The Rebirth Era


Welcome to the official REBIRTH ERA TIMELINE (aka “Post-Superman Reborn Timeline”). The Rebirth Era timeline is home to the Batman of REBIRTH ERA EARTH-0. This full Rebirth Era history comprises Batman and Batman-related DC publications ranging primarily from 2017 onward. It also includes soft-reboot alterations made from the conclusion of Doomsday Clock and Flash Forward. Be aware that, in terms of nomenclature, the Rebirth Era, like the New 52 before it, is still a part of what is alternately known as the “New Age,” “Current Age,” “New Golden Age,” the “Second Golden Age,” or the “Prismatic Age.”

In July 2016, DC published DC Universe: Rebirth #1, the start of their “Rebirth” initiative, a precursor to a reboot that would officially occur less than a year later. Let me repeat that with added emphasis: The Rebirth Era aka Post-“Superman Reborn” reboot did not actually start with the publication of “Rebirth” branded stories in July 2016. Despite nine months’ worth of “Rebirth” branded titles, complete with line-wide blue curtain “Rebirth” trade dressing, the rebooted Rebirth Era didn’t technically begin until spring of 2017 with the multiverse-shattering conclusion to “Superman Reborn” (in Action Comics #976). This issue gave us the out-and-out full reboot that ended the New 52 timeline. While some argue that “Superman Reborn” is merely a soft-reboot that extends the New 52, this viewpoint is incorrect. Subsequent “Superman Reborn Aftermath” issues, “The Button” crossover, Action Comics #978, Doomsday Clock, Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen, Death Metal, and many other issues re-confirm the details surrounding the reboot as well. Narratively, in “Superman Reborn,” the meddling of Mr. Mxyzptlk and the undefined seemingly-cosmic powers of Superboy cause the spirits of New 52 Superman and New 52 Lois Lane to merge with Modern Age Superman and Modern Age Lois Lane.

With this unholy merger of radically different pairs of characters, not only is Superman reborn, but the entire DCU is as well. A new timeline, which combines both Modern and New 52 histories of these characters, is created. As “Superman Reborn” clearly shows, the New 52 Superman and Lois are from a wholly different timeline than the Rebirth Superman and Lois, thus helping us differentiate between realities and giving us full confirmation of a reboot. Whereas the New 52 timeline started out as a six-year-timeline (and was at Year Ten by 2017), the Rebirth timeline stretched things out and added an extra five years of in-story time (specifically accommodating a new Kent family history), placing the DCU at Year Fifteen by 2017. When the New 52 dies (or, rather, is “archived”) in 2017, just like in prior reboots, the big occurrences of the dead-and-replaced timeline (in this case, the New 52) get folded-into our new timeline. This is akin to how the major occurrences of the Golden, Silver, and Bronze Ages got folded-into the Modern Age after the original Crisis. In fact, Geoff Johns’ creative intention when mapping out the Rebirth Era was to build a brand new timeline by synthesizing New 52 continuity with Modern Age continuity. (After all, Johns had been dead set against rebooting the Modern Age with Flashpoint in the first place, but Dan DiDio forced the issue.) Some other major differences between the New 52 and Rebirth Era are that the former features the “yearlong Robin internship program” and Superman dating Wonder Woman. The Rebirth Era erases those things. Also, the Rebirth Era significantly condenses Scott Snyder’s “Zero Year” and mashes it up with Frank Miller’s “Year One” and a few Golden Age re-imaginings, which is a radical departure from the New 52.

In 2020, Doomsday Clock rebooted the DCU, but the majority of its massive narrative changes were immediately neutered by DC publishers, relegating the overall effect to that of a partial or soft relaunch. DC chief Dan DiDio had been planning his own “Generations” reboot at the time, thus axing Geoff Johns’ Doomsday Clock reboot in favor of his own. Shortly thereafter, DiDio was fired. “Generations” was officially cancelled, but it was too late to simply re-validate Doomsday Clock‘s ending because DiDio’s plans had already been set into motion. This obviously led to great continuity chaos for the DCU. (This flip-flop-flip was explained in-story by having the Batman Who Laughs nullify Dr. Manhattan and Wally West’s attempted continuity resets at the end of Doomsday Clock and Flash Forward, respectively.) As confirmed by Teen Titans Vol. 6 #39-40, Young Justice Vol. 3 #18, Flash #750-761, Justice League Vol. 4 #51-52, Wonder Woman #750 Part 9, Dark Nights: Death Metal, and several other titles, the Doomsday Clock/Flash Forward soft reboot does the following: It undoes the deaths of Ma and Pa Kent. It restores the Justice Society of America’s 20th century history, which includes an active Wonder Woman, but blocks said history from everyone’s memories in the present day and future. It restores Kal-El’s time as Superboy with the Legion of Super-Heroes, but blocks said history from everyone’s memories in present day and future. It re-adds Barry Allen’s death in the original Crisis and his resurrection in Final Crisis. And it re-adds Stephanie Brown’s brief time as a Robin. Our Rebirth timeline reflects these changes.

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7 Responses to The Rebirth Era

  1. Leonard Dement says:

    Also if the new 52 died out and was replaced. Why are the court of owls still in existence? Joker just resurrected them! Also in Superman reborn Batman and wonder woman and Superman are ALL wearing their new 52 suits. That can’t be possible if the new 52 died and was replaced. Also rebirth continues exactly where the last days of Superman left off. With new 52 Superman’s death. So rebirth continues the new 52 and never erased it. Superman reborn only adds parts of his past with his current history.

    • Hey again, Leonard. I think you might be misunderstanding the fundamentals of fictional canon, at least as I see them. After a reboot, the new timeline starts as a blank slate—but only sorta. Writers continue ongoing stories, which canonizes much of their prior work (from before the reboot).

      For example, there’s plenty of Silver and Golden Age material that was canonized (albeit in a new re-contextualized way) after the original Crisis. Such is the case for the New 52. Some bits of the Modern Age were still canon (albeit in a New 52 kind of way). Previous continuities get mashed-up and form the skeletal framework of a new continuity when it’s formed after a reboot. So, yes, the Court of Owls exists in the New 52 and Rebirth Era, and it’ll exist in the post-Death Metal continuity as well. (And it’ll exist after reboots for dozens of years to follow, I’m sure.)

      To your last point (about “Last Days of Superman”): When Flashpoint happened in 2011, Batman Incorporated continued right where it left off. As did all Green Lantern titles. Those tales went on without a hitch despite the fact that the world had changed around them.

      I think you are making an argument that “Superman Reborn” is a soft-reboot and that the Rebirth Era shouldn’t be its own separate timeline. (I think you’ve expressed this view before in the comments of my site.) Unfortunately, there’s a plethora of in-story evidence that shows the Rebirth Era is quite different than the New 52—and different enough to warrant its status as a separate timeline. If you don’t subscribe to that, that’s totally fine. Headcanon is headcanon, after all. However, my timelines express this difference quite clearly (and with plenty of evidence to back it up), so I’ll continue structurally as I have. Thanks for your comment, though! As I said, I’m happy to discuss your theories in more detail. Shoot me an email (ccolsher@gmail.com) if you are interested in a longer discussion.

  2. Jack James says:

    After thinking about it for a bit, I think that Rebirth might be the stupidest continuity yet hahaha Obviously not because of you, you’ve done a GREAT job making sense of that mess, but damn is it multiple levels of stupid to have things like Year One and Zero Year coexisting, along with several adventures of the Golden Age/Silver Age that make no sense at all to exist in this world. At least when Morrison did it in Pre-Flashpoint he did give it good rationale and backstory that integrated everything, here we’re just kinda expected to take at face-value that the same Selina from Year One is the same Selina from Batman #1 and it’s like… why? I’m really looking forward to the next new universe, though a part of me wishes that DC would just have the guts to do a reboot in which they start from zero and go on directly from there, no flashforward stories.

    • Well the New52 should have been the first legit full-on reboot starting from zero, but they didn’t have the guts to follow through (and it was a mess). I would also love a legit clean reboot. It’d be amazing, I think. Rebirth was a reaction (maybe over-reaction) to the New 52, and now we are heading into uncharted territory where “everything will matter.” 5G would have brought us multiple generations of heroes—a lovely idea, but probably overcomplicated from a continuity standpoint (especially judging by Didio’s ill-fated Comicon tease last year).

      If “everything matters” in a Marvel “Sliding Time” sense, it might honestly be for the best—and I can finally rest my weary bones and brain. But we shall see!

      • Jack James says:

        I gotta say I’m also not completely a fan of what Marvel does, I think that at this point the 616 timeline has gone on for waaaaaay too long over there to the point where everyone’s stories feel pointless.
        What I wish DC would do is do a reboot from zero in which they follow the character from their early years, and stick to that continuity chronologically until 15 or 20 years later or so, maybe even a bit less, in which they give all those characters a proper conclusion to their stories, and THEN they reboot again starting from zero.

        It’d be amazing because I really think that aside from being much less confusing, it’d really give creators a chance to keep reinventing and updating these characters each generation in all sorts of exciting ways, and I think it’d be pretty cool to actually see Batman age along with his rogues and really feel the weight of all the stories and years and such, especially if you know someday they’re gonna have a legitimate conclusion.

        I’d adore to have a Batman comic-book continuity in which you pick-up from issue #1, and then 10 years later it still goes on in order. I also think it’d legitimately excite people because imagine how excited people would be upon seeing characters that we sorta know their fate pop up, like Dick or Jason or so. It’s ballsy and would take commitment but I honestly think it’d pay off.

  3. Ryan Angelastro says:

    Can I count some episodes of Batman: The Animated Series in this timeline?

    • If you are making your own personal headcanon, you could choose to include Lego Batman if you were so inclined lol… but seriously, if you are asking for my opinion on the matter, I only include things on my timeline that are referenced in the comics. That being said, there actually have been a handful of Rebirth references to Batman the Animated Series… Temple Fugate as Clock King, HARDaC, Veronica Vreeland, Emile Dorian, and Kyodai Ken. And virtually the entirety of the original Batman Beyond series has been canonized in some form.

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