What is the DC Omniverse? Yesterday we looked at how the recent Death Metal: Rise Of The New God was setting up what may be coming for the DC Universe in March 2021, after the two-month Future State initiative.
Well, the rumours are hotting up. What remains of the New 52, after DC Rebirth, Death Metal and Future State, is being done away with in favour of an Omniverse model. In which characters and comic books are no longer tied to a strict continuity but will play faster and looser with history.
This is a direct rejection of former DC publisher Dan DiDio's plans for a new DC Timeline that had began to be set up earlier in the year. Shown off on a New York Comic-Con stage, and filleted by Bleeding Cool, it was intended to be published in this year's DC Comics Free Comic Book Day title. But after publisher Dan DiDio was fired, every single copy was pulped – not one copy escaped to the aftermarket, despite four-figure sums being offered by enthusiastic collectors to anyone who might have one on the side. If any departing DC editors have a stack of them in their office drawer, they could pay for their retirement.
I also understand that DC is currently working on putting together a new event comic to birth this new reality, to be published in March or April, for this new unrestrained storytelling approach. Basically, DC Rebirth written by people other than Geoff Johns, a framing story for all the books spinning out of it into 2021, couched in a new kind of Omniversal continuity to persuade people that everything still matters.
Because some disquiet I have heard is that Dan DiDio's expressed status of the new DC Universe that "everything happened, everything matters" may become an "everything happened, nothing matters". For some, continuity is a major aspect of superhero comic books, a single, extended history, with many books having the question asked of them, "does it count". Half of the questions asked of Doomsday Clock and The Three Jokers, titles set up by the heavy-continuity DC Rebirth, were about whether they were in-canon, whether they counted, whether they mattered, the answer being "not since Geoff Johns left DC Comics as CCO."
But what the DC Omniverse will mean is greater creative freedom, less interference by editors (or publishers), and no one saying "you can't use that character, they died in City of Bane/got lost in a Dark Dimension/went evil and currently approaching Gotham, slowly, with all her plants."
And lots of new variants of characters to license as toys, or to be turned into new direct-to-TV animations. The Elseworlds stories have done very well for Warners, this might make every DC comic book an Elseworld title. Once upon a time, this was called Hypertime, but DC Comics never really committed to it. Now, it seems, they are. Hopefully, that increased creative freedom will make up for the lower page rates starting to come in…
Look for more DC Omniverse in Death Metal #7.