Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

DC's Newest Nightmare Villain Just Put The DC Universe To Sleep

Spoilers for the "Knight Terrors" event at DC Comics

Wide-scale nightmares have been unleashed across the DC Universe. However, the nightmares aren't the usual dreams one would face. Instead, a new villain, Insomnia, has plagued some of the greatest heroes and villains with their greatest fears after he put most of the world to sleep.

In the new "Knight Terrors" event from DC Comics, Insomnia is unleashed with the horrifying foe able to travel across the Nightmare Realm and project the greatest fears and nightmares into the likes of Superman, Batman, Poison Ivy, and other important characters. As a result, heroes and villains are left confronting their greatest nightmares come to life. However, the undead hero Deadman is desperately trying to prevent Insomnia from fully overtaking the world and landing his hands on the mysterious Nightmare Stone. To stop him, Boston Brand is working with Batman as the reluctant Dark Knight takes on his own biggest terrors while trying to navigate a dark reality of Insomnia's sinister making.

Who is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a new villain in the DC Universe created by Joshua Williamson. The character first appeared in "FCBD 2023 Dawn of DC: Knight Terrors Special Edition," which featured Damian Wayne's dream about returning to Lazarus Island ending up being a nightmare created by Insomnia. The villain pretended to be Damian's father, Bruce, and told him he'd ensure the young hero would never sleep again. Insomnia's presence could also be felt in the ongoing "Shazam!" series, where he put Mary Marvel to sleep. Now, Insomnia is making himself known.

In "Knight Terrors" #1 by Williamson, Howard Porter, Brad Anderson, and Troy Peteri, Deadman notices a disturbing presence haunting heroes worldwide. When DC's Trinity finds the body of Doctor Destiny (John Dee), a villain who used the Dreamstone to manipulate dreams, inside the Hall of Justice, they learn someone is pulling a ruse on them as it turns out not to be his actual body. When Batman and Deadman locate the real Dee, he offers them a grave warning about Insomnia, who is looking for the Nightmare Stone — seemingly the dark opposite of Doctor Destiny's Dreamstone. After Dee dies from something caused by his nightmare, Insomnia reveals himself using his powers to put the universe to sleep. Batman fights back against the monstrous entity the best he can, injecting himself with adrenaline to stay awake. However, his attempts fail, leading Deadman to take over Batman's body and stop Insomnia before he uses the Nightmare Stone to take over the world for good.

Batman's Nightmare revisits his origin

In "Knight Terrors: Batman" #1 by Joshua Williamson, David Lafuente, Rex Lokus, Guillem March, Tomeu Morey, and Troy Peteri, readers are taken inside a nightmare concocted by Insomnia. Despite specifically training himself to take on his greatest fears, Bruce finds himself a young boy once again in the false, dark reality. Some of Batman's most notable origin moments become full-blown horrors for Wayne, as he's nearly crushed by giant-sized pearls from his mother's iconic necklace worn on the day of her murder. After dodging the giant balls, he finds himself in the Monarch Theater, the last moment of joy he ever felt with his parents. However, "Zorro" isn't the film being shown; instead, he watches Batman fight in the waking world. Bruce realizes Deadman has overtaken his body, which prevents him from waking up.

Insomnia does his best to scare Bruce, including sending him to a graveyard featuring the tombstones of all of his closest family and friends, leading to a confrontation with Insomnia, who dresses like a Robin. Insomnia asks for Bruce's help finding the Nightmare Stone, and when he refuses, the villain unleashes undead versions of Nightwing, Batgirl, and other close allies to Batman. The Caped Crusader fights them off and keeps a surprisingly clear head despite the events at hand. However, in a disgusting moment, Bruce vomits up a giant bat with a gun for a head (yes, it's as wild as it sounds), representing his darkness being turned against him. Insomnia then sends Bruce further into his nightmares, making him take the place of his parents' killer, Joe Chill, who originally killed Thomas and Martha Wayne and sent Bruce on his path to become a hero. Batman becomes directly responsible for his parent's death in the issue-ending scene.

Poison Ivy and the Joker's more mundane nightmares

Poison Ivy's nightmare in "Knight Terrors: Poison Ivy" #1 by G. Willow Wilson, Atagun Ilhan, Mark Morales, and Arif Prianto leads the villain into a pastel world, where she lives in a "dream house" with Harley Quinn. Ivy reveals that one of her nightmares is living such a formulaic, suburban lifestyle, which makes her discovery of Batman and Selina Kyle being her neighbors much more frightening. Ivy is eventually tricked by the nightmare and falls deeper into the mirage, but when her friend Janet tells her something is off about the world, the cracks start to show. Unfortunately, even with Pamela Isley continually noticing her nightmare world isn't real, she is corrupted by the faux Quinn.

The Joker's nightmare world is also one that, while sinister on the inside, is more about being forced into a life of normalcy. In "Knight Terrors: The Joker" #1 by Matthew Rosenberg, Stefano Raffaele, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Tom Napolitano, the comic opens with Batman's accidental death from slipping in the rain during a battle with the Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime and his stooges struggle with what to do next. After struggling to continue as a villain and stuffing the body of Batman in his closet, Joker takes the disguise of Johann Kaiser and finds employment at Wayne Enterprises, where he attempts to access the company's secret files. But Joker finds himself living a maniacal corporate existence, where no matter how hard he violently rebels against his employers, he's promoted throughout the company. Ultimately, his nightmare is having an office job in a world without Batman, where his antics are ignored. 

Black Adam and Ravager face their own nightmares

In "Knight Terrors: Black Adam" #1 by Jeremy Haun, Nick Filardi, and Troy Peteri, Black Adam's slumber leads him to a new reality where his powers are on the fritz. After fighting undead monsters, Black Adam reverts to his more human Teth-Adam form. Black Adam struggles with returning to a state he thought he was rid of. After transforming back into Black Adam, he is forced to watch the death of his loved ones, including Isis, at the hands of a god. Adam is brutally struck back to Earth, where he is told he needs to keep fighting — with the issue ending with Batman meeting the antihero.

In "Knight Terrors: Ravager" #1 by Ed Brisson, Dexter Soy, Veronica Gandini, and Peteri, Deathstroke's daughter Rose Wilson finds herself in a nightmare world where a monster named Murder Man, part of the Slaughter Squadron, having been hunting Rose Madison — a version of herself who was adopted by someone else after her mother's death. Instead of Deathstroke being her father, the alternate Rose's dad is the Murder Man chasing them. However, Rose reveals herself to be a monster herself, telling Ravager she's a conduit to enter the real world. The issue concludes with her Stormwatch teammate Peacekeeper-01 finding her body, with Stormwatch HQ urging him not to wake her until they know what they are dealing with. "Knight Terrors: Ravager" appears to suggest Rose's body in the real world, put to sleep by Insomnia, might be taken over by her evil doppelgänger if she is awakened by her nightmare.

What's coming next in Knight Terrors?

Insomnia's hold on the DC Universe will only get stronger in the coming weeks. "Knight Terrors" #1 officially releases next week. The issue will follow Deadman and Batman working together to try and unlock the truth about Insomnia, the Nightmare Stone, and how to save the world from its slumber. Individual comic stories throughout July in the nightmare worlds will star Zatanna, the Flash, Robin, Green Lantern, Shazam, Superman, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Nightwing, and Punchline, with the stories from this week's issues also getting followed up on. Along the way, the heroes and villains are sure to continue to face some horrifying nightmares and confront some of their greatest fears, creating some unique storytelling potential by exploring the depths of each character's psyche. 

The main "Knight Terrors" title will run four issues, with the crossovers playing important parts in the ongoing story. The event will see the return of Wesley Dodds' Sandman, with the classic hero playing a crucial role in what's to come in the dark story. Will Insomnia be able to continue his control over the DC Universe and acquire the Nightmare Stone? Readers will find out more soon as several titles, including "Knight Terrors: First Blood" #1 from DC Comics, is in comic book stores and available at online retailers now.