DC's September: ZERO Issues? THIRD ARMY? JLA Shake-up?

Last May, Newsarama pondered what DC was planning for September 2011. And boy, did that event end up being a doozy.

A year later, DC is up to it again. And it looks as if this time, it at least involves "Zero Issues."

For the last couple months, DC creators have avoided talking about what their title is doing in September. They will talk about "issue #13," but the actual month of September has noticeably been avoided.

Justice League #12

DC further fueled the rumor mill when it released August solicitations. More than one observant fan noticed that every New 52 title will conveniently wrap up its summer storyline in August.

Rumors began swirling on blogs and websites about a possible "re- reboot" or another re-numbering. DC has some big sales numbers to hit if they want to come anywhere close to what they did in September 2011. Sure, DC executives told Newsarama that Before Watchmen is selling like gangbusters, but can that match last year's high numbers?

How will DC mark the one-year anniversary of its New 52?

Zero Issues

Late last month, one of the rumors about DC's September was allegedly confirmed.

The blog site "DC Women Kicking Ass" reported that a few artists at Boston Comic Con publicly acknowledged an earlier unconfirmed rumor that DC Comics would be releasing issue #0 of its New 52 comics.

According to the story, DC's September comics will feature "origins or stories about the characters or their casts that happened before issue #1." Theoretically, that means readers will get answers all month to some of the questions raised by the relaunch, from Barbara Gordon's surgery to Dick Grayson's costume change.

The title, "Zero Issues," would echo another continuity-explaining event that DC did back in the 1990's: "Zero Hour." That event was a follow-up to Crisis on Infinite Earths and featured a timeline for the relaunched universe.

The alleged confirmation by a few artists of DC's "Zero Issues" event was not an official announcement, we realize, but it does point toward this rumor being a likely possibility. Last year, when DC was planning its New 52 relaunch, creators were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements, keeping a tight lid on leaks about the plans. This year, that doesn't appear to be the case.

But there are a few other similarities between 2011 and 2012.

Five-Week August

When DC was planning its massive relaunch last year, the month of August 2011 happened to have five Wednesdays. The publisher took advantage of that extra Wednesday in the month by releasing only two DCU comics on August 31, 2011: Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1.

This year, there is again five Wednesdays. And again, the fifth Wednesday is serving as what appears to be a springboard for September, as DC loads that day's shipment schedule with annuals.

 

On August 29th, the Detective Comics Annual #1 appears to finally allow Tony Daniel to revisit his popular villain The Black Mask, but some of the other Annuals have other implications, pointing toward possible events that could hit in September or soon after the "Zero Issues":

- Third Army Begins?: Green Lantern Annual #1, which hits on August 29th, has a mysterious "bleeding" cover that echoes the iconic image of Superman's symbol bleeding in the "Death of Superman" storyline. The issue, which reunites Green Lantern gurus Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver, has solicitation copy that reads: "Everything changes here! EVERYTHING!"

 

With that kind of talent and tagline, it's likely that this issue will kick-off of the "Third Army" event that DC executives reported to Newsarama last month and Johns teased in our interview soon after.

One conventon report has the Green Lantern titles crossing over "around issue 12 or 13," which means the "Third Army" story should begin right after the Green Lantern Annual.

- Mystery Green Lantern?: Another August 29th comic, Superman Annual #1, is being written by Superman co-writer Keith Giffen and teases that a "mysterious new Green Lantern" shows up.

Yes, that says new.

According to DC's early publicity for the Superman Annual, he's a "deep-cover agent of the Green Lantern Corps.”

 

We've already pointed out here on Newsarama that this new Green Lantern could be the one that showed up in DC's Free Comic Book Day issue. After all, Superman did address him directly in the FCBD issue, and the two characters are also shown fighting against each other.

With the DC Universe heading toward the Trinity War event and the Green Lantern titles racing toward a "Third Army" crossover, it's possible the Superman Annual is helping to line things up for September.

- Flash "Climactic Event": The Flash Annual #1 will be released on August 29th, with a story by writers/artists Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellto. While the Annual culminates the Rogues storyline that has been running through the title, the co-writers have also said it leads to something more.

 

"The Annual will lead into quite a climactic event in The Flash," Buccellato told Newsarama. "The Annual will lead to something even bigger. We have big plans going forward that will spring from the Annual. "

Hmmm... wouldn't the first issue to come out of the Flash Annual hit in September?

- Justice League Shake-Up: Justice League International Annual #1 is being written by two of the top dogs at DC, Dan DiDio and Geoff Johns, with art by Jason Fabok. According to that title's solicitation, it could be the "final adventure ever" for the JLI.

While some bloggers have taken that to mean that the title could be ending, the bigger implication is that the Justice League titles are heading toward something important enough for the big-name creators to get involved hands-on.

As Jeff Lemire just told Newsarama last week, Johns is already working very closely with him to make sure Justice League Dark aligns closer to the overall Justice League franchise.

But Newsarama has also been noticing clues that there will be a new team involved in the Justice League and Trinity War (for details, read our No. 1 entry here).

 

The importance placed on this Annual points toward a Justice League-related shake-up in September. Whether that means an end for Justice League International, a power grab by a new team, or the launch of other titles remains to be seen.

Newsarama hasn't received confirmation from DC about whether the "Zero Issues" event is happening in September — or what other events may be kicked off when the fall begins. But next week marks the one-year anniversary of when DC announced its September relaunch in 2011, so we're betting there will be similar announcements soon about what will fill 2012's anniversary month.

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