On Tuesday, February 23, DC introduces Linearverse – a new way of looking at the publisher’s 82-year history. Part of the new expanded Multiverse concept introduced in January’s Dark Nights: Death Metal # 7 called Omniverse, where every DC story ever told is in continuity, Linearverse ironically removes the need for why DC Multiverse was created in the first place.
Do you have questions? Don’t worry, we explain in detail. But first…
Spoilers for February 23 Generations: Forged # 1
Generations: Forged # 1 by authors Dan Jurgens, Andy Schmidt and Robert Venditti is the second half of a story that began with a prologue in Detective Comics # 1027 and which continued in January’s Generations: Shattered # 1. A kind of Avengers Forever-like adventure, the story features a team of DC superheroes picked from various timelines, including the original Batman from 1939 just a few weeks into his career, assembled to fight a villain who erases time (for reasons , which is somewhat similar to what’s going on in Disney Plus WandaVison).
A natural assumption about the Generations story in the wake of its revelation all stories are now in continuity in the new Omniverse is that heroes are picked from different lands of the multiverse representing the different timelines. But it turns out does not to be the case.
Instead, readers of Forget’s last pages learn that despite all the familiar features of DC’s past and future in history as the original depictions of Superman’s birthplace of Krypton, it all actually takes place in his own new corner of the Universe called Linearverse, where the whole of DC’s 80+ year history takes place on a single and of course linear timeline on one Earth.
In other words, Batman-Bruce, who began his career in 1939, is the same Batman-Bruce Wayne who just starred in 2020’s The Joker War.
No more lands, no crises reworking timelines and continuity. Just heroes who live very, very long.
In Linearverse, “people age much slower and live much longer than elsewhere,” Waverider (a gatekeeper of DC’s timelines) explains to Batman on the last pages of Forged. “Your youth and vitality will last for decades, enabling you to be effective far beyond the universal norm.”
The last pages also show reproductions of several, iconic versions of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Robin / Nightwing and others, indicating that despite the changes in styles, all DC stories from their origins to the present day happened with the same people.
It’s a simple, straightforward way of explaining why fashion and technology changed, contemporary characters active in 2021 lived through historical events like World War II, and the heroes had far more adventures than can be reconciled within the 10-15 years, as DC and even Marvel Comics superhero careers are generally considered to be.
Co-author Dan Jurgens tells Newsarama that Linearverse gives readers “a place that embraces a different concept of DC history.”
Because people age differently in Linearverse, Jurgens explains, Batman is “still young and lively enough to have served as Batman through the 40s, 70s, 90s and all the way up to the present day. Despite being very , much older, Batman would still have the physique as a much younger man.Same with Robin.
“That’s not true for superheroes alone. For example, Commissioner Gordon would have the same status.”
The Linearverse is the formalization of an approach that some writers like Grant Morrison unofficially took during their Batman days, but currently exist as a separate reality in the Omniverse.
“It is fair to say that what we built here, Linearverse, is its own universe that can fit into the larger context of DC’s Omniverse,” Jurgens explains. “It’s a place where some unique and individual stories can be told.”
And while the method is simple, eliminating the need for more soil types, alternative timelines, crises, and reconciling the enduring nature of iconic fictional characters with the real world of the time, DC continuity is never to simple.
Because so much of DC’s storytelling has been concerned with creating a coherent timeline for nearly 40 years now, Linearverse requires some creative imaginations to make it all work, too.
“When you try to build these things, some housing has to be made because it never fits clean,” Jurgens replies when asked how stories like Frank Miller’s groundbreaking Batman: Year One from 1987 (which assumes that Batman’s early years took place in more modern times) fits into the Linearverse concept.
“Has anything happened reasonably close to Frank’s Year One? I would like to believe that, yes, and it would have been in the 30s,” Jurgens continues. “Will we still reach the point where The Dark Knight returns? It’s in the future when Bruce has not yet reached the general age.
“It’s not always the cleanest fit. But if you look at it as a set of puzzle pieces, where you’re allowed to grind a bit of one edge, cut and trim another while adding a little putty to the next piece, pull it all together so it looks pretty good. “
Jurgens was very aware that although this new Linearverse “is a place where some unique and individual stories can be told,” that it also fits into the “larger context of the universe.” But close observers of DC can not help but wonder what may have been and whether this approach was once intended to be official DC continuity.
Remember, Generations: Shattered and Forged is a somewhat thoughtful version of what in early 2020 was intended to be DC’s major, universe-redefining event, starting the new decade in five monthly installments along with a free comic book day ( FCBD) prolog.
Readers may remember almost a year before the original Generations were due to debut in May 2020, when DC co-publisher Dan DiDio began teasing the upcoming definition of a new canonical DC timeline, beginning with Wonder Woman’s appearance during World War I (Generation One), as first depicted in a Scott Snyder-written story in January 2020’s Wonder Woman # 750.
“The generation series of specials is built to bring the new DC timeline to life,” DiDio said in February 2020 about the original event. “We will focus on the DC universe’s more than 80-year release history as we set the course for DC’s bright future of characters. All of our greatest stories and events will create the backdrop and context for the great new. Adventure we have planned. Everything counts. , and we guarantee there will be surprises along the way! “
A surprise along the way was DiDio’s abrupt exit from DC a few days after this announcement. And while the FCBD special was officially discontinued and the series was delayed because COVID-19 effectively canceled the FBCD, the entire event was later removed from DC’s schedule until today without an official explanation before re-emerging as Shattered and Forged.
Asked if Linearverse was the finale of the initial 2020 iteration of Generations, or if it arose during the process of developing what Generations would become, Jurgens tells Newsarama that its origins go back to the original version.
“Ironically, this reflects a bit of what Generations was in the beginning,” the author says. “There’s still a lot of difference, but the idea of telling a story that reflects DC’s comics from the beginning to the present is where we started. cruises that disappeared at sea, but the project still retains aspects of our earliest conversations.
“DC’s publishing history is a generational story. After all, that’s one of the reasons we took characters from certain times throughout DC’s history. It’s incredible that these characters have endured as long as they have, and that is remarkable to see how they have adapted to the times, while in many cases still retaining their original core characteristics. “
Whatever the original intent, Linearverse now exists as a playground where new stories can be told in the Omniverse, and Jurgens and his co-authors ended the story by virtually inviting DC to explore it further.
Generations: Forged ends with Waverider gifting Batman from 1939 with a time travel device to be used only as a last resort in a “true crisis”, and the last word in history is “The Beginning!”
“There are all sorts of stories and adventures worth exploring in Linearverse,” Jurgens concludes. “If readers like what they’ve seen, respond well to the concept and ask for more, it can just happen.”
Speaking of crises, Newsarama ranked every crisis in DC history from best to worst.
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