SPOILER ALERT: This contains SPOILERS from some of DC’s latest ‘Rebirth’ titles. Proceed with caution!
DC turned the comics world upside down when they relaunched their entire line in 2011 as ‘The New 52’. This new initiative scrapped nearly every bit of the company’s publishing history and relaunched most books completely from scratch or at the very least “five years after” these heroes came into being. The move generated massive attention, even outside of the comic book press, and succeeded in drawing in many new and lapsed readers.
But… it also infuriated and alienated many longtime readers many of whom had been reading comics for many decades. These readers felt that their DC Universe was thrown out wholesale and they along with it, in a desperate move to gain new readers who probably weren’t going to stick around long term.
They might have been right. Many of the books launched at the start of ‘The New 52’ have been cancelled. Other new series have come and gone in the interim, some not lasting for than six issues or so. Meanwhile, gradually elements from before ‘Flashpoint’ the storyline that launched ‘The New 52’, have found their way back into continuity. Last year, DC kicked off ‘Rebirth’ an even newer reinvention of its universe which has brought back many elements that have been missing from its storylines over the last few years and even decades.
Now as reported by Screen Rant, with the releases of ‘Action Comics’ #978 and ‘The Flash’ #21, it seems that DC is getting even closer to kicking its ‘New 52’ history to the curb in favor of the more classic history.
Once again, proceed with caution if you want to avoid SPOILERS!
One shocking development over the last few months was the reappearance of the Post-Crisis/Pre-Flashpoint Superman, followed by the sudden death of the New 52 Superman. Then, a mysterious figure caused the two to merge into one. This Superman had both the memories of his pre-New 52 reinvention AND those of the New 52 Supes.
This led to the revelation that the years before Flashpoint were “stolen” from the inhabitants of the DC Universe (or multiverse as it were). This Superman remembered all of the events of his life before ‘Flashpoint’ including his courtship of Lois Lane, their marriage and his death at the hands of Doomsday.
This will have a ripple effect across the rest of the DCU as it has been revealed that not only is Superman perhaps the most pivotal figure in the Universe/Multiverse. Superman is in the process of dealing with possible precognitive visions but is also attempting to piece together the “real” history of the DCU.
And he’s not the only one. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) caught a glimpse of his pre-Flashpoint history, namely the biggest tragedy of his life, the destruction of his hometown Coast City at the hands of the Eradicator, one of the substitute Supermen to emerge after ‘The Death of Superman’ storyline. This event took place ten years ago, which means the introductions of Eradicator and Doomsday in ‘The New 52’ are no longer valid.
Meanwhile, over in ‘The Flash’, the title hero and Batman are traveling through the time and space of the Multiverse, catching glimpses of the pre-Flashpoint continuity including Barry’s death in ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’. This reaffirms that the pre-Flashpoint history wasn’t erased, but stolen. It’s still out there… somewhere. Waiting to be restored.
Should it be, though? This can’t be an easy decision to make. ‘The New 52′ did succeed in drawing in new and lapsed readers. It ticked off fans when DC threw out decades of continuity, but it’s sure to tick off others that the last four years’ worth of stories are likewise being discarded?
‘Rebirth’ seemed to indicate that ALL alternate versions of the DC characters existed in the multiverse. Even spin offs like the ‘Young Justice’ cartoon are considered part of this series of alternate realities. But it would seem that the DCU is drifting closer to a streamlined continuity… and it looks like that’s going to be their older, post-Crisis/pre-Flashpoint one.
What do you think? Do you want the older continuity back? Or was ‘The New 52’ a fresh start which the company needed to stay relevant?