Since the universe-altering "Flashpoint" in 2011, DC Comics has mostly stayed away from line-wide publishing events. That will change this summer, beginning with a freshly announced story titled "Dark Days" from some of the publisher's highest-profile creators.
Writers and frequent collaborators Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV have joined forces with superstar artists Jim Lee, Andy Kubert and John Romita Jr. for two "Dark Days" one-shots: "Dark Days: The Forge," scheduled for release on June 14, and "Dark Days: The Casting," set for July 12. The stories are said to explore a mystery that "will reveal the dark underbelly of the DC Universe," and lead to an as-yet unspecified DCU event.
"Art like this demands an epic story," Snyder said in a statement. "'Dark Days' posits a mystery that traces all the way back to when I started on 'Batman.' I've hinted at them over the years with Easter eggs and clues. This is a mystery that literally begins at the dawn of man and spans generations of heroes and villains and ultimately leads to huge revelations about the past, present and future of the cosmology of DC. I couldn't be more excited for 'Dark Days.' It's the prelude to the event we've been developing for years."
While not specifically confirmed, all current evidence points to that being the "Batman-centric" DC Universe event Snyder has planned with artist Greg Capullo, which has been discussed since their acclaimed run on "Batman" ended last year. While Capullo isn't mentioned in DC's "Dark Days" announcement, it does state the story is "spearheaded by Snyder," and Jim Lee's cover for "Dark Days: The Forge" (the only "Dark Days" art available thus far) is definitely Batman-centric. Snyder's quote also makes it clear the story has its roots in their "Batman" run.
"Working with Scott and James on 'Dark Days' is the culmination of the big ideas and endless brainstorming that came out of a recent creative summit," Lee, speaking from his position as both "Dark Days" artist and DC Entertainment Co-Publisher, said in a statement. "It was tremendous fun having peers like Andy Kubert and JRJR in with some of our top writers. Strategically, Dan [DiDio] and I have talked for a long time about bringing the artist back to the table in the genesis of big, epic events. The creative summit was just that, and the level of collaboration was truly invigorating and electrifying. We can't wait to share 'Dark Days' with the DC faithful … they're in for a thrill ride!"
No real plot details of "Dark Days" have been revealed, although it's said the creative team will "collaborate to develop new ideas and characters, further enriching the DC Universe." It's also not known how the creative duties on the "Dark Days" issues will break down, but more insight will likely come when DC Comics' June 2017 solicitations are released in full later today.
"We're taking all the ethos and excitement of the work Scott and I have been doing in the Batman titles and unleashing it across the entire DC Universe," current "Detective Comics" writer James Tynion IV said in a statement. "The size and scope of what we're looking to do with 'Dark Days' could only be accomplished by the best of the best. Andy, Jim and John are legends. All of us on this project are pushing one another, and every concept, to the extreme."
In a December 2016 interview on "All-Star Batman," Snyder told CBR his in-development event with Capullo was a "Batman heavy metal rock opera" and an "over-the-top capstone" to the pair's work on the character.
"What I want this one to be is different," he said to CBR. "I want it built out of the stories happening now and creating new material and giving everybody a place to tell stories that fit what they’re doing on their books, and feels really modern and different and above all fun. I don’t want it to be grim. I don’t want it to be superheroes arguing over something. Superheroes won’t be fighting superheroes. I want it to be celebratory, and huge, and crazy. I am going for out of control dinosaurs and lasers."
Since "Flashpoint," which kickstarted DC's mostly rebooted era of "The New 52," the publisher has been conservative with line-wide events, sticking mainly to smaller, intra-line crossovers like "Robin War" and "Superman: Doomed." The notable exceptions are 2013–2014's "Forever Evil" and 2015's "Convergence" (which took over the DCU line for two months, telling stories of various timelines).
"We’re not going to just go from event to event with the idea that’s the only thing that sells a comic, but we’re going to do events that really help drive our major storylines, and when we have moments in our line that we think needs to be elevated, and put under a much bigger spotlight," Co-Publisher Dan DiDio told CBR in October.
It's uncertain whether "Dark Days" has anything to do with the main mystery running through the DC Universe -- the surprise reveal in last May's "DC Universe: Rebirth" one-shot that Dr. Manhattan from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' "Watchmen," a completely separate fictional world from DC's superheroes, has altered DC Universe continuity. That story is set to be picked up on a big way in "The Button," a four-part crossover between "Batman" and "The Flash" starting in April and stemming from Batman's discovery of The Comedian's iconic smiley face badge in the Batcave walls.
Although DC's deliberately vague "Dark Days" announcement provokes plenty of questions, it appears that answers (at least some of them) may come sooner rather than later. DC has said to look for more details at WonderCon in Anaheim and Fan Expo Dallas -- both taking place March 31 through April 2 -- and Chicago's C2E2, happening April 21 to April 23. Keep reading CBR for the latest details as they're available.