In 2018, DC found bountiful success in comics, film, television, and games. DC experienced several triumphs with comics, courtesy of the Black Label’s launch, which saw the release of Batman: Damned. Additionally, the Freedom Fighters, Martian Manhunter, and Shazam all received their first solo series in years. Film for DC wasn’t a slouch in 2018, either. Aquaman took the box office by storm, earning $1 billion, a feat accomplished by no other DCEU entry. Shazam! received its first trailer. Animated films such as Batman: Gotham by Gaslight and The Death of Superman are already considered seminal releases for WB Animation. Batwoman appeared in live-action for the first time during “Elseworlds,” officially bringing the world of Batman into DC’s expansive TV universe on The CW. While DC may have lacked tentpole game releases, LEGO DC Super-Villains still managed to generate excitement for a dedicated fanbase.
Considering the start of the new year, with the advent of Young Justice’s third season and the continued expansion of the DC Universe app, DC’s 2019 already seems promising. And the potential for great content extends across the board, just as it did last year. Unfortunately, for now, DC-centric video games appear to be a blank slate for 2019. However, excellence will likely emerge elsewhere. New shows will debut on DC Universe. Many chapters are opening and closing as far as comics are concerned, and the same can be said for various DC television series. Moreover, there’s plenty of film projects worth anticipating. Without further ado, here are 20 things DC fans have to look forward to in 2019.
20 LIVE-ACTION CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS
The Arrowverse’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event won’t release until sometime this fall, likely in December based on precedent. However, it’s still one of the most exciting things on the calendar for DC-related content this year. Who could have possibly imagined that this industry-changing event would ever receive a live-action adaptation, let alone one on network television?
In the comics, the event marked an incredible shift in the DC Universe, severely shrinking the multiverse to a single Earth, a New Earth. Will the Arrowverse’s crossover of the same name attempt a similar feat? Given the TV universe’s massiveness, it certainly has the means. Regardless, this will be one landmark moment DC fans won’t want to miss.
19 HEROES IN CRISIS CONCLUSION
Tom King’s Heroes in Crisis will release its ninth and final issue in early 2019. Thus far, it’s been triumphant, particularly with regards to the close examination of various characters. The plot centers on Sanctuary, a safe haven for heroes requiring treatment for the mental and emotional trauma they experience following fieldwork. When several superheroes are murdered in Sanctuary, The DC Trinity launches an investigation.
Who’s behind the crime is a mystery that seems well worth the wait. Once Heroes in Crisis concludes, it will have accomplished something far more impressive than telling another great DC thriller, however. Seeing how Superman struggles with his personality, delving into Batman’s deepest regrets, and exploring Wonder Woman’s insecurities has turned this King series into a remarkable feat of storytelling.
18 JOKER FILM
Confusion abounds about the Joker’s future in the DCEU, wherein Jared Leto portrays the Clown Prince of Crime. However, Batman’s greatest nemesis will return to theaters in October 2019, starring in a film separate from DC’s cinematic universe. The Clown’s solo, simply titled Joker, stars Joaquin Phoenix. Helming the feature is Todd Phillips, best known for Starsky and Hutch and The Hangover trilogy. Suffice it to say, Joker sounds promising on paper.
At the time of writing, details concerning the plot remain scarce. One concrete bit of information is that Joker will take place during the '80s. Furthermore, it follows Arthur, a failing stand-up comic who gradually transforms into the Joker. The basic premise’s similarities to The Killing Joke make this film all the more compelling.
17 DETECTIVE COMICS #1000
March 27, 2019 will see DC launch another major landmark event: the release of Detective Comics #1000. Of course, the publisher is pulling out all the stops for this historic moment. Jim Lee, along with inker Scott Williams and colorist Alex Sinclair, designed the comic’s stunning wraparound cover. And this Detective Comics issue packs even more excitement within its 96 pages.
A brand-new story will debut a new version of the Arkham Knight, of Batman: Arkham Knight fame. Original tales from creators such as Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen, Kevin Smith and Jim Lee, Warren Ellis and Becky Cloonan, Geoff Johns and Kelley Jones, and many more are slated to feature in this groundbreaking release. No DC fan will want to miss Detective Comics #1000.
16 LEX LUTHOR'S SUPERGIRL DEBUT
Throughout the series, Supergirl hasn’t shied away from teasing Lex Luthor’s Arrowverse presence. Barring flashbacks from his youth, however, the character’s never appeared on-screen. Fortunately, that will change during the show’s currently running fourth season -- and he’s already been cast. Two and a Half Men alum Jon Cryer is set to portray Superman’s notorious foe.
Lex will officially debut during Season 4’s 15th episode, which presently lacks both a title and air date. Curiously, his role remains under wraps. Considering his imprisonment, it’ll be interesting to see how the show folds him into the narrative. Of additional interest is how the character will interact with his sister Lena, especially since her good intentions are seemingly leading her down a morally gray path.
15 BLACK LABEL REPRINTS
DC’s Black Label imprint began rolling out content in 2018. The imprint’s goal is to give creators a chance to explore the publisher’s wealth of characters without concern for ongoing continuity. Additionally, the targeted audience is more mature, evidenced by Batman: Damned’s rather controversial first issue.
The Black Label isn’t exclusively reserved for new comics, though. This imprint has expanded to include the reprinting of beloved DC classics. The celebrated All-Star Superman was reprinted under the Black Label banner in December 2018. In 2019, a slew of other seminal DC works are scheduled to receive similar treatment. Fans can look forward to reprints of Batman: Year One, Catwoman: When in Rome, Kingdom Come, Superman: Red Son, Watchmen, and several others.
14 SWAMP THING TV SERIES
On an unspecified day in May of this year, a Swamp Thing television series is slated to launch on the DC Universe streaming service. With James Wan attached as an executive producer, alongside the likes of Gary Dauberman whose credits include 2017’s It and Annabelle: Creation, the series has the potential to become something quite special.
The show features a noteworthy cast, too. Power’s Andy Bean and Sleepy Hollow’s Derek Mears will portray Alec Holland and Swamp Thing, respectively. Yet, while a show synopsis and casting details have received confirmation, there still exists an air of mystery around the series, mostly because official footage has yet to publicly release.
13 WONDER WOMAN: BLOODLINES
Roughly a decade after the release of Wonder Woman’s criminally underrated animated film, another animated project starring the Amazon was announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2018. Sadly, no concrete details about the film’s plot have been unveiled. The same goes for the cast of Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, as well. Whether or not Bloodlines will tie into the 2009 animated feature also remains a mystery.
Despite the dearth of information, there’s plenty of reasons to anticipate its impending release. In a world post Wonder Woman’s live-action ventures, what will an animated feature aim to accomplish, from both a story and character perspective? Given the wealth of Wonder Woman mythos, the possibilities seem endless. Here’s to hoping this animated work gets the love its predecessor lacked.
12 SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN
This year, DC plans to launch its DC Zoom imprint, a line of comics aimed at middle-grade readers. A host of comics are set to soon begin releasing under this banner, but one of the more interesting titles stars the Man of Steel. The comic in question is a graphic novel by Gene Yang, Superman Smashes the Klan, which does not yet have a solid release date.
As the title boldly implies, Superman will battle some unsavory individuals, as he did in the '40s during the Adventures of Superman radio show. Interestingly, the radio serial is integral to the forthcoming comic, whose 1946 setting should prove a vital backdrop for the still nebulous premise.
11 YOUNG JUSTICE'S CONTINUATION
After five years, Young Justice returned with its third run in early January 2019, entitled Young Justice: Outsiders. This season of the show takes place two years after the events of Season 2’s finale, and sees the young heroes further matured. Some are still with The Team, while others have graduated to the Justice League. But the former sidekicks are not the only ones undergoing change. The League has been shaken up in interesting ways, too.
At present, the direction the show is going in appears to be paving the way for yet another highly-acclaimed season. Without a doubt, Young Justice remains a series worth getting excited for each week. Fingers are crossed that 2019 marks only the beginning of its triumphant return.
10 SECOND COMING
In March of this year, DC will release a new Vertigo series, Second Coming. Honestly, the comic’s telling title does a pretty good job of explaining what readers can expect. Jesus features as the series’ star, sent by God to become more versed in what it takes to be mankind’s savior. Curiously, His partner in all of this is a Superman-inspired hero named Sun-Man, aka The Last Son of Krispex.
The Flintstones’ and Prez’ Mark Russell is penning issue #1, with art by Richard Pace. In the series' first issue, the Son of God arrives on Earth, and finds that his gospel has been terribly subverted. This upcoming comic sounds too intriguing to pass up.
9 KRYPTON SEASON 2
The wait for Krypton’s sophomore season on SyFy has been long. It’s sure to be worthwhile, though. Hanging plot threads at the end of the pilot season are aplenty, each special and intriguing in its own right. Don’t worry, they won’t be spoiled here. For those that have yet to watch Season 1, just know that Krypton does a superb job of subverting expectations, while also staying true to the brilliance of Superman mythos.
Season 2 appears as though it will raise the bar higher, especially with the advent of Lobo, who will be played by Emmett J. Scanlan. Essentially, everyone should be watching SyFy’s Krypton, as it warrants praise as more than just a good superhero series. Good storytelling sits front and center, too.
8 BATMAN: HUSH ANIMATED FILM
Undoubtedly, the Batman: Hush animated film was one of the biggest surprises to come out of San Diego Comic-Con 2018. Despite its impending release this summer, the film is currently without substantial details. Rumors continue to circulate, but the cast for Batman: Hush has yet to receive an official announcement. Additionally, it’s unclear how faithfully the animated project will adhere to the celebrated source material written by Jeph Loeb.
Barring the storyline’s contentious ending, Batman: Hush has for years remained a fan favorite tale of the Bat. This arc’s receiving an animated adaptation could open the door for other lesser known Batman stories to get similar treatment. Who doesn’t want to see a two-parter for The Long Halloween and Dark Victory?
7 MERA: TIDEBREAKER
As part of the DC Ink imprint, geared towards young adult readers, DC will launch Mera: Tidebreaker this coming April. Yes, Mera will take the lead on this undersea adventure, which is penned by Dorothy Must Die author, Danielle Page. Though it sounds incredibly familiar, the graphic novel’s premise seems promising.
In Tidebreaker, Mera is the Princess of Xebel, a kingdom of people who have long been oppressed by Atlantis. During an attempted coup on the Atlantean throne, Mera bolts at the chance to assassinate Atlantis’ Prince, Arthur Curry. However, a change of heart could drastically alter Mera's intentions, as her assassination attempt may instead introduce her to the love of her life. Again, it’s familiar Aquaman and Mera fare, but the new perspective demands attention.
6 WONDER WOMAN 1984 TRAILER (MAYBE)
With the film set for June 2020, after being delayed out of its original November 2019 premiere, Warner Bros. must be ready to show off Wonder Woman 1984 soon. Perhaps it’ll catch audiences by surprise during a Hall-H presentation at San Diego Comic-Con this year? For now, all fans can do is play the guessing game on this front. No one involved with the film has so much as teased when a trailer may go live.
Regardless of the continuing silence, a SDCC 2019 release for Wonder Woman 1984’s first trailer doesn’t seem far-fetched. Remember, the original trailer for Wonder Woman premiered at SDCC, 11 months ahead of the film’s June 2017 launch. History may very well repeat itself.
5 DOOM PATROL
The expansion of the DC Universe platform will usher in a live-action series for DC’s little known Doom Patrol squad. It’s an interesting project, indeed, one few would have ever guessed might see the light of day. Still, this television series does seem promising, at the very least.
Early in Titans’ pilot season, the Doom Patrol are introduced. This family of misfits and outcasts are an interesting bunch, based upon the little shown of them. In many respects, Doom Patrol appears as though it may take a few pages out of Legends of Tomorrow’s playbook. If so, fans are in for a good time with a series that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is filled with nothing but heart.
4 UNDER THE MOON: A CATWOMAN TALE
The DC Ink imprint has been designed with young adult readers in mind. Unsurprisingly, fans can look forward to experiencing fresh adventures from the usual suspects, such as Batman and Wonder Woman. Yet, a DC Ink title that shouldn’t fly under the radar stars Catwoman, Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale, written by Internet Girls and Kissing Kate author, Lauren Myracle.
DC plans to have this graphic novel on store shelves by May of this year. The story will follow Selina Kyle at the young age of 14, as she struggles with being homeless and alone. Such unfortunate circumstances means Selina must learn how to survive on the streets of Gotham, presumably by any means.
3 POTENTIAL BATWOMAN TV SERIES
After her debut in the Arrowverse’s “Elseworlds” crossover, one thing seems clear: Ruby Rose makes for a great Kate Kane and a pretty cool Batwoman. Whether or not she can carry an entire television series is another story entirely. Thankfully, audiences may get to judge for themselves soon enough.
Recently, The CW ordered a pilot for Batwoman’s live-action solo series. David Nutter, who helmed the Arrow and The Flash pilots has been tapped to direct the episode. The Vampire Diaries’ Caroline Dries will pen the script. At present, it’s hard to know whether the network will order the show to series. But precedent with regards to other Arrowverse shows suggests Batwoman may indeed become a permanent resident in The CW’s expansive superhero universe.
2 HARLEY QUINN ANIMATED SERIES
The DC Universe streaming service aims to take advantage of Harley Quinn’s continued rise in popularity. This will come in the form of an animated television show, helmed by the creative team behind the short-lived NBC series, Powerless. Based on its only teaser, comedy, specifically of the adult variety, will rest at the heart of Harley Quinn’s forthcoming animated adventures.
For now, there exists a dearth of details regarding the show’s plot. Although, a brief synopsis notes that Harley desires a seat at the Legion of Doom’s table. It’s an interesting premise. Also of interest is the impressive voice cast. Kaley Cuoco’s Harley will be joined by the voices of Lake Bell, Giancarlo Esposito, Wanda Sykes, Alan Tudyk, and more.
1 GOTHAM'S FINALE
Gotham debuted on Fox in late 2014 to middling reviews, and wasn’t particularly favored amongst fans, either. The show found its audience, though, and continued to improve, expanding on and subverting Batman mythos in intriguing ways. Now, the fifth and final season is upon us. Young Bruce Wayne has matured, while the corruption of Gotham City has yet to cease. How the show’s various threads come to an end should be fascinating to watch.
Excepting the overarching narrative, Gotham’s series finale will serve as a poignant event for DC’s modern cross-media projects. In a world post Arrow’s debut, Gotham is the first live-action DC TV series to have a definitive final season, a definitive conclusion. Surely, that counts for something.