We already knew that DC Comics had some major changes lined up for 2014, including the “Five Years Later” event coming down the line closer to September, with inevitable Free Comic Book Day tie-in issue. Now, thanks to the full May solicitations from DC Comics, we can see that there are some other big events, and some of that future, coming soon too: “Futures End”, Superman: Doomed and Justice League United. PLUS a series comes to an end, and there’s a good chance that Batman: Zero Year never will.
If 2011 was “Flashpoint”, 2012 saw the roll-out of the New 52 and 2013 introduced the “Trinity War”/”Forever Evil”, then 2014 is all about “The New 52 – Futures End“. So many questions: how does Batman Beyond start traversing the boundaries of space and time? Is the lack of an apostrophe just bad grammar, or an indication that more than one future is coming to an end? Is Grifter really going to be a major player in this?
Seemingly another pseudo-Crisis for 2014, the new weekly series (the second for the New 52 following April’s launch of Batman: Eternal) certainly has an intriguing premise, so much so that we’ve made some of the bits bold because they seemed interesting. Also: it feels like we’re doing commentary, even when it’s a chunk of text from a press release.
Five years from now, the DC Universe is reeling from a war with another Earth, leaving the world unprepared for an approaching evil that threatens to destroy the future. Can a time-traveling Batman Beyond help a massive cast of the DCU’s finest avert the impending apocalypse?
We’re currently seeing a clash between worlds in the Forever Evil arc, so could this be another other Earth? Things are coming to a head in Worlds’ Finest, and you wont find a better book than Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott’s Earth 2 (or Taylor’s Injustice) at the moment for alt.world fun. With writers Keith Giffen, Brian Azzarello, Dan Jurgens and Jeff Lemire at the helm, there’s certainly some heavy lifting being done by the writing team. Could this be the lightning bolt that brings the disparate strands of the New 52 together at last after 3 years of uncertainty?
We first reported on this in Issue 88 of the podcast. May will also see DC launch the crossover event Superman: Doomed, beginning with a one-shot and continuing in the other Superman titles that month. After a few encounters in Superman/Wonder Woman, the historic Superman vs. Doomsday battle will launch in the context of the New 52. Fans will recall their epic showdown in 1993 killed the Man of Steel (at least temporarily), launching an era of darker superheroes, Cyborg Supermen, fallen Knights and dimmed lanterns. This time around, DC is promising “deadly new abilities” for the steel slayer, continuing the story through Superman/Wonder Woman #8, Action Comics #31 and Superman #31 throughout May. Like “Futures End”, it may be the flag that the Superman family books need to bring a sense of unity and purpose as the year progresses.
Justice League United, eh?
Originally slated as Justice League Canada, the title will still fill the gap left by the departure of Justice League of America. Of course, it’s still set north of the US border according to the solicitation: “In Canada, the team of Animal Man, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter and Stargirl is joined by Adam Strange to fight an unstoppable forced called the Unimaginable.” Native Canadian Jeff Lemire will use his New 52 versions of Animal Man and Green Arrow within the context of this brave new world, and if his previous Canadian-focused works (including Essex County and The Underwater Welder) are anything to go by, the men will have large noses and there will be lots of hockey on display. Another reason to get excited by the title is the presence of British artist Mike McKone on art duties, who has also provided the very cool cover for the first issue. Unlike Justice League of America, there only appears to be a handful of variant covers – rather than the 53 that its predecessor filled the shelves with!
The Movement runs out of momentum
“There’s no length the Movement won’t go to if it means rescuing one of their own,” except, of course, continuing on to issue 13. Yes, it seems that Gail Simone’s interesting title will cease to be after only a year, which is admittedly a longer run than some of the secondary New 52 waves have managed. While it might give Simone even more time to concentrate on the superb Batgirl run, the disappointment comes from DC actually trying something a little bit different and it failing to find an audience. If a criticism is to be had of the New 52, and there are certainly no shortages of them, it’s that it isn’t exactly filled with diversity. Batman alone has about 14 family titles.