|Synonyms:||The New 52, DCnU, DC Reboot, DC New 52|
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In 2011, DC Comics staged a relaunch of their entire line of superhero books. A massive crossover called "Flashpoint" was instigated, and the end result of that storyline was a partial reboot of all the storylines in the DC Universe. All existing books up unto that point were cancelled in August 2011, and fifty-two comic book series were either reinstated or created anew starting with #1 issues in September 2011.
In May 2011, a crossover arc called "Flashpoint" was released. Written by Geoff Johns and penciled by Andy Kubert, the plot of this storyline involved The Flash (Barry Allen) waking up to an altered timeline where neither Superman nor the Justice League existed. This was also a world where Amazons and Atlanteans were at war, much of Western Europe was destroyed, and histories of various heroes and villains were substantially changed.
Eventually, The Flash determined that an attempt by him to save the life of his mother caused the creation of this altered timeline. With this knowledge and with the help of new allies, he went back into the timeline and tried to correct history.
However, he was not able to set everything back exactly the way it was.
While traveling through time, The Flash sees three different timelines for three different "worlds": DC, Vertigo, and Wildstorm. Then, he meets a mysterious hooded figure named "Pandora" who tells him that the world was originally split into three, but now must be reunited to combat a coming threat. The DC, Vertigo, and Wildstorm universes were then merged, creating a brand new universe.
The New 52
In September 2011, brand new #1 issues of fifty-two DC Comics series were released. This first wave was a mixture of well-known iconic series (Action Comics, Detective Comics, Green Lantern) and new books created just for The New 52 (All-Star Western, OMAC, Batwing). Since then, though, a number books were subsequently cancelled for low sales numbers and replaced by new ones. However, DC Comics has tried to make sure that there are always fifty-two books in circulation.
Reception for The New 52 has been decidedly mixed among fans. While some applauded the new direction of the DC Universe and welcomed the new characters that had been introduced, others lamented the loss of favorite characters and were put off by the "soft reboot" aspect of the changed history that kept some past storylines while erasing others.
After it was confirmed that in the new continuity Barbara Gordon would be Batgirl again instead of Oracle there was much discussion over the implications of putting her back in the costume, as she had by the time been one of the most prominent disabled characters. People were also upset about the erasure of characters like Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, Donna Troy and Wally West, and some fans were very upset about the way these characters were barred from use in other books. (Most notably Gail Simone tweeted about trying to put the lost female bat book characters in her own book as soon as she'd get a clear for them, but never was allowed to use them. Also former Batgirl writer Bryan Q. Miller announced Stephanie Brown as Nightwing for the Smallville Season 11 comic book set in the universe of the Smallville TV series and not the main 52 continuity, but shortly after the announcment had been made had to change the character to Barbara Gordon.)
There was also much upset about the way DC editorial handled fan complaints.
Unlike past reboots by DC Comics that completely started over storylines from scratch, editors Eddie Berganza and Bob Harras revealed that the company decided to instigate a "soft reboot" with the New 52. While many characters underwent signficant changes, much of the DC Universe's history has remained intact. Some major storylines such as Batman's "A Death in the Family" and the major crossover event "Identity Crisis" remained part of the new continuity, while others have been lost in part or in whole, such as the history of the first incarnation of the Teen Titans.
Significant Missing Characters
Despite the outcry of fans, a number of characters from before the reboot remain missing or in limbo. Currently, editors have stated repeatedly that there are no plans for bringing these characters back into circulation.
- Black Bat/Batgirl II/Cassandra Cain
- Batgirl III/Spoiler/Stephanie Brown
- Troia/Wonder Girl I/Donna Troy
- The Flash II/Kid Flash I/Wally West
Significant Character Changes
While these characters are present in the New 52, many of them have had notable changes made to their respective histories. Here are a few examples of those changes:
- Superman/Clark Kent
- Both his parents are presently dead
- No longer married to Lois Lane
- Batgirl/Barbara Gordon
- Her paralysis was "cured"
- De-aged to her early 20s
- History as Oracle erased
- Teen Titans
- History of the first & second incarnations of Teen Titans (Robin/Wonder Girl/Kid Flash/Aqualad/Speedy/Starfire/Raven/Cyborg/etc...) uncertain/erased
- Wonder Woman
- Prior made from clay origin retconned out. Character is now the daughter of Zeus.
- Amazons significantly less technically advanced than previous incarnations. Their moral character has been altered; they now reproduce by periodically raiding ships and having sex with men aboard, whom they murder afterwards.
- Superman is her love interest.
Fandom Reactions to the New 52
Some quotes of positive and negative reactions?
How do you stay not bitter over Stephanie Batgirl? I was a huge fan of the character and the book and was extremely upset when the New 52 came along and took it away. Now all the attention the Cameron Stewart Batgirl book is getting is reopening old wounds about Barbara replacing Steph. It makes me mad that Barbara fans are enjoying that book while Steph fans like me have nothing. Sure, she is finally back in Batman Eternal but it's not the same. Going back to Spoiler is a huge demotion.deafeningphilosopherpeace
- DC Women kicking Ass: The Book Gail Simone Pitched to Unbench Stephanie Brown, accessed 5.06.2013.
- Dead Again! Smallville Season 11 Revamped to Exclude Stephanie Brown, accessed 5.06.2013, WebCite
- Harras, Berganza: DCnU Will Keep Much of DC History Intact, Details regarding the "soft reboot" of the New 52 line.