To make your mark on the future, it helps to take stock of where you’ve been. 2017 promises to be an exciting year for DC and its fans, but before we celebrate the new year, we thought we’d look back on 2016 and consider some of the places we’ve been. DC made some bold choices in the worlds of comics, film and TV, and many of them set our course for the months and years ahead. The past year was full of memorable moments, but some of these moments held real significance. Some of them really mattered. So as we do every year at this time, we thought we’d discuss a few of them. These are DCComics.com’s “Ten Moments that Mattered” for 2016.
It wasn’t a reboot. It didn’t start things over or disregard what came before. When DC launched Rebirth on May 25th, what it did was restore a sense of shared-universe continuity and respect to the legacy of DC’s most important heroes. It brought a new wave of creativity and vitality to DC’s comic book storytelling and ignited some of the strongest storylines in years, all while building a universe-wide mystery that the heroes of DC will be unraveling for some time to come.
Rebirth wasn’t a reboot—but it was a return.
It was a return to the fundamentals of super hero storytelling, reemphasizing the things that made fans fall in love with these characters in the first place. Green Arrow is back with Black Canary. Barry Allen is battling his classic rogues. Superman and Lois Lane are married again. Nightwing’s back in blue and carving out a legacy that’s largely removed from Batman. The original Wally West has returned and reunited with the Titans. These may seem like small, superficial things to non-readers, but they’re not. They’re the very foundation that these characters developed from. Ollie’s devotion to Dinah has helped keep him grounded, while giving the often volatile hero an unwavering pillar of support. The Flash’s core villains have always served as dark mirrors to his personality and traits, strengthening his resolve to only use his powerful abilities for good. Wally West began as Kid Flash and learned to define himself as a hero, rather than a sidekick, through his relationship with the Titans. By restoring so much of where these characters came from, they can now continue to develop in a way that melds with the years of development that came before.
Rebirth also marked a return to tighter continuity after a year of playing things a bit looser with the DC Universe. Wally West’s search for what happened to the timeline started in Geoff Johns’ DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH, was picked up in Joshua Williamson’s THE FLASH: REBIRTH and now continues in the pages of Dan Abnett’s TITANS. New Green Lantern Jessica Cruz was unable to create a construct in JUSTICE LEAGUE until she dramatically made one in GREEN LANTERNS. Superwoman made a cameo appearance in ACTION COMICS before debuting in her own self-titled comic, and the seeds of Gene Luen Yang’s NEW SUPER-MAN were sown in Peter J. Tomasi’s “The Final Days of Superman” storyline, just prior to the launch of Rebirth. In short, the DC Universe feels like a living, connected organism again. It feels like the events in these books matter to the whole.
Finally, Rebirth brought a return of generations of fans who felt shut out by The New 52 and wanted to know that the years of storytelling and character development that they had invested in still mattered in the DC Universe, while also preserving the newer fans who came to DC with The New 52. It’s brought fans of different eras together and gotten them talking about where things are going now.
And where are things going now? With its first big event, JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD, launching this week, Rebirth is on the brink of entering its second chapter. Early next year will mark the launch of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, a blockbuster new title which will unpack some of the still unaddressed mysteries from DC Universe: Rebirth, along with SUPER SONS and BATWOMAN, two diametrically different comics that will add even further diversity to the lineup. It’s all leading to some exciting things that will impact this once again vital comic book universe in profound, dramatic ways.
Rebirth is a return—a return to our roots, fundamentals and continuity. And it’s a return to the days of rushing to your local comic book store because you can’t wait to discover what happens next.
Be sure to check DCComics.com again tomorrow for another moment that mattered in 2016.