DC REBIRTH #1 Mysteries: What We've Learned Over the Last Six Months

Wonder Woman #11
Credit: DC Comics
Credit: DC Comics

Many of the briefest teases were resolved almost immediately upon the launch of "Rebirth" titles — for example, the identity of Gotham and Gotham Girl, the revamp of John Constantine's book, Wonder Woman's twin brother, the team-up between Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes, and whether Wally West will win back the heart of Linda Park.

But some of the more surprising revelations in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 are still in limbo — or have been forwarded just a tad since the book came out in May. Newsarama takes a look at a few of them, examining what was originally hinted in the Rebirth special and what we've learned since.

Justice Society of America

What was hinted: May's Rebirth special included a scene with Johnny Thunder trying to say his magic words — obviously implying that the Justice Society will somehow return. But he's almost 100 years old, and the narration talks about his team helping to end World War II. By 2016, those would be some old heroes. How will they return?

Credit: Jorge Corona (DC Comics)

What we've learned since: The next hint about the return of the JSA came in the final page of Flash #9 in October, when readers were shown the helmet associated with former Flash character (and JSA member) Jay Garrick. 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."

Flash writer Josh Williamson told Newsarama that Flash #9 teased "stuff that's going to be going on in other books that haven't been announced yet." Because of DC Universe: Rebirth's hints, readers already know that the JSA is coming back eventually (as part of "Rebirth"). So now that Jay Garrick's helmet has been shown in Flash #9, with that character being a member of the JSA, it's possible that one of the books that "haven't been announced yet" (to which Williamson is referring) is a Justice Society book.

Legion of Super-Heroes

What was hinted: In DC Universe Rebirth, someone from the Legion of Super-Heroes appeared to be lost in Gotham City. The girl 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.

What we've learned since: In Batman #9, Batman is walking through Arkham Asylum with Jim Gordon and Jeremiah Arkham. Some of the inmates are seen in side images, including the Calendar Man and Tweeds. But then readers are shown a young woman labeled only as "Doe, Jane," who is seen trying to use her Legion ring to send a message (the Legion symbol). It is the same woman (now identified as Saturn Girl) who was seen in DC Universe: Rebirth.

Credit: DC Comics

In DC Universe: Rebirth, it wasn't clear why she was being held. Now, being locked up in Arkham Asylum, it's clear that there's more to the story. What is she doing in Arkham in the present day? And when will we see the Legion of Super-Heroes next?

Atom's Entrapment

What was hinted: In Rebirth, 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 shown up yet in "Rebirth" continuity, but one theory has emerged about the location of Ray Palmer and why he might have gotten trapped. Because his message hints about a disrupted timeline in the DCU, it could be connected to the Watchmen-related meddling with the timeline. And because Mr. Oz is taking prisoners — namely Tim Drake (see below) — it's possible that Ray Palmer is trapped in Mr. Oz's prison because of his discoveries related to "robberies" of time.

DC has also revealed, in its Direct Currents magazine, that readers will learn more about the Atom's fate in the new Justice League of America series by Steve Orlando and Ivan Reis. "Ryan Choi's journey to find out what became of his mentor will appear front and center in Justice League of America," DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio said to fans in a letter in Direct Currents. In fact, we now know that Ryan Choi will be a member of the JLA, a team that is being formed in 2017 by Batman.

Superman's Nature

What was hinted: A mysterious character named Mr. Oz appeared in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 to talk with the married, pre-New 52 Superman. He calls the death of the New 52 Superman's death a "tragedy." (The quotation marks are his, implying that New 52 Superman's death wasn't a tragedy at all.) And then says, "You and your family are not what you believe you are. And neither was the fallen Superman."

What we've learned since: There have been clues that something fishy is going on with New 52 Superman's death. In the first few pages of Superman #1 by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, pre-52 Superman takes a moment to visit New 52 Superman's grave. When the older hero touches the ground above his dead counterpart's body, a glowing blue handprint forms in the grass.

The moment has been linked to the involvement of the Watchmen characters (see below), mainly because pre-52 Superman thinks about Mr. Oz when he sees the blue glow.

Readers have also seen the death of New 52 Lois Lane. Having acted as Superwoman in the beginning of "Rebirth," she died by the end of Superwoman #1 in a manner that was very similar to the way Superman died.

Her last words indicated that she also saw him. "Clark..?" she said. "Oh God. I understand now…it all makes se…""

Superwoman writer Phil Jimenez told Newsarama that Lois' story is not finished, which has given rise to the theory that New 52 Superman and Superwoman might return.

There's also another ongoing mystery in Action Comics that might be connected — yet another Clark Kent has shown up. This one doesn't have superpowers, and he showed up at the Daily Planet and claimed he was previously in hiding.

Readers have also been promised by DC that "Superman Reborn," a crossover between Superman and Action Comics that kicks off in March 2017, will provide some answers. DC's Direct Currents magazine teased that duplicate Clark Kent is key to the story and there's a "massive emotional price that must be paid by the story's end." The story is also going to shed some light on the aforementioned Mr. Oz.

Mysterious Mr. Oz

What was hinted: As we just detailed, Mr. Oz's appearance was in a scene where he talked to Superman. However, it wasn't the first time the character appeared, and his mystery is ongoing.

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 in the time period that he discovered his Solar Flare. The first time Mr. Oz appeared, he was watching 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."

Then the character told Superman that he (and the dead New 52 version of Superman) were not what they "seemed."

What we've learned since: Mr. Oz has appeared in Action Comics, where he collected Doomsday and was shown to have a small army working for him as he appeared to be trying to manipulate events behind the scenes.

Then in Detective Comics, Mr. Oz captured former Robin Tim Drake — making all the Bat-characters think the young man was dead — and imprisoned him. "You were reconnecting threads that could not be reconnected," Oz told Tim. "You're so loved, so deeply intertwined, it became crucial that we take you off the field. And that's where you are, Tim. Off the field."

After Tim tries to convince Oz that Batman will come for him, he yells, "This isn't over!"


Credit: DC Comics

In the prison, there appear to be two other prisoners. In previous appearances, Mr. Oz was shown speaking to someone behind a giant door, so it's possible that is one of the prisoners. Or maybe the aforementioned Ray Palmer? Or perhaps Doomsday?

In the same month, Tim Drake disappeared from the future in Batman Beyond, and series writer Dan Jurgens confirmed to Newsarama that Tim's future disappearance is related to the imprisonment of current-day Tim by Mr. Oz. So it appears that he's not only been removed from the current-day playing "field," but the future one as well.

A theory about Mr. Oz's identity has also emerged. With the Watchmen tie-in to the DCU, the leading theory behind Mr. Oz's identity is Ozymandias, one of the Watchmen characters. (See Newsarama's article from May to see an explanation of the theory and an examination of the earliest clues.) So far, there's been no evidence that Mr. Oz isn't Ozymandias, but neither has it been confirmed.

Watchmen Involvement

What was hinted: Wally West alleged in DC Universe: Rebirth that someone has "infected" the DCU for a "long time." He says 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," Wally said. "As our time lines reformed, someone stole ten years from us. A decade was removed like a Jenga piece."

The issue also showed Batman finding the blood-spattered smiley face button from Watchmen in the wall of the Batcave. The issue showed someone (probably Dr. Manhattan) vaporizing Pandora when she talked about the evils being unleashed upon the world (which appeared to be linked with the death of Metron and Owlman at the end of Justice League #50).

The book ended with imagery that insinuated someone from the Watchmen universe (again, most likely Dr. Manhattan) is responsible for the time manipulation of the DCU.

What we've learned since: According to The Flash: Rebirth #1, when Wally West appeared to Batman in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, his lightning embedded the smiley face button into the wall. Although Batman originally suspected a connection to the Joker, Batman and Barry Allen now believe the button is connected to the same timeline mystery that Wally was talking about. And tests on the button have shown that the "blood on the button has traces of a radiation unlike anything we've seen."

Readers were told that Batman and Barry Allen intended to work on solving the mystery together without telling the Justice League (at least for now). According to DC's Direct Currents magazine, that type of analyzation of the button will continue in 2017. "Batman and Flash will be joining forces to forensically find out what [the button] is and, more importantly, where it came from," a letter from DiDio revealed.

Readers have also been shown that a letter from Bruce Wayne's father, which is in the Batcave, serves as evidence of the timeline alteration during Flashpoint. Wally cited the letter to Barry, and the letter is seen in the Batcave as Batman and the Flash are talking in Flash: Rebirth.

In Batman #2, writer Tom King introduced Psycho-Pirate to the "Rebirth" Universe as a prisoner in Arkham Asylum who escapes — and is later under the protection of Bane. In the current Batman storyline, Batman is trying to get Psycho Pirate away from Bane.

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.

According to Batman writer Tom King, Psycho-Pirate retains the continuity-remembering abilities in "Rebirth" universe. As he told Newsarama after Batman #4 was published, "as established in Grant Morrison's Animal Man, the Pirate remembers continuity that no longer exists," and that's "one of the appeals of having him in this book, and tying him into the story spine of the greater DCU."

If Psycho-Pirate ends up remembering the 10 years of erased continuity, he's a key element in Batman and Wally West's quest for answers to the mysteries of Rebirth.

Credit: DC Comics

There's one more clue that might be tied to the Watchmen reveal. In Wonder Woman #11, Diana found out that she's never actually returned home since first leaving Paradise Island with Steve Trevor all those years ago. A mysterious enemy has been manipulating her life — and the villain has been doing so ever since before she became Wonder Woman. The revelation has wiped away her New 52 continuity, and it might be connected to the Watchmen manipulations already revealed elsewhere.

There are a few more teases from DC Universe: Rebirth that haven't been resolved, like who's going to sit in that empty Mobius Chair? What's with the three Jokers? And where are the Shazam characters that were shown in the special's final splash page? Creators at DC have repeated frequently that the Rebirth story is going to play out over the next two years, so we'll probably be back in another six months to check a few more mysteries off the list.

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