Futures End Beginning as Surprising Characters Spotlit1 of 12The DC Universe is a changing place in May 2014. While there's only one cancellation - a rarity of late (The Movement for those keeping score) - that doesn't mean the face of the New 52 isn't changing drastically in the final full month of Spring.
There are new characters, old ones taking new roles, and at least a couple of plotlines teased that have us downright scratching our heads.
Click on through to see what we think are the biggest takeaways from the May 2014 solicitations for DC Comics.
Iris' Nephew2 of 12Ever since DC announced the introduction of Wally West to the New 52, people have been wondering what the new version of his story would be — is he from another Earth? From the future? In May's solicitation, we get the first confirmation that Wally is Iris West's nephew, just like he was in the old DC continuity. Does that mean his New 52 origin is more similar to his old origin than we expected? The cover to April's Flash Annual #3 does feature someone being struck by lightning. Maybe the "different" Wally we were all warned about by artist Brett Booth isn't really that different after all.
Mikel Janin off JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK3 of 12In the rolling tide of “New 52,” one of the few things you could count on for being there for you is Justice League Dark artist Mikel Janin. In a world of rotating artists and short creative runs, Janin has illustrated every regularly monthly issue of Justice League Dark save for three fill-ins. But after seeing May’s advance solicitation for Justice League Dark #31, it looks like Janin if off of doing interiors and solely doing covers for the Justice League spin-off book.
We've now learned that Andres Guinaldo is in fact the new ongoing artist for the series, starting with April's #30 (We previously reported he was a guest artist). With regards to Janin, then, the question becomes what is he doing next?
Neither DC Entertainment nor Janin have spoken up about future plans for the artist, but Janin was one of the brightest new shining lights to come out of DC’s relaunching of its superhero line with “The New 52.” But given Janin’s impressive style and admirable work speed, the Spanish artist would be a boon to whichever title or whichever publisher secures his talents next.
Green Lantern Books Crossover... Again4 of 12We love a good occasional crossover. The idea of a cohesive universe is what makes these ongoing worlds so exciting - you never know when Spider-Man might swing through an X-Men battle, or when Flash might lend a hand in Star City.
The Green Lantern family of books, though, has been in a near-constant state of crossover. That's fine for anyone reading each of the books, but if you just want one story in one series, the last three years haven't exactly been easy on you.
Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps have been building to the same story, with Hal frequently appearing in GLC and other Corpsmen all over GL, so it's not much of a surprise that the two books will directly cross over in may. As "Uprising" begins, the battle against the Durlans and Khund begins in earnest. To get the full story, you have to read both books, for better or worse.
The Demon Rises5 of 12It looks liked DC’s horned hero has earned some new life in the halls of 1600 Broadway, New York City, New York. In addition to being revealed as a potential adversary in Swamp Thing this month, these advance May 2014 solicitations reveal that the Jack Kirby creation will also be joining the weekly series Batman Eternal spearheaded by Scott Snyder. If that wasn’t enough (and trust me, it’s not), DC will also be reprinting – and reserializing -- a 2003 Demon miniseries by Joshua Dysart and Pop Mhan under their revived DC Comics Presents label.
Could this be the beginnings of something bigger? Only Bob Harras and the other suits at DC know for sure, but if you start seeing rhymes in the back pages of DC Comics come soon then we’re on to something.
Damian Frankenstein?6 of 12Sure, Batman's been looking for the bodies of Damian and Talia in "Batman and _____." But when Damian's name keeps getting thrown into the mix with Ra's Al Ghul, who's better known as the resurrection king of DCU, it's tough not to wonder where this is leading. And now that May's issue features Frankenstein — a character who is, in his very nature, a resurrection of the dead… could DC be teasing the return of a certain dead Robin?
Batman has been without a Robin for about a year now, and despite teases of characters like Carrie Kelley and Harper Row stepping into the role, neither have (and one is confirmed to get a different heroic identity). Could this all be a long play with Damian actually returning to life? And perhaps more importantly, is there even a chance he'd still be the same hero he grew to be by the end of his run?
Doomsday Rematch7 of 12While the "Doomed" story in the Superman books starts in April, the solicitations in May give some important clues to what readers will see. As we were told by the writers involved, this is Superman's big fight with Doomsday in the New 52, but it's not just a retelling of the "Death of Superman." This time around, the fight changes Superman in some horrible way — the copy for Superman/Wonder Woman even makes it sound like the heroine is tempted to kill him.
Could this mean that Superman doesn't die this time, but changes somehow, maybe is infected by Doomsday? It's also worth noting that there will be a team called the "Men of S.T.E.E.L." that are, for more than one reason, reminiscent of the "Reign of the Supermen" storyline that followed "Death of Superman."
New Power Ring – From GL #20 tease to JL8 of 12In this month’sForever Evil #5 we saw the fall of Power Ring, the villainous Green Lantern analogue from Earth-3’s Crime Syndicate. And we also saw his ring fly off in search of a new host. And now according to DC’s May 2014 solicitations, we’ll find out who the new host is – but in three months – in the pages of Justice League #31.
But as it turns out, we’ve already met this new ring-bearer – way back in Green Lantern #20. In that issue, the finale of Geoff Johns’ run on the title, we saw a flashforward look at Simon Baz and the arm of a female ring-bearer, with a narrative box stating that Baz trained her, “the first female ring bearer of earth,” and that her name was Jessica Cruz. Johns confirmed this himself in an interview with IGN.
“[The new Power Ring will] be introduced post-Forever Evil as the Crime Syndicate's Power Ring's ring seeks out a new host and seeks out a very different kind of host for a very different kind of Lantern…,” Johns tells IGN. “[Jessica Cruz will] become a pretty big player in the post-Forever Evil Justice League world. The Justice League aren't the only super-team after her, for various reasons. I think it's going to be a lot of fun when you see the character -- and the continued interaction between Luthor and Batman -- this brand new character is another wrench, along with Luthor and Cold, another wrench thrown into the mix of the Justice League team.”
So if you can call a hand a first appearance, then the upcoming new Power Ring’s first appearance is back in Green Lantern #20. To the back issue bins, collectors!
Futures End Clues9 of 12With the DC Universe barely done with its current multiverse trouble in Forever Evil, it's surprising to see that there will be more problems between worlds so soon. According to the copy for Futures End #1, there's a war between Earths on the horizon of the DCU.
We also learn that Batman Beyond will be traveling to the past (which is to say, the DCU's 5-years-ahead future), trying to avert a disaster. But the most open-ended clue — one that should get people guessing — is the spoiler that a Justice League member will die in the first issue, allegedly at the hands of Firestorm. Let the dead pool begin!
Futures’ End – Wildstorm’s New Push10 of 12Wildstorm as a publisher, an imprint and a universe may be dead and gone, but it looks like some of its heroes will live to fight another day… in the future!
In the surprise reveal of the full cover to May’s The New 52 – Futures End #1, we now know that Wildstorm alum Grifter will be making his return to comics – and the “New 52” – in this new weekly series set five years in DC’s future. After his solo series’ finale in early 2013, the man born as Cole Cash made only sporadic appearances in DC titles. His most recognizable appearance in the past year hasn’t even been a comic, but in the background of the “DC All Access” webseries ads included in DC’s comics lines and featured for a time here on Newsarama.
That’s not all, as the solicits for The New 52 – Futures End #4 poses the question “And whatever happened to Stormwatch?” The ongoing Stormwatch series reaches its previously announced end with April’s #30, but this simple questions offers some hope for the Wildstorm alums – if not for a new beginning, then a more monumental end.
This is going out on a limb, but The New 52 – Futures End might be a backdoor return for Wildstorm alums such as these (and more). After all, DC co-publisher Jim Lee has a vested interest being creator and co-creator of many of these concepts. And at the end of the day, they’re good characters full of potential with the right creators and the right story.
Lois Lane - Most Important Woman in the DCU?11 of 12She may not be romantically involved with the Man of Steel, but it looks like Lois Lane isn't needing those red & blue tights in order to show off her power in the New 52.
In Futures End #2, "the secrets of the DCU five years later arrive at Lois Lane’s door!"
In Superman #31, part of "Superman: Doomed," we see that Lois’s psi powers spike again as we see the looming shadow of Brainiac!"
In Batman/Superman #11, Lois teams up with Batman - because he needs her help. That's right, Batman, who everyone holds as the gold standard of bad ass needs Lois's help.
And finally, in Earth 2 #23 it's up to Lois (as Red Tornado) to stop Superman, who has been rampaging on behalf of Darkseid.
We just said about a week ago how much we'd like to see more Lois stories, with or without Clark, and it looks like DC is responding to what people have been saying for months: Lois Lane rocks, and deserves to be taken seriously.
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