Dan DiDio tweeted over the weekend that there have been no Crisis events in the New DC Universe. Of course, that spawned a crisis, which DiDio tried to clarify in a follow-up, which then spawned Part 1 of this article, in which I talked about several crossover and Crisis-like events that had previously changed continuity forever.
Today we go into more recent events to ask what do the characters in the New DC Universe remember, since some stories have completely restarted and some just kept on from the old universe...
Controversial as it was, so far nothing in the New DC Universe requires its existence. Nobody has yet even mentioned Ralph and Sue Dibny and Ray Palmer seems to be just a physicist who specializes in miniaturization but hasn't assumed the mantle of The Atom.
The biggest impact would be on the Teen Titans, mainly because Doctor Light became a joke adversary to them as a result of one terrible day on the JLA Satellite. Here's where the New DC Universe may need a new Crisis just to sort things out.
Cyborg, a key member of the "New" Teen Titans back in the early 80s, now ties his origin to the Justice League. With no evidence telling us otherwise, Cyborg was never a Teen Titan. Donna Troy doesn't exist, so though it's likely that Dick Grayson, Wally West, Aqualad and Roy Harper teamed up, they weren't officially Teen Titans, because Teen Titans #1 makes it seem like Red Robin (Tim Drake aka the third Robin no matter what continuity we're using) is forming said team for the first time, and only under duress.
Ah… but the second Robin, Jason Todd (the dead one not the red one), has become the Red Hood (not the Red Robin) and teamed with Roy Harper and Starfire to form the Outlaws in Red Hood and the Outlaws #1. While granted, most readers have already decided to pretend this book doesn't exist, it does reference a time when the first generation of teen heroes had banded together.
Starfire had dated, if not been engaged to, Dick Grayson the first Robin now Nightwing. (Years ago, Dick revised into being a playa anyway, so the more vague we keep that past the more likeable he can be.) Roy Harper asks Starfire if she remembers Garth (Aqualad), Dustin (the powers of the Zorlak fail me as to who that might be), Vic (Cyborg! WAIT! WAIT!), Lilith (who was just called …Lilith) or Gar (Beast Boy, who despite being popular with kids has not popped up anywhere in the New DC Universe – yet).
So while the genealogy of who was a Titan, who was always a Leaguer (Vic may have had to apprentice with the sidekicks for a while – Geoff Johns and Jim Lee haven't said otherwise), and who is now a Titan has not yet been worked out satisfactorily, we can still erase Identity Crisis without much trouble.
Still, it's a good story though very, very dark and you might want to check it out.
Only five years ago, DC editorial felt a need to undo some of the work of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Honestly, though, most of what happened as a result didn't so much affect continuity as expand its possibilities by hinting at the Multiverse while getting rid of the last characters that remembered Crisis on Infinite Earths in its original form.
That multiverse, by the way, Flashpoint seems to have locked out of existence. Except there are rumors that Earth-2 will come back, once again home of the Justice Society of America and (one can hope, hope, hope) the story of Jack Knight as Starman. Thus James Robinson's upcoming Shade mini-series will take place there. And why not? He's writing the JSA revival, too.
Out of Infinite Crisis we did get a rethought concept of Jack Kirby's O.M.A.C., rethought again in the New DC Universe but neatly balanced between pre-Crisis silliness (it's true, people, it's true) and the darker revision by Greg Rucka (correct me if I'm wrong – but that's who I credit).
Nothing contradictory between events, then, as Infinite Crisis paved the way for a unified "New Earth," which also probably still exists out there somewhere. After all, they're all imaginary stories anyway.
However, Final Crisis does have some ramifications for the New DC Universe, as something caused Bruce Wayne to NOT be Batman for a while. That necessitated Dick Grayson climbing into the cowl and teaming with Bruce's son Damian as Robin. Both Batman and Robin #1 and Nightwing #1 allude to that turn of events.
Did Bruce Wayne still get sent back in time thanks to his confrontation with Darkseid? Until a story says otherwise, yes.
Though the New Gods themselves "died" at the end of Final Crisis only to be potentially reborn on an "Earth-Kirby," Justice League #1 firmly establishes that the forces of Apokolips have made contact with Earth, and that Batman is the first one to get a clue.
Again, no one really remembered the events of Final Crisis anyway, and that may include thousands of comics readers. Writer Grant Morrison intimated that Superman could recall it, but more in terms of he knew something had happened that reinvigorated his sense of purpose and place as a concept "…more powerful than the Atom Bomb." (Paraphrasing Grant Morrison from his book Supergods.)
Final Crisis literally rebooted the DC Universe, promised a mini-series from Morrison called Multiversity (still coming!) and brought back Barry Allen as The Flash, which brings us to…
Blackest Night/Brightest Day
No need to go too much into it, but Swamp Thing #1, DC Universe Presents #1 (featuring Deadman), Hawk & Dove #1, Aquaman #1, Justice League Dark #1 and all the Green Lantern books have referenced these back to back mini-series. Without a doubt, this happened, and everybody remembers it, just with a different sense of fashion.
The Flash was crucial to Blackest Night as a symbol of Hope, becoming a Blue Lantern and telling us that "All is well." So naturally he had to be responsible for everything going wrong in…
After a few issues being back alive in the DC Universe and running away from his "Flash Family" (nephew Wally West, grandson Bart Allen and adoptive uncle Jay Garrick), Barry Allen woke up one morning in a dark scary world that had never known a Flash.
I won't spoil the answer to the mystery here, but Flashpoint turned out to do a few things that no one in the New DC Universe remembers. Through a series of mini-series, DC tested some concepts that carried through into the 52 first issues – a Shade the Changing Man reclaimed from Vertigo, the Creature Commandos, Grifter merged from the Wildstorm Universe, and a slight rethinking of Etrigan the Demon.
Unfortunately, what little information they gave us in those mini-series has already been revised and contradicted in the first issues of their respective new series. Eh. It was an alternate universe, after all, dark and scary and full of violent death.
Flashpoint also floated the notion near the end that the "Flashpoint" Earth, the previous "New" Earth and the "Wildstorm" Earth had all been formed by sundering what we shall now call the New New Earth into three – each one with weaker versions of the heroes that should exist to fight off some as yet unrevealed menace.
(That menace did the sundering – so really, if it's so powerful it can pull a prism effect on reality, why hasn't it just conquered everything already? Some reality-bending nemeses really over-think things, you know?)
At the end of Flashpoint, two characters were shown to know what happened. Barry Allen remembered everything, and he passed it along to Bruce Wayne along with a souvenir from Flashpoint. (Yes, Batman has a t-shirt that says "My friend messed with all of reality and all I got was this lousy t-shirt")
Some have posited that Barry and Bruce were already in the new DC Universe at this point, uncertain that everything had been restored to normal. But there must have been a larger ripple, because The Flash's very costume changed over from Flashpoint #5 to The Flash #1, and his family of speedsters has now disappeared entirely from continuity. There is a Kid Flash in Teen Titans #1, but other characters claim he has no relation to The Flash. They could be lying.
Because DC does lie. At Comic-Con, Dan DiDio stated that there would not be any line wide crossover events, and that any title crossovers would happen organically when they made sense. Right out of the gate, Superman #1 and Stormwatch #1 (released in opposite order) made a tenuous connection that stretches the very definition of tenuous, but still footnoted each other to send readers running back to the comics shop (or digital shop) to see what they might have missed.
And there is that mysterious hooded woman in red, who first appeared in Flashpoint #5 and has popped up in the art of every one of the #1s, including Demon Knights (taking place around 1000 A.D.) and Men of War (featuring no superheroes at all). Do you know who else did that?
Beginning in 1983, for two years the mysterious Monitor popped up in every book set in the DC Multiverse, even if it was Earth-2 or Earth-S. Only one actually showed what he looked like -- Our Army At War, starring the Losers. Why bring up such a character? Because the Monitor was marshalling forces for a huge war – one we call Crisis on Infinite Earths.