DC fans were given several new clues about Scott Snyder's new Justice League title, thanks to the appearance today of an solicitation for the series' first collection and a promotional image of the new team at the website of DC's bookstore distributor.
The listing, which appears to have been online for weeks, has not been confirmed by DC.
So, if it's accurate, there are a few things to notice:
First, as Newsarama pointed out when this was first revealed, the lead artist on the series is Jim Cheung.
This would represent Cheung's first work at DC in a really long time - 22 years to be exact, going back to a brief stint on Mark Waid's The Flash run. The man who made the Young Avengers into a hot new Marvel property and helped define more than one team at the company is much more associated with Marvel than DC, but a stint with a fan-favorite writer like Scott Snyder may change that quickly.
Does this mean Cheung is no longer at Marvel? Not so fast - he remains solicited for May's Marvel 2-In-One #6 as well as Amazing Spider-Man #600 - and that's before even factoring in that Cheung drew Marvel's "Fresh Start" banner image.
In the image, John Stewart is pictured as the new Green Lantern on the Justice League, something that's a switch from more recent incarnations of the team. When the "New 52" in 2011 relaunched the Justice League, Hal Jordan was in the role of the team's Green Lantern. He was later replaced by two new Lanterns, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz (who are currently members of the League), but Hal's generally been the lead character in the Green Lantern books for more than a decade.
Is Hal taking a lesser role in the DCU? As Newsarama pointed out when April solicitations were released, the upcoming "Darkest Before Dawn" storyline in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps sounds as if Hal will confront something similar to his transformation into Parallax, although later solicitations don't sound as ominous. Is something happening to Hal Jordan to prevent him from becoming part of Justice League this summer?
Or is John Stewart's addition to the team more connected to him being featured for years in the Justice League cartoon series as the League's main Green Lantern? For a newer generation of Justice League fans - including, perhaps, Snyder himself - Stewart's years on the animated series may have made him just as "classic" a Justice League member as Hal or anyone else.
Snyder wasn't kidding when he said DC's Hawk characters would get more of a spotlight soon. Earlier this week, a new Hawkman series by Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch was announced. And now Hawkgirl is part of the Justice League line-up.
It's quite a return for Hawkgirl in particular, since that character hasn't been featured on DC's main Earth for years, only present in the "New 52" relaunch as an alternate earth character on Earth-2.
But the Kendra Saunders version of Hawkgirl returned for a lead role in Snyder and Greg Capullo's current event series Dark Nights: Metal, appearing first as a character calling her Lady Blackhawk then revealing herself as the repeatedly reincarnated character Hawkgirl (although with a costume different from the one seen in this Justice League piece).
When DC released a preview image for DC Nation #0, the Justice League part of the image didn't include Cyborg. That led to speculation (even by Newsarama) that Cyborg might be moving to the Titans or Teen Titans - fulfilling a role more traditionally associated with the character (particularly in the Teen Titans GO! animated series).
But this promotional image utilizes Cyborg, meaning he's still hanging around the League, and will continue to be the group's youngest member.
We already knew Martian Manhunter would be featured in Snyder's Justice League, but it's impressive to see him pictured right alongside characters that comic book fans know were once his close teammates and friends.
His quick recent appearance in Metal seemed to indicate some of those relationships are being re-formed, and this image makes it clear that he's fighting alongside the rest of the League.
If this unconfirmed copy is accurate, Jorge Jimenez is working on Justice League, but this time as Snyder's co-writer (at least, on one of the issues included in this collection).
Could Jimenez be transitioning to writing? It's possible, and many DC artists before him have made that successfully - but until DC itself confirms the full Justice League creative team we don't want to speculate too much.
That being said, Snyder is well-known for mentoring writers, specifically teaching new up-and-coming writers as part of the Writers Workshop he created for DC. His recent work is filled with bylines that listed him as co-writer with other scribes, so it's not surprising to see him collaborating on Justice League. But as much as DC exclusive artist Jorge Jimenez is respected in the comics industry, his listing as co-writer is unexpected.
In the preview image, Batman's still wearing the "Rebirth" era costume - he's not changed into a different costume like the one seen in Doomsday Clock #3.
DC had previously announced that Doomsday Clock takes place in the future of the DCU - about a year forward from when it started last year. So the implication is that Batman will change costumes soon. But apparently, not quite yet.
Snyder's Justice League will spin out of May's Justice League: No Justice, so it could start as early as June. If this collection really is coming out in November, that timing would still make sense.
DC is notorious for releasing its collections a few months after the stories conclude - for example, this past fall's "Resistance" tie-ins to Metal that concluded in December are just releasing this month. So if DC's usual lead time is still in play for the November release of the first Justice League volume, the title's first storyline really does need to start by June.