Timeline Watch: the New DC

Welcome to the first installment of an occasional series on comics and continuity. Today’s column concerns itself with the newly-rebooted DC Universe – which started again not quite from scratch back in September. Now, two months in, it’s time for a little analysis.

A Reboot? Again?
Certainly that was my first reaction. DC have rebooted their universe several times now, and they only did it right once. Not coincidentally, in my opinion, that was the first time, when they rebooted their classic Golden Age characters in new Silver Age equivalents.

Every time they’ve done it since then, they’ve always claimed that (a) they knew what they were doing; and (b) that it would make the continuity simpler. So far, neither of these claims has ever been fulfilled. Every time the reboot is partial, is unevenly applied, is clearly based more on the whims of writers and editors than any coherent vision.

Leaving aside the success or failure of this particular venture on a universal level, today I mostly just want to look at what parts of DC continuity we know are still in continuity. But to do that, I first have to go the opposite extreme.

What’s Out?
DC themselves have confirmed that all of their previous rebooting events are now out of continuity. So we can safely rule the following as out of continuity:

  • Crisis on Infinite Earths
  • The “Second Crisis” arc of Grant Morrison’s Animal Man
  • Zero Hour
  • Infinite Crisis
  • Final Crisis

Oddly enough, they claim that Flashpoint is still in, despite the fact that it obviously fits into the same category as the above – stories that alter history have a tendency to be self-erasing, historically speaking.

Other things can be safely ruled out based on new stories now being told. These include (but are not limited to):

  • The entirety of the following series: Firestorm (all volumes), Blue Beetle (all volumes), the “I, Vampire” stories in House of Mystery (volume 1), Supergirl, Superboy and Suicide Squad (maybe not the original Squad, but all post-Crisis versions).
  • Starman and other legacy titles, notably the Waid and Johns runs on The Flash.
  • Any story that depends on any male character other than Aquaman or J’onn J’onzz being married – this would include, among others, The Trial of the Flash storyline, and most likely Identity Crisis too (despite DC’s claims to the contrary).
  • The Golden Age and any characters associated with it. (Black Canary’s mom presumably wasn’t a superhero in this brave new world.)
  • The entire WildStorm universe.

So, what’s in?
What we have left is mostly things that can be confirmed based on current series. Which brings me back to my earlier point about the un-evenness with which the reboot has been applied. The three franchises that are least affected by it are Batman, Green Lantern and Jonah Hex. Those titles are mostly continuing with very little change to their respective status quos, and in many cases, their creative teams too. So we can assume that most of the more recent stories of these characters are in continuity, albeit with some minor changes (if there was no Crisis on Infinite Earths, for example, then the Sinestro Corps War story must not have included either the Anti-Monitor or Superboy-Prime).

Batwoman also seems more or less untouched by any changes, as do the Legion of Super Heroes titles (sure, Legion Lost is a new twist in their ongoing story, but it doesn’t change their past at all). Most other characters have been changed – or had their histories changed – to a greater or lesser extent.

So, what do you think? What have I missed? What am I just plain wrong about? Let me know.

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