Hey all! Long time no see. I’m sorry I’ve been absent for a while but I’ve been busy writing for another site called Retcon Punch! If you haven’t already, you should check it out. We write reviews for all sorts of comics and our favorite part is when we get to talk to all of you in the comments section! As for A Wild Crisis Appears, I’m going to be trying a lot harder to get back into my groove here. I really appreciate all of you who follow me and leave comments. I want to let you know that I’m not going anywhere!
In response to this, one of my Facebook followers, Joe Kontor commented “…more like 25. People seem to forget that Crisis was a reboot too…and that was after DC rebooted with Barry Allen and swept the JSA to Earth 2.” I then proceeded to leave the LONGEST FACEBOOK COMMENT OF ALL TIME. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but my point is, I felt the need to expand upon my thoughts here. With that, faithful reader, I will now subject you to those thoughts. So… apologies in advance!
First off, Joe is absolutely right. The New 52 most certainly isn’t the first time DC’s pulled a reboot on us, but it is a bit different. Before I get into that, I’d like to talk about the history of DC’s reboots for a second. I’ve discussed some of this before in this article but I want to sum it up again here. I promise there will be a point. The first major reboot in DC’s history takes us all the way back to 1956 when DC reintroduced and reinvented many of its heroes in a new, Sci-fi colored light. This was known as “The Silver Age.” Heroes like The Flash and Green Lantern became sleeker and their more “old fashioned” counterparts were swept under the rug.
Fans of the original “Golden Age” versions of DC’s characters eventually demanded that they return which then lead to another reboot of sorts. DC announced the existence of Earth 2 and said that all of the original heroes of the DCU existed there. The multiverse was born and decades of fun was to be had. Eventually, DC decided that the multiverse was simply too big of a sandbox for our heroes to be playing in and felt it would be too confusing for new readers to jump on the DC bandwagon.
The picture above is from Crisis on Infinite Earths, the 1985 mini-series that DC used to streamline their continuity and eradicate the multiverse. With this reboot, DC merged the histories of their Golden and Silver Age characters into a cohesive whole. The time between the original “Crisis” and the age of “The New 52” saw a few more revisions and reboots with the biggest one being Infinite Crisis in 2006. Here, the multiverse (or at least a version of it) was restored and our heroes became aware of their own history of reboots.
As I said, there was a point I wanted to make by summing up the history of DC’s reboots. If you’ll notice, all of the reboots I listed have one thing in common. They actually maintained the histories of the majority of DC’s characters and simply reincorporated them into a new overarching history. Now, this isn’t the case for everyone unfortunately. In order to make the new streamlined continuity work, DC had to get rid of some things entirely. For example, the Golden Age versions of Batman and Superman were completely erased during the original “Crisis” which had consequences for characters like Power Girl down the line. Characters like Hawkman and those of the Legion of Superheroes also suffered greatly because of other changes made during the “Crisis.” Years of retcons and other tweaks were used in an attempt to fix certain continuity issues but it wasn’t until Infinite Crisis came along that those problems were mostly fixed.
When Infinite Crisis reestablished our heroes knowledge of the various reboots it made the defunct histories something that could be catalogued within the framework of the world that these characters lived in. It made all of those rebooted stories count not just in the hearts and minds of its fans, but of the characters who once “lived” them. “The New 52” reboot completely erased all of that in its entirety. Sure, some things like Blackest Night or Killing Joke are still around, but even those stories have been tweaked substantially in order for it to fit within the new continuity. However, when you consider other characters, like the Golden Age characters of the Justice Society of America, they aren’t even recognizable anymore. They are no longer the original heroes of the DCU let alone the heroes of WWII, something I find that is so essential to the mystique of those characters. That’s not to say I’m not enjoying Earth 2 (though it could certainly be better).
My point is that for the first time in DC’s history, the characters that we are reading are starting over from scratch more so than they ever have. Before “The New 52” reboot, the heroes of the DCU were a part of a much deeper and more complex history that had been built up over decades. Even if that history was retconned and rebooted countless times, it was sill maintained in some way. Now, with the events of Flashpoint, the characters of the DCU have entered a completely new era of “The New 52,” a reboot that is different than any other as it’s the biggest “tabula rasa” the DCU has ever been subjected to.