DC Comics Lifts the Lid on DC Rebirth's Big New Revelations

Illustration for article titled DC Comics Lifts the Lid on iDC Rebirth/is Big New Revelations

This week DC is heralding a new era for its comics, both creatively and in terms of its story, with the release of DC Rebirth #1. But they’ve just revealed some of the craziest ramifications to come out of the new issue, including one that changes the DC universe-at-large in some pretty dramatic ways.

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If you want to avoid any details about DC Rebirth #1 before it drops Wednesday, you’ll want to turn back now.

Illustration for article titled DC Comics Lifts the Lid on iDC Rebirth/is Big New Revelations
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In an attempt to pre-empt details of the issue leaking out over the weekend, Geoff Johns spoke to USA Today about the new comic, which offers a window into the future for all sorts of heroes in the DC Universe, from Ray Palmer being trapped in the Microverse, to the now-confirmed death of the New 52-era Superman, to the true nature of the Blue Beetle powers being used by Jaime Reyes, and to the surprise return of the original Wally West:

Illustration for article titled DC Comics Lifts the Lid on iDC Rebirth/is Big New Revelations

Wally has been absent from DC’s ‘New 52’—replaced instead by another version of him that was younger and bi-racial—and has been Kid Flash ever since the reboot. But now there’s going to be two Kid Flashes running around: the new 52 Wally will be part of Damien Wayne’s Teen Titans group, while the older Wally acts as a herald that something has gone cosmically cah-ray-zay with the DC timeline. Turns out the creation of the New 52 in the wake of the timey-wimey Flashpoint event was usurped by an evil force, which has caused the heroes of the world to forget 10 years of their lives. The culprit?

Illustration for article titled DC Comics Lifts the Lid on iDC Rebirth/is Big New Revelations
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Doctor Manhattan. Yes, the omnipotent naked blue hero of Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel Watchmen has been mucking around with the fabric of DC’s reality for nefarious means. This also canonizes Watchmen as a whole within the DC universe for the first time since the original series was released in 1986. While you pick your jaw up off the floor, somewhere out there Alan Moore is probably screaming rather loudly—the creator has long opposed DC’s ownership of the series.

According to Johns, Rebirth is an injection of hope and optimism into DC’s current storytelling ethos, something he believes has been lost in the New 52. Apparently the true counter to that optimism will be the nihilistic pessimism of Doctor Manhattan:

It felt like there were things that had gone missing — not the characters but an overall feeling of hope and optimism. There’s a sense of warmth and emotion to this universe beyond the big epic threats and continuity stuff.

If you’re going to have a conflict between optimism and pessimism, you need to have someone who represents a cynical view of life and also has the ability to affect this. I know it’s crazy but [Dr. Manhattan] felt like the right character to use.

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The canonization of Watchmen—and apparently the introduction of other elements from the series, beyond Doctor Manhattan and his cosmic dickery—will be revealed over the course of the next few years, according to Johns. But either way, it looks like Rebirth has way more going on than anyone expected. Head to the link below to see more art from Rebirth #1.

[USA Today]

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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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DISCUSSION

thekeith82
thekeith82

Posted this on Odeck the other day, copy pasting here.

I do not think Geoff Johns is a hack. I think he has written some decent comics over the years, and when it comes to some straightforward action adventure stuff, he’s a good, if slightly workmanlike writer.

But he’s got a problem. And his problem is Watchmen.

Despite the fact he spun a good chunk of his Green Lantern run off a six page Alan Moore story, he clearly dislikes the overall effect Watchmen has had on the comic industry, and opines for a more innocent time when comics were fun and optimistic. In his mind, I think, Watchmen ruined everything.

So if you look at his career, at least from Infinite Crisis (the prelude to which was a fairly naked riff on Watchmen starring Blue Beetle), he keeps doing the same thing: putting characters in grim and gritty situations where he can push them to their limit and ultimately show that they’re better than that. The biggest part of his career has basically been a non stop rebuttal to Watchmen.

And this is the logical conclusion. He’s actually written in Doctor Manhattan as the specific individual who is ruining the DC universe. And... That’s not inherently a dreadful idea. If Grant Morrison was writing it (although when he used a Doctor Manhattan analogue in Final Crisis and Multiversity he handled it very differently) I might even be impressed at the sheer audaciousness of it. It’s... Kinda fucking meta, when you get down to it.

But here’s the big problems. Firstly, it’s been done. It’s been done SO hard. Alan Moore himself rebutted the influence of Watchmen, beginning with Supreme and continuing through his other reconstructionist superhero stuff like Tom Strong. Grant Morrison has done it in virtually everything he’s written at DC since his JLA run. Endless callbacks to the sunny, imaginative days when Jack Kirby was the King. Including Final Crisis, which is more or less ultimately about Superman facing down the living personification of grim dark dark grimness. Of course, that being a Grant Morrison comic, it was studiously ignored because Geoff Johns wanted to reboot the universe himself. And because apparently that’s just the fate of everything Grant Morrison writes these days.

Which leads us to our second major problem. Watchmen... Doesn’t really have that much direct influence on comic book storytelling anymore, outside the fact that Johns wants to rebut it constantly. Now... I can kinda get that Johns probably doesn’t see this the same way as we do. He’s high up at DC, and he’s probably had to spend years listening to accountants going “why does this 30 year old book outsell everything else we release? We need more Watchmen”. I can see how that would piss a guy off. But he’s the last major person in comics that will just not move on! This is a comic that exists purely because Geoff Johns hates how much he’s incapable of getting his own work out from under the shadow of Watchmen. And he’s had so many opportunities to actually close the deal and give us these more hopeful, optimistic comics that he keeps leading up to... Only for him to fall back on more misery and violence just so he can show us again how good and pure these characters are to overcome it all.

It’s... Kinda fucking sad, really. And he’s leaving comics now, to work on the movies, where someone is actually desperately needed to rebut Zack “if I’d made Batman Begins I’d have had him raped in prison” Snyder, who clearly is doing everything to the movies that Johns believes Watchmen is doing to comics. Except it actually is doing it to the movies because Snyder thinks Watchmen is about as good as comics get for ALL the wrong reasons. What Johns is leaving DC comics to... Jesus, I can at least hope a writer who can think in different directions to him takes on the actual event, whenever it arrives. I can cross my fingers and pray Morrison gets it but I’m not holding my breath.

This is... It’s not good. Someone might be capable of doing something good with it, but it just feels so completely wrong.