DC's REBIRTH: What Mysteries Still Exist? And What Is Known So Far?

"DC Universe: Rebirth #1" pin-up
Credit: Ivan Reis (DC Comics)

Some of the mysteries introduced in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 have been resolved, but there are still a lot of questions about the more surprising hints.

Newsarama takes a look at a few of them, examining what was originally hinted in the "Rebirth" opener and what we've learned since.

Credit: Ivan Reis & Joe Prado (DC Comics)

Justice Society of America

Credit: DC Comics

What was hinted: On the wraparound cover of a "Rebirth"-centric catalog last year, DC promoted their "Rebirth" initiative by sharing an image with three hourglasses: the most prominent featuring the core "Rebirth" heroes, but then a second featuring characters from the Justice Society of America and the third including characters from an '80s-style Justice League of America.

Then May 2016's DC Universe: Rebirth #1 included a scene with an elderly Johnny Thunder trying to say his magic words, implying that the Justice Society could return, but it's all up to Johnny to make it happen. The narration talks about his team being a covert team of mystery men that helped end World War II.

Credit: Jorge Corona (DC Comics)

What we've learned since: Johnny showed up again, still in a "home for the elderly," in April's The Flash #21. He's still apologizing for what he supposedly did to the JSA, insinuating that it's all his fault that the team is gone. Did Johnny Thunder really cause the JSA to be lost? Or is he just a rambling old dude?

Readers may soon find out more about whether the JSA will return as DC's "The Button" crossover resolves later this month in The Flash #22. Covers for the crossover have hinted about JSA founder Jay Garrick showing up during the story.

Readers already saw Jay's helmet in October's Flash #9. In the issue, Barry Allen said that he saw the helmet when he was in the Speed Force. "I had one last vision… and I saw something in the Speed Force I don't think I was supposed to see," Barry says about the helmet. "I don't know what it was but… it filled me with hope."
 

Legion of Super-Heroes

What was hinted: In DC Universe: Rebirth #1, someone from the Legion of Super-Heroes appeared to be lost in Gotham City. The young woman was requesting an audience with Superman, and when she's told that he might be dead, she doesn't seem alarmed. She claims to have seen the future, and "everything's going to be all right." And her only possession is a Legion flight ring.

Credit: DC Comics

What we've learned since: DC confirmed in one of their promo videos that the girl is, indeed, Saturn Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes. And in Batman #9, she made a brief cameo appearance as a prisoner in Arkham Asylum, as Batman was walking by her cell with Jim Gordon and Jeremiah Arkham.

In April's Batman #21, the first chapter of DC's "The Button" crossover, Saturn Girl was still a prisoner in Arkham Asylum, this time watching a hockey game on TV. As a fight began between two hockey players, Saturn Girl freaked out and said someone was going to die. "This is the game," she said, "where they kill him. They're going to kill him."

One of the hockey players did indeed die, but that death doesn't appear to be what is alarming Saturn Girl. She screamed that "our friends will die" and "the Legion will die." However, DC hasn't shown her again since.

Credit: DC Comics


 

Atom's Entrapment

What was hinted: In DC Universe: Rebirth #1, Ray Palmer sent a message to his assistant Ryan Choi, stating that he was in "big trouble." Palmer's message indicated that he needed rescued. And the reason that he became trapped? He was investigating "a disruption deep within the temporal nanostructure of the time line."

"I found evidence of something much bigger than a few historical robberies within the very essence of time," Palmer says.

The character tells Choi that he shrunk down so far that he discovered the "microverse." Palmer asks Choi to similarly shrink down to come rescue him, but he says that Choi needs to watch out for someone when he gets to the "first world of the microverse."

Credit: DC Comics

What we've learned since: This story hasn't been completely resolved, but many have theorized that Ray's message about a disrupted timeline in the DCU is connected to the apparently Watchmen-related meddling with the "Rebirth" timeline.

DC's new Justice League of America series already teased the moment that Ryan finds his mentor. According to a teaser at the end of Justice League of America: Rebirth #1, Ray Palmer is found wearing some type of different costume, and Ryan seems surprised to find him this way.

But readers apparently have to wait for that tease to come true in JLA, although it might come soon - April's issue of JLA showed the character Blue Jay shrinking down and finding what looked like it might be the "microverse."
 

Superman's Split

What was hinted: After the "New 52" Superman died, the mysterious Mr. Oz appeared in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 to talk with the post-Crisis Superman. The character said, "You and your family are not what you believe you are. And neither was the fallen Superman."

Credit: DC Comics

What we've learned since: "Superman Reborn" revealed that someone messed with Superman in the past and split him into two, causing him to live two distinct lives - one as the "New 52" Superman and the other as the post-Crisis version. Lois Lane was similarly split.

Because of some meddling by Mr. Mxyzptlk, each characters' two lives were put back together during "Superman Reborn," creating one new gestalt version of Superman and one new Lois Lane, as well as a new continuity to go with them.

However, this new Superman senses that something is wrong, and in the last issue of Action Comics #978, Mr. Oz talked to Superman again. He first mentioned the "long game," then said to Superman: "My message is for you and you alone. All you need to know is that you are dealing with forces beyond you, alone, or otherwise."

images from Action Comics #978
images from Action Comics #978
Credit: DC Comics

Mr. Oz destroyed the Fortress of Solitude's statue of Ma and Pa Kent, which makes Superman realize that "all of us are threatened" by this "foe." And the issue implied that Superman and friends may be trying to deal with Mr. Oz in the future.
 

Mysterious Mr. Oz

Credit: DC Comics

What was hinted: As we just detailed, Mr. Oz has been kind of stalking Superman. Introduced during the "New 52" Superman run by Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr., Mr. Oz was a mysterious hooded figure who was watching "New 52" Superman fight and implied that he "taught" him in the past. Then in Superman #39, we learned that his name was Mr. Oz, as he mailed a blank book to Clark Kent, saying, "the future is unwritten Clark, but you and your friends will see it soon enough."

What we've learned since: Mr. Oz has been collecting and imprisoning various DC characters, including Mr. Mxyzptlk (who escaped) and Tim Drake (whom the Bat-characters think is dead, and who also disappeared from his Batman Beyond future). There appear to be other as-yet-unseen prisoners in Oz's cells, and when Tim Drake tried to escape during a recent scene, he was surprised by something he saw within the prison.

The leading theory about Mr. Oz's identity is that, with the alleged Watchmen tie-in to the DCU, he may be Ozymandias. So far, there's been no evidence that Mr. Oz isn't Ozymandias, but neither has it been confirmed. (A secondary theory has Mr.Oz as Superboy-Prime, which we also looked into.)

However, it's also been strongly hinted that Oz is not the main character that is manipulating the DCU timeline, nor the one who split Superman apart. At the end of the "Superman Reborn" crossover, readers are shown a red planet beyond the Earth's moon - presumably Mars, which was also shown during the Watchmen tease in DC Universe: Rebirth #1.

Oz says, "Is it Superman who has the final say, or him?"
 

Watchmen Involvement

What was hinted: In DC Universe: Rebirth #1, Wally West said that someone has "infected" the DCU for a "long time." He said that, when Barry Allen initially caused the Flashpoint universe to be created, "someone outside of time watched it all happen. And when history was coming back together, they attacked."

"As our time lines reformed, someone stole ten years from us," Wally continued. "A decade was removed like a Jenga piece."

Batman also found the blood-spattered smiley face button from Watchmen in the wall of the Batcave. The issue showed someone (maybe Dr. Manhattan?) vaporizing Pandora in a flash of blue (a death that was similar to what happened to Metron and Owlman at the end of Justice League #50).

Credit: DC Comics

The book ended with imagery and dialogue that strongly implied someone from the Watchmen universe is responsible for the time manipulation of the DCU.

What we've learned since: There's the mention of "him" during the end of "Superman Reborn" (see above), showing Mars again (an obvious hint that "him" is Dr. Manhattan).

And over the last few weeks, we've learned more about that smiley face button that Wally West's lightning embedded into the wall of the Batcave. In "The Button" crossover, when Eobard Thawne touched the Button, he was instantly transported away (in a flash of blue) from the Batcave, then reappeared seconds later (in another blue flash) with half his body vaporized by someone.

images from The Flash #21
images from The Flash #21
Credit: DC Comics

Batman and The Flash have since used the Cosmic Treadmill to trace where the Button took Eobard - traveling through an oddly-blue background. And they discovered that all histories of the main DC Universe still exist somehow, being held in place by someone for suspected nefarious purposes.

There have also been hints that Psycho-Pirate may play a role. The character was re-introduced in Batman for an entirely different reason, but in "The Button," his mask interacted with the Watchmen button. (Psycho-Pirate is the alter ego of Roger Hayden, a man who not only has the ability to project emotions onto other people, but in previous timelines, he could remember DC's continuity changes.)

Many of the continuity changes that were allegedly caused by the Watchmen-connected character have been resolved somewhat over time, particularly the strange nature of the two Supermen (now united into one character).

However, in "The Button," Barry and Bruce saw glimpses of DC's past - from the original formation of the Justice League to the Identity Crisis mind-wipe of Batman - that shouldn't still be around. Somehow they still exist, and Barry Allen is convinced that "someone" is behind it.

images from The Flash #21
images from The Flash #21
Credit: DC Comics
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