Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Rebirth: Legacy and Who's to Blame for the New 52

Today was it, Rebirth happened, and boy did it happen. I managed to stay away from most of the spoilers. Found out due to no one having chill who the POV character was, but considering I just randomly tweeted that guess out days prior, I'm not that mad... so you know #FHIZWASRIGHT! But I had scanned across some of the... late game stuff I guess, and wish I didn't, but what are you going to do?

So, I'm gonna talk about all the books right here and now. I'll get to my Batgirl write up tomorrow. Justice League, Superman and Rebirth, some summary of what went down and my thoughts... But first, let's get to the real revelation of today: Who is to blame for all the miserable bleak New 52 nonsense that DC is desperately trying to fix



And he almost got away with it too, if it wasn't for Cyborg Scooby Doo and his hipster friends. More on this shocking revelation later.

First, let's talk about Justice League #50, which canonically comes first in the three Rebirth related issues out today. It wrapped up the Darkseid War storyline, as well as set up a whole bunch of shit for Rebirth and the books that will come from it. Superwoman's baby daddy is Earth-3 Alex Luthor, so he has the reverse Shazam powers his father did, which she uses to steal the god powers of the League. Grail kills Superwoman and uses the baby to steal the Anti-Life Equation, making the baby a Darkseid she can control, I don't know. Jessica gets hit by the Black Racer, but Volthoom is who is killed inside of her. Owlman and Grid (who leaves Cyborg) steal Metron's chair, so they bail. Wonder Woman and Grail's mother use the lasso of truth to convince Grail she can be something better than evil, ends up killing her mother and full grown Darkseid. Before Grail's mother dies, she tells Diana that she saw her birth, and that there was a second child born that night, Wonder Woman's twin brother Jason (and the Argonauts?) Jessica gets a legit Green Lantern ring. Wrapping other (not as huge) developments we didn't know about yet, Lex seems to be worshiped on Apokolips now.

Then there's the ramifications of Darkseid's death. Darkseid is connected to the fabric of the multiverse, something like that. His death created a fissure in reality that allows the POV character of Rebirth to come back into the picture. More on that later. But speaking of Rebirth, with both the Anti-Monitor and Darkseid out of the picture (although, Grail still has the baby), there's apparently a big bad who threatens the universe more so then either of those two, one Owlman, Grid and Metron (who is helping after being freed) meet in the final pages and are soon there obliterated into nothingness after the fact.

Then there's the Joker. A handful of issues ago, Geoff Johns had Bruce ask the Mobius Chair what the Joker's true identity was. We never found out, and hell, a lot of use figured it'd be a thing that wasn't addressed, as Joker was firmly Scott Snyder territory. WELL SCOTT SNYDER IS GONE! And Johns said he's really giving us the identity of the Joker... Well, that's not entirely true. There's three. Yep. The Mobius Chair said there are three Jokers. There's already some theories, most of which I don't agree with, but more on that later. In Rebirth, we see Bruce looking at a screen with three pictures of the Joker on it, one with an original look, a post-Killing Joke look, and Greg Capullo's most recent design. I don't know how I feel about this. I'm sure it'll be revisited at some point, but with Johns stepping away from comics for the foreseeable future, it strikes me as one of those "just do some ridiculous thing and never speak of it again" plots at the moment. It also comes on the heels of us last seeing Joker in the final pages of Batman #50 still "normal." There's also just no sign of this being teased at all... While you can see the Wonder Woman stuff playing a part in what's been said about Greg Rucka's book, the Joker hasn't even been mentioned by Tom King at all. So we'll see where that goes. To say the least, I'm not impressed. Joker is a character that every now and then someone wants to really seems to want to do too much with him, and it's really unnecessary for the most part, but clearly DC has other plans.

So let's move on to Superman #52... I don't know, he flies that dude up to the air where he explodes, then Superman comes back down and just sort of dies... Turns to stone, something like that. I was expecting a swerve where he just lost his powers for good, or something, thus explaining there being a Superman and Clark Kent in Action Comics, but we'll see. This was pretty much just a set up for pre-New 52 Superman coming back... but the question remains, is pre-New 52 really a different Superman, or was he Superman this entire time? Are the answers hidden in Convergence? Fuck no! Who cares about Convergence?!

So then there's Rebirth.

Yep. Wally West is the POV character, as predicted. Darkseid's death allowed him to slip out of the speedforce, in an attempt to regain the life that had been stolen from him. Right off the bat, let's get the confusion out of the way. There's this Wally, the one who is well loved throughout the decades, then there's the New 52 Wally West who is firmly established as a different character from the West lineage, both named after their same great-grandfather or something. So two separate characters, same name.

Flashpoint done fucked some shit up, as we all know... but even more than had been revealed. According to Wally, someone took advantage of this, and used the Flashpoint event to change things and steal time from the heroes in order to weaken them. He spends the rest of the issue trying to connect with anyone who may remember him, so he can warn them of what's coming, but as he travels across the universe, people like Batman, Johnny Thunder and even his (now former) wife Linda don't recognize him. Each time his memory is rejected, he loses strength, getting pulled deeper into the speedforce. As he travels across the world he once knew, we see a whole bunch of set up for what's to come, and let's just get a bulleted list.
  • Johnny Thunder is locked up in an old folks home, seen as extremely senile, raving about his past that he no longer remembers. Wally appears then leaves him telling him to find the Justice Society. 
  • Saturn Girl appears in Metropolis, seeking out Superman, despite being told the news of what had recently happened. She's seen the future, she'll wait.
  • Ray Palmer got stuck in the Microverse, and it's up to Ryan Choi, his assistant, to find him... and not trust whoever he first comes across in the Microverse.
  • Ted Kord has taken it upon himself to mentor Jaime Reyes... Doctor Fate (Kent?) appears to tell him the scarab is actually magic.
  • Damian Wayne has turned 13.
  • Jessica Cruz is set up with Simon Baz to go after Sinestro
  • The Brightest Day Aqualad is back in the picture, he's also gay.
  • Grail also wants to seek out Wonder Woman's new brother.
  • Mr. Oz from Johns' Superman run finds pre-New 52 Superman, telling him that he and his family is not what he thinks it is, neither was the fallen Superman.
  • Aquaman proposes to Mera.
  • Two characters from Tom King's Batman show up in Gotham.
  • Constantine is going to help Swamp Thing find Abigail.
  • And the New 52 is straight up killed.
No, I'm serious. I had joked "what if it's just Pandora again?" firmly believing her... let's just be polite and say "underdeveloped" story would just be dropped and swept under the rug. Oh no. Pandora, the representation of the New 52 in character form is very much here... and is very much killed.

That last panel should look very familiar. It was at this point where I started to go "these crazy sonsabitches."

Anyways. Wally is having a rough go of it, so in a last ditch effort, he goes to find Barry, who doesn't recognize him either. Knowing that it was his last chance, Wally just goes out of his way to thank Barry for the wonderful life he gave him. Wally gives his warning, telling Barry to find Batman and ask him about the letter form his father, saying someone has infected time, and Flashpoint was the key, everyone just has to remember. As Wally says his final goodbyes, something clicks right before he's lost forever and...

There you have it. Wally West is back.

Now let's pause right here. The New 52 was full of a lot of bullshit, everything was serious, dark, everyone lost a limb or some shit, I think that was one of those September events right? Regardless, it wasn't a very cheerful place, and readers became more and more cynical and jaded as time went on, myself included. Keep that in mind while I tell you that I don't really give a shit about Wally West. I'm not trying to be mean, just brutally honest. I got into comics because Batman, and I've gone in and out of interest with other DC characters over the years, Flash being one of them, but that was Barry. Wally's heyday was WAY before I was reading monthly titles.

This scene still made me choke up.

I've choked up a little bit every time I've gone back to look at this scene again. Outside of maybe that Batman and Robin issue that was completely silent, I do not think a single issue of the New 52 created a single genuine reaction from me. Why would it? There was so much dumb bullshit either trying to be edgy or new for the sake of being new, outside of Batman and some key titles, it was incredibly hard to become invested in any of it. The legacy, the hope, the love, all subjects Wally addressed as missing in the universe, went completely missing from the creation of the books themselves... and it all returned in once scene.

DC has a long ways to go, and I'm still skeptical of some of the shit I hear, but content wise, if this is where we're headed, they're off to a great start restoring what was once lost. 

Getting back to the conclusion... After that moment, it's straight back to business. Wally informs Barry of everything the universe has lost and how whoever did it specifically targeted everything in an attempt to weaken the heroes. Now... Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor are out of the picture, so the question remains, who could be a bigger threat to the DC Universe than the two mega-threats of the DCU. Who is watching the heroes, waiting to attack them again?

Fitting there's so many questions.

Fucking, yep. They're doing it.

In an epilogue, we hear Ozymandias speaking to Dr. Manhattan on mars, asking if he did the right thing, if it all worked out in the end, to which Dr. Manhattan replies: Nothing ever ends. Realized that's a quote from the book and an interview with Johns just makes it seem it's Dr. Manhattan solo.

And there you have it. ALAN MOORE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WHY THE NEW 52 WAS MISERABLE! Random bullshit happening just for the sake of happening? Alan Moore! A whole bunch of new characters that aren't worth a damn! Alan Moore! That character you really liked missing for five years? Alan Moore! Gail Simone getting fired via an email? Alan Moore! 

Follow the fucking money! It's all Alan Moore's fault.

Okay. I'm clearly joking... But also, I'm kind of not. If you want to get all scholarly about this, you can clearly point to books like The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen as turning points from DC Comics, points they barely ever came back from. Both those stories are great, but their also devoid of joy, and that's what the New 52 was for the most part, devoid of things like joy, love, hope and legacy. So here we have DC saying that two characters, Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias from Watchmen are to blame for that. There is layers upon layers of how you could interpret this past it just being batshit crazy from a comic book standpoint. 

I don't really know how to react to this stuff properly. I've never been a follower of the Bible of Watchmen. I know exactly what that book means to the industry as a whole, and how good it is... But it was one of those things that I was constantly told how great and essential it was, to the point that when I finally read it, it didn't live up to the hype. It's like your parents telling you how good the music they listened to was, and you just sort of sitting there listening thinking "is this it?" So I'm not going to sit here and pretend I'm offended by DC using the characters in this capacity, but it's still fucking crazy.

Let's also get this out of the way: I don't subscribe to the theories that Bleeding Cool have been going on about all today, that the rest of the Watchmen are hiding within the DCU, as in The Comedian is one of the Jokers, Rorschach is the Question, Gotham and his partner are Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, nope. I believe this is just Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias. It's the only two who would make sense in this role. If we're to believe these are the same characters, then that means the story of Watchmen happened, Comedian and Rorschach are fucking dead, and like hell Nite Owl and Silk Spectre would take part in this sort of thing. "But what about the pin." Yeah, whatever, symbolism.

Still have a lot to think about. Probably forgot to mention a few things here and there, but regardless... Rebirth lived up to the hype. I'm excited for where things are going. I'm excited to see joy potentially brought back to the universe. I'm intrigued above all else. Rebirth was certifiably insane in some ways, but it was just as amazing. 

In closing... I'll leave you with my latest masterpiece.


  1. The last lines of Rebirth are just some of the final lines from the original Watchmen OG. Don't think Ozymandias is involved just yet (though the theory is he's Mr. Oz).

    1. "Nothing Ends, Adrian"

      Adrian is Ozymandias.

    2. Just realized it's a direct quote from Watchmen. With them not being on "screen," the captioning is pretty misleading in that epilogue.

  2. I have really mixed feelings. I'm all about Johns "fixing" what he wants to fix. The 3 joker thing REEKS of a plot line that will never be resolved. dr Manhattan stole time and weakened the DC universe??? Why??? Also not sure how a few people remembering things "kills" the Nu52. They are all still deaged. All the Nu52 stories still happened. Last thing..... I know I'm in the minority but I feel the wildstorm characters are long gone..... And I think that sucks

  3. Yeah, I have mixed feelings, like most people do.

    On the subject of Superman's death... that kind of just... happened. Reeeeallly nothing that great. I mean, at least with Doomsday he went out swinging in this big battle to save Metropolis. I mean, I like him teaming up with Pre-Flashpoint Supes and punching him away so he can carry on his work, but... just kind of underwhelming.

    Speaking of underwhelming, Darkseid War's conclusion felt a lot like Morrison's Final Crisis in that he's just kind of throwing out all these twists and revelations and "big moment" fodder that feel kind of overdone, like he's trying to make every page and every panel this BIG SHOCK, and it's not working. I liked Forever Evil (despite it taking forever), Lex in the League, the Amazo Virus storyline, etc, but Darkseid War felt a little less, especially at the end.

    Now Rebirth, that was more my thing, but I don't particularly care about or want more Watchmen wank. They should be cordoned off in their own universe. But DC can never leave well enough alone, can they? At least Pre-Flashpoint Wally is back (kind of... not really, but sort of) and the legacies might be somewhat restored with this and that Titans Hunt series that concluded.

    And the three Jokers? Obviously there's way more to this than meets the eye, and I'm not judging it before more unfolds. This is like the Captain America Hydra thing. I want to see it pan out, even if the idea does seem a little out there to begin with. There's no reason to rush to judgement if Tom King is going to handle it in the pages of Batman. King knows what he's doing.

  4. It's comics. Superman will come back one day. But for now, i'm excited for Superwoman.
    I think i'll get Detective Comics, because of the team, art, and writer, but i at least hope that Clayface sticks to being a hero (you never know with a talented actor).
    Finally, i really hope that the atom and legion of superheroes stories get followed up. It wouldn't make sense not to.

  5. Superman's death wasn't as impactful as 'Death Of Superman', it wasn't as hopeful as 'All-Star Superman', it was just 'Ah shit, he's dead. We'll just wait this one out.'

    Geoff Johns needs to pull a Grant Morrison and show up in the comic to fight Alan Moore.