Even before the details of Rebirth were revealed, DC Comics was adamant the initiative isn't a reboot. But with the reintroduction of some classic characters and elements, and the seeming integration of the "Watchmen" reality into the DC Universe, it may be difficult to pinpoint just what the initiative is.
However, DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee has a pretty solid explanation, calling Rebirth "an embracing of what we are."
"[W]hat we are is one of the first shared universes that had multiple Earths, or at least that commercialized that idea. The first that had multiple versions of characters, and the idea of alternate realities," he told CBR. "I think that's part and parcel with DC. If you look at 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' to even New 52, they're all attempts to do some bookkeeping, and tighten up everything. But then you saw the mythology itself almost has its own sentience and will to define itself, because it's stories are kept in all our heads, and expressed through our creativity and the work that we do. In a way, it has spoken and said, 'No, there must be multiple versions.' And that seems to resonate with the fans.
"So yeah, I think it is an embracing of, 'Hey, these are the things that have always defined DC, made DC unique and interesting, and we love the fact that there are generational aspects,'" Lee continued. "Those are things that we kind of overlooked or put to the side when we did New 52 that we're bringing back into it."
If the initial Rebirth issues aren't clear enough, Lee was quick to point out that the events of the New 52 haven't been scrapped or ignored.
"I think what's cool is, we haven't jettisoned the continuity," he said. "New 52 is within continuity, it's not a reboot. We're just pulling it through, and I think that's the smart decision to have made."
Check out our full interview with Lee and co-publisher Dan DiDio, where the pair delve into Watchmen's Rebirth role, the initiative's sales and critical success, and more.