DC’s Rebirth: New Era for Hal Jordan & Corporate Synergy; Return to Old Continuity?!

DC’s Rebirth: New Era for Hal Jordan & Corporate Synergy; Return to Old Continuity?!

On Friday, DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee tweeted out cryptic images, seemingly in response to Bleeding Cool’s report that DC might be hitting the reset button, relaunching their line at issue #1.  While it’s clear that some big changes are coming to the DC Universe, what’s less clear is exactly what those changes are.  What, exactly, is #Rebirth?

We have a lot of puzzle pieces scattered around the board at this point.  Ever since the DC You launches in June proved to be a financial bust, the winds of change have been swirling about the company.  There have been rumors that the cabal in charge has asked creative teams and editors to go back to telling stories that feel familiar and sell consistently, such as Batman, and to stray away from riskier creative endeavors like Batgirl of Burnside.  Scott Snyder, hit writer of the current run on Batman, has taken on a more prominent role at DC, launching a writing class for up-and-coming stars in the hopes of nurturing new talent for the new market.


The story surrounding this DC Rebirth goes as follows: within the next few months, the major titles that launched back at the start of the New 52 initiative will reach issue #52.  These series include Batman, Action Comics, and Wonder Woman.  When they hit issue 52, the relaunch will begin, as they all do, with an event.  That event is the mysterious “Rebirth.”

Going by the calendar, the Rebirth event should begin in June, and may signal the start of a new era of corporate synergy between DC and their parent company, Warner Brothers.  In the past, DC has received a lot of flack for being sluggish with their marketing, assuming marketing ever appeared.  The timing of DC’s new Supergirl digital first comic was demonstrative of DC’s ponderous strategy, as it is designed to tie into the hit CBS TV show, yet did not launch until the show had wrapped half of its first season.  By beginning the Rebirth relaunch in June and running the event and its associated tie-ins throughout the summer, DC and WB could potentially launch their new line at the end of August or beginning of September, tying into the release of August’s Suicide Squad film and the inevitable new seasons of Green LanternArrowSupergirl, and potentially Legends of Tomorrow.

So what might the Rebirth event itself entail?  While it’s difficult to say anything specific given the evidence we have, we can rampantly speculate because we’ve had a Rebirth event once before! Back in 2004, now-Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns penned a major mini-series, Green Lantern: Rebirth.  Designed to redeem Hal Jordan’s character after his decent into evil back in the 90s, Rebirth was notable for reviving a number of old plot elements in the Green Lantern universe and for bringing the first Green Lantern back to the fore of the universe.  The series was a sales success, even by today’s standards, selling over 100,000 copies an issue over the course of its eight chapter run.  The solicit Green Lantern #52 contains the following line: “the first of a two-part story that will usher in a new era for Hal Jordan.”  Sounds a lot like the tagline that gets associated with every DC Crisis, eh?  “Things will never be the same!”


On a larger scale, the likely fallout of Rebirth is that DC will re-establish the pre-New 52 timeline.  We’ve been edging back towards this reality for a while now.  Grant Morrison’s work on Multiversity established a map of worlds filled with all sorts of iterations of familiar characters from throughout DC Universe history.  Convergence actually brought back elements of Crisis on Infinite Earths timeline, and ultimately established all timelines and universes as possible ones.  Indeed, DC might as well just hit the button and launch the final salvo to restore continuity to what it once was, as they’ve been scratching that trigger for a while now.  Hey, at least Batman’s timeline won’t be compressed to a ridiculously compressed five years anymore…

Think we’re right?  Think we’re wrong?  What do you think of this new opportunity for corporate synergy?  Sound off below!



  1. Allan Rosenberg says

    For the first time since the Silver Age (when there were still many other mainstream publishers doing well) DC & Marvel could go bust as comic publishers and the industry would survive just fine.

    With graphic novels, alternative publishers, the Image Comics partnership model and the internet there is no doubt comics would continue as entertainment and as an art form.

  2. Allan Rosenberg says

    Is there an echo in here. If you so choose delete the first comment.

  3. says

    That industry would be hard to recognize. Most comics shops are operating on slim margins, and losing the weekly churn of spandex floppies would be fatal. Big cities and college towns might each have a single bookstore-style shop that could stay afloat, and maybe megacities would have a few, but that’s it. It’s conceivable that Diamond could downsize enough to keep at it, but doubtful, so any survivors would need to use book-trade distributors (whose returnability terms are not small-press-friendly).

    That leaves digital delivery for single issues, and online-ordering for paperbacks. Amazon would control the lion’s share of this business, at both the distributor and retail levels (the same thing, for them). Digital delivery is growing, but it’s still a niche. The disappearance of paper monthlies would push some of that business to digital, but it would push a lot of paper-lovers to trade-waiting. However, Image creators often depend on those monthly sales to pay the rent, because it can take years after starting a project for income from paperback sales to reach them.

    So, yes: there would still be an industry, and certainly an art form. But we’d lose more than just Marvel and DC if they imploded.

  4. jacob goddard says

    I tend to think the artform and industry would be in a much healthier place right now if Marvel and DC shut down in the late 70s.

    Imagine the work the “class of 84” could have done if they weren’t tethered to mainstream superheroes.

  5. Robb McAllister says

    My question:

    A Multiversity Universe


    A Convergence Universe?

  6. Mercy says

    “After the DCYou proved to be a bust…” Yeah because they stuck awful creative teams on all the books, talked down to their viewership, infantilized the female characters, generally had mediocre to awful characterization and writing, and generally ignored what their readers actually wanted DC to do, which was create quality storylines with decent characterization for their established characters.

    As long as DC keeps prioritizing short-term readers over creating long-term readers and keeping their existent fanbase, we’re going to keep seeing these gimmicks of the year and the majority of the reader base unhappy with the way DC is handling their books.

  7. Jamie says

    I wouldn’t mind going back to pre New 52 continuity, especially since they still can’t seem to keep current continuity straight anymore, but it seems like that would be a bad financial decision too, wouldn’t it? Throwing away all the money and energy spent trying to establish this new continuity? We’ll see I guess, but it’s been awhile since Didio and Lee made a decent decision so I’m not expecting much.

  8. Royd_9 says

    As i recall, GL:Rebirth was 6 issues not 8, And that was the first of 2 Rebirths: Flash: Rebirth brought back Barry Allen. Plus we have no clue if Rebirth Will be an event or more of an umbrella for the relaunch, like New 52 or All-new, all-different Marvel.

  9. says

    Whatever DC does send up doing it needs to create consumer confidence as it seems to be at an all-time low at the moment. While rebooting everything back to pre-Flashpoint would gain some readers it would alienate many of the people who invested in the last 4.5 years of DC Comics.

    My guess is that the current continuity is here to stay but they will squeeze in some pre-Flashpoint familiarity in, a smaller roster of titles and a bunch of new #1s. Hopefully there’s a focus on quality and stronger effort to market to readers and potential readers. Say what you want about the New 52, the one thing they did do well was marketing the launch to a wider audience.

    Tittles wouldn’t hint at new eras if continuity was going to be reset

  10. Kentucky Fried Horse says

    I swore off DC after the New 52, because the old continuity was what I loved. The newer, edgier Wonder Woman and Superman just didn’t do it for me.

    I bought a LOT of the Convergence tie-ins last year, but not the main title itself. I loved seeing the old versions of the characters again. I think restoring the old continuity might bring back more readers than people would think.

  11. Cody says

    I feel like this is more bringing back a character or doing something like convergence than doing a whole reboot of the universe. First off, I bet if they did go back to the old universe new readers who are reading the New 52 titles may just drop off getting confused, and the old readers who swore off the New 52 will join back in but only a few of them.

    I would hope that this brings back Booster Gold and through him we can have an even pre-N52 and N52 universe titles going on and trying to make sense of it all. It won’t of course, but a fanboy can dream.

    I know I would be mad if this was another reboot, and not only that but goes closer to the movies? Then I would probably be one of those people who swear off DC. The reason I stopped reading Marvel was because of the constant number 1s and their tone trying to match the movies. Publishers need to understand that the movies take ideas from the comics, not the other way around. I have faith in DC, and will try to keep an open mind one way or another when this “Rebirth” happens.

  12. says

    I am a longtime comic reader and wanted to weigh in on the news that DC Comics is starting their book over again with new number ones. I normally hate this idea, but their titles have really gone off the rails and are selling poorly. Creatively, there are few current books that I enjoy collecting. I only follow 8 of their current books and I used to buy close to 25 of their titles.

    I know the editors at DC already have their books in production, but I wanted to throw out my take on what titles I’d like to see.

    Let’s really see new creative teams. Along with securing the best of the new talent out there get some big names from the past like Michael Golden, Ryan Sook, Jose Garcia Lopez, and Adam Hughes to do interiors. Lock in talented writers like Kurt Busiek, Chris Sprouse, Gene Yang, J. Torres and Mark Waid along with hot talents like Tom King and Charles Soule. Make it clear this is a back-to-basics approach with characters guest-starring regularly in each other’s books, but no wide-line crossover for the first three years. Instead of publishing individual annuals, unleash a 200-page DC annual every summer with stories of characters that don’t have their own title.

    DC has an incredible library or properties. Limit one character to no more than three titles. In addition to these characters, there should be brand new titles. I would love to see a new title for every four existing title so that the rebirth features at least 8-10 wholly new properties.

    Here’s my list along with a quick mission statement for each title:

    1. Young Heroes in Love- make it heartwarming, disturbing, hip, and the prestige title of the line (this is your book to grab new, young readers)

    2. The Creeper – make this the bizarre crime comic with supernatural overtones

    3. Doom Patrol- make this the crazy corner of the DCU

    4. Legion- make it the Legion in the future and play up the Sci-fi

    5. Infinity Inc.- make it about young heroes who inherit their powers

    6. Justice League- make it about the big guns and big threats and little a squabbles between the large cast of at least ten members

    7. Green Lantern- make it about patrolling the cosmos

    8. Green Arrow- make it street-level crime with some international capers

    9. Wonder Woman- make it monumental and touching and how the myths interact with the normal modern world― maybe she’s the one who helps the other mythological beings acclimate to the real world they find themselves in

    10. Flash- make it about the speed force

    11. Batman- make it about the Dark Knight

    12. Superman- make it about Supes being the majestic figurehead―have the world see him as royalty and deal with how he struggles to be an everyman

    13. Teen Titans- make it like Wolfman and Perez’s run

    14. Kamandi- make it the company’s youthful dystopian future, be ambitious with this one

    15. Adam Strange- make it about the Zeta-Beam constantly dropping him into other dimensions and alternate Earths and he rights wrongs while there

    16. Swamp Thing- make it a horror comic again

    17. Arion-make it a horror magical series

    18. Aquaman- make it about a fish guy who is dry more than he is wet

    19. Suicide Squad- make it cutthroat and snarky

    20. All-Star Squadron- make it classic and old school

    21. Blue Beetle- make it about a very young Ted Kord who’s an inventor who had his memory wiped and has to figure out his gadgets

    22. Booster Gold- make it about a future know-it-all who finds out he doesn’t know it all

    23. Blue Devil- make it about an internet daredevil sensation who messes with the wrong occult nasties

    24. Jimmy Olsen- make it a title that is crazy and weird, while down to earth―investigative journalism for a website that focuses on the off-kilter

    25. Martian Manhunter- make it paranoid and about Jonn trying to thwart an elaborate Martian invasion that has been decades in the making

    26. Supergirl- make it breezy and have her take on other visitors to our planet

    27. Harley Quinn- make it cheesy and madcap (Honestly, I don’t get why she’s so popular.)

    28. Brave and the Bold- make it a team-up book that is double-sized with Bats and a guest in the lead story and then two other heroes in a back-up that is a three or four part adventure

    29. Detective Comics- make it about Bats and all his colorful helpers as they solve crimes

    30. Action Comics- make it about Supes cutting loose against super-strong baddies

    31. Ambush Bug- make it absurd

    32. Checkmate- make it about superhuman espionage and have it be globetrotting

    33. The Question- make it conflicted and ambiguous

    34. The Vigilante- make it about a young, hip team of heroes who take on the mantle of the Vigilante

    Add eight new titles and you have a solid launch of 42 core titles.

    The readers need to see the company is committed to this relaunch. I could tell with the New52 that it wasn’t very well-planned and just didn’t radiate that it would stick. Marvel’s recent relaunch has me reading quite a few of their books, but I think they missed a great opportunity to put out some completely new characters and properties. That’s what could make DC’s rebirth different. They could point out how they’re working to broaden their universe with new concepts.

  13. Rich H says

    “the likely fallout of Rebirth is that DC will re-establish the pre-New 52 timeline”

    Why can’t they just make stories the reader can relate to? That’s how manga does it. That’s why the current Batgirl (like Ms Marvel) is a success. If DC can do extensive market research for their DC Superhero Girls action figure line, why can’t they do the same for publishing? They know a new audience is out there, they’ve said as much.

    This Rebirth rubbish flies in the face of all that.

    Dumping 5 years of interesting stories and accessible takes on characters, just to chase the hardcore middle-aged fans, is lazy and sad, especially at a time when their 7 TV shows are attracting new audiences.

    Of course, if they do dump the New 52, pre-New 52 readers should be happy. Who cares about finding new readers of today and your favourite company needing to grow.

  14. says

    As a “hardcore, middle-aged fan,” I couldn’t be happier about returning to pre-Nu52 continuity. The trouble is, DiDio and Lee broke DC heroes in the first place. Why should they be trusted to go back to them? Get some new blood on the traditional characters! Tell adventure stories with no PC quirks or endless crossovers! DC died to me as a company in 2011. It would be nice to be able to buy a Superman book again. Can we get Chuck Dixon back on Robin, please?

    I don’t expect this to happen, but boy it would be nice to be able to stomach a DC book again.

  15. New Earth Nerd says

    I understand wanting new readers but just go back to the preflashpoint new earth. You can’t trick someone into loving comics. You have movies, tv shows, cartoons, video games, and action figures as your marketing tool for comics. My love for Batman started with the ’89 film and then the animated series. I wanted to know more about the character so picked up a book during the Knightfall arc and that wasn’t even the Batman I was used to. I have never had a problem jumping into a storyline or reading references that I didn’t know because that made me want to know more. I hate when people say “I don’t know what’s going on” in a book. If you want the entire story in one issue then maybe comics are not for you. I’m rambling I know but I hate all these DC reboots trying to bring in new readers when I felt they had a good thing going post infinite crisis and with one year later and the 52 weekly series. It’s all about the management and talent you use. Batman’s history is virtually intact and snyder has put a fresh spin on a character who many people can get tired of with over exposure.

  16. Terry Moore says

    DC could just keep both continuities. Slap an Earth-1 label on one series of titles and an Earth-52 label on the other series of titles. This move sets creates an natural venue for other alternative takes on DC characters.

    As a bonus, it will the marketplace decide which continuities should live or die.

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