As all DC's series — both weeklies and monthlies — wrap up their current storylines over the next couple months, we knew we'd get plenty of surprises and cliffhangers leading into Convergence.
This week was no disappointment, as readers learned the identity of a mystery villain in Batman/Superman, fans of Batgirl found some new incentive to pick up her Secret Origins story, and several other stories opened new doors for DC as Convergence fast approaches.
The most potentially game-changing revelation in DC comics this week took place in what's arguably one of the most unexpected places — the end of Batgirl #39.
And dare we say it — it might have something to do with Oracle.
After a character in the issue discovers Batgirl's secret identity through some computer research, she says, "Barbara, you're Batgirl."
After Babs says, "Yeah," a strange image comes up on the computer screen and says, "No, you're not."
On the final page, readers are shown Batgirl's shocked face as she sees, on the computer screen, what appears to be a green, digitized image of Barbara Gordon, saying, "And I'm going to take back what's mine."
So… who is the angry Barbara Gordon on the computer screen? Is it a digital version of her brainwaves or something, trapped in a computer? Or is Batgirl actually not Barbara Gordon?
But here's the kicker — the tease copy at the end of the issue says, "Learn Who Batgirl REALLY is in Secret Origins #10, on sale Feb. 25th!"
This might be a longshot, but the use of a green computer image of Barbara sure harkens back to the Oracle days. We already know that this New 52 version of Barbara was in a wheelchair for awhile. Could this storyline be a recognition that she used a computer during that time — maybe even that she was Oracle? Could Secret Origins be acknowledging her past as a computer guru who helped heroes in the DCU?
Or is this something else entirely, no less shocking for its insinuation that Barbara isn't who we think she is?
Justice League #39
A lot of loose threads were wrapped up in this week's issue of Justice League, as "The Amazo Virus" storyline ends to make room for next week's prologue issue for June's "Darkseid War"
In Justice League #39, Hal Jordan returns — something Geoff Johns has said would happen (in interviews). We expect him to help Power Ring get her powers under control — and he'll probably play an important role in "Darkseid War." Amos Fortune also shows up in this week's issue — a villain from DC's past who's been a foil for the Justice League before.
But the issue also opens up the possibility of there being a slew of new metahumans on the main DC earth — all the result of the Amazo Virus. (And that includes a new take on Amazo — in the New 52, he's the "Patient Zero" from the Amazo Virus infection, and right now, he's mostly a Lex Luthor nemesis.)
We're betting that many of these brand new metahumans will actually be revamped versions of old DC heroes and villains, introduced into the DCnU by adding the Amazo Virus to their origin stories.
The New 52: Futures End #42
We may already understand the basic set-up for Convergence, the two-month event that brings together DC characters from multiple earths and timelines, trapped in "domed cites" collected by Brainiac.
But in Futures End, readers have been learning more about this Brainiac and the prelude to Convergence, as the ginormous villain is trying to "collect" the New York City from the five-years future. It's emphasized in this issue that Brainiac's "ship" is as big as a moon (echoing what we've heard about Convergence before, that it takes place on "Blood Moon"), but there's also indication that Brother Eye is more important to this whole story than anyone thought.
Is Brother Eye connected to Blood Moon and Brainiac — and thus Convergence?
Oh, and Futures End #42 confirmed that Mr. Terrific is seriously messed up in the future, and he wants this bad Brother Eye takeover to happen. Did anyone doubt that was coming?
Batman Superman #19
In the "Superman's Joker" storyline, there have been plenty of clues, but it wasn't until this week's issue that readers learned the true identity of the villain who's been toying with Kal for the last few months. As readers were first told by Greg Pak in an interview on Newsarama, the villain is an old character, but with a new approach.
There were already plenty of hints in the story that the character was linked to the Bottled City of Kandor, and in this issue, Superman, Supergirl and Batman all shrink down into Kandor to discover none other than Xa-Du, the Phantom King. The villain, a revamped version of the original, was exiled into the Phantom Zone by Superman's father, Jor-El, and now he's taking revenge on Superman in a very Joker-esque way, involving "death" and his "family" no less. Things look tough for Superman, but with Batman and Supergirl in his corner, chances are that next issue will wrap things up.
Batman and Robin #39
In yet another entertaining exploration of how the resurrected "super"-Damian uses his new powers, this creative team threw a wrench into the system — and possibly opened the door to the end of this concept — by showing that Damian had a "hiccup" with his powers. Sadly, he's also got this weird thing going on where he can't feel anything, and that's adding another wrinkle to the boy's resurrection.
Whether or not the superpowers last for the boy, Damian's going to help out the Justice League next issue, which should be fun.
Superman/Wonder Woman #16
Wonder Woman fans who've complained in the past that she doesn't get enough attention in this series are going to be pleased with this month's issue.
Sure, we get more of Superman's battle with Magog, who we learned was created by Circe, the Wonder Woman villain. And we also get hints at a new villain in the mix, who has a crew of bad guys and is probably going to be the pair's main nemesis in June.
But Wonder Woman fans get quite a bit of story in this issue to accompany what was told in the Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang Wonder Woman run. It turns out that Wonder Woman's mother didn't only make a deal with Hephaestus to take away all the men from her island — a storyline that caused some controversy when it was first revealed — but Hippolyta also made a deal with Circe, who wanted some men of her own, to turn into "Ani-Men."
And as the issue ends, she makes Superman himself go all "ani"-mal, and Circe intends to unleash him on the humans of Earth. Uh-oh. This won't end well.
Batman Eternal #46
Well, cross another villain off the list.
Let's admit it — most of us thought either Hush or Ra's Al Ghul was behind the burning of Gotham City, which is the promised ending of Batman Eternal. First, we learned that Hush was just a pawn, and in this week's issue, we find out that Ra's Al Ghul has nothing to do with the plot.
So who is it?
We're down to only a few possibilities, and to save the surprise for the writers to reveal in the next few issues (and we do mean few issues, people; they'd better wrap this up quickly), we'll let Newsarama readers list their guesses in the comments. But there are really only a couple people left who could be behind this, no?