Now before I start I need to make things clear. I am still broke (points to donation links in sidebar) and thus can’t pick up the comics that are part of DC’s “Rebirth” event. So all I know comes from articles, previews, scans_daily, and Comicstorian. So if there is something I’m not aware of then that is why. However, I think I know enough about what’s going on thanks to all of these sources to have an opinion on DC Rebirth. I will now vamp to keep those thoughts off of the homepage, so you have to read the article.
From what I can tell, Rebirth may not be a new continuity. According to the host of YouTube’s Comicstorian DC is simply bringing elements we all liked into this third universe. It’s more 3.1, like Zero Hour was 2.1 or 2.2 or something. I guess that’s good news for fans of the New 52 Youniverse but for the rest of us…actually, mine was killed off by Crisis so I can’t even blame the new crew. If they did go back it would be post-Crisis. My question is what elements are they going to bring back?
When we last saw Wally West he was happily married with kids who would be part of the next generation of superheroes. And then the New 52 happened and the new Wally West was black because DC can’t seem to figure out how to get diversity right. See also Amanda Waller as played by Hallie Berry and the post-Crisis makeover of Etta Candy, but that’s a different kind of failure. And I haven’t seen Wally 52 so I can’t say if he’s a good or bad character. This is not the point. My theory is also that diversity may not have played a part (or at least the only part) but to further rework the DCU into their own image. I’d have to find an interview that explains why he was changed, but this change leaves a hole for the original Wally to return and set up the minor restorations.
One restoration I did get is that the Green Arrow/Black Canary romance appears to be back. This one is odd to me since they went through so much trouble pre-Flashpoint to have them marry and then break up after the events of Cry For Justice. And yet there it is. I wonder if this will affect what happens in the TV series?
They also set up pre-52 Superman and Lois somehow ending up here separate from Superman 52 and Lois 52, plus they have a son. (Will he go back in time years later to be the evil Superboy?) And now Crisis Superman is looking at Luthor 52 and starting that rivalry while nobody believes he’s Superman, having seen Superman 52 die because they don’t understand what we wanted. We wanted Superman 52 and his friends to act like we’ve known them for years. If we want Crisis Superman back it’s because we wanted that universe back. Again and personally I’d rather have pre-Crisis Superman as I dropped in during the Bronze Age of comics but that’s highly unlikely and I’m not that stupid. Just a dreamer.
Could this be pandering to old fans, hoping to bring them back? Maybe. However, it wasn’t just the elements they did away with like superhero marriages that predate the writers being born (is Alan Scott 52 going to be bisexual now?) or the Superman some of the readers grew up with. It was the whole universe which DC’s current masters were screwing up constantly with editorial mandates, bringing their teenage fanfics to life even if it went against established continuity, and the darkening of heroes beyond what you’d see in a Marvel story when they want to push the movie version of a character. (I’m looking at you, Nick Fury “Sr”.) Remember the interview I dissected the last week where Geoff Johns, the architect for most of the retcons in the DC Universe (ex: most of what’s happened to the Green Lantern Corp recently)? He said he was trying to return what the DC Universe lost, what made it special. And yet these are the guys who ripped that out in the first place.
What really gets me, however, is the party responsible in-story for the changes only Wally (and now Barry, although I don’t know why–is there suddenly more to the Speed Force than running really fast?) notices. Doctor Manhattan, who for some reason is playing games with the DC Universe. Let’s get the obvious out of the way. I have my issues with Watchmen, the biggest being how it started the deconstruction craze that has superhero comics so deconstructed that only more humorous titles even use those tropes anymore. Everything’s all realistic and depressing and junk.
I also have a few issues with creator Alan Moore himself but despite being a conservative I’ll take him over Frank Miller. Except for that porn comic with Wendy, Alice, and I forget the third fairy tale girl (all grown up) he wrote. Seriously, what the heck, Moore? However, you know this is just another attempt by DC to hold on to these characters, pushing the limits of the agreement yet again that by now should have reverted the rights to Moore. By putting them in the DC Universe that is nothing like their own…which may be why Manhattan changed things…they get to have the characters pop up and thus hold on to them, screwing Moore over since he refuses to work for them anymore. And stunts like this are the reason why.
However, let’s go back in-story. While I’m sure they’ll give a reason for Manhattan messing with the DC Universe, will it make sense? And when did he get the power to traverse multiverses? Yes, he’s got godlike powers by the end of the story but are there really that few limits? And I’m going to ask it anyway. Why did Doctor Manhattan mess with the DCU? Wasn’t he trying to convince his universe that they needed heroes by being part of the giant squid (or if you saw the movie giant naked him) plan of Ozymandias? Why would he mess so much with the DCU where the citizens of this universe also hate heroes? And why end happy marriages that weren’t already ruined by events? What’s the end goal and why would he bother with this universe when he has his own to deal with?
Then there’s another retcon, which I think Johns just loves to do because something “cooler” popped into his head. Originally the New 52 was a creation of Pandora, who insisted the DC, Wildstorm, and Vertigo universes were once the same universe. (Which you could make the case for Vertigo but if the Wildstorm universe was once part of any universe it would be somewhere in the various Image universes since Wildstorm as a publisher was one of the Image studios. I apparently see the multiverse differently than whomever wrote that origin does.) The changes were supposed to be part of that merger, which Pandora would then use to fight off some evil. The DC Wiki doesn’t state what it is and I think Manhattan wiped her out like he did Rorschach so unless that story was told and I missed it we may never know unless we’re supposed to assume it was Manhattan, who allegedly regained his humanity after learning who Silk Specter’s parents are. I don’t understand that part either and I’m not sure reading the book would help, and I’m not wasting time on the movie. It’s not my thing and my time is limited.
Could Rebirth turn out to be what the DC Universe 3 needed? That depends on who is writing it at the time. In any period there were good and bad writers on any title, or sometimes it’s preference. I preferred Gerry Conway’s run to John Ostander’s on the original Fury Of Firestorm, for example, but someone commented they preferred the opposite. I liked Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens’s Superman stories in the New 52 while I had issues with even George Perez’s run (as a writer, anyway; his art is still among the best in the business). Even McKeever gave us a good moment or two. I do like that they are at least trying to bring in elements the fans want back (when they can agree anyway) but I remain skeptical until I see that the actual DCU style is back and they aren’t just resuming the darker tone and less dynamic elements that have changed what I loved about the DC Universe and what made me a DC fan in the first place.