Readers were already told that the upcoming Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen event, debuting December 18, would spin out of both “Justice: Doom War” and the events of Batman/Superman.
But artwork provided to Newsarama by Steve Epting has also revealed that Lex Luthor’s recruiting activities from the “Year of the Villain” event will continue into Hell Arisen - even taking Lex to Earth 3 to enlist the help of the Crime Syndicate of America.
“This is the culmination of the ‘Year of the Villain,” series writer James Tynion IV explained to Newsarama. “There are two armies forming. And this is the story where those two armies clash.”
The appearance of the Crime Syndicate of America might be a little confusing to DC fans. Although a version of Sky Tyrant just showed up in Hawkman, he was from a former life of Carter Hall. The last time characters like Ultraman, Superwoman, and Owlman appeared, not only was Earth 3 destroyed, but the members of the evil team were later killed.
“We’ll be addressing that,” Tynion said, indicating that the first issue of Hell Arisen includes a mention of the New 52 Crime Syndicate continuity.
But Tynion explained to Newsarama that - although many events from the "New 52" have changed since 2016’s “Rebirth” - the return of Earth 3 is directly tied to what’s happening in Hell Arisen, particularly the return of the celestial being Perpetua.
Tynion said Perpetua, who returned recently in the pages of Justice League (with the help of Lex Luthor and his Legion of Doom), has influence on the “architecture” of the Multiverse now.
“Perpetua’s making huge moves that are echoing across the Multiverse,” the writer said. “The Multiverse is something that, it breaks apart and heals together back in fractured ways, and this is something that we’ve been telling in our stories - some in more metatextual ways and some of them in a very literal way.
“That is definitely a part of this story,” Tynion said.
In Justice League, readers have learned that Perpetua is not only the mother of the World Forger, the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor, but she was the creator of a previous Multiverse that was “predatory in nature.”
But that former Multiverse was healed after Perpetua was locked away in the Source Wall.
Now that she’s back, Perpetua’s desire to return the Multiverse to its former predatory nature is at the center of the story in Hell Arisen, as the Batman Who Laughs and his Secret Six (from Batman/Superman) are moving against her and the characters loyal to her and Lex Luthor.
From the look of the artwork shared with Newsarama, Perpetua will get to meet the Crime Syndicate.
“Getting to write these characters [for Hell Arisen] was an absolute thrill,” said Tynion, who admitted that his “favorite Justice League story of all time” is the Crime Syndicate-focused story, JLA Earth 2.
But do the appearance of the Crime Syndicate and the events of Hell Arisen lead directly into next year’s teased "Crisis" or Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Dark Nights: Metal sequel? Or could they tie into Tynion’s recently announced upcoming run on Batman? Tynion isn’t spilling.
“What this story [in Hell Arisen] may be a bridge to is a question that we want you to ask,” Tynion said, “and we want you to keep asking.”
Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen, the new limited series from Tynion and artist Steve Epting, begins December 18.