SOME SYRUP WITH THOSE WAFFLES?1 of 12Now that the New 52 has turned three years old, there are still a lot of unknowns about the revised, five-ish year history of the superheroes that populate DC's comics. The approach seems to be that the missing five years will be filled in as needed, when stories require flashbacks or creators want to write brand new origin stories.
It's not surprising that DC wants that history to remain flexible, because they've already run into a few instances where the history that was implied in one book either didn't match up with what was being implied in another, or a later story reversed that history to switch the character's past into a different direction.
As Catwoman's origin just got a rewrite in Batman Eternal — and rumors are swirling about DC possibly "fixing" continuity with Convergence in April — we were inspired to come up with what we consider the Top 10 New 52 Switcheroos.
MARTIAN MANHUNTER2 of 12When J'onn J'onnz first showed up in the New 52, he was billed as an ex-member of the Justice League who was now serving on the covert team called Stormwatch.
But later, that history appeared to have changed, with J'onn giving the excuse (within Stormwatch) that he simply wasn't honest with his teammates about his Justice League past — he never wanted to be a public superhero and join the Justice League. So which was it?
Well, by the time the famous alien showed up in Justice League of America, it was newly established that he had tried to join the Justice League during the team's first five years, but things had gone bad and he ended up fighting the whole team. And in Justice League United, we've learned that Martian Manhunter fought the team's current threat, Byth, in the previously unseen past, with a Justice League team.
Of course, to be fair, it's difficult to know the definitive truth about Martian Manhunter's first years in the New 52, because he can erase people's memories about him — as he did with the Stormwatch team. Maybe his entire history is just… fiction.
TEEN TITANS3 of 12Back in 2011, before DC's reboot, Teen Titans writer Scott Lobdell told convention-goers, "There are groups in the mythology that were called Teen Titans before." Yet DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio was saying, around the same time, that the Wolfman/Pérez era would be "eventually gone."
Who was right? Well… in the first couple months of the New 52 relaunch, the brand new Teen Titans comic and the newly launched Batwoman series both referred to former Teen Titans teams. Tim Drake talked about the current team being the "shortest incarnation of the Teen Titans ever" — implying the existence of past teams. And Batwoman character Bette Kane referred to herself as a "former" Teen Titan.
But when the collections of Batwoman and Teen Titans came out later, those references to the old Teen Titans teams had been edited out of the books. No longer was there an old Teen Titans team.
There was also a discussion in Red Hood and the Outlaws #6, where readers were shown Nightwing, Starfire and Arsenal, implying that they worked together during the missing five years. But now Lobdell (who wrote the Red Hood issue) says the 20-something heroes of the DCU "hung out," but never formally put together a Teen Titans team.
LOBO4 of 12In the first year of the New 52, Lobo showed up in both Deathstroke and Stormwatch, establishing his character in the rebooted universe.
But in 2013, DC announced that wasn't Lobo after all.
No, that guy was an impostor, and the real Lobo was hunting him down and hoping to kill him — something that's difficult to do, since people from Lobo's planet can regenerate.
But it was the look of the new Lobo that had a lot of fans talking, as he sported a sleeker, slimmer physique and was established as much more no-nonsense than the impostor.
Whatever the reason for the switcheroo and redesign, the new Lobo is now (spoilers!) the only Lobo, and he's got his own ongoing comic book series by writer Cullen Bunn. In the first few pages of the first issue, which was recently released, the new Lobo kills the old one, frying his head "with enough weaponized giga-kelvins to ensure not even a native-born Czarnian can 'gen from it."
CATWOMAN5 of 12In various New 52 stories, it's been implied that Selina Kyle stole her identity, and that her real name was, possibly, Russian (or at least, that's how she was identified in a criminal-controlled database). We were also told that she had a brother, and was raised in an orphanage where she was taught to steal. But that she had amnesia and forgot her brother.
But the story in Batman Eternal has now established that Catwoman is actually Selina Calabrese, the daughter of a crime kingpin and the inspiration for her eventual rise (that we already know is coming) to the head of Gotham's crime family. The revision gives Selina a cool connection to Gotham City, but Calabrese doesn't sound very Russian...
BATMAN/DAMIAN TIMELINE6 of 12This one used to bother a lot of DC fans (and possibly still does, despite the eventual explanation) — if Bruce Wayne has a 10-year-old son that he fathered when he was Batman, then how could superheroes have only arisen in the New 52 about five years ago?
For the first few years of the New 52, there was no explanation for the time mismatch, but in Batman and Ra's Al Ghul #32, editor-turned-writer Peter Tomasi not only came up with a solution, but made it part of his story in the "Robin Rises" saga. Not only did Talia Al Ghul use a Chaos Shard to advance Damian's aging until he was about six years old, but the Shard was the key to Batman's quest to revive the young Robin.
So yes, he's 10 years old, but that didn't take 10 years.
(RED?) ROBIN QUESTIONS7 of 12Along the lines of the Damian question is another one regarding Batman's continuity. How did he have four Robins (Dick, Jason, Tim and Damian) in only five or six years?
One of the answers was provided early in New 52 publicity, when it was stated that Nightwing became Robin when he was about 16 — meaning he became an adult and probably switched to the Nightwing identity only a couple years into his Robin gig.
Then during a convention appearance, Teen Titans writer Scott Lobdell raised some eyebrows when he revealed that Tim Drake, the former Robin who was leading the Titan team, was never called "Robin" in New 52 continuity. He always called himself Red Robin, even when he was Batman's sidekick.
However, that represented a bit of a switch from things that had already been said in other stories. Characters had referred to him in other stories as a former Robin — and even called him by that name (without being corrected by anyone). And there had been captions in various comics that referred to his time as Robin.
Lobdell came up with a pretty honorable reason for the name choice, though — Tim became Robin after Jason Todd died, and while he played the role of Robin, he didn't want to "downplay Jason's death by pulling on the mask before Bruce had even had much time to deal with the boy's murder."
DEATH OF SUPERMAN8 of 12The question has driven some DC fans crazy. Did the Death of Superman happen? Or not?
There were early indications that Superman did die at the hands of Doomsday. But later comments from DC — particularly our interview with Superman/Wonder Woman writer Charles Soule — put the whole thing into question.
Readers also heard directly from Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis (in a youtube video, no less, that DC almost hired him to reboot the Death of Superman for the New 52.
And of course, some of the events of the original Death of Superman can't have happened in the New 52, because those characters have brand new origins that don't include the event.
So did he die? Or didn't he?
The answer might have come in a panel from the Geoff Johns/John Romita Jr. kick-off issue, Superman #32. As Clark Kent walks through the Daily Planet, the headline on a framed newspaper page screams out, "Superman Dead" and "Superman Lives." If you see it in the Daily Planet, it must be true.
DEATH OF BATMAN9 of 12The early issues of Batman stories in the New 52 talked about Dick Grayson replacing Bruce Wayne as Batman — a story that took place when Bruce was believed to be dead. However, that death took place during Final Crisis, a story that DC Co-Publisher definitively announced was not part of DC continuity.
That presumed death (which was actually caused by time travel) was at the hands of Darkseid, who it was established only met the Justice League five years prior. And it was implied that the Justice League hadn't faced him since.
So if Bruce Wayne wasn't Batman for awhile, and Dick Grayson was, how exactly did that happen?
Well, credit to Peter Tomasi's Robin Rises storyline again, as readers finally found out this summer that Darkseid actually did send Bruce through time and he was believed to be dead. No mention of Final Crisis, of course, and no explanation about exactly how Darkseid had a showdown with Bruce when the Justice League wasn't involved, but the fact still remains — the New 52 has established definitively that the Death of Bruce Wayne happened.
FUTURE LEGIONS AND LEAGUES10 of 12When the New 52 launched, DC's teenage team from the 31st Century, the Legion of Super-Heroes, was not only part of it with their own title, but also with a spin-off series called Legion Lost, that brought some of the team members into the present day DCU.
However, by the time both Legion Lost ended and Legion of Super-Heroes was canceled, it looked like maybe the Legion from the New 52 wasn't actually from the New 52 future, but was from the future of Earth 2.
Although writer Paul Levitz said he wanted to leave it open-ended, so the Legion could be from any Earth or timeline, the writing was on the wall. And when DC launched a new ongoing series called Justice League 3000, seemingly replacing the Legion, it looked like DC had pulled a big switch on the Legion continuity.
However, it's been revealed that Justice League 3000 isn't from this Earth either. It's from an earth that resembles the pre-New 52 Earth, where J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen can play with their favorite characters.
And now, Jeff Lemire has brought back the Legion in his Justice League United title.
Of course, there was another Legion that showed up recently in DC titles, and that brings us to our number one switcheroo...
PRE-NEW 52 EXISTENCE11 of 12Nothing quite outweighs the switch DC stories have made in the last three years from claiming that the pre-Flashpoint universe was altered and eliminated to the revelation in the last month that the old heroes are alive and well… somewhere.
Whether it ends up that the pre-New 52 universe still exists somewhere, or they're all just collections in Brainiac's bottled cities, the fact remains that the once eliminated heroes of the pre-New 52 universe are not only back in continuity, but they're being featured in high profile current stories — and most probably future stories, such as Convergence. And that is by far DC's biggest switch in the three and a half years since the launch of the New 52.
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