The Continuity of the New 52 DC Comics: What Changed in Week 3
Welcome back to the third week of our New 52 continuity report, where we take a look at what has and hasn’t changed in the relaunch DC Universe! This week we take a look at the reboots of Supergirl and Blue Beetle, confusion around Starfire and the old New Teen Titans, the continuing lack of change in the Batman, Legion and Green Lantern books, and the mystery of what happened to the Birds of Prey.
Batman #1 (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)
Much like the other Batman books, there’s very little change here. Other than Bruce returning to Gotham and everyone generally being younger, Bruce Wayne is still Batman, Dick Grayson is still a Nightwing who used to be Batman, Tim Drake is still Red Robin and on the Teen Titans, and Damian Wayne is still Robin, and Bruce’s son. With some characters drawn a bit older, this issue easily could have been Batman #715. Indeed, many recent Bat-villains make appearances in the opening action sequence in Arkham Asylum, including Professor Pyg and Flamingo (from Batman and Robin) and James Gordon Jr. (from Snyder’s own Detective Comics), who raises a lot of questions about how old he could be if James Gordon Sr.’s got his original hair color now.
Birds of Prey #1 (Duane Swierczynski & Jesus Saiz)
I’m not clear on if this is a reboot or just the same book with some time having elapsed. The Birds of Prey are down to just Black Canary, who’s apparently wanted for murder, and Ev Crawford, Starling, a new partner who gats fools and isn’t on Barbara Gordon’s good side. Babs shows up for a page to suggest Black Canary recruit Katana; there’s definitely still some relationship between Babs and Dinah, although it’s not clear. So it’s possible that the entire original run of Birds of Prey still occurred, and when Babs regained the use of her legs, she, well, walked away from the team.
Blue Beetle #1 (Tony Bedard & Ig Guara)
This is still the same Jaime Reyes, with the same friends living in the same town with the same powers, but the history of the Blue Beetle scarab seems completely rewritten. For one thing, Jaime now gains the scarab in a random accident in El Paso, completely removing his previously origin during the events of Infinite Crisis, where the scarab found him in El Paso after falling from the destroyed Rock of Eternity. Additionally, the fact that the scarab was apparently just hanging out as an artifact for years until being purchased by La Dama implies that the careers of Dan Garrett and Ted Kord didn’t occur in this rebooted DC Universe, so Jaime Reyes is the first Blue Beetle. Finally, while the original scarabs were used to infiltrate societies and convince them to become conquered by the Reach, here they just blow stuff up.
Captain Atom #1 (J.T. Krul & Freddie Williams II)
This is a complete reboot of the main character, even removing his classical mentor/antagonist General Wade Eiling. Dr. Megala is still the head of the Captain Atom Project, and here he serves as a mentor to Captain Atom, who actually goes unnamed the entire issue other than an offhand mention that he used to be a pilot. So whether the entire Cary Bates origin with Eiling faking Nathaniel Adam’s death and stealing his wife and kids is still in continuity is absolutely still up in the air.
Catwoman #1 (Judd Winick & Guillem March)
Catwoman has absolutely no idea who Batman is, and seems to be operating totally solo, which I guess puts not only Batman: Hush but also the entire Ed Brubaker/Will Pfeifer run of Catwoman out of continuity. This is Catwoman, she likes to steal, she likes to plan, she has some vague history of witnessing abuse by a Russian gangster to another woman, and she likes to bang Batman while they both keep their masks on. That’s basically all I got out of this issue, at least. The abuse flashback may or may not imply that her history as a prostitute from Batman: Year One is still in effect.
DC Universe Presents #1 (Paul Jenkins & Bernard Chang)
This doesn’t directly contradict any existing continuity, but it does give us a new angle on a lot of it. It’s largely a reimagination of Deadman, except that nothing Jenkins comes up with really conflicts with what we’ve known — he was a trapeze artist, he was a selfish prick, he died, Rama Kushna turned him into a friendly ghost. While this book doesn’t reference his relationship with Dove, which was front and center in this month’s Hawk & Dove, it doesn’t discount it, either. By and large this is a standalone take on the character similar to much of Jenkins’s Marvel work, such as on Inhumans.
Green Lantern Corps #1 (Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason)
Absolutely nothing has changed from the old DC Universe.
Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (Paul Levitz & Francis Portela)
Same as with the Green Lantern titles and Legion Lost, absolutely nothing’s changed, up to and including a direct reference to the events of Flashpoint cutting off time travel to the 21st century. There’s a new Legionnaire, Glorith, who looks similar to the Hooded Lady and talks obliquely about time travel, but for some reason I’m skeptical that the big DC Universe mystery is being seeded in Legion. Not to mention that Mysterious Hooded Lady makes her own requisite appearance. I could be wrong, though.
Nightwing #1 (Kyle Higgins & Eddy Barrows)
Much like with the other Bat-books, very little has changed. Dick seems a little younger, but he was still Batman for the last year, and while his time in Bludhaven isn’t referenced, he does mention avoiding Gotham for most of his adult life. Other than that, nothing’s changed.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 (Scott Lobdell & Kenneth Rocafort)
Jason Todd is apparently the same character. Roy Harper is now Arsenal again, and has his arm back, presumably never had a kid with Cheshire, and also now has terrible tattoos. Starfire… I have no idea what’s going on with Starfire. Either she actually is being played as bored with Earth people and without any memory of the Teen Titans — including the mysterious “Dustin,” perhaps a replacement for Wally West? — or she has some kind of brain virus or something that’s making her act so different. I have no idea.
Supergirl #1 (Michael Green, Mike Johnson & Mahmud Asrar)
Total reboot of Supergirl’s character. Still from Krypton, still crashes to Earth, still Superman’s cousin. A reference to her wearing her outfit “before graduation” implies that it was something given to Kryptonians upon adulthood. Not much else to say here.
Wonder Woman #1 (Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang)
Total reboot? Continuation with new costume? Doesn’t seem to matter to Azzarello, as we get no hints of any prior continuity here. The gods are dicks and Wonder Woman is here to protect you from them. That’s basically all you need to know, it seems.