Flushpoint... Don't Call It a Reboot

That's what DC has started clarifying. Not a reboot, the launch of the new DC Universe. Ah. What does that mean?

On the surface, it seems to indicate that the DCU as we know it - let's call it the old DCU - will go on, but it just won't be the Earth we're exploring month-in, month-out in the comics. Now, they've been very clear about one thing from the start of Flashpoint: This is not a parallel world, it's the old DCU (i.e. its Earth-1) with a changed history. The actual "old DCU" isn't one another Earth, it's been completely transformed. Does Flashpoint end with that history restored, but we still jump our POV over to another Earth (the NEW DCU)? Does it end with history restored with inevitable changes (the soft reboot option, in which the old DCU becomes the new DCU)? Or does the Flashpoint universe survive and the old DCU lost forever?

Might certain characters "jump" from Flashpoint/post-Flashpoint to the new DCU? Guys like the Flash and Booster Gold might be able to (perhaps even leading a migration), keeping certain elements of the old DCU in the new DCU. New #1s don't mean all new characters with new origin stories, after all. It might also explain the Legion Lost series that's been announced. The Legion has been rebooted/re-imagined so many times, it's in danger of becoming non-viable. On the other hand, it's fairly well isolated from other books, so its continuity really doesn't need to be touched just because others books' have. What if the events of Flashpoint cause the Legion to be disconnected from their parent timeline, forcing them to search for a proper home in the multiverse. They could be "Lost" for the space of a mini-series.

Or what if the old DCU survives mostly intact? Could certain books be kept going in that continuity? DC launches the new DCU, but it hasn't announced the death of the old DCU. All #1s need not take place in the new DCU, especially if the multiverse is part of the plan (which we don't know, we only imagine the JSA could be shuffled to Earth-2, as supported by the absence of Power Girl and Huntress to date in the promo material). People who wonder how Johns could abandon his Green Lantern continuity (and the multi-colored Corps announcement could corroborate this), or Morrison his Batman Inc. so early in the game and after so much effort (on both their parts) to set those new paradigms up, could find their answer there. If this is what happens, those books could go on directly from their continuity, though with new #1s (or has anyone thought that past the "52 #1s event", the next month could have #whatever books that merely skipped a month). It's the kind of half-measure the Big Two are into.

Speaking of half-measures, I have to mention Jim Lee's involvement. Remember back in the 90s when Lee and other Image stalwarts were given the chance to redesign Marvel's iconic but low-selling properties behind their own dimensional partition? The Marvel Universe became a good-sellers club only (X-books, Spider-Man, Punisher, Ghost Rider) while the FF, the Avengers and their members were handed over to well-selling artists. It was one of comicdom's dumbest moves, but I'm sure it generated sales in the short term. So is the new DCU just such a scheme? Characters are redistributed across various Earths, including the new one with all the high collars, while others remain behind. Would there be an old DCU where Batman Inc. and the multi-colored Corps, perhaps even polluter-killer Swamp Thing, but no Superman or Wonder Woman. After all, doesn't it seem strange that there's a new Justice League, but also a Justice League International? These concepts don't seem to co-exist on a rebooted Earth. What if most of the Justice League members were shunted off to the new DCU, and JLI was asked to take their place in the old? Would make sense if not for the appearance of what looks like the same Batman on both teams. Or could that be Dick? (Are those the same gloves? It's not the same cowl.) Only one of the four announced Lantern books stars Hal Jordan, the two that expressly mention Guy, John and Kyle could be in the old DCU, with Hal shunted off with the other classic Justice League line-up.

And another likely architect of the new DCU will be Grant Morrison who re-engineered DC's Multiverse in various ways over the years. In keeping with that and his "everything happened" theory of comics, I wouldn't be surprised if the old DCU continued to exist in some form. I also think there wouldn't be as much furor about a reboot/reset/relaunch if it had happened at the end of Final Crisis. The event's very name created an expectation that wasn't fulfilled, very much an anti-climax. I guess they weren't ready...

Sick of this topic yet? So am I, but we just can't stop talking about it!


Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Legion Lost might well be the Earth-247 Legion's quest mentioned at the end of LO3W. They did say they would be going around the multiverse picking up lost souls or members, whatever the exact phrasing was I forget.

Jeff R. said...

At this point, my guess is that it's an attempt at something the same as the Silver Age beginning, but more organized and systematic. Haven't quite figured out how the narrative connection to Flashpoint is going to work (Barry ending up on Earth-9? The ending involving time-travel changes in the original Crisis, leading to a different 'New Earth' to be the center of a different 52-world minimultiverse?)

At any rate, I suspect that within a year or so, depending on how sales are doing, Multiversity (Morrison's next crossover event) will either undo the whole thing and bring the (IMHO broken) legacy universe back into focus or else reintroduce Earth-0/Earth-52 as part of the Multiverse and make it into one creator's private reserve, much like Earth-2 became Roy Thomas's private reserve in the Bronze Age. (I'd recommend Busiek for this role, especially since he's apparently not got a book in the Relaunch.)

Siskoid said...

Wayne: A very good guess. And it divorces at least some Legionnaires from the central Earth, making them immune to Flushpoint.

Jeff: Not sure Multiversity will do that, but that project was announced for 2010. Might it have been pushed back to the Relaunch, and could it be one of the #1s?

Jeff R. said...

Morrison's already got two books in the Relaunch, and flagship ones at that (A Batman and a Superman), from all I can tell. I don't think that he can write three monthlies concurrently, especially three high-profile ones like that. I'd say whatever it turns out to be, Multiversity is delayed even more. And the idea makes it ideal for the emergency break glass reset button for this project.

rob! said...

This "alt timeline" idea worked quite well in Star Trek (for me, at least), so while I'm not overjoyed if that's what being introduced here, in the end of course all that will matter is if the books are good.

If they are, no one will care. If they're not, "old" Superman and the rest will be back, just like how Supergirl, Krypto, etc. were all brought back not too long after John Byrne left Superman.

snell said...

You know, when the announcement was supposedly going to be made next week by Johns and Lee, was going to be about big changes for the DC Universe, and "especially Superman."

I find the lack of any announcements yet for Batman or Superman titles both curious and troublesome...

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Siskoid, thx. The more I think about what DC is doing, the whole multiverse thing is what I think has to be going on. I'm even wondering if Morrison was somehow in on it, so that the default answer to why the other 51 worlds weren't being used had to do with Morrison. If you think about it, that does allow that this has been thought out in some manner.

And, as some think Booster Gold will figure into things, that's how I see Legion Lost, if they are momentarily on Earth-9, as Jeff R. mentioned, there might be some discussion on that Earth's 21st century. Perhaps one Legion's inspiration was Captain Marvel, not Superboy.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I meant using Earth-9 since that was the one Jeff mentioned, to be more clear.

Siskoid said...

Snell: We of the Internet are obsessed with advance knowledge, but I miss the days when the big shocker would have been right then in September.

Wayne: Earth-9 is... Tangent Earth. Right. Had to look it up. I'm still not used to the new numbering scheme (which is why I keep talking about Earths S and X (now 5 and 10).

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Yea, I forgot about that, I just just using an Earth mentioned. And I have noticed where you've used Earth-S. But either LL will be lost in time and the multiverse, as I believe LL doesn't not MEAN L247, rather those that particular Legion swore to look for. I've never read Marvel's The Exiles, I'm only aware of it from reading up on their own various multiverses. So I can see a "Legion Lost" that once had inspiration from Captain Marvel in the 20th Century but that reality no longer exists as one of the 52. Or it does, but now it is Earth-S again and yes it certainly sounds confusing.

Point being: as with Booster Gold, I can easily see LL as a guide to understanding what DCU was pre- and then post-Flashpoint.

Jeff R. said...

Okay, if Earth-9 and -10 (X) are used, then this would be -11, then? Or is that also taken? (My use was based on 'next one after Earth-8', which is where the characters/versions from the late 90s/early 00s called home in Infinite Crisis.)

Siskoid said...

I was just going with 52 #52, when the Multiverse was reborn. Here are the Earths revealed:
17: Atomic Knights
3: Crime Syndicate
10: Freedom Fighters
50: Wildstorm
5: Marvel Family
22: Kingdom Come
2: JSA
4: Charlton heroes

The Search for Ray Palmer also featured these:
43: Red Rain (vampires)
11: Reverse-gender
19: Gotham by Gaslight
30: Red Son

I know there's more in Countdown and Arena and all that, but I just don't have the patience for it.

Siskoid said...

Ah wiki to the rescue, here are more, confirmed post-52:
6: Ray Palmer became the Ray (one of those damn Arena Earths that has no defining focus)
7: Teen heroes are here adults
8: The Extremists
9: Tangent
12: Batman Beyond
13: Vertigo-ish
15: Utopian world (destroyed by Prime)
16: Young Justice cartoon, Super-Sons
17: Kamandi apparently also there
18: Justice Riders
20: Pulp versions of heroes (to be in Morrison's Multiversity)
21: New Frontier
26: Zoo Crew
31: Dark Knight Returns
32: Darkest Knight
33: Magical versions of JLA
34: Amazonia
37: Thrillkiller
38: Captain Atom is leader of the Atomic Knights
39: Dan Garrett is a young Blue Beetle bonded to the scarab like Jaime is
40: JSA are covert operatives
44: JLA are Metal Men
48: Forerunners, with humanity long dead
49: The sun has turned red, so the Kryptonian heroes wear cyber suits
51: The world that becomes Kamandi's future when destroyed in Countdown

Other Earths shown but not numbered: The Nail, Superdemon Etrigan, black versions of heroes, super deformed heroes, and First Wave.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Siskoid, this is how I read up on the Exiles, through Wiki. If they do pull a reboot where Barbara G. isn't paralyzed, etc., as Jeff R. states re: Infinite Crisis, Earth-? could be what is New Earth now. I never did understand the numbering system. Earth-8 was Angora and Lord Havok, so would Huntress and Breach have fought them? They had their own villains going back to the 70s JLA, when they were analogues. I guess we'll see.


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