***The following represents the opinion of Rob Siebert alone, and does not reflect the views of Primary Ignition or its staff.***
Last week, when DC announced they were going to relaunch and re-number their ongoing continuity in September, I ran my mouth a little bit. Now, we know a little more about what this relaunch seems to entail. So I’m going to run my mouth again.
Justice League International, #1
As of early Wednesday morning, almost all of DC’s new titles have been officially announced as part of the company’s 52-book relaunch There have been various leaks/speculations on the books that haven’t been announced yet, but most of what you’ll see here is based on what DC has said.
The Justice League will be revamped, with the franchise splitting into three titles: Justice League (the Geoff Johns/Jim Lee book), Justice League International, and Justice League Dark. The first title will feature DC’s big guns (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc), the second will have many of the team members who were part of the original JLI title in the ’80s (Guy Gardner, Booster Gold, and Batman as well). Justice League Dark, interestingly enough, will be supernaturally-based, with characters like John Constantine and Deadman.
Constantine in the Justice League? Sure…why not?
The JLI book isn’t a huge surprise. Over the past several years, DC has enjoyed revisiting elements from the original series with titles like Formerly Known As The Justice League, and the recent Justice League: Generation Lost bi-monthly book. If it’s anything like the original, it’ll be worth a look. It should be noted that neither Vixen, nor Augus General in Iron (the orange guy with the staff) were on the old team.
Martian Manhunter and Blue Beetle are conspicuous by their absence from these books, at least from a publicity standpoint. Until recent years, M.M. was a staple of the Justice League, and to see him left out of the Geoff Johns/Jim Lee run is slightly odd. He was also part of the original Justice League International, but he doesn’t appear to be there either. As for Beetle, after his participation in Generation Lost, you’d think he’d be a shoo-in for JLI. But alas, he is absent…
Over in Batman land, there’s a lot to talk about. Perhaps most notably, for the first time in more than two decades, Barbara Gordon will be Batgirl. That one rubs me the wrong way a bit, as Barbara in her Oracle incarnation has become such a symbol of the power and strength that transcends big muscles and hitting. Over at Newsarama, Jill Pantozzi wrote a heartwrenching column about the change that’s most certainly worth a read. I don’t doubt that the book can be good, especially since Gail Simone will be writing it. But somehow it feels…wrong.
In other news, Bruce Wayne will once again be the only Batman in the DCU. Under this new relaunch, he’ll star in Batman, Detective Comics, Batman & Robin (with Damian Wayne still under the Robin mask), Batman: The Dark Knight, and Batman, Incorporated. The latter will apparently be taking a lengthy hiatus, before picking up again next year with a new #1.
Meanwhile, Dick Grayson will once again star in Nightwing, the ongoing Batwoman series will finally debut, we’ll get a new volume of Catwoman, and Birds of Prey will be revamped (without Gail Simone, and presumably without Barbara Gordon).
A new character, Batwing, will also debut. We saw this character in a recent issue of Batman, Incorporated. In effect, he’ll be the Batman of Africa.
For the first time, Jason Todd will star in his own series in Red Hood and The Outlaws, a book that will also feature Arsenal and Starfire.
Conspicuous by her absence is Stephanie Brown. Sadly, it seems likely she’s been retconned out of existence, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
Green Lantern #1
As I predicted some time ago, Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors didn’t last long. This September, it will be replaced by Green Lantern: The New Guardians, which will see Kyle Rayner team with Lanterns from other spectrums (presumably Larfleeze, Saint Walker, etc). Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps will both return, with the latter featuring Guy Gardner and John Stewart.
A new series, Red Lanterns, will also debut, chronicling the adventures of Atrocitus and his rage-filled Lantern corps.
Not much of a shake up, here. It looks like most of the content that Johns has written in recent years, i.e. Green Lantern: Rebirth, The Sinestro Corps War, and Blackest Night will still be canon. Convenient, as Johns is one of DC’s co-publishers…
Wonder Woman, The Flash and Green Arrow will continue with new first issues. Aquaman will have a new ongoing series, with Johns and Ivan Reis at the helm. New books debuting are: The Savage Hawkman, The Fury of Firestorm, Mister Terrific and Captain Atom. DC Universe Presents will feature multi-issue story arcs featuring various different DC Comics characters.
The Teen Titans will be back in a new book starring Red Robin (Tim Drake), Superboy, Wondergirl and Kid Flash, all of whom have rather bizarre new looks. Static Shock, and the team of Hawk and Dove will also have new books.
DC will also focus a number of books on the supernatural corner of their universe. A new Swamp Thing will debut, as will Animal Man, Demon Knights and Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE.
The Legion of Superheroes will star in the fittingly titled Legion of Superheroes, as well as Legion Lost.
Ya get all that?
In the case of books like The Flash, Green Arrow and Birds of Prey, I can’t help but chuckle. Those books were just re-numbered a year ago, and now they’ll be re-numbered yet again. It’s even funnier when it comes to Batman, Incorporated, which has only gone for eight issues so far. And then you have Batman: The Dark Knight, which has published a whopping two issues.
Birds of Prey #1
By the way, what the hell is up with the redesign of Black Canary’s costume (shown at left)? Various artists have tried to tweak her look over the years, but it ALWAYS comes back to the black leather and the fishnet stockings. Why would we put her in that blue and yellow armor she appears to be wearing? Also, it appears she’ll be teaming with Katana and Poison Ivy in the new Birds of Prey. When did Poison Ivy become a hero, exactly? And who is this mysterious tattooed woman? No sign of Huntress anywhere…
Come September, I’ll be steering away from most of this “dark” stuff, though I may give Justice League Dark a look. I also have very little interest in Captain Atom or Mister Terrific. One book that DOES intrigue me, however, is DC Universe Presents. I like the idea of a new character getting the spotlight every couple of months, sort of like DC used to do with The Brave and the Bold when they’d team a seemingly random character with Batman.
It must be said that despite my reservations about the reboot, I DO approve of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee taking on Justice League. Ever since they gave the keys to James Robinson, it’s been very unfulfilling. Hopefully, this book will give us back the “real” Justice League.
I’m still reasonably apprehensive about this whole reboot thing, but I’d say about half of what I’ve seen here has given me hope. the other half has left me either apathetic or turned off (Birds of Prey, I’m looking at you…).
Front page image from allgeeksrejoice.com.