Back in April, the magazine-sized “Rebirth” preview distributed in comics shops promised “three [heroic] characters reintroduced to the DC Universe… with the promise of more.”
As we all know by now, those three were Wally “Kid Flash/Flash III” West, the Golden Age Johnny Thunder (not to be confused with DC’s Old West character), and Jackson “Aqualad II” Hyde. Ray Palmer also appeared as the Atom (with Ryan Choi debuting as his apprentice), along with the first on-panel appearance of Ted Kord since the New 52 relaunch. I’m pretty sure the “sandwich thief” is Legion of Super-Heroes member Dream Girl, but it’s not clear which version. Regardless, we’re going to focus on this “promise of more” business.
We begin with that “Rebirth” preview magazine, which sports a wraparound cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, showing three giant hourglasses, one on the front and two on the back. The front cover’s hourglass has broken apart, releasing the “rebirth”-ed Superman, Batman, Robin, Superboy, Wonder Woman, Shazam, Aquaman, Batgirl, Kid Flash (the new-ish Wally), Harley Quinn and Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. No big surprises there, things get more interesting on the back cover, where the two remaining hourglasses are imprisoning old-school versions of the Justice Society of America and Justice League. The JSAers include Doctor Fate, the Flash, Green Lantern (Alan Scott), the Atom, Black Canary and Hourman; while the Leaguers are Batman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Wonder Woman, Superman, the Atom, Martian Manhunter and Cyborg. It suggests rather strongly that DC may not be done with all the Multiversal introspection from (among other things) last year’s two-month “Convergence” event. Certainly the JSA looks like it could have come from the old Earth-Two, or at least the war years of the pre-“Flashpoint” DC-Earth.
This version of the Justice League is another matter. Most are drawn to look as they did in the pre-“Crisis On Infinite Earths” days, but Cyborg wasn’t a Leaguer back then. That suggests a slightly altered timeline, or even a timeline that mashes together elements from different eras. (The cut of Hal’s costume also seems anachronistic, but it may just be Ivan Reis’s muscle memory.) Thus, when “Rebirth” talks about bringing characters back, they may well be coming from way back; and they may not be exactly as we remember.
With that in mind, here, in no particular order, are ten more possible “Rebirth” returns that, yes, we’d really like to see.
THE GOLDEN AGE FLASH
Because the classic Justice Society will likely be returning en masse, before reading “Rebirth” part of me thought the three returning characters could simply have referred to the Golden Age versions of three emblematic members: Jay “Flash” Garrick, Alan “Green Lantern” Scott and Ted “Wildcat” Grant. Knowing what I know now, if I had to pick one of these three for a “Rebirth” revival, I would go with Jay, and not just because he (in some form or another) has been part of this season’s “Flash” TV show.
Let’s face it: when you’re talking multiverses, you’re talking different versions of the Flash, and “Rebirth” proved to be no exception. As beloved as Wildcat is, reintroducing him alone would be like reintroducing Doctor Mid-Nite or Hourman — it just wouldn’t have the same oomph. As for the original Green Lantern, the Alan Scott of the current “Earth-2” series has become a pretty central part of its overall mythology, so much so that he’s virtually the supreme being of his adopted world. It might undercut “Earth-2’s” Alan to bring back the Golden Age GL, at least this early in “Rebirth.” Besides, as shown in 1998’s “Flash” #134, there’s precedent for Jay visiting a senile Johnny Thunder.
THE QUESTION (RENEÃ‰ MONTOYA)
Created by Steve Ditko for Charlton Comics, and relaunched for DC by the likes of Denny O’Neil & Denys Cowan and Greg Rucka & Cully Hamner, the Question never really caught on in the New 52. He reappeared during “Trinity War,” where he was established as one of the Trinity of Sin along with Pandora and the Phantom Stranger. Later, he co-starred in the short-lived “Trinity of Sin” ongoing series. Indeed, while the Question was originally journalist Vic Sage, the New 52 Sage (late of “Suicide Squad”) seems entirely separate from the supernaturally-flavored New 52 Question.
By contrast, Vic’s successor Renee Montoya was reintroduced last year as Harvey Bullock’s partner in “Detective Comics.” Initially, her journey from disillusioned cop to mysterious crimefighter took most of a year (as told in the weekly “52”), but DC doesn’t have to divulge all those details immediately. Instead, rather than trying to harmonize the current Question and Sage, DC could retire them, and satisfy Renee’s fans, by putting her back behind the blank mask. Rucka and Hamner’s return to the character was one of last year’s best-received “Convergence” miniseries, so clearly her appeal hasn’t waned.
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