DC Comics’ Generation Zero To Streamline Continuity?

Generation Zero Tease

To kick off the first New Comic Book Day of February DC Comics decided to grab all the headlines by announcing the release of Generation Zero. DC’s Generation Zero will be released as part of the company’s Free Comic Day offering on May 2nd. This new comic book looks to be leading into the next big thing for the DC Universe, following up on the events from Doomsday Clock and Heroes In Crisis.

WHAT IS DC’S GENERATION ZERO?

Wonder Woman #750 establishes Diana as the first hero. Click for full-page view.

Based on everything that DC Comics released as part of the announcement we see Wally West wielding the power of Doctor Manhattan in the promo image. Alongside that promo image we see from DC Comics’ press release for this comic to mention the following thing on Wally West

“In order to save his children and the multiverse itself, Wally West makes the ultimate sacrifice, taking his place in the Moebius Chair. Unbeknownst to him, the chair is packing a little extra power, having been imbued with the godlike powers of Dr. Manhattan! Now armed with infinite knowledge – and the powers of a god – Wally West can see the past, present and future of the DC Universe all at once. …Including what needs to be changed.”

So along with somehow tapping into the Doctor Manhattan’s powers we will also see Wally West wielding the power of the Mobius Chair. That would likely make Wally West the most powerful character in the DC Universe. 

Along with Wally West wielding the power of a god it is heavily teased that Generation Zero will establish what the new official DC Comics timeline is. In the recent Wonder Woman #750 DC Comics established Wonder Woman as the first official superhero in this new timeline. That fact is something that DC Comics makes a point to highlight as they mention Wonder Woman #750 as a key part of Generation Zero.

Given the fact that Wally West and Wonder Woman are the only heroes spoken about in the announcement they are likely to take the lead in Generation Zero. Batman and Superman are not far behind as they are also heavily featured in the promo image along with the original Teen Titans, the New 52 Justice League and Batman Who Laughs.

WHAT STORYLINES COULD BE KEY TO GENERATION ZERO?

Doomsday Clock Teases DCU Future

Doomsday Clock teases Generation Zero. Click for full-page view.

Right out of the gate DC Comics makes it a point that both Wonder Woman #750 and the Flash Forward mini-series are key parts of why Generation Zero is happening. That is no surprise since Wally West and Wonder Woman are all over the press release.

Now since Flash Forward is being made a key lead into Generation Zero that means Heroes In Crisis is also important to the overall narrative. Love it or hate it, Heroes In Crisis does explain why Wally West has become the person he is at the moment. All the continuity shifting have hurt Wally’s character in many ways. 

Those troubles all lead back to the DC Universe: Rebirth one-shot, another key comic book, as it established why Wally was taken out of the equation during the New 52 reboot. DC Universe: Rebirth also closely ties Wally West to Doctor Manhattan as the godly character saw the speedster as a big threat to his plans. So because of that connection it likely gave Wally some sort of tie into Dr. Manhattan and his powers. And since Geoff Johns in a way reset Dr. Manhattan’s character at the end of Doomsday Clock #12 maybe we will learn that Wally can use the Mobius Chair to tap into that connection they have.

Which also brings us to the ending in Geoff Johns’ Justice League #50, which ended his run on that series. In the ending we saw Doctor Manhattan take out both Owlman and Metron after they used the power of the Mobius Chair to discover his presence. Once again, that likely helps lead to why Wally gets to be the new master of the Mobius Chair.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE DC UNIVERSE CONTINUITY?

Superman History Back In Continuity

Superman history as shown in Action Comics #976. Click for full-page view.

With all the information that we have about Generation Zero it is clear that it will effectively work in a similar fashion to Flashpoint and DC Rebirth. Like those comics, Generation Zero, and the event it is leading to, will establish the new timeline for the DC Universe. That is something that DC Comics has honestly needed for several years now. While they have tried to streamline their continuity with different new directions the DC Universe has become quite a mess.

One of the reasons for that mess is the fact that Flashpoint and DC Rebirth haven’t been the only events that have shook up the DCU continuity over the last decade. On top of those continuity heavy events we’ve had major events like Doomsday Clock, Convergence, The Darkside War, Dark Nights: Metal, and Justice League: No Justice. Each of those events have redefined what the continuity of the DC Universe has become, which is a giant mess.

The reason for how messy the DCU continuity has been is not due to the quality of these comic book storylines. A lot of these are highly regarded storylines both by fans and critics, including by both Rokk and myself. The problem with all these continuity heavy events has been that when DC finally works in storylines into their present there it makes it tough to tell what is actually in continuity anymore.

The continuity for both Batman and Superman are a perfect example of that. Superman is all over the place when it comes to what his actual history is. That has been made even more complicated by the fact DC recently aged up his son, Jonathan Kent, to be in his late-teens and revealed his identity to the world. These things haven’t made it easier to get into Superman’s character. In fact, it could be argued it is tougher to understand the character on a basic level of where he is actually at in his life.

Dick Grayson Robin Nightwing Teen Titans History

Nightwing #68 brings back all of Dick Grayson’s continuity. Click for full-page view.

And Even as a fan of Batman, including the work of Snyder, King and Tomasi, it is tough to explain what is actually in continuity when it comes to the character. That extends to the entire Batman Family as DC Comics has continuously taken out and brought things back into continuity on a consistent basis. 

You don’t have to look far for these continuity problems as a recent double page spread in Nightwing #68 showed that all of Dick Grayson’s continuity has been brought back into play. The problem with bringing Dick Grayson’s history back into play is that it does not work within the current DC Universe continuity. That is due to DC never fully clarifying things like what part of the original Teen Titans past is still in continuity. And based on Generation Zero’s teaser image that is something that will be brought up. But it is tough to figure out how it will work since all of the characters like Dick Grayson, Wally West, Donna Troy and others are younger and have been changed so those storylines don’t work.

This is all just continuity problems with a few characters in the vast DC Universe. Generation Zero and the event it is leading into is going to have its work cut out for them to streamline the DCU continuity.

GENERATION ZERO VERDICT BASED ON ANNOUNCEMENT

Barry Allen Remembers Wally West

Wally West past in flux during DC Rebirth. Click for full-page view.

Given the minimal details that we are provided for Generation Zero it is tough to pass a full judgement on the comic book until it is released on May 2nd. That includes knowing all the comic books that will play a key part in understanding what will take place during Generation Zero and beyond.

What I do know based on the given information is that DC Comics will need to be extremely careful with how they manage what Generation Zero will mean to the DCU. As mentioned at various points, the DC Universe is a mess right now. There are so many head scratching continuity questions that have been created over the last decade because of various story decisions. Because of that Generation Zero will be walking a very fine line into either bringing in readers or turning off current fans.

Owlman Metron Mobius Chair

Doctor Manhattan takes out Owlman and Metron in Justice League #50. Click for full-page view.

One of the key things that DC must do with Generation Zero is to respect what fans know about the DCU. That means making sure how they use all their iconic history is clear to the reader. Confusion on what is still in continuity and what isn’t needs to be clarified. Because if they just say everything is back in play it will just turn fans both new and old off.

That makes the job of Generation Zero and the event it is leading to one that I am not jealous about. This is a tough undertaking that DC Comics is undertaking. I would be lying if I said that my confidence level at Generation Zero is at 100%. As a fan of the company I hope that DC Comics is able to knock it out of the part with Generation Zero. But I also have enough experience in reading various comic book events that it is tough not to have some doubt. Hopefully Generation Zero can get over the fence and bring new, current and lapse fans together to enjoy the future of the DC Universe together.

SOURCE: DC COMICS


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2 Comments

  1. colonyofcells iamamachine2 February 6, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Unfortunately, saying that all of the golden age heroes predates superman does dishonor superman.

    • It’s not to different to the post-COIE and pre-Flashpoint DCU continuity where the JSA were established as predating Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman’s generation.

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