • As its presence within the multiverse grows stronger, antimatter can disrupt more complicated forms of magic.
  • Although the Monitor seems to have something of an immunity to antimatter, as he was not killed by an antimatter arrow shot by Oliver, it did bring him to his knees and left him unable to bring Oliver back to Earth-1 until the latter was fatally injured; suggesting that antimatter weakens the Monitor, but doesn't destroy him outright.
"Well... the accelerator went active; we all felt like heroes, and then... it all went wrong. The dimensional barrier ruptured... unleashing unknown energies into our world. Antimatter, dark energy, X-elements—"
"Harrison Wells"[src]
  • When Barry first suspected that other meta-humans besides himself had been created as a consequence of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explosion and confronted Dr. "Harrison Wells" about what really happened that night, the latter mentioned antimatter as one of several theoretical substances created by the explosion.[12] Whether this is the same form of antimatter that was later weaponized by the Anti-Monitor is unknown.
    • Similarly, according to Supergirl, Kryptonian pods use antimatter to propel themselves through space.[13] This so-called "antimatter" may not the same kind utilized by the Anti-Monitor though, considering that the Kryptonians on Argo City were caught unprepared by the antimatter wave, which wouldn't have happened were they familiar with this type of antimatter.

Behind the scenes

  • In the real world, antimatter is defined as the "antiparticles" of regular matter found in the universe. Particle accelerators around the world regularly produce tiny amounts, with only a few nanograms having been produced in total.
  • In the DC comics, antimatter is an alternate form of matter comprised of antiparticles. It functions in direct opposition to positive matter and contact between the two will ultimately destroy the particles of both.

References

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