DC comcis “Rebirth” universe with controversial new reboot (again)
Five years after last pressing the reset button on their comic book universes, DC are rebooting their franchises once more with today’s release of the 80-page comic special “DC: Rebirth.”
Aimed at streamlining their output and eliminating as much confusing, decades long continuity as possible the rebirth special is not without its controversial elements. But more on those later.
The reboot restores the DC universe to something very similar to how it was before the previous reboot, All New 52 which came in 2011 although large elements of this newer continuity will also remain. It will also eliminate the plethora of parallel universes and alternate realities that have become norm with DC; ironically a problem created with the company’s first reset in 1985’s story Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Rebirth also resets issue numbers back to #1 – again just like five years ago when the All New 52 era DC began and streamline the individual titles DC publish to focus on core characters, although these comics will mostly publish twice a month (against the industry standard once a month). They will also incorporate lesser characters and other ideas that might previously have been granted individual titles in the hope that they will find a wider audience alongside the established characters – not to mention provide extra padding to fill the twice-monthly publishing schedule.
The New 52 relaunch itself followed on from 2006’s reboot/epic crossover event, Infinite Crisis, which came after 1994’s Zero Hour reboot/crossover which was a direct result of bumps in the road leading on from DC’s original reboot/crossover epic Crisis on Infinite Earths which kickstarted this whole rebooting business that it seems DC are still dealing with the ramifications of.
Back to the controversial and mostly newsworthy aspects of the newest DC reboot. We’ve avoided covering these until now as they seem designed to intrigue, astonish and annoy fans everywhere in equal measure, and because SPOILERS.
Seriously, if you don’t want Rebirth ruined, click away now or stop scrolling down!
Watchmen becomes part of the DC Universe.
The 80-page Rebirth special combines the universe of Alan Moore’s much admired (and very independent, stand alone) title Watchmen into the standard DC Universe; as Batman encounters the badge of the Comedian, the iconic symbol of the Watchmen and Rebirth ends with a shot of Watchmen’s Dr. Jonathan Osterman (before he becomes Doctor Manhattan) with a caption of dialogue from the original Watchmen comic.
With Alan Moore’s relationship with DC already in tatters we can only imagine how he feels about his deconstruction of the comic book genre becoming a part of a standard superhero universe that has run since 1934; but here is a quote from Watchmen’s artist, Dave Gibbons, from around the time of the release of the Watchmen movie: “What would be horrendous, and DC could legally do it, would be to have Rorschach crossing over with Batman or something like that, but I’ve got enough faith in them that I don’t think that they’d do that.”
There are, or have been, three different Jokers.
Rebirth includes Alfred reporting that Joker is on the loose in Civic City, but Batman concedes that there are (or at least have been) three Jokers. Rebirth includes images of the original Joker, The Joker featured in another seminal Alan Moore classic The Killing Joke, and the Joker from the New 52 era. The “first” issue of Justice League promises more info on the true nature of Batman’s biggest foe.
The special also throws a lot of other bombs: Superman is missing, Wonder Woman has a twin brother, The Wally West Flash is back, several other characters return after being absent from the New 52 and more; but some of these are just for storyline or plot points and it’s the Watchmen and Joker changes that we feel are the real seismic shifts in DC lore.