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?
— dan didio (@dandidio1) January 22, 2016
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 Lantern, Arrow, Supergirl, 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!
Alex is the Managing Editor of the Comics Beat. He is also a freelance comics editor with previous credits at Papercutz. He is your go-to fella for creator interviews, conversations about comic book structure, and general DC Comics nerding. Currently geeking out over movies, too.