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Off My Mind: Will the DC Universe Be Rebooted Again After Flashpoint?

Is it really that crazy of an idea?

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Flashpoint has just begun and we know the DC Universe proper has been completely altered. Barry Allen awoke to find the world had changed. From what we know, he wasn't transported to another world, dimension or reality. He is in the actual main DC Universe. This was also seen in Booster Gold #44 when Skeets told Booster that they were in the same timeline.

Everything has changed. The heroes are different. Some of the heroes we know are actually dead and there are new versions of other ones. We, as comic book readers, know this isn't really a big deal. We've seen similar events with Age of Apocalypse, Heroes Reborn and recently Age of X. We know it's just a comic book event and things will eventually return to normal. We can sit back and enjoy this new twist to the characters we know and wait patiently for the return of what we've been reading.

There has been a rumor floating around about the fate of the DC Universe. In most of the regular titles, major storylines are approaching a firm conclusion (Wonder Woman's The Odyssey, Superman's Reign of the Doomsdays, etc). On August 31, 2011, there will be only one DC Comics issue released, Flashpoint #5, the final issue of the miniseries. Speculation has been brewing that after Flashpoint, the DC Universe might not revert back to its original form. Is there any way it'd be possible for DC to abandon all it's current ongoing titles in favor of the new characters and direction developing in Flashpoint?

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The quick response is, "No way!" How could DC possibly turn its back on all us loyal readers and simply do away with the decades of character development we've had? If you really think about it, it's not really hard to believe they might do that.

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How many times has the DC Universe been rebooted? First of all, we have the Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age and current continuity that are not connected. For example, when Alfred first appeared in Batman #16, Bruce Wayne was an adult and Dick Grayson was already his ward. Alfred mentioned his father hand worked for the Wayne family but Bruce did not know him and was not raised by him after his parents were shot. We also have the other stories like Supergirl making out with her horse Comet. That hasn't happened in the current incarnation of the character.

Heroes Reborn rebooted several characters.
Heroes Reborn rebooted several characters.

The DC characters have had their origins tweaked many times over the years. What's to stop DC from doing it one more time? It's not a completely unheard of idea. Marvel sort of did the same thing with Heroes Reborn. The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Captain America and Iron Man all had new origins. Anything that happened before didn't matter...until they made their way back to the regular 616 universe. Heroes Reborn lasted a year. There might have been a slight uproar over it but the books did sell.

If DC decided to continue the world of Flashpoint beyond the five issue miniseries, it would be easier for new readers to jump into the books. People may know everything about Superman's origin but if you were to think about picking up Action Comics to read about him, the fact that the issue is now in the 900s could be intimidating. That's 900 other stories that have gone by and the new reader might feel overwhelmed by the fact that there's a lot of history and events they've missed.

The sad fact is comic books don't sell the incredibly high numbers they used to. It was mind-boggling that Jim Lee's X-Men sold over 7 million copies and today's major books barely crack 100,000. Despite this, superheroes and comic books are becoming more popular in Hollywood. The truth is you can have millions of people that will see a comic book movie but less than a hundred thousand will actually read the comics. With a reboot of characters, DC could create new franchise after franchise. The success of Marvel's THOR shows that even characters that aren't as mainstream as Spider-Man or the X-Men can still make a lot of money.

What about the Batman movies? We're pretty sure that The Dark Knight Rises will be Christopher Nolan's final Batman movie. When the inevitable next movie comes out, it will be a reboot just as Spider-Man and X-Men are getting rebooted. The Batman movies could easily be rebooted to fit more closely to the Flashpoint version. The same could happen to Superman and Green Lantern. There's room to bend a little.

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What do I honestly think? I don't believe DC would completely wipe out the 75 years of the characters we know, even if they have gone through changes over the years. What I can believe is that they could try to stretch out Flashpoint beyond the fifth issue in August. If this is a major event, we're getting five issues in only four months. The big comic events usually last much longer than that. Sure the Flash may be involved but why is there a need to rush this along?

Over the next couple weeks, if the Flashpoint miniseries are successful, I could totally see DC 'announcing' that the world will carry on this least for a little bit longer. They may try to convince us that they are going to cancel all their other titles and replace them for another month or two or three. After everyone has their say whether they love the idea or hate it, DC can decide what they will do next.

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I don't have a problem with change. Spider-Man changed his costume. Superman died (and later got electric-based powers). Iron Man was replaced by Rhodey. Captain America and Batman both died. Eventually things return to the status quo. There is no need to get in an uproar when a character goes through a major change. They always return to what we know because it's what we know. Do people really want rehashes of the same old stories over and over? There's nothing wrong with trying to mix things up once in a while. Let the publishers experiment a little and give us fresh takes on characters and go in different directions. Then after it's played out, the characters will go back to their old ways. DC most likely will not reboot their entire line of comics and characters but if they did for a little bit, I would be totally okay with that.