When DC Comics decided to reboot their entire universe of Justice League heroes and villains in the launch of The New 52, fans were divided. Now that the true force behind the DC Rebirth has been revealed, it's official: even the heroes themselves now realize The New 52 was always doomed to fail.
On the one hand, this is sure to be a time of validation, vindication, and relief for the fans who always felt the New 52 reboot was a bad idea - it's not every day that a comic publisher confirms that a reboot was a bad, flawed, and dangerous idea they've been lucky to survive to this point. But that's exactly what has taken place in Doomsday Clock #9, as the Watchmen mastermind behind the younger, fresher, and 'hip' heroes of the New 52 has realized his fatal mistakes.
Seeing the DC canon officially accept that the New 52 is doomed might be fun for some... but what happens when it finally dies? To explain that, DC fans are going to need a bit of an explanation. Time to take notes.
- This Page: The New 52 Was Dr. Manhattan's Mistake
- Page 2: Yes, The New 52 Universe is Going to Die
DC Rebirth Confirmed: The New 52 is Wrong
The acceptance of defeat isn't pretty, so we'll instead focus on the positives. If DC's New 52 was a bad idea, or at the very least a flawed one after the fact, that was thrown into sharpest relief by the success and acclaim, both creatively and commercially, of the recent DC Rebirth. An editorial directive spearheaded by Geoff Johns himself, the Rebirth gathered the industry's top writers and artists to return DC's heroes to their core. In short, to throw the New 52 constraints out the window, and tell the single best story they could with their assigned character. And the results were gangbusters.
If Geoff Johns' opinion on the New 52 was assumed before, it was spoken of freely after Rebirth struck. Returning the DC characters to their roots was a conscious response to what he perceived as a universe that had lost its way. By making the DC Universe younger, and less connected to its history, the heroes, teams, and even villains had been diminished. For most, such an admission of defeat would be damaging. But for Geoff Johns, it was an opportunity to tell a much larger story.
As DC Universe: Rebirth revealed, the return of Wally West triggered a wave of realization that all was not right. That the DC Universe was weaker than it should be... and that it was no accident, but the result of reality being warped by a Watchmen icon.
The New 52 is Dr. Manhattan's Master Plan
At the time, many fans and critics alike applauded Geoff Johns' pivot, turning the publisher's biggest mistake in the modern era into the prelude to a massive, headline grabbing story: bringing the Watchmen characters into official DC canon. And even more, suggesting that Doctor Manhattan's exit to "create some life" at the end of Alan Moore's graphic novel led him straight to DC's reality. The incredible mystery was promised to be explained in the special miniseries Doomsday Clock - and at long last, it finally has been.
The mystery has been teased already, with Doctor Manhattan killing the Reverse-Flash, and the Justice League tracking Doctor Manhattan to the moon. But in Doomsday Clock #9, the story is finally told from Manhattan's point of view, revealing that the New 52 Was his brainchild... and his greatest failure. Needless to say, major SPOILERS incoming...