Time to reboot: DC comics experiences rebirthBy Serena Bailey | 06/22/2016 10:29am
Three weeks ago, DC Comics launched a bold initiative.
They called it “Rebirth,” a total continuity shift to bring back elements of their storytelling that had been lost back in 2011 with their company-wide reboot initiative, "The New 52." Back then, the idea was to completely reset the canon of the universe to draw in new readers and give storytellers more creative freedom. They wanted to create a more streamlined universe that was more youthful, modern and not weighted down by over 60 years of storytelling.
For a time, it worked. It gave writers the freedom to try new things like making Dick Grayson, the first Robin, into a globetrotting super spy, or making Wally West, the Flash’s first sidekick who later wore the mantle himself, biracial.
But for many fans, their favorite parts of the DC universe were gone. The Justice Society got a complete makeover and moved to an alternate universe, meaning their status as the world’s first super team was gone.
Characters like Cassandra Cain and Donna Troy vanished. Like Wally West, they would be reintroduced, but with different origin stories they had previously held. It seemed the idea of a legacy, a concept that DC was so well known for, was gone.
“I love this world, but there’s something missing,” the narrator of “DC Universe Rebirth #1” says. That narrator is Wally West, but not the new, teenage African-American Wally West. It’s the older, white redheaded version, coming back to the world after being trapped outside of time.
His return to the timeline exemplifies exactly what this new initiative is all about. "Rebirth," DC co-publisher Dan DiDio said in various interviews, is about bringing back what had been lost, not just within the books, but outside of them too.
I’ve been reading DC Comics since 2014. I started with "The New 52" line of books, and I was hesitant when I first heard about "Rebirth." Would everything from the last five years disappear? Was everything l loved going to change? Now, three weeks into the Rebirth initiative, those worries seem silly.
The 80-page one shot that kicked off the initiative, “DC Universe Rebirth #1” written by Geoff Johns, brings back some greatly missed aspects of the DC universe, like a Justice Society that existed before the Justice League, and challenges for our heroes. Apparently 10 years have been stolen from the timeline and nobody knows why or how. It’s a story DiDio has promised will play out over the next couple years.
The new and returning books are also bringing in the new yet keeping what worked from before. “The Flash Rebirth #1” keeps the best parts of Barry Allen’s modern mythology, like the death of his mother, and introduces new challenges for the speedster. The issue is a great jumping on point for fans of the CW show as the two share similar tones and storytelling styles.
The initiative has also drawn me to pick up books I wouldn’t have before. Last year, DC led up to Rebirth with “Titans Hunt,” a series centered on reuniting the original "Titans" characters like Nightwing, Red Arrow, Donna Troy and Aqualad.
The slow pacing and the book's lack of explanation of the background of its characters left me confused and I stopped reading after three issues. However, its "Rebirth" follow up, “Titans Rebirth #1,” had me gripped from the very first page. Similarly, I had never read a Wonder Woman comic before last week, but “Wonder Woman Rebirth” makes me want to pick up every issue of her new series.