Rebirth Chronology: Introduction

About the Rebirth Era (July 2016)

Wally West returns to the Metaverse, and people think Johnny Thunder is crazy when he talks about his past. From DC Universe: Rebirth (July 2016); by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.
Dr. Manhattan sees the effects of his experimentation. Lex Luthor provides evidence of the Justice Society to Lois Lane. From Doomsday Clock #9 (May 2019); by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.
This special issue featured a pinup of the team; was it a look back or a preview of the Rebirth team? From The Flash #750 (Sept. 2020); by Dale Eaglesham.

Rebirth was a DC Comics publishing initiative to clean up the messes of its "New 52" reboot. It was launched by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank in DC Universe: Rebirth (July 2016).

What promised to be a fresh start became an all-new continuity mess and fans were missing key characters like the JSA.

Despite the team's popularity, Justice Society characters were largely omitted from the New 52. One problem was "legacy": if DC's aim was to reestablish heroes as "all-new," then they couldn't be tethered to a long history (let alone World War II events).

Instead, a new, youthful version of the Golden Age heroes was invented for Earth 2, a series set on a parallel world. JSA heroes were recast in a contemporary context. It was a richly developed world, but it was totally disassembled in service of a confusing crossover event ("Future's End"). The potential for the new Earth-2 was misspent.

Writer Geoff Johns was tapped again to fix continuity. It began with DC Universe: Rebirth, which led directly into his and Gary Frank's Doomsday Clock. That series explained that Earth-0 was different from other Earths in the multiverse. It was a "metaverse," one subject to constant change. Every time a major event changed the timeline of the Metaverse, the previous timeline was split off into it's own universe (potentially even its own multiverse). Meanwhile, the Metaverse/Earth-0 continues as the central pillar of reality, and all time realigns to its current state.

Doctor Manhattan, a godlike being from another universe was responsible for the event that altered the Metaverse and created the New 52. When he prevented Alan Scott from becoming the Green Lantern, there was no Justice Society, and no legacy of heroes to inspire Superman. Manhattan witnessed the metaverse's reaction against this. You see, the essential quality of the Metaverse is Superman, it's symbol of hope. In the New 52, Superman's life was without the inspiration of other heroes and a cancer developed in the Metaverse.

Dr. Manhattan observed how the Metaverse fought to rebalance itself. It produced time anomalies that functioned like "antibodies." These anomalies included Wally West, the Flash who was left out of the timeline; and Johnny Thunder, a JSA member who remembered his friends' existence. Manhattan eventually saw his error and restored Alan Scott's origin as Green Lantern. The cascade effect was the restoration of the Justice Society, and the realignment of the entire Metaverse around an inspired, hopeful Superman. This new reality was its "Rebirth."

Both Doomsday Clock and Dark Nights: Metal built the foundation for "Rebirth," the latter featuring elements of Justice Society.

Key Appearances in the New 52 (20112016)

In the New 52 era (2011–2016), the Justice Society heroes of Earth-0 were consigned to editorial limbo. That said, there was a pseudo-JSA presented on a parallel Earth whose story was told in the Earth-2 and Worlds' Finest series. Read about this incarnation in the New 52 section.

The following are some New 52 events involving JSA-associated characters.

Richard Swift has an epic new adventure. This series appeared to have been written prior to the New 52, as it defies the supposed mandate that the new universe had no legacy heroes or World War II history.

The Shade vol. 2 #1–12 (Dec. 2011–Nov. 2012)

In the new multiverse, Earth-2 was the home of new versions of Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, Kendra Saunders, and many others. Their story began after the deaths of their world's Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

Earth 2 #1–35 (July 2012–May 2015)

The Mister Terrific of Earth-0 was one of the first to crack the barrier between parallel Earths. He became stuck on Earth-2 and joined the group of heroes there.

Mister Terrific #1–8, (Nov. 2011–June 2012)

Helena Wayne (Robin from Earth-2) assumes the alias of Helena Bertinelli (allegedly deceased) and travels to Naples, Italy. She stops a slave trade. Notes: When published, no indication was given that this was Helena from Earth-2. That was revealed in Worlds' Finest #1. The real Bertinelli was also later introduced, in Nightwing vol. 3 #30 (July 2014).

The Huntress vol. 3, 6 issues, (2011–12)

The Huntress and Power Girl from Earth-2 become stranded on Earth-0 for years. When they return to Earth-2, they rejoin the heroes there and were anchors in Earth 2: Society. Prior to this series, the other Huntress, Helena Bertinelli had also appeared, in

Worlds' Finest, 33 issues (2012–15)

Stargirl is Courtney Whitmore, a television star who possesses a real cosmic staff. She joins an auxiliary team of the Justice League — as a public relations move. Hawkman was a member of this group as well, but it was Katar Hol of Thanagar, not Carter Hall.

Justice League of America vol. 3, 18 issues (2013–14), Justice League United, 17 issues (2014–16)

The heroes from Earth-2 fight to save their world from Darkseid (and fail).

Earth 2: Worlds' End, 26 issues (2014–15)

The surviving populace of Earth-2 finds a new Earth and its heroes struggle to reshape its society.

Earth 2: Society, 22 issues (2015–17)

The new Dr. Fate is Khalid Nassour. He eventually meets his (previously unrevealed) predecessor, Kent Nelson (in Dr. Fate #12). Khalid's first appearance was a short story in Convergence: Aquaman #2 (July 2015). Nassour's post-Rebirth status is uncertain. The Dr. Fate of Earth-2 had a similar name, Khalid Ben-Hassin.

Doctor Fate vol. 4, 18 issues (2015–17)

The seeds are sown for the return of the classic Justice Society. Johnny Thunder is a very old man who raves about a past that nobody remembers.

DC Universe: Rebirth (July 2016)

The story of how Doctor Manhattan came from his universe to the "Metaverse," or Earth-0. As an experiment, he prevents Alan Scott from becoming Green Lantern, and the Justice Society never forms. He ultimately corrects his error and the timeline reestablishes the JSA in Earth-0 history.

Doomsday Clock, 12 issues (2018–20)

Standards + Assumptions

  1. Events are "Rebirth" (2016) is considered distinct timeline from "The New 52" (2011).
  2. Color Codes:
    Major story arcs (usually 3 issues or more). A member joins the JSA. A hero dies
  3. A character's name is bolded in their first appearance.
  4. A character's name is italicized in their first Rebirth appearance.
  5. When the placement of a tale within continuity is in question, the tale is usually placed in the most recent possible time.
  6. Consideration for inclusion is based on an event's relevancy to the JSA, its members, and their legacy. This includes major JSA series and key issues from other DCU series.

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