Top 10 Questions Raised by Week 4 of DC's NEW 52

<i>By <a href=http://www.twitter.com/Newsarama>Newsarama Staff</a></i> <p>It's come to this: The fourth full week of DC's "The New 52" relaunch, and all 52 #1 issues of their new ongoing series are out in the world. <p>Just like we did for <a href=www.newsarama.com/comics/dc-new-52-week-1-questions-110909.html>week 1</a>, <a href=www.newsarama.com/comics/dc-new-52-week-1-questions-110916.html>2</a>, and <a href=www.newsarama.com/comics/dc-new-52-week-3-questions-110923.html>3</a>, Newsarama has combined its inquisitive forces and come up with the 10 most pressing questions based on this week's DC comics. Some of them are intentional mysteries set up by the creators, some are based on our own observations, and some may be just a bit of wild speculation, but, hey, that's part of the fun, right? <p>Click "start here" in the upper-left corner for 10 questions raised by week 4 of The New 52. And hit up our social networking links below to let us know what questions you have from DC's The New 52 or any guesses you may have for the answers to these. <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>

WILL JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK LET A LITTLE LIGHT IN?

We have a seer who isn't telling the whole truth and has made questionable decisions in the past (see: <i>Demon Knights</i>). We have a reality manipulator who creates and destroys entire people for his own entertainment. A girl who is a hundred places at once and knows nothing about it, a magician whose abilities (according to Batman) aren't quite up to snuff, and freaking John Constantine. <p>So... where are the good guys? Now, being fair, these folks can certainly come together and be greater than the sum of their parts, but this is a ragtag group if we've ever seen one. Even if you take the conceit that Xanadu, Shade the Changing Man, June Moone, Zatanna and Constantine are good guys who want to act as magical superheroes, the next question "who the heck leads this team?" is equally pressing. <p>This book did a great job of showing why a magical arm of the Justice League is needed, but we're still not sure about the actual members of the team.

SUPERHEROES VS. VAMPIRES

In <i>I, Vampire</i>, Andrew alluded to conflict between vampires and the caped community. This comic exists in the DCU, so it's a given that the caped community would intervene when there's an army of vampires on the rampage. <p>Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/comics/dcnu-Joshua-Fialkov-I-Vampire-110909.html">told Newsarama a couple weeks ago</a>, "We also get to see a few guest stars from the DCU in upcoming issues, but I don't want to spoil them just yet." <p>As the first issue ended, it's implied that those guest stars will be part of the conflict between vamps and capes (which Marvel has certainly tried before). But how will that conflict take shape in the DCnU? <p>The <i>I, Vampire</i> title was an underdog of The New 52, but it surprised a lot of readers and reviewers with the quality of its creepy, horror-based story. Now that it's confirmed by DC that <i>I, Vampire</i> sold out, could the comic be a sleeper hit that spawns a vampire vs. superheroes event? And can we take bets now on who would win those battles?

TEARING DOWN THE FOURTH WALL

More than any other week thus far, this latest round of New 52 titles seems to be chockfull of meta-textual references. <p><b>Aquaman #1</b> was practically all meta-textual, focusing a great deal of its debut pages on Aquaman's perception as the weak link of the Justice League the guy who talks to fish (a remark he doesn't take kindly too), which is probably a perception more applied to the "real world" than traditionally to the world of the DC Universe. <p>And even though some cops <i>and</i> robbers get their shots in, Geoff Johns goes so far as to include an obnoxious blogger to deliver the harshest assessments of Aquaman's public perception. <p>(Footnote: we might be getting close to the day when bloggers replace the Russian and Chinese mobs as the post-Cold War go-to villains.) <p>And over in Teen Titans, Tim Drake is revealed to be a muckraking blogger himself, and as previously noted on Blog@Newsarama, George Perez even snuck in some meta-textual commentary on the state of print publishing and the future of digital. <p>Was this all just coincidence or will the DCnU be used more than ever before as a sounding board for creators to comment on issues that dig a little deeper than the fictional work of the DCU?

WINGING IT?

While long-time fans of the character would rather have immediate answers about whether Hawkman's past continuity still exists, new readers didn't get many answers either. The first issue of <b>The Savage Hawkman</b> posed more mysteries about Hawkman's story as it set up his new status in the DCnU. <p>That's understandable if Hawkman's continuity didn't reboot, since even his most die-hard supporters will admit his background is sometimes hard to explain. Perhaps DC is hoping to give him a fresh start without having to go into details about his past. <p>But it's still one of the big question marks hanging over the title: Who is Carter Hall, what's his story, and why is he so tired of being Hawkman? He says in the first issue that he's "born in the USA," but the comic hints he's "not of this world." The nature of his new organic, symbiotic-type connection with his Nth metal is a mystery (albeit a very compelling one), and there's no indication of a Hawkgirl. <p>So who is this guy?

N.O.W.H.E.R.E. MEN

This week's <i>Teen Titans</i> showed that the same organization that may have created Superboy is also, in the words of Tim Drake, "a clandestine international organization... going around plucking up super-powered teenagers," complete with its own private army. <p>But why? Who are they, and what has their plan to collect the super-powered teens of the world got to do with the announcement at the start of the issue that "metahuman teenagers seem to be springing up everywhere"? After all, if N.O.W.H.E.R.E. can create <i>one</i> superboy, what's to say it's not responsible for more than one...?

DOCTOR... WHO, EXACTLY?

<i>The Flash #1</i> introduced a couple of new characters to the speedster's world. Manuel, his old friend-turned-apparently unwilling criminal; and Dr. Darwin Elias, a scientist and mutual admirer of The Flash. <p>Though whatever's going on with Manuel is certainly intriguing the last page revealed about two dozen copies of the guy, most of which seemed up to no good smart money says that the real mystery is with Elias. It doesn't take a PhD in superheroes to detect that anyone capable of building something called a "portable genome re-coder" has definite villain potential, and though he seemed perfectly friendly in the first issue, that could clearly just be a cover. <p>Add to that the conspicuous rooftop scene, where Elias asks Flash about his "personal" connections to the crime he investigates and, well, sounds like you just might have the recipe for a new archenemy. After all, the <i>Flash</i> creative team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have indicated in interviews that they'll be staying away from the Flash's usual Rogues for at least the first arc.

TITANS TOGETHER (IN MYSTERY)

Writer Scott Lobdell seems poised to seize the crown of King of New 52 danglers (though it might not be fair to call them that after one issue), and he didn't let up with this third New 52 title, <i>Teen Titans</i>. In addition to the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. question already raised, we've got a few more from the issue, including: <p>1.Who is Tim crediting/blaming for the DCnU's sudden emergence of teen heroes while he gazes at the photo of Batman and Robin Himself, Dick, or Bruce? <p>Bat-fans already have big questions about the Robin intern program" Lobdell just throw gas on the fire? <p>2. Are Static and Ms. Martian slated for future membership? <p>3. And who is Kid Flash exactly if he has no ties to The Flash/Barry Allen? Maybe Barry's grandson from the future that he doesn't know he's going to have yet? Or has DC truly narrowed the Flash family down to one surviving member?

MORGAN EDGE: THREAT OR MENACE?

The first issue of the new <i>Superman</i> surprised readers by bringing back Morgan Edge as the owner of the Daily Planet. But does this new Morgan Edge have the same shady connections as the original? There weren't any obvious hints of either Edge being in cahoots with either Intergang (or worse, Darkseid) in the first issue, but that doesn't mean that he's not up to no good in some way. <p>Will this Morgan Edge be the snarkier television boss of the 1970s, or the frontman for all kinds of illegal activity that Jack Kirby created and the post-Crisis <i>Superman</i> books revived? It's too early to tell, but our money's already on the latter. After all, who else but a villain would say something like, "After all, change is seldom easy. In fact, it can be downright painful"?

KYLE RAYNER: LORD OF THE RINGS?

Kyle Rayner's new feature title <b>Green Lantern: New Guardians</b> establishes right off the bat that this is the Kyle Rayner fans know and love. There was a time when all the Green Lanterns (and most of the Guardians of Oa) died/were gone, and Kyle received what was at the time the last, the only Green Lantern ring. <p>Jumping back into the present though, is where the mystery comes from. Throughout the first issue we see rings across the spectrum, a Red ring of rage, Orange of avarice, Yellow of fear, Blue of hope, Indigo of compassion, and Violet of love all up and fly away from their current ring-bearers (resulting in injury or worse for many). Every one of those rings shows up in Sector 2814, proclaiming "Kyle Rayner of Earth, You have been chosen." <p>The question then of course is, why do all the rings want Kyle Rayner? Is it something about his ring (assuming in this new continuity this is still the same "last/first ring")? Does Kyle, with his artistic mind and emotional moments, have a unique constitution ready to accept every color? And of course, if all these rings actually make it onto Kyle's fingers, what will that emotional overload do to him? These are obviously questions DC wants us asking, but they're nonetheless intriguing.

IS SUPERMAN #1 A RECORD-SETTER?

Some fans have voiced issues with the decompressed state of storytelling in New 52 titles, with <i>Justice League #1</i> being named in particular because of it's slow-burn reimagining or the origin of DC's premier super-team. <p>Anyone have any decompressed complaints about i>Superman #1</i>? <p>As <a href= http://www.newsarama.com/comics/george-perez-off-superman-110930.html>Newsarama reported Friday afternoon</a>, writer/artist George Perez may be leaving those duties as of issue of #7, but if issue #1 is any indication he may create the effective equivalent of a good full year's worth of your garden variety storytelling in his six issues anyway. <p>Not critique mind you, merely observation, but in Perez's trademark tour de force "compressed" style, <i>Superman #1</i>'s 25 story pages may have packed more panels, dialogue, and exposition into one standard(ish)-sized comic book issue ever. <p>Anyone have a number for the Guinness folks?

Top 10 Questions Raised by Week 4 of DC's NEW 52

Date: 30 September 2011 Time: 07:58 PM ET