New Dawn, New Justice
Forget the New 52... DC Rebirth is all about legacy. Stephen Jewell explains what to expect from next month’s major comic book relaunch
In With the Old and the New
Yes, the DC Universe is undergoing one of its regular reboots with DC Rebirth. Designed to appeal equally to newcomers and long- term fans alike, “the whole point of DC Rebirth,” in the words of DC’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, is “to get back to the essence of the characters.”
Joined by artist David Finch, Tom King succeeds Scott Snyder on Batman. A former espionage officer- turned comics writer, the former Grayson scribe will draw on his experiences working for the CIA as he explores what makes the non- superpowered Batman such a formidable superhero – and his delicate balancing act of getting “as close to the horror without becoming the horror”. And while he won’t be penning any of the now twice- monthly main Bat- books, Scott Snyder hasn’t forsaken the Caped Crusader, as he launches All- Star Batman, which will see him joined by a revolving team of top artists including Jock, Tula Lotay and, initially, John Romita Jr.
With both Pete Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s Superman and Dan Jurgens and Patrick Zircher’s Action Comics focusing on the pre- New 52 Superman, the Man of Steel discovers the joys and downsides of married life as he and wife Lois Lane’s attempts to raise their super- son Jon Kent are interrupted by the likes of Doomsday and Lex Luthor. Meanwhile Gene Luen Yang and Victor Bogdanovic’s New Super- Man – yes, that hyphen is meant to be there – is the most intriguing of DC’s new Super- books. Setting out to “take what Superman represents and explore it in Chinese culture,” it introduces Kenji Kong, a 17- year- old from Shanghai, who is mysteriously imbued with some of Superman’s actual powers.
She upstaged both the Big Blue and the Dark Knight in their own film this year, so DC are hoping that DC Rebirth will finally elevate Wonder Woman to the exulted position that she deserves ahead of her own solo film next summer. And while there is disappointment that a female writer like DC Bombshells’ Marguerite Bennett didn’t land the gig, the return of old hand Greg Rucka has been greeted positively. Charged with rebuilding her sacred mission after “an unimaginable loss”, Rucka is paired with Liam Sharp on Diana Prince’s present- day exploits; while Nicola Scott illustrates an alternating, Year One- esque story set 10 years ago during her early days as the Earth’s protector.
DC’s artistic talents don’t come more stellar than Jim Lee, so it’s “quite a big deal” – to quote series writer Rob Williams – that he, along with Philip Tan, is drawing Suicide Squad. With a line- up reportedly similar to the upcoming movie, it will be published in August to coincide with the David Ayer- directed cinematic extravaganza.
No Flash in the Pan
DC is also planning to restore the fortunes of Aquaman and the Flash ( hardly perennial bestsellers) with their own movie outings waiting in the wings. Helmed by Dan Abnett and Brad Walker, Aquaman sees Atlantis trying to play a more prominent role in global affairs, while Joshua
Williamson, Carmine Di Giandomenico and Neil Googe deal with a mass outbreak of super- speedsters in The Flash.
Best known for animated series like Static Shock, John Semple will make his comics debut on Cyborg alongside veteran artists Will Conrad and Paul Pelletier, as Vic Stone is confronted by a new cybernetic adversary in the shape of the Singularity.
While the Green Lantern Corps movie isn’t due until 2020, the Emerald Knights flagship title is set for a shake- up thanks to Sam Humphries. Having recently scripted Star- Lord for Marvel, he will presumably bring a Guardians Of The Galaxy- style vibe to DC’s intergalactic police force. Pitched as “Lethal Weapon with alien technology”, it sees Hal Jordan missing in space, leaving rookies Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz to defend the Earth.
With a Hitch
Having written and drawn the recent JLA, Bryan Hitch will be scripting July’s latest iteration of DC’s premiere super- group, for artists Tony Daniel and Fernando Pasarin. It’s set to unite the usual heavy- hitters against a cataclysmic event dubbed “The Awakening”.
Con Job is Back
While John Constantine’s 2013 move from Vertigo’s mature imprint to the main DC line wasn’t met with universal acclaim, the news that South London’s Simon Oliver is penning August’s The Hellblazer should restore the occult detective’s irascible, chain- smoking charm.
Green Lanterns is pitched as ‘ Lethal Weapon with alien technology’
Females get plenty of action in DC Rebirth.
Supergirl will be getting a fresh look too. Tom King will be taking Batman in an espionageesque direction.
Cyborg faces a brand new adversary. Some old favourites are changing more than others. The unusual suspects…