Robot 6

Grumpy Old Fan | Will DC’s past catch up with it?

A Flash family reunion

Three recent bits of DC news are running together in my mind. Cumulatively they may amount to nothing — housekeeping details and/or fallout from the New-52 relaunch — but individually they seem significant, because they may well speak to the proverbial “reset button” which DC claims does not exist. Put simply, I think that reset button exists, I think it affects all of the New-52 books, and I expect it to be revealed within the next year or two. Whether it gets pushed, and/or how much resetting occurs, is another matter.

While it may be overprotective to put a SPOILER WARNING so early in the post, I realize some of you may want to discover these things as they are actually published.

I don’t blame you — I was trying to avoid the Wonder Woman thing, but that’s what I get for reading convention coverage. (And yes, I have seen the recent news about a certain Flash character.)

Anyway, SPOILERS for potential DC milestones big and small….





Let us now consider

— the deletion of the “Crisis” events from DC history;

— the rumored fate of Krypto; and

— the advice to “keep reading” for the fate of Wally West.

We can think of these items as, respectively, a) events which didn’t happen, b) circumstances which ensure particular events won’t happen, and c) events which might still happen.

* * *


The “Crisis” events were watersheds in DC history. For our purposes they started with 1985’s Crisis On Infinite Earths, although COIE drew its inspiration from the annual Justice League/Justice Society team-ups, most of which had “Crisis” in their titles. In fact, the follow-up to COIE was originally going to be titled Crisis Of The Soul (and perhaps Crisis On Captive Earth, a title I remember seeing in various 1986 editorials), but it became Legends, and except for 1994’s Zero Hour, subtitled Crisis In Time, subsequent DC events stayed away from the C-word. However, 2004’s Identity Crisis started a new “Crisis Cycle” — not to mention a constant “crossover churn” — which included 2005-06’s Infinite Crisis, and which lasted officially through the end of 2008-09’s Final Crisis. (I say “officially” because 2009-10’s Blackest Night wrapped up a handful of Crisis-Cycle subplots, including the deaths of Aquaman, Ronnie Raymond, Max Lord, and the Martian Manhunter. Nevertheless, there weren’t supposed to be any more “Crisis” events after, duh, Final Crisis.)

Anyway, on a macro level the whole thing eats itself. Barry “Flash” Allen, the avatar of the Silver Age, dies in COIE, and his name and costume are taken up by his protege, the former Kid Flash Wally West. Wally appears in Legends and practically every other DC event for the next twenty years, and his “death” is teased too, first in Zero Hour and later in Infinite Crisis. However, Wally is still the Flash as of Final Crisis, which brings Barry back to life. Two years later, in Flashpoint, Barry (for lack of a better term) destroys the familiar timeline,* remaking it into the current New-52 under the supervision of a mysterious hooded figure. In short, Barry’s death in COIE set up some twenty-odd years of cosmic rumbling, and shortly after he returned, he helped restart and/or reorder all of history, twice — and by the way, in so doing he may have erased totally the events which both killed him and brought him back. This is the superhero equivalent of the magician tying two ropes together and removing the knot, so that only one uncut rope remains. It’s a neat trick for streamlining continuity, but in this case there are a number of people who had either gotten used to having the knot, and might actually have preferred the knot to stay in place.

Accordingly, Dan DiDio tried to clarify:

With so many characters and histories restarting, major events like Crisis are harder to place when they work for some and not for others. (that was one of the problems coming out of the original Crisis). While we are starting [approximately] five years into our heroes’ lives, we are focused on the characters present and future, and past histories will be revealed as the stories dictate. Yes, there have been “crisis” in our characters lives, but they aren’t exactly the Crisis you read before, they can’t be.

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This gives Barry/Flash some options. If COIE never happened, then odds are good he never died (which is good, because if Final Crisis never happened either, it removes one way to bring him back). Even if he had died in the New-52 timeline — and it seems like DC has said he hadn’t, but bear with me — obviously he’s back, so it’s a non-issue. The most likely scenario is that Barry never died and COIE as we know it never happened, so that takes care of one continuity knot. DC can use the Anti-Monitor in the New-52 context without having to explain how he’s around and nobody remembers Barry being dead.

Slightly tricker to finesse are Hal Jordan’s other careers. In 1994 Hal, as the evil Parallax, destroyed the Green Lantern Corps. In 1996 Hal/Parallax sacrificed his life to restart the Sun. In 1999 a Parallax-free Hal (still dead) became the human host of the Spectre, and in 2004 a series of fortuitous events resulted in Hal being brought back to life and reinstated into the also-revived Green Lantern Corps. Considering the restatement of Kyle Rayner’s origin in GL: New Guardians #1, the initial Parallax stuff probably still happened, and Hal may have subsequently sacrificed himself as he did in 1996’s Final Night. However, I’ll bet his Spectre career is no longer part of his permanent record. Heck, the Spectre itself may now be part of the new Earth-2.

You get the idea — like it or not, DC continuity is so interrelated that the effects on even a few characters ripple into the larger superhero line. We readers must now accept the fact that this is, for all intents and purposes, a complete reboot. Not that it’s necessarily bad, but it’s something DC might just as well embrace.


That brings me to the rumor that Krypto the Superdog no longer exists in his friendly, white-furred, red-caped incarnation. Instead, I take it we’ll only see Krypto on pre-disaster Krypton, since the rumor holds that Krypto didn’t made it to Earth alive. I found this announcement particularly disturbing, because it tells me that DC is willing to close off certain storytelling avenues entirely, even if — or perhaps especially if — they are as frivolous as a super-powered dog.

Now, I am not going to go off on another “DC hates fun” rant, mostly because I remember the 1986 edict that Superman was the last Kryptonian, period, with no loopholes for gender or species. While it took fifteen years for the proper Krypto to come back (a supporting character had a non-powered puppy with that name in the meantime) and another few years after that for Kara Zor-El to land on Earth (again), DC only waited two years to unveil a new Supergirl, whose 1996 ongoing series lasted a very respectable 81 issues.

Still, the Krypto-is-dead-already type of news is yet another sign that DC is Very Serious about some things, if only for the time being. If the high sheriffs think a Dex-Starr/Krypto throwdown may be at all marketable, the Dog of Steel will be back quicker than Hoppy the Marvel Bunny on a date. It may not even require that pretext. I cannot imagine a DC which refuses absolutely to give its main-line Superman his favorite pet.


See, as much as it protests that its superhero comics have put away childish things, DC is even more reluctant to let those things simply pass into memory. The current Shade miniseries, which appears to take place in pre-September continuity, is just one example. Its parent series, Starman, relied heavily on a DC Universe where legacy heroes were as common as Kennedys and Bushes in government. As such, it was pretty deeply rooted in decades of DC lore, adapting and updating those old stories for its own explorations. With the New 52’s emphasis on the here and now, DC can say it doesn’t publish series like Starman anymore — except that it clearly thinks there’s an audience for a follow-up like The Shade.

Ironically, what makes me think Wally West will be coming back as the Flash is the fact that DC seems to have written him (as the Flash) out of the New 52. If Barry hasn’t died, there’s no opportunity for Wally to succeed him. In fact, if Barry’s not dating Wally’s aunt Iris, it’s much less likely that Wally has become Kid Flash in the first place. That said, it’s entirely possible that a more mischievous Wally West could have snuck into Barry’s lab on a particularly stormy night and been drenched in lightning-charged chemicals just as Barry was, and is now running around in a homemade costume as the Kid Flash of Teen Titans — but again, that version of Wally won’t be the Flash anytime soon.

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And if DC brings (or has brought) back Wally in the New 52, it’s only a matter of time before Wally becomes the Flash. History argues too strongly for it to be otherwise. DC could have rolled back its Batman timeline so that Dick Grayson was once again the only Robin, but too many people know (and like) Dick as Nightwing. Furthermore, too many people like Tim Drake and Damian Wayne to remove them from the picture. Granted, during the year or so that Barry and Wally shared the name and costume, they might have seemed somewhat redundant in a way that Nightwing, Red Robin, and Robin would not. Still, for twenty-five years Wally West was The Flash, the Fastest Man Alive, and Barry Allen was just part of his backstory. I understand perfectly why DC would want to focus more on Barry in the New 52, but Wally is as emblematic of that post-Crisis era as Barry was of the Silver Age.

Accordingly, if and when DC reveals that reset button — perhaps in conjunction with revelations about the red-hooded woman — I suspect Wally/Flash will resurface, as the harbinger of a resurgent pre-relaunch DC Universe. Maybe this will happen next summer, when the New 52 is about a year old; maybe it’ll wait until 2013 and the 75th anniversary of Superman. Whenever it happens, I think it’ll be an excuse not really to roll back the New-52 changes, but to bring back some of the more successful characters and concepts which, for whatever reason, don’t fit any longer into the New-52 timeline. The Justice Society is getting its own Earth-2 again, so why shouldn’t the pre-September DC Universe have an Earth of its own? (Earth-August?) Each would be a more retro-styled alternative to the New-52 titles, allowing DC to examine its characters at different points in their careers, and probably having made different choices. After all, Dan DiDio did tell Facebook that the New 52 was about “infinite possibilities.”

* * *

To be clear, I am not ready to roll back the New 52 when it’s not even two months old. However, I do think that certain factors make conditions favorable for a reintroduction of the pre-September status quo. Using Earth-2 for the upcoming Justice Society relaunch sets a clear precedent for similar treatment of the pre-September timeline. Additionally, the fact that DC has apparently erased the original Teen Titans team — and with it some significant members of that team’s generation — strikes me as too radical a change to go unaddressed. Reworking Earth-August as a place where that generation came into its own would not only distinguish it pretty clearly, but a “successor Earth” would be a nice complement to Earth-2’s “predecessors.”

Besides, it would be another way to exploit DC’s massive reprint library. Will new or returning readers be so enamored of, say, Red Hood and the Outlaws’ Starfire that they spring for the New Teen Titans Omnibus? The reverse seems more likely. Reprinting Geoff Johns’ work on Wally West’s Flash arguably draws as much from Johns’ fans as it does Flash fans; but again, promoting Wally’s Flash doesn’t exactly cater to Barry’s current readers. While there’s room for both, DC can’t help reminding readers of the “out-of-date” stuff, because that’s basically all DC can reprint.

Accordingly, I expect Wally to resurface alongside the red-hooded woman, letting longtime readers know that Barry didn’t really destroy the old timeline. Maybe the split-in-three timeline wasn’t DC/Vertigo/WildStorm, but Earth-August/Earth-2/New-52. (Unlikely, perhaps, but the Hooded Woman’s mumbo-jumbo wasn’t exactly airtight either.) Whatever the cosmological justification, I believe that if there’s any opportunity for the New 52’s success to promote the old regime, DC will take it. Wally/Flash and Krypto may be superfluous in the New 52, but so were the retired Golden Age characters before “Flash of Two Worlds.”

Clearly, in the long term, setting up two alternate universes alongside the main New-52 Earth is begging for trouble, of the kind only another Crisis-style event could resolve. Still, I suspect that if it means DC will still be publishing superhero comics 25 years from now, it would take that kind of trouble — and when that time comes, DC might just have learned how to manage its latest multiverse.

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Now, when the New 52 relaunch was announced, I said I “[didn’t] want the DC of 2012 to look like the DC of 2010.” Furthermore, I predicted that “[i]f this all turns out to be a … ‘Heroes Reborn’-style digression, and some future Big Event restores what Flashpoint changed, the New 52 will be seen as a crushing failure.”

Since then I’ve praised the Retro-Active ‘70s Superman special as a tribute to a period worth revisiting, I’ve gushed over a continuity-intensive New Titans graphic novel which evokes a similarly bygone age, and here I’ve outlined a strategy for reintroducing the pre-September status quo. Because these positions are not exactly consistent with a wholehearted embrace of the New 52, readers might well think I’d be happier if DC just went back to the ‘70s, the late ‘80s, or even this past spring.

It won’t, though; and it shouldn’t (at least not in big doses). Still, it’s frustrating to see the publisher limiting itself, whether arbitrarily or by design. By cutting a number of well-liked characters and concepts out of the relaunch, DC is practically daring readers to demand their return. Odds are that’ll happen, even as the New 52 moves forward.


* [Personally, I am still not convinced that Barry himself was the butterfly whose desire to prevent his mom’s death caused the wide-ranging changes in either the Flashpoint or New-52 timelines. To me this is a discrepancy which should be answered in a future Big Event.]



I like to consider the Pre-Flashpoint DCU one of the 52 Earths.

Well thought out. But like it or not, it doesn’t HAVE to make sense. It’s a business and if they never want to refer to it again, they don’t have to. Ever try to make sense of the Highlander movies? As long as people buy it, they have no reason to change it or explain it.

The Highlander franchise eventually disintegrated and imploded under the weight of the messed up storylines.

For those comics that have been written out of history, and didn’t really exist, DC should give us all our money back. Fair is fair.

DC is perilously close to being written out of MY reality.

“I like to consider the Pre-Flashpoint DCU one of the 52 Earths.”

Me too, I would love to see Thomas Wayne Batman and skinny Superman team up as FlashPoint World’s Finest.

Really great article. This is honestly probably one of my favorite comic related articles I’ve ever read. You took the time to think these things through and ask honest, serious questions about what’s exactly going on with this relaunch. I have been a huge supporter of DC and their choice to take things in a new direction, but I also miss some of the great things they had before it happened. My biggest complaint was loosing Wally West and I’m glad he is the center of your discussion here. I hope he returns and I too believe that DC’s first big event of the relaunch will involve this Red Hooded woman and will try to address, as well as possibly get rid of, these some of these changes.

Continued success!


I have absolutely no problem with the new 52 and the old timeline. To me it all fits and it all belongs. Is it really that important? I want a good story whether it fits into one continuity or another. I loved the old Grave and the Bold comic as well as the cartoon. So what if these characters don;t live on the same earth or some other crap. It’s fun and a good story.

I get the injunction against the original COIE in the logic of the new 52.
But it really makes me wonder about the status of:
-Final Crisis: DID any of it happen? If not, then did Batman simply disappear after the chopper crash at the end of R.I.P.?
-The Flash: Rebirth – Even if FC DIDN’T happen, then does Barry’s Rebirth mini still stand, or is that too a casualty of FlashPoint… the very storyline it helped to bring about?

During the Johns-written “The Return of Barry Allen” storyline there was some sort of “prophecy” about Barry coming back a set number of times. I need to re-read it, but I’m pretty sure the prophecy was left unfulfilled. Perhaps that a loophole. I wouldn’t put it past Johns to give himself that out.

While I like the idea of Wally being a lynchpin for the emergence of a pre-reboot Earth, I’m not holding my breath. To some degree, I think the current DC brass sees Wally’s story as much finished as Barry’s once was. He’d grown into the job, matured, married Linda, started a family. While life certainly doesn’t end there, and most writers should be able to spin gold from it, that is a logical stopping point.

Really, DC shouldn’t have screwed up the idea of Bart as the Flash. They should have stuck with it and let that character grow and evolve the way Wally did.

Finally, I’m not necessarily against the new 52 idea, but I do take certain pleasure in watching what’s sure to be a continuity clusterf**k in the coming months. As this article and others have pointed out, picking and choosing what stuck and what didn’t was a bad idea because it creates all sorts of contradictions and conundrums. Setting a concrete time lapse (5 years) was an even worse idea.

Wally will be back.

Yes, I think the pre-FlashPoint DC will end up being one of the earths in the DCnU.

This column is always one of my favorites.

Wally can’t be the “kid flash in the homemade costume in Teen Titans” since they’ve already said it was bart in story.

All these years of freaking crossovers and pointless character deaths and it all led to this. I was waiting for a chance to jump off the DC bandwagon and since our rotten economy made things that much easier, I have dropped Marvel as well.

The only exception was going to be James Robinson’s Shade series, which I felt could have stood on its own. Of course, DC smeared that up too by having whatever now passes for Deathstroke show up for yet another pointless exercise in gore for gore’s sake. I’m stuck with the pre-ordered second issue, but nonetheless dropping Shade like a bad habit along with the rest of the line.

Ironic that the endlessly delayed Games graphic novel might turn out to be the last original work I ever read from DC. The newest JSA relaunch sounded promising, but going by the Shade book it will read like an Elseworlds project and give me yet another continuity migraine. I am too old and broke for this crap.

I’d love to think that this is all planned out and connects together, but I’ve been reading comics long enough to know better. Countdown to Final Crisis and everything surrounding it wasn’t *that* long ago.

It is as it was: business over continuity.

Ehh, I remember and love the old DC. Sure some of the new stuff is good, but pretty soon, DC will return to its ways and discard its new found readers. They never seem to have direction or care. They have had so many reboots in 7 years.

Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis.

Not to mention Countdown was crap and poor attempts. Brightest Day being ignored less than 6 weeks later.

All this continuity mess in both Marvel and DC is so unnecessary. Just have two continuities going at all times and say they are on different Earths. Continuity One can take the existing universe and begin to age it in real time and wind it up over the course of 15 years. Continuity Two starts every character completely fresh from day one, maybe even launching just one or two titles at a time so Superman can be first, Batman can start a year later, etc. Continuity Two can go on for 30 years, either in real time, or at some predetermined pace (like 3 years = 1 year). At the midpoint of Continuity Two (year 15), Continuity One finishes and Continuity Three begins, again with all characters starting from square one. That way, you always have “young” versions of the characters for the next generation of readers, what happens to the characters “matters” and old fans stay with them to see how they wind up and feel satisfied that everything they read really “happened” and has consequences. You can even go back and revisit a “finished continuity” whenever you want. Catch up with the Batman of 30 years ago, etc. But this continual mishmash milkshake of time and events is just frustrating because nothing matters and there is no sense of closure.

Clutch, James Robinson stated in an interview that Deathstroke was intended to appear in the first issue of The Shade from the beginning. It was DC’s decision to have him depicted as he now currently appears.

“The Highlander franchise eventually disintegrated and imploded under the weight of the messed up storylines.”

After 2 tv shows, 6 movies, novelizations, comic series, and animated series, and even an anime…I’d say it ran its course as opposed to imploded.

More to the point, look at Star Wars, Star Trek, Bond, even the horror movies. They never feel the need to overcome continuity glitches and may just throw continuity buffs a bone (at the most). Why should DC? To please fans that will buy it anyway?

For a company that’s gone through so many reboots, they sure know how to screw them up.

After years of crossovers where continuity was the plot, and they did all that work to rebuild the multiverse, they just decide to rewrite half of it and turn Earth-1 into a mess.

I’m not saying that a reboot was a bad idea. In Superman’s case, it was probably time for one, because he’s been a mess since OYL, and maybe even as far back as 2000. (Although I’m pretty bummed they opted to not give Superman a new “Whatever Happened” type story, because they claimed it wasn’t fair that in a month it wouldn’t matter. WTF? That’s the point. Instead, you end with the not so great Grounded, and decent but not overly spectacular Doomsday story that still didn’t matter a month later.)

The New 52 would have been a great point to separate the series – why does the main Superman and Batman books have to inhabit the same Earth? It’s not like we tune into Fox and expect House and Bones to be in the same universe. But, GL and Batman could have continued on uninterrupted on Earth-47, and Superman get rebooted on Earth-36. Meanwhile, the new Justice League series is on Earth-8. And you could still have Superman and Batman guest star in each other’s books, but it wouldn’t be the same one.

They could have kept Action and Detective around as series that cover all of the Earths, and keep the old numbering. Honestly, the only reason those two series were still around was because they’ve been around forever. If they’re just going to get renumbered with the rest of the line, then maybe it was time to retire both series.

Instead, DC is going to get softbooting Earth-1 until they don’t have even have a coherent mess.

correction — keep softbooting, not get

One point you don’t mention that I think bears watching is the Huntress, currently starring in her own limited series. The week the first issue dropped DC’s All Access page plugged the book, mentioned JSA and seemed to suggest that Huntress was NOT set on the same earth as all of the other new 52 books. I got a chance to speak with Paul Levitz about this at NYCC and when I mentioned that I thought it would be cool if they finally made her the daughter of Batman and Cat Woman again he all but winked and told me to keep reading. So my theory is that New Earth Two will include older version an older version of Batman and presumably of Superman and Wonder Woman as was the case with pre-crisis Earth 2.

With Flashpoint, the whole thing is Barry Allen finding his way into a timeline where things have been radically changed. He spends an entire Event trying to get “reality” back to his old timeline. When he in fact gets back to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT “New 52″ timeline, he doesn’t seem to have noticed and doesn’t care to get back to that original timeline that was so important in the last Event. It seems a little glaring, and I too have to think this will be revisited.

Hate didio .he cant admit that they mest up barry 2 times with reborn and hes short series and hes not going to give up on barry untill he is popular again even if that means never bring wally back the only way i see wally coming back is when didio is fired and the fans demand wally and the old dc back

Googam son of Goom

October 27, 2011 at 11:12 pm

DC is never going to get out of the continuity BS as it started out that way and has defined itself that way ever since the 2 Flashes story. For better or worse that’s who DC is.


More to the point, look at Star Wars, Star Trek, Bond, even the horror movies. They never feel the need to overcome continuity glitches and may just throw continuity buffs a bone (at the most). Why should DC? To please fans that will buy it anyway?
That’s not the same thing. The Star Trek movies got a reboot because the cast was too old or dead. Same thing for Bond, only Bond had gotten stale and tired so they shook things up by returning him to his novel origins. Movies, unless part of a pre-determined story-arc like a trilogy, are largely self-contained. Comics are more like a soap opera. A ongoing narrative in serial formal.

Imagine after years and years of watching a soap, you tune in one day to find some stories no longer happened, some characters are changed beyond recognition and other are simply gone from existence; not with a few choice characters, but an across the board sweep, done to attract new viewers. These are characters you know like friends, like family.

Do you then say “well this is the closest I can have to what I use to have, so I guess I’ll just have to take it?” and keep watching. Even knowing that in a few years they are going to do it all over again? If comics were still a cheap disposable medium available on every newsstand, each full of standalone stories, I’d probably say why not. That day is done. Now, comics cost too much and require too much of an investment time-wise for the reader to be that casual about it. Each comic is but a chapter in a larger arc, titles are interconnected.
My local comic show is a two hour drive away, not some TV show I watch with a click of a remote. (And no, I do not want to read digital). But if I can take the time to travel to purchase a comic and pay the expense for one, I want something better than a mess for my effort.

I still don’t understand why people feel that the New 52 reboot has made comics pre-52 redundant.

It doesn’t matter what Didio says – of course all the crisis events happened. Wally West was the Flash. Barry Allen died saving the Universe and then returned. How do I know? The friggin’ comics are on my shelf!!!

I equate the New 52 the same way as the new Star Trek. The new J.J. Abrams timeline exists, as does the timeline that Leonard Nimoy Spock came from. Picard and Janeway are still out there, having adventures as well as all the Next Gen cast. The original ST events occurred as well – just in a different timeline. The timeline continues to live on – it’s just that the film series won’t be focusing on that particular timeline anymore. But the novels continue to do so.

So, in my mind, Wally West is still out there as the Flash, Clark and Lois are still married, Hawkman is still mourning the loss of his wife, etc, etc. The problem is that, at the moment, the focus is on this new 52 timeline, and NOT on the previous one that is still out there continuing on as always. Maybe one day we’ll see it again, maybe we won’t – but it still exists.

Great article and comments.

@Paul, that was Mark Waid, not Geoff Johns, but I get your point.

I’m sorry. I called it “The Return of Barry Allen” but it was actually “The Secret of Barry Allen”, which Johns wrote. It ran roughly from issues #207 – 217 in the Wally Flash series.

@ Icefanatic

“Do you then say “well this is the closest I can have to what I use to have, so I guess I’ll just have to take it?” and keep watching. ”

Apparently, yes. Have you seen the numbers they’ve been doing? Take off if you want because you don’t like what they did to Wally West (I hate it, by the way, because I was a huge fan and am not interested in Barry AT ALL). But my argument again is DC has NO incentive to change things if people keep buying it.

The answer to your question about soap operas vs. movies is the same. The companies don’t have an incentive to go back to the way you liked them if everyone else keeps watching. Especially if they are looking to find brand new readers, which is what the DCnU is all about.

Is it possible we’ve already seen Earth 2 in the New 52?

Mr. Terriffic could probably be part of Earth 2, though it’s listed as one of the “Justice League” family of titles- it’s featuring ex-Power Girl as a key character too. Shade could conceivably be an Earth 2 title also.

I’m liking the new 52, and I’m looking forward to how they work the JSA into a new Earth 2. Maybe something like Justice Society Infinity from the JSA annual a few years ago. Robinson’s The Golden Age is still one of the best limited series ever, if not the best.

I wonder if Julie’s spinning in his grave. It was all so simple when there was only Earth-1 and Earth-2.

I wished they’d done this instead: if they had done this as an “Ultimate” route, they should’ve made the pre-September stuff mired in continuity EXCLUSIVE to the direct market, while the relaunch titles reach the general public. There was a time when certain titles were comic shop exclusive-only, so why didn’t they think of that? Who here wishes to disprove this idea?

Can’t see how no Crises will affect Hal being Parallax and Specter. Does “No Crises” apply Identity Crisis as well?

.”The new J.J. Abrams timeline exists, as does the timeline that Leonard Nimoy Spock came from. Picard and Janeway are still out there, having adventures as well as all the Next Gen cast.”

Actually, in MY timeline, Voyager didn’t happen at all. The best Star Trek of them all — Deep Space Nine — sure as hell did though.

Our past always catches up with us, but rarely to destroy us, mostly to make us stronger.

I would love to hear from ANYONE on this board or out in the world who could take the CEO’s job at DC in a time of declining comic sales (graphics are down 20%!) and come up with your own solution to save the company that would NOT include cutting TONS of REAMS of paper and comic storylines AND the decisions of retired or dead creative teams.

I understand the love for discussion, but not the need – but really, comic fans have a short memory (or at least I do), and I’m not too interested in HOW this DCU came about, but more on how THIS NEW Justice League is formed and will handle Darkseid.

‘The Long Halloween’ is great for me regardless of how many Robins there were. Marvel is the least company concerned on continuity and it is one of the reasons they don’t have this question, as they go into another month of 5 new #1 titles.

In the end it’s about story and character. Right now, story and character at DC is better than in August.

I mean that’s not gospel, just my opinion.

I dunno, the sound of this hypothetical “reset button” is to put the DCU back into the clusterf*ck it was in before or to revisit the mess that was Flashpoint. I think the writer here and fans alike are far too centered on stories that were over already–all the pointless continuity-wanking just shows why all that had to be let go of to move forward. Do you think I can reconcile all the Silver Age and Bronze Age comics I read as a kid into some stiff, unforgiving chart of continuity? Of course not! Fans of the Modern Age DCU need to let it go and enjoy the new stories they like and accept that change has always been key to keeping these characters “alive” and vital.

Talk about over thinking. I had to stop myself reading the article halfway through. Who cares if Krypto is around or not? Who cares if COIE doesn’t exist anymore. DC rebooted their universe in the mid 80s and it survived and refreshed the line of characters. They are doing it again. If you spend to much time questioning continuity you won’t allow yourself to enjoy whats going on now.

You read comic books? So you suspend disbelief on a monthly basis I assume? Use your imagination then. I still enjoy Batman The Killing Joke. I still enjoy Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow. You don’t need a publisher spoon feeding you continuity descriptions to enjoy past stories. The Superman that exists now is fine by me. I look forward to DC telling me what happens next. Does that mean I can’t enjoy Byrne’s Man of Steel mini? NO.

DC has injected life into the comic book industry. Changes were made, some good, some bad. But change was needed. The industry overall should re-evaluate their respective universe’s every decade or so. Shit gets stale.

I have an imagination. I also know how to separate one form of continuity to another. Its fiction. Its escapism.

Enough with the over analyzing. I’ve been reading comics since the early 80s. Ive read more Wally/Flash stories than Barry/Flash stories. But I can wait for Wally to return, if at all. And if he doesnt? Well I have twenty years of stories to read about him.

@Vic Squad: Bravo!

Too much old-school fan whining about something that’s already happened and not being able to look towards the future, which is ironically what they’re accusing DC of. The last few months have confirmed my belief that the most restricting and unwelcoming part of commercial superhero comics isn’t continuity or crossovers or tie-ins, but fandom itself. DC has made the mistake over the years of trying to resolve continuity issues instead of deflecting and ignoring them the way Marvel seemingly has. I hope they don’t make the same mistake with the New 52. If the sales continue to be a successful as I believe it will be, DCnU is here to stay.

The next round of comics could have a mysterious red-headed guy in each issue of a given month and have the Internet playing a game of ‘Where’s Wally?’ before the eventual reveal. Personally, while I hate the idea of a Pre-Flashpoint Earth, I love that Earth 2 is returning! The concept allowed for some great creativity while it existed, and could well do so again. Why couldn’t Wally West be the Kid Flash of Earth 2? Donna Troy the Wonder Girl of that Earth? Superman and Lois originally were married on Earth 2 while single on Earth 1. Why not have it that way again? With their dog Krypto? An extra Earth beats a reset button.

Given that there are multiple Earths (realities) once again in the DCU, that means pretty much anything can happen anywhere.
As far as I’m concerned, Red Hood and the Outlaws is happening on one of those. Same goes for Batgirl and the new incarnation if Birds of Prey.
In fact, I’m not so certain anything I’m reading right now is actually happening on Earth-1 (with the possible exception of the Green Lantern books).

This article would have benefited from footnoting or at least more references to where the points are drawn from. I stayed away from Flashpoint — I don’t need any more crises, thanks — so it took me a moment to suss out that’s what you were presumably referring to with “the Hooded Woman’s mumbo-jumbo wasn’t exactly airtight either.” Given that the New 52 successfully brought back lots of lapsed readers, I bet I wasn’t not alone in my confusion.

Finally a decent article discussion the new 52 and not focusing on Starfire! I bet Wally will be the Earth 2 flash.

i can see the event across all books with the red hooded lady, occuring in one year – 52 new books for 52 weeks!

The greater point, which I believe your article danced around, is how does this all work? Just as DC just marched ahead with the ‘New’ Universe after COIE, DC will just march along with this NuDCU regardless of fan feels of who’s Flash and who isn’t.

The bigger question, is what’s the history of this NuDCU? How did we get all these 2nd and 3rd generation characters? Considering the ‘world’ is only 5 years old.

After and even during the COIE, DC was expanding the new history of the new world. So far with the NuDCU, I don’t see DC doing that yet. It’s just been, “Hey everything’s new, go have fun!” And we are all “But wait, how did we get here?” How does any of this work?

I consider the pre-FlashPoint Earth to be its own world also. Indeed, I have a couple of articles on continuity if anyone would like to read them:

I haven’t updated it in about a year, but I would now add “Earth-N” (for New 52) and even “Earth-AA” (for the Axel Alonso era at Marvel, basically the post-Fear Itself/Spider-Island/Schism/Children’s Crusade world, since all of that seems to bring Disassembled/Decimation/etc. to a thematic close) to the list there. Earth-Omega (Earth-August) ends neatly with all of the non-Flashpoint last issues of most of the DCU, perhaps even including The Return of Bruce Wayne but NOT the Time Masters series, as the latter leads directly to Flashpoint.


October 30, 2011 at 10:58 am

Ugh. DC continuity is a confusing mess. I’m tired of them rewriting the history of the universe every few years. The multiple Earths that existed before the Crisis were less complicated than what we have now. DC initially did a good job simplifying and modernizing their universe after Crisis on Infinite Earths, but some changes made to the histories of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Hawkman resulted in inconsistencies that had to be resolved. Since then we’ve had Zero Hour, Superman: Birthright, Infinite Crisis, and Flashpoint to further muddy the waters.

sorry if this is a dumb question, but what exactly is Earth August?

Yes. The old stories still there. Congrats on pointing out the obvious and missing the point entirely.

There are characters (Yes, Wally most of all) that are GOOD characters. They had some stale runs, but that is not the character. That’s writing and editorial. Editorial who also decided to make Hal evil. Editorial who brought back the Wonder Twins. Editorial that killed Ted Kord just to give us an offensive racial stereotype. Editorial who brought back Barry when no one was clamoring for him. Editorial who lets Gail Simone write books.

THAT editorial.

Saying “They are still on your shelf” is as idiotic as possible. No one with an IQ over 6 is complaining about that. We are complaining about how DC seems intent of pushing it’s readers away. We like Wally West. We like Ted Kord. There is no artistic or business justification to removing popular characters entirely.

This is New Coke.

The strange thing about the continuity is that it is NOT confusing to new readers. Wally West isn’t mentioned, so there’s no time to worry about where he fits in.

The reality is that The New 52 would make way more sense as a complete reboot, but it would have been criminal to lop the heads off Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns’ classic Batman and Green Lantern runs. Morrison’s Batman is one of the best ever takes on the character and Johns’ Green Lantern is THE best run on the character. DC couldn’t disrupt those two runs, so they compromised the entire continuity (for those who understand it) for those two sagas (rightfully so, maybe).

The Wally West/Dick Grayson analogy (with regards to maintaining their time in the big boy chair in the new continuity) doesn’t really hold up. They didn’t keep Dick’s tenure as Batman because “too many people know (and like) Dick as Nightwing.” They kept it because the guy whose was primarily responsible for those stories (Morrison) still works for DC, has tremendous clout with current DC editorial/management, played an integral part in establishing the new timeline, still has plans for the characters, and clearly wanted them kept in. Conversely, the writers mostly responsible for all those Wally as Flash stories that people liked either (A) not only no longer work for DC but, by some reports, is persona non gratis (Waid) and (B) passed control of the character on to someone else so he could focus on books he cared about more (Johns). If sating the fans’ love of Wally/Flash had any kind of impetus for DC, then we’d have at least seen some hint of Wally by now. Doesn’t mean he won’t resurface (I’m sure he will) or that there won’t be some reference to him having served a stint as Barry’s replacement (wouldn’t surprise me). But since they got rid of a lot of stuff that people really liked in the reboot, I can’t help but see Dick/Bats as anything more than an exception, not proof of a rule.


How, exactly, is Jaime Reyes “an offensive racial stereotype”?

@Vic Squid:

Well said. Bravo.

Frankly, I don’t think DC is saying because they haven’t decided yet..

Some more clues to your questions just got offered in this weeks Teen Titans. Kid Flash is specifically identified as Bart Allen on the first page of the issue. What we don’t know is who this Bart Allen is; or what his new relationship is to Barry.. It’s seems to be suggesting this Bart is not from the future and still very much learning his abilities.

But, Tim refers to ‘this latest incarnation of the Teen Titans.” ..So there are earlier versions. Most likely the Wolfman Perez Titans. We may find out Wally was a part of them. ..(and Donna?)

I may be in the minority here, but all of this debating makes me feel like just getting a few things off my chest…

Firstly, I think the new 52 was a bold move on the part of DC (however, they should have just called it a reboot and been done with it.) I picked up most of the September titles to give them a try and found myself keeping quite a few of them on my “pull list.”

BUT… now that some of the “newness” of the DCnU has worn off I find myself with these two complaints (there are others I’m sure, but these are the two I grapple with the most.):

1. I miss the old Green Arrow. I dunno WHO this guy is in the new monthly title, but he is NOT Green Arrow. Heck, he’s barely a character- the supporting cast and villians introduced so far have more personality. I sincerely hope the new creative team will help correct this, but I remain skeptical.

2. I do NOT like the new Superman… at all. I don’t like his costume, his personality, or the so-called “status quo.” I am willing to give Grant Morrison’s ACTION COMICS a chance since it’s basically “Superman Year One,” but the regular title is almost unreadable.

Clark Kent looks like the slacker lovechild of Harry Potter and John Lennon. He’s a professional reporter for crying out loud- he should look the part! I can buy him looking rough with the “just crawled out of bed” look in ACTION COMICS but this is five years later- he should at least tuck in his shirt! Take a page from Byrne’s MAN OF STEEL and Waid’s BIRTHRIGHT- that’s how Clark Kent should look.

And Superman’s dialogue? Don’t get me started… that’s where the term “unreadable” comes in. For the people who refer to Geoff Johns’ writings as fanfic take notes- THIS is what fanfic really reads like. I like George Perez…usually…. but he has definitely NOT brought his A-game to this.

Superman’s costume? Where do I even begin with this monstrousity? The fact that by eliminating the red “underpants” but not replacing it with anything, you now have WAY too much blue. The high collar simply does NOT look good for Superman either. It works on a character like Aquaman who is regal in nature, but Superman is supposed to be a hero of the people. The high collar makes me feel like I’m watching Prince Albert as the Man of Steel. Definitely not someone who is “relatable” to the common man. Makes Superman seem a little pretentious. Oh, and as a side-note to Dan Didio about the idea of Superman saving cats in trees being “what’s wrong with the character?” Wise up brother! That’s exactly why the character works- he’s this uber-powerful force of nature who takes on world class menaces like Brainiac and Mongul but still finds time to help a little girl get her cat down from a tree. Does it make your local firefighters more “wussy” when they come to check out a homeless man sleeping behind a dumpster- simply because they aren’t standing around twiddling their thumbs waiting for a fire to happen?

If it seems like I have a mad-on about the DCnU Superman, it’s simply that I am such a fan of the character. I have been faithfully reading his adventures since I was four years old. And to use a sports analogy here- just because the Yankees might not have a good season or a good lineup, doesn’t stop people from being their fans and caring. They have brand-loyalty to the team, not necessarily to the manager, coach, players, etc.

At the end of the day? My comments- you can take ‘em or leave ‘em. But I know that others feel some of this too… they are just choosing to be silent in their complaints.

what about the Bizarro universe are they going to get rid of it in the new 52?

DC is always going to have to update itself, a lot of their characters are seventy, sixty or so years old, some stuffs gona get confused but thats ok, it happens.

DC akso said their keeping what works in regards to theor previous universe. Series like Sandman, Starman, Batman, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Green Lantern etc. all have strong trade sales and are considered classics, so I’m not suprised if DC wants to keep those stories at least partly in continuity going forward.

Also, some of the major events of the cirsis can be explained by just removing the greater context of whatever story it was. For example, Hal Jordan could have still died but perhaps not every detail of Final Night story needs to be kept in order for the death to have still happened.

The new 52 is a DC Earth that doesn’t age. All the stuff prior to Superman has been erased, and Superman appeared only “five years ago”. No one has his origin tied to WW2, to Korea, to Vietnam or Gulf War, so everything will have happened “fine years ago at most” forever.

It took me a few weeks to see it, while hating a Earth without Wally and Dick-Damian Batman&Robin, but I now I find it brilliant, as a designed Universe, opposed to the amalgamated one that we had recently with the post-52 New Earth, stuffed with DC-Quality-Fawcett-Milestone-Red Circle-Thunder Agents continuities. Now apparently it’s the same, with Wildstorm taking the place of Red Circle, but this time they didn’t stuffed all together all what had happened before, but instead they choose the (supposed) better aspect of each franchise, discarding all the replicating items, so not to have too many multiple Superman, or armored clad heroes, or scantily clad heroines.

I think there is not (anymore) a reset button, and the “new 52″ is here to stay. The reset button was in place if the whole operation failed, but failed has not. But I, too, believe Wally will return. Like after a few years post Showcase #4 the Flash travelled to the previous continuity, I think it’s not far the moment the current Flash will travel to the previous continuity Earth. I don’t think it will be exactly Earth-August, as August 2011 continuity was quite convoluted… i feel what we’ll see will be more a Earth 2000 continuity, where the iconic fallen heroes will still be dead, and Wally, Dick, Donna, Garth and Conner will be the bearer of the torch.

And, frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if that Earth is the JSA Earth 2 promised for the next year. After all, unless the book is set in World War 2, I don’t really see it being a book about 90 years old mystery man. And if is about legacy characters, why not to have Wally and Donna and Karen to grant a chunk of faithful readers for the book?

QUESTION: How long ago did DC plan this makeover? It seems sort of last minute. Why start new Batman titles, Dark Knight and Incorporated, only to have them cancelled 8 or so issues in? Why not simply wrap up Bruce Wayne’s return and figure out if he continues as Batman and what to do with Grayson and the rest? Why have JMS on Superman and Wonder Woman, if they were to be cancelled? Was that factored into his decision to leave those titles in other hands while he figured his time would be better spent on projects that mattered? It all seems short-circuited by a sudden decision to change everything.

It’s too early to say that DC won OR lost with the re*whatever you want to call it*….It will be easier to tell six to twelve months past the initial #1 issues that came out.

Right now, all we can talk about is the micro-side of the new DC…. how we feel about it and how the local comic shops are doing. Myself… I have a strong dislike for what is happening. I tried many of the new series… and I’ve already started dropping titles. I went from 13 pre-FP titles to 22 #1s now down to 17 at the end of the second month. After the initial story arcs, I’m feeling like I’ll be down to ten and possibly lower.

I can’t wait to see where this stands in a year… because this will mean a major change to DC and the industry, either way it goes…..

Like others have said. DC should have just made this a complete reboot. It does feel like DC just decided to do this and made it happen over a few weeks. Most of the NuDC titles didn’t grab me enough to warrant a monthly buy. I liked about 10 of the new titles, and of those only about 4 I would buy monthly the others can wait until collected.

I think DC trying to keep some history and yet throw away history they didn’t like actually hinders their efforts at starting over.

What I found most about the books were they had a rushed feeling to them. Art and story little off. More of a “we need to get this done” feel rather then a “it’s done the best it could be” feel. I also think DC went a little heavy on the gratuitous violence, sex, and all the current slang or product placement mentions.

Violence and sex just for the fun of it gets boring fast. It also reeks of trying to grab an audience through shock and awe. If the story needs or has it to get a point across, it’ll always carry more weight.
Then you have the Skype, slash fiction, and “Qpad” type mentions and it just feels like a parent trying to act cool in front on their teenage kids.

I’m an older reader, but I just want good stories and not some company trying to use sensationalism to get my attention. If the art and story are good readers will buy the book. If DC doesn’t want long time readers, like myself, then they are free to let us go.

It will catch-up eventually

@CMM Talk of the relaunch started in October 2010. Nothing came off of it so series like Batman: Dark Knight, Batman Inc, Superman and Wonder Woman were already launched or about to be launched. The big reason the relaunch was finally pushed were the weak sales reports in December and January. They probably started planning the timeline and new52 series in March. Some writers were told early and some late. The Flashpoint minis and Retroactive books were stopgaps to publish books while giving new52 writers and artist time to get started.

Is it me or is Ted Kord more popular dead then alive? I understand fans clamoring for Wally but Ted was not even close to Wally’s popularity. DC will always push or pull readers no matter what decisions they make. Sometimes they’ll go back and bring a character back depending on how big fan reaction is. Other times the fan reaction is not big enough, no matter what a person thinks. A character may have 10,000 loyal fans but that’s not big enough to sustain a series. Some people take it personally when something about a character they like changes. It’s like DC is personally targeting them to make their life miserable. You’re not that important. DC doesn’t know your name. You’re just another customer in a sea of customers. You gotta take the good with the bad. If the bad outweigh the good then jump out of the wagon. Nothing i like worst then disgruntled comic book fans that keep reading something they don’t like.

my main problem with the 52 reboot/relaunch was that i would have prefered the sidekicks to take over rather than see the silver age dudes once more. i didnt need to see barry allen, hal jordan or arthur curry again and would have been happy to see wally west , kyle and garth step up to the plate.

You know, I think this is all related to Grant Morrison’s Multiversity. Grant did an interveiw here on CBR in 2009:
Have a read of that with this article in mind.

I honestly think come Multiversity we’ll get a lot of the ansers people are after. Specifically when Grant talks about one of the worlds (that didn’t at the time have an Earth-designate) that was based around the 90s characters like Connor Hawke. Who better to lead that generation of hero’s than Wally. Grant actually explains that the ‘Earth-90s’ shares the same history as Earth2 but then diverged from it… My suspicion is that we’ll get a revamped Earth2 with the Golden Age hero’s and history parlaying into a current time that features the Legacy characters and the 90s characters. So Earth2 would look something like this:
– the FLASH with Wally West, his daughter Iris as Impulse and Jay Garrick
– A STARMAN family of books featuring Mikal, Congorilla, Stargirl, and Shade
– CONNOR HAWKE as Green Arrow 2
– DONNA TROY perhaps as Wonder Woman, perhaps as her own character
– Maybe an alternate Dick Grayson as Batman

I also think we’ll see:
– The HUNTRESS mini series turns out to be Helena Wayne
– Mister Terrific is apart of Earth2
– POWERGIRL will be revived through the Mister Terrific Book on Earth2

Mr. Braddock: Ben, this whole idea sounds pretty half-baked.
Benjamin: Oh, it’s not. It’s completely baked.
— from The Graduate (1967- the era of “go go checks”)

“Completely baked.” In all its connotations. I’m looking at you, Grant…Dan…Geoff…Jim…

Didio: ‘ Yes, there have been “crisis” in our characters lives, but they aren’t exactly the Crisis you read before, they can’t be.”

Doesn’t he mean “Crises”?

Apropos of nothing, “zero hour” actually shows up as a synonym for “crisis” at Webster’s on-line. You learn something new every day.

Once again, I wonder, if the point of all of this was to create a streamlined and more coherent single universe, why are we getting (another) Earth-2?

Mr. Bondurant really hit upon a “real world” something when he brought up the huge reprint library at DC. Why diminish the textual value of all that reusable product?

If it’s marketing, then I give it 52 weeks to run its course before the reset button.


October 30, 2011 at 8:12 pm

DiDio said on Facebook that Krypto was not written out of continuity and that at some point will mak an appearence!

I spoke with Cully Hamner about the new Shade series at the NYCC. He said that it takes place in the new 52 universe pointing out the new look of Deadshot. I said that i was confused by this, due to things like Shade having an “old friends” conversation with Mikaal, Shade being with Hope O’Dare, and the nature of a series starring a character spinning out of Starman (which is one of the most continuity heavy books EVER, and is also one of the greatest examples of how to do continuity right and use it to strengthen a story).

Cully told me how, originally he drew things like the Starman museum and other things that would tie it in to the old series, but was told by editorial to take it out. We both agreed that it was a bad decision on editorials part and would only confuse everyone.

“In the end it’s about story and character. Right now, story and character at DC is better than in August.”

See, this is the part that makes no sense to me at all. It’s the same writers, artists and editors that were there in August and before. They created the mess to begin with. Yet NOW it’s supposed to be really good? At least with COIE, Wolfman and Perez were cleaning up messes created by other peoples stories. These morons are, essentially, saying “Yeah, we blew it. But we will REALLY hit it out of the park now!! Just keep reading!” And people just eat it up.

What exactly was it about Krypto that made Superman such a badly written character? What exactly was it about his marriage to Lois that made him so boring? Was it the ungodly weight of the 900 + issues of Action that made the editors lose their minds and let bad story telling go on to the point that no one cared about the Man of Steel anymore? Or Wonder Woman? Or Barry Allen (that’s my favorite — get rid of a popular character, bring back a character NO ONE was wanting back, and call it a “success” — that works only in Didio’s messed up head)?

Let’s see — don’t have Superman in his own comic book for a year, replace him with Mon-El, and wonder why there’s no new readers to the Superman book (who are definitely saying “Mon-who now??”). Load up the Justice League with Dick/Batman, Donna Troy, et al and wonder why no one is interested and sales plummet. Love Dick Grayson. Love Donna Troy. But they aren’t the Justice League. Not in that incarnation.

Is DC really saying if Geoff Johns can’t come up with a new idea for Flash or Morrison can’t do any better than re-hashing already published material, then that’s it? No new ideas exist? Maybe, MAYBE, if the current writers aren’t willing or able to create new stories (and I mean new — not re-hashes or getting back to the “core” character), there are about 1,000 other writers in the world who would LOVE to come on board to Action or Wonder Woman with all kinds of new and exciting ideas. My god, take a risk once in awhile!! Have Batman kill someone. He’s never done it before. How does he know how he’ll feel about it??? How would he resolve it, both professionally and personally? Have the world know that Batman is really Bruce Wayne. I’m sure WayneTech stock would go through the roof if that was found out. Who is Batman protecting with his secret, anyway? Alfred? Have Superman divorce Lois. I mean, a real divorce. That opens up all kinds of stories. Have Cassie fall in love with Tim. Think of the tension between Conner and Tim? Would their friendship survive it?

No one (Didio) is willing to take a risk with their characters anymore so they become complacent and boring. That would happen to any character. And don’t give me this crap that the DCnU is risk taking. It isn’t. It’s marketing. Pure and simple. New readers? Everyone knows who Superman, Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman are. Half the fun of getting into comics is finding out what happened before the story that brought the new reader in so why worry about years of continuity alienating anyone. You don’t want to reference something that happened 50 years ago? 20 years ago? Last year? Don’t reference it!!! But don’t re-set the entire numbering system because Jim Lee and Geoff Johns and Dan Didio have delusions of grandeur. Or Rags Morales doesn’t want to do Superman because he doesn’t like that Clark and Lois are married. Hey, Rags — ya aint the only artist out there, pal! It’s called being creative.

Ok so if COIE didn’t happen, how and why is Don Hall, the first Dove, dead then?

@ Tae

If you want to disagree with someone fee free, but don’t use the safety of the internet to insult people who have a different POV. You do more harm to yourself than anyone else.

Sometimes the “obvious” needs to be stated because a number of posters seem to focus on little inconsequential things and forget to look at the big picture. Change is, and always has been, a mainstay of the comics industry. It happens every twenty years – some posters saying, “well my Wonder Woman and Superman comics are worthless now that they’ve rebooted the DC universe” is the kind of statement that I was commenting upon.

I’m not sure what you’re referring to regarding the Blue Beetle. Jamie Reyes is FAR from an offensive racial stereotype. He’s the exact opposite and appears (for the time being) far more popular than Terd Kord if Brave and Bold is any indication. And this is coming from someone who loves Ted Kord. Ted was never popular – the most popular he ever was when he was viewed as a parody and a victim of slapstick. IMO he should have been killed off long ago to spare him his dignity.

Finally, DC must be doing some things right because their books are selling a lot better than they were pre New 52. And try being a little conservative when you keep referring to “we” and “DC readers” “fans” etc. I’ve been reading DC since the 70’s and, just like during the last major crisis when Byrne came onboard, was a little disappointed by some changes, but happy that the DC books seemed to find a focus they were lacking at the time. Your POV doesn’t reflect every DC fan, and judging by the latest numbers, probably only reflect a small majority.


You know, it’s very, very simple: These new #1’s just represent a brand new timeline. Whatever supposedly did or did not happen doesn’t matter, just move forward. IF DC wants to refer to a certain story point, they will.

Personally, I just ignore trying to figure it all out. I just look at it as each book has their own continuity. It causes less problems in trying to make it all fit neatly into a box.

Good Lord, my head hurts. I’m not caught up with Final Crisis or Flashpoint (I’m a fairly new reader who has been focusing on past issues of Superman and JLA over the last 2 years. Been a loooooooong process reading all those issues!) so maybe I’m just too much of a newbie to really grasp all of this continuity mess. Even if I do research and read the comics and ask someone to explain things to me, I STILL don’t quite understand some things sometimes. And that’s when it might be better to just say “To hell with it” and let it go. I think if DC wanted to pull Flashpoint events into the new 52, they would only confuse the hell out of the new readers they’re trying to grab. Maybe some of them would be interested enough to take a look at those past series, but I doubt there would be too many willing to spend extra cash on it. Maybe I’m wrong. But I agree that DC should just call this thing a reboot and not tease us with pre-52 events that may or may not have happened in this continuity.

That being said, my only real complaint with the new 52 is the very drastic changes to Superman. I won’t go into detail because others have said it better and more eloquently than I, but I am willing to give DC a chance, given the right writers get a hold of him. All in all, I’m cautiously awaiting each issue I buy and hoping things go smoothly in the near future.

“For those comics that have been written out of history, and didn’t really exist, DC should give us all our money back”

That made me chuckle.

@Bob: “Earth-August” would be where all the books took place prior to the relaunch.

Glad to see I’m not the only person who thinks the Hooded Woman from the end of “Flashpoint” (and who had silent cameos in most, if not all, of the #1’s) is a reset button to be used if the relaunch tanks.

Also glad to see I’m not the only one who really hates the new Superman costume.

It’s funny to see a discussion of how confusing DC’s continuity had gotten since COIE. I’m one of those cranky old fans, with a 37-year history of following these books, and I recall that pre-COIE I never met anyone who couldn’t understand the pre-COIE DC Multiverse after a couple of minutes of explanation. By 1988 (only two years after COIE), it was already kind of difficult to explain how things worked. “Superman was never Superboy, the Superboy who was in the Legion of Super-Heroes was from a pocket universe, Supergirl never existed, Wonder Woman wasn’t a founding member of the JLA but Black Canary was…” But now all that is wiped away.

Except for the parts that weren’t. And which all have to fit in a five-year timeline. Yeah, that’s not confusing at all.

Remember the 90's?

October 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

Ok, I’m just using this as a sounding board, so feel free to ignore me. ;)

I would LOVE an “Earth-3″ where the “next generation” of heroes is still alive and well at the top of thier game. Wally as the Flash, Kyle as (the only?) Green Lantern, etc. I realize this is mostly out of my own nostalgia for 90’s/early 2000’s DC comics, but hey, that’s what I like. Reading some of the DC Retroactives lately really made me long for some of these incarnations of the characters again (Especially Kyle and Wally).

Heck, it doesn’t HAVE to be an exact rehash of the 90’s (I mean, I do want NEW stories). I’d be perfectly happy with a universe consisting of a Dick Grayson Batman, if it also meant a getting my affor-mentioned favorites in their prime. I’m also a big Tim Drake fan, so I personally wouldn’t mind a Dick/Tim Batman and Robin. The idea is that this universe would be made up of second (or third, I suppose in some cases) generation heroes. If no one likes the idea of Conner being “Superman”, fine. Keep Clark on board, just make him the pre-relaunch Clark and he’ll fit the bill.

In any case, if DC sees a market for a “Golden Age” Earth 2, maybe they will eventually see some wisdon for creating a “Bronze Age” Earth 3. Sure, it’s a long shot, but one can dream right?

Iris West Allen will wake up one morning with Barry in the shower, and she will say to him “I had the strangest dream.” Then there will be a knock at the door and Wally will come in with coffee and bagels. And the DCUniverse will be off and running to a Pre-Crisis timeline.

The reboot would have made a lot more sense if they had rebooted Batman and Green Lantern as well but that would have upset the fans of DC’s 2 best-selling comic lines, and more importantly, Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison (“Marvel f***ed me on my X-men work, you better not touch Batman”).

I don’t understand why people are complaining about the old continuity being “nullified”. The comics you read and enjoyed didn’t disapppear. They’re still there, just like my DC comics from the 60’s and 70’s didn’t disappear after Crisis on Infinite Earths. This is fiction, after all, and none of it really happened. Continuity is a problem for any serialized storytelling: You either have to let your characters age out of their roles, or you have to “reset” things now and then. The only other choice is to just do away with continuity, which, if you’re building a “shared universe” of titles, is not really an option at all. I’m loving the New-52 and I hope it stays around for a decade or two. My only complaint is that they didn’t reboot LSH.

As much as I am enjoying the new 52 – or at least enjoying WHAT I am enjoying of the new 52, I think you may be giving the powers that be too much credit.

While I think is seems fair to say that the re-aunch has been an immediate success, I am not entirely convinced that it will be in the long-term. A year, a year and half from now, we’ll know, only time will tell.

I completely agree with you that somewhere they have packed a ‘parachute’ in case this whole re-launch doesn’t work in the long-term, but I don’t think that re-set/parachute is anything more than a ‘in case of emergency break glass’ kind of thing. I think it is simply something to save the powers that be from any egg on their face.

I also think you – and others – are reading way too much method into what I think is editorial sloppiness in the re-launch.

The proof of the pudding is usually in the eating, so much like the true success of the new 52, we’ll have to wait and see if, character and continuity discrepancies, are in fact by design or by a lack of editorial clarity, but the DC of the last 5 to 6 years, hasn’t shown itself to have a stellar track record for keeping their ducks in a row very well, or for that matter in doing an about-face when a decision (such as making Bart Flash) back-fires. In short, I basically feel that even if they use the parachute/reset because the whole new line goes sour, the story we will be fed will be that it was always their intention to do so, and that they ‘had us fooled all along’.

Something that is neither here nor there, but a source of great amusement for me – because I love irony – is the fact that in Dan Didio we have (essentially) an Editor in chief (regardless of his actual title) that has show some measure of disdain for what Crisis on Infinite Earths did for setting up a convoluted continuity, and he’s been pretty clear about that, listing it as one of the things that he would undo if given the chance. He’s criticized how much confusion the new status quo left in the wake of Crisis, well I have to smile at the fact that when finally given the chance to have a new sandbox to play in, he’s essentially rushed back into the burning house to grab Batman and Green Lantern – and most of their franchises – because he wasn’t really willing (or allowed?) to jeopardize the pretty stellar $$ those titles were comparatively making compared to the rest of the DC line.

Hawkman, and specifically Hawkworld, may have played some measure of havoc with the post COIE status quo timeline, but while popular Hawkman’s timeline could almost be ignored.

If messing with Hawkman’s timeline post-crisis was a ripple in the THEN new DCU, then comparatively speaking retaining Batman and Green Lantern’s continuity in the new 52 is asking for a tsunami to potentially wipe out your new home.

Comic-logic in general falls apart with too much scrutiny, but when a company like DC is essentially urging us to take their material seriously, and seem hell-bent on fusing some version of reality into their comics, they are by extension asking for it, in terms of readers picking at the seams of things like Bruce having had 4 Robins in a 5 year time frame.

For all his complaints or critiques of the post COIE DC, Dan Didio et al have really set themselves up for far more of a convoluted mess than that now almost 30 year old event did.

No big deal to me, as I am firmly in the school of following writers more than companies or characters, and sticking to titles I actually enjoy.

@ Remember the ’90s?

What you propose really is the best solution. Personally, what has traditionally attracted me to certain DC books (Starman, the Goyer/Johns/Robinson JSA, Wally West Flash, Jamie Reyes Blue Beetle) was the legacy aspect. There were newer characters at the forefront but a rich history to draw upon. There was a real sense of forward movement and change, which is vital to good storytelling. I think that was a strength that’s can potentially get lost in the new 52 reboot (save Batman continuity), and DC would be wise rescue it in some way.

@ Schnitzy

Exactly my thoughts, just in more eloquent form.

Brian from Canada

October 31, 2011 at 10:59 am

Warren, the reason people are complaining about the old continuity being nullified is for the exact same reason this article has been written: it’s not just event being erased, it’s PEOPLE.

Up until August, we had a DC universe that learned from the Dick Grayson experiment and continued to develop a second generation of heroes to act as backups (and, later, replacements) for the main heroes — NOT realizing that the popularity of such well written characters would cause them to be missed when they were erased.

Am I complaining that story “x” was cut out? No. But am I complaining about the absence of Wally West? Yes. Because Wally was The Flash long enough to define himself as someone different and worthy of the name in replacement to Barry. Same with Kyle and Hal, Donna and Diana, Garth and Arthur.

And Krypto brings out the softer side of Kal El, something he wouldn’t have either outside of Lois because that’s Clark’s behaviour.

These are major beats, not minor, in the overall continuity and we’ve come to care for these characters as much as the icons that inspired them. It also, I should point out, underlined the ability for the older characters to marry and begin the retirement process because it was all in good hands.

The new 52 needs to address somehow where these great characters vanished to. They aren’t continuity messes — well, outside of Donna, at least — and they have a fan base. Satisfy that fan base, you’ll quell a lot of the complaints.

Because, in the end, DC *DID* do what it needed to to reinvigorate discussion of DC Comics. Marvel no longer dominates everything and that’s a crack they can exploit, it they do it well. I’m looking forward to how this New 52 shapes up, if only to see where the great stories can happen now… and not be retreads of the past.

let’s be honest….whether or not this reboot sticks (and at this very early point i’m much happier than i thought i’d be) if there’s money to be made in having the old continuity exist, it will…

pretty much i’d be more surprised if people don’t think it’ll come back into play at some point…

Although I’ve enjoyed the reboot, and am glad to see the success it’s engendered, which means the comics I love will likely stick around a while.

I truly *fear* for some of my favorite DC characters of the past. If they can arbitrarily say, “Krypto died on Krypton” (and so NONE of his adventures ever happened), then a LOT of D-list characters may never have existed. Like the Challengers of the Unknown, Ultra the Multi-Alien, Bizarro, Myxyzptlk, parts or all of the Doom Patrol, Angel and the Ape, Bwana Beast, and tons more.

Any of these “childish embarrassments” might be hand-waved away. “Never happened.”

That’s scary.

The numbers in sales have said it all, really. Comic fans are reluctant to accept that a change was clearly in need, because most of the familiarity of origins has been altered in one way or another. Grounded was not all that appealing. I understood why it was done [per another poster on here, “Superman’s been a mess” for quite some time] but I just didn’t find it really entertaining throughout. I was even more disappointed when J. MIchael walked away, even if it was to work on the anticipated Year One sequel.
Supergirl’s final story arc wasn’t too bad – she goes to college, solves a mystery and snags herself a crush. Yay.
As for Superboy – what a nutty little story about zombies living under Smallville for hundreds of years, building a soul-sucking machine or something. I was truly glad when Pier Gallo left for a few issues in the middle of that arc. His art is obnoxious to me for some reason. regard to all the past stories, dating back to COIE, etc, they all happened. Nothing’s changed that, the entertainment value for most are what’s imprinted in our lives. I’m digging the New 52

I went back and reread Flashpoint after reading the comments here, to check what I thought before I wrote it down. And I still think it, so here it is…

The problem of continuity in comics is really a problem of time – and defining how it flows in terms of the narrative. The Phantom solves this neatly by having characters age at a consistent rate (relative to each other) and by making the role of The Phantom hereditary. The current Phantom is (I think) the 22nd.

DC and Marvel could have adopted this approach in which cases the franchises would pass into new hands every ten or twenty years as Bruce Wayne or Hal Jordan aged or died. The problem is that, to work properly, this would need to be built into the narrative from the start and both companies, DC in particular, grafted a unified world with continuity onto existing stories that had originally been written in isolation.

Stan Lee proposed another solution in the early seventies (in a Bullpen Bulletin I have long since lost). He said that Marvel had foreground time and background time. BT moved at real world pace while FT moved much more slowly. A six issue story might begin in a summer issue with the heroes at the beach and end at Christmas with them looking at Christmas decorations but, if you analysed what had happened then you would notice that the action should have taken about three weeks. This is kinda neat but still raises the question: at what rate does Foreground Time move, and what happens when the characters get old?

The solution that DC has come up with is to have universe-bending events that reset the characters every decade or so. Given that tactic then I think Flashpoint is much cleverer than most people are allowing. It does NOT say that some events didn’t happen. Dido is simply saying that, for the moment, some events are going to be ignored for the sake of simplicity.

Let me explain.

Barry Allen went back through time to Fix Zoom’s meddling and try to change the past back to make the present what it “should” be. During this process we saw glimpses of a lot of other pasts, presents and futures in the various spin-offs. At the end of Flashpoint he almost succeeded and the world in which the DC stories are set settled into a form that was almost but not exactly like it was before.

In this new world Barry Allen is ten or twenty years younger than he was. Presumably he does not remember this or a) he would be driven mad; b) he would mention it, and c) he would still be trying to fix it (ie Flashpoint would not yet be over). So people in the new world are unaware that there was any other world.

This leaves open (deliberately I would say) the possibility that ALL the other worlds, including the ones we saw in the Flashpoint spinoffs, still exist. In the classic SF sense these are alternative realities that were split off by key decisions in the timeline..

In other words, Barry left 21st Century A (the pre-Flashpoint world); went into the past; made profound changes; and then came back to, and possibly caused, 21st Century B (where we are now). Nothing in that narrative means that the history we know and love (of 21st Century A) didn’t happen. In fact the opposite is true: it MUST have happened because it led up to Barry Allen travelling back in time from there.

I suspect the time travel/many timestreams device was used precisely to get to this point. That is how the spinoffs tied into the overall concept: they illustrated the many possibilities in a universe in which timestreams branch. We are now at a point where anything can be added to the mix, including some or all of the old continuity, without needing another reboot – because according ot the story it is all still out there. DC is just not focusing on it right now.

But, to return to my initial point, if DC DO create a new Earth-2 or Earth-3 then I hope they bake a consist idea of how time passes in that universe into the concept. The Phantom has never needed a reboot. It would be nice if the “new” Earth-2 was launched with a similar ambition.

Oops: “I hope they bake a consistent idea of how time passes”…

I love the Earth Bronze/3 idea. packing my bags …

I suspect there is actually some sort of plan to bring back Donna, Wally, and other benched characters. I just wish DC would be more gracious to fans about it.

Anyone who’s followed the Flash remembers the stories of a Speedforce book, Wally backup stories, a Kid Flash series, Johns’ plans for Barry, etc. So I wouldn’t take anything they say about the Flash or related characters too seriously.

I think if they take back all the New 52 changes, it will be wasting all the new fans, and mine, time, I know it probably feels the same way for the people who were die hard fans before but they changed it already, you should just move along with it

This is why DC should have just gone whole hog and rebooted everything. Instead of picking and choosing who has a history and who doesn’t. They could have started most of the comics without ever mentioning a backstory and allowing creators to “fit” the backstory in their current stories.

Hey…If none of the Crisi exist…How come Ted Kord isn’t the Blue Beetle?

Well it turns out New 52 Krypto, the-now-wolf-Kimba’s dad-hybrid, in protecting Jor-El, ended up in the Phantom Zone, so I suppose there’s the possibility he’ll turn up again. Maybe it’ll turn out he has shape-shifting powers and becomes more dog-like in order to not freak out the local Earth folk. Just a wild guess.

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