With Monday's announcement by DC of Convergence, their nine-week event in April and May, the publisher made it possible for every character from DC's past, present and futures to converge in one storyline.
DC Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee have been hinting about the event for awhile now, so it comes as little surprise to find out that, while DC's editorial offices move from New York to Burbank, the DCU will celebrate the anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths with a modern crisis that allows characters from the pre-Flashpoint world to interact with the rebooted New 52 — and everything in between.
With multiple issues coming out every week, the alternate universe team-ups and Elsewheres mash-ups should quench every DC fans' thirst for characters that were assumed lost when the DCU was rebooted in 2011.
But this return of old characters to interact with new has us wondering — what does this mean for the future of the DCU?
Sure, the New 52 Superman will probably battle the old one. Or maybe even several versions of old ones.
But… what then? When this event concludes at the end of May 2015, the summer will kick off with… what?
Some ongoing series will surely return, such as best-selling titles like Batman or Justice League. And Batman scribe Scott Snyder has already confirmed that Batman Eternal will return during the second year, after a hiatus.
But any series that kick off in June will only have three months before next September — the fourth anniversary of DC's reboot. Will the pre-New 52 characters still be around? What might the next September event be? Will it involve characters from multiple universes?
With apologies for possibly thinking too far ahead, we came up with six wild theories about what's going to happen to the DCU Universe after Convergence ends in June 2015.
Old Acquaintance Be Forgot…
Over the last three years since the New 52 reboot, DC has been steaming forward with new concepts and new versions of old characters, sometimes making very few alterations, but other times, changing them drastically.
So… who needs the old?
Apparently, some fans still do. There are still people posting and blogging and begging… can't the reboot be undone? And as long as Pandora, the creator of the New 52, is still able to undo the meddling she did to help create the New 52 universe, then technically, the answer is yes.
Unless… if DC is serious about continuing its forward movement with the new universe, it's possible that Convergence's recognition of the Crisis anniversary is going to be the company's way of definitively killing the hopes for a return of the pre-52.
It would give the universe a much more fitting demise — instead of their world dying in Flashpoint, without them even aware, the heroes of the pre-52 might be given the chance to shine. Much like the heroes in the original Crisis, who were willing to sacrifice themselves to stop an evil threat, the heroes of the pre-52 and other alternate universes may be called upon to sacrifice their worlds to save the new one.
As one Newsarama staffer speculated, the Convergence could even feature a self-sacrificing act by pre-52 Superman, echoing that of Supergirl in the original Crisis. It would be the pre-Flashpoint universe's last hurrah, making its fate a much more heroic experience, while quieting anyone who wants them to return.
New New 52
If there's a possibility for DC to muck around with continuity during Convergence next year, then who's to say it won't go all out and start completely over? Convergence could bring in yet a newer universe for DC, giving them another reason to launch #1 issues.
Consider that the September 2011 reboot represented DC's highest sales in decades, so much that Marvel's been playing around with relaunches and new #1's ever since. So another massive reboot coming at the end of a Crisis anniversary isn't outside the realm of possibilities for a company looking for another reason to bring new readers into the fold.
It would also go well with DC's move to California. After the almost guaranteed editorial shake-up that will happen after the company move, a reboot would give writers and editors the chance to start fresh.
While the changes in another reboot probably wouldn't be massive — after all, we've been promised storylines like "The Darkseid War" and more Eternal next year — with a Crisis anniversary, anything is possible. And the idea of the New 52 timeline being "corrected" somehow seems a lot more interesting when it means a brand new batch of new #1 issues and new directions.
OK, so here's the idea:
Some readers love the New 52.
And some readers don't.
Wouldn't a story called Convergence be the opportune moment to make both sets of fans happy over the long-term?
In the original 1985 Crisis, readers saw five Earths fused into one single Earth.
So if Convergence is going to truly honor the original Crisis, then couldn't it merge elements of the old, pre-52 universe with elements of the new?
Someone at DC had to identify concepts they're going to bring back for the event, and they've worked out "what's been going on with them," according to DiDio.
Would they really just snatch them away at the end of the story?
DC bringing all these characters and concepts back suggests that in June, or a few months after, we may get a post-Crisis-like merging of concepts. It would be a universe where certain beloved ideas of the past return — like, say, some of the New Teen Titans' history being back, or Clark Kent's parents being alive, or the JSA being around — while the well-liked ideas from the present stick around, like the Court of Owls and the heroes of the new Earth 2.
If DC chose well, the old and new could go together like peas and carrots.
Back to the Old
There is no doubt about it, DC sales over the last three years have greatly benefitted by the New 52 reboot. And while DC's sales are generally still higher than they were pre-reboot, the Direct Market sales model is almost universally attrition for established series (which is why Marvel relaunches so often). It was a worthwhile marketing endeavor, but following Marvel's lead, maybe it's time bring back the more classic brand after a sales-boosting flirtation with the new?
Might Convergence be DC's indication that the New 52 will end, and the old universe will come back?
It feels like a something of a long shot, but let's all be honest here. How long did we think the New 52 would last? Its very name - the New 52 - has a temporary air about it. Can the status quo be properly called "new" after years have passed?
So if it's an idea that entered our heads, we have to imagine it's gone across the minds of DC executives. Besides, now that we know the old universe still exists out there somewhere, we could find out what we've missed during the last four years.
Before we start revamping universes…. let's stop to consider that maybe, just maybe, nothing needs revamping or rebooting after Convergence ends.
Sure, Brainiac and this new villain Telos will make plenty of trouble, as the universes from throughout the DCU are attacked and bottled and collected . And the heroes of the New 52 (and presumably, other universes) are going to have to deal with it.
But couldn't they succeed and save both the old and the new?
Marvel's Ultimate Universe may be allegedly coming to an end, but there's no reason DC can't learn from their success and let two universes (and comic lines) co-exist. Marvel has made plenty of money off their Ultimate comics being published alongside their regular, "616" universe titles, so why couldn't DC have its New 52 line being published alongside its regular, pre-52 universe?
It would give readers the opportunity to choose which Teen Titans they prefer, or which Superman they want to read about each month.
With the success of Earth 2 — so successful that it spawned a weekly series — maybe DC is realizing that it's OK to have more than one version of their heroes being published at the same time, and we'll see an era where both the young and the old can co-exist.
And hey, maybe that's why Earth 2 is being "destroyed" — to make room for the pre-New 52 world.
Although it's possible that the old universe is simply one of the 52 Earths out there in DC's Multiverse, there's another possibility that might be even more exciting. If there's more than one Earth in the DCU, what if there's more than one Multiverse?
What if there are… infinite Multiverses out there in the DCU?
What if DC had an omniverse?
It would explain how all these pre-52 universes still exist somewhere, and would also give credence to Keith Giffen's claim that he and J.M. DeMatteis are creating a brand new "Bwa-ha-verse" of their own with Justice League 3000.
It would mean Grant Morrison's current Multiversity title would still be accurate, with its finite number of Earths. But old stories about the various DC Earths would also be accurate. Tiny Titans could have its own Multiverse, where the kids travel to other crazy dimensions. And so could the animated universe. Or the Nolan-verse. Or the Donner-verse.
It would open the door for anthologies that occasionally have Pre-52 stories, or Timm universe stories, or stories from any other Multiverses. And with the word "infinite" running through its description, this feels like the idea that would mean Convergence truly pays homage to the original Crisis.