A throwaway line in Generations Shattered #1, out today from DC writers Dan Jurgens, Andy Schmidt, and Robert Venditti with a murderer's row of star artists, may have revealed an interesting new world in DC's post-Rebirth multiverse...and one that has a kind of off-kilter connection to Doomsday Clock. In that series, Doctor Manhattan traveled from the world of Watchmen to the DC Universe, and was keenly aware of the rolling timeline that keeps all of the heroes young and vibrant while decades pass in the "real" world. There, he watched Superman's first appearance on Earth moving from 1938 to 1985 to 1999, and so on.
If you remove the rolling timeline aspect, that is what Dominus has been able to take advantage of in Generations Shattered #1. Here, the villain has figured out that he has spent too long in a reality where he had to wait for the waves to break and the tide to roll back, leaving him with fewer formidable heroes to square off with.
"To have what I want, I must turn away from the universe I have forever called my own," Dominus says, as he looks away from the prime Earth of DC's main continuity and over to one where the 1930s Batman appears. "Cut away its assembled might, power, and potential for interference. Why deal with them...when there is a more suitable place? Where time works differently. Where its defenders are spread across decades...not yet united as a force. Unfocused. Ill-prepared to prevent me...from shattering their world."
This new universe, then, seems to be the perfect place to stage the ill-fated 5G, which would have worked from a series of elaborate timelines to give fans a new generation of DC heroes in a universe where each generations of heroes would give way to the next at generational increments, rather than rolling forward and always staying the same.
Elements of this started coming out this week with Future State, where a new generations of DC heroes was introduced, and it seems as though the idea of a world where the timeline never slowed down is happening here in Generations Shattered and next month's Generations Forged.
In this new timeline, Kamandi (plucked from just after the Great Disaster at an undisclosed point in the timeline) travels through time with Skeets, picking up Batman from 1939; Starfire from 1983, when she first worked with the Titans; Kimiyo Hoshi/Doctor Light from the late '80s when she was just about to join the Justice League International; Steel from 1993, while he did battle with the Cyborg Superman; and so on. It's likely that the functionally-immortal Superman and Wonder Woman are there the whole time, but in terms of less powerful heroes, it seems likely many of them simply died, retired, or moved on as they grew older. That timeline is now one of many that Dominus has destroyed, with a scattered handful of heroes left at the Vanishing Point to try and make things right.
We'll find out how that goes, exactly, in Generations Forged next month.