The time has finally come for Doctor Manhattan’s meddling with the DC Universe to be revealed. Ever since DC Rebirth in 2016, there have been strong hints about who meddled with the DC Universe. As of this writing it still has not been fully confirmed in story as to who it is. It has been strongly been hinted to be Doctor Manhattan. I figured that it might be a misdirect and it still might be but writer, Geoff Johns, specifically mentions Doctor Manhattan by name.
The mystery of why the good Doctor has been doing what he’s doing is one of the biggest mysteries since Rebirth. Multiple heroes and villains have been kidnapped and kept in a prison for unknown reasons. Characters that have powers beyond the extraordinary such as Mister Mxyzptlk are aware of a bigger threat but are seemingly unaware of the more finer details such as the who. Then there is the character of Mr. Oz who has been appearing since before Rebirth and is seemingly a key to solving the mystery with a special interest in Superman
Superman has seen the biggest change since Rebirth happening. Recently the older who appeared post Crisis on Infinite Earths and the younger one who appeared post Flashpoint have fused into one being with a mix of both characters’ histories. Geoff Johns mentions how the contrast between Doctor Manhattan and Superman is the key conflict between the two. With Doctor Manhattan whose powers are so extreme that he has become alien to humans despite being one. Superman, the alien, despite his abilities embraces the humanity.
It is refreshing to see a major DC Comics storyline revolve around Superman. It should be important to remind people as to why Superman is important and necessary despite being a “goody two shoes” and “boy scout” when he really isn’t either of those. The contrast between two beings that people relate to Gods will be interesting to see. Superman cannot have a fist fight with Doctor Manhattan who can atomize beings with a simple thought. So what will their conflict ultimately boil down to?
I will be heading to my local comic book store to check out what this story leads to. How it will shape the DC Universe going forward.
When I first started reading and collecting comics, I really had no idea where to start. So while I was reading Wizard Magazine (RIP) I kept seeing mention of this guy Geoff Johns and his writing of The Flash. Now I knew who The Flash was in some respects but I could never call myself a fan. I really do not know what the disconnect for me was. But I decided to give the book a shot and let me tell you it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I started reading the book right after the The Flash: Iron Heights one shot issue. I was introduced to Wally West, formerly Kid Flash and now The Flash, who was a married man and struggling with his legacy. His uncle was Barry Allen, The Flash before him who was dead…at the time. He was the protector of twin cities; Keystone City and Central City. He was also a member of both the Justice League and The Titans. So life was pretty busy for the fastest man alive.
The themes of legacy was probably the biggest theme throughout the initial run. The Rogues led by Captain Cold frequently compared Wally to his predecessor. There was also a new Rogues group forming of mostly completely new characters. Jay Garrick, the first Flash, served as a grandfather figure to Wally. Wally’s younger cousin (and Barry’s grandson) Bart aka Impulse frequently reminded Wally he planned to usurp him as The Flash someday. This all culminated in a tragic event where Wally’s wife, Linda Park, got caught in the crossfire and lost their unborn children. This all stemmed from a conflict between The Flash and Zoom, an obsessed villain who felt Wally did not have enough tragedy in his life to have a proper legacy.
Johns also did this thing where in between major story arcs he would take an issue to put the spotlight on one of Flash’s villains. Mirror Master, Gorilla Grodd, Zoom and Captain Cold were the highlights. Captain Cold was definitely a creators pet but Johns knew how to use him well without overshadowing. A hero is only as good as his villains and these spotlight uses definitely highlighted that.
As mentioned before Johns created a multitude of new villains for Wally West. The Plunder, Girder, Murmur, Blacksmith, Brother Grimm, Cicada, Double Down, Fallout and Zoom. Zoom deserves a special mention due to the slow and deliberate buildup to his debut. Introduced as Hunter Zolomon, a criminal profiler who had to walk with a cane due to a mistake he made in the field. He was Wally’s ally on the force but after suffering another tragedy, Wally refused to use his time travel abilities to help Hunter. This set Hunter to become Zoom and one of the deadliest enemies of Wally.
The confrontation with Zoom ended at issue 200. At the end there was a new status quo. But I’ll cover that in a second part. This first half of Johns’ run on The Flash was amazing. I was hooked for years. I even dug up back issues to complete my collection. If you have not checked it out, you can easily find trades or omnibus of Johns’ run. It is highly recommended.
Summer 2000. I had just come from seeing X-Men. I grew up in the 90’s when superhero movies were scarce and weren’t very good at that. I guess like any young boy I always liked superheroes particularly watching Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series. But something clicked in my head that day. I guess the best way to put it is that a door was opened.
My Dad always had this comic book collection that he kept locked away. So when I got back home, I immediately pestered him about pulling them out. Eventually he conceited on the condition that I bag and board all of them. The problem came when he had over 300 and since I was 10, funds were limited to say the least. So it took me almost the whole summer to complete the process.
As I was completing this task, I started reading them as I was bagging and boarding them. I was familiar with the more mainstream heroes such as Spider-Man, X-Men and Batman. Then I discovered heroes such as The West Coast Avengers, The Outsiders and Thor. I had no idea that this task just to see my Dad’s old comics would lead me down a rabbit hole.
I was surprised by the sophisticated storytelling going on. One would not suspect that initially considering the ridiculous circumstances going on. But you can see the nuances and issues of the 80’s (the late 80’s is when my Dad got his issues) peppering the issues. After reading a ton, I decided that I wanted to start getting my own and start my own collection.
Of course my first comic book would have to be an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. Now I do not know how many comics I have collected over the years. I would certainly say that it is probably close to 1000 if not a little over. I do not really collect comics anymore but every now and then I will walk into my local comic book store and delve in. I still get a good feeling that I got when I was 10.
So since the DC Rebirth event, the post Crisis on Infinite Earth’s Superman has once again become the de facto Superman in comics. But with him, he also has brought with him the post Crisis Lois Lane and those two have produced a young son, Jonathan Kent aka Superboy. So while it is the return of a familiar Superman, what is old is new again. This Superman now has a lot more at stake than once before. He no longer can jump willy nilly into battle as he only has himself to worry about. He now has to consider that every time he puts himself out there, he is potentially leaving a widow and father less son. We also get to see a Superman who gets a bit more angry as almost every interaction involving his son brings out the red eyes in him.
Lois Lane is also the same but with the added dynamic of being a mother. We see that she is still the headstrong reporter who is willing to do whatever she feels is right. But now that she is a mother, she will go to even more extremes than before. When Jonathan’s life was threatened by The Eradicator, she did not hesitate to put on the Hellbat armor, which drains the user’s life force, to protect her son. Now Lois Lane is returning to The Daily Planet to be the tough as nails reporter. So it will be interesting to see how being a mother will affect one of the definitions of career woman.
Jonathan Kent is the newest addition to the Superman mythos. The half Kryptonian/half human son of Superman and Lois Lane. The young boy is a bit naive as he has been sheltered for a good portion of his life. But with recent events and his Kryptonian powers sporadically coming in and out, Superboy is here. Superman is a character that’s never really had a sidekick/partner before. Now that this trope is also his son, it mirrors what is happening over with Batman and Damian Wayne aka Robin. He also is the first half breed Kryptonian in the new canon and this opens more possibilities down the line. We have yet to see him interact with his second cousin Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl.
Plus the family has a family dog who just happens to be Krypto. If you want to make the whole family mad, mess with Krypto.
The final DC Rebirth one shot has been released and it features the Justice League. The Justice League has always been the premiere team of the DC Universe. After the events of the Darkseid War and DC Rebirth one shot, the team is ultimately together but missing something. Superman is dead and Hal Jordan has returned to space to be the leader of the Green Lantern Corps. So who should replace them? Well Superman and two Green Lanterns.
The two Green Lanteens, Simon Baz and Jsssica Cruz, are more easily accepted into the ranks. They both have experience with the League and Jordan himself recommended then. Superman, who is older and more experienced than the deceased one, is treated more wearily. It is refreshing to see characters who are not exactly trusting of alternate universe versions of people they know since it is such a common trope in superhero comics. It is also implied that the reason Batman and Wonder Woman are not so trusting is because they miss the deceased Superman. So it will be interesting to see how this Superman works with the team and universe at large.
The team is immediately thrown into the midst of things with a giant bug attacking the city. Imbued with incredible psychic abilities and able to unleash smaller creatures that attach themselves to the face of humans. This is similar to Starro, a classic Justice Legaue villain, and is in fact touched upon. The creature is defeated and the team is United at the end. This is reminiscent of old one shots featuring the Justice League. Highlighting why they are the premiere team of the DC Universe by battling the big threats and showing why they are not to be messed with.
Bryan Hitch is the writer and artist of the series. Hitch is infamous for never keeping close to a steady schedule when just doing art alone. Since he handles double duty here, it is commendable. He portrays a simple issue and highlights what his mission statement for the ongoing book will be. Whether he handles double duty for the ongoing book efficiently or inefficiently is still up in the air at this point. However his run is up to a good start. Justice League will be one of the books that I plan on buying on a monthly basis.
For those who are looking towards hints of the greater DC Universe and Rebirth, this is a book to look at as well. There definite hints of certain Watchmen characters and elements that are certainly more than a coincidence.