DC Comics has a new take on their classic "Who's Who" listings, giving basic details on their characters, teams and concepts. Power Sets, basic origin stories, current affiliations and recent appearances are all included, as they were in the old "Who's Who" sets. For example, Superman's entry in Action Comics #0 looks like this:
Justice League #1 (2011)
Base of Operations:
Under a yellow sun Superman is extraordinarily strong in addition to
being nearly invulnerable. He can run and fly at incredible speeds and
possesses other abilities such as super-hearing, heat vision, x-ray
vision, and much more!
Batman: The Dark Knight #5-7
Swamp Thing #1
As the planet Krypton exploded and a civilization died, baby Kal-El
was rocketed to safety by his parents. A rriving on the planet Earth and
adopted into the care of Jonathan and Martha Kent, Kal-El would
discover he had amazing powers and abilities because his alien
physiology was exposed to the rays of Earth’s yellow sun. Raised to live
as a human with the utmost moral standards, Clark would strive to be
the best he could be in every situation.
Approximately five years ago, Clark made his debut fighting injustice
in the streets of Metropolis. At first he did so in secret as his
powers continued to grow exponentially, but the threat of Brainiac, the
alien collector of worlds, forced Superman into the public eye. Superman
would be victorious and go on to inspire other heroes to step forward.
He would also incur the wrath of many others who saw his existence on
Earth as a threat, most notably the genius Lex Luthor. Superman is the
most powerful being on the planet. His affiliation with the Justice
League and his never-ending acts of courage have, for better or worse,
put him in the spotlight.
Most of it sounds pretty standard, and the DC Comics character and history we've known for decades. But there is one big change: that First Appearance category. According to this entry, Superman's first appearance is not Action Comics #1 from June, 1938. Instead, it's 2011's Justice League #1, the first issue of the New 52.
Looking through the other entries in this week's Who's Who reveals the same status for all of their characters, new and old. James Gordon, a relic of May, 1939, now has a first appearance of Detective Comics #1 from 2011. Green Arrow first showed up in his own #1 last year, and Earth 2 first appeared in 2012.
It's not the first time we've seen some of these first appearances thrown to the wind. In the character sketch pages in the back of the first six issues of Justice League, the heroes of that team were listed as having JL #1 as their first appearance. So, the Who's Who seems to simply extend that way of thinking to all of DC's characters.
Despite multiple reboots and rejiggerings of the DC Universe in the past, the official Who's Who entries have always kept the original first appearances intact. This puts to question DC's commitment to prior continuity. The company line has been "most everything still happened, just maybe not in the exact way it did before," but some big continuity questions have still been lingering. With everyone's first appearances reset to 2011 and 2012, too, it seems there's a lot less need for DC Comics to honor past stories as they continue to develop future ones.
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