Sure, July is still in the single digits, but that didn't stop DC from dropping their October 2013 slate on the comic book-reading public on Monday afternoon. <P>A lot of it was already known — like the debut of <i>Sandman: Overture</i> and more new Vertigo series, <i>Forever Evil</i> tie-ins, <i>Superman/Wonder Woman</i> and <i>Damian: Son of Batman</i> — but, as usual, the solicitations themselves contained plenty more to chew over. <p>Come October, DC will be firmly in the grip of their <i>Forever Evil</i> event, but there's still more going on: Like a one-month <i>Green Lantern</i> family event, and the end of three different series. Here's what's worth knowing from DC's October 2013 solicitations.
Jim Steranko was already a legendary comic book artist, but he's become a full-blown viral phenomenon within the comic book industry in recent days thanks to his recently forged <a href=https://twitter.com/iamsteranko>Twitter account</a> (well, it's widely believed to really be him), where he's been telling colorful stories of both his time in the biz and his forays as a generally fascinating person (including a stint as an escape artist). <p>In an example of fortuitous timing, DC's <i>Batman: Black and White #2</i> will feature a cover by Steranko, one of the most talked-about people within the comics Twittersphere in recent days. The interior of the issue also features impressive names, including Jeff Lemire, Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Grampa, J.G. Jones and DC co-publisher Dan DiDio.
While the days of way-discounted single issues may have passed about decade ago — remember <i>Batman: The 10 Cent Adventure</i>? — DC is bringing some cheap reprints to consumers in October, with four "DCE Essentials" release. <p>For $1, you can get an early chunk of The New 52's <I>Batman</i> and <i>Wonder Woman</i>, plus classics <i>Sandman</i> and <i>V for Vendetta</i>. Interestingly, all four books are solicited at 64 pages though described as first issues, so what constitutes the remainder — a backlist chronology of further reading, maybe? — has yet to be revealed.
At one point, comic book annuals may have seen like a vestigial holdover of another time. DC is working very hard so observers don't claim that time is now. <p>They've been steadily releasing annuals for New 52 books for a while now, and October keeps up the trend, with <i>Nightwing</i> (pictured), <i>Aquaman</i>, <i>Green Lantern</i>, <i>Swamp Thing</i>, <i>Teen Titans</i> and <i>Action Comics</i> all getting the treatment. In fact, <i>Action Comics Annual #2</i> looks to be launching a significant story — more on that in the next entry.
"Krypton Returns" is a big promise, and the name of a Superman story starting in October's <i>Action Comics Annual #2</i>. <p>The solicitation states that it's an outgrowth of what writer Scott Lobdell has been building with H'El for a while now, and the annual is evidently just part one. Of course, DC has teased similar stories before — "New Krypton" was less than five years ago — but where things might go in the bold world of The New 52 remains to be seen.
The latest post-Damian phase of the book that was once <i>Batman and Robin</i> doesn't feature an ally, but rather an enemy: <i>Batman and Two-Face</i>. <p>October's <i>Batman and Two-Face #24</i> is the start of a five-part story titled "The Big Burn," billed as "Two-Face's first epic in The New 52." It's by the book's usual creative team of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, and also involves New 52 relative newcomer Carrie Kelley.
<i>Superman/Wonder Woman</i> is already something of a controversial title, months before its debut, due to the contingent of fans who simply aren't on board with the idea of the two title characters as a romantic couple. <p>Well, it looks like the duo will have to deal with significantly more than their feelings in the series, as the solicitation text and cover both heavily suggest a major role for Doomsday, the nigh-unstoppable villain that "killed" Superman 20 years ago. As the copy reads: "Some say love is a battlefield, but where Superman and Wonder Woman are concerned it spells Doomsday!"
Three DC series are ending in October, all digital-first titles: <i>Ame-Comi Girls</i> (wrapping with #8), <i>Arrow</i> (#12) and <i>Legends of the Dark Knight (#13)</i>. <p><a href=http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=46500>CBR</a> has some more information on the situation, quoting a DC representative: "<i>Ame-Comi</i> and <i>Arrow</i> digital-first titles have concluded so the print runs are running course based on what's been released digitally to-date. As we announce new Digital First titles like <i>Batman '66</i> and this fall's <i>Batman: Arkham Origins</i> you will see existing titles rotate out of the Digital First line-up." <p>Also: "For <i>Legends</i> the series continues as a Digital First, however we are switching the print format from monthly issues to collected editions."
Change is coming to <i>Suicide Squad</i> in October, in both the fictional DC Universe and the real world that we happen to inhabit. <p>The solicitation for <I>Suicide Squad #24</i> reads, "Amanda Waller must fight her way out and form a new Suicide Squad! Or is a new team already in place?" So it looks like we're getting some new characters in that book. <p>But it looks like we're also getting a new writer, at least for one issue, with the increasingly ubiquitous Matt Kindt taking over the reins. Regular series writer Ales Kot, whose work since taking over the book has received favorable buzz, told two separate folks on <a href=https://twitter.com/ales_kot/status/354345923125583872>Twitter</a> to expect an announcement regarding his status with the book soon.
Most comic books events these days stretch out for months; some the better part of a year. <p>DC is taking a different tactic with "Lights Out," the first <i>Green Lantern</i> family event since the full-scale creative team turnover on the books in June. Featuring new villain Relic, it's scheduled to start in <i>Green Lantern #24</i> on Oct. 2, then run through <i>Green Lantern Corps #24</i> a week later, <i>Green Lantern: New Guardians #24</i> the following week</i> and <i>Red Lantern #24</i> the week after that, before concluding on Oct. 30 with <i>Green Lantern Annual #2</I>.
October will be the second month of <i>Forever Evil</I>, the first major DC event of The New 52 era, and the October 2013 solicitations brought plenty of information on what's going down. <p>It's already been established that month sees the start of several tie-in series — <i>A.R.G.U.S.</i>, <i>Arkham War</i> and <i>Rogues Rebellion</i>. The October solicitations informed readers that the Teen Titans will attempt to step up in the Justice League's absence — and also informed that it will go poorly. (No spoilers from us, that's exactly how they put it: "Can the inexperienced teen heroes do what the adults could not? (Answer: Nope. It goes very poorly.)") <p>A common thread seems to be several groups having one member left standing — Steve Trevor with A.R.G.U.S., John Constantine in <i>Justice League Dark</i>, and a character in <i>Justice League of America</i> that we can assume is Martian Manhunter based on past interviews. Plus, do you like lots and lots of characters on one cover? Well, October's <i>Forever Evil #2</i> and <I>Forever Evil: Arkham War #1</i> have you covered.