I haven’t read many comics yet today, but the ones I have have been battling for who will drop my jaw the furthest.
We all knew that today would be a huge day for DC Comics with the release of their not reboot, not relaunch, not recycled…Rebirth. The event has been well publicized, but not much has actually been known about the mechanics of it. Long story short, they are attempting to de-jerk the New 52, since I found all the last reboot managed to accomplish was to “make everyone younger” by making them all douches. So DC did a cool thing and officially ended the New 52 with the 52nd issue of the books that have survived from the initial launch and handed the keys over to Geoff Johns. As much as I’m sure Jim Lee and Dan Dido, the head honchos at DC, are fanboys, Johns is like an uber-DC geek with designs to return the DC Universe to it’s pre-Flashpoint glory.
Three books (there may be others) released today set those wheels in motion. (Spoilers from here on out…)
First up, Justice League 50. The Darkseid War seems to never end as this is Part 10 and there were numerous one shots that tied in. I won’t get too into all the details of the Darkseid War, but the key takeaways from this issue include:
- Lex Luthor killing Steve Trevor.
- Grail killing Earth-3 Superwoman and then taking her baby…and turning him into a new Darkseid, which is weird since Darkseid is her father.
- Power Ring Jessica Cruz appears to die saving Barry Allen from death…but is later very much alive and given her own official Green Lantern ring.
- Hal Jordan manages to seperate Batman from the Mobius Chair by giving him his Green Lantern ring…only to see the chair stolen by Earth-3’s Owlman and Grid.
- As the story wraps up, we get into Rebirth commercial territoy with the reveal of Lex Luthor as a new Superman; that New 52 Superman is dying, which has been known for a while in the Superman books and feels a bit shoehorned in here; Batman reveals that the Mobius Chair didn’t tell him the Joker’s real name after all, but that there are three Jokers…um, what?; and that Wonder Woman has a long lost twin brother out their somewhere.
- And finally, Owlman, Metron and (I assume) Grid are killed on the moon by an unseen entity. They are wiped out in a flash of blue light…which means nothing…right?
All fairly standard stuff. The introduction of Wonder Woman’s brother (Wonder Man?) seems like it will have lasting ramifications. And three Jokers? Like Batman says, we’re not exactly sure what that means but we are going to find out. And that blue light…hmmm…more on that in Rebirth…
Next, Superman #52. Another long storyline wraps up with Part 8 of The Final Days of Superman. At least this one has only spanned the last two months, unlike Darkseid War which has been ongoing for about a year. This one is low on revelations like Justice League, but, as the name of the story tells us, New 52 Superman dies. He does it heroically of course, with similarities to the pre-Flashpoint Superman’s death at the hands of Doomsday. That pre-Flashpoint Superman of course returned from the dead…and thanks to last year’s Convergence event, is on hand to witness his namesakes sacrifice. With New 52 Superman dead and many New 52 characters now aware of this other Superman’s existence, the set up for the future seems clear. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like he keeps the kick ass beard.
And finally, the big daddy (80 pages! Though, the last 14 are really just house ads for the relaunched books.) that sets the stage for the DC Universe…until they next decide sales are in the toilet and they need to shake things up.
There are way too many little hints and nods and reintroduction’s of characters for me to get into. IGN (among others) have already done a great job with that. The biggest take aways for me are:
- More on the three Joker’s thing. Batman and Alfred discuss the fact that the Joker is currently holding hostages in Civic City…while he was also just arrested in Baltimore and on his way to Arkham. This seems to confirm that the three Jokers are supposedly different people. It’s going to be interesting where they take this. On the Batcomputer, Batman looks at file photos of three versions of the Joker: the Golden Age era, Brian Bolland’s rendition from The Killing Joke and the modern New 52 take by Greg Capullo. It’s also interesting to note that Scott Snyder strongly hinted about the Joker being immortal in the End Game storyline. How that will play into this, if at all, remains to be seen.
- Wally West is back! While I was never a reader of Flash, I understood the pains that DC fans felt with his total exclusion from the New 52. And then when they finally introduced Wally in the New 52 and he was a very different character, not many people were appeased. But now, like many other Legacy characters, a key point of Rebirth, he is back in full force and looking to be an active member of the new Titans.
- The many nods to Flashpoint. While the creation of the New 52 seemed like a last minute addition to that story, it was still a memorable series with a great alternate universe. Batman receiving a letter from his father at the conclusion of Flashpoint was a nice touch…Batman crying…was not. They also kill off Pandora, who they originally seemed to set up as a major player, perhaps the architect of the New 52…but then it seemed like they didn’t know what to do with her and she has been not much more than a bit player the last 5 years. Like Owlman from Justice League #50, she is evaporated in a blast of blue light. Meaningless right?
- A mysterious stranger named Mr. Oz shows up to lay some mystery on the still bearded, flannel shirt wearing pre-Flashpoint Superman. I’m not familiar with Mr. Oz, but apparently he has been training/helping the New 52 Superman.
- Aquaman proposes to Mera…which is not all that exciting, but puts to rest the New 52 rule of “no marriages allowed”.
- And then, after a whole lot of Barry Allen and Wally West Flash stuff, things go to another level. A level that people will either hate (Watson) or have their mind blown by (Ryan). As Wally explains to Barry about someone stealing 10 years of history and love from the DCU as it converted back from Flashpoint to the regular DCU, and hence creating the New 52, we see Batman finding a shiny object in the Batcave. This turns out to be the…THE COMEDIAN’S BUTTON FROM WATCHMEN!?!? Did they lose you or are you losing your mind?
- And finally, the epilouge. Nothing could top that bullet right? Well, how about the reveal that the antagonist behind this. The being that altered the timeline. The entity that perhaps created the DC Universe itself is…this guy:
It’s the monkey fighting God-like DOCTOR MANHATTEN FROM WATCHMEN AS WELL?!??!!
Those final two points are sure to get people talking for a long time. Watson said, “Alan Moore may kill himself so he can spin in his own grave.” Ryan was more on the mind blown side, “I just finished Rebirth and I have goosebumps. Holy shit. Wow wow wow wow.” I’m on the fence here. While I think it was a very cool unexpected twist, Watchmen is so sacred, it is hard to envision a universe where the two lines coexist. Watson: “Booooooo! No. There is no context I will ever accept that Dr. Manhatten meets Superman.”
And that Mr. Oz I mentioned above? There is speculation that he is in fact Ozymandias from Watchmen. That the New 52 Question may be Rorshach, the new crime fighting duo Gotham are Nite Owl and Silk Spectre and one of those three Jokers may be the Comedian.
In closing, let’s move away from all things DC and check in with our friends over at Marvel. They decided to ship their own controversial ending today as well. I doubt very much it was not timed intentionally to take away some of the buzz surrounding Rebirth.
Here is what all the talk is about:
Seriously? After 75 years and God knows how many encounters with mindreaders, etc., Steve Rogers stands revealed as a Hydra agent? What the what?
I know I have written here at Gabbing Geek many times about my patience with the Superior Spider-Man reveal and how awesome that book turned out to be, but this just seems so lame. And at least putting Doctor Octopus’s brain into Peter Parker’s body didn’t invalidate 50 years of continuity (they already did that with the God awful One More Day). This is like Peter Parker turning around and saying, “hey, I lied about what happened the night Uncle Ben died. Actually I killed him.”
The Marvel powers that be promise that this is not a clone or a Skrull or any cop out. This is the Steve Rogers that has been around for the last 75 years, who has kicked many a Hydra ass. I should practice the same patience I did with Superior Spider-Man. I’m sure at some point all will be explained, and Cap will return to being the hero that is known and loved as an American icon. But until then…lame.