Back in January DC finally provided a name for the mysterious, hooded woman who has maintained frequent, lurking appearances strung throughout their relaunched line of titles. The character, who first appeared in Flashpoint, is largely responsible for the realignment of the multiverse in the DCU, creating a storyline cause and effect of the DCU status quo. That character’s name is Pandora, and in the sixth issue of Justice League, released this week, a back-up story featuring an exchange between the Phantom Stranger and Pandora is given as a bonus.
There’s an interesting piece of dialogue during the characters’ conversation whereby it becomes clear that not all are ignorant to the realignment of the DCU. Rather, in addition to Superman who gleamed another universe while being tortured by Desaad, there are mystical guardians possessing the capacity to reshape reality who have also chosen to abstain from involvement in worldly affairs; it’s here we find that Pandora acted out of turn in her actions during the end of Flashpoint, and that the group of individuals including the Phantom Stranger and Spectre are displeased with her youthful follies.
The choice of name is interesting alone considering its origin, and it would seem the opening of the “box” in this respect is her decision to evidently act out of turn, very much to the displeasure of the “Circle of Eternity.” While she works as a solid plot device to initiate the editorially mandated, and admittedly financially successful, relaunch, I can’t help but recall a fear I had coming out of Flashpoint. When Pandora was first spotted, I couldn’t help but feel like she was a pre-installed fail safe to reset the universe once more. Now that it’s clear she has the power to do so, I’m left wondering what’s stopping DC editorially from launching another epic scale, universe spanning “Crisis” event which would render the last six months of stories moot. Let’s give the company its due, as it’s done a fantastic job of pushing its new books and has solidly dominated the top 10 on Diamond’s sales chart, but I can’t help but feel like Flashpoint will be the “gift” that keeps on giving in respect to its being an endless source for continuity change. I even recall comments made by Brian Azzarello at Fan Expo last year where he jokingly said there would be another crisis in the near future, comments which I’m considering a little more seriously as of late, as it’s clear that DC will not hesitate to pull the trigger on a big plan especially with the success of their most recent endeavour.
There’s no way of knowing what the future holds story-wise for Pandora, much less what DC has planned in the long-term. What is clear is that something else is in motion, and if it’s leading towards some sort of crisis type, reality shifting event, I can’t help but be concerned by the idea of the company drowning their continuity in confusion after having cleaned up everything with an onslaught of new number ones which likely brought in a plethora of new readers. If we’re going to deal with characters who have the capacity to reshape reality, I think DC needs to tread carefully with their plans. The New 52 relaunch has arguably been their most successful event, preceded by a number of crisis styled events which left something to be desired as their number increased. DC has built a solid base for themselves with their recent efforts, and it would be unfortunate to see the initiative squandered in the wake of another gimmick. Much like the Greek myth, once they decide to move to the next phase, their successes can very easily be damaged irreparably.