Doctor Destiny

Doctor Destiny is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics.[1]

Doctor Destiny
Doctor Destiny (post-Zero Hour version).jpg
Doctor Destiny, on a page of JLA Classified #32 (March 2007). Art by Dan Jurgens.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceJustice League of America Vol. 1 #5 (June 1961)
Created byGardner Fox (writer)
Mike Sekowsky (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoJohn Dee
Team affiliationsSecret Society of Super Villains
Notable aliasesGreen Lantern
AbilitiesDream manipulation and extensive medical knowledge

Jeremy Davies portrayed the character in his live-action television debut on The CW's 2018 Arrowverse crossover "Elseworlds".

Publication historyEdit

Doctor Destiny first appeared in Justice League of America Vol. 1 #5 (June 1961), and was created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky.[2]

Fictional character biographyEdit

Doctor Destiny was once a petty criminal scientist who used his genius to create astounding devices for crime. He first encountered the Justice League of America shortly after he invented an anti-gravity device and will-deadener beam that allowed him to capture Green Lantern by luring him into his base using anti-gravity discs to fly over the city as Green Lantern to impersonate and infiltrate the JLA.[3] Before Destiny could further his criminal ends, the League discovered his treachery as Green Arrow had heard a member had been captured and was being impersonated from an underworld informant. The League was captured by his will-deadening beam, that also had kryptonite as an element. Destiny then revealed he planned to send his ship into space, thus getting rid of the JLA. However, when drawing the JLA upwards, the station suffered a brief power drain, lessening the effects of the will-deadener. Green Lantern was able to free himself during the drain, and promptly imprisoned Destiny and his two henchmen.


He then created the "Materioptikon", a device which allowed him to create reality from the fabric of dreams.[4] In a later retcon in The Sandman series written by Neil Gaiman, his mother Ethel (the former mistress of Roderick Burgess) gave Morpheus' Dreamstone to him, which powered the device. He manipulated the Dreamstone, forcing flaws and adding circuitry, until it was attuned to him and not the Dream King. Morpheus was imprisoned by Alex Burgess at the time, unaware of what Destiny was doing and unable to stop or prevent it.[2]

Doctor Destiny's power was so great that the Justice League resorted to drastic measures to stop him. They hypnotized him and manipulated his psyche to prevent him from dreaming; this kept him from using the Materioptikon for criminal purposes but caused him to lose his mind and shrivel to a skeletal wreck of a man. He was then sent to Arkham Asylum, where his sanity eroded further.[2]

He escaped from Arkham and captured the Sandman (Dr. Garrett Sanford), and used equipment to pit people's dreams against the Justice League, eventually capturing most of the current Leaguers. Thanks to the efforts of others such as Zatanna and Elongated Man, the Sandman was freed and reclaimed his equipment, aiding Doctor Destiny's recapture.[5]

Arkham AsylumEdit

Again from The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, when his mother died, Doctor Destiny escaped Arkham, reclaimed the Ruby, which he used to go on a rampage, driving the whole world insane. Destiny makes his way to a 24-hour diner and proceeds to torture the patrons in numerous sadistic ways over the span of 24 hours, before having them kill each other. Dream, recently freed and searching for stolen tokens of power, could not stop Destiny until the villain decided to leech all of Dream's power into the Ruby and destroy the gem. The destruction of the Dreamstone returned all of its power back to Dream, including power the Lord of Dreams had been without for millennia. Morpheus then returned Destiny to Arkham and returned the ability to dream (or at least sleep). Although he is able to dream once again, Destiny's sanity is still extremely shaky.

Doctor Destiny later learned that continued use of the Materioptikon meant he still had some dream manipulation powers even without the Dreamstone. He warped the Atom's dreams of the original Justice League into a world where the superheroes were fascist bullies, as part of a plan to trap the then-current Justice League there. He was defeated when the comatose Blue Beetle was able to enter the dream world. Later, Doctor Destiny threatened the JLA once again by bringing his "dream self" into the real world and attacking them with bizarre and irrational dream-logic, "haunting" scenes of his old crimes as well as Atlantis (the ocean signifying a spiritual centre in dreams). Before Destiny's dream-self fully realized what was happening to him, he was defeated when the League tracked down his real-world self and projected their dream selves into reality to confront Destiny; since the League were dreaming about victory, they couldn't lose, and Destiny was swiftly returned to his cell in Arkham.

Over the years, Doctor Destiny has proven one of the Justice League's most persistent foes.[2] In his earliest appearances, before he lost his sanity, his goals were more rational: to acquire wealth and personal power, to eliminate all his enemies, and so on. All of these schemes revolved around the creative and liberal use of the Materioptikon, a strategy which often caught his opponents off-guard. One can assume that Destiny is still interested in attaining all of his former goals: the elimination of the Justice League, the restoration of his human appearance, and the reconstruction of the Materioptikon.

4th ParallelEdit

During the 4th Parallel storyline in JLA Classified, Doctor Destiny's control over the Materioptikon is usurped by Darrin Profitt, the Red King.

Justice Society of AmericaEdit

In the previews for future issues of Justice Society of America (vol. 3), Starman mentioned "It's the doctor. The one with no face!", which would allude to future appearances by Doctor Destiny (i.e., his skeletal face). He finally appeared in Justice Society of America Vol. 3 #4, back in his old costume, with the captured Legionnaire Dream Girl chained in his cell in Arkham Asylum. He uses Dream Girl's nightmares to deal with the asylum guards. When Batman, Sandman, Starman, and Geo-Force arrive at the asylum, Starman goes up against Destiny by himself, but is subdued when Destiny uses Dream Girl's powers to create a zombified version of Kenz Nuhor, the man Starman killed. Starman begs Destiny to let Dream Girl go, and awakens her from her trance by using the "wake-up" word. When she awakens, Dream Girl tells Destiny that she foresaw his death, being killed in his sleep by the owner of the Dreamstone before she knocks him out.


In the Superman/Batman storyline '"Mash-Up", Doctor Destiny created a dream world consisting of combinations of people from the real world, hoping to replace the waking world with his fabricated realm. Superman and Batman, who had managed to escape being fused together, stopped Destiny by freeing the combined form of Raven and Zatanna. The backlash from the broken illusion put Destiny into a comatose state, mumbling the name "Bruce Kent"—the only combined being he was unable to create. He appears again capable of massive reality warping without direct control of the Materioptikon in the waking world, or at least enough magical power to fuel the creation of a new world using only dreams as his base.[6]

The New 52Edit

In "The New 52" (a 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe), Doctor Destiny/John Dee first appears at the end of Justice League Dark #19.[7] A.R.G.U.S. is in possession of his Dream Stone, which John Constantine recognizes, as Dee was a student of magic and Constantine back in the 1500s.[8] It is revealed that Madame Xanadu is Dr. Destiny's mother.[9]

During the "Forever Evil" storyline, Doctor Destiny is among the villains recruited by the Crime Syndicate of America to join the Secret Society of Super Villains.[10]

While tracking various threats from his original timeline, the displaced pre-Flashpoint Superman joined forces with Dick Grayson to track the New 52 Doctor Destiny, eventually trapping the powerful foe after confronting him in Superman's dream-recreation of this timeline's Bludhaven.[11]

Powers and abilitiesEdit

Doctor Destiny has the ability to manipulate anyone's dreams. Basically, Doctor Destiny can use twisted versions of dreams to commit crimes. He can, for example, make people become murderers by exploiting their secret dreams, since in dreams we are all uninhibited. He can also explore a particular person's dream to create a kind of dream world, where everything happens based on a misrepresented version of that dream, and send people there. Doctor Destiny also has an extensive medical knowledge.

Other versionsEdit

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious EarthEdit

In Grant Morrison's 1989 Batman graphic novel, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, Dr. Destiny is referred to by the Joker, and makes a short appearance later in the novel. In the annotated script for Arkham Asylum, Morrison explains that he was not a fan of the popular depiction of the Doctor as a tall, musclebound man with a skull for a head. Rather he believed that Destiny's body would have "whithered horribly" after having been robbed of the ability to dream.[12] Thus Dave McKean (the artist) portrays him as being atrophied and feeble, restricted to a wheelchair, but still wielding a latent amount of power which could not be ignored (though he was mentioned as needing eye contact with a victim to disable them). He is easily defeated by Batman, who kicks the villain's wheelchair down a set of steps before he has a chance to display his powers, though it is left ambiguous if his latent powers triggered a temporal time loop, bringing the events of the story into motion.[13]

Justice League UnlimitedEdit

Doctor Destiny has appeared in the Justice League Unlimited spin-off comic book released by Johnny DC. His appearance are in issues #25 where he battles the Justice League alongside Dr. Fate and Blue Devil.[14]

All-New Batman: The Brave and the BoldEdit

Doctor Destiny appears in All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #12 based on the TV show. The Doctor is summoned by Klarion the Witch Boy alongside Blockbuster, the vampiric Dala Vadium, Hugo Strange's Monster Men, Man-Bat, Professor Milo's werewolves, and Solomon Grundy to help fight Batman and Zatanna.[15]

In other mediaEdit


  • Dr. Destiny made several appearances in the DCAU, voiced by William Atherton.
    • Dr. Destiny was briefly considered to be featured in The New Batman Adventures; Atherton was considered for the role.[16]
      Dr. Destiny as he appeared in the Justice League animated series.
    • Doctor Destiny appears in Justice League. John Dee was a low-level employee of LexCorp and small-time crook who was incarcerated in Stryker's Prison for guarding a supply of smuggled weapons. In the episode "Only a Dream", he volunteered to be a guinea pig for a doctor's experiments with the Materioptikon, a machine that gave people ESP abilities. Between sessions, he dreamt of single-handedly defeating the Justice League and being a member of the Injustice Gang with Lex Luthor and the Joker personally recruiting him. When he found out that his parole request didn't go through, his wife Penny Dee (voiced by Fairuza Balk) left him soon after for another man, exacerbating his situation. John found an opportunity to abuse the Materioptikon during a prison riot, exposing himself to an intensified burst from the machine. The experience gave him even greater telepathy, setting off to wreak havoc on people through via dreams. His first act of super-villainy has him using his abilities to mentally torture Penny in retribution for turning her back on him, manipulating his appearance to match his standard comic book costume and deciding that his name's too ordinary and takes the 'Doctor Destiny' name. As a result of his telepathic torture, Penny died from traumatic shock. Dr. Destiny next traps Superman, Hawkgirl, the Green Lantern and the Flash in dreams of playing out their worst fears: Hawkgirl gets trapped in a coffin and buried alive, Wally West gets trapped in a fast moving realm that the world around is virtually motionless, Superman's powers increased beyond the ability to control and accidentally caused massive destruction and killed several loved ones, and John Stewart gets trapped in a world now truly alienated from friends and family. J'onn J'onzz telepathically entered these dreams to make his teammates realize that what they were experiencing was not real, while Batman eventually tracked down Dr. Destiny and keeps free of the influence by humming Frère Jacques. Attempting to stab Batman with a syringe filled with a powerful sedative, Dee inadvertently stabbed and injected himself. Deegan is last seen back at Stryker's in a catatonic state humming Frere Jacques over and over again.
    • Dr. Destiny made several nonspeaking appearances in Justice League Unlimited, having apparently recovered and now able to assume his nightmare form in reality. In "I Am Legion", Dr. Destiny is a member of Gorilla Grodd's Secret Society. In the episode "Alive", Dr. Destiny is briefly seen with Luthor's team of supervillains, though he is killed when Darkseid destroys the Secret Society's base.
Jeremy Davies as John Deegan in the Arrowverse television crossover "Elseworlds".
  • A version of Dr. Destiny under the name John Deegan appears in the Arrowverse 2018 crossover "Elseworlds", primarily portrayed by Jeremy Davies.[17] A psychiatrist in Gotham City, John Deegan's views on patient treatment, which includes augmenting individuals to achieve their peak potential, are considered extreme, and his colleagues have deemed him mad. The multiverse-traveling Monitor approaches Deegan, commends him on his "vision", and gives the Book of Destiny to him, granting him reality rewriting power. It is also revealed later in the crossover "Crisis on Infinite Earths" that his usage of the Book has driven him further into insanity. Deegan attempts to recreate the universe in his ideal image but ends up just switching Barry Allen and Oliver Queen's lives around when he had intended to make himself a superhero. Following a vibe from Cisco Ramon, Barry and Oliver discover that Deegan resides in Gotham. Deegan is confronted by Barry, Oliver and Supergirl at Arkham Asylum. After releasing Arkham's inmates to cover his escape, Deegan temporarily loses possession of the Book of Destiny. The Monitor reclaims the Book of Destiny from A.R.G.U.S. and returns it to Deegan, telling him to "think bigger" with his reality rewriting. This leads to him writing a reality where he is a black-suited Earth-1 equivalent of Superman (portrayed by Tyler Hoechlin), Oliver and Barry are bank robbers, and Supergirl is imprisoned in S.T.A.R. Labs. He does this because he has always wanted to be a superhero but could never achieve this on his own; his opponents note that Deegan can never be the superhero he believes himself to be because of his selfishness. In the end, it takes the combined forces of Supergirl, the Flash, Green Arrow and the real Superman to finally separate him from the Book of Destiny and undo his changes with the help of a special arrow that negates the Book of Destiny's abilities, though this results in his horrible disfigurement that matches his corrupted character (and thus resembles his comic book counterpart). Deegan is later seen imprisoned at Arkham for his crimes, with Psycho-Pirate as his next door cellmate as Batwoman tells Oliver about this.


  • A version of the New 52 Doctor Destiny under the name "Destiny" is the main antagonist in Justice League Dark, voiced by Alfred Molina. Described as a dark magic practitioner who was active centuries ago, this version was initially defeated by Merlin and Etrigan the Demon, with his spirit trapped in the 'Dreamstone', an ancient magical artifact that is mostly kept contained in the House of Mystery and monitored by John Constantine. Ritchie Simpson is manipulated into bringing the Dreamstone together to save his own life, thus restoring Destiny to life in his own body, in which he demonstrates the ability to create magical shields and generate telepathic illusions, to the point that he provokes Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Superman into attacking Batman. Despite his power, Destiny is defeated when Constantine tricks Destiny into taking him inside Destiny's force field, allowing Deadman—who was possessing Constantine at the time—to possess Destiny, allowing their opponents to attack Destiny, culminating in Jason Blood impaling Destiny from behind and separating him from the Dreamstone.
  • Doctor Destiny appears as the central antagonist of Sandman: 24 Hour Diner, portrayed by Zach MacKendrick.[18] The film is based on the "24 Hours" cult horror issue of Vertigo's Sandman, written by Neil Gaiman.


  1. ^ Cowsill, Alan; Irvine, Alex; Korte, Steve; Manning, Matt; Wiacek, Win; Wilson, Sven (2016). The DC Comics Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Characters of the DC Universe. DK Publishing. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-4654-5357-0.
  2. ^ a b c d Wallace, Dan (2008), "Doctor Destiny", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 102, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
  3. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. p. 90. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
  4. ^ Justice League of America #19 (1963)
  5. ^ Justice League of America Annual #1
  6. ^ Superman/Batman #60-61
  7. ^ Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes (w), Mikel Janín, Vincente Cifuentes (a). "Horror City Part 1: The House of Mystery" Justice League Dark 19 (June 2013), DC Comics
  8. ^ Jeff Lemire (w), Mikel Janin (a). "The Black Room" Justice League Dark 9 (July 2012), DC Comics
  9. ^ Ray Fawkes, Jeff Lemire (w), Mikel Janin, Vincente Cifuentes (a). "Horror City Part 2: The Nightmare Gospel" Justice League Dark 20 (July 2013), DC Comics
  10. ^ Forever Evil #1
  11. ^ Nightwing (vol. 4) #9
  12. ^ Morrison, Grant, and Dave McKean. Arkham Asylum: a Serious House on Serious Earth. New York, N.Y.: DC Comics, 2004. 146. Print.
  13. ^ Morrison, Grant, and Dave McKean. Arkham Asylum. Lonson: Titan, 1989. Print.
  14. ^ Justice League Unlimited #25 (September 2005)
  15. ^ All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold#12
  16. ^ "Backstage - Unused Villains Database - Dr. Destiny". The World's Finest. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  17. ^ Boucher, Geoff (September 20, 2018). "'Arkham Asylum's New Face: Jeremy Davies Cast As Dr. Deegan In Arrowverse Crossover". Deadline. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  18. ^ Morpheus (2017-06-25). Sandman: 24 Hour Diner. Retrieved 2017-09-15.

External linksEdit