In 1986, DC Comics made comic book history by rebooting their entire continuity in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Character histories were changed, merged in from other continuities, or even restarted from scratch. The Post-CrisisDC Universe would never be the same.In 2011, they did it again.The "New 52" is DC's third major reboot, following the Flashpoint event. (There were two other Cosmic Retcons- with Zero Hour and Infinite Crisis / 52 - but they were largely cosmetic.) In the wake of The Flash messing with the Timey-Wimey Ball, DC canceled all their ongoings (even Action Comics and Detective Comics) and launched 52 new titles in their place. In this new continuity, superheroes have only emerged publicly in the last five years or so, with many only beginning to show up now. Even so, many major prior storylines are still canon, at least in Broad Strokes. Certain Vertigo Comics and Wildstorm characters have also been incorporated into this new continuity.Of course, DC wouldn't let things stop there. In January 2012 they overhauled their corporate logo, and has since occasionally refreshed the line by replacing a few books with new ones.For info on the changes made in the last big overhaul, see Post-Crisis.
The New 52 and Their Changes
Titles in bold are currently ongoing for the foreseeable future.
All three Super-characters have been scaled back to earlier versions and are having their alien-ness highlighted: Clark Kent is not married to Lois Lane and both Ma and Pa Kent passed away before Clark came to Metropolis, Superboy is a lab experiment intended to be used as a weapon, and Supergirl has only recently arrived from Krypton. Action Comics is now a Superman version of Batman: Year One, detailing the early years of Superman's career. The other main change is that, like in the Bronze Age, the Daily Planet has been bought by Galaxy Broadcasting. This time, however, it's Lois who's moved to TV and Clark who's staying with print journalism. Also, their classic costumes are replaced with ceremonial Kryptonian battle armor with similar design elements.
The Bat-books pick up where they left off, with Bruce Wayne appointing Batmen worldwide (including Batwing, who operates in a fictionalized version of the Democratic Republic of Congo). However Dick Grayson, who had become the Batman of Gotham, gives up the mantle and returns to being Nightwing. Meanwhile, Barbara Gordon has recovered from her paralysis and becomes Batgirl again, booting Stephanie Brown from the role. The books also introduced the Court of Owls, an Ancient Conspiracy that has run Gotham for generations and has ties to Wayne's and Grayson's pasts. Later on, it is revealed that Tim Drake has never been Robin, only Red Robin, and that his parents are still alive and in witness protection.
Like Batman, Green Lantern was especially successful prior to the reboot, so it keeps its recent history with corps of multiple colors emerging. Hal Jordan has been dismissed from the Corps due to the "War of the Green Lanterns" and replaced by Sinestro of all people, though he soon takes Hal on as a sidekick. Kyle Rayner, meanwhile, has defied the Guardians and joined an alliance of Lanterns of other colors, and Atrocitus has begun reorganizing his Red Lanterns with a new sense of purpose. In "Zero Month", a new human Lantern, Simon Baz, is introduced.
Justice League and other DCU
Justice League - The New 52's flagship book, featuring six of the traditional Big Seven with Cyborg in place of Martian Manhunter (who instead starts with Stormwatch before moving on to other titles). It also began including Curse of Shazam! backup stories around the same time as the second wave.
Aquaman - Aquaman starts off without the throne of Atlantis.
Wonder Woman - Wonder Woman's origin is changed from being a clay statue sculpted by Hippolyta to being the demigod daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus (although the original origin is referenced as an in-universe cover-up).
The Flash - Barry Allen, like Superman, is now younger and unmarried, but the big change is that at the launch Wally West was not and has never been the Flash or Kid Flash. He was eventually introduced a couple years later, now changed to be half-black.
The Fury of Firestorm - Firestorm was rebooted and the very nature of his powers changed; rather than requiring a Fusion Dance, each person can become a Firestorm and can then merge into a stronger being if they wish. It's also being reimagined as an arms race metaphor, with multiple countries developing their own Firestorms.
Teen Titans - Now brought together to defend themselves from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., an organization with an interest in superpowered teens and the creators of Superboy; half the team are the classic junior versions of Justice League members (Red Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl, and Kid Flash), and half are all-new characters: Solstice (who was actually introduced shortly before the reboot), Skitter, and Bunker. (Of other notable former Titans, Cyborg is on the Justice League, Starfire is with Red Hood, and Beast Boy and Terra are with the Ravagers.)
Static Shock - Now taking place in New York, much of Static's Milestone Comics history has remained in Canonnote As mandated by the late Dwayne McDuffie. His introduction to DC comics from 2 years prior have all been retcon except, curiously enough, being captured by the Darkside Club.
Hawk and Dove
Blue Beetle - not only is this still Jaime Reyes as opposed to one of his predecessors, but the strong implication is that he is now the onlyBlue Beetle in the DC Universe.
Stormwatch: Now reimagined with a line-up of main-DC and former Wildstorm characters, and conceived as an age-old covert superhero team dedicated to Shooting The Dog when necessary to protect the Earth.
Grifter: A former WildCATs character gets a solo title.
Men of War - Featuring a descendant of Sgt. Rock, it shows a soldier's ground-level view of superhuman conflicts.
Voodoo: Another solo title for a former WildCATs member.
All-Star Western - While not outright contradicting any previous stories, the series ties Jonah Hex closer to the wider DCU by sending him east to get to the bottom of a city that's as corrupt and lawless as any in the West - Gotham.
Huntress/Power Girl: Worlds' Finest - Both characters have been returned to to their original Earth-2 origins, though they're now stranded on the main DCU Earth.
The Ravagers - Spinning out of Teen Titans, this is a brand new team of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. refugees: Caitlin Fairchild, Beast Boy, Terra, and new characters Ridge, Thunder, and Lightning. In a minor but noticeable change, Beast Boy's odd coloring has gone from green to red as a connection to fellow beast-themed hero Animal Man.
Dial H - a Vertigo-style, Darker and Edgier, reworking of the older DC series Dial H For Hero, keeping the basic concept of the Hero Dial that turns people into random superheroes but featuring entirely new characters.
September 2012 (Zero Month)
The one-year anniversary of the relaunch; in addition to replacing some titles, every book was a #0Origins Issue. Replacing Justice League International, Captain Atom, Resurrection Man, and Voodoo are:
Team Seven - Based on a Wildstorm title and set five years ago, with the team being a countermeasure to emerging superhumans. It has a mixed cast of DC and Wildstorm characters, including several who are also appearing in titles set in the present day.
Sword of Sorcery featuring Amethyst - A fantasy book featuring an Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld remake as the lead story. The main noticeable difference from the prior incarnation is that there's no Older Alter Ego bits this time; Amethyst stays seventeen on both Earth and Gemworld.
Katana - Spinoff of Birds of Prey and Justice League of America.
Justice League of America's Vibe - Spinoff of Justice League of America.
Threshold - a new sci-fi book featuring reimagined versions of old Ray Gun Gothic characters: the Star Rovers, Star Hawkins, Space Cabbie, Tom Tomorrow, Captain K’Rot, and Star Ranger. It also has ties to fellow space books Green Lantern and newly-canceled Blue Beetle, including backup stories about Orange Lantern Larfleeze.
Constantine - A reboot of classic Vertigo Comics series Hellblazer, starring the New 52 incarnation of John Constantine.
DC Universe Presents and I, Vampire ended in March, and Deathstroke, Fury of Firestorm, The Ravagers, Savage Hawkman, Sword of Sorcery, and Team 7 in April. DC originally advertised April as "WTF Certified", with that months' comics intended to have a high Holy Shit Quotient; they later dropped that branding due to complaints about the "F". Replacements are:
The Green Team - Featuring a group of "teen trillionaire" investors looking to finance weird superscience projects.
Superman Unchained - A nine-issue miniseries by Dream Team Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, concerning Superman's conflict with a superhuman controlled by the United States Military.
Batman/Superman - A team-up book detailing the early years of Batman's and Superman's adventures together.
Larfleeze - A Green Lantern spinoff starring the eponymous Orange Lantern.
Trinity of Sin: Pandora - Added to the DC mythos at the end of Flashpoint, Pandora is the actual mythological figure and was cursed alongside the Question and Phantom Stranger; her crime being opening the box and unwittingly releasing evils unto the world. Feeling she's been wrongfully accused for all this time for anything bad that happens, she's now fed up and not going to take it anymore.
Superman/Wonder Woman: A team-up book that focuses on Superman and Wonder Woman's adventures together and their growing relationship.
Harley Quinn: Featuring the Clown Princess of Crime and her adventures in Coney Island after she inherits an apartment complex there.
Forever Evil: A seven issue miniseries that takes place after the conclusion of Trinity War and focuses on the villains.
Justice League of America's Vibe and Katana ended in December 2013. Animal Man, Teen Titans, Nightwing, Superman Unchained, Justice League of America, and Stormwatch's final issues will be in March 2014. Suicide Squad ends in April 2014. Replacements are:
Aquaman and the Others: Featuring Aquaman's time with his first Super Team, the Others.
DC Comics: Secret Origins: An anthology book that will chronicle the origins of various DC characters each issue. Creative teams will also switch with each issue.
Justice League United: After Forever Evil, the Justice League of America has disbanded and some of its former members have created a new League located in Canada. Its members include Martian Manhunter, Stargirl, Green Arrow, Animal Man, Supergirl, Adam and Allana Strange, and new superhero Equinox.
Sinestro: The former leader of the Yellow Lantern Corps stars in his own series as he returns from his self imposed exile.
The New 52 Futures End: Like Batman Eternal, a weekly series. An aged Bruce Wayne sends Terry McGinnis back in time to prevent the AI satellite Brother Eye from taking over Prime Earth. Unfortunately, a miscalculation results in Terry being sent not quite far back enough—instead of ending up two years in the current period's past, he ends up five years into its future. As with Zero Month and Villains' Month, the September 2014 issues of various books tie in to the event with hypothetical looks into how Prime Earth might be five years from now.
Infinity Man and the Forever People: A New Gods series focusing on the eponymous group of New Genesis natives arriving on Earth.
New Suicide Squad: After the first New 52 run of the Suicide Squad ended in April 2014, the series relaunched in July, with the team including Deathstroke, Joker's Daughter, Black Manta, Harley Quinn, and Deadshot.
Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie: A new series featuring a U.S. soldier as a zombie.
Teen Titans: After the first New 52 run ended in April 2014, the series relaunched in July, with the team including Wonder Girl, Red Robin, Beast Boy, Raven, and Bunker.
Superboy, Birds of Prey, Batwing, All-Star Western, Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger, and Trinity of Sin: Pandora are ending in August 2014. Replacing them are:
Arkham Manor: With Arkham Asylum unable to hold its inmates, Batman begins to use Wayne Manor as a new place to host the criminally insane.
Deathstroke: A rejuvenated attempt at a title starring the titular assassin.
Lobo: A book featuring the reinvented bounty hunter, facing off against his pre-reboot counterpart.
Gotham Academy: A book about a private school funded by Bruce Wayne in Gotham City.
Klarion: A new series about Klarion the Witch Boy, in which he fights for the forces of chaos.
Prime Earth: The main Earth most of the events take place gains a new name in Prime Earth, also known by the post-Crisis New Earth and Earth-0. It is unrelated to Earth-Prime (now Earth-33, according to Grant Morrison's upcoming The Multiversity), the pre-New 52 "real world" where DC's writers lived and Superboy-Prime originated from.
The Question: In a drastic departure from his previous incarnation as a masked investigator, he was now punished alongside the Phantom Stranger and Pandora for unknown crimes by having his face and name erased. His quest is to find the question that, when answered, will return his identity to him.
Silver Banshee: Like The Question, she has been changed fairly dramatically. She is now Siobhan Smythe, a good-natured Irish punk girl and recurring supporting character in the Supergirl book. She hasn't used her powers much (except for being able to speak any language) and seems understandably afraid of them since they come from her supervillain father. She's also Kara's BFF.
The New 52 contain examples of the following tropes:
According to Pandora, a multiverse-level threat necessitated the reboot. After two years this threat has yet to materialize; several Wildstorm-based books were building up to a Daemonite invasion of Earth, which may have been said mysterious threat, but all of those books are now canceled.
Turns out it's either the Anti-Monitor (according to Forever Evil), or Brainiac (according to Futures End).
The reboot forced this on a number of titles. Some books, including the final pre-New 52 issues of Justice League of America and Batgirl, consisted of condensed accounts of the various story arcs that were planned for the titles, but which now had to be abandoned.
Silver Banshee, who has been reintroduced in Supergirl, gets a very likable introduction suggesting her depiction might be written as either a Tragic Villain, an Anti-Villain or even outright heroic character. While the Silver Banshee spirit within her is evil, Siobhan, the channeler of the spirit, is good — and Siobhan is usually in control, as long as she doesn't use her powers for too much time.
Ares is probably the least treacherous of the Greek gods, whereas he was a straight villain pre-Flashpoint.
Terra, who had been previously an evil blonde and a Sixth Ranger Traitor, not to mention dead, has been, so far in any case, a heroine and was a standing member of the Ravagers, remaining heroic after their fall.
Arthur Light, better known as Dr. Light, was a villain pre-New 52. Now he's a supporting member of the Justice League of America and he died a hero.
Orm / Ocean Master, previously a textbook case of evil, was reimagined as a very neutral Anti-Villain who truly does care much for his brother, but doesn't trust the surface-dwellers. His only conflict against the heroes was engineered by Vulko in order to disgrace Orm and force Aquaman back to the throne he willingly left to his brother. Additionally, Orm never even goes by Ocean Master, and hates when someone calls him that.
Batman: Zero Year follows The Dark Knight Saga portrayal of Commissioner Loeb as incompetent but well-meaning, rather than corrupt.
Dr. T.O. Morrow, a Justice League of America villain in the original continuity, is reimagined as a Justice League supporting character aligned with S.T.A.R. Labs and most specifically Silas Stone, the father of Cyborg.
Mr. Freeze, who has been revised to be less of an Anti-Villain. He's still out to cure his frozen wife Nora - but this is a lie. Nora was preserved long before Freeze was even born, he's just deluded himself into believing they're married as part of his obsession with cold.
Alternate Self: Supergirl and Power Girl are the exact same person from different universes. Power Girl is very reluctant to meet her mainstream universe self at first partly because she is worried the universe would explode if they actually touched. When they finally meet in Supergirl #19 the universe is fine, the two Karas psychically bond, kick butt together and the only snag is Supergirl's fortress AI mistaking Power Girl, then Supergirl herself for a clone and trying to destroy her.
Alternate Universe: While a longstanding tradition in DC comics; the Second Wave had the re-established Earth-2 as a focus. (Not only with the Earth-2 comic itself, but the stars of Worlds' Finest are refugees from that reality.)
"Night of the Owls", which hit the Bat-books around the Second Wave after being built up in Batman and Nightwing since the relaunch. It was followed up by Death Of The Family, which features the return of the Joker and includes every Bat-family book, Suicide Squad, and Teen Titans.
"Gothtopia" has Gotham become a paradise where its heroes work in the daylight. Crime is at an all time low, but no one knows why or how this happened...
Also in the Second Wave, "The Culling", which involves Superboy, Teen Titans, and Legion Lost; The Ravagers spun out of this event.
Green Lantern's New 52 status quo was based on a prior Lantern-family crossover, "War of the Green Lanterns", and proceeded to build to another event, "Rise Of The Third Army". After the Third Army comes "Wrath Of The First Lantern", in which the powerful First Lantern is freed from its prison and begins to wreak havok.
A short crossover, "Lights Out", is set to happen in October 2013. It will start in Green Lantern, runs through Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, and Red Lanterns before concluding in the second Green Lantern annual. It involves the Lantern corps to come together to stop an ancient being named Relic. Shortly after this came "Uprising", a civil war amongst the Green Lanterns against the shapeshifting Durlans, followed afterwards by the Lantern-line wide "Godhead" pitting the New Guardians, Green Lantern Corps, Red Lanterns, and Yellow Lantern Corps against the New Gods of New Genesis. By this point, it has become clear that the Lantern books are in a near-constant state of this, especially "Green Lantern" and "Green Lantern Corps".
"Rotworld", which involves Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E trying to stop The Rot, the force of death and decay, from killing all life on Earth.
"H'el on Earth", which involves Superman, Supergirl, and Superboy trying to stop another kryptonian named H'el from ressurecting Krypton at the expense of Earth. It was followed by "Krypton Returns", which focuses on Superman, Superboy and Supergirl travelling in time to prevent H'El from destroying the universe.
"Throne Of Atlantis": a crossover between Justice League and Aquaman which chronicles an invasion of the surface world by Aquaman's brother, Ocean Master, and the forces of Atlantis.
"Superman: Doomed" features a confrontation between Superman and Doomsday. In the aftermath, Superman is infected with a mysterious virus that begins to transform him into a Doomsday-like beast.
Beware the Superman: Taking a page from the DC animated universe, governments in general are much more paranoid about superheroes, including Superman himself. The Justice League Of America 2013 was spun out for this explicit reason - they wanted a team under their direct control.
Pretty much all of America is afraid of Aquaman and Atlanteans after Throne Of Atlantis. What was "lol talking to fish is stupid", just got turned into "These guys could sink us all!"
Bigger Bad: Darkseid, the first villain the Justice League faced, has been conquering the multiverse, and is responsible for the invasion of Earth-2.
The Crime Syndicate fled from their world because of another, more dangerous being: The Anti-Monitor.
Breakout Character: After Batwing's legacy was passed from David Zavimbe to Luke Fox, he appears to have been accepted as a full fledged member of the Batfamily. This is probably because Luke lives in Gotham City while David lives in Africa.
Chekhov's Gunman: Reign arrives on Earth, interrupting some silver-haired girl who was talking about how she just moved from Dublin, Ireland.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Not everyone from the old continuity exists in the New 52. Some of the more notable examples are Donna Troy (Wonder Girl I), Cassandra Cain (Batgirl II), and Dan Garrett (Blue Beetle I).
Subverted with Ted Kord (Blue Beetle II), Stephanie Brown (Batgirl III), and Wally West (Kid Flash I/Flash III). After all three being absent for two years, Ted gets mentioned in Forever Evil, Stephanie will return as Spoiler in the upcoming weekly ongoing Batman: Eternal, and Wally will return in the third annual of The Flash.
Civvie Spandex: Superman started his career wearing a T-shirt, jeans, and a cape as his costume.
Conflict Ball: Supergirl can not accept the fact that she's been in stasis for twenty years and that her formerly baby cousin (Superman) has grown up in that time. As such she refuses to listen to anything he says. This came back to bite her in the ass when she ended up in a relationship with H'El despite everyone else telling her that it was a bad idea.
Batman's and Green Lantern's prior histories carry over into the new status quo, but there are issues trying to cram everything into the new "five-year" timeline. With Batman, they try to handwave such things with "he's been public for five years but was active for longer," but still.
Batman's history continues to get stranger. Batman and Robin #33 simultaneously claims that Darkseid hasn't attacked Prime Earth since the first arc of Justice League and that Batman was somehow still "killed" by the Omega Sanction from Final Crisis.
In the first issue of Teen Titans, it was stated that Tim Drake kept his history as Robin & that previous iterations of the team existed, with references also being made to past Titans teams in Red Hood & the Outlaws. Come the zero issue of Teen Titans a year later, and Tim's been retconned to have always been Red Robin & this is the first team of Teen Titans, with the collected edition of the first Titans arc outright removing the details that were retconned out. And as for the previously mentioned members of the Titans in Red Hood, so far the word is, more or less, that Dick Grayson, Starfire, & Arsenal (and possibly some others) hung around with each other, but never called themselves any team name.
Crisis Crossover: Following the Justice League centeredTrinity War, September 2013 sees the rise of Villains Month, where all books in this month are temporarily replaced with villain-centric stories with #X.Y numberings, showing that the heroes of the DCU have suffered following the war of the Justice Leagues.
"The Black Diamond Probability" is a banner given to various books following the history of Eclipso's Power Crystal. It was brought into the world by Lucifer in Demon Knights, used by Dr Jekyll in All-Star Western, captured by A.R.G.U.S. in Team 7 and stolen from A.R.G.U.S. in Catwoman. Catwoman being the only non-historic title, this takes the Heart of Darkness up to the present, where it's in the possession of Alex Montez, Eclipso's second host in the previous continuity.
This finally comes to a head as the Black Diamond & Eclipso wind up in Gemworld in Sword of Sorcery, where it is revealed that Eclipso was a major historical figure, as well as literally born of, Gemworld, with Amethyst fighting to stop him.
"Psi War" has Superman and Superboy fighting the forces of the H.I.V.E. and other psychic villains, but the two don't team up or even cross paths during the event.
Cuckold: Superman (as Clark Kent) visits Lois Lane's apartment and finds her very obviously post-coitus with her new boyfriend. A shocked and humiliated Clark can't do anything but walk away, and as he leaves, his Super Hearing picks up Lois telling her boyfriend that she has no feelings for Clark whatsoever, and the two start to resume their love-making.
Darker and Edgier: Some aspects are this compared to when we last saw them. Two families are named "The Dark" and "The Edge".
Blue Beetle was originally a fun book that didn't take itself too seriously - for example, the scarab was played as a Heroic Comedic Sociopath. In the New 52, it was initially just a sociopath, and Jaime couldn't rein it in as much as he used to at first.
On the Green Lantern side of things, The Blues are eradicated except for Saint Walker, who then falls into such despair that his ring abandons him. These guys are the Hope Bringers, and so now, there is no hope.
Before the New 52, there was an Issue #0 of Batwoman, which consists of Batman observing the heroine to get confirmation on her identity, eventually deeming her a worthy candidate for Batman Inc. It is included in the collected edition of the comic's first storyline. Funnily enough, this means that Batwoman has two Issue #0s in this continuity.
Played with in Green Lantern #0 and Green Lantern: The New Guardians #0 by being only the latter trope; featuring new present-day origins (of Earth's newest Green Lantern and an overhauled New Guardians roster) instead of flashbacks.
Expy: The character Niko was initially stated to be Cheshire in solicits for Grifter. This apparently changed before the issue hit stands, resulting in the character having a different backstory while still retaining a similar costume and appearance to Cheshire.
Finger Poke of Doom: In Superman/Wonder Woman #2, Superman gets into a confrontation with Apollo the sun god and gets sent flying with a simple backhand slap. Then Apollo fires a sun-powered blast at Superman, who immediately starts beating Apollo's ass.
Flashback Arc: Both Action Comics and Justice League begin with arcs showing how Superman and the League, respectively, got their start. Earth-2 and Worlds' Finest begin with flashbacks showing how that universe's Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman died and how Huntress and Power Girl arrived on Prime Earth.
Hostile Show Takeover: September 2013 was "Villains Month"; which focused on the villains of each hero's respective comics. The covers feature the villains front and center, the heroes defeated in the background, and the villain's name written on top of the normal title.
The sexuality of traditional Ms Fanservices Catwoman and Starfire (in Red Hood) have been ramped up significantly. Notably, Amanda Waller also had a major redesign to slim her down when she has never been a particularly attractive woman (in either looks or personality).
Similar to Waller, Ma Hunkel/Red Tornado 1 has apparently also been revised to no longer be a slightly overweight middle aged housewife/grandmother, with her crossdressing theme seemingly removed. Though, she's apparently now a composite of Ma Hunkel and her granddaughter Maxine, better known as Cyclone, who didn't share Ma's appearance.
The male characters are getting it a little, too. Jay Garrick and Alan Scott, as part of the Younger and Hipper reboot in Earth 2, both went from senior heroes to young and very attractive (as drawn by Nicola Scott, who gives the readers plenty of Female Gaze). Superman's facial features have been reworked, making him look more youthful and cute.
Altough not exactly handsome, Doctor Sivana became taller, more muscular and with better head and teeth proportions. At first.
Inverted, though, with Supergirl, whose costume shows a lot of leg but otherwise has been notably downplayed in favour of a more ordinary teenaged girl look; Power Girl, who for about a year had a much more modest costume◊ that even lacked her infamous "boob window"; and the Star Sapphires in the Green Lantern books, whose new costumes aren't nearly as Stripperiffic as the old ones.
In Name Only: DC Universe Presents: Challengers Of The Unknown stars nine characters who have the same names and roughly the same appearances as the five original Challengers and the four 90s Challengers. And they survive a plane crash. That is the sum total of similarities between the characters.
Killed Off for Real: A rare case of this applying to real-world publications, rather than characters. In one of the most controversial aspects of the reboot, DC brass chose to cancel Action Comics and Detective Comics, their two longest-running titles, both of which were approaching their 1,000th issues and 75th anniversaries, supposedly to convince readers that they were serious about the reboot. Both titles returned with new No. 1's but this didn't console longtime fans looking forward to the millennial milestones.
Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: In Superman/Wonder Woman #4 the world learns that the title duo are in a relationship breaks world wide. Among the montage of reactions which include Green Lantern and the Flash is Tintin doing a Spit Take of disbelief (he's shown from behind so we don't see his face but that iconic quiff is unmistakable and a very familiar looking white dog is beside him.)
Legacy Implosion: After basically owning the Legacy Character trope in superhero comics for two decades, DC have thrown it away entirely with the New 52. Some Legacies reverted to their original owners, some to their most recent incumbents, but with one exception (Robin), they all went.
The titles of both Batman and Batgirl have reverted to their original owners. There seems to be some sort of editorial fiat against having Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, Batgirls II and III, make appearances (several writers have reported that they asked to use them but have been refused), although it seems that Stephanie will be returning as Spoiler in 2014.
The Flash continues the focus on the original, Barry Allen, that had started a few years prior, but the reboot wipes out Wally West's time as the original Kid Flash and third Flash.
The Justice Society has suffered a major legacy implosion, with the all of the children and grandchildren wiped from existence and the original JSA members becoming young again. The divide between Earth 2 and the main DCU also has brought up a kind of One Steve Limit, in that The Flash and Green Lantern are the only superheroes with ongoing stories to have versions in both universesnote Earth 2 also had versions of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, but they get killed off in the prologue of the series. Every other superhero is editorially confined to either one continuity or the other. So, for example, The Spectre, traditionally a JSA character, is now in the main DC universe instead of Earth 2 with the rest of the rebooted Golden Age characters.
Jaime Reyes is now the first Blue Beetle. Well, he isn't the first user of the Scarab, but the previous user was a Mayan astronomer, wiping Dan Garrett and Ted Kord from the legacy—and while Dan's status is currently unknown, Ted has been confirmed to exist, at least.
Lighter and Softer: Some books are much more lighthearted and humorous than the majority of the New 52.
Harley Quinn is a comedic book about Harley's wacky adventures on Coney Island.
Batgirl quite dark and gloomy under Gail Simone's run, but her succeeding creative team plans on giving the series a bright, fun tone.
The Man Behind the Man: Brother-Eye is responsible for the OMACs again, but in its appearance at the end of Justice League International, it mentions it has a new master before disappearing. Who exactly this being is hasn't been revealed as of 2014.
Mistaken for an Imposter: Lois Lane mistook Supergirl for a "comely cosplayer" at their first meeting, mostly because she walked into Clark Kent's apartment when Clark and Lois were arguing with each other and romantic jealousy had cropped up.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In the second issue of Superman/Wonder Woman, Superman gets in a fight with Apollo the sun god. Apollo blasts Superman with a beam of sunlight, not knowing that Superman gets his powers from the sun. The fight gets very one-sided after that.
Nineties Anti-Hero: There have been some comparisons of the New 52 with the early days of Image Comics, which may be something to be expected when you've got Image co-founders Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld working for you.
As of the 7th issue of Justice League, Etta Candy.
More of an 'Ethnicity Lift' but Silver Banshee is now explicitly Irish rather than being from a fictional half-Irish, half-Scottish island (though her accent is still a little... out there.) Oddly her surname was changed to the rather un-Irish 'Smythe'.
Played With: the wizard Shazam has long been described as an ancient Canaanite, but this is the first version where he doesn't look white.
Dr. T.O. Morrow, formerly a Polish man who's real name was Tomek Ovadya Morah, is implied to be an American who's true name is Thomas Oscar Morrow, rather than an alias.
When Wally West finally showed up, he was made half-black.
Serafin of the Forever people had both his race and gender changed. Now he's Serafina.
Helena Bertinelli (The Pre-52 Huntress) is now mixed-race, likely to help separate her from Helena Wayne aka The Huntress of Earth-2.
Red Skies Crossover: The Zero Year storyline running in Scott Snyder's Batman was going to be self-contained, but has since been announced to be receiving tie-ins - Aside from the pre-requisite Bat Family titles titles, it's also receiving tie-ins to Green Lantern & The Flash, none of which are necessary to the primary story. The tie-ins themselves zig-zag in relevance, with Nightwing merely featuring a teenaged Dick Grayson at a cinema when the black out starts & his attempt to get back to Haly's Circus in the midst of the chaos; whilst Green Arrow features Ollie's return from the island & his subsequent attempt to rescue his mother from the blackout, and his first meeting with Batman.
Retcon: Just a year in and they're already contradicting themselves. Teen Titans had Tim Drake mention his time as Robin and that there had been prior versions of the Titans. When the trade paperback came out, this was revised with Tim always being Red Robin (never regular Robin, though still Batman's sidekick), and omitting mentions of prior Titans.
The Titans were also originally referenced in the Batwoman series, with Flamebird claiming to have been part of the team and having fought Deathstroke. This dialogue also found itself edited when it came time for the trade paperback to be released.
Silver Banshee is now firmly linked with Supergirl rather than her original foe Superman (though as noted under Adaptational Heroism she isn't evil, at least yet.)
Hector Hammond is currently antagonizing Superman; his history with the Green Lantern is partially alluded to. In any case, it seems he made his name fighting someone before targeting Superman, as he's already an infamous supervillain when introduced.
The Prankster was a Superman villain before the reboot, but is more or less Nightwing's archenemy now. He bears little resemblance to any previous incarnation, though, and it's not clear if there ever was a Superman villain Prankster in the new continuity.
Same Character, But Different: Some disgruntled DC fans cite this as the reason they dislike the New 52, and that many characters are "in name only" versions. Others will argue that the core of most characters remains the same. There's certainly quite a bit of Broken Base for the entire DCU due to this.
Status Quo Is God: Face it, with all the radical changes introduced, not all of them were going to stick. Firestorm went back to his original powerset after about a year, and Power Girl's also started wearing her "boob window" costume after a year.
Suddenly Sexuality: Lucy Lane, Lois's younger sister always depicted as a heterosexual before the New 52 (and even early in the New 52 - she dated Clark for a while) is revealed to be in a Transparent Closet in Lois Lane #1.
Superheroes Stay Single: Not exactly, but instead "Superheroes Stay Unmarried". Superman and the Flash are back to being bachelors again. This did not last for either of them. Superman is now with Wonder Woman and Flash is now with Patty Spivot. Completely averted with Animal Man, who still is married and still has children.
In the second wave, GI Combat replaced Men of War as the military book, though the substitution ends at genre since the books are very different. Men of War is a fairly realistic modern war story, whereas GI Combat splits time between super-commando counter-terrorism (the "Unknown Soldier" segments) and soldiers who get sent back in time and battle dinosaurs.