The comics internet has been abuzz for several weeks after several DC Comics executives posted a mysterious teaser image. Yesterday, Geoff Johns and Jim lee posted two similar but not quite the same images (Lee’s is above). So what is Rebirth?
(Note: This is entirely speculation and educated guesses. Take everything with a grain of salt.)
First of all, it appears that WHAT ever Rebirth is, the WHEN is almost definitely June 2016. Why? This is month AFTER all of the New52 launch titles (except Justice League) hit issue #52. DC is pretty obsessed with that number under the current administration. Plus, almost all of the titles launched last summer are hitting #12. It’s a good time for something big to happen.
So WHAT is Rebirth? From all appearances, it’s a relaunch of DC’s entire publishing line. Some news and rumor sites are predicting a line-wide renumbering, which is likely considering the sales climate of the comics industry and the significant sales bump that renumbering brings.
To go with that, Bleeding Cool is also speculating that multiple titles will go biweekly/semimonthly. Whether that’s true or not will remain to be seen. However, looking at Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man experiment from several years ago, in which the three monthly Spider-Man titles were instead consolidated down to one title that shipped three times a month, the experiment led to higher overall sales on the title. So, it’s possible, but probably only on “sure thing” titles such as Superman, Batman or Justice League.
Buoying the relaunch speculation is the just-released solicitations for May 2016's comics. In reading these solicits, multiple titles are using very definitive statements that imply the current run ending, while others are outright stating these issues are conclusions. Now, none of these solicits say that the issue is a FINAL ISSUE, but some we are are aware as the last issue, such as Starfire (as revealed in an interview with Comics Alliance last week.
So what is going to come of the possible relaunch?
DC has several titles that will basically be published until the end of time- Batman, Detective Comics, Superman, Action Comics, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Teen Titans and Justice League. All of these are usually good solid performers for DC, and are their marquee characters. The day we see DC without these titles will be the day DC shuts down.
Titles with multi-media tie-ins are also likely. This means Suicide Squad, Green Arrow, Cyborg, Aquaman and Harley Quinn are safe. We’ll probably also see Supergirl and Shazam return to the regular publishing line-up, as well as a few Legends of Tomorrow stars (most likely Atom, Hawkgirl, Firestorm and/or Captain Cold), especially if the series gets a second season pick up. Some of the secondary stars of DC TV may also get series, specifically Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, and MAYBE Vibe.
Lastly, the Gotham-set Bat-books are reliable sellers for DC. I’d expect to see some sort of Dick Grayson book, Batgirl, a Robin book (or maybe two). Catwoman, unfortunately, is probably a goner if any Gotham books are cancelled though. The title’s sort of languished for a few years and is due for a rest and eventual relaunch. Same with Red Hood which hasn’t been a well-received title. Another Gotham-set anti-hero book will probably take their places (maybe Poison Ivy?).
What beyond that? Well, if we look at what I’ve already named, we’re at about 25 series, half of their output from September 2011.
Green Lantern Corps is almost a given, considering how well the series has done since 2011. With the Flash TV series’ popularity, I wouldn’t be surprised by a “Speed Force” style book, starring various speedsters. Superman/Batman and Superman/Wonder Woman are great books that fill specific niches to fans, and I wouldn’t be surprised if those two are joined by Trinity book featuring all three month-in, month-out.
Given the popularity of their Golden Age characters, some sort of revival of that group is almost a given, whether in their current Earth 2 incarnations or as a new Justice Society of America set in the main DC universe. Speaking of classic DC teams, there is whispers that the Legion of Superheroes are the objects of multi-media talks, and with the group being retired for the last two years a revival is due.
I’d say, given the popularity of Legends of Tomorrow, a second Justice League book, with a line-up not dissimilar from Legends is also very likely. That brings us up to the mid-thirties.
Beyond that, they will almost definitely be some oddballs, such as Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Zatanna, Doom Patrol, and the Outsiders. However, guessing at those would be just rolling dice.
What do you think? What do YOU want out of the DC Comics Rebirth?