Something is obviously brewing at DC as the company plans for September, but nobody is talking about it.
For the last couple months, many of DC's creators have purposely gone silent about what's coming after August in their titles, and no official word has ever been released by DC about anything in September.
This week, however, DC dropped a hint of its own, reporting that on August 31st, the publisher is only releasing one comic.
"Because of its impact on the DC Universe," DC revealed, "Flashpoint #5 is the only title that DC Comics is currently soliciting to arrive in stores on August 31."
Whether it's simply hype or something more foreboding, the implication is that the conclusion of Flashpoint packs enough punch to carry the entire line that week.
It's not the first time DC has only released one comic. Readers may remember that Zero Hour #0 was shipped alone. More recently, on Dec. 30, 2009, the company released only Blackest Night #6, which was also by Flashpoint writer Geoff Johns. But that was a week when distributor Diamond Comics didn't have anything shipping, so DC decided to send retailers their copies of Blackest Night a week early, but have stores hold it a week.
Blackest Night #6 ended up being the top seller that month, so it worked out well last time DC tried it. The move in August with Flashpoint #5 could be a similar sales tactic.
But the lack of information about what DC is doing in September points toward something more drastic coming after the end of Flashpoint.
So what are the signs we've seen so far about DC's plans?
Don't Talk About SeptemberThe hush from DC is apparently by design. As Johns explained it last week to Newsarama: "The first rule about Flashpoint is, don't talk about what comes after Flashpoint."
It's not just a fun saying, but a policy DC has enacted with its "people in the know." A few creators have even admitted to Newsarama that they've signed a legally binding "non-disclosure agreement" that prevents them from even hinting about their work after August.
Johns, who likes to downplay the buzz about "big endings," would only say Flashpoint "will have repercussions. But I think it's a great story on its own.
"But yes, it will have major repercussions."
Timing Is Everything
One look at August's solicitations and it becomes obvious: Storylines are finishing up in a hurry so that the timing is right for new stories to launch post-Flashpoint.Phil Hester, who is writing Wonder Woman after taking over the "Odyssey" storyline from J. Michael Straczynski, gave one of the earliest clues about the importance of September.
Back in March he told Newsarama, "My run has been extended two issues to make it dovetail into Flashpoint more seamlessly," indicating that DC apparently wanted Wonder Woman's storyline to reach its conclusion in August instead of June.
"I will say that when you finish page 20 of that issue you will have read a complete, self-contained story. Flashpoint will follow, but it won't impinge on anything we might accomplish with 'Odyssey,'" he said.
Wonder Woman isn't the only ongoing title that is finishing up a major storyline in August. Batman Incorporated's latest story concludes in August, as do the stories in titles like Birds of Prey, Action Comics, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Adventure Comics, Legion of Super-Heroes, Green Arrow, and even the much-hyped "Grounded" storyline in Superman.
Big Things in Batman
The Batman universe has been hinting about the importance of this autumn for a while now. As Newsarama reported last month, Tony Daniel confirmed "big things" are "happening this fall, as many are already speculating."
Detective Comics is shipping two issues in July to make sure Scott Snyder's ongoing story is finished before the end of August. As he told Newsarama last month, he and his two artists realized they needed a little more room to finish their story. But instead of just extending the story into September, the title is double-shipping in July with an oversized issue in August — all clearing the way for something new in September. August also sees two issues shipping of the mini-series Snyder is co-writing with Kyle Higgins, Batman: Gates of Gotham. Apparently, DC also wants that five-issue series to be finished up before the end of Flashpoint. Snyder wouldn't even confirm whether or not he would still be writing Detective in September. "I can't really say much about what DC has planned beyond that," Snyder said, "but I can say that I'm super excited about it. And everyone knows I love being in Gotham. I'm extremely happy about where I'll be after we're finished with this story."
Teen Titans is also shipping two issues in August, releasing its "bonus-sized" 100th issue on August 24th, just a week before the conclusion of Flashpoint. There's no indication why the title would release two issues in August, beyond the speculation that everything had to be finished before September.
Superboy is also shipping two issues in August, quickly finishing up Jeff Lemire's story for the title before September. He told Newsarama two weeks ago that his summer storyline in Superboy will be the "culmination of all those little plot threads and seeds" he's been planting, apparently making sure the decks are clean for September.
And when asked about September, Lemire would only say he couldn't talk about it. Like Snyder, he wouldn't even confirm he'd what comic he is writing after August.
Just GuessingBecause Johns is writing the Flashpoint event, many fans are pointing toward the "One Year Later" shake-up that occurred after the end of his Infinite Crisis event. That line-wide change simply skipped things ahead a year, launching several new comics and introducing new concepts and characters.
But some bloggers have even voiced concern about whether Flashpoint would lead to DC renumbering its books or even rebooting the entire DCU. Whether those more extreme rumors are true, DC isn't saying. They may have to clarify next month when September solicitations come out, but so far, mum's the word.