The Great Darkness is a villain in the DC Comics, primarily appearing as a being made of absolute darkness that has existed before the Multiverse's creation and is the counterpart of the Presence.
When the Creator said "Let there be light", the Original Darkness retreated and stayed inactive for unknown ages. During the world-shattering event known as the Crisis on Infinite Earths, a cult known as the Brujeria wakened it in hope to destroy God and re-shape the world. This was the culmination of a series of arcane machinations labelled as "American Gothic". John Constantine and the Swamp Thing had worked for a long time to prevent the awakening and now chose to oppose the Evil. Siding with them was a gathering of supernatural heroes, as well as parts of the angelic and demonic armies of Heaven and Hell. Another faction of Hell, led by the Demons Three, sided with the Darkness.
The powerful Darkness soon gained consciousness but was unsure about the purpose of its existence. Several heroes tried to battle it, but they were easily defeated and drawn into its almost infinite being. The encounters taught the Darkness a lot. Etrigan told the Darkness that it was Evil, Dr. Fate explained that Evil was despicable, and the Spectre taught it revenge. All the encounters only served to further strengthen the Darkness and point its aggression towards Heaven. Finally, Swamp Thing entered the Darkness, and tried to explain his theory of evil—that good and evil define each other and that one cannot exist without its counterpart. 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 inseparable 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 composed of Lucifer Morningstar, Beelzebub, and Azazel. The realm of the Darkness has since become known as the Shadowlands, a power source for beings such as the Shade, his archenemy Simon Culp, Shadow-Thief, Obsidian, Ian Karkull and many others.
In the TV series Constantine, archangel Manny warns John Constantine that the Brujería plan to unleash an ancient evil known the "Rising Darkness" to the human realm. According to Papa Midnite, this darkness will be unleashed when someone very close to Constantine betrays him in the future. At the end of the last episode, "Waiting for the Man", Manny releases Midnite from police custody and reveals that the Brujería works for him, which makes Manny the real mastermind behind the event of the story. Whether the Rising Darkness is a reference to the Great Evil Beast remains unknown.
- The Great Darkness is not to be confused with the Legion of Super-Heroes storyline, "The Great Darkness Saga".