DC will reportedly launch a publishing initiative in the coming year that will see many of its classic heroes replaced by next-gen successors, according to a report at Bleeding Cool. The initiative, called 5g, is something that several geek news outlets have been hearing rumbles about for months. Bleeding Cool has written about it more than once, and The Beat suggests that they had been tracking rumors as well. Here at ComicBook.com, we had heard about elements of this during the summer. The idea, seemingly, relates to the DC Universe timeline unveiled at New York Comic Con last week.
The "5g" is almost certainly a reference to a fifth generation of DC heroes; the first generation begins with Wonder Woman and carries through the Golden Age. The second generation will start with Superman and encompass many of the Silver Age heroes. Third generation would be from Crisis on Infinite Earths until Flashpoint. Fourth is the current crop of books, post-New 52. And the fifth? Well, it seems that most of DC's heroes will cede their roles to younger heroes.
Bleeding Cool also suggests that Luke Fox will take over as Batman, rather than a more seemingly obvious candidate like one of the Robins or Nightwing. Other characters like Jonathan Kent (Superman's son, and the Superboy of Brian Michael Bendis's Legion of Super-Heroes title) and Cassie Sandsmark (Wonder Girl in Young Justice) seem like obvious choices, but...well, as we said about obvious ones above, taht doesn't mean much.
The Beat follows up on BC reports that the 5g idea will be precipitated by a Crisis-style event and that there will be some kind of explanation put in place as to why some of the longer-running DC characters have been able to seemingly stay young for decades.
This all feels a bit like the '90s, when DC replaced Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern (among others) with young, new versions. Of course -- especially with the first rumored change being a person of color -- fans will likely compare it to the Marvel Now initiative from a few years back, which introduced a group of younger and more diverse heroes into the Marvel canon. Once the "classic" heroes were back in place, many of those new characters have established themselves as key players in the Marvel Universe.
Such a move helps sidestep a key problem with the comics market -- that many readers will not try a new, unproven property but will buy books they have years of investment in even if they don't like the books. This has meant that it's hard for Marvel and DC to introduce entirely new characters, and some fans who are critical of introducing a more diverse cast of characters into superhero comics will claim that their real complaint isn't with the diversity itself as much as attaching the new characters to existing brands. It's a real case of "do what I say, not what I do," and if building a temporary story around replacement heroes and promising a return of the originals is the way to do it, then it's hard to criticize that logic.
Word on the street is that 5G will launch next summer and presumably roll through DC's line.