DC Comics already had the particulars of most of its June 2015 releases broadcast across the internet before the official solicitations arrived today. Between the wave of brand-new books highlighting diversity of character, talent and concept and a string of new status quos for marquee heroes like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, it may seem like there’s nothing to learn from the final rundown of June books.
But a closer inspection of the new books reveals a few things even beyond our massive rundown of 10 startling facts about the new DC lineup. Which creators are having a big impact on things? What long-suffering characters will finally get a chance to shine? Read on to find out!
- Kate Spencer is back! And so is Renee Montoya! Two beloved DC characters that have been cited repeatedly over recent years as women unfairly cut from the line during the New 52 era. With former Manhunter Spencer making her mark as an attorney in “Gotham By Midnight” and Montoya returning to duty in “Detective Comics,” the diversity quotient of the Bat-books is getting back to where it was several years ago.
- Meanwhile, Kyle Rayner dying as part of the build up to “Omega Men” has been out there for days, and nary a word has ricocheted through online fandom about it. As little as five years ago, the potential killing of a well-liked legacy hero would be enough to set message boards aflame, but given changes in the current readership, maybe Kyle’s sacrifice just won’t be enough to make waves anymore — or maybe fans are aware that a death promoted months in advance in solicitations could be a red herring of some sort.
- Funny is the new Black. After an era where DC Comics was heavily focused on very serious, frequently takes on its core heroes, the wide range of comedy-heavy titles is a noticeable facet of the new line. Part of this can be laid at the feet of “Harley Quinn” — the hit series that earns a spinoff miniseries (“Harley Quinn and Power Girl”), a “Starfire” series for its writing team of Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner and a nod in the solicitation text for “Bizarro.” But titles like “Prez” show that the funny stuff can be even more idiosyncratic at the new DC.
- Dan Jurgens is pulling the levers of DC continuity. Though the veteran creator has had a hand in shaping the destiny of nearly every major DC character across his career, he’s recently been playing with the fabric of the DCU like never before. Beyond his pre-“Convergence” stories of Booster Gold teasing the weakened walls of past realities and his part in “The New 52: Futures End,” Jurgens is writing two new books with hints at a connection to the shape of things moving forward. The comedy-centric “Bat-Mite” promises to “fix the DC Universe” as the imp tinkers with the lives of many different heroes. Meanwhile, the Jurgens-written “Batman Beyond” is being billed as taking place in “THE definitive future of the DCU.” Between those teases, old school continuity hounds wondering what all the changes in the publishing line will mean for the shape of the universe should likely keep an eye on the writer’s work.
- It’s the rise of the writer/artist. While full-on cartoonists have always been a piece of DC’s publishing puzzle, the number of artists who are expanding their superhero skill set in June is noticeable. Joining “Gotham Academy” writer Becky Cloonan are Ming Doyle on “Constantine: The Hellblazer,” Patrick Gleason on “Robin: Son of Batman” and Lee Bermejo with “We Are…Robin,” amongst others. Some of these creators are doing it all, but many are taking the writing duties on in a major way, which marks a turn from the more solo writer-driven method of making mainstream comics that’s been in vogue since the early 2000s.
- The “Truth” is out there for Superman. And yes, the teases surrounding the Man of Steel’s titles make it hard to imagine that his new status quo will be anything except the shattering of his Clark Kent identity. But beyond that, all of the Super titles will again be tied together by a weekly “The Truth” banner — following on the steps of recent stories like “Doomed” and even the classic “triangle numbers” of the ’90s. While DC overall is welcoming some more experimentation without worrying about strict continuity, when it comes to their biggest gun it appears that the truth is nothing was broken to begin with.
- Darkseid’s daughter will finally be revealed. Teased by DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns back in 2013’s “Justice League of America’s Vibe” #1, a new face in the pantheon of the New Gods is finally ready to step into the light in the pages of “Justice League” — the sole remaining regular title for Johns and the buildup to his long-promised “Darkseid War” story.
- Minor tweaks are also arriving for major characters. While not all the changes across DC will be as drastic as Batman’s robotic transformation, Green Lantern is welcoming a new partner named Darlene in his ongoing adventures. Meanwhile, Damian Wayne seems to be embracing the darker side of his family tree: he’s referred to as Damian al Ghul as he prepares to enroll in “Gotham Academy.”
- Variants will never die. While many things are changing at DC, some sales tactics aren’t going away any time soon. Bryan Hitch’s launch of “Justice League of America” #1 includes nine such special covers to help boost its numbers. Meanwhile, “Harley Quinn” is setting a new record for parody covers as her newest issue is already taking a good-natured shot at “We Are…Robin” #1.
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