BUSTED! Fact-checking Ten MYTHS About the DCnU

<i>by Vaneta Rogers</i> <p>It's been more than a year since readers first saw a promotion for <i>Flashpoint</i>, but only during the last few months has information surfaced about what it all means. <p> And even then, it hasn't been too clear. <p> But one thing is sure: When <i>Flashpoint</i> ends on Aug. 31st, DC is restarting all its titles at #1 while revamping the characters and histories of its entire universe. <p> And in September, the DCnU begins. <p> What does it all mean? Fans have had plenty of guesses. But along the way, several myths have emerged that have been <i>busted</i> once more information surfaced. <p> In an effort to clear up some of the more prevalent myths while discussing what we know about the relaunch, Newsarama looks at the Top 10 Myths about the DCnU. <p>Click "<b>Start Here</b>" to check them out. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>

MYTH: "Everything Goes Back to Normal After Flashpoint"

As DC was promoting <i>Flashpoint</i>, most fans were convinced the story wouldn't <i>really</i> change the DCU. They compared it to other alternate universe stories like <i>Age of Apocalypse</i>, which were fun to read, but made few changes to the regular universe. <p> Writer Geoff Johns hinted at something bigger, though, when <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/comics/geoff-johns-talks-flashpoint-110401.html">he told Newsarama in April</a> that the event was "different than anything that has been done before because of what we have coming out of it." <p> Now, we know "what DC has coming out of it." There's a brand new timeline for the DCU. The JLA is the first super team, and they only came together five years ago. Superman is the world's first superhero, and other changes have been made as editorial sees fit. <p> So the myth that everything in Flashpoint will mean nothing when the DCU returns to normal is definitely a busted myth, and that leads to...

MYTH: "Flashpoint Characters Don't Matter"

Sure, those new characters and concepts in <i>Flashpoint</i> were cute, but did anyone really think they'd stick around? <p> Turns out they will, and as time goes on, we're finding out that more and more of them will be part of the DCnU. <p> From Peter Milligan's new character Mindwarp, who stars in September's <i>Justice League Dark</i>, to the brand new Element Woman, who appears to be part of the <i>Justice League</i>, a lot of new characters introduced in <i>Flashpoint</i> are surviving the end of that series and sticking around for the launch of the DCnU.

MYTH: "Legion Reboot"

Fans of the Legion of Super-Heroes are used to reboots. But it was disheartening to think the Legion would get rebooted <i>yet again</i> in September, particularly when the new <i>Legion of Super-Heroes</i> series by Paul Levitz only launched a little over a year ago. <p> But it turns out there's no reboot for the Legion. Not even much of a creative change, since Levitz is back on the main series with a new artist, Francis Portella. The only difference is that seven of the Legion members will become lost in time for a spin-off series by Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods called <i>Legion Lost</i>. <p> So for once, Legion fans heard the word "reboot" from DC and didn't have to worry. Weird.

MYTH: "JSA Characters are Gone"

Well, this myth isn't exactly a myth, because it's <i>partially</i> true. <p> In the DCnU, the JLA is the world's first super team. And they only "got together" five years ago -- a story detailed in the first arc of <i>Justice League</i> by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. DC Executive Editor Eddie Berganza told Newsarama it takes place at the "dawning of the age of superheroes." <p> So the DC-founding superhero team called the Justice Society is gone. <p> But the characters aren't. <p> DC confirmed that the JSA characters will be used elsewhere in the DCnU, though few have shown up in information released so far. Dan DiDio said on his Facebook page that "Karen Starr" (Power Girl's alter ego) will show up in one of the new 52 issues, although it's important to note DiDio said "Karen" and not "Power Girl." (And some have been guessing <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/comics/is-this-the-full-dcnu-justice-league-110626.html">Power Girl could be the mystery woman in the new JLA image</a>.) <p> We also know Mr. Terrific still exists, with <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/comics/dcnu-mr-terrific-goes-solo-110614.html">writer Eric Wallace promising "cosmic" stories in his future</a>, meaning he'll have to team up with someone who can fly into space. <p> That means characters like Stargirl, Jakeem Thunder, and Commander Steel probably still exist too. And they could show up anytime in not only <i>Mr. Terrific</i>, but any DC book. <p> Plus, there's always a chance DC could insert a secret "society of mystery men" into the universe's history. (After all, the once-WildStorm team Stormwatch existed "secretly" for a while in the DCnU, according to writer Paul Cornell.) <p> Or the Justice Society could always form later, because the characters <i>do</i> exist in the DCnU. <p> "Nothing is cut and dry," DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras told Newsarama about the apparent elimination of the JSA. "That is something that you have to keep reading to see what happens."

MYTH: "The DCnU Costumes Are All Jim Lee Designs

Not really. The "myth" of Jim Lee designing all the costumes spins out of truth, because the DC co-publisher "spearheaded" the costume redesigns that we've seen for the DCnU's 52 #1 issues. After all, he's a DC co-publisher with a lot of artistic clout. <p> But Newsarama has interviewed several artists and writers who revealed that few costumes are straight-up Lee designs. Most of them were first designed by the series writers and artists, with tweaks from Lee, Cully Hamner and the editorial staff. <p> Tim Drake's wings? According to artist Brett Booth, they were an idea from series writer Scott Lobdell, and all the Teen Titans costumes were designed by Booth first with Lobdell's ideas in mind. Only later did Lee and Hamner assist on some Titans costumes. "There was a lot of back and forth about everything," Booth said. <p> Hawkman's organic weapon and costume? They're part of the story by Tony Daniel. "There are reasons for the changes that will become clear," Phillip Tan told Newsarama. "It's not just myself and Tony who are going through it. All the editors and Jim Lee and everyone have given input about how this is being executed visually and how it's affecting the story." <p> Keith Giffen summarized it in our interview with him about his new OMAC series, for which he did the original design on the lead character: "Jim Lee and Cully are the ones helping out with that, and it's not like they're forcing designs or anything," Giffen told Newsarama. "It's really about 'helping,' because they know the guys who do the book day-in and day-out are the ones who make the costumes work for their book. It's a team effort. Then I think Cully does the official turnarounds on the characters so everyone will know what the character looks like when they appear in different issues."

MYTH: "Barbara Gordon Was Never Shot"

Ever since she was shot and paralyzed in the pages of <i>The Killing Joke</i>, Barbara Gordon has been kicking butt from a wheelchair as the character known as Oracle. <p> But in September, she's no longer in a wheelchair, and she's no longer Oracle. She's back to wearing spandex and swinging through the streets of Gotham as Batgirl. <p> So apparently, the DC "reboot" erases the shooting that occurred in <i>The Killing Joke</i>, right? <p> Wrong. <p> As <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/comics/dcnu-bob-harras-eddie-berganza-history-in-tact-110615.html">Harras and Berganza told Newsarama</a>, <i>The Killing Joke</i> stands. In fact, Berganza said <i>Killing Joke</i> "is really crucial to what we're doing." And Scott Snyder told Newsarama that Barbara's change from Oracle to Batgirl will be explained in story. <p> That explanation is presumably going to be written by Geoff Johns in <i>Flashpoint</i>, even though the writer's <i>Booster Gold</i> series established that Barbara's shooting could not be prevented through time travel. <p> This should be interesting...

MYTH: "The DCnU is an Alternate Earth"

Many of the theories among fans about how the DCnU is created have been rather extreme. <p> They include everything from the DCnU being an alternate universe, to each comic existing in its own universe among the 52. <p> To clear up the confusion, Newsarama point blank asked Harras and Berganza: Are the stories we're seeing in September taking place on New Earth? <p> The answer? Yes. <p> "It's not Earth Prime or any other earth. It's not Earth-One or anything," Berganza said. <p> Myth busted.

MYTH: "Tim Drake & Dick Grayson's History is Gone"

When Dick Grayson showed up in a Nightwing costume and Tim Drake was only mentioned as a Teen Titan, it <i>appeared</i> that the former Robins were being shuffled off to a status that erased their history. <p> After all, Dick Grayson was just Batman, but suddenly he isn't. And Tim Drake had a solo series where he worked within the Batman family, but suddenly isn't mentioned among the Bat-titles. <p> Those fears were all laid to rest by <i>Batman</i> writer Scott Snyder and <i>Nightwing</i> writer Kyle Higgins, who confirmed to Newsarama that Tim is still in the Bat-family and Dick is still a former Batman. <p> "In <i>Batman #1</i>, we'll have establishing moments where you'll get to see the roles played by Damian, Tim, and Dick," <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/comics/dcnu-scott-snyder-batman-relaunch-110609.html">Snyder said</a>. "They are part of the first issue." <p> "I don't think you could do a <i>Nightwing</i> book at this point without dealing with the fact that he was just Batman," <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/comics/dcnu-kyle-higgins-nightwing-110613.html">Higgins said</a>. "One of the reasons he's Nightwing now is <i>because</i> of him just being Batman." <p> Of course, while these former male Robins appear to be still around, no official word on female former-Robin Stephanie Brown now that she's no longer Batgirl, although there are rumors she'll be back to her Spoiler identity in the DCnU.

MYTH: "It's a 'Flash of Light' Reset"

No, a flash of light doesn't change everything without explanation. From all indications, the changes to the DCU will be explained in story, and the place where they get their explanation will likely be <i>Flashpoint #5</i>. <p> "None of it is a radical flash in the sky and boom, things are different," Scott Snyder told Newsarama of the Bat-verse changes, indicating that readers will understand the reasons behind the DCnU. <p> Because all of September's #1 issues are supposed to be new reader friendly, this in-story explanation will probably occur in <i>Flashpoint</i>. (That's not surprising, since Geoff Johns has been tasked with explained big revamps before, from Hawkman's history to Green Lantern's resurrection.) <p> Of course, we expect that most of the changes won't get a highly scientific explanation, and they might actually leave readers scratching their heads. For example, we doubt the exact theories behind how Grifter is suddenly in the DCU will be detailed. <p> But something does "happen" to cause this. And it happens in continuity, and in story.

MYTH: "It's a Total Reboot"

OK, this one may get confusing, so hang onto something. <p> It's not a hard reboot. But it is a soft reboot. <p> Yeah, we know. Kind of kooky, huh? <p> But it's the truth: The terminology being used behind-the-scenes at DC is "soft reboot." And that means some things change, and other things stay the same. Some things are erased, and some things aren't. <p> Green Lantern books? Batman books? No reboot. <p> Superman books? JLA origin? Total reboot. <p> To give the term some background, <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/comics/dcnu-bob-harras-eddie-berganza-history-in-tact-110615.html">in our interview with Berganza</a>, he <i>twice</i> referenced the Geoff Johns relaunch style as a model for the DCnU approach -- specifically mentioning <i>Teen Titans</i> and <i>Green Lantern</i>. In other words, DC is hoping to mimic the Johns method of keeping what works, altering what doesn't, and explaining the changes. <p> Of course there's one big difference: Johns' comics had one mind behind them, and there are a lot of cooks in the DCnU kitchen. So the "soft" idea and its changes/non-changes might get confusing in-house too. To prevent continuity errors, Harras said the editorial team "compiled a timeline" for the DCnU. But the level of detail in that timeline could make or break the success of keeping continuity in check. After all, if the reboot is too "soft," history could get more muddled than it is now. <p> So will soft reboot equal soft sales? Or will the keep-what-works approach to the DCnU be a boon to comics? Nobody can predict for until the results are in, but fans will probably come up with a few more myths in the meantime.

BUSTED! Fact-checking Ten MYTHS About the DCnU

Date: 29 June 2011 Time: 09:16 PM ET