DC Rebirth! It’s finally here, heralding a new dawn for DC’s mightiest heroes as they look to the future with hope and optimism for a brighter tomorrow. In an 80-page special released this week, DC Rebirth #1 laid the groundwork for big changes and even bigger revelations. So let’s get down to it and take a look at what’s changing.
Needless to say, plenty of spoilers ahead from not only DC Rebirth, but Justice League and Superman comics as well. LET’S DO THIS!
Wally West returns
Barry Allen may be the Flash that everybody is most familiar with these days, but he’s not the only speedster to operate under that name. For many years after Allen’s death in the Crisis On Infinite Earths event, his protege Wally West was there to fill in his yellow boots. And West is easily one of the greatest Flashes to ever exist. Allen eventually returned to continuity in The Flash: Rebirth, but fortunately there was enough space for both him and Wally to run around.
And then the New 52 came around, and West was apparently gone. He’d also return eventually, this time as a young American black man, but the red-headed version who had spent his youth as Kid Flash in the Teen Titans was gone for good. Or so it seemed. DC Rebirth was anchored around West, as the young speedster spent the issue trying to avoid becoming one with the Speed Force in a desperate attempt to warn his friends and allies of an incoming danger.
Batman, JSA member Johnny Thunder and Linda Park are all visited by West, but no one remembers him. Except for Barry Allen, who pulls West out of the Speed Force and back into our reality for good. Which now means that there’ll be two Wally Wests running around Keystone and Central City. The New 52 Wally West will be joining up with Robin in the new Teen Titans, while the older Wally will join the older team of just regular Titans.
The biggest event to hit the Justice League over the last couple of issues has been the Darkseid War. It was an event that saw the Anti-Monitor return, Darkseid slain and the Justice League become new gods. Batman became the god of knowledge, a couch potato deity who sat on the space-chair of Mobius and fought crime without ever needing to take a toilet break between commercials.
The Mobius chair gave Batman access to all the information he could ever want. Information such as the true identity of the Joker. Sort of. While the Joker’s true true origin remains a mystery (It’s like the Half-Life 3 of comics: You want it so bad despite knowing that you’ll be disappointed by it), a massive secret was revealed: There are three Jokers. Or at least three people who have assumed the identity of the ace of knaves.
While Batman is processing this information and discussing it with Green Lantern, he looks at three distinct versions of the Joker that popped up in comics over the last several decades: The original Joker as drawn by Jerry Robinson, the Batgirl-crippling version from The Killing Joke and the more recent incarnation that popped up in Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder’s New 52 Batman comics.
Every pack of cards has two Jokers in the deck. But this time, Batman has three of them to deal with.
Superman is Dead
Yup! The final days of Superman have concluded, as the Man of Steel battled Kryptonite poisoning and one final world-ending threat. It’s a fight that finally hammers in the final nail in Superman’s coffin, but it also heralds the return of the original pre-New 52 Superman. After all, the world will always need a Superman to fight the never-ending battle to keep humanity safe.
Extra plot twist! A new character appears, by the name of Mister Oz, who delivers a cryptic message to the original flavour Superman:
Superman, agent of HYDRA
HAIL HYDRA! LOLJOKEZ. Oh Marvel, don’t you ever change.
The Blue Beetle is back
The second Blue Beetle that is, Ted Kord. Except that he isn’t suiting up, instead providing tech support for current Blue Beetle Jamie Reyes. But the foreshadowing for Kord to don his familiar Beetle goggles and fight crime, is thick and heavy here as he begins a team-up with Reyes to discover the secrets behind the Blue Beetle scarab that has attached itself to Reyes.
Aqualad has returned
Specifically, the Jackson Hyde/Kaldur’ahm sidekick who kicked ass as team leader in the gone-too-soon Young Justice cartoon series. And he’s apparently struggling with his sexuality right now.
Years back, Ray Palmer made way for a new Atom who went by the name of Ryan Choi. Choi was a popular character, whose series got a lot of love for featuring an Asian character in a prominent role. And then he got snuffed out horribly in Brightest Day by Deathstroke, a death that fans were livid over. Choi is back now, as his mentor Ray Palmer has managed to get himself stuck in the Microverse. It’s time for a new Atom to pick up the slack. And it’s about damn time that Choi returned.
Long live the Legion of Superheroes!
Think Superman was an alienated (heh) farm boy who couldn’t afford to have any friends thanks to his superpowers kicking in as he matured? Not quite! Before the New 52, Superman spent many an issue protecting the planet… in the 31st century. As a member of the Legion of Superheroes, Superboy found friends, camaraderie and a place where he could be himself. The Legion hasn’t exactly been active in the New 52 timeline, but I’d bet my Legion flight ring that DC Rebirth has brought in Saturn Girl to help recruit the Man of Steel for a new mission.
It’s not just old faces returning. It’s about rekindling some magic and love in the DCU. And as DC Rebirth revealed, Aquaman is getting back together with the love of his life, Mera. You think Superman and Lois Lane, Hawkman and Hawkgirl or Krypto and the shattered remains of your couch have a strong bond? It’s nothing compared to these two, as their relationship has always managed to bridge the divide between the surface world and Atlantis.
It’s kind of complex, but the gist of it is that Darkseid was dead. And then he was brought back to life by his daughter who used the newborn child of Earth-0’s Superwoman and Mazahs (Eviler version of Lex Luthor and the opposite of Shazam) as a vessel for Darkseid and the Anti-Lif equation to merge into one super-being who reclaimed the god powers from the Justice League.
PHEW! Anyway, Darkseid was again reverted back into an infant form, and is now currently being raised by his half-amazon daughter Grail. Because this isn’t completely uncomfortable at all.
Wonder Woman has a brother
Oh right, that as well. Turns out that Hippolyta gave birth to not just Diana, but her twin brother Jason as well on the ladies-only island of Themyscira. AWKWARD!
Pandora is dead
Whoever f***ed up the New 52 timeline has been busy. Busy cleaning up house, as Pandora is no more. Pandora was briefly seen at the end of Flashpoint, as she helped Barry Allen fix the mess he’d made and merged the DC timelines into the New 52. An ageless being who played a big part in Forever Evil, Pandora was thought to be an immortal who would spend eternity paying for her sins, much like the Phantom Stranger.
But she’s now dead, reduced to atoms after declaring that the heroes of our world will band together to stop this new threat. And if you look closely, the manner in which Pandora is scrubbed from reality looks mighty familiar…
Dr Manhattan is pulling the strings
Because Watchmen’s Dr Manhattan is behind it all. Revealed earlier this week, the atomic-powered supergod has been tinkering with time. Rebirth ended with the story shifting to Mars, echoing lines from the original Watchmen comic that detailed a conversation between Dr Manhattan and Adrian “Ozymandias” Veidt (Thanks to io9 for picking this up):
Veidt: I did the right thing, didn’t I? It all worked out in the end.
Dr. Manhattan: ‘In the end’? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.
What is Dr Manhattan up to exactly? Whatever it is, it’ll be a two year storyline as the newfound optimism of the DCU faces Dr Manhattan and his lost humanity.
Last Updated: May 26, 2016