Geoff Johns is, I freely admit, a writer with a split personality. On the one hand, he's done some fine, hopeful character work with Superboy (in Adventure Comics), Booster Gold and Aquaman. On the other, he's known as the guy who likes to have heroes graphically dismembered. So when he writes a metatextual piece about how it's all Alan Moore's Watchmen's fault (with an assist from The Dark Knight Returns) that DC Comics have taken such a dark turn (and in movies too, Zack Snyder came to the DCU via a Watchmen film), well I have to wonder if he remembers he was the architect of the dark and violent Infinite Crisis, Blackest Night, Flashpoint, and New52!
That DC realizes the New52 was a mistake (except in the short-term rewards game), good on them. That they want a do-over, okay sure, I think the fans are clamoring for it. (And quite rightly, it goes through the Flash line as all Crises must, with Wally West as the emblem of what we lost in the New52.) But it's major piece of SPIN to say that the guys who screwed it all up in the first place are the lost continuity's saviors! So yes, okay, bring back the JSA and the Legion and marriages and Ted Kord's Blue Beetle and whatever else is suggested in this issue, but don't try to tell me you wrote the last 10 years of material against you better angels. Come on, now. Perhaps I should be reading it NOT as Geoff Johns' opinion, but as Wally's. And Wally in this story is just as much a surrogate for the typical reader as Superboy-Prime, the "evil fan", was in Infinite Crisis.
Question remains: With the same folks at the helm, can we REALLY expect the DCU to "lighten up"? (Or the movies, given that Johns is setting up shop there and could use the lighter TV shows' success to undermine Snyder's grimy franchise?) After all, it's one thing to say you're bringing back lighter characters from the dead, love and hope and all that, but when you do it by injecting the bloody WATCHMEN into the core universe, I don't know what you think you're doing exactly. Contrast?!
And here's the clincher for me: The book ends on a number of ads for Rebirthed books, and most of them seem to follow the dark direction DC's been spiraling in for the last 5 years. Is it the case or did the marketing guys not get the memo? Here they all are:
New era for DC Comics? A return to form? Or just the same old hype? Do I even want to reinvest in their company so long as it's rife with mismanagement and essentially sanctioned sexual harassment? Those are the real questions Rebirth asks.