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  1. #1
    The Fastest Post Alive! Buried Alien's Avatar
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    Default Now that *everything* is in continuity, what do the characters remember?

    The current policy towards continuity at DC is that everything from the first story ever published by the company to the present day is part of continuity, which works great for us fans, but what do the actual characters presently remember about their histories? If you're Superman, for example, your life and career unfolded in different and mutually exclusive ways in Pre-COIE, Post-COIE, Pre-FLASHPOINT, Post-FLASHPOINT, and present day continuity. What do your memories actually consist of? What is "real" to you? How do you make sense of it all?

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  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member HsssH's Avatar
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    They remember whatever the current writer feels like they should remember. In a way they are not even characters any more.

  3. #3
    Extraordinary Member sifighter's Avatar
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    I think that Black Canary in Deathstroke inc. is a good indication of what to expect. Because in issue 4 Dinah had a flashback on all the times that she has encountered Slade Wilson and it was all interconnected but it showed New 52 era, Birds of Prey/90’s JSA era, rebirth era, and the present day. So as HsssH said if the current writer feels like using it then it’s free game.
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  4. #4
    Incredible Member ducklord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buried Alien View Post
    The current policy towards continuity at DC is that everything from the first story ever published by the company to the present day is part of continuity, which works great for us fans, but what do the actual characters presently remember about their histories? If you're Superman, for example, your life and career unfolded in different and mutually exclusive ways in Pre-COIE, Post-COIE, Pre-FLASHPOINT, Post-FLASHPOINT, and present day continuity. What do your memories actually consist of? What is "real" to you? How do you make sense of it all?

    Buried Alien (The Fastest Post Alive!)
    It's probably best not to think about it too much, either from a character or a reader perspective, 'cause that way lies madness.

    That said, here's my take:

    For the overwhelming majority of characters in the DCU, reality, history, and their memories make sense. If you asked, say, Captain Cold to give you an overview of his life story (presumably after buying him a beer or two), he would rattle of the details of his childhood, his origin, his fights with Barry and Wally, his dalliance as a member of the JLA, perhaps, and it would all be a coherent through line. At no point would he say something like "and there was a version of me that gained ice powers for a while, but that never happened now." History, whatever it actually is currently in the DCU, exists. If you're a civilian in the DCU, you can look it up on Wikipedia.

    A small minority of characters in the DCU are aware that their history has been over-written several times. Mostly, these are big-time super-heroes (since their histories tend to get re-written a lot), but it also applies to some villains. Sometimes they get flashes of their alternate lives at the writer's convenience. But since, as I said, that way lies madness (I mean seriously, how messed up would YOU be if visions of your alternate continuities kept popping up in your head?), it's not touched on very often except in the name of fan service.

    An even smaller number of DCU characters are aware of the specifics of previous continuities and histories that have come together to forge the current timeline. Mostly, these are the cosmic god tier characters like, say, Darkseid and the Guardians, but Wonder Woman and Superman in particular are likely carrying around a lot of specific knowledge about the pig lips that have been ground together to make the sausage of the Infinite Frontier DCU.

    This "it all happened, it all counts" is great for explaining why a forgotten and retconned away story may suddenly slip back into canon at a writer's whim, but that doesn't mean that contradictory stories are simultaneously true in the DCU. 'Cause again, that'd be madness.

  5. #5
    duke's casettetape lemonpeace's Avatar
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    Death Metal made it so everyone (at least everyone important and that were around back then) remembers their previous continuities prior to Flashpoint. so they remember any/everything that matters.
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  6. #6
    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    I assume in their minds there is some sort of demarcation line that tells them what "current" continuity is and what is a previous timeline. For instance, Superman might "remember" starting his career at 8 years old but he knows it's not the current timeline. Batman might "remember" taking up the Robin identity in the pre-Crisis universe before his Batman career but know it's not how things happened now. Not having actually seen this in action on the page, I honestly don't know how they are playing it.
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  7. #7
    Mighty Member Swamp Thing 2099's Avatar
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    The answer to what they remember is "yes".
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  8. #8

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    Everyone is Hawkman now. They have memories of 'past lives' and their continuity/history is a muddled mess.

  9. #9
    Mighty Member Swamp Thing 2099's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Venus View Post
    Everyone is Hawkman now. They have memories of 'past lives' and their continuity/history is a muddled mess.
    You just told a guy with a mace who's honed multiple fighting styles over countless centuries that he's not special anymore.

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  10. #10
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    In actual practice, I think it means that characters are now free to remember anything from past stories that's pertinent to the story currently being told.

    For continuity-obsessed fans, it's either the best thing that's ever happened to DCU History or their worst nightmare

  11. #11
    Incredible Member ducklord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superduperman View Post
    I assume in their minds there is some sort of demarcation line that tells them what "current" continuity is and what is a previous timeline. For instance, Superman might "remember" starting his career at 8 years old but he knows it's not the current timeline. Batman might "remember" taking up the Robin identity in the pre-Crisis universe before his Batman career but know it's not how things happened now. Not having actually seen this in action on the page, I honestly don't know how they are playing it.
    Ultra big guns like Superman and Wonder Woman aside ('cause they're weirdly godlike at this point), I'm not sure DC wants to inflict the brains of their entire cast of super-heroes with the rambling rewrites of 80 years of continuity. I mean, it's a cute little throwaway if Ollie Queen has a vague feeling that he and Dinah were married once upon a reality, but having a whole backup drive of all the various things that happened to him once upon a never seems like a baaaaad idea.

    And that's not even getting into all the heroes who are alive now, but were dead/erased for several years. Even if I "knew" those weren't real memories, that kind of thing would mess me up.

    I'd be willing to bet that most of this "I remember it all" froo-frah will fade out over the next few months, kind of like the heroes memories of the pre-Crisis universe after the Crisis.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member 9th.'s Avatar
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    Whatever the writer wants them to, anything else will give you a headache.
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  13. #13
    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ducklord View Post
    Ultra big guns like Superman and Wonder Woman aside ('cause they're weirdly godlike at this point), I'm not sure DC wants to inflict the brains of their entire cast of super-heroes with the rambling rewrites of 80 years of continuity. I mean, it's a cute little throwaway if Ollie Queen has a vague feeling that he and Dinah were married once upon a reality, but having a whole backup drive of all the various things that happened to him once upon a never seems like a baaaaad idea.

    And that's not even getting into all the heroes who are alive now, but were dead/erased for several years. Even if I "knew" those weren't real memories, that kind of thing would mess me up.

    I'd be willing to bet that most of this "I remember it all" froo-frah will fade out over the next few months, kind of like the heroes memories of the pre-Crisis universe after the Crisis.
    I was just thinking about GA and this situation. Was his history so divergent that he has four or five different histories rolling around in his head? He's not Superman. He hasn't been rebooted a million times. Would there be that many different histories to remember? He hooked up with BC in most continuities. New 52 and the Earth 2 versions seem to be the only ones who have severely divergent histories. Ditto Batman. Someone like Donna Troy might be problematic. But a street level character who didn't get much of a reboot after all the continuity changes might not have that much to remember. Catwoman might be a problem in that her history has always been somewhat vague and mostly built around working around Year One.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ducklord View Post
    It's probably best not to think about it too much, either from a character or a reader perspective, 'cause that way lies madness.

    That said, here's my take:

    For the overwhelming majority of characters in the DCU, reality, history, and their memories make sense. If you asked, say, Captain Cold to give you an overview of his life story (presumably after buying him a beer or two), he would rattle of the details of his childhood, his origin, his fights with Barry and Wally, his dalliance as a member of the JLA, perhaps, and it would all be a coherent through line. At no point would he say something like "and there was a version of me that gained ice powers for a while, but that never happened now." History, whatever it actually is currently in the DCU, exists. If you're a civilian in the DCU, you can look it up on Wikipedia.

    A small minority of characters in the DCU are aware that their history has been over-written several times. Mostly, these are big-time super-heroes (since their histories tend to get re-written a lot), but it also applies to some villains. Sometimes they get flashes of their alternate lives at the writer's convenience. But since, as I said, that way lies madness (I mean seriously, how messed up would YOU be if visions of your alternate continuities kept popping up in your head?), it's not touched on very often except in the name of fan service.

    An even smaller number of DCU characters are aware of the specifics of previous continuities and histories that have come together to forge the current timeline. Mostly, these are the cosmic god tier characters like, say, Darkseid and the Guardians, but Wonder Woman and Superman in particular are likely carrying around a lot of specific knowledge about the pig lips that have been ground together to make the sausage of the Infinite Frontier DCU.

    This "it all happened, it all counts" is great for explaining why a forgotten and retconned away story may suddenly slip back into canon at a writer's whim, but that doesn't mean that contradictory stories are simultaneously true in the DCU. 'Cause again, that'd be madness.
    Yeah, that's how I see it.

    I think DC's approach has been somewhat 'inclusive' since Rebirth, where they've tried to incorporate as much of a character's history as possible, barring the really contradictory stuff.

    Consider Tom King's famous ''It was the boat. It was the street.'' dialogue with regards to Batman and Catwoman's first meeting. He did a pretty good job seamlessly melding the two different versions - Bruce and Selina met on the street ala Year One, and Batman and Catwoman (or rather the Cat as she was then) met on the boat ala the Golden Age.

    Likewise, Superman at one point wore the New 52 armor. And Jon Kent was born and grew up in the background of all the old Post-Crisis Superman stories.

    When it comes to characters like the Flash family, who are heavily steeped in time-travel and changing timelines anyway, the multiple contradictory versions co-existing is a feature and not a bug.

    Quote Originally Posted by superduperman View Post
    I was just thinking about GA and this situation. Was his history so divergent that he has four or five different histories rolling around in his head? He's not Superman. He hasn't been rebooted a million times. Would there be that many different histories to remember? He hooked up with BC in most continuities. New 52 and the Earth 2 versions seem to be the only ones who have severely divergent histories. Ditto Batman. Someone like Donna Troy might be problematic. But a street level character who didn't get much of a reboot after all the continuity changes might not have that much to remember. Catwoman might be a problem in that her history has always been somewhat vague and mostly built around working around Year One.
    With Green Arrow, he was pretty much rebooted with the New 52 and Rebirth that followed on from it. The major contradiction in his case is when and how he first meets and falls in love with Black Canary. You can argue that Lemire's take of what happened on the island could co-exist with, say, Mike Grell's take, and that John Diggle was around during the classic Green Arrow/Speedy days in the background. But at some point you have to confront the hard facts of how long ago Oliver met Dinah and to what point has their relationship progressed. Are they current or former spouses? Or is it a relatively recent relationship formed shortly before they took on the Ninth Circle? And is Shado the mistress of Robert Queen and mother of Emiko, or Oliver Queen's one-time lover?

  15. #15
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    Maybe this won't be so different from how it was pre-Crisis, where continuity was plastic and events floated in and out of the collective memory. The big difference being everyone in our world has a better memory--a computer memory.

    Up until Steve Englehart brought back Hugo Strange, one could assume he was not part of continuity or he existed in another timeline such as Earth-Two's. Once he was brought back in 1977, he was remembered as always having existed--even though his last appearance was in 1940. He brought with him his story, which meant some of what happened in the past had happened to present Batman.

    In Superman continuity, the first city to survive Krypton's destruction was Wizard City, which was seen in a Superboy story in 1955. Subsequently, Kandor and Argo City had survived--and since Wizard City was never mentioned, one could assume it had fallen out of memory and didn't exist in the present continuity. But then in 1985 (prior to Crisis), there was another Wizard City story and it was now remembered by Superman and Jimmy Olsen.

    Superman's "Big Brother" Halk Kar of Thoron showed up in the winter of 1952-53. Earlier, Superboy's "Big Brother" Lar Gand of Daxam appeared in a story published in 1961 but retroactively having happened before the Halk Kar story. Since Mon-El's story was so much like Halk Kar's, one assumed it had replaced his. Halk Kar was out of continuity and maybe had happened in another timeline such as Earth-Two's. But now in Grant Morrison's THE GREEN LANTERN, we see that Hal Kar of Thoron exists in current continuity and is part of the United Planets Superwatch.
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