SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Justice League Annual #1, by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran, Adriano Lucas and Tom Napolitano, on sale now.
DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths is widely regarded as one of the publisher's best events ever. In 1985, Marv Wolfman, George Pérez and Jerry Ordway's epic story literally reinvented the DC Universe, chronicling the Anti-Monitor's devouring of the multiverse and how heroes and villains from across the dimensions united to stop its threat.
While the Anti-Monitor, and his polar opposite, the Monitor, to have popped back up here and there in the decades since, they've both remained pretty faithful to how they were presented in their earliest stories. Last week's Justice League Annual, however, reshapes the duo's history in a massive way -- they've been revealed to be the sons of DC's newest cosmic villain, Perpetua.
As the Justice League attempts to seal the breach in the Source Wall in the Annual, Lex Luthor arrives with Brainiac and the power source that allowed Perpetua to create the multiverse that existed before the current one -- the Totality. They stop the League from carrying out its mission, resulting in the destruction of the Source Wall, right after Perpetua is freed from her prison. They then abduct her with the intent of exploiting her to learn all the secrets of the multiverse. But just as Perpetua escapes, the story's mysterious narrator reveals she wasn't just a creator -- she's also mother to the Monitor and Anti-Monitor.
This is a major revelation. In Crisis on Infinite Earths, the pair's backstory was thoroughly detailed; the Monitor represents the positive matter multiverse, and the Anti-Monitor represents its negative (or anti) matter reflection. In short, the Anti-Monitor wanted to destroy everything, and Monitor was meant to stop his evil counterpart from consuming all of reality, resulting in a sprawling battle that cost the lives of hundreds of heroes, including Supergirl and the Flash.
In short, they were always destined to stop each other, though Final Crisis took things a bit further, revealing that creation itself allowed positive energy and goodness to create the Monitor while the negative energy or evil anti-matter gave rise to the Anti-Monitor.
While more details would be added as the years went on, simply put, Crisis on Infinite Earths pit them as the yin and yang of existence, meant to create some sort of balance. But this revelation with Perpetua rocks that notion to its very core, because it means both were either sent by Perpetua to the main DC Universe, or they escaped from her clutches into the multiverse that appeared right after hers was destroyed.
It seems she wanted to weaponize her creation, which is why Perpetua's multiverse was destroyed in the first place. And while the details remains a mystery, to the League, the Legion of Doom and, well, the readers, speculation has it that when the reset button was hit, the good and bad parts of her essence simply split and formed into these two sons for the next iteration of the DCU. Her negative energy may have lived on as the Anti-Life Equation (aka, her will to wipe out or control the reality that replaced her one), which is probably why the Anti-Monitor was driven mad by it, resulting in his insatiable hunger to destroy the multiverse, exacting his mother's revenge after all.
This would mean the Monitor might have been the force that stopped Perpetua during her reign, imprisoned her and possibly ended her version of the multiverse. Either way, these two Monitors aren't just pawns as we first thought, or entities who were randomly powered up to godlike levels. It appears they have a lot more to do with the origin of this multiverse, and with Perpetua free once more, expect the opus of this dysfunctional family to reach a high-octane conclusion soon enough. She may be still in deep slumber, but when she awakens, Lex and his Legion may realize that just as much as Perpetua has been a creator, she can be a destroyer, too.