For the past few years, all eyes have been on Marvel. With The Avengers reaching the 3rd highest grossing movie ever upon release, DC movies haven’t been doing so well: Man of Steel faced a lot of criticism; Batman v Superman was publicly regarded as a huge disappointment, and Suicide Squad was just a mess. Only TV shows Arrow and The Flash seemed to be getting any praise.
DC weren’t doing so well on the Comic side of things either, as the New 52 wasn’t perceived well by Fans. In 2011, following the Flashpoint series, DC revamped and Mostly-retconned their universe. Characters were redesigned and changed, often with different backstories. Already things didn’t make sense, DC seemed to pick and choose which stories remained canon. For example, we had a Batman who went through everything from Knightfall to Death in the Family in just 5 years, but at the same time a Superman who wasn’t killed by Doomsday.
Enter DC: Rebirth. Contrary to what many might think, DC Rebirth isn’t a retcon or a reboot, it still exists in the same continuity as the New 52. The difference between the two is that DC are simply going back to how their characters were before the retcon. Green Arrow has his beard and relationship with Black Canary again, Superman is your inspirational symbol while also being a full-time dad, and even the Flash is back to his simple fun self.
On 25th May 2016, DC released an 80 page special entitled “DC Universe: Rebirth” written by Geoff Johns, focusing on the return of the old Wally West, the one with the Ginger hair, who took up the mantle of The Flash following Barry Allen’s death in 1986 Crisis on Infinite Earths up until his revival in 2009. Following from the death of Darkseid in The Darkseid War, Wally West is able to return to the current reality through Barry Allen, and explains that a powerful being, alluded to being Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan, distorted the universe, leading to the New 52. This one-shot also sets up numerous plot lines for multiple DC: Rebirth titles, including Batman, The Green Lanterns, The Atom, Blue Beetle, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corp, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Constantine, The Flash, and Superman.
Every one of these Rebirth titles, as well as others not alluded to in the one-shot, including Suicide Squad, Deathstroke, Teen Titans, Trinity, and The Titans, have all been highly successful. Almost every title has met with Positive reception, and sales numbers are still fairly high for many of the rebirth titles. Even Rebirth’s most recent event, Suicide Squad vs Justice League, has generally met with positive reviews, as well as setting up a new Justice League team. In Contrast, Marvel’s Civil War 2 started off looking good, but by the half way point was generally lacklustre, and ended with disappointment. Even the most recent story of Action Comics, Men of Steel, has a storyline following the idea of Preventing Crimes before they happen, as in Civil War 2, but generally plays out much quicker and to a more satisfying ending than CW2.
It’s pretty clear that Marvel and Disney are the Stars of the show when it comes to Superhero movies, but DC have made a great come back in Comic Books. With Wonder Woman and Justice League scheduled for release this year, and with Geoff Johns currently at the helm of the DCEU, we can only hope that DC know what they did right with DC: Rebirth, and translate that to the big screen.