So DC Comics and their new Rebirth initiative has been going for a few weeks now. With the start of it came the death of the New 52 Superman…maybe, the return of the post Crisis of Infinite Earths/Infinite Crisis Superman to take his place, the return of Wally West (the Caucasian red headed one) and the threat of Doctor Manhattan…maybe, from Alan Moore’s seminal Watchmen comic. The whole idea behind the initiative of Rebirth seems to be to return DC Comics to its roots. The idea of legacy and what these heroes mean to the world and other heroes. Fixing some of the issues that plagued the New 52 initiative such as lost connections and history that was supposed to be streamlined but was ultimately a mess. There also seems to be a focus on the return of “fun” to these comics. Not to say that there wasn’t fun in the New 52 because there was a lot about it that I did enjoy myself personally. But when it started most of the characters, primarily Superman, seemed to be more edgy and that ultimately had a mixed bag.
So now Rebirth has come and things are starting to get moving again. The “old” Superman has taken up the mantle. It is interesting as this Superman is “older” since Superman doesn’t exactly age like humans but he blends right in with the Superman he is replacing. However, he is met with mixed reactions from the superhero community as they know he is replacing “their” Superman but also seem to know that the world needs a Superman. They especially seem to know this when Lex Luthor returns claiming to be the new Superman. During the DC Rebirth one shot, there was a mystery character who claimed that this Superman and the New 52 Superman did not belong and were anomalies. How this plays out will be interesting. Also anomalies are this Superman’s wife, Lois Lane, and their son Jon Kent, who will become the new Superboy. Superman was one of the characters who suffered the most from the New 52. So this initiative mostly seems to be about streamlining and returning Superman to his glory.
The Flash franchise seems to be the most important franchise going forward. The Flash “family” was lost during the New 52. Before, there were a multitude of Flash’s running around but after there was only one, Barry Allen. Kid Flash was around but he was no longer Barry Allen’s grandson from the future. Jay Garrick, the original Flash, was on an alternate Earth. Eventually Wally West was reintroduced but as a biracial kid. With Rebirth, the original Wally West returned and brought back his history as well. He once again took up the mantle of The Flash alongside Barry while the younger Wally has become the new Kid Flash. The older Wally was originally the only character to know about the changes but the more characters he interacts with, they also know that something has been lost. None seem to know exactly who was behind everything or why but know they have to be prepared.
That brings about the who. In Justice League #50, one of the antagonists learned who was behind everything but as he did he was seemingly obliterated in the blink of an eye. Then in DC Rebirth, Pandora, a character originally introduced as the bringer of the New 52, was also obliterated. Sharp eyed readers noticed that there was something familiar about their deaths. In the one shot, Batman discovers the button of the Comedian with the blood stain and everything in the Batcave. The book ends with life on Mars and a watch being reassembled. This all alludes to the character of Doctor Manhattan, the omnipotent being from Watchmen. However we never actually see the character, which leads to some skepticism as this might be a red herring.
The writer of DC Rebirth, Geoff Johns, has stated that he wants Rebirth to return DC Comics to form. When there was a seemingly “no marriage” clause when it came to superheroes in the New 52, Aquaman proposes to Mera in DC Rebirth. While the Justice Society and Legion of Superheroes didn’t make sense in the new timeline of the New 52, their returns are hinted at in DC Rebirth. The original teen sidekicks such as Dick Grayson/Robin, Donna Troy/Wonder Girl, Wally West/Kid Flash, Roy Harper/Speedy and Garth/Aqualad whose histories no longer existed are now back and so are their history together. The Wildstorm characters who were integrated into the DC Universe in the New 52, don’t seem to be around but I’m pretty sure characters such as Midnighter will still be around.
I’ve never been one to fall into the whole “DC vs. Marvel” thing. I’ve always enjoyed what each company brings to the table. When the New 52 was launched, there was a ton of good. I will never say that the New 52 was a failure. But there was definitely something missing. The fact that the returning Wally West even says so as much means that Geoff Johns, who helped spearhead the New 52, agrees. DC Rebirth seems to be a step in the right direction. I haven’t been this excited for DC Comics since the “One Year Later” initiative after the Infinite Crisis event. It’s a good time to be a DC Comics fan.