Retcons That Made You Go... "Huh?!"

As comic fans, we’re used to retcons. They’ve become par for the course. For the most part we’re okay with them if done well. A good retcon can make you look at previous stories in a new way or they can advance the character or story further. But other times…you’re not sure what to think about them, and when you do think about them they frustrate you.

The biggest example I can think of comes from Countdown to Infinite Crisis and Maxwell Lord. Towards the end Max tells Blue Beetle that he kept the League ineffectual for years. Um…no! I remember reading this for the first time and asking myself “Wait, if that’s true then why do we have years of stories of Max going from an opportunistic business man to someone who go to know and was accepted by the league? What about all those times we saw thought balloons and captions?”

I get it, it’s a retcon, but it seemed liked the kind of retcon that says “This is the change. I’m not going to explain it, you’re just going to have to go with it in order for the rest of the story to make sense.”

Are there any retcons in comics that did this for you?

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Mine: Ya couldn’t just leave Jason Todd dead, and it’s all Ra’s fault cuz he was feeling guilty so he snatched the body an Lazarus Pitted him. Seriously. Well never following anything to do with storyline or new Jason character, until DC comics gives me my dollar back for the phone call I made to kill the :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: in the first place.

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For me it’s Oracle Turing back into Batgirl…

I loved her far more in a wheelchair as Oracle. Especially now with the New 52 and post 52 reboots

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While this may have been undone later thanks to Doomsday Clock, killing off Ma and Pa Kent. Like, it’s one thing when you kill off Pa Kent (since, hey, most adaptations do that anyway), but killing them both off just deprives Superman of someone to talk to and seek council from who ISNT an all-knowing computer program of his dad. That human perspective the Kents provide is just as essential!

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Hawkman.

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I love how you don’t need to explain further. We ALL know what you mean.

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But for me, I’d have to say making Mr. Freeze into a deluded nutjob instead of the sympathetic anti-villain we all know him as.

Scott Snyder has done many great things as a DC writer. This is not one of them.

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My picks were going to be Max or Batgirl. Instead, I’ll say Post-Crisis Wonder Woman being a rookie hero. There’s not really any reason Perez’s (otherwise incredible) run couldn’t have been structured more similarly to Byrne’s Superman with a revised origin that gets us “up to speed” and then reintroducing relevant characters in the present-day.

And, as an indirect result of this, I see your Hawkman and raise you a Donna Troy.

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I see your Donna Troy and raise you a Legion of Superheroes

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I fold.

(Is that how that works? I don’t know anything about Poker. Is that even a Poker thing?)

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I have no idea either lol

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All the personality changes with new writers. This is why I consider new guys in charge to mean new universe.

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Rebirth making Blue Beetle’s scarab a magic artifact again, when the alien origin was one of the best stories of the previous decade — not to mention a huge part of Young Justice.

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For me, it’s pretty much everything to do with the post-Flashpoint Batman timeline, especially as it pertained to the Court of Owls story arc that ran for the first year of the new Batman book. So let’s try to figure it out:

  1. Batman has been operating for about six years.
  2. There’s a secret society that has evaded him for those six years.

Okay, so that idea by itself is fine. Stick this story in a 1990s issue of Legends of the Dark Knight, and you won’t hear a peep out of me. But let’s keep going:

  1. A major member of the secret society is Bruce’s long-lost brother.

Here’s a case of “bad Bronze Age ideas that were rightfully shoved off into an alternate universe.” But you know what? It’s a brand new timeline, so maybe–

  1. It’s not a brand new timeline.

Wait, what?

  1. Batman has had four Robins in those six years.

How?!

  1. One of those Robins is his son, Damian.
  2. Oh, and Batman Incorporated is still happening.

But wouldn’t that mean…

  1. Grant Morrison’s pre-Flashpoint run is still in canon.

That doesn’t work, since the whole point of Grant Morrison’s run is that everything from 1939 to the present is in continuity. How can that be the case when only six years have passed? Also, by extension–

  1. Batman has recently faced the Black Glove and is currently facing Leviathan.

So here we go. Batman has just gone up against two secret societies with ties to a long-lost family member. Now he’s just happening to go up against another one that he somehow missed despite the level of training and expertise that he displayed in the Grant Morrison run. And on top of that, most of his stories from the previous seven decades are possibly still in continuity, even though he has been operating for only six years.

Yeah, no.

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Thank you! I actually enjoyed New 52 for the most part but it takes real skill to mess up Batman’s history so much that it’s on par with Hawkman. The reasons above plus if you factor in Zero Year and Year One it means that he only had 4 years with all those Robins. On top of that it makes it so Babs and Dick are only 3-5 years younger than Bruce.

This is the main reason I’m not that big a fan of Snyder’s run, it undid so much of the great work the Morrison run did.

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This just in: In addition to having middle names, being ducks is another trait that all good Robins have in common.

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Lol I caught that right before you posted and made the edit

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This is a tinier one, but Stephanie Brown going from life in a small apartment with a junkie mom (who looked just like her) to a house in the suburbs with life with an overweight brunette mother who was fully clean. They explained it away with something like “mom decided to get her act together” but I think, story wise, only a few months had passed between sightings, if even that.

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DC wise, people really seem to have the bases covered. Flashpoint, Hawkman, Donna Troy, Legion, etc.

To everyone playing retcon poker, I see your bets and raise you Ben Reilly.

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Oh, yeah. Forgot Identity Crisis. Honestly, I think that’s probably the worst offender.
That or Hush.

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