DC's Year of the Villain may be the brainchild of Lex Luthor, but that's not going to stop The Batman Who Laughs from crashing the party. The Dark Multiverse version of the Dark Knight has been plotting in the shadows, infecting various members of the DC Universe.
The infected characters have been dubbed the Secret Six, with five of the heroes -- Jim Gordon, Shazam, Supergirl, Blue Beetle and Hawkman -- revealed through preview pages for Batman/Superman, covers for The Infected and the final issue of The Batman Who Laughs miniseries. That left the final member of the Secret Six a mystery, but as it turns out, DC spoiled the complete roster of the Secret Six weeks ago.
An animated video of Year of the Villain's Who Are The Infected? teaser art was posted to the official DCSuperman Twitter account, revealing Donna Troy as the last Infected DC hero. As the camera jumps from character to character, the animation turns them into their infected versions right before our eyes.
When fans started to dissect the teaser for clues on which heroes could be infected, many noticed all six heroes are using a hand to touch their faces. The significance of the gesture remains a mystery, though we could simply chalk it up as a clue for eagle-eyed fans to look for. All six heroes touch on different corners of the DC Universe, with Jim Gordon, Supergirl and Donna Troy having a close connection to Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, respectively.
Today's announcement of Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #1 assembles The Batman Who Laughs' twisted Justice League on its cover, as they prepare to do battle with Apex Lex in a conclusion to the events of both Justice League's "Justice/Doom War" arc and Batman/Superman's "Infected" arc.
The cover art and solicitation text for Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #1 can be found below:
YEAR OF THE VILLAIN: HELL ARISEN #1
- Written by JAMES TYNION IV
- Art and Cover by STEVE EPTING
- DC’s “Year of the Villain” begins its sinister conclusion! Lex Luthor has brought Perpetua back from her cosmic grave and restored her power! Now, the Multiverse lives in fear that she might wipe out all existence. The only thing that could stop her are the forces of the Dark Multiverse— which means it’s Luthor’s mission to defeat the Batman Who Laughs! But if Batman and Superman couldn’t stop him, what chance does Luthor stand? Spinning out of the end of the “Justice/ Doom War” in Justice League #38 and the conclusion of the epic “Infected” arc from Batman/Superman #5, DC’s two top villains face off in a battle royal—and the fate of all reality hangs in the balance!
Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #1, by James Tynion IV and Steve Epting, goes on sale Dec. 18 from DC.