DC Rebirth #1 is the first in DC’s new massive Rebirth relaunch, which Geoff Johns has said is supposed to restore “legacy” to the DC Universe. It’s being released on Midnight, May 25, but almost the entire thing has now been leaked onto the internet...and whoo boy, apparently, this thing delivers.
Newsarama has a spoiler free review (which they gave a 10/10) and a spoiler-filled review, while IGN has all of the spoilers for the issue here and their spoiler review is here (they have it a 9.5/10).
So with that out of the way, let’s talk about what they revealed. And just in case you didn’t realize, THIS WILL CONTAIN MASSIVE SPOILERS.
As many people predicted, this issue is being narrated by Wally West. The original Wally West, as it’s revealed that the New 52 Wally West is actually his distant cousin (they were both named for the same grandfather). This Wally is stuck in the Speed Force and has been observing the New 52, but still remembers the way things were pre-Flashpoint. The reason why things are different, however? Is because something took away ten years from the entire universe.
People who loved each other no longer know each other, like Green Arrow and Black Canary.
Stuff happens as Wally tries to find a tether to come back: we see a young woman who can “see the future” wearing a Legion flight ring. Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes meet and then Dr Fate arrives. Ryan Choi (RYAN CHOI!) is recruited by Ray Palmer to go microscopic. We see an elderly Johnny Thunder in a psych ward, saying that McCarthy made them “remove their masks” and then he yells out “Cei-U!”
Other things are happening, too: Pandora (the being that is usually said responsible for the New 52) is murdered. Someone confronts the pre-Flashpoint Clark Kent. Batman reveals what he learned in the Moebius Chair during The Darkseid War about the true identity if the Joker — that there are actually three Jokers. A baby Darkseid (it makes sense in context, I guess) reveals that Wonder Woman has a twin brother named Jason. The new Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz, gets a message from Hal Jordan about Sinestro.
Wally appears before Linda, but she doesn’t recognize him, so she can’t tether him. Finally, Wally finds his uncle, Barry Allen, and Barry finally remembers him, bringing him back:
In the beginning of the issue, there was a shot of a clock. And then, at the end, Batman finds something in the Batcave: a smiley face button with a smudge of blood. Wally says, “I can feel it, Barry. Even now we’re being watched.”
And on Mars, the clock is taken apart. “Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.”
Okay, now, got that? Because what that’s implying, the reason for the missing ten years, why the old DC Universe became the New 52, is DOCTOR FUCKING MANHATTAN.
...this is either the smartest thing they’ve ever done or the stupidest and I go back and forth, but either way, you have to admit, it’s pretty freaking shocking. And IGN and Newsarama have both positied that by using Doctor Manhattan, Geoff Johns is telling us, meta-textually, that the beginning of the darkness in DC Comics basically started with Watchmen. But the entire book is about resisting darkness, about restoring love and hope to the DC Universe. Which is really something they need to do.
So, personally, I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.