Sunday, July 29, 2018

What Happened to the Love, Hope and Legacy? The Death (and possible rebirth) of Rebirth

I know a lot of people who come to our site and listen to our podcast each week either jumped on board or came back to DC Comics because of Rebirth and in particular, Geoff Johns' Rebirth Special #1.  Believe me, it was a sight for sore eyes. You don't need the benefit of hindsight to see that DC had lost its way and Dan Didio's proclamation of "story over continuity" had quickly given fans a landscape that was as unrecognizable as it was unremarkable.  A Jim Gordon Robot Batman?  Superman without powers or secret identity...and dead?  Yea, those were some dark days indeed.

Then there were those fans who didn't even make it that far.  The New 52, the edgy reboot of 2011 had turned many fans off and some left with the promise of never returning. To this day, some have kept that promise.  However, many couldn't stay away from their favorite characters and the New 52 was a financial success and a lot of great things did come out of it.

Then there was Rebirth.  Geoff Johns' DC book hit the shelves on May 25, 2016 and to me, everything seemed better.  While I was reading that issue, it felt like Johns and DC itself was thanking me for sticking with them through some tough times while also apologizing to those they had pushed away.  Instead of begging for fans to come back, however, it laid the blueprint of how things were going to be better, and boy, was I in!  That issue promised a whole lot, but they were promises that made so much sense...Love, Hope, and Legacy.

This wasn't a reboot, it was a reset.  A way to get back to the core of what makes superhero comics so great and Geoff Johns picked the perfect character to be the face of his Rebirth...Wally West.  It was a perfect match and just hearing that Wally was returning was enough to get some long-time holdouts back sight unseen and even those who don't count Wally as "My Flash" were excited.  Who wasn't rooting for him to be remembered as they paged through that Special?  Truthfully, who didn't shed at least one tear of joy when Barry finally remembered him and they embraced in what to me, is still one of the best scenes of any comic I have ever read.  I am man enough to tell you that I am getting misty eyed right now.  I gave that issue a 10/10 and I stand by that to this day because to me, it was perfect and the gut feeling was that everything was going to be great.

Fast forward a bit and things are not so great.  Sure, I am not going to paint a picture of total doom and gloom, but something has happened since Barry and Wally hugged it out.  Where the Rebirth Special promised hope, DC now seems to be pushing depression and darkness.  The promise of love has been replaced with Batman left at the altar and Superman losing his family, at least for now.  What happened?  I mean, WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?

Maybe looking at Wally West, we can figure things out a bit.  After his awesome return, the face of Rebirth blended in with his Titans team and the storyline of him getting the love of his life, Linda Park, kind of faded away.  Where was he during the Button?  Without Wally, there would be no button, but there was certainly The Button without Wally.  You would think that him dying (and as a result, coming back with a pacemaker that limited his powers) was the lowest point, but to me, that came this week when he got sent to the Sanctuary at the end of Flash #51.  What has all this told me?  Since the start of Rebirth, DC couldn't figure out what to do with Wally West.  Or more specifically, DC decided that Rebirth wasn't going to be about hope, love, and legacy after all and Wally just didn't fit in anymore?

If that is true, what changed?  Nothing is ever cut and dry and there will always be grey areas, but to me, the face of Rebirth changed from Wally West to Tom King.  King's books have been praised for "humanizing" our heroes.  We get to see the person underneath the costume and most times than not, it's depressing as hell!  Mister Miracle opens his maxi-series attempting suicide, Batman goes issues without saying more than two words because he is "happy now", and Kite-Man, a now-beloved cult character, became what he is today because his son died while flying a kite.  Then there was the big wedding.  Batman didn't get married because, after all this setup, a happy Batman is a bad Batman. Obviously, Tom King's books are not the only ones doing all of this, but it really feels like the others are taking cues from him and why shouldn't they?  An issue where Batman kneels and prays with Joker after he just killed an entire wedding party got seven 10/10s and heaps of praise on Twitter!

So, it doesn't surprise me that Wally West is heading off to the Sanctuary.  It still upsets me that the setup of it was that he was trying desperately to catch the bad guy and get his children back, but the real proof in the pudding will be where we go from here.  Will Tom King's Sanctuary be a place where heroes can go to get the help they need, or is this all just setup for his Heroes in Crisis murder mystery?  Will the focus be on healing Wally or is he there because "every Crisis needs a Flash"? The idea of the Sanctuary is great and truly is something we've never seen.  In fact, the Sanctuary could be just what this Universe needs to get back to the promises of Rebirth, but I am going to take a wait and see approach there.  Everything I've seen in the past couple of years hasn't given me confidence that like Batman, in the end, a happy hero, makes a bad hero to the powers that be.  Still, the person I think has changed the landscape for me is the person I look to make it all right again.

After all of this, I will tell you that I still love DC Comics and understand we all go through our personal peaks and valleys as fans.  I made claims this week that Wally heading to the Sanctuary was the official last nail in the coffin of Rebirth, but now I am now waiting for Heroes in Crisis.  I pray that we get another moment that makes me cry tears of joy and not of sadness and that the Sanctuary can be the new face of hope, love, and legacy.  I may be in the minority here, but my Wednesdays desperately need it!


  1. You ain't the minority my brother. DC has definitely drifted a way from Rebirth's original mission statement. I think there's some obvious communication issues among the publisher's creative staff. All I know is it's going on two years and I'm still waiting on most of the promises teased in that original special issue. When the return of Super Sons is my biggest cause of excitement in months, something ain't right.

  2. Its certainly got to the point where ginger deadman meets evil bong cannot be ruled out



  4. Am I the only one who thought the whole Catbat wedding thing was a bad idea from the start and just a bunch of Ship service, and that there are other ways to change the status quo and make a "hApPy" Batman????

    1. I didnt mind the idea as much as the fact it hijacked the book for a year! And when was batman happy? Yea, id rather have seen it through a combo of a lot of things...maybe show him with damian for more than a couple of panels!!!

    2. Exactly, give him some one on one time with the various members of the Batfam and show how proud he is of some of them. I mean having it that catwoman is the only who can make him "HaPpY" is a bit of a slap in the face to the rest of well anyone who he's "friends" with

  5. Standing ovation.

  6. Easy. Rebirth's hope, love and legacy never existed. You guys just fell for another marketing stunt lmao.