The current DC Comics timeline may be a minefield of retcons, contradictions and convoluted crossovers, but it's still near and dear to plenty of readers' hearts. Whether in its post-Crisis incarnation from 1985-onwards, or in the New 52/DC Rebirth era, the DC universe isn't short of fans, despite the regular challenges that arise when sustaining an 80+year franchise.
DC has underwent some seismic shifts in that time, with all those aforementioned reboots fundamentally altering the mythos in one way or another, for better or for worse. However, it looks as though the publisher is gearing up for yet another revamp in 2020, just months after Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's Doomsday Clock attempted to clear up the post-New 52 timeline once and for all.
As per Bleeding Cool (and also The Beat), DC look to be on the cusp of something called '5G', or 'Fifth Generation'. Those who read the last issue of Doomsday Clock will recognise that particular title as one of many potential futures optioned once Manhattan resets the metaverse, but it appears as though it's the one DC are proceeding with.
The central premise, at least according to these rumours, is that 5G will see some of DC's most established figures ageing and stepping out of their roles as crimefighters. Bleeding Cool reported last year that Luke Fox - the second Batwing - would replace Bruce Wayne as Batman this year, but it now looks as though the same approach is being taken with characters like Flash, Green Lantern, and yes, even Superman.
"The Fifth Generation would have new individuals take the traditional roles held in the big superhero books. And we started to get specifics – that Jonathan Kent would become Superman, Luke Fox would become Batman, Captain Cold Jr would be the new Flash, Jo Mullein would be the new lead Green Lantern, and the other characters would be aged out. Indeed, the plan was that at some point in 2020, the DC Comics Timeline as expressed at NYCC would see characters across the DC Universe suddenly aged, and the status of the DC Universe change."
For those anxious at the prospect of another reboot erasing continuity though, fret not. The same report claims that 5G "acknowledges that everything happened", and will even see the Justice League take up a similar role to the Justice Society of yore, as mentors to a new generation of heroes.
It's unclear when exactly 5G will drop, but it appears as though it won't be long after Scott Snyder Greg Capullo wrap up their planned Dark Nights: Metal sequel. All in all it seems like a risky strategy, but given how sliding timelines have restricted DC - and also Marvel - over the years, could 5G be just what the doctor ordered?
What do you think of these new reboot rumours? Let us know in the comments below!
Batman Quiz: Can You Name That Gadget?
1. What Gadget/Weapon Was Used In Batman's Early Days And Nowhere Else?