The threats facing the entire DC Universe are nothing new. It seems like every few years there’s an ultra powerful being or galactic sized villain who prepares to destroy all of creation. Luckily, the heroes of the DC Universe are still able to step in and save the day, much to everyone’s relief. But is there a being so powerful, so immeasurable in magnitude, that the destruction of the DC Universe is inevitable? The forgotten red god of Ys may be the bringer of total death for all of existence and there may be nothing anyone can do to stop him.
2005 Seven Soldiers: Zatanna (by Grant Morrison, Ryan Sook and Mick Gray) is a four-issue miniseries featuring Zatanna, the dazzling Justice League magician, as she fights to destroy an extra-dimensional threat. It’s a journey that takes her through not one, but multiple parallel realities and dimensions, forcing her to come face-to-face with a being that exists outside the realm of our own world. The problem is that it is a being destined to consume the entire universe.
The story begins with Zatanna attending a support group for heroes with low self-esteem. It might seem extremely bizarre that Zatanna of all people, a beautiful and successful member of the Justice League, has low self-esteem, but she continues to explain to the support group why she’s here. It’s a story of regrets, bad decisions and the consequences that follow. Zatanna recounts how she and a team of other magic users came together to track down the source of their shared nightmares. The effort required each of them to travel to a multitude of other dimensions and realities.
As the group of mages make their way through multi-dimensional landscapes, they see a huge red dragon, frozen in time, its fearsome mouth open. Another mage tells the group that the beast is known as the Red God of Ys and is destined to one day devour the entire universe. The red god of Ys has never been mentioned before this story or since. What’s truly terrifying about The Red God of Ys is the solemn factuality of how the mages come to terms with the inevitable fate of the universe. Forces such as Krona, the Anti-Monitor, and Imperiex were all fought and defeated, but none of those present with Zatanna seemed to know how to stop the Red God of Ys from consuming all of reality.
Perhaps such a fate could be avoided as it has been done before with the many other Universal threats that have come before it. The Red God of Ys can be a sentient and intelligent being, who can be willing to talk and reason with the heroes of the universe. It can also be a monster of blind rage, a beast whose only goal is total destruction. This begs the question of where the god is from, what culture worships him, and why isn’t anyone else talking about him?
A terrible outcome would be if a particularly vile villain were to learn of the existence of the Red God of Ys and attempt to harness its power for his own. Beings such as Brainiac, Mongul, and Darkseid have become known for their supreme arrogance and must dominate all life forms in the universe. Vast as it is, even the Red God of Ys would not be above their desires to control and use it.
There may be such a day when the god wakes up and the whole universe is threatened. A being tamed by ancient magicians would be a better suited foe for more magic users and less like Superman or the Lantern Corps. It would indeed be a mighty battle to watch the combined forces of the DC Universe’s magic users hold the Red God of Ys at bay, but if the fate of the universe is to be devoured by him, would their efforts be vain? Only time will tell if such a prophecy will ever come true.