Dr. John Dee AKA Doctor Destiny is a super-villain in Gotham City and an inmate of Arkham Asylum. While not a Batman Villain, Destiny has crossed heads with Batman in the Justice League as-well as in his crime sprees within Gotham and Arkham Asylum respectively.


Justice League

John Dee was the son of Ethel Cripps, the mistress of a wealthy cult-leader named Rodereck Burgess who lead the England-based Order of Ancient Mysteries. Ethel robbed Roderick of two supernatual artifacts which he had stolen from the Endless being Dream or Morpheus. As a means of escaping Rodereck's assassins, Ethel sold one of the artifacts, a helm made from a dead-god, to a demon in-return for safety.

When Ethel had a child, she named him after the historic 16th century alchemist John Dee. John grew up into a criminal scientist who became fascinated with his mother's remaining magical artifact, the Materioptikon; a ruby gem which had the power to manipulate the dreams of others. The Materioptikon corrupted and progressively deteriorated Dee's body but it allowed him to excel in his mad-science in order to become a dangerous super-criminal. As Doctor Destiny, John dressed with a skull mask and a cloak, to use his gadgetry and dreamstone to fight the Justice League.

In Doctor Destiny's first appearance, he used anti-gravity machines to try and terrorize the Justice League while disguised as the Green Lantern. After having been found out, Destiny fled through the use of one of his anti-gravity devices. Following this encounter, Destiny created evil doppelgängers of the Justice League from the dark parts of their minds in-order to get the real Justice League convicted and exiled from Earth. He was once again foiled but this time arrested and sent to solitary confinement.

Eventually Destiny learned how to use his connection to the Materioptikon to infiltrate the dreams of the Justice League. With Batman in particular, he causes the Dark Knight to have nightmares about fighting the Joker and Chac in the Amazon rainforest with Hawkman. While trying to defeat the villains, Batman is stuck to a ring which gives him superspeed and prevents him from being able to properly use his abilities. Despite the handicap however, he and Hawkman defeat their enemies and escape their dreams.

When the rest of the Justice League escaped their nightmares, they learn how Doctor Destiny was behind the plot and seek him out. When the Justice League apprehended Destiny, they sent him to Arkham Asylum for the psychiatric staff to keep his telepathic powers in check.

Gotham City

By the story Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes, it is revealed that Dee's exposure to the Materioptikon came at a great cost; the dreamstone not only deteriorated his form until he resembled a living corpse, but the doctors had robbed him of ability to sleep and dream as a means of neutralizing his metahuman powers. Robbed of his Materioptikon and drugged, John was left powerless and his mind spiraled out of control. John became completely unstable, impulsive and irrational with a desire to be worshiped like a benevolent dream-god, to terrorize others under his power and to escape Arkham.

Following the release of Dream of the Endless to whom the materioptikan belonged to, John's mother Ethel came to Arkham and smuggled John an enchanted emblem which restored him of his powers. Not soon after, John would learn that his mother had commit suicide. John proceeded to escape Arkham but not before running into the Scarecrow who had murdered a guard for an April fool's prank in the Joker's absence. Scarecrow and Destiny proceeded to chat with Scarecrow explaining to Destiny that despite his best efforts, Arkham was his home and that no-matter what he would inevitably return there and start his whole scheme over again.

After fleeing Arkham, Destiny hitchhiked with a woman he held at gunpoint to bring him to the location of the Materioptikon. After obtaining the gemstone, he murdered the women and took her car to the Gotham 24/7 diner where the woman's girlfriend was waiting. With the power of his gemstone and an unstable mind, Destiny plunged Gotham city into sleepless insanity as he used the staff and customers of the diner as his personal toys. For 24 hours, Destiny used his powers to confess their sins, be punished for them, act like animals, attack one another, have sex, sing, and worship him as a god of sorts until having them brutally kill themselves. All the while, the rest of Gotham flew into chaos with one childrens TV entertainer even killing himself while live on TV and urging the children to do the same.

When Dream of the Endless finally found Destiny, Destiny attempted to use the Materioptikon to destroy Dream and replace him as god of dreams as the stone was part of Dream's soul. Destiny attempted to enter the dream dimension known as the Dreaming to do battle with the Endless before destroying the Materioptikon once and for all as an attempt to kill him. The gem's destruction only returned it's energies to Dream however who managed to quickly overpower Destiny and out of mercy, return him back to Arkham. Destiny was greeted at Arkham by the Scarecrow and for the first time in years, Destiny recieved a good nights sleep and was able to dream.

In Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, Doctor Destiny terrorizes Batman in Arkham Asylum while bound to a wheel-chair. He is identified in the story with the quote, "In dreams I walk with you". In the story he wanders the halls of Arkham where he harasses Preston Payne to push his wheelchair. Batman (who had just escaped the clutches of Payne) proceeded to be horrified by Dee then pushed him down stairs to incapacitate him. In addition to this, through the most popular reading of the story with it all being a nightmare had by Batman, Destiny becomes the ringmaster of the plot as he is the creator of the horror.

Powers and Abilities

  • Dreamwalking: Doctor Destiny could infiltrate and manipulate the dreams of others assuming he was dreaming himself.
  • Reality Alteration: Doctor Destiny at the height of his powers could use the memories and dreams of his enemies to make them perceive false realities that he controlled.
  • Genius Intellect {formerly}: Before going clinically insane in Arkham Asylum, Doctor Destiny was a genius scientist and engineer.


  • Materioptikon {formerly}: Through the use of the DreamGem, John acquired vast dream related powers.

In Other Media

  • DCAU: In Justice League Unlimited, John Dee was a low-level employee of LexCorp sent to Stryker's Island penitentiary after having been found out for smuggling LexCorp goods. In jail he was used as a test subject for a device they created called the Materioptikon which gave him the power to manipulate the percieved reality and dreams of other while he is asleep. He would terrorize the Justice League and his ex-wife Penny with his newfound powers before being hunted down by Batman and stopped by Batman using his strong will and a lullaby to maintain his sanity in Destiny's presence.
  • Batman:  Arkham Knight: While not appearing in Arkham: Knight, he is referanced in the opening sequence. The opening sequence of the game takes place in a 24/7 diner where the player controls a cop told to check out a mysterious customer at the back of the diner, clearly referancing Preludes and Nocturnes. When the cop confronts the figure, they turn around and have a corpse-like face resembling that of Destiny's. Of course in the game this was simply the Scarecrow releasing fear-toxin but the homage remains.
  • The Flash (CW): Doctor Destiny appears in the CW series the Flash where he is renamed John Deegan and portrayed by actor Jeremy Davies.
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