Top 10 Questions Raised by Week 1 of DC's NEW 52

Now that the first full week of DC's "The New 52" relaunch has hit stores (both physical and online), the Newsarama staff has examined each panel carefully, and come up with a lot of questions. <p>Some of them are deliberate mysteries to be revealed as the book's progress, some of them seem to conflict with information released about the relaunch before the comics debuted, and some may just be there to keep readers on their toes. Either way, we've narrowed our list down to the 10 most pressing questions raised by week 1 of the DC relaunch and feel free to let us know both your speculation as to the answers, and questions of your own in the social networking links directly below. <p>Click "start here" in the upper-left corner for 10 questions raised by week 1 of DC's The New 52. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>

HOW BIG IS THE JUSTICE LEAGUE?

We already know who the founding members of the New 52's <b>Justice League</b> are, and we got semi-confirmation of the modern-day expanded lineup from the drinking glass promo art (seen here). But Martian Manhunter being referred to as from the Justice League in <b>Stormwatch #1</b> kind of throws what we thought we thought we knew about the roster out the window. <p>Is this just a reference to him being a past member? MM's explanation that he is known in some quarters as a hero (present tense) implies he's still carrying his membership card. <p>Arguably the most popular iteration of the League since Grant Morrison's <i>JLA</I> was the animated <i>Justice League Unlimited</i>, with as its title eponymously implied something of an unlimited roster. <p>Maybe Geoff Johns and Jim Lee won't be going <i>that</i> all-inclusive, but perhaps there is more to the team than meets the eye?

WHAT DOES STORMWATCH MEAN FOR SUPERMAN?

We know what Jack Hawksmoor thinks Stormwatch is, because he tells us on the fourth page of the first issue: "Do we <i>look</i> like 'superheroes'? They're <i>amateurs</i>. We're the <i>professionals</i>. <p>Stormwatch has been protecting the world from alien threats for <i>centuries</i>." But there's more to this organization that simply being the DCU version of Torchwood... <p>Judging from Harry Tanner's memories, Stormwatch's legacy goes all the way back to the pages of writer Paul Cornell's <i>other</i> New 52 book, <b>Demon Knights</b>. <p>But while the idea of a super<i>powered</i> team operating in shadows for years and years and years is intriguing, what does this imply Superman billed as the first superhero in the New 52's DCU is exactly? Just the first guy to put on a costume? And Apollo can even beat him up? (Plus, someone with powers similar to Superman also showed up in <b>Men of War #1</b>.) <p>If Superman isn't the first, and he isn't the best, thanks to Stormwatch, who is he exactly?

WHO ARE THE KINGDOM?

A new DCU apparently means we get some all-new super-teams that we've never heard about... But does that really mean that we've never seen The Kingdom before? <p><b>Batwing #1</b> introduces this (apparently former) super-team with a very familiar name by explaining that "There were seven of them... When Heroes began to appear all over the world, they were the first to emerge [in Africa]. They ended the revolution and <i>freed</i> our country. Then they <i>disappeared</i>." <p>Of the seven, only one isn't in silhouette, leaving six members unaccounted for and apparently missing. How many of them will be revealed to be familiar faces - Are rebooted Congorilla or Freedom Beast on their way? Will <b>Justice League International</b>'s Vixen be revealed to have been a revolutionary in her past? - and what, if anything, should we be reading into the fact that a team named after a DC event that introduced "Hypertime" mysteriously disappeared without explanation?

WHAT HAPPENED 'LAST YEAR'?

A few times now in interviews about The New 52, DC has referenced a timeline that has been created by their editorial department, creating back-story for the history of the new DC Universe. Would this timeline include what Superman was referring to in his conversation with Alex Holland in <b>Swamp Thing #1</b>? <p>Just a few panels before Superman strongly implies what has already been inferred that Doomsday/Death of Superman still happened the Man of Steel refers to what sounds like a global event. <p>...If the events of the last year have taught us anything, it's that sometimes nature sounds its own warning bell. <p>Is this a vague reference to <b>Brightest Day</b>? Or something else entirely?

IS ALFRED A HOLOGRAM?

In <b>Detective Comics #1</b>, when Batman returns to the Batcave, Alfred apparently refers to himself as a hologram. <p>Say wha... ? <p>Is this just a new way for Alfred to not have to keep making the trip from Wayne Manor to the Batcave and back every time the doorbell rings? Or were we just introduced to an utterly new, high-tech iteration of the iconic manservant? <p>We suspect the former, though the idea of Batman having created a computer-generated version of his long-time father figure would add an intriguing layer of complication to Batman's already questionable psychological profile. <p>And we're going to skip real-Alfred/CGI-Alfred's reference to Batman's relationship with a certain Cat, because we already gotta get back to Detective a little later...

WHO IS LEX LUTHOR?

He's been an evil genius and scientist, a corrupt businessman, and even the President of these United States, but the Lex Luthor from <b>Action Comics #1</b>is a so-far unknown quantity. <p>As a highly paid consultant to General Lane's apparent anti-Superman program (the City?), Luthor appears to be a little of all-of-the-above. He's well-connected like a politician, we already know there is a Lexcorp from <b>Justice League #1</b> and he appears to be evil genius enough to have manipulated a high-speed bullet train to impale Superman... and he's a xenophobe to boot. <p>Luthor is arguably the greatest DC villain in their pantheon (sorry, Joker) and traditionally a more layered character than his nemesis. It'll be intriguing to see how the ever-evolving antagonist is defined for this newest version of the DCU. <p>...Oh, and what just passed the orbit of Neptune?

WHAT'S THE JOKER UP TO?

In one of the most notable comic book weeks in recent memory, the most buzzed-about last page came in <i>Detective Comics #1</i>, where the Joker received a rather dramatic facelift from new character Dollmaker. Which is to say, his face was literally cut off, eyelashes and all at least it sure looked that way in one of the most extreme makeovers in comic book history. Joker didn't seem too upset by it though, calling it "fangasmic," with Dollmaker saying that they will both celebrate their "rebirth." <p>So... what the heck going on there? Is the Joker going to be switching visages with someone else a la <i>Face/Off</i>, or is he going to be a scarred mess in subsequent appearances? What are him and Dollmaker planning, and what will constitute a "reborn" Joker? <p>Though the answers to those question remain to be seen, the last page of <i>Detective Comics #1</i> proved one thing, other than the fact that DC isn't afraid to get a little gritty (and a lot gross) in The New 52: That the changes extend beyond cosmetic (poor choice of words?) design alterations for the heroes, and in fact not even their most recognizable villains are safe. Joker's face is his signature, and if DC is willing to physically excise it from the character, who knows what kind of major changes could be coming in the next few months?

WHAT WAS THE 'MIRACLE'?

Ever since DC announced that Barbara Gordon would star in the new <b>Batgirl</b> comic, we've all been waiting for word on how, exactly, Barbara Gordon can suddenly walk (and kick and do flips and such). <p>But the only answer we were given in <b>Batgirl #1</b> is that it was a "miracle. <p>Huh? What exactly constitutes a "miracle"? Can we take that literally? Did the Spectre or Zauriel make a deal with God? (And yes, for those who are new to DC, there most definitely is a God in the DC Universe, or at least there used to be, although he was called everything from "The Presence" to "Wally".) Or is this more like a "miracle" of science? Did some genius surgeon (paging Dr. Tommy Elliot) perform spinal surgery on the formerly paralyzed heroine? <p>DC may want to make Barbara Gordon fans squirm a little before they review that history, but for former Oracle fans who are already reluctant to accept the Bat-suit on Babs, this question was an important unanswered one this week.

SO... CRISIS HAPPENED, HUH?

DC has made it clear not <i>all</i> the stories we know and love from DC's past are gone in the rebooted DC Universe. In fact, they've probably done more to imply or state outright that nearly <i>everything</i> we know still happened in some form or another. But it comes as something as a surprise, considering the housekeeping nature of a big reboot like "The New 52" that <i>Crisis on Infinite Earths</i> would be included under the yup, still happened umbrella. <p>But there it is in <b>Hawk & Dove #1</b>, Hank Hall recalling to his dad (in highly expository fashion) the death of his brother Don, the original Dove, during the worst <i>Crisis</i> the world has ever seen. <p>Is this just a weightless nod to existing fans, to never be referenced again? Or is DC purposely cracking the door open to future exploration of various fractious timelines, multiverses, and reality-splinters. Keep in mind the publisher announced last month at Fan Expo that the Justice Society and Earth-2 would both be returning in the near future. <p>Could this soft reboot be even softer than we thought?

WHO'S THAT GIRL?

Not content with appearing out of nowhere at the end of <b>Flashpoint #5</b> to reveal that someone or something has been messing with reality, DC's new Mysterious Hooded Woman let's call her MHW for short has made <i>Where's Waldo?</i>-esque background appearances in each of the New 52 books to date... but why? Is she checking up to make sure that the new DC Universe is the way she wants it to be? <p>And, given that she appears in both <b>Justice League</b> and <b>Action Comics</b>, both of which take place in the past, does this mean she can time travel as well as seemingly teleport not only around the world but in and out of reality as we know it? Shades of the Legion of Super-Heroes' nemesis the Time Trapper... or maybe we should be setting our sights on another hooded woman who turned out to be important to the DCU once... <p>Is MHW going to turn out to be a brand new Harbinger?

Top 10 Questions Raised by Week 1 of DC's NEW 52

Date: 09 September 2011 Time: 08:36 PM ET