The rumor mill is churning, and word from Bleeding Cool is that DC is going to be doing a universal reboot after the conclusion of Flashpoint #5, the only DC comic book shipping the last week of August. It isn’t all that hard to believe, given that every time there was a problem in their publishing system one way or another, rebooting has been DC’s #1 solution.
First off, going all the way back to the first Crisis, DC pulled this stunt back when they had the most confusing continuity system mankind has ever devised. They used the Crisis to get all of the worlds back to being, y’know, one world. That way you didn’t need a special storyline to get Earth-One Superman to team up with Earth-Two Flash. I get why they did that. In fact, I might be wrong, but everyone gets why they did that. It corrected one of their major publishing errors. Since then, storylines such as Zero Hour and Infinite Crisis have used the reboot method to “fix” things about continuity or change the status quo so that writers could write something the way that they wanted it to.
So far, Flashpoint doesn’t look like it’s going to do a whole lot. Geoff Johns has introduced some new concepts, sure, and there are SIXTEEN mini-series coming out alongside Flashpoint to get us caught up on this new world. However, I feel like these changes are more likely to be incorporated into the DC Universe following Flashpoint rather than just setting the stage for a reboot following this sudden alternate reality shift.
Flash Fact: They’re more likely to LOSE their readership than keep it. I point you to Marvel’s “Heroes Reborn” storyline from the 1990s. Colossal flop.
Johns is no stranger to using colossal universe-changing events to tweak continuity and characters. He already did it in the aforementioned Infinite Crisis event, which needed two separate Wikipedia pages dedicated to the changes made in the universe by it. Would he do it again? I don’t know. I’d like to think not. We already know that Flashpoint ends Johns’ longtime association with the Flash franchise, and that he’ll be making the leap to Aquaman afterward (while maintaining the lead on the Green Lantern books). I really cannot imagine them totally rebooting everything like rumors have it. I just can’t.
So… what does it mean, then?
I suppose it’s like I said before. It’s my personal opinion that we’re looking at this storyline as a way of tweaking the DC Universe. DC Comics has been losing market share for ages, and their “Holding the Line at $2.99” hasn’t done a whole lot to strengthen their sales. Yes, it’s solidified them, but it hasn’t increased them. They may very well be desperate for a way to get attention, and starting the rumor mill that everything will change “in a flash” is great for them. It gets people talking about DC Comics. However, it’s this reader’s personal opinion that those changes will be tweaks only. Only certain franchises and characters will be cherry-picked for the universal change treatment. Then they’ll be incorporated into the DC Universe. Characters like Johns’ “character to watch” the Outsider will also make their way back into the DC Universe post-Flashpoint.
I’m no insider. I don’t know anything for sure. However, it’s what makes sense, and god forbid a comic book company do what makes sense for once.