So here we are yet again, the end of another fun, exciting, and infuriating week of comic book news, rumors, and events from DC Entertainment. Just like last week, I’ll give you the news, my comments, and a few other nuggets of comic book goodness along the way. So let’s stop wasting time and get to it! (Brain-explosion-inducing spoilers ahead. Duh.)
Trinity War Paves the Way for Forever Evil
Much like every other event in the history of comic book events, with one door closing, several more must open. If you didn’t read the end of Geoff Johns’ Trinity War this week in the pages of Justice League 23, you’re one of four total people on the internet who will be shocked by this news: The Crime Syndicate is back. That’s right, the “trinity” of the title had nothing to do with the three Justice Leagues, the Trinity of Sin, or even the trio of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, but rather, the return of Earth 3, home world of the Crime Syndicate. They will be facing off against (or is it recruiting?) several heavy hitters in the DC Universe throughout the month of September in Villains Month, starting (and continuing) on in the pages of Forever Evil, the first line-wide event since DC’s reboot in 2011. This is, quite literally, an event years in the making.
Matt Kindt Takes Over the DCU
Writer Matt Kind revealed this week that he would be joining the DC staff during Villains Month on the “one-shots” featuring characters Harley Quinn, Sinestro, Deadshot, and Solomon Grundy, following up with more Forever Evil goodness by penning the Steve Trevor fallout miniseries, Forever Evil: A. R. G. U. S. Known for his sleeper Dark Horse hit, Mind MGMT, Kindt will also be taking over the writerly duties from Ales Kot and joining regular series artist Patrick Zircher on Suicide Squad for a storyline that ties directly into the events in Forever Evil.
Fan Expo Recap
Canada gets a Justice League (with Adam Strange on the roster) next year, written by Toronto’s own Jeff Lemire. Trinity of Sin: Pandora will continue past the events of Trinity War (and presumably after Forever Evil, as well) under the guidance of writer Ray Fawkes. The Joker is back for Villains Month, but the entire staff of DC Entertainment is sworn to secrecy as to what happens next. The Flash, Batman, Detective Comics, and many, many other great best-selling superhero titles will remain unchanged in terms of creative teams well into 2014, which is great news amid constant shakeups, firings, and general confusion (not to mention whining) in the last year-or-so at DC. Harley Quinn gets her very own new ongoing series starting in November. And surprise guest stars, first appearances, and retellings of classic origins in the pages of Zero Year and Villains Month are going to rock, so say the big guns at DC. They haven’t given me any reason to doubt them, so count me among the excited.
With the constant accusation that DC is trying to make Villains Month a bigger deal than it actually is, rumors are flying as high as pointing the finger at executives who are simply trying to create unrealistic buzz and cater solely to the speculator market. There isn’t a clear checklist out there. The numbering is confusing. There are 52 titles (53 if you count the first issue of Forever Evil) in the month of September, but local comic shops aren’t sure how to pull, hold, or even order. And it’s already too late, according to DC and Diamond. Second prints are already being made, there aren’t enough fancy 3-D covers being produced, and orders are already all sorts of screwed up. Not to mention various writers and artists coming seemingly out of the woodwork (or retirement) and filling in, giving some buyers a chance to “skip” certain titles completely. Not to mention the media staying relatively quiet for the third anniversary of the New 52, when they should be covering this as heavily as they did the reboot itself and last year’s Zero Month. And then there’s the character redesigns. Don’t even get me started on that one. Lots of complaining. Lots of confusion. But we’ll be releasing a checklist very soon, outlining all of the important details you need to know. And, of course, I’ll be covering the entire event, so you can all collectively kick yourselves when it ends up being pretty awesome.
When you’re essentially giving the readers a “month off” from regular stories, it’s always a good idea to either lead directly into the one-shot featuring your main villain or just give a huge cliffhanger ending that won’t be resolved for two months. Some titles dropped the ball on this, but a select few really did their readers proud. Catwoman introduced Joker’s Daughter and the true identities of Cyborg Superman and Reverse-Flash were revealed in Supergirl and The Flash respectively, leading directly into the events of Villains Month. Justice League introduced the Crime Syndicate and led directly into the events of Forever Evil. And even Batman/Superman had a major reveal, teaming up two sets of Batmen and Supermen (in the past, granted) and hinting that the Darkseid that killed the heroes of Earth 2 is the same one that united the heroes of Earth 1. Just in time for an event about Earth 3. Could the multiverse truly be back? Or is this just a way to “hint” that it is and recreate it all over again? I’m down for either, or a mixture of both, to be completely honest.
The new “Lobo” has been compared to a character from the popular supernatural vampire teen romance series, which raised several questions about DC’s targeted audience, only making matters more complicated when upcoming Superman/Wonder Woman series artist Tony Daniel compared the themes explored in his series to Twilight. A lot of backtracking later had the artist (who is no stranger to controversy and seems to suffer from the dreaded Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome) confused, irritated, and trying to explain that writer Charles Soule was going to make this series awesome and that it does have romance, but it’s not cheesy and the entire purpose of the title. But this, along with the various New 52 character redesigns does raise an interesting question, nonetheless: Who is the target audience of DC Entertainment? Is it white single men in their mid-20s to their early-40s? Or is it more broad than that? Is there anything wrong with trying to add a little romance for those who might want that in their monthly reading? Is there something terrible about appealing to females, younger readers, or even reluctant readers? So no matter what your qualms with the lack of consistent answering from DC or the source material such as Twilight may be, this lifelong comic reader and English teacher wants you to consider two things: Would it be the end of the world if we had a little variety in our comics? And even though Twilight may not be your thing, who’s to say that it’s not something that should be at least acknowledged in the ever-growing search for new readers?
Writer Scott Lobdell is being very hush-hush about his plans for a “mega Superman family event” starting in November, but this much is clear: It will involve all Superman titles, big and small, and he will be writing (or co-writing) nearly the entire thing. Superman, Action Comics, Supergirl, Superboy, and Teen Titans were specifically named, but it remains to be seen (or heard) whether or not any other Superman titles will be involved in the upcoming Krypton Returns storyline. Will Superman Unchained, Batman/Superman, Superman/Wonder Woman, or even some of the Justice League titles cross over? Only time will tell. But this reader is wondering (and hoping) that this revitalizes the Superman family franchise. Something needs to happen, and happen quick, but if Lobdell’s involvement in the last Batman family event (Death of the Family) is any indication, we are in for a treat.
Other Non-DC News
And, of course, there are other publishers out there. Marvel cast Vin Diesel as Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, which I could not care less about if I were paid to do so. James Spader has also been cast as Ultron in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, but, like Diesel, we’re not entirely sure if he’s a voice or an actual physical actor in this one. Valiant is releasing a Shadowman Halloween Special at the end of October, which looks pretty awesome. Paul Levitz is writing a book about the late, great Will Eisner, entitled, Will Eisner: The Dreamer and the Dream, which is due out next year. It will focus on the ups and downs of their 30-year friendship and the industry as a whole, which is pretty neat. Writer Kieron Gillen is doing a book for Image called Three, which is going to essentially be part Frank Miller’s 300 and part, well, everything else. It looks pretty amazing. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s very own spinoff series, Angel & Faith, finished its run this week, leaving the door open for Dark Horse to continue to series, or, more realistically, put the characters all back under one roof and try to save the sinking ship they created by too much of a good thing at once.
So there it is. The week in news. Not actual news, but the important stuff that us nerds actually care about. What do you all think? Excited? Mad? Indifferent? Sound off below!