[Spoilers for Divergence ahead.]
Life in the DCU just got a little strange, particularly in Gotham City and Metropolis, after the events of DC's Divergence, the Free Comic Book Day title that was released May 2nd.
The issue included preview stories for best-selling titles Justice League, Batman and Superman, but the revelations — from the identity of the "all-new," mech-wearing Batman, to the origin of Darkseid's daughter, to the reason for the summer Superman crossover, "The Truth" — should reverberate through much of DC's main continuity.
As the company launches several new titles in June, they are also shaking things up in the existing superhero universe when their current two-month Convergence break ends. So without further ado….
[Again, spoilers ahead!]
In the FCBD preview story, Superman's secret identity is no longer secret.
As we suspected from the final panels of Superman #40, Lois Lane has not only figured out that Clark Kent is Superman, but she has published the information so that the whole world knows.
Clark is having trouble living with his new public image, as readers are shown that villains try to attack him even when he's just having lunch with his friend Jimmy Olsen.
It doesn't help that Superman's powers still aren't 100 percent, because he has unleashed his "super solar flare," the character's new superpower that drains his reserves and requires him to live as a normal human for about 24 hours.
The public is freaking out about the revelation that Superman has actually been an alien "living among us." They are arguing about Clark Kent's secret on Twitter, posting pictures of him on the Internet, and uploading videos onto YouTube.
As a result, Clark has been forced to live in hiding.
The final page of the Superman story in Divergence shows Lois Lane tracking down Clark at the hotel where he's staying. She says, "I had no right. I'm sorry." But Clark says, "There's nothing to apologize for. It's the choice you made. Goodbye, Lois."
Beginning in June, the Superman books will all be part of a crossover called "The Truth," which starts in Action Comics, then runs through Batman/Superman, Superman/Wonder Woman and Superman. And now we know what "the truth" is — the secret identity of Superman.
Jim Gordon is the all-new, mech-wearing Batman, but he's not only working in conjunction with the GCPD, but also a new character named Geri Powers, whose company has taken over Wayne Enterprises.
The FCBD issue's reveal of the identity of the "all-new Batman" may have already been spoiled across much of the Internet comics community, but there's other Batman information revealed Divergence.
The story opens with a TV reporter bemoaning the death of Batman, who was buried under the city with the Joker at the end of Batman #40 — and is assumed dead by the people of Gotham City.
But the reporter then introduces Geri Powers, whose company has taken over Wayne Enterprises and who promises the Batman concept will live on.
DC fans already knew — thanks to solicitations — that beginning in June, there is a new Batman beginning in Batman #41, who is wearing a mechanized suit to protect Gotham. Batman creative team members Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo explained the new suit to Newsarama when Batman's death took place in Batman #40.
At the end of the Free Comic Book Day issue, the person inside the new mechanized Batman suit is revealed to be Jim Gordon. He's been unemployed since the end of Batman Eternal, has been "training" and beefing up quite a bit, and he's cut his hair to look more bad-ass (although he still needs to quit smoking).
As he gets into the new Batman suit, Gordon tells Powers that he'd "like to go on record as saying this is the dumbest idea in the history of Gotham City."
Is it a stupid idea? Snyder obviously put that jab into the issue to represent the reaction of fans, but he also told Newsarama that he thinks the story is worth telling, as he and Capullo push themselves to do new and interesting things within the world of Batman. "I understand it's like, 'You're doing what?' But it's all in the execution," Snyder said.
Can Geri Powers be trusted? In other DC continuities, the Powers family was connected to the death of Batman Beyond's father, but so far in the New 52, she and her company are merely positioned as a rival to Wayne Enterprises. And if anyone can fight corruption at Powers (if there really is any), it would be Jim Gordon.
Will Bruce Wayne stay dead, and Jim Gordon stay Batman? We can't help noticing (and other readers have as well) that a bandaged man and boy are shown in silhouette in the Free Comic Book Day Batman story, and we wonder if it's a hint that Bruce is still alive (with the boy representing his son Damian).
Also, readers should remember that Snyder and Capullo made it clear to Newsarama that they have a plan regarding how Bruce can be brought back, but made no promises about when it will happen.
Darkseid's daughter may be half New God, but her other half is Amazon.
Readers got their first look at Darkseid's daughter in Justice League #40, but the character has been in the background of New 52 mythos since the new universe launched. She was one of the reasons for Darkseid's invasion of the main DCU Earth (as he said in Justice League #6 that he was on Earth 0 "for her." And the unseen character was one of the captives of the secret A.R.G.U.S. prison in Justice League of America's Vibe (although she later escaped).
Now she's hanging out with the Anti-Monitor (also known as Mobius), who has consumed and destroyed Earth 3. Next stop? Earth 0. And that sets off the "Darkseid War" in Justice League in June, because not only is Mobius an enemy of Darkseid, but it turns out that his daughter hates him too.
So… in this week's Free Comic Book Day, readers get more information about Darkseid's daughter. Her name is Grail, and while her father is Darkseid, her mother is an Amazonian warrior named Myrina, making her half Amazon.
Grail was born on the same day as Wonder Woman, in a cave on the same island. And her mother, Myrina, killed other Amazons to keep her secret, making it look like they had died in an accident (along with her, giving Myrina a means to escape). So it turns out that Myrina was the first Amazon to leave Themyscira (before Wonder Woman), and her daughter must be pretty crazy strong.
And she wants her father to die.
The issue also featured an oracle (one of the Amazons Myrina killed), who predicted the events of "Darkseid War." In a two-page spread, the following prophecy was shared with readers:
- A "war between the Dark God and the Antigod," as the art showed Darkseid fighting Anti-Monitor/Mobius.
- A "man who will make a horrific sacrifice," and the art showed Hal Jordan.
- "A New God reborn," and the art showed Batman, looking as if he was turning into Metron.
- "Hope lost," and the art showed Lex Luthor saying "Superman, where are you?"
- "A king drowned," showing Aquaman being pushed down into water.
- "Science and magic die," with art showing Cyborg with Shazam, who's saying "just say it, Vic! Say it! Now!" (Is Shazam sharing his "say-the-word-Shazam" power with Cyborg?)
- "The man who always escapes caught," with art showing Mr. Miracle.
- "And at the center of it, I see an Amazon," with Wonder Woman shown kicking butt.
The oracle says," if your baby lives, Myrina, this world will die!" And Superman is shown fading away, screaming, "Mobius!"
The issue ends with Myrina, who's on Earth, making it clear that she will kill "anyone" to protect her child.
"Darkseid War" begins in June with Justice League #41.