Spoilers ahead for Detective Comics #980, on sale today.
Writer James Tynion IV has taken readers even deeper down the rabbit hole in Detective Comics #980, seemingly revealing that the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, pre-Flashpoint DC Universe still exists in some form within DC's multiverse.
For the uninitiated, DC's shared universe has been rebooted a few times, most notably in 1985, when an infinite number of parallel universes was condensed down into a single continuity in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Despite some tweaks and retroactive changes to continuity, the post-Crisis DC Universe remained the central timeline where stories took place until 2011, when the universe was rebooted again at the end of Flashpoint.
That reality -- colloquially known as "The New 52," a publishing initiative that launched it -- has been stretched and tweaked so consistently since 2016's DC Universe: Rebirth #1. With several characters coming in from the "old" DC Universe, though, it has seemed more and more likely that the pre-Flashpoint universe was less dead than previously assumed.
That is, as most fans had already suspected, where the Titans Tomorrow version of Batman hails from. The character -- an older, deranged Tim Drake from a "potential future" to the pre-Flashpoint DCU's present, has appeared in issues of Detective Comics, Teen Titans, and Super-Sons.
Along the way, he has name-dropped Conner Kent and let everyone who would listen know that there is another, better timeline out there for them.
He tried that same thing with Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown this week, and while it didn't work out quite the way he hoped, along the way he seemingly revealed that the world from which he hails is indeed either the pre-Flashpoint DCU or one nearly identical to it.
In its original incarnation, the Brother Eye satellite was created in O.M.A.C., Jack Kirby's futuristic dystopia that was set in a "possible" future of the DC Universe. Other such stories told in other DC books involved the Atomic Knights, Kamandi, and more.
During Convergence, the Kamandi Earth, which included elements of other Kirby "alternate future" stories, was one of the timelines pitted against other popular variant DC Universes for the fate of their world.
At the end of Convergence, the pre-Crisis Kara Zor-El, the pre-Crisis Barry Allen, and post-Crisis/pre-Flashpoint versions of both Superman and Hal Jordan/Parallax left to pursue uncertain futures, plucked from the times and places where they ordinarily would have ceased to exist. In the time since that story was published, both Parallax and Superman have played a role in the Rebirth DC Universe, but the other two remain unexplored.
You can get Detective Comics #980 at your local comic shop or buy a digital copy at ComiXology today.