In this panel, Lucifer refers to something named the Dark, that challenged Heaven and caused a civil war in Hell.

Lucifer: "Azazel will join us shortly. He is the third lord of hell. Some years ag the Dark, the shadow creature, came forth to challenge Heaven. The episode ended in... perhaps a stalemate. But the civil was in hell that ensued tipped the precarious balance of power. We rule in coalition now. Azazel, Beelzebub an I."

I understand that the Dark is the cosmic entity that was there before God, etc. (I have read the wiki page as well); I am interested in exact events that happened in Hell and forced Lucifer to form a triumvirate.

I have read the relevant Swamp Thing arc, but it did not describe what passed in Hell at the moment. I've also read The Sandman and Lucifer, which don't touch this matter.

If I remember this correctly, Lucifer alone is capable of wiping out the entire host of demons - what could possibly challenge him? And what possibly force his pride to accept this?

  • The DC continuity is confusing here. (Hey, what else is new?) In "Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits" from March 1994 Lucifer is part of a triumvirate, but I believe he was back as sole ruler in the Sandman story arc as early as 1992, when he closes down hell. (Seasons of mist)
    – Abulafia
    Dec 8, 2016 at 15:52
  • This is a page from Sandman "preludes and nocturnes" right?
    – Abulafia
    Dec 8, 2016 at 15:53
  • @Abulafia - you are right. Also, nice point about him closing down Hell. I haven't thought of him as being the sole ruler of Hell again by then. Yet it must be so, otherwise Beelzebub and Azazel would object (as Azazel tried to get Hell back from Morpheus) Dec 8, 2016 at 16:44
  • yes Lucifer in Sandman seasons of mist does make a comment to the effect that he's the sole ruler again. So the triumvirate was not retconned out, it just ended.
    – Abulafia
    Dec 8, 2016 at 20:55
  • @Gallifreian I don't see why you've readded the neil-gaiman tag? This question doesn't pertain to his life in any way?
    – Edlothiad
    Dec 14, 2016 at 19:07

3 Answers 3


The Dark Lucifer refers to is the darkness God banished when he said:

Let there be light

The Great Darkness The Great Darkness

The Great Darkness returned during Crisis on Infinite Earths. The events surrounding the return of The Great Darkness are covered in Swamp Thing Vol 2 #50:

The Darkness then reached its hand towards Heaven, and to the surprise of everyone, God reached out his hand as well. The two of them embraced, and merged, and the Darkness became part of God's own being. The world was never the same again. Good and Evil would still exist, but were forever unseparable like Yin and Yang. The Darkness was never seen again, but the event sparked a civil war in Hell, that ended with it being ruled by a Triumvirate.

  • 1
    What exactly is shown on the panel? I see 2 persons running from a tidal wave. Dec 8, 2016 at 13:47
  • @Gallifreian that's the image provided on the wiki page for The Great Darkness. I'm assuming the tidal wave and lightnng are supposed to represent The Great Darkness.
    – Daft
    Dec 8, 2016 at 13:50
  • I've seen and read the wiki page. I want some more detail than that. What, God and Darkness hugged and Hell went crazy? Lucifer explicitly states he could wipe Hell if he wanted to. Why did he have to form a triumvirate? Dec 8, 2016 at 14:30
  • 1
    @Gallifreian I'm trying to find an explanation as to why a civil war erupted and why Lucfier didn't put it down immidiatley. So far, all I've found is pretty much God and Darkness hugged and Hell went crazy. But, we could assume that Lucifer could destroy most lesser demons easily but more powerful cretures like Beelzebub could be his equal and so a triumvirate was necessary for Hell's continued existence.
    – Daft
    Dec 8, 2016 at 14:58
  • 1
    - he says so himself, in a conversation with Morpheus. The reason why he had to share power must be laid somewhere on the pages of the Swamp Thing. Dec 8, 2016 at 16:42

It's a reference to the "American Gothic" story arc in Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing, which culminates in a battle between light and dark that resets a lot of DC's supernatural milieu.

  • 5
    Could you elaborate? Nov 19, 2016 at 16:32

In the Swamp Thing American Gothic saga the emergence of the great darkness caused some demons (like Etrigan and his fellow rhymers) to fight against it in defense of creation, and others (like Abnegazar, Rath, and Ghast) to fight on its behalf hoping it would destroy Heaven. That civil war in Hell apparently continued after it reached its detente with God.

If I recall the Sandman story Season of Mists correctly, Lucifer said that Beelzebub and Azazel then came to him and demanded the formation of a trinity to rule Hell, and out of boredom or whatever he went along with the idea. It didn't seem like they could have actually forced him to surrender, but he just couldn't be bothered to argue.

  • "...out of boredom or whatever..." "...he just couldn't be bothered to argue." I disagree that it was mere apathy. Also, there is no mention of the Dark. Oct 30, 2018 at 5:04

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