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-Crisis DC Universe would never be the same.
25 years later, they did it again.
2011's "New 52" is DC's second major reboot, stemming from the Flashpoint event that resulted in a Cosmic Retcon, turning what had become a Crapsack World Alternate Timeline into a Close-Enough Timeline. (There were two other previous Post-Crisis Cosmic Retcons — with Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! 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.
After the 2015 Crisis Crossover Convergence, DC has announced that they were ending the New 52 branding. Instead of a cosmic retcon, this new initiative —dubbed DC You— was an update to the publishing slate, removing the "New 52" logo from its books, as well as adding 24 new titles to the surviving 25. note . DC You only lasted for a year or so, before another big rebrand, DC Rebirth, which actively used the rewinding of some of the more unpopular changes of the New 52 era as a selling point.
As of the conclusion of Doomsday Clock, the New 52 is now a part of the multiverse, as Earth-52. A variation of this universe, called Earth-N52, appeared in the tie-in comic for Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019) where it was destroyed.
For info on the changes made in the last big overhaul, see Post-Crisis.
August/September 2011 (The New 52)
All three Super-characters were scaled back to earlier versions and had their alien-ness highlighted: Clark Kent was not married to Lois Lane and both Ma and Pa Kent passed away before Clark came to Metropolis, Superboy is a lab experiment created by N.O.W.H.E.R.E. as a "living weapon", and Supergirl has only recently arrived from Kryptonnote . Action Comics was set five years in the past, detailing the early years of Superman's career, while Superman was set in the present day. The other main change was that, like in the Bronze Age, the Daily Planet had been bought by Galaxy Broadcasting; this time, however, it was Lois who moved to TV and Clark who stayed with print journalism. Also, their classic costumes were replaced with ceremonial Kryptonian battle armor with similar design elements.
- Batman: The Dark Knight
- Batman and Robin
- Birds of Prey
- Detective Comics
- Red Hood and the Outlaws
The Bat-books picked up more-or-less where they left off, with Bruce Wayne appointing Batmen worldwide (including Batwing, who operated in a fictionalized version of the Democratic Republic of Congo). However Dick Grayson gave up the mantle of being the Batman of Gotham and returned to being Nightwing. Meanwhile, Barbara Gordon had recovered from her paralysis and become Batgirl again replacing Stephanie Brown, who was apparently erased from continuity along with former Batgirl Cassandra Cainnote . Red Hood was finally shifted into the role of an antihero, albeit at first estranged from the rest of the Batfamily. 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 was revealed that Tim Drake had never been Robin, only Red Robin, and that his parents were still alive and in witness protection.
The Green Lantern books picked up exactly where they left off pre-reboot. 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
- Aquaman - Aquaman is rebooted entirely: he is younger, was never married to Mera, and starts off without the throne of Atlantis.note
- Captain Atom
- DC Universe Presents - An Anthology Comic featuring new characters every few months; featured characters include Deadman, the Challengers of the Unknown, Vandal Savage, and Black Lightning and Blue Devil as a duo.
- The Flash - Barry Allen is also rebooted entirely, now younger and unmarried, dating Patty Spivot with Iris West only as a friend. However, the biggest change was that Wally West had been erased from continuity entirely. (A new version of Wally was introduced years later, now de-aged to early teens and half-black.
- The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men - 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.
- Green Arrow - Oliver Queen was rebooted entirely as well: now younger and clean-shaven, unattached to Black Canary, and with all his pre-reboot supporting cast erased apart from estranged former sidekick Roy Harper.
- The Savage Hawkman - Needless to say the infamous Hawk-Snarl is wiped away. Hawkman is now Katar Hol from Thanagar, hiding out on Earth as Carter Hall.
- 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.
- Justice League International - A United Nations-approved Justice League.
- Mister Terrific
- 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).
Young Justice (teen heroes)
- Blue Beetle - Starring Jaime Reyes, who had been the third and current Blue Beetle pre-reboot, but with the strong implication is that he was now the only Blue Beetle in the DC Universe.
- Hawk and Dove
- Legion Lost - A Legion of Super-Heroes spin-off focusing on a time-displaced squad stranded in the present day.
- Legion of Super-Heroes
- Static Shock - Now taking place in New York, much of Static's Milestone Comics history has remained in Canonnote . His introduction to DC comics from 2 years prior have all been retcon except, curiously enough, being captured by the Darkside Club.
- Teen Titans (New 52) - The first and only team of Teen Titans to exist in the DCU's new history, 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 (Solsticenote , Skitter, and Bunker). The classic characters each had their personal histories substantially rewritten, such as Kid Flash now having no ties to the Flash family and being an amnesiac from a Bad Future.
The Edge (Darker and Edgier titles)
- 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 Wild C.A.T.s (WildStorm) character gets a solo title.
- Suicide Squad: Essentially the same concept as former incarnations, a team of Boxed Crooks sent by covert forces on lethal and morally-ambiguous missions.
- 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 Wild C.A.T.s (WildStorm) 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.
The Dark (supernatural/Vertigo titles)
- Justice League Dark
- Swamp Thing
- Animal Man
- Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
- I, Vampire
- Resurrection Man
- Demon Knights - A brand new book, featuring a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits in the DCU's Dark Age Europe.
May 2012 (Second Wave)Blackhawks, Hawk and Dove, Men of War, Mister Terrific, O.M.A.C., and Static Shock were canceled. New titles included:
- Batman Incorporated - The conclusion of the Batman (Grant Morrison) saga.
- Earth 2 - A reinvention of The Golden Age parallel universe (once again separate from the main continuity), featuring new versions of the Justice Society of America characters (albeit not in a team). As part of this, everyone is Younger and Hipper instead of elder veteran heroes, including things like making Green Lantern Alan Scott a gay man (a character trait inherited from his son Obsidian, who is now retgone).
- 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.
- GI Combat
- 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 #0 Origins Issue. Replacing Captain Atom, Justice League International, Resurrection Man, and Voodoo are:
- Talon - A new Bat-related book, featuring a former Court of Owls assassin suffering a Contract on the Hitman.
- Team 7 (New 52) - 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.
- The Phantom Stranger - Traditionally a mysterious character with a Multiple-Choice Past, the Stranger is now established as having been punished by the first magic users for some horrendous crime and all but explicitly stated to be Judas Iscariot.
January/February 2013GI Combat ended in December 2012, and Blue Beetle, Frankenstein, Grifter, and Legion Lost in January 2013. Replacing them are:
- Justice League of America - "The World's Most Dangerous Heroes" A rebooted JLA'', in this incarnation a separate entity from the Justice League under the command of the United States government. Led by Steve Trevor, the announced team members are Stargirl, Hawkman, Green Arrow, new Green Lantern Simon Baz, Catwoman, Katana, Martian Manhunter, and Vibe.
- 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 KRot, 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.
April/May 2013DC 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.
- Larfleeze - A Green Lantern spinoff starring the eponymous Orange Lantern.
- The Movement - A counterpoint to the "1%" Green Team, it involves "99%-er" superhumans striking back against Corrupt Corporate Executives and the like.
- 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.
- 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 Pandora's 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.
October/November/December 2013Demon Knights, Dial H, Threshold, and Legion of Super-Heroes are ending their runs in August 2013. Except for Forever Evil, no new books for September because it was Villains month. Replacements are:
- Justice League 3000: A brand new book that, like its title implies, focuses on the successors of the Justice League in the year 3000.
- 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 (2013): A seven issue miniseries that takes place after the conclusion of Trinity War and focuses on the villains.
April 2014Justice 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 were in March 2014. Suicide Squad ends in April 2014. Replacements are:
- Aquaman & The Others: Featuring Aquaman's time with his first Super Team, the Others.
- DC Comics: Secret Origins: An anthology book that chronicles the origins of various DC characters each issue. Creative teams 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.
May 2014The Movement ended in May 2014. Replacing it is:
- 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.
June/July 2014Larfleeze ended in June 2014. Replacing it is:
- Grayson: Spinning out of the end of Nightwing, Dick Grayson accepts a mission from Batman to become The Mole within Spyral, an intelligence organization introduced in Batman (Grant Morrison), in a world-hopping Spy Fiction series.
- Infinity Man & 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.
October 2014Superboy, 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: After events in the Batman Eternal weekly series left Arkham Asylum destroyed and Bruce Wayne bankrupt, Wayne Manor is seized by the council 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.
- Trinity of Sin: A team book between the unlikely combination of The Question, The Phantom Stranger, and Pandora, all of whom seriously dislike each other.
- 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:
- Aborted Arc:
- 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.
- When Justice League International ended, the annual wrapping up the events has a future version of Booster Gold stating that the leftovers of the team would form the Global Guardians, and become more successful than the JLI had ever been. The characters haven't been seen together since.
- 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.
- Adaptational 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.
- 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.)
- In the finale of Superman: Doomed, Brainiac witnesses several past iterations of the DC Universe, such as Golden Age Earth, Flashpoint Earth and Post-Crisis Earth.
- Doomsday Clock reveals that the New 52 is for the most part no longer canon to the mainstream universe and continues to exist as Earth-52. A variation of this Earth named Earth-N52 also exists as part of the multiverse established by the Arrowverse, which is primarily made up of DC's live action properties.
- An Arm and a Leg: During their brief fight, SuperDoom rips Cyborg Superman's right arm off. After SuperDoom goes to Earth, Cyborg Superman reconstructs his arm.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Court of Owls in Batman and other Bat-books, who've been secretly controlling Gotham City since its founding.
- Ancient Tradition: The Stormwatch organization, which traces its origins in Demon Knights.
- Animated Adaptation: The Justice League's origin story was adapted as Justice League: War, beginning a series of New 52-based movies for the DC Universe Animated Original Movies brand - which had until then focused on self-contained stories, each set in their own continuities.
- The Artifact: Jonathan Carroll, Lois' boyfriend, rarely had any bearing on the Superman stories and was only there to show that Lois already had a boyfriend, to the point he dissappeared for entire story arcs. By the end of the New 52, it was clear the writers had no idea what to do with him, so they eventually wrote him off altogether.
- Ascended Meme:
- In his new series, most people react to Aquaman as if they only knew him from the Super Friends, What Kind Of Lame Power Is Talking To Fish, Anyway? version. This leads to him working so hard to prove that he is badass that it doesn't actually make any sense for him to have that reputation he's trying so hard to shed in the first place. This changes after Throne of Atlantis; as mentioned below in the Beware the Superman example.
- The hero formerly known as Captain Marvel will simply be "Shazam!"; partially because (thanks to Writing Around Trademarks) "everybody thinks he's called Shazam already, outside of comics." I Am Not Shazam no more!
- A Wizard Did It: At first the timeline changes were stated to be due to Flashpoint, then to Pandora. Turn out Dr. Manhattan is responsible for the temporal problems as well as things generally being Darker and Edgier, because they've been tampering with the timeline to change people by altering their lives.
- Bat Family Crossover:
- "Night of the Owls" 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...
- In the Second Wave, "The Culling" 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", happened in October 2013. It started in Green Lantern, ran 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" 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.
- "Trinity War" has the Justice League, Justice League of America, and Justice League Dark involved in a confrontation between the Trinity of Sin: Pandora, The Phantom Stranger, and The Question.
- "Forever Evil (2013): Blight" details the struggles of John Constantine trying to save Zatanna and the rest of the Justice League Dark, but having to team up with Pandora, The Phantom Stranger and a new Dark team (featuring Swamp Thing) to stop Blight, an Anthropomorphic Personification of Evil born as a result of the Crime Syndicate's invasion of their universe.
- "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!"
- Bisexual Love Triangle: Harley is head-over-heels for her boyfriend, The Joker. The Joker is extremely physically and emotionally abusive but Harley always goes back to him in the end. Ivy on the other hand has feelings for Harley and the two have a much more stable relationship. Starting with the New 52 reboot, DC revamped Ivy and Harley's relationship to be more obviously romantic and requited. They're either Friends with Benefits or a non-monogamous couple.
- Book Ends: The 52nd issues of the titles that ran consecutively since the New 52 started will end sporting variant covers with variations of the first covers done up with the characters today (for instance, Superman on Action's cover would be wearing his current costume, Sinestro on the Green Lantern cover would be wearing his Sinestro Corps costume, etc.)
- 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.
- Broad Strokes: Some of the pre-New 52 stories are considered to have still happened. The specific list includes The Killing Joke, the Green Lantern family during Geoff Johns' run (including Blackest Night), Batman (Grant Morrison), and some but not all of Brightest Day.
- Canon Welding: In May 2016 it was revealed that the true cause of New 52 wasn't the Flash, it was Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Reign arrives on Earth, interrupting some silver-haired girl who was talking about how she just moved from Dublin, Ireland.
- The Chosen Many: Inverted. 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 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 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 . Every other superhero is editorially confined to either one continuity or the other. So, for example, The Spectre, traditionally a Justice Society of America character, is now in the main DC universe instead of Earth 2 with the rest of the rebooted Golden Age characters.
- Jaime Reyes is 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— though while Dan's status is unknown, Ted does exist, at least.
- 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 appears at the conclusion of Forever Evil, Stephanie returned as Spoiler in Batman: Eternal, and Wally return in the third annual of The Flash. Donna Troy returned during the Finches' run on Wonder Woman, and Cassandra Cain returned in Batman and Robin Eternal.
- Much of the Justice Society's extended membership disappeared, such as Ma Hunkel, who is replaced with a female version of the robotic Red Tornado who has Lois Lane's mind and personality.
- 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.
- Continuity Reboot: Post-Flashpoint the DC Multiverse is seemingly wiped out, leaving a completely new continuity.
- Continuity Rebooter: The Flash and/or Pandora. The Flash actually did it, but Pandora was the one who told him he had to. Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen is eventually revealed to be the true instigator.
- Continuity Snarl: There are several examples, due to DC editorial's Broad Strokes approach to the previous DC continuity stating that most major events happened in some form until explicitly contradicted.
- The epic scale and popularity of Batman (Grant Morrison) and Geoff Johns's Green Lantern allowed their to histories carry over into the new status quo, but there are issues trying to cram everything into the new five-year timeline. Batman's timeline in particular is especially messy; despite the Hand Wave of Batman entering the game an extra year prior to the debut of the Justice League, there are still several issues working things out. For example, Batman managed to go through all four male Robins in those six years, but Damian is still eleven years old as he was in the old continuity (Hand Waved by adding previously absent use of Apokolips technology, whereas the greater time scale of the original continuity logically allowed Damian to organically age eleven years). Bruce's "death" and Dick Grayson temporarily becoming Batman have also been carried over, but details were left vague until Batman and Robin #33 simultaneously claimed 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.
- Batman's third sidekick, Tim Drake, also has his own problems. In the first issue of Teen Titans, it was stated that Tim Drake kept his history as Robin and 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 and 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, and Arsenal (and possibly some others) hung around with each other, but never called themselves any team name. (This would itself be retconned in the miniseries Titans Hunt (2015), which established the original team did exist, but had been subjected to three seperate memory wipes on the subject.)
- Crisis Crossover: Following the Justice League centered Trinity 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.
- Cross Through:
- "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 and 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.
- "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.
- 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 III (Jamie Reyes) 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.
- The Teen Titans, as clearly shown by their outfits on their first cover. However, they have more colorful outfits in the book proper.
- Billy Batson has become a little brat from losing his parents. While he has still shown a hidden heart of gold, it's still jarring for readers used to seeing him as more of The Cape than Superman.
- 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.
- The gods of New Genesis have been changed from embodiments of freedom, innocence and virtue to the cosmic equivalent to the upper class. They've sold out Earth-2 to Apokolips and are currently waging war with the seven Lantern Corps for control of their rings.
- Easter Egg: Each Issue #1 (with the exception of Earth 2) included a one-panel background appearance by Pandora◊. Here she is hidden in the first issue of Catwoman◊
- Episode Zero: The Beginning/Origins Issue: The focus of "Zero Month".
- 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.
- Everybody Hates Hades: Downplayed. Hades is presented as kind of a dick, but not outright evil because he doesn't seem to honestly understand how his actions affect others. It's suggested that no one can love him because he himself can't understand what love actually is. This may change after an encounter with Eros' guns (which serve the same purpose as his bow and arrows in the old days).
- Expendable Alternate Universe:
- Earth-2 is introduced being laid to waste by Darkseid's forces, with its Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman all killed in the space of a single issue. After the end of its series, the entire universe was destroyed, and the survivors forced to flee.
- Earth-3 was destroyed by the Anti-Monitor.
- Earth-7 is utterly devastated and corrupted by the Gentry.
- 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 down.
- 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.
- Hotter and Sexier:
- 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).
- 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.
- New 52 version of Team 7 (the WildStorm military team that started everything) are a paramilitary group with only Cole Cash, John Lynch, Alex Fairchild and James Bronson (aka Mister Majestic) as the only Wildstorm members (with the exception of the latter, all were part of the original Team 7) and all the other are random DC heroes and some villains working together.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: A miniseries called DC Universe VS. The Masters of the Universe debuted in August 2013. It features the current Masters of the Universe ongoing comic crossing over into the DC Universe.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: In Superman/Wonder Woman #4, the world learns that the title duo are in a relationship breaks worldwide. 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.)
- 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 was quite dark and gloomy under Gail Simone's run, but her succeeding creative team gave the series a brighter, fun tone.
- Constantine is inevitably this to the cancelled Hellblazer, even if it's nominally "dark".
- 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.
- The Most Wanted: The first arc of Grifter is about Cole Cash becoming the World's Most Wanted, this because his recent connections with the Daemonites that can hear and see them in their true forms, making crash a plane full of Daemonites disguised as humans ready for an invasion. This was televised, showing him as a terrorist that killed everyone on the plane, being wanted by the cops, the army and even some heroes.
- Mythology Gag:
- Batwing's costume looks a lot like the imaginary African-American Batman (aka "Bat-Wings") in the seventies comic "The Batman Nobody Knows". Only less seventies.
- The Batwing was also the name of the variation of the Batplane used in 1989's Batman.
- Movie Superheroes Wear Black:
- Superman's real New 52 outfit is segmented battle armor worn as tribute to his dead race◊.
- Wonder Woman's (pre-Convergence/Rebirth) New 52 outfit is darker, utilizing colors such as silver and navy/dark (almost black) blue in lieu of gold and bright blue. though it retains the red chestplate, star-patterns and bathing suit look.◊
- Subverted with Batman, who's New 52 suit retains its black and gray colors.◊
- Shazam's costume is mainly a far darker burgundy shade of red, balanced by a white cloak. golden belt, armbands and white/gold boots as well as a segmented appearance around the upper half of the lightning bolt in addition to the same look carrying onto the shoulders.◊
- Never Trust a Trailer: Most of the hype for Earth-2 focused on that world's versions of the Big Three: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. They're killed off in the first issue.
- The New Adventures
- 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.Superman: You blasted me with sunlight? You don't know me very well, don't you?
- '90s 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.
- President Superhero: In one of the universes of the New 52, the President of the USA is Kal-El. Also, he's black.
- Race Lift:
- Morgan Edge, General Eiling, and Etta Candy (as of the 7th issue of Justice League)
- 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.
- Flash villain Weather Wizard was formerly Mark Mardon. In the New 52, he is a Latino named Marco Mardon.
- 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.
- Raised in a Lab: Conner Kent/Kon-El was raised in a lab as an Artificial Human with Superman's DNA and later released as a Human Weapon.
- Red Skies Crossover: The Zero Year storyline running in Scott Snyder's Batman was going to be self-contained, but has since received tie-ins from the Bat Family titles, Green Lantern and The Flash. The tie-ins themselves zig-zag in relevance, with Nightwing merely featuring a teenaged Dick Grayson at a cinema when the black out starts and 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 and his subsequent attempt to rescue his mother from the blackout, and his first meeting with Batman.
- Relationship Upgrade: Superman and Wonder Woman become a couple since Justice League # 12.
- Ret-Canon: A number of elements of other media incarnations made their way into the new DC Universe. Among them...
- Amanda Waller's weight loss.
- Commissioner Gordon retaining red hair in the present. Similarly, Zsasz has been altered to have a beard. In addition to getting his outfit tweaked, Bane was later seen leading an army and in a flashback Detective Comics, Vol. 2, # 19, had planned to steal a nuclear device to threaten Gotham much like he did in The Dark Knight Rises.
- Bane's new costume, though it was later been tweaked to include a vest and cargo pants. Similarly, Harley's new look seems to take after her Batman: Arkham City and Batman Live versions.
- Etta Candy's aforementioned Race Lift.
- Tommy Merlyn as Oliver Queen's best friend before he became Green Arrow, John Diggle working with Ollie in the early days of his vigilantism.
- Faora being General Zod's Dragon and wearing a military armor.
- 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.
- Rogues' Gallery Transplant:
- 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.
- Simple Solution Won't Work: The Red Hood asks Batman, quite bluntly, why he hasn't killed the Joker yet and ended the countless amounts of misery that he brings to Gotham every time he goes on a rampage. Batman points out that Gotham is such a Crapsack World that 1) killing the Joker wouldn't really reduce the amount of threats that are plotting from the shadows to hurt the citizens (a fact that he has evidence of with the Court of Owls, which made itself known to Batman by cutting the Joker's face off) and 2) the possibility exists that if the Joker died he would resurrect anyway, or something even worse would appear to replace him (a fact that would manifest much later with the Batman Who Laughs). So for the DC Universe, it's damned if they do, damned if they don't.
- 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.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
- The original relaunch has Suicide Squad supplant its Spiritual Successor, Secret Six, as the Villain Protagonist team book.
- 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.
- Batgirl starring Barbara Gordon has been accused of cribbing from Stephanie Brown's run as Batgirl immediately before.
- Tamer and Chaster: The reboot has 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.
- Throwing Off the Disability: Barbara Gordon, who had her paralysis healed.
- Tragic Intangibility: In issue 9 and 10 of Superman, the villain Anguish reveals she developed her Intangibility as a response to her abusive father. She explains that she can't feel anything and is so afraid of being hurt that she refuses Superman's offer to help her become fully solid again.
- Tron Lines: Visible on members of the Ravagers' suits.
- Underwear of Power: Surprisingly averted. Superman, Batman, and other characters no longer wear briefs as part of their costumes.
- Wolverine Publicity: Batman and the other Gotham heroes appear in more books than any other, having up to triple the exposure of the second-most-common franchises (Superman and Green Lantern).
- Younger and Hipper: Just about all the heroes, but especially the Earth-2 characters; who are now the same ages as their more mainstream counterparts when they were traditionally Older and Wiser.