Last night, I read Flashpoint #5 to prepare me for the transition to the new 52’s first release Justice League #1. Flashpoint #5 provided a plausible explanation for the reboot (plausible by comic book standards, anyway) that was actually, despite my limited comic book background, really interesting and engaging. In so many words, the Flash – arguably DC’s most powerful superhero – resets the entire timeline of the DC universe and we are dropped into the reboot of the new 52.
Justice League #1 starts with a single panel discussing a time when superheroes weren’t known to the world and then flashes back to Batman chasing an unknown alien enemy and Batman himself being chased by Gotham authorities. For those who want to read the rest of the story, I’ll stop with the plot here. We’re introduced to two mainstays of the DC continuity and how they relate to each other in the timeline of the new 52.
As per my discussion yesterday of reboots and the challenge faced by writers, I have to say the change is handled well. Although we are not introduced to the backgrounds of each character we meet, they do feel like the same heroes we’ve come to know and love. I think it was a smart move on DC’s part releasing Justice League before each individual character. It brings the reader to a familiar place – the DC Universe where characters are already interacting.
Releasing the individual characters’ comics later will allow them to explore their origins and motivations while establishing a similar universe in which a story line is already underway. The flashback at the beginning of the story also allows for the writers to create anticipation in the audience – what is happening in the “present-day” first panel? And why do they choose this moment to begin the story?
I can’t speak for all of the diehard comic book fans, but I have to say that the reboot felt right to me. The characters seemed familiar enough, and it seemed like a breath of fresh air after the chaotic world-ending of the Flashpoint series. I think unchaining writers to explore new aspects of each character without the burden of decades and decades of continuity can help DC bring back their superheroes in a way that will resonate with fans both new and old.