<i>by <a href=http://www.twitter.com/Newsarama/>Newsarama Staff</a></i> <p>DC's New 52 will celebrate one year of publishing in September, and they're commemorating the occasion by going back to the past for each one of their books with #0 issues designed to fill in some of the lingering blanks in the revived DC Universe. <p>With more than 52 #0 issues coming up including the final issue of three books and the debut of four new ones DC looks to be covering a lot of ground with their releases. Based on pre-release info, some seem especially tantalizing, looking to answer burning questions like "Why isn't Jason Todd dead?"; "Who's that new Green Lantern?"; and "Amethyst? Really?" <p>Click "start here" in the upper-left corner to see our picks of 10(ish) #0 issues to look out for in September. <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> <p>
The creator of <i>Jem and the Holograms</i> writing a revived version of <i>Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld</i>. It's such a surprising thing to exist in the year 2012 and such a left-field addition to DC's New 52 that it's hard not to anticipate it. <p>Christy Marx, who also wrote for <i>G.I. Joe</i> and <i>Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends</i>, is writing the lead feature of <b>Sword of Sorcery</b>, bringing Amethyst back to the DC Universe. An anthology title not unlike <i>G.I. Combat</i>, the series represents DC's continued push into genres beyond superheroes and also features a Beowulf back-up story written by Tony Bedard and art from Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan. <p>With female action heroes having a big year on the big screen from <i>The Hunger Games</i> to <i>Brave</i>, it makes sense for DC to try and get in on that market, and it looks like they've picked a creative team uniquely equipped for the challenge.
In the DC New 52, Jason Todd <i>did</i> die, having been beaten to an inch of his life, then blown up, by the Joker. <p>So what the heck is he doing starring in his own series, leading a motley crew? <p> Well, it's relatively safe to say there won't be a wall-punching disgruntled Superboy from another Earth involved this time. Yes, Jason Todd, the Red Hood, has one of the most convoluted and downright wacky origins from the old DC Universe. With <b>Red Hood and the Outlaws #0</b> promising to clear it up for the New, we have to wonder how much of that (probably nearly all) will be left behind. <p>Scott Lobdell gets a turn this time at telling this revival origin story, which was told as both being a result of Superboy Prime punching a continuity wall (we wish we were making that up) and as a result of Ra's Al Ghoul's Lazarus pits. With Talia deeply entrenched in the Batman mythos as both Damian's mother and a major villain in <i>Batman, Inc</i>, a former relationship with the former boy wonder would be even <i>more</i> of a shocker in this new universe. <p>While the solicitation focuses on Jason alone, we wouldn't be surprised to see at least a bit of how he came together with Roy Harper and Koriand'r, but 20 pages probably won't lend itself to three separate origins, so some mysteries will remain. Still, the tiny hook they used, "How Jason Todd came back to life" is enough to reel us in for this zero issue.
It's the pesky catch-22 that haunts us when it comes to The New 52: Yes, <b>Batgirl</b> <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/comics/one-year-later-best-of-dc-new-52.html">is cooler and better-selling with Barbara Gordon in the costume</a>, but <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/comics/one-year-later-worst-of-dc-new-52.html">damn, we miss Oracle</a>. <p>Some Oracle fans have held onto hope that maybe a hint of Oracle's story still exists in the DC history. We know that Barbara was paralyzed and wheelchair-bound for a few years before <i>Batgirl #1</i>. Could she have dabbled in superhero communications? Or are we grasping at straws? <p>When <b>Batgirl #0</b> is published, not only will it reunite Gail Simone with her <i>Birds of Prey</i> collaborator Ed Benes, but it should answer our questions about Oracle once and for all, since it's covering the years of Batgirl's origin, her attack by The Joker and her recovery. We're hoping it also answers any lingering questions about her cure and puts to rest existing speculations about her new timeline. Then maybe we can all just move on from our Oracle withdrawal.
A while back, we connected the dots to see that Phantom Stranger certainly appears to be Judas Iscariot a move that would be, quite simply, ballsy by DC Comics. <p><b>Phantom Stranger #0</b> says it picks up after the FCBD story, but also asks the question "Who Is the Phantom Stranger?" in big bold letters. If DC decides to definitively reveal him as Judas, the biblical apostle that sold Jesus Christ out for 30 pieces of silver, one would think there will be significant backlash. It wouldn't, however, be DC's first brush with Judeo-Christian beliefs, not by a longshot. <p>Heaven as defined in pop culture under the Judeo-Christian structure is a real place in the DCU (at least in the old one), as we actively saw Oliver Queen hanging out there after nobly sacrificing himself. The Spectre, another mysterious being often on par with (and even mentioned by, in the early appearance) the Phantom Stranger, is known to be the monotheistic God's spirit of vengeance. And of course Cain, the biblical son of Adam who killed his brother, is hailed as the very real person who founded the Religion of Crime. <p>Phantom Stranger's biblical ties could be used frequently or not at all in his upcoming exploits, but a specified Christian tie would still be an interesting twist, and one we hope is revealed as soon as the zero issue.
This one's a tie, but for good reason obviously <b>Animal Man</b> writer Jeff Lemire and <b>Swamp Thing</b> writer Scott Snyder are buds, and the two series have had an undercurrent of connectivity since the start. <p>Beginning with the #0 issues, those ties are coming to the forefront, as the September offerings of both books will set the stage for "Rotworld," the long-brewing crossover between the two critically acclaimed books that's scheduled to run through issue #17 of each series. <p>Beyond that, <b>Animal Man #0</b> looks to reveal the "secret history" of Buddy Baker, and <b>Swamp Thing #0</b> features backstory on Alec Holland and Anton Arcane.
So just who is Tim Drake in The New 52 version of the DC Universe? Was he still the boy detective that came to Batman during his hour of need (after discovering his identity)? Is he an orphan who is now the adopted son of Bruce Wayne? <p>These questions, and many more, have lingered in the air as we've seen the former third Robin cavorting around with other teen heroes as Red Robin in The New 52. The solicitation text for <b>Teen Titans #0</b> also mentions him as a "would be Olympic star and computer genius" which would be slightly different (though not unreasonable) from his past... past. <p>As a <i>younger</i> former Robin who is out on his own (see: Nightwing), Tim is an interesting character with a lot of possibility. His former relationship with Superboy and Bart Allen, a significant part of his past, was wiped away with the reboot, and there's been no mention of Stephanie Brown, his former paramour and one-time Robin stand-in, in this universe either. Tim's place in the bat-family has been somewhat established, but with little to no specific information. Giving him a definitive origin, and depending on what it does or doesn't include, could be make or break time for Tim as a "bat," Tim as a "leader," and Tim as a fan favorite.
The cover to <b>Green Lantern #0</b> got attention the moment it was released, thanks to the clear look at the new Green Lantern first glimpsed in DC's Free Comic Book Day 2012 offering. <p>Fans were asking questions like: Why does he have a gun? What's the significant of the Arabic tattoo? And might this all be a little bit in bad taste? <p>Presumably, this issue will help provide answers to at least some of those questions, and the rest of the GL line looks like to be tackling some interesting material as well, such as Guy Gardner's New 52 origin in <b>Green Lantern Corps</b>, and more hints towards the upcoming "Third Army" event.
Since the <b>Superman</b> title was relaunched last year, it's seen a couple different creative teams attempt to refresh and renew the hero for The New 52. But in September, Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort are the newest pair to try their hand at the relaunch. <p>From what Newsarama has heard, Lobdell lobbied for the chance to write <b>Superman</b>. So we're not only interested in seeing why his persistent pitch paid off, but we're also intrigued by his choice for the #0 issue. A retelling of Jor-El's discovery days on Krypton? If this retelling of an oft-seen tale is <i>really</i> going to be a significant Krypton revamp for The New 52, count us in. <p>Changing the story of Krypton seems to be a theme in the Super-books come September, since <b>Supergirl #0</b> is also planning to reveal her rocket-ship launch in a way that's advertised as "not what you think!" The title, written solidly since the relaunch by Michael Green and Mike Johnson with gorgeous art by Mahmoud Asrar, has already tweaked Supergirl's story in an intriguing way, and this issue should provide some much-anticipated answers about the character's mysterious Kryptonian origin.
Billy Batson's transformation to the hero Shazam has been a bit slow going in the backup pages of <b>Justice League</b>. Apparently the story won't finish until this origin issue, where he "takes center stage" and finally goes full lightning bolt on us. <p>Shazam, formerly Captain Marvel, is an interesting character to steal focus in the premier title of the DC New 52. While he's been in the backups, he isn't yet an actual character in the main action of the book. While most of the other characters have solo books to tell their origin's, that leaves Cyborg out of a zero issue; of course, his origin was pretty definitively told in the opening arc to the book. Shazam is also <i>not</i> in the first <i>Trinity War</i> teaser from the FCBD issue, though his villainous counterpart Black Adam was. <p>And speaking of <i>Trinity War</i>, one of the other Trinity of Sinners, Pandora, will get her origin story expanded upon in this issue as well. Most know the basics of Pandora's story with her box, but why is it in the form of a skull in this universe? Why does she go from obedient prisoner being punished by ancient wizards to rebelling so big that she remakes the entire universe? Why did she simply view her handiwork in all the #1 issues, but interfere in other situations? Yes, Pandora is a bigger mystery than just about anyone in the entire DC New 52, and we're hoping <b>Justice League #0</b> provides at least a few answers on the hooded woman.
In September, readers will get three Bruce Wayne-centered "pre-Batman" stories from writers Gregg Hurwitz and Scott Snyder. The two writers have told Newsarama that they're closely coordinating the stories, which will cover the time period from Joe Chill's attack on Bruce's parents (<b>The Dark Knight #0</b>) to his soul-searching travels (<b>Detective #0</b>) to his early days as a Gotham vigilante (<b>Batman #0</b>). <p>A month without a Bat-cape may sound risky, but these three issues are among our most highly anticipated #0's, and not just because they feature stories by two hot writers working together with artistic heavyweights Greg Capullo, Tony Daniel and David Finch. Much of our desire to read these stories is to gain insight on <i>how</i> Bruce started as Batman. <p>Since the launch of The New 52, one of the biggest questions about the relaunched universe has surrounded Bruce Wayne's timeline as Batman. If superheroes have been around for only five years, how did Bruce have three different Robins and a relationship with Damian's mom? While these three #0's will probably <i>not</i> be addressing those questions head-on, we <i>do</i> expect them to provide more insight into the New 52 version of Bruce Wayne's clouded history. And hey... these creative teams don't hurt, and they both promise they'll be picking up seeds from these stories later in their respective Bat-runs.