DC Insists Reboot Isn’t a Reboot

Geoff Johns and Jim Lee say that their modern superhero universe will be only five years old, and many classic stories remain intact... but four Robins in five years?

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Action Comics #1

Some of the masterminds behind the DC Reboot are speaking out, and they're insisting this event that's currently shaking the comics world up is not a hard reboot, nor is it an Ultimate-style alternate universe they're trying out.  Their answers tend to lead to more and more questions, though… and likely a few headaches, as it's not going to be as clean a restart as they'd initially suggested.  Apparently, many of the stories everyone's afraid of losing (i.e. The Killing Joke) will be kept after all, and while nobody was really worried about losing Identity Crisis, that's being kept, too – as are all the recent things from Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison, of course, because heaven forbid they sacrifice their own work like they are many others…

Wait, that was catty.  Ahem. 

Let's get back to brass tacks.  Johns and Jim Lee have said that both Action Comics #1 and Justice League #1 will be set five years in the past.  Since they've also stated that Superman is the first superhero in this brave new DCU (or DCnU, as the internet has dubbed it), that means everybody else will either have to have been in the cape business for less than five years, or they had to have been operating in secret before that.  The latter would have to explain Batman, since at least four of his Robins are still going to be around.  Sure, it's possible that Dick Grayson was never Robin and was always Nightwing… and if Damian is going to be his son, just how long has been doing his thing?  When would Talia have schtupped Bruce Wayne?  Where's Stephanie Brown?  Also, somehow, Batman Incorporated is still going to have happened and will be continuing sometime in 2012, but it's best not to think about that.

It's could turn out that Batman keeps trying to saddle kids with the Robin mantle, but they only stick around long enough to realize Robin is a super-lame superhero identity, so maybe their stints in the Batcave were short and sweet.  Nightwing's on his own, Tim Drake is with the Titans and Jason Todd is murdering people as the Red Hood.  Would you wear those elf booties for more than a month or two, even if it was Batman telling you to?

We'd guess it's possible that half of these new books are going to be taking place at staggered points in that five year time span, which could help explain things with Barbara Gordon, if The Killing Joke is still going to be canon.  Perhaps Gail Simone's Batgirl will be told in flashbacks from her memories while she's bedridden and recuperating from the shot.  That might work.  However, they've insisted that all other books aside from period pieces are in the contemporary DCU.  So, stop making sense.

Anyway, DC's Editor-In-Chief Bob Harras and Executive Editor Eddie Berganza have also given some details on what they're keeping – namely the aforementioned Killing Joke and Identity Crisis, as well as Death in the Family, Blackest Night and Brighest Day.  Pretty sure nobody was clinging to the hope that Sue Dibny would stay raped and murdered, but I guess DC likes that kind of thing. 

However, despite what they're keeping, Berganza insists "what we're doing here is saying, right here, this is it. You seriously don't have to read anything before this."  So… why bother keeping it, then? 

Also, despite DiDio recently saying they're giving the concept of the Justice Society of America a rest, Harras countered, saying that "nothing is cut and dry. That is something that you have to keep reading to see what happens."  Will they have been operating in secret during World War II, then?  Or will they get their own Elseworlds saga?  Fingers crossed.

Harras confirmed that this is taking place on New Earth, and Berganza insisted that "it's not Earth Prime or any other earth. It's not Earth-One or anything."  Guess what, "New Earth" is still confusing.  What's Old Earth?  Is there a Middle Earth?  Wait, what?!  Are you doing Lord of the Rings comics?!  Oh… no, wait, I'm confusing myself.

Five years of active superheroes, in a comic world that once prided itself on its rich traditions.  That just feels strange, but truth be told, while legacy might have been a point of pride, it likely wasn't enough of a selling point.

It's probably best not to even try to think about any of this stuff until the books are here and they can explain what the DC honchos have to be cagey about.  Getting information piecemeal like this always paints a skewed picture, and harping on specific precious continuity points until September probably won't help us feel any better or any less trepidation.  We all just want some good comics, and we know they just want to make good comics. 

No one's trying to crap on anybody's parade, at least not intentionally.  It's important to keep that in mind as we clench up and try to process why they're choosing to rip apart some character histories while leaving others intact.  Perhaps we should try to rest easy and reserve judgment until we see the finished product.

Wait, what am I saying?  We're the internet here!  HEADS ON PIKES AT ONCE!