The DC Universe continues to reshape itself and at the center of it all the former sidekicks are proving centrifugal to the legacy.
Wally West returns to make things right and rejoins his friends as the Titans begin to take shape in the current issue of Titans: Rebirth #1.
(Now) DC Comics promised that when it would enter into the Rebirth the latest companywide “reboot” would be anything but that, and the proof is fair enough in the pudding. The Rebirth was intended to (re)introduce into the line an element that had been missing since the imprint’s last major shift several years ago when it promoted itself as The New 52 — a more contemporary and condensed version of its previous self that after the events in the FlashPoint reset the entire universe.
The DC Comics multiverse was reignited as a younger, sleeker version of itself. With only some minor exceptions, most of the major heroes including Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were still a bit green and hadn’t established themselves as similarly as any of their previous incarnations. It was a very bold strategy on the part of the publishing house that was responsible for more than 75 years of continuity and mythology, but DC Comics was in a position to compete with a changing market.
For a short time the strategy worked, but there were some elements missing from the mythology that had endeared these characters with its audience for decades. Although brought up to speed to attract new readership, The New 52 reboot had all but done away with most of the heroes’ longstanding legacies, their profound connection to one another that ultimately had made them standouts in the competitive publishing market. Looking to balance things out DC reestablished interest in its multiverse.
This opened the door for creatives to further push the envelope and think outside the limitations of comic book cannon. Writers were given the freedom to delve into any part of the DC Comics continuity that interested them and tell stories that fit those parameters without fear of damaging the current “timeline”. The Convergence came and went and soon the readership began to lose touch with the direction the stories were going in, until it was decided that a “rebirth” was inevitable.
DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns had been responsible for relaunching two of the bigger titles in the line when he brought back two of its major headliners back from the dead. The Silver Age characters Hal Jordan the Green Lantern and Barry Allen The Flash had both been lost to major crisis, but were returned into mainstream continuity and given all new relevance and a purpose by Johns that returned them to their rightful places among the pantheon of heroes.
That single initiative has made both heroes top sellers for the publisher. Hoping to capture lightning in a bottle (so to speak) a second time, but this time on a much broader scale, Johns along with DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee decided the time was ripe for the entire DC Universe to “rebirth” beginning with the most obvious omission post The New 52 history and answer the question: Whatever happened to the original Teen Titans more specifically Where did Wally West go after FlashPoint?
Taking that as the springboard for Rebirth the “original” members of the Teen Titans, former sidekicks Robin, Speedy, Aqualad and Wonder Girl found their way back to one another in the recent Titans Hunt mini-series. Within its pages the story establishes that the original sidekicks, now all grown-up, had their memories wiped and have forgotten their time as one of the DC Universe’s premiere team of allies. For many of them, especially Donna Troy the former “Wonder Girl” their histories were rewritten.
At the conclusion of that series, when the group found themselves reunited (and it feels so good) Nightwing (the former “Robin”) is very conscious of the fact that “something is still missing”. It isn’t until the one-shot special release of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 that we learn the truth — Wally West, the original Kid Flash who inherited the mantle of The Flash has been aimlessly floating between here and every other part of the multiverse. The FlashPoint event simply pushed Wally into nonexistence and he’s trying to get home!
It’s been an uphill battle and just as Wally is preparing to give up he pays one last visit to the one person that has made the greatest impact in his life, and is ultimately rescued from oblivion by Barry Allen The Flash. Now he’s back and slowly but surely everyone is beginning to remember who Wally is — or more accurately: who he was! Memories all realign when Wally decides to visit his former teammates in Titans: Rebirth #1 and literally uses the Speed Force to shock everyone into remembering him.
Thus reestablishing the Titans into the current continuity! There are plenty of gaps to fill in, that’s for certain. Chief among them is why Wally West returned from the ether younger than when the timeline became compromised after FlashPoint and whether he’ll resume using the name “Flash” even though there is still Barry Allen running around. West can’t go back to using “Kid Flash” — that name has already been taken (twice in fact in The New 52 timeline).
More importantly, it appears that it will be the role of these “new” Titans to determine why there is still a 10-year gap of missing memories, and exactly who took them! From the perspective of fans, who stuck it out through every incarnation, it is a very gratifying feeling indeed to see that legacies are once again taking shape and especially that an entire generation will soon properly reconnect with DC Comics second generation of heroes as the Titans come back together again!