It's getting a little obvious that DC is planning some big changes for their titles in May and June, as more and more DC creators are either leaving their books or switching to an unnamed project with the company.
With Rebirth on the horizon at DC — and plenty of speculations about what DC's mysterious teaser means — comic book industry watchers are expecting some sort of announcement about Rebirth launching in either May or June. If Twitter hints from Geoff Johns, Ethan Van Sciver and Dan DiDio are to believed, then Johns and Van Sciver will have a key role to play in Rebirth.
Some other creators have announced that they're either getting no role in the anticipated changes with Rebirth, or they're switching to new roles. So who's announced their departure from DC? What books are shaking up before the summer? And what can the departures of creative teams tell us?
Batman Begins Again
Perhaps the most high profile summer-timed change is the confirmed departure of Scott Snyder from Batman. Readers have known for months that the series artist, Greg Capullo, is leaving in 2016, but Snyder confirmed Thursday that they are leaving the title simultaneously after April's Batman #51.
But readers should expect Snyder to still write the Batman character, if his past interviews with Newsarama are any indication. The writer recently stated that he would continue to write the Batman character, but it would be a different type of Batman story for a different artist.
"I'm not just staying on Batman and like, 'Hey! Here's a new artist,"" Snyder told Newsarama in December. "The last thing I would do is be like, hey, here's the next issue of Batman and let's just try to keep going. I'm just not that way. I try to tailor stories for different artists, that give me a different way to get things across because their art speaks to different things. So Batman as we know it — this run — is always us.
"I have a different sort of idea for what to do with the character when Greg goes away."
Capullo and Snyder also told Newsarama that they're hoping to reunite for more stories at DC, and Capullo specifically hinted that they'd work together on Batman again. Snyder said it would barely be a break for the two of them.
"A lot of what I'm working on and planning leaves a story for Greg and I to come back together to," Snyder said, indicating that he was already discussing the next Snyder/Capullo story with DC. "You know, it's not even a break in terms of us working together."
What new Batman title will Snyder work on next? He could be launching a new Batman title, Or, with Peter Tomasi knee-deep in Superman stories (more on that below), it's possible that Snyder will simply go back to working on Detective Comics, where he started his Batman story with Jock back in 2010 (a move some industry watchers have been guessing).
Whatever the title, the launch of Snyder's new run with a new artist would probably start in June, about one year after the launch of many of DC's new titles last year. And it would match with the anticipated beginning of Rebirth.
There are a few other changes we've noticed in the Batman office that begin this spring:
-Writer/artist Patrick Gleason's last issue of Robin, Son of Batman was January's #8, and then only co-writing and not drawing it as solicited.
- Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr are off Batgirl in April.
- Tim Seeley and Tom King are off Grayson beginning in March, and Mikel Janin leaves in April.
It's possible these creators have been pulled from their current books to get a head start on new titles launching in May or June.
And in Tom King's case in particular, he's definitely working on something big, and probably something related to Rebirth. In an interview with Newsarama in January, King made it clear that there's an event of some type coming to DC soon, and he's working on it with Johns and Snyder.
"We have such huge plans for the DCU and what's coming in the next few months, in terms of how the whole universe interacts," King said. "I've been on the phone with Scott and Geoff, and we're trying to make a huge story that the fans will dig, and these events [such as Robin War] are sort of leading up to that story."
"I like to think of it as almost those awesome events that happened before the weekly 52 launch? Like those kind of things? Like, that's how I feel. There's something big coming, and you're just starting to hear the drumbeats."
That's an interesting tease, and it makes one wonder if King isn't hinting about something to do with the Court of Owls and Dick Grayson, since the end of Robin War not only showed Grayson joining the organization, but also revealed that the Court is planet-wide — both events that seem to tease a bigger story to come.
There are some changes coming up this spring for the Superman books as well. Greg Pak confirmed to Newsarama earlier this month that he and Aaron Kuder are officially leaving Action Comics after March's issue #50, switching to Teen Titans for just one storyline, but he said there were plans for what he would do after that. And Gene Luen Yang said he only "signed a contract for a certain number of issues" of Superman, but left open the possibility that he'd do something else for DC.
Both those books — along with Batman/Superman and Superman/Wonder Woman — are going to be part of an eight-chapter story across four titles for two months in April and May. Written by Peter J. Tomasi, the story will be titled "Super League."
At the very least, there's going to be something new happening in the Superman books after Tomasi finishes his "Super League" storyline at the end of May. Whether Tomasi is staying on board or not hasn't been confirmed, nor has DC announced what other creative teams might take over the Super-books beginning in June.
As for other "Super" characters, it looks like the recently missing Supergirl will be part of the story (or at least, the fact that she's missing will be). Good news for Supergirl fans. And with the success of the Supergirl TV show, might a new series for the "New 52" version of the character be launching soon?
As for the pre-"New 52," married-to-Lois Lane version of Superman, who is now secretly flying around the New 52 in Superman: Lois & Clark, series writer Dan Jurgens has already teased the hero's involvement in Rebirth during an interview with Newsarama in January.
Other Title Tea Leaves
Readers have also learned this week that Van Jensen is leaving The Flash — and DC comic books altogether — sometime in the next few months. He's on solicitations through April, so it's likely that either April or May will see the end of his run as co-writer with Robert Venditti. (No word yet on whether Venditti's staying.)
May's Starfire #12 will also be that series' finale, and DC had announced several months ago that The Omega Men would end with #12 as well.
There are also some storylines and series wrapping up during the late spring-early summer timeframe. Green Lantern: Edge of Oblivion is a six-issue storyline that should (we hope) bring the Green Lanterns back home by summer, and Gotham Academy is wrapping up its series of "yearbook" issues in April.
And perhaps most telling is the end of the "Darkseid War" storyline in Justice League. April's solicitation for the series by DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns says the oversized issue #50 of the series will be the conclusion of the epic story.
With Johns expected to be involved in Rebirth, it's also interested that the promotional copy for Justice League #50 says: "It doesn’t get bigger than this, as DC’s monthly super hero event comic sets the stage for the next year and beyond!"