With the release of DC Rebirth, it is worth pondering if comic books have become too focused on "shattering the status quo." DC held off decades before finally relaunching their universe with the New 52, but it seems that these relaunches are about to become more common. The question is: do we need, or even want, them? Resetting continuity after just a few years prevents strong world-building and characterization to happen. It also makes it difficult to hold a strong emotional attachment to comic book characters if we know that they will soon be "reset" every so often. While there was certainly backlash to the New 52, will comic book companies simply press the restart button every time they tell a story that some people dislike? And how will this affect comic book storytelling?
It would be nice to talk about the fact that DC is playing catch up with Marvel. – Andrestrada5 years ago
I think another thing to consider is whether or not "shock value" is a factor in the constant relaunching. For instance, one of the new "canons" within this rebirth is having 3 Jokers (as if one wasn't enough). Also, as Andrestrada mentioned above with playing catch up with Marvel, within the same week of DC's rebirth Marvel announced that Captain America was really Hydra all along and caused nothing but outrage from both DC and Marvel fans. – Mela5 years ago
Also note that this is NOT a new or recent phenomenon. DC has been doing things like this, to my understanding, as far back as the silver age. New versions of the Green Latern, the Flash most notably made their debut in the silver age, along with the Justice League. Then there were Crisis on Infinite Earths and so on. For Captain America, I know that Stan Lee had retconned all of the Cap stories post WWII until he brought him back in the 60s by saying her had been frozen all of this time. In the highly noted Brubaker run of Cap, there would be even more retcons, stating that the 50s Cap and Bucky were in fact other people, and that he never became Nomad; that was another guy, who became a small part of his story. And even THAT was retconned recently (I believe by Nick Spencer) who made reference to Steve Rogers being Nomad. So, really the nottion that would have to be put across is the idea of "selective continuity"-- that both writers and fans pick and choose what they want to be part of the mythos. If there was a small event or something that happened 30 years ago that nobody remembers but say the writer, it is up to him whether he wants to use it or not. – Baenacci5 years ago
The implications of the Watchmen being brought into line with the rest of the DC Universe are staggering. The possibility that the entire New 52, and perhaps beyond, are a creation of Dr. Manhattan allows for the retelling of origin stories that could alter the arcs of long time favorites. This could give DC a chance to clean up their often problematic continuity problems. I am reminded of the Star Trek reboot that kept the integrity of the characters intact while allowing for a totally new history to be created.
– Inverkeithing5 years ago
Stemming from this, I think an interesting question is why is continuity so important to the world of comic books. Why aren't there just a series of individual, stand alone series? Why does everything have to neatly mesh? Rebirth was, according Geoff Johns, a way to regain the love and history that was lost during the New 52, and was a measure to reconnect to fans. But why do comic book fans (myself included) care so much about the personal and past histories of superheroes? Continuity, at times, seems to take precedence over the characters themselves. – grabergc5 years ago
To be honest, considering DC Rebirth a relaunch is not completely fair, it still stems off of the New 52 and most of the New 52 is still cannon. What it does is connected the New 52 with the old continuity. Putting things right that seemed to be out of continuity. Granted, some things are retconned, but many aspects of New 52 is still there, as well as bringing back the what was good about the old continuity. As a final note, these "relaunches" from the Big 2 are not all entirely bad, as they allow a new wave of readers to come in with a starting point that is an issue #1, instead of issue #546. – Elijah5 years ago