It's open season. To quote Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, "up next, who's gay?"
Last night, Bleeding Cool reposted a report on Reddit r/comicbookss regarding next week's much-anticipated DC Universe: Rebirth #1 out on Tuesday night. The spoilers were limited but included the big one, one that I considered remarkably newsworthy. And we had a little more information to share.
A couple of people wrote in last night to ask me to comment on this rumor article about the narrative direction of the DC Universe with its latest revamp/reboot/rebirth line-wide story reset.
I went. I saw. I laughed.
I don't have a refined sense of Rich's site to know if it's true or not. Looks true. Rich certainly has a giant pipeline straight from well-established sources at DC and right onto his site, which strikes me as odd in that it's never been shut down. Most companies that have the money and the structure to have executives with hard-to-parse, multi-word titles are usually a tiny bit more disciplined in that way, at least when measured in years passing.
Don't give them ideas, Tom!
Then Newsarama ran a review of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 that claimed to contain spoilers. And it really did.
Using the return of the pre-New 52 Wally West as both his narrator and his authorial proxy, Johns makes some fairly pointed commentary about DC's shortcomings over the years: "He doesn't remember me," Wally says, trying in vain to get someone, anyone from this brave new DC Universe to listen to him. "The connection isn't strong enough." It's a statement many skeptical readers might find themselves nodding with.
IGN's Joshua Yehl took the decision to post every single plot point – who was alive, who was dead, who was returning, what was up with all manner of DC characters and who was gay now, after they were "given permission to detail the big twists". And detail they did.
Though he also used the same artwork from another comic that Bleeding Cool used in our piece, and the analysis of the big plot twist that we made, down to the filenames.
DC Comics also released the following preview pages from the comic book which themselves make for certain spoilerage too… so I'm going to restrict analysis to just these pages.
Note that Damian Wayne is now officially 13 in the DC Universe, after previously being ten hears old. Which makes his participation in the new Teen Titans far more official than we previously suggested. We have our new Green Lantern/Power Ring communing with Hal Jordan.
A return for Aqualad, as a young gay man.
A dead Superman but a chance of a revival…Some sites may not have realised the significance of the Aquaman scene either – DC Comics publicly did away with their main lead characters being married, and writer Geoff Johns played a game of never actually stating whether or not Aquaman and Mera were married, until a recent slip by Dan Abnett suggested that they were. So this scene is a specific scene changer for the DC Universe now, rejecting those earlier New 52 mandates it seems…
And, yes, we know who that someone else must be now… IGN also reports the idea that someone stole ten years from DC characters lives – could that be seen as the youthifying of DC's leads? That there are three Jokers not one, and this is the secret that Batman learned in the Darkseid War and thought impossible. That the world did forget the JSA from World War II. That there is a character with a Legion Of Super Heroes ring. That Ray Palmer is trapped in the microverse and only Ryan Choi can save him. As well as three Jokers, two Atoms and two Blue Beetles there are two Doctor Fates. Pandora gets bumped off, Wonder Woman has a twin brother, Darkseid has been reincarnated as Superwoman's baby and is being cared for by Grail and later on the DC Universe Rebirth telenovella….
No, wait, sorry, forgot where I was.
And, yes, concluding with the implication that Dr Manhattan was behind the change from DC Universe to New 52… with watches, ticking clocks, smiley face buttons and the language from that final scene in Watchmen which we ran. As Newsarama says,
But in a comic full of big moments, there's one that will stand out above the rest — namely, that the malevolent force that has stolen 10 years from the DC Universe (and murdered Pandora, the symbol of the New 52, in a particularly subversive jab) is none other than Watchmen's Dr. Manhattan. When you read it, you might feel the air leave you, and it might be one of the smartest bits Johns has come up with since Sinestro Corps War. Of course the cynicism of the DC Universe began here — and the only way to counteract that is to call out the "world's greatest graphic novel" for its sins. It serves to both heighten the stakes tremendously, as Johns taps into DC's final frontier, but also serves as a great bit of metacommentary.
Certain scientific studies show that people, whatever they admit to, enjoy a spoiled work more than an unspoiled work. But this is clearly horses for courses…