The Continuity of the New 52 DC Comics: What Changed in Week 4
Welcome back to the final week of the DC Comics New 52 continuity report! (And check out parts one, two and three for the complete list of changes.) This time, we’ll be taking a look at the revamps of the Teen Titans and Voodoo, the continuity nods of All Star Western, possible changes to Kyle Rayner’s origin, the new status quo of the Daily Planet and just what the hell is going on in Fury of Firestorms.
All Star Western #1 (Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray & Moritat)
This is definitely one of the New 52 books that draws on preexisting continuity more than others. It’s unclear at what point in Jonah Hex’s life this story takes place, but his characterization is obviously in keeping with the way Gray and Palmiotti wrote him in the just-ended 70-issue Jonah Hex series; his partner, Amadeus Arkham, is meanwhile perfectly in keeping with his representation from Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth graphic novel, where his mentally ill mother eventually drove him to euthanize her and then start Arkham Asylum.
As for the issue’s villain, the Jack the Ripper-esque Gotham Butcher, he’s among a Gotham elite that includes Gates of Gotham alumni Alan Wayne, Cyrus Pinckney and the Gates brothers. While the description of the Butcher as a man with a claw for a hand riding around in a big black carriage picking up prostitutes to murder, it’s hard not to make connections to Simon Hurt, who was hanging out in Gotham around this time and was heavily implied in Return of Bruce Wayne #4 to have traveled to England to become Jack the Ripper himself.
Aquaman #1 (Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis)
It’s really unclear what’s been rebooted and what hasn’t with this book. Johns goes for a back-to-basics approach with regards to Aquaman’s powers and history; he was the son of a lighthouse keeper and half Atlantean, and then some soldiers came and killed his dad, and then he eventually became king of Atlantis and married a mysterious lady named Mera. At the end of the issue, he declares his intent to pretty much tell Atlantis to go screw itself and live on the land for a while, but there’s nary a reference to a water hand, squid form or Topo. Additionally, Atlantis seems to still be somewhat removed from the surface world since people question whether or not it really exists, and it also was presumably never destroyed in Infinite Crisis, since apparently Infinite Crisis didn’t happen (something I’ll get to at the end).
Batman: The Dark Knight #1 (Paul Jenkins & David Finch)
On one hand, this series tries to reconcile with the status quo in Detective Comics where Batman is at odds with the GCPD, to the point of being actively hunted, with Commissioner Gordon as the only person he can trust. On the other hand, it also references Batman Incorporated, with Bruce Wayne publicly funding Batman and his “cronies.” The two ideas coexisting seem to be somewhat cognitively dissonant, but then we get the second Arkham Asylum breakout this week and the introduction of the White Rabbit, who is almost definitely Jaina Hudson, also introduced this issue, who implores Bruce to “catch her.” Subtle, guys.
Blackhawks #1 (Mike Costa & Graham Nolan)
There’s a Lady Blackhawk in the duty roster on the first page, and as far as I can tell she never shows up in the comic again. Everything else in this comic is completely new, with no association to the previous WWII Blackhawks.
Flash #1 (Francis Manapul w/Brian Buccellato)
While we know from Flashpoint #5 that that event still occurred, and his mother was still murdered by Professor Zoom when Barry was young, everything else regarding Barry Allen in this issue seems totally rebooted. He’s dating Patty Spivot, his coworker, and being pursued by reporter Iris West. While there definitely still seem to be two cities, both Central and Keystone, Jay Garrick and Wally West are gone, leaving Barry as the only Flash. The issue’s story introduces a completely new villain as well as a figure from Barry’s past that are largely completely standalone.
Fury of the Firestorms: The Nuclear Men #1 (Ethan Van Sciver, Gail Simone & Yildiray Cinar)
Man, this one’s hard to make out.
First off, Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch are now not only both high school students, but also apparently completely normal and have never been Firestorm before, which changes how Blackest Night must have happened. Jason’s family life is still the same, although he seems far closer to his father, who still suffered an accident that cost him his arm but doesn’t seem to be the abusive dad he was in the old universe. Ronnie has a single mom, and frankly, I’ll be surprised if Van Sciver and Simone aren’t looking to set the two parents up.
The Firestorm Protocol is itself the creation of Professor Martin Stein, who was half of the original Firestorm equation with Ronnie Raymond back in the old universe. Stein died during the events of Brightest Day; how he died here is unclear, since there couldn’t have been a Firestorm for him to hang around with during that event if this is a total reboot. Apparently, Stein gave out pieces of the Firestorm protocol to a bunch of people he trusted, one of whom is a high school journalist. (I don’t get this either.) So in the new DCU, Jason is the one with the connection to Stein, not Ronnie.
Also, now, rather than Jason and Ronnie being two parts of the Firestorm Matrix that controls one being, they’re actually separate Firestorms, but can combine into a bigger Firestorm named Fury.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #1 (Tony Bedard & Tyler Kirkham)
While Kyle’s origin is told somewhat differently than the original version (I don’t think Marz explicitly stated that he was going to take a piss in the alleyway, but hey, that’s now actually printed in a comic), for the most part this is a direct continuation from his role in War of the Green Lanterns: Aftermath, also written by Bedard. His origin also implies him flirting with a waitress, so maybe the infamous fridging of Alexandra DeWitt didn’t occur in his past anymore. It’s also unclear what the event that destroyed the Corps on the first page was, unless it was Hal Jordan’s rampage just like in the old DCU.
I, Vampire #1 (Joshua Hale Fialkov & Andrea Sorrentino)
Much like last week’s Blue Beetle, this is largely a retelling of the series’ earlier incarnation, except that this time the old I…Vampire feature in House of Mystery isn’t only five years old. Fialkov uses the basic concept of the old series and gives it a new beginning.
Justice League Dark #1 (Peter Milligan & Mikel Janin)
This references a bunch of previous continuity — Kathy George, who Shade creates a version of in this issue, is from Milligan’s original Shade run. A relationship between Zatanna and Constantine is referenced. Dove shows up as Deadman’s girlfriend, a relationship established in Brightest Day. Most of these characters haven’t been in the DC Universe for years, instead starring in their own Vertigo titles, so much of this continuity didn’t even take place in the old DC Universe.
The Savage Hawkman #1 (Tony S. Daniel & Philip Tan)
Presumably taking place after the events of Brightest Day where Carter Hall/Hawkman lost his wife Sheira/Hawkwoman, the issue kicks off with Carter driving out into the desert to destroy the Hawkman Nth-metal harness, but it turns out that the harness bonds with his skin and is now stored in his muscles. Other than that, there are no references made to Carter’s past, just his present as the Indiana Jones of alien wreckage.
Superman #1 (George Perez & Jesus Merino)
This really plays second fiddle to Grant Morrison’s Action Comics, with references to Mr. Glenmorgan from Action #1 and Clark’s new untucked shirt and Harry Potter glasses. The continuity changes here are fairly well-known, but I’ll go through them; the Daily Planet’s now been bought by Galaxy Broadcasting, which is no longer led by the corrupt Mr. Glenmorgan but rather the newly black Morgan Edge, who builds a huge new Daily Planet building to try to merge print with broadcasting. For some reason, Clark doesn’t trust Edge, and is super-pissed about the Planet moving away from print. There’s also a tie in with the first issue of Stormwatch as we finally see a creature blow the horn that’s investigated in that issue which came out three weeks ago.
Oh, and Lois and Clark aren’t married anymore. But you probably knew that.
Teen Titans #1 (Scott Lobdell & Brett Booth)
Total scorched-Earth reboot of the entire third volume of the series, as well as the entirety of Peter David’s Young Justice. While Tim Drake was still Batman’s third Robin, this issue seems to be the debut of Cassie (who does not want to be called Wonder Girl) and the mysterious new Kid Flash, who’s probably Bart Allen. They’re all being targeted by N.O.W.H.E.R.E., the mysterious organization from Superboy, and they’re going to deploy… Superboy. Basically a ground-up reboot of everything since, presumably, the Wolfman/Perez run.
Voodoo #1 (Ron Marz & Sami Basri)
The old Voodoo was part Kherubim and part Daemonite, as well as unaware of her heritage until she joined the WildCATs. This new one, however, seems to be an all-Daemonite spy attempting to gain information on Earth’s defenses. The old one was an actual stripper; this new one seems to only pretend to be a stripper in the interest of obtaining information from men from the nearby military base.
And Finally, on the Crisis:
There was a big to-do made about DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio’s recent statements that previous Crises were no longer in continuity. While this is somewhat the case, there’s no way they can stick with this, especially with Crisis on Infinite Earths (where they already showed Dove dying) and Final Crisis, where Batman gets sent back in time, Darkseid falls, Nix Uotan becomes human, etc. — essentially driving all of Grant Morrison’s DCU stories, especially next year’s Multiversity. So if those events are out of continuity, they at least have to be replaced with similar stories to do the same things to the characters, something DC already dealt with after Crisis on Infinite Earths when they declared that everyone remembered it as a war between Earth and the anti-matter Earth, rather than a multiversal war.