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Doctor Manhattan Reveals What Magic REALLY Is in The DC Universe

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Doomsday Clock and Justice League Dark.

Doomsday Clock is pretty much living up to its billing in terms of showing just how powerful Doctor Manhattan really is. We had a fair idea of that from Watchmen, but still, we harbored hope some of DC's heroes would have been on level pegging and be able to take him down.

But as Issue #9 illustrates, that's simply not the case. He's a master of everything based in science and, as much as it proves a threat to him, not even the emotional power of the Green Lanterns can stack up against Doctor Manhattan. It doesn't end there, though, because as the Justice League Dark team tries its hand, not only does the blue godlike entity rebuff their abilities, he actually reveals the truth behind magic in the DC Universe.

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After dissecting Guy Gardner's ring and withering it away into nothingness, it's clear that unconventional means will be required the topple the demigod. That's why John Constantine leads the charge, with Etrigan the Demon as his main weapon. Sadly, when Etrigan unleashes his Hellfire on Doc, nothing gives. Zatanna tries her hand simultaneously with a freezing spell, but she doesn't have any effect either. In fact, Doc's amused, viewing them as kids with toys, rather than heroes wielding weapons. The intrigued and arrogant Manhattan then dissects their magic and turns their fight into quite a definitive moment.

In a landmark speech typical of a bored villain, Doc divulges that magic really is leftover energy from the "scraps of creation." He dubs this form of atoms and molecules as forgotten code, comparing it to waste material in computers. The most telling revelation comes, though, when he peers into the past and says this residual energy was picked up and harnessed by beings who were themselves "forgotten and discarded." This fits perfectly into the recent Justice League Dark stories, with Manhattan clearly referencing the Otherkind.

At the start of that run, we found out that, after the Source Wall was ruptured in No Justice, magic was going haywire in the universe. It turns out the original wielders, the Otherkind, were coming back to claim it after it was stolen and appropriated by "homo magi" such as Zatanna's dad, Zatarra, and the likes of Doctor Fate. Magic wasn't theirs to use and the Upside Down Man wanted back what rightfully belonged to his army of ghouls.

Now, in that book, it was hinted that these dark beings themselves stole magic or found it somewhere, and were merely forgotten as time passed, so clearly the Otherkind align with the entities Doc is speaking about here. It appears these monsters, as well as light beings such as Hecate, found this leftover energy after creation and harnessed it as magic.

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Ironically, it's still all science-based, allowing Manhattan to co-opt all the magic thrown at him, turning it into a bomb of his own. It's a shocking moment to see him using magic like this, but as is the norm with him, he studies, breaks down and understands how everything can be used. He admits it feels good learning about magic, playfully turning it on the League.

Well, with this secret now out, once everyone (hopefully) makes it out alive, it'll be interesting to see how the supernatural heroes take this knowledge back to the mystical realm, especially as the Otherkind and its vast array of creatures are still encroaching on reality.

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