The DC Comics‘ experiment known as the New 52 wasn’t greeted with much enthusiasm by fans. From their perspective, legacies the company built for decades were gone. In their place was a universe they didn’t recognize.
Eventually, the publishers realized the errors and created Rebirth to right the wrongs. Yet, even though the New 52 had problems, several concepts would fit well into the next phase of storytelling. Here are 10 of the retconned items of the New 52 era we wish DC kept canon.
10 Batman, Incorporated
With a premiere before the New 52 shift, Batman, Incorporated restored a concept started during the Silver Age. Instead of Batman being the only Dark Knight around, there was a globe filled with them. The comic simply put them all together on missions.
The concept didn’t change much when the DC universe was rebooted. Sadly, the series only lasted 13 issues and one special. Though it had a short run, Batman, Incorporated had a big part in Batman’s ongoing legacy.
9 Justice League International
The original Justice League International was a fan-favorite in the late ’80s. Written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, the series mixed action with a healthy dose of humor. The New 52 version of the team, with Booster Gold as the leader, had its humor, but the family feel of the previous book wasn’t there.
The retconned team would have had an important place in the Rebirth era. Once memories were restored, former members of the original JLI would’ve worked much better. Also, with the return of Ted Kord as Blue Beetle, the old gang could have reunited for some serious global action. Instead, other than Booster, we rarely hear from these characters today.
8 Captain Cold In The JLA
After the events of the “Injustice League” storyline in Justice League, Lex Luthor decided to work on the side of good. Through a bit of manipulation, and the fact League members wanted to keep a watch on him, Luthor joined the JLA. Along with him came Lex’s “bodyguard,” Captain Cold.
Luthor and Cold remained good guys for a short time in the Rebirth era, then returned to their devious ways. This is too bad, because Leonard Snart would make a good JLA member. He’s smart, technology-savvy, and can be relied on when needed. Plus, he’s only the second JLA member other than Ice who has control over cold and ice.
7 We Are … Robin
Technically, this is a concept developed in the short-lived DC You era. A group of street-level heroes honored the concept of the Boy Wonder by taking care of second-level villains while Batman battled the top Rogues. The group disappeared once Rebirth came about while its leader, Duke Thomas, became the hero The Signal.
The type of diversity the Robins possessed would be a breath of fresh air in the Rebirth era where most of the heroes remain a bit… less than diverse. In addition, it would show another side of Gotham that readers don’t see.
6 Young Rebel Superman
Out of all the retcons in the New 52 era, Superman’s was the most controversial. It could be compared to what the Spider-Man creators did with their “One More Day” storyline. When readers were introduced to this new version of Superman he was without his parents and his wife, Lois Lane.
The one thing that was interesting to see was Grant Morrison’s take on Clark’s earliest days as Superman. Donned in a t-shirt and jeans, this version hearkened back to his “anti-hero” roots in the first issues of Action Comics. This could have remained in the Rebirth universe. Simply mention Clark’s attitude shift for a brief period when he realized how rough the city was.
5 Jim Gordon Batman
Gotham City needed a Batman when Bruce apparently “died” after a battle with the Joker. In walks Jim Gordon. Buff and nearly bald, he took on the role of the Dark Knight. It was more like a Gundam version of Batman, with Jim patrolling the streets in an armored battle suit.
When Bruce returned, Jim went back to commissioning. Even so, why couldn’t he keep the battle suit in case something happened? The Bat Family isn’t always in Gotham, so using Jim as a secondary backup would have been helpful when, for example, Bane took over the city.
4 New Guardians
Though the concept of multiple Lantern corps seems to have disappeared in the Rebirth era, it was still alive and well during the New 52. So much so, that a team called the New Guardians was created that featured representatives from these groups.
This was a universe-spanning series that featured Kyle Rayner’s return as a Green Lantern. Teaming with people like Star Sapphire (Carol Ferris) and the Blue Lantern Saint Walker, they attempted to unravel the reasons why the Guardians of Oa had put bounties on their heads. As New 52 turned into Rebirth, the New Guardians would have been a fine team to help Hal and restart the other Lantern corps.
3 Justice League 3000
Justice League 3000 was an interesting concept. In the 31st century, former members of the League are cloned. However, some of their traits change. For instance, Superman is a jerk, Batman isn’t as dark, and Wonder Woman is nothing but rage.
On top of this, some heroes don’t come back in the same gender. Or, when they die, they can transfer to another body. Though the Legion of Super-Heroes is firmly ensconced in that era, JL 3000 could have continued in another reality. It would’ve been interesting how frequently the team changed.
Out of the new heroes introduced in the New 52 era, Batwing is one that should have been retconned into Rebirth. David Zavimbe was the original wearer of the bat-armor, then it was Luke Fox. In the current era, it’s Luke who should be Batwing from the start.
In the New 52 universe, David was a member of Batman, Incorporated. It seems like this organization didn’t exist once Rebirth kicked in. Since Luke is the son of Lucius Fox, it makes sense that history shifts in his favor.
1 Earth 2
The original Justice Society has indeed returned due to the events of Doomsday Clock. Yet, that shouldn’t have stopped Earth 2 from rotating in a parallel universe. Especially one that went through so much trouble that resulted in a new generation of heroes.
The most interesting characters were the new Superman, Val-Zod, and both Tomas Wayne and Dick Grayson as the new Batman. With these characters, along with Power Girl and Huntress, they could’ve had a whole bunch of new adventures.
DC's New 52 may have had its problems, but it wasn't all bad. In fact, it pulled good retcons on several things that we wish had been kept canon.