DC's DIRECT CURRENTS Reveals JL vs. SS Villains, March Crossover, & REBIRTH to... REBORN?

DC Comics February 2017 solicitations
Credit: DC Comics
Credit: DC Comics

The first issue of the new DC Entertainment promotional publication Direct Currents will be released on Wednesday, and the magazine offers a few hints about what's coming up for the company in 2017.

Main Event and Maxwell Lord

At the front of the book, a letter from DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio reveals that the main villain in the December-launching event Justice League vs. Suicide Squad will be Maxwell Lord. The "Rebirth" version of the character is the former director of Checkmate and will be using his powers of telepathy, telekinesis and mental manipulation to bend others to his will.

Credit: DC Comics

Lord be leading a group of villains who break free from prison, prompting Amanda Waller to force a team-up between her Suicide Squad and the Justice League - including a fight (and presumably, eventual cooperation) between Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn. The escaped villains who are working with Maxwell Lord include Emerald Empress, Lobo, Doctor Polaris, Johnny Sorrow, and Rustam.

A new Justice League of America title spins out of the Justice League vs. Suicide Squad event, and the Direct Currents issue offered some insight into how the team is formed.

Batman instigates the creation of the team featured in Justice League of America, by writer Steve Orlando and artist Ivan Reis. According to the Direct Currents #1, the Dark Knight assembles the line-up, described as a "mix of familiar faces." As previously announced, Batman will lead a team comprised of Killer Frost, Lobo, Vixen, The Atom, The Ray, and Black Canary.

DC Universe Rebirth Continued

DiDio's letter also shared a few clues about what's readers can expect in 2017 regarding the revelations from the May 2016 one-shot, DC Universe: Rebirth #1.

Credit: DC Comics

Atom: Readers will remember that, in the pages of DC Universe: Rebirth #1, Ray Palmer sent a message to his assistant Ryan Choi, stating that he was in "big trouble." Palmer's message indicated that he needed rescued. And the reason that he became trapped? He was investigating "a disruption deep within the temporal nanostructure of the time line."

It's one of several hints from Rebirth about a disrupted timeline in the DCU, but readers will learn more about the Atom's fate in the new Justice League of America series. "Ryan Choi's journey to find out what became of his mentor will appear front and center in Justice League of America," DiDio says.

Watchmen: In DC Universe: Rebirth #1, readers were also shown that Batman has discovered a smiley face button that was embedded into the wall of the Batcave - one that hints about Watchmen characters being involved in the manipulation of DC continuity.

According to The Flash: Rebirth #1, when Wally West appeared to Batman in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, his lightning embedded the button into the wall. Although Batman originally suspected a connection to the Joker, Batman and the Flash now believe the button is connected to the same timeline mystery that Wally was talking about. And tests on the button have shown that the "blood on the button has traces of a radiation unlike anything we've seen."

Credit: DC Comics

According to Direct Currents, that type of analyzation of the button will continue in coming months. "Batman and Flash will be joining forces to forensically find out what it is and, more importantly, where it came from."

Mr. Oz: Readers will soon learn more about Mr. Oz, the character who's been watching the DCU lately. Some people suspect that Oz is actually Ozymandias (and Newsarama has lent fuel to that rumor's fire.)

Most recently, Oz stole Doomsday and Tim Drake from continuity - making DC heroes believe the latter was dead while actually imprisoning him with some other unknown characters.

DiDio promises that the character will be "coming to the forefront in the first half" of 2017, referencing the following questions about the character: "What exactly is his deal? Is he gathering heroes? If so, why?"

Credit: DC Comics

Superman Crossover

Direct Currents #1 also contains some insight into a Superman Writers Summit held at DC's Burbank headquarters earlier this year - one that included writers Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, as well as DC Chief Creative Officer/President Geoff Johns (who's also the architect of "Rebirth").

Among their plans? "Superman Reborn," a crossover between Superman and Action Comics that kicks off in March 2017. The issue's copy says duplicate Clark Kent (in Action Comics) is key to the story and there's a "massive emotional price that must be paid by the story's end."

Credit: DC Comics

The story is also going to shed some light on the aforementioned Mr. Oz, who (the magazine reminds readers) said in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 that Superman and his family are not what they believe.

On the way to the crossover, readers can look for the following revelations:

- The January and February issues of Action Comics will show the mysterious Clark Kent becomes "something more…unsettling," according to Jurgens, and will be "up to no good."

- Superman will have a "threat of Multiversal proportions," one that (if the the art featured in the issue is to be believed) involves Red Son Superman and Grant Morrison's President Superman.

Credit: DC Comics

Upcoming Highlights

The magazine, which DC is encouraging retailers to give away to fans for free, offered some insight into other upcoming storylines.

Credit: DC Comics

- The Green Lantern titles are bringing back lots of long missing stuff, as readers have seen in recent issues, including Kyle Rayner, the Blue Lanterns, and the Guardians. Soranik Natu, the former Green Lantern who's also Sinestro's daughter, will be leading to Yellow Lantern toward working for good.

- Aquaman appears to be getting a presidential pardon from Barack Obama before his second term ends. And DC is teasing that the wedding between Mera and Aquaman might happen in 2017. "Save the date," the issue says.

- Barbara Gordon has a new love interest: Ethan Cobblepot, Penguin's son. He runs VicForm, a new Burnside tech company, and he's not a fan of his deadbeat dad.

- The imagery on the cover of Wonder Woman #15 (featuring an apparently insane Diana) isn't just a metaphor - she's apparently going to reach her mental limit in January and be committed to an asylum.

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