The Continuity of the New 52 DC Comics: What Changed in Week 1
By David Uzumeri
Last week we took a look at Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1 regarding the changes they’d made to DC continuity, but this week we’ve got a lot more to discuss. While some of the titles have minimal changes or are complete reboots, more than a few are tweaks on the old DC continuity. So while these books are ostensibly without history for new readers, if you’re a DC Comics continuity nerdlinger like me, you’re probably wondering what changed in the continuity of DC’s New 52. Here’s your guide, and watch out for spoilers!
Action Comics #1 (Grant Morrison & Rags Morales)
This one’s an almost total reboot, but in classic Morrison style, it contains more than enough clues and nods to past and future continuity that, well, I’m just gonna do some mini-annotations here. With so little to go on, full-on page-by-page Batman-style annotations probably won’t be necessary for a few issues, but there’s still more than enough worth commenting on.
First off, this shows a little-written-about period in Superman’s history five and a half years before the “present day” in a completely new light. While set early in Superman’s career, it’s not an origin story; Ma and Pa Kent don’t even appear in the issue, and Clark’s already decided to be Superman long before it begins. He’s wearing jeans and a T-shirt and thinking before he leaps — and leaping is what he does, since he hasn’t been exposed to the sun long enough to start flying yet. His powers are still increasing, as Lex Luthor — here, a consultant to the U.S. Army hired to take down Superman — comments.
Jimmy Olsen is no longer Superman’s best pal, but Clark Kent’s. He and Lois work at the Daily Planet while Clark Kent works at the Daily Star, its competitor. His relationship with Lois is almost nonexistent, other than as his best friend’s coworker.
That said, there are more than enough hints to the future, such as Clark’s neighbor Mrs. Nyxly (whose similiarity, visually and in name, to Mr. Mxyzptlk can’t be denied — as well as ’70s villain Ferlin Nyxly, thanks Mark Waid) as well as his “friends,” two men and a blonde woman, who are likely Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Jimmy Olsen jokes about his cellphone being his “own personal stalker” as it makes a ZEE ZEE ZEE sound, a clear nod towards his signal watch that summoned Superman in old continuity.
Animal Man #1 (Jeff Lemire & Travel Foreman)
This book doesn’t at all deviate from previous continuity; as a matter of fact, this issue could easily have been printed without the New 52 reboot. It follows completely from Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan, Rick Veitch and Jamie Delano’s runs on the character.
Batgirl #1 (Gail Simone & Ardian Syaf)
This one has the most modifications. While Barbara’s paralyzation in Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s seminal The Killing Joke remains in continuity, it’s only been three years since then, and Barbara’s since regained the ability to walk due to an unspecified “miracle.” Whether her years as Oracle occurred is unclear; she certainly spent time in a wheelchair, and she’s still a computer genius, but she’s far younger than she was portrayed then and she’s poor enough to need to move into a cheap apartment with a roommate, implying she doesn’t have the panoply of resources, both monetary and technological, that she had as Oracle.
Read more at ComicsAlliance.