DC's REBIRTH: The Answers Expected This Week, The Questions That Still Remain

DC Comics Rebirth catalogue
Credit: Ivan Reis (DC Comics)

Many of the mysteries introduced in May 2016's DC Universe: Rebirth #1 have been resolved, and several more answers are promised with the November launch of Doomsday Clock, the 12-issue maxi-series by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.

But several mysteries still remain, and this week's releases promise to address several of them. As DC nears the end of its promised "two-year story" that started with Rebirth's mysteries, Newsarama takes a look at what questions remain, examining what was originally hinted in the Rebirth special, what we've learned since and what's expected next.


Justice Society of America

What was hinted: The Justice Society of America's history and many of its characters were eliminated from continuity when the "New 52" launched and shortened the DC timeline. But the Rebirth one-shot hinted that the team may be coming back.

Credit: DC Comics

DC Universe: Rebirth #1 included a scene with an elderly Johnny Thunder trying to summon his genie, Thunderbolt. The scene implied that the Justice Society could return, but it's all up to Johnny to make it happen. The narration talked about his team being a covert team of mystery men that helped end World War II.

What we've learned since: Johnny showed up a few months later, still in a "home for the elderly," in April's The Flash #21 (during DC's "The Button" crossover). He was apologizing for what he supposedly did to the JSA, insinuating that their disappearance was all his fault and he couldn't summon his Thunderbolt anymore.

Then in The Flash #22, JSA founder Jay Garrick was shown, and it appears that he's been trapped (along with, we assume, other JSA members) in a manner similar to what happened to Wally West. The scene indicated that the JSA members are unable to return to existence unless someone remembers their names and serves as a tether. And Barry Allen is not Jay Garrick's tether.

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

What's Expected: It's likely that JSA story will be picked up in Doomsday Clock, because when Jay's helmet showed up in The Flash #9, Barry Allen equated the helmet with "hope." And DC has been marketing Doomsday Clock as a battle between cynicism and hope.

Doomsday Clock is also expected to address the true cause of the "New 52" reboot (which Rebirth alluded was Dr. Manhattan), which is the event that seems to have excised the JSA from continuity and into some sort of entrapment.

Also, the JSA is a team long associated with Johns - the DC exec wrote the team's title for more than 100 issues - so it would make sense for him to be the one who brings them back to continuity.
 

Legion of Super-Heroes

Credit: DC Comics

What was hinted: In DC Universe: Rebirth #1, Saturn Girl from the future Legion of Super-Heroes was lost in present-day Gotham City. The girl was requesting an audience with Superman, and when she was told that he might be dead, she wasn't alarmed. She said "everything's going to be all right." And her only possession was a Legion flight ring.

What we've learned since: Saturn Girl showed up again in Batman #9 as a prisoner in Arkham Asylum. Then in April's Batman #21 (in DC's "The Button" crossover), Saturn Girl was still a prisoner in Arkham Asylum, but was much more desperate. She screamed that "our friends will die" and "the Legion will die."

What's Expected: There's been little sign of Saturn Girl since (unless you count her casting for CW's Supergirl Monday), so this is another thread that will probably be picked up by Johns, who was responsible for the Legion's last revival.
 

Atom's Entrapment

Credit: DC Comics

What was hinted: In the one-shot Rebirth issue, Ray Palmer sent a message to his assistant Ryan Choi, stating that he was in "big trouble" and needed rescued from the "Microverse." He was investigating "a disruption deep within the temporal nanostructure of the time line" and "a few historical robberies within the very essence of time."

Palmer told Choi to watch out for someone when he gets to the "first world of the microverse."

What we've learned since: The Justice League of America title is in the midst of a storyline depicting Choi and several League members shrinking down to rescue Ray from the Microverse. Among all the weird micro-cosmology, they discovered the tiny universe was in crisis from quantum storms.

After befriending a character named Aron Aut who claimed to know Palmer, Ryan and the other JLA members finally found Ray at the end of September 13's Justice League of America #14. But it looks like Ray messed up - Aut might actually be the villain of the story.

What's Expected: The story continues in this September 27's JLA #15. And although many people theorized that the story was connected to the larger Dr. Manhattan and Mr. Oz story, it's looking like it's just an interesting red herring set in the Microverse and this new character Aut is the one Ray was warning about.
 

Superman's Split

Credit: DC Comics

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."

What we've learned since: Oz was right. Earlier this year, the "Superman Reborn" crossover revealed that someone (probably Dr. Manhattan) 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 gestalt version of Superman and one of Lois Lane, as well as a new continuity to go with them.

What's Expected: Readers still don't know why Superman was split into two. The reason may be revealed during the upcoming Mr. Oz stories in Action Comics (more on that later in this stoy), or it might be part of Doomsday Clock, which promises that Superman will come up against Dr. Manhattan.
 

Mysterious Mr. Oz

What was hinted: 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.

Credit: John Romita Jr. (DC Comics)

What we've learned since: Mr. Oz is Jor-El, Superman's Kryptonian father. He's scarred on one side of his head. And upcoming covers imply he was transported out of Krypton just before it exploded - probably by Dr. Manhattan.

We've also found out that Mr. Oz has been imprisoning various DC characters, including Mr. Mxyzptlk, Doomsday, and Tim Drake. There appear to be other as-yet-unseen prisoners in Oz's cells.

What's Expected: In this week's comic books (according to solicitations), Tim Drake will escape from his cell in Detective Comics #965, and Superman will continue to confront Jor-El/Oz in Action Comics #988. In subsequent issues of Action, Oz will confront Lois Lane, will recruit his alleged grandson Superboy, and will continue to shake up Superman's world.
 

Watchmen Involvement

Credit: DC Comics

What was hinted: In DC Universe: Rebirth #1, Wally 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 … [and] stole ten years from us."

The issue also showed Batman finding the blood-spattered smiley face button from Watchmen in the wall of the Batcave. The issue showed 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, also written by Johns).

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: Johns has confirmed multiple times that Dr. Manhattan is the figure who was shown in Rebirth messing with DC's timeline.

During "The Button" crossover, Manhattan killed Eobard Thawne, and when Batman and the Flash tried to trace the smiley-face button, they discovered that all histories of the main DC Universe still exist somehow, being held in place for suspected nefarious purposes.

What's Expected: Doomsday Clock will definitely explain this mystery. Not only does the story promise to feature Dr. Manhattan versus Superman, but Johns strongly hinted that Ozymandias would be seen interacting with Lex Luthor and one of the lenticular covers for Doomsday Clock #1 revealed an image featuring the inkblots on Rorscarch's mask turning into the logos for Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, meaning the character may also appear.
 

Wonder Woman's Brother

Credit: DC Comics

What was hinted: The end of "Darkseid War" in Justice League also indicated that Wonder Woman has a twin brother, and his name is Jason. The Rebirth special also emphasized another outcome of "Darkseid War" - that Darkseid, who died, has returned as a baby and is being cared for by the half-Amazon/half-Darkseid-offspring Grail.

What we've learned since: Baby Darkseid showed up in Dark Nights: Metal #2 after Batman stole him somehow from Grail. He planned to use the baby's Omega Sanction to fight Barbatos, but his plan failed. Baby Darkseid was last seen in the same area as a group of Nightmare Batmen, but the story indicated Grail would be soon looking for him.

What's Expected: This week's Wonder Woman #31 will pick up the story of Grail, Jason and Baby Darkseid (although solicitations show him soon becoming an adult). The issue kicks off a storyline titled "Children of the Gods" and promises to explore all these plot threads over the course of the next few months.
 

Three Jokers

Credit: DC Comics

What was hinted: During the "Darkseid War" storyline, Batman sat in the Mobius Chair and supposedly learned the secret identity of the Joker - that there are three of them. Later images investigated by Batman seem to show the Jokers from three different eras of DC history.

What we've learned since: This mystery hasn't really been addressed since, although Johns told IGN that readers wouldn't expect the answer.

What's Expected: Dark Nights: Metal writer Scott Snyder, who's been helping guide Batman stories for years, told Newsarama that the "three Jokers" plotline was a story that Johns will tell. So although Dr. Manhattan and Superman are expected to play a central role in Doomsday Clock, it's likely that the event series will also pick up the three Jokers thread.

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