Con-Fused? 10 Lingering Questions About the DCnU

<i>By Vaneta Rogers, Newsarama Contributor</i> <p>Now that Comic-Con International: San Diego has revealed a little more information about what DC is doing in September, comic fans are tallying up the answers they've heard as they prepare for what's coming. <p>But there are a few questions that still remain, and others that pop up as a <i>result</i> of the answers DC is giving. <p>So in our ongoing examination of what readers can expect from DC as they make this change, we look at the Top 10 questions we still have about the DCnU. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>

Will "Story X" be canon?

<a href=>DC has stated that stories like <i>The Killing Joke</i> and <i>Brightest Day</i> still happened</a>. But what about all the other fan-favorites? <p>Every comic fan has a story they hope is in canon, but so far, DC isn't saying much about which stories happened, and which stories didn't. <p>One thing's for sure, all of them <i>couldn't</i> have happened in just five years. And anything that involved the early days of the Justice League or Superman's time as a hero is probably in jeopardy. <p>But what isn't clear is whether DC will ever truly define what stories are still part of DCnU continuity, and which ones aren't.

What Does DC Do in Summer 2012?

In San Diego, Dan DiDio specifically said there are five years of plans in place, and "there are no events planned for the foreseeable future." <p>Of course, the foreseeable future could be less than five years, but the statement certainly implies at least another year or so of no events. <p>It's been years since DC had no event, or at least a weekly or bi-weekly or series of crossovers and tie-ins -- probably all the way back to before <i>Infinite Crisis</i> in 2005. <p>By summer 2012, this stuff will be getting into the area where the newness will be rubbing off. With no events, and all their comics already starting over at #1 in September, how do they drum up interest for the comics next year? And if Marvel has their usual big summer event in 2012, how can DC expect to get readers to try out their comics instead? <p>Our best guess is that there will be a big Batman event or Superman crossover or other types of tie-ins within sections of DC. While individual titles are supposedly staying separate in September, Superman shows up in Supergirl #2 in October, so that separation doesn't last long in all the comics. And the writers of DC's comics labeled as the "Dark" family have already implied they're working together. <p>Or maybe there isn't an event, but instead a high-profile comic. DC and Grant Morrison have promised his <i>Multiversity</i> series will come out in summer 2012. Will it fill that "event" role for them on a publishing basis?

What Does This Do to the Multiverse?

Grant Morrison is writing Multiversity, so we know the DC Multiverse still exists, and it's apparently complete with 52 Earths as detailed in <i>52</i> and <i>Countdown to Final Crisis</i>. <p>But among all the titles that DC has mentioned as still having <i>happened</i> in the past of the DCnU, neither <i>52</i> nor <i>Countdown</i> have been mentioned. Did those series still happen? <p>And if the changes we're seeing in the DC Universe are the result of something that occurs within the <i>Flashpoint</i> universe, then does that change <i>all</i> the 52 Earths? <p>Are the <i>First Wave</i> characters still on another earth? Does the Marvel family only exist on another Earth and no longer on Earth 1? <p>DC has been talking a lot about how their September initiative affects their universe, but so far, there's no indication of just how many "earths" within that universe are new and improved.

What Will the Super-Family Really Be Like?

Superman fans in San Diego weren't sure what to think about the messages they'd gotten about their favorite character and his family of Kryptonians. <p>Some of what we're hearing even conflicts. <p>One of the biggest area of discussion for fans is that DC has been calling Superman "more brooding," describing him as someone who people fear, and who doesn't work in conjunction with the law. That doesn't sit so well for people who view him as heroic. <p>But <i>Action Comics</i> writer Grant Morrison told San Diego fans that he's only darker because he stands for justice, and that may conflict with the law. He said the character is still pro-active, action-oriented, young and powerful. <p>Meanwhile, Supergirl writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson stated they're recreating the character as if she's brand new. That seemed to imply the "recreating" she got recently from Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle was being scrapped. Yet in San Diego, Johnson specifically mentioned a rogue created during Gates' run as something that will be showing up in the new title. <p>Then there's Superboy, whose description as a weapon sounds a lot like he's a villain now. <i>Superboy</i> writer Scott Lobdell even said in San Diego that he'd be up against the <i>Teen Titans</i>. Or is he just temporarily a bad guy turning into a good guy? Or a former good guy that was turned into a bad guy? <p>Either way, it's all very confusing for Super-fans. <p>And we still haven't seen definitive proof from Superman that he's an American citizen again.

Whatever Happened to Wally West?

Probably the most asked question in San Diego was, where is Wally West in the DCnU? <p>When fans asked, DC answered the question without fear: Barry Allen is the focus of <i>The Flash</i> in the new DC. <p>But that answer doesn't really address the fact that fans want to know where he is. And it doesn't address how there was a Flash named Wally West present for all of DC's post-Crisis stories -- even the ones DC says are still in continuity. <p>When <i>Identity Crisis</i> happened, the Flash was Wally. When <i>Death of Superman</i> went down, the Flash was Wally. If any of those stories still happened, then who was that man in red? <p>But probably the most interesting question is, if Wally West wasn't the Flash, then who discovered the Speed Force? That discovery was competely post-Crisis, in Mark Waid's Wally West run. <p>And then there's the matter of....

Who Were the Former Teen Titans?

DC isn't addressing the glaring absence of former Wonder Girl Donna Troy in its solicits. And it's made it clear that former Kid Flash Wally West isn't around either. Starfire's on a team of outcasts with the Red Hood. So the legendary Marv Wolfman/George Perez run on <i>Teen Titans</i> appears to have never happened in this new continuity. <p>Or maybe it did? <p>Scott Lobdell told the audience at a panel in San Diego that, in the DCnU, there <i>were</i> former teams who called themselves the Teen Titans. "There are groups in the mythology that were called the Teen Titans before." <p>So the super "newest" Teen Titans that are launching in September are apparently not the only ones that ever existed. <p>Dick Grayson is still around in the DCnU. Did he ever serve as a team with other young heroes as Robin?

Will Dead Characters Stay Dead?

When DC first announced their "New 52," it originally appeared that the only people starring in the relaunch comics were characters that are currently alive in the DCU. After all, DC already resurrected a handful of characters in last year's <i>Brightest Day</i>. <p>But oops -- not anymore. Ryan Choi is back alive. According to Jim Lee, the Atom character he's drawing in <i>Justice League</i> is the Asian-American character known as Ryan Choi instead of the older character, Ray Palmer. <p>So, if Ryan Choi is back alive, how many previously dead characters will now be alive in the DCnU? <p>Technically, anyone could be back alive, right? <p>And another question that arises from Ryan's apparent resurrection is: What happened to Ray Palmer? Maybe they'll have to do another <i>Search</i> for the guy....

How Much Does a Reader Have to Participate in Making the New Timeline Work?

DC has indicated that the editorial staff put together a new timeline for when things happened in DCnU, particularly the five years since the "dawn of superheroes." <p>But how much of the changes affected by the timeline are going to be spelled out? <p>Already in this article, we've pointed out that Wally West was part of some of the stories that DC has indicated "still happened." And that's just one character. <p>With all the "soft reboot" changes to the DCU, there is <i>no way</i> readers won't be able to go back and find "contradictions" if former storylines are mentioned. <p>A perfect example: <a href="">Superman's funeral</a>. <p>If it still happened, did it happen like it shows it happened? Or do readers have to choose to overlook Bloodwynd, and gray hair Hal and the New Gods, the JSA members there? <p>And if the JLA has only been together for five years, and Superman has only been a public hero for five years, it gets tough to cram their history together into that timeframe. <p>DC may want their fans to stop demanding such a strict adherence to continuity. But that negates something that fandom cherishes. From <i>Star Trek</i> to Anne Rice novels, continuity is the backbone of many fan communities based on fictional stories. And if those fans have to just kindly ignore too many images like Superman's funeral, next year's San Diego panels may see a few fan heads explode. <p>And while we're talking about those five years of superheroes....

How Long Did Batman's Career Predate Superman?

As we've pointed out, DC has stated that Superman and the "dawn of the age of superheroes" only happened five years ago. <p>In response to questions about how Batman's continuity could have happened in only five years, DC has indicated the Dark Knight actually started operating secretly <i>before</i> other superheroes appeared. <p>In fact, he was just an urban legend. <p>But fans are having trouble making those years add up. <p>In five years, he had four Robins and was replaced twice? <p>When did he father Damian, who's allegedly an 11 year old? Was that while he was Batman, as we've been led to believe? <p>And if Batman was believed to be an urban legend, was the Joker too? Was he never arrested and put onto television and proven to be real? Did supervillains like the Joker, Killer Croc or Mr. Freeze, exist before Superman? <p>Just because they say Batman's history is "mostly intact" doesn't necessarily mean it makes sense.... yet....

Does the Justice Society of America Exist Anymore?

This question has been addressed by DC ... but not exactly <i>answered</i>. In San Diego, DC executives indicated the publisher is giving the JSA a "rest." Jim Lee even pointed out in San Diego that the WildStorm characters were given a similar "rest" when that imprint ended earlier this year, and it didn't take long for them to return. <p>But that doesn't answer the nagging question of what the "dawn of superheroes" being five years ago means for the tradition of the Justice Society of America existing before the Justice League. Nor does it alleviate the distress of fans whose favorite characters were on that team. <p>Dan DiDio has indicated Karen Starr, who was Power Girl in the current DC and served on the JSA, will show up in the <i>Mr. Terrific</i> series. And Mr. Terrific himself led the JSA for many years. <p>That's little comfort for fans of established JSA characters like Hourman and Alan Scott, or even the new fan-favorites like Stargirl and Commander Steel. <p>But JSA fans can take heart in the fact that this isn't the first time DC has given the JSA a rest. They weren't around after <i>Crisis on Infinite Earths</i>, for example, but showed up later. So there's always hope that the team will be back in some form.

Con-Fused? 10 Lingering Questions About the DCnU

Date: 26 July 2011 Time: 09:21 PM ET