“Post-Crisis doesn’t count.” So the saying goes. But I maintain Flashpoint was more destructive to previously-established continuity than Crisis on Infinite Earths. Yes, the Adventures of the Justice Society of America and Infinity, Inc. were said to have taken place on “New Earth” rather than “Earth-2” post-Crisis, but their overall continuity wasn’t affected all that much. Let’s look at the titles whose continuities were.
CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS:
SUPERMAN: The way it was originally spun, John Byrne’s Man of Steel limited series didn’t rewrite Superman’s history, just his origin. That’s not true, of course. You can’t rewrite “just” his origin without affecting his history as well. But there was a gap written into the new continuity between Man of Steel #6 and Superman #1 in which Superman’s pre-Crisis adventures were to have happened. As pre-Crisis villains were reintroduced one by one, that “gap” became smaller and smaller as pre-Crisis stories faded away until only Superman’s “history” with the JLA was left. But even that was different as we shall see.
BATMAN: As with Byrne’s Man of Steel, Miller’s Batman: Year One was not to have changed Batman’s history, only his origin. But, also like Superman, Batman’s backstory was changed. For example, whereas his current partner was still Jason Todd, post-Crisis Robin was a street urchin rather than a circus performer. And so on.
WONDER WOMAN: Wonder Woman was, arguably, the hero changed most by Crisis. She was not only given a different origin, but her first appearance in “Man’s World” was moved forward to post-Crisis. (Superman’s Golden Age roots were eliminated, too, but at least his Silver Age backstory was still set pre-Crisis.) That was problematic, especially as it relates to the…
JLA: Pre-Crisis, Wonder Woman was a charter member of the Justice League of America; post-Crisis, that role was relegated to the Black Canary. It has since flip-flopped back and forth so many times I have lost track.
LSH: With there no longer being a “Superboy” in Clark Kent’s past, his place was taken by a Superboy from a “pocket universe” created by the Time Trapper. I, personally, liked this concept (still do); others may (and certainly will) disagree.
The post-Flashpoint DCU was centered around the formation of the JLA meeting Darkseid for the first time. Right off the bat, all of Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” continuity: gone. Every story that ever used those characters: gone. Because the origin of the JLA was set a mere five years in the past (and because the role of the Martian Manhunter was relegated to Cyborg), all of Teen Titans continuity: gone. And on and on and on. Whereas (I maintain) much if not most of pre-Crisis continuity was still valid post-Crisis>, Flashpoint wiped the entire slate clean and started, in effect, an entirely new universe with an entirely new continuity.
It is my understanding that DC has kind of backed away from that but, I stopped buying DCU (or “DCnU”) titles pretty much cold turkey eight years ago, I wouldn’t know. Maybe the conclusion of the current Watchmen series will clear that up. We’ll see. In the meantime, I leave you with the following question: Which series, Crisis on Infinite Earths or Flashpoint, did more harm to the DC Universe?
"How much of this was DiDio's plan?"
The article I read (in Comic Shop News) indicated that it was pretty much his baby. Even though he's out, the series will go on as planned. After five monthly issues, something *N*E*W* is going to happen in October (or whenever, at this point). One thing this series is going to establish is who the FIRST HERO of the DC Universe is. (CSN played it coy in the main article, but then spoiled it in a sidebar.) If you've seen the solicitations for May, it's not difficult to guess.