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Friday, March 5, 2021
I said at the start of the week that I wanted to talk about Generations Forged, so if you haven't read that yet (or for that matter Generations Shattered or Dark Knights: Death Metal ), beware that spoilers follow.
You've been warned.
You know from cover (and timing) of Generations Shattered, this story takes place in the DC Omniverse created in the wake of Dark Nights: Death Metal.
Dark Nights: Death Metal #7, January 2021
As if the Omniverse wasn't a big enough concept to take in, it only gets bigger. ("Infinity is just so big that, by comparison, bigness itself looks really titchy," explainsthe Hitchhikers Guide the Galaxy.)
At the end of Generations Forged, as Waverider returns the Batman of 1939 (abducted by Kamandi in Detective Comics #1000) to his native time, he introduces us to another concept:
Generations Forged #1, February 2021
Waverider goes on to imply that the Batman of 1939 will continue fighting into the modern day, that the Batmen of all publishing ages (Golden, Silver, Modern) are the same character (who may or may not have memories of all of his adventures.)
While the Omniverse just increases the size of the bucket for potential story settings, the Linearverse is a radical revision to understanding DC Comics' publishing history.
For GamesRadar.com, Michael Doran has already written several articles on the implications of this revelation, each quoting Generations Forged architect Dan Jurgens on his intent with this new Linearverse.
"It's fair to say that what we built here, the Linearverse, is its own universe that can fit into the larger context of DC's Omniverse," explains Jurgens. "It's a place where some unique and individual stories can be told."
Jurgens himself admits that this is an imperfect solution to an artificial problem. Comic book fans have always struggled with reconciling how Dick Grayson could be a boy in 1940 and still a young man in 2020 or how both Superboy and Superman could each have co-existing adventures for most of 80 years. These are only "problems" when trying to reconcile the lives of fictional characters with the passage of nonfictional time, but they are problems that fans have nonetheless tried to resolve for as long as we've been reading and relating to new monthly comics.
I don't mean to suggest that I think the Linearverse is necessarily any worse than any other attempt at reconciling the impossible. From my restricted point of view as the chronicler of the adventures of multiversal time-traveler Booster Gold, I've always attempted to to harmonize the many incarnations of Booster Gold onto a single entity, albeit an occasionally fractured and splintered one. That's no so different from what happens in the Linearverse.
So, to finally get to the serious question I referenced in my post title, what I want to know is whether the adventure told in Generations Shattered and Generations Forged happened to a Booster Gold in a previously existing continuity or not? The rules as explained for the new Linearverse would seem to suggest it happened to all known Boosters while at the same time happening to none of them, or maybe only those that exist inside a Linearverse that reflects the sum of all other universes.
For reasons I can't quite express, I don't find any of these options entirely satisfying (thought that may not be surprising coming from someone who obsessively tracks super hero minutia for a hobby).
Perhaps there is no definitive answer to my question, at least not yet. As GameRadar reports,
"There are all sorts of stories and adventures worth exploring in the Linearverse," Jurgens concludes. "If readers like what they've seen, react well to the concept, and ask for more, it might just happen."
Like so much else, maybe the answer to my question will only become clearer with time.
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