DC Universe Rebirth Starts This May

After a Flashpoint and a Convergence, comes a Rebirth for DC Comics. Again.

After weeks of teasing, DC Comics has finally announced what "Rebirth" means. Starting on May 25, DC Comics will release a new DC Universe Rebirth 80-page one shot, written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by artists Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Gary Frank and Phil Jimenez. Like Johns' previous work on Green Lantern: Rebirth and Flash: Rebirth, it looks like DC Universe Rebirth will realign and rejigger the DC Universe moving forward.

Justice League #50 will be Johns' last issue. Most other DC books end at #52.

Following the release of Rebirth, June will see the first release of other Rebirth specials centering around different DC characters, with many of these specials leading into new books. All DC books will be $2.99 moving forward and certain books will be published every two weeks. In addition, Action Comics and Detective Comics will be returning to their original numbering at 957 and #934, respectively.

It's worth noting, that this does not seem to be a reboot or a return to the pre-New 52 continuity.

"We're also doing it by building on everything that's been published since Action Comics #1 up thru The New 52," Johns told ComicBookResources. "The "DC Universe: Rebirth #1" is an 80 page one-shot I'm writing which is re-laying the groundwork for DC's for the future while celebrating the past and present. It's not about throwing anything away. It's quite the opposite."

"As someone who absolutely loves the DC Universe, to me it's maybe lost some things. Not only characters, but more intangibles. Some essence to what makes the "DC Universe" unique and brilliant and unpredictable. And every single character matters -- from Batman to Cassandra Cain to John Stewart to Saturn Girl to Blue Beetle to Lois Lane-- everyone is someone's favorite. And in comics, anything's possible."

Johns compared Rebirth to Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the interview, with the idea that nothing old was being thrown out, but things are heading forward in a new direction. He did explain that certain characters will be returning in some fashion, though he neglected to give names.

"There are a ton of characters that people miss. That I miss. You'll see a lot of them back, but with a story. I don't want to throw characters back in just to throw them back in. They have to have a purpose," said Johns. "And there are a lot of other characters -- a lot of main characters, too, but a lot of background characters -- that haven't had their due, that haven't had their spotlight in a while, that will be bubbling up to the surface. One in particular, I'm extremely excited to be writing."

The full Rebirth publishing schedule from CBR can be found below, but looking at that list I can make a few educated guesses and speculations. It's worth noting that Green Lantern related books are Green Lanterns and Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps. DC has been heavily hinting at current Power Ring Jessica Cruz taking on the mantle of Green Lantern and the Rebirth teaser image seems to point in that direction. I'd expect that the Green Lanterns book will star Cruz and another Earthbound GL, probably Simon Baz or Kyle Rayner. John Stewart and Guy Gardner are currently starring in the recent Green Lantern Corps book, so I can see them joining Hal in the new title.

Titans and Teen Titans are two different books again. I'd expect that Titans will focus on the classic team of Teen Titans currently occupying the Titans Hunt book: Nightwing, Red Arrow, Donna Troy, Tempest, Lilith, Vox, and Gnarrk. Teen Titans will continue to focus on the current Teen Titans: Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Superboy, Bunker, Beast Boy, Kid Flash, Power Girl, Raven, and Chimera.

Blue Beetle Rebirth is an interesting inclusion as we're not sure which Blue Beetle we're getting; Jaime Reyes is the current holder of the mantle and the one DC seems to be firmly behind, but a younger Ted Kord was introduced in 2013's Forever Evil.

Interesting returns or new additions include The Super-Man, Superwoman, Super Sons, Batman Beyond, and Red Hood & The Outlaws. The former three I couldn't even begin to guess at the premise of and the latter two I'm surprised are returning at all.

This sounds like a big push by DC Comics, but it comes only a year after the Convergence crossover, which brought back all of the old DC continuities for creators to utilize. At the time, the original Superman was even brought over into the New 52 universe with his wife Lois and their young son. Rebirth sounds like it will build upon that foundation, but comic retailers found that these successive reboots, cancellations, and renumberings have actually depressed sales. New readers wants consistency, to be able to pick up the books they enjoy month in and month out.

Convergence brought the DC multiverse back again.

"I see a market that is moving away from line-driven buying, that is growing tired of the constant cycle of relaunch and reboot, that has far more options for their time and mindshare than ever before, and that can meet their craving for superhero material increasingly in other media," wrote retailer Brian Hibbs, who also writes a column for CBR on comic buying trends. "And that has, most dangerously, had their long-standing habits interrupted by their very pushers. Periodical comic buyers are nothing if not creatures of habit, and any time you suspend a habit, it makes it much easier for customers to reassess the actual pleasure they get from it."

"That new/younger readership? They literally don't understand why you would start a book over again at #1. It makes no sense to them! And that confusion appears to have shooed a number of them off," Hibbs noted, talking about Marvel's post-Secret Wars reboot, but being rather applicable here.

Which is to say, older readers want their old characters back, which DC Comics won't ever commit to. New readers want comics to just come out every month, without the endless reboots and crossovers. DC is caught in the middle and having to resort to half-steps like Rebirth seems to be. Let me help you DC. Put out great books telling great stories. Stop starting over with a new #1. Just let the line ride for a decade. Have confidence in whatever you're creating currently and the fans will in turn have confidence in you. But if you keep making it so that everything gets thrown up in the air and switched around every 3-5 years, fans will lose trust in you. And a lack of trust is a lack of sales.


The full list of Rebirth books:

June:

Rebirth Specials:

  • AQUAMAN REBIRTH #1
  • BATMAN REBIRTH #1
  • THE FLASH REBIRTH #1
  • GREEN ARROW REBIRTH #1
  • GREEN LANTERNS REBIRTH #1
  • SUPERMAN REBIRTH #1
  • TITANS REBIRTH #1
  • WONDER WOMAN REBIRTH #1

New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):

  • AQUAMAN #1
  • BATMAN #1
  • THE FLASH #1
  • GREEN ARROW #1
  • GREEN LANTERNS #1
  • SUPERMAN #1
  • WONDER WOMAN #1

New Issues (Shipping twice monthly):

  • ACTION COMICS #957
  • DETECTIVE COMICS #934

July

Rebirth Specials:

  • BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY REBIRTH #1
  • HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS REBIRTH #1
  • THE HELLBLAZER REBIRTH #1
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE REBIRTH #1
  • NIGHTWING REBIRTH #1
  • RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS REBIRTH #1

New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):

  • HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
  • NIGHTWING #1

New #1 Issues (Shipping monthly):

  • BATGIRL #1
  • BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY #1
  • THE HELLBLAZER #1
  • RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS #1
  • THE SUPER-MAN #1
  • TITANS #1

Fall

Rebirth Specials:

  • BATMAN BEYOND REBIRTH #1
  • BLUE BEETLE REBIRTH #1
  • CYBORG REBIRTH #1
  • DEATHSTROKE REBIRTH #1
  • EARTH 2 REBIRTH #1
  • SUICIDE SQUAD REBIRTH #1
  • SUPERGIRL REBIRTH #1
  • TEEN TITANS REBIRTH #1
  • TRINITY REBIRTH #1

New #1 Issues (Shipping twice monthly):

  • CYBORG #1
  • DEATHSTROKE #1
  • HARLEY QUINN #1
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #1
  • SUICIDE SQUAD #1

New #1 Issues (Shipping monthly):

  • BATMAN BEYOND #1
  • BLUE BEETLE #1
  • EARTH 2 #1
  • GOTHAM ACADEMY: NEXT SEMESTER #1
  • SUPERGIRL #1
  • SUPERWOMAN #1
  • SUPER SONS #1
  • TEEN TITANS #1
  • TRINITY #1

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