Writers spoiling their own stories to boost sales and speculation is nothing new. DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns doing it on a publication that barely covers comics is even less new. And yet here we are: on the eve of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 hitting stores shelves, Johns spoiled nearly ever major plot point in an exclusive feature with USA Today. The chief architect of Rebirth, Johns managed to get through every single major plot point and wax rhapsodic about how readers will be shocked and in awe of their majesty (provided they don’t go on the internet within the next twenty-four hours), and the revelations range from expected to downright bizarre, so if you don’t want to know anything about Rebirth going in, you need to get out now. Seriously, do not scroll down. There’s nothing to see here. Move along.
BEEP BEEP MAJOR SPOILER WARNING MAJOR SPOILER WARNING.
Johns defends the necessity of Rebirth in the face of giant crossover event fatigue once again, saying that, “It felt like there were things that had gone missing — not the characters but an overall feeling of hope and optimism. There’s a sense of warmth and emotion to this universe beyond the big epic threats and continuity stuff.” Ignoring for a moment that he’s largely responsible for those losses, Johns’ sentiment rings true with the perspective of the mysterious lone savior out to save the DC Universe from itself, someone beloved by many but often forgotten in the creative offices of DC today.
No, your eyes do not deceive you, comic faithful. That is indeed the pre-”New 52” Wally West making his grand entrance into the new DC Universe and return to the spotlight, if only for a brief moment. In Rebirth #1, Wally discovers a dark force infecting the multiverse, infecting the memories of the people in the “New 52” universe and effectively erasing an entire decade of their existence. Naturally, Wally then embarks on a quest to restore the memories of the universe, presumably joining up with “New 52” Barry Allen so they can hug it out and Johns can show how much better Barry is, like he always does. But the meeting of the speedsters pales in comparison to the reveal of the grand puppeteer, the secret mastermind erasing the lives and feelings of a world of beloved characters. Truly there is no more fitting a foe to stand in Flash’s way than…
Again, not a joke. Johns revealed that the culprit for all the gaps in the timeline is none other than Watchmen’s Doctor Manhattan, the nigh-omnipotent but incredibly cynical being who removes himself from his own reality at the end of that story to explore other universes. Apparently, this is what he ended up doing instead. Johns briefly admitted how crazy the decision sounds, but stands by it on the grounds that, “If you’re going to have a conflict between optimism and pessimism, you need to have someone who represents a cynical view of life and also has the ability to affect this.” Some might say there are less convoluted ways to explain why all the DC characters seemed arbitrarily younger when the “New 52” kicked off, but we’ve heard of worse ideas than “Flashes from two earths team up against a sad naked blue man with near-godlike abilities.” But yeah, people who were constantly left wondering why so much of the DC Universe simply stopped existing circa 2011, there’s your answer, for better or worse. Also, “New 52” Superman is going to die to pave the way for Rebirth, because DC has gotten really into killing Superman lately.
For more on DC Universe: Rebirth and what’s going to change, check out Reddit’s ongoing documentation here.