DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns has discussed his motivations for DC's Rebirth at length - that he wants to return a sense of hope, optimism, and legacy to DC Comics. But he's rarely specifically discussed his perceived problems with the "New 52," the DC reboot that preceded Rebirth. Now, he's opened up about the "New 52"'s lack of direction, calling Rebirth the "compass" for DC's future, and even confessing that he was "apathetic" about some aspects of the "New 52."
"One of the problems I had as a writer in the 'New 52' is that we're dropped into an open field — here's your character, we're going to relaunch it — and then you look around and think, well, which direction am I supposed to go in?" Johns told Heat Vision. "With this, we had the conversation ahead of time: look over there, towards the horizon: that's the direction. And the path isn't narrow; it's not all the characters have to have a cape or whatever. Rebirth is the compass, here's where we're going."
"What happened with the 'New 52' was that a brick wall had been built between that and everything that had happened before. In my mind, it was like a brick wall, and it felt like, say, the version I read of Raven wasn't the Raven I'm reading now. It felt like the emotional connection I had with the character broke. I'll tell you a character specifically, and I'll be candid about it: Superboy, Connor Kent."
"One of my favorite characters of all time," Johns continued, "And I had a great time writing him in Teen Titans, and I loved writing him in his solo run [in Adventure Comics]. They reintroduced him in the 'New 52' and he was so different, so vastly changed, that I couldn't connect with the book that well. The emotional tie just severed, and it didn't sever in the way that made me angry, it was worse than that: I had apathy for it. I didn't care anymore."
Connor Kent remains absent from Rebirth, with Jonathan Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, advertised as Rebirth's Superboy.
Despite a more unified direction for DC during Rebirth, Johns assures fans the line won't be published by homogenously happy heroes.
"It doesn't mean that every character is going to be optimistic or have the same attitude because that'd be boring. But it does mean that there'll be a pervasive attitude in DC of belief — not only belief in yourself, but in what you're doing — and celebration, a tone of celebration. It doesn't mean there aren't going to be threats, or that we're going backwards or being regressive, but it does mean that the pervasive attitude in the DNA of DC is optimism. Which I firmly believe."