July 2023 is going to be a completely different month for DC Comics compared to the first half of the year. Most ongoing titles that DC Comics has published for the first half of 2023 are going to be taking a break. In their place will be an army of tie-in titles to the Knight Terrors big event taking over the DC Universe. With that in mind let’s take a look at the five big takeaways from DC Comics July 2023 solicitations.
NOTE: Hawkgirl #1 will officially be released in July 2023. Check out my Dawn Of DC: Hawkgirl Gets A Fresh Start article for my full breakdown on that title.
1) KNIGHT TERRORS EVENT TAKES OVER DC UNIVERSE
The first true big event in the Dawn Of DC Era is here. Yes, I know we had Lazarus Planet to kick off 2023 but that was more of a collection of one-shots written and drawn by different creative teams than a true comic book big event. Knight Terrors falls in the big event category as it will have a main series written by Joshua Williamson and drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Caspar Wigngaard.
Obviously having Williamson as the writer for Knight Terrors further elevates the status of this latest big event. Williamson is after all the architect of the Dawn Of DC direction. His name on a DC Comics title speaks to the importance of said comic book. With Knight Terrors we are also seeing a lot of DC Comics ongoing titles going on a break and replaced by tie-in one-shots or mini-series.
Adding to the significance of Knight Terrors is that it will be the first time in the Dawn Of DC era the Trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman headline a comic book together. They did make individual appearances in Nightwing #100 but that was a guest spot more than anything else. With Knight Terrors we see Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman front and center.
Given that Williamson is writing this series Knight Terrors is likely where the foundation for the future Justice League team will begin. We know it will be coming at some point. What better way to get the new Justice League assembled than in the aftermath of a big event?
2) DAWN OF DC MODERNIZES TEEN TITANS ORIGIN STORY
A comic book that will likely not make many fans of legacy characters happy is World’s Finest: Teen Titans. This is nothing against the original Teen Titans or DC Comics and Mark Waid’s choice to write this title. Joining the Titans’ ongoing, Tales Of Titans and Knight Terrors: Titans two-issue tie-in, this is a fourth Titans series featuring the original team, with Dick Grayson, Donna Troy, and Wally West featured in three titles, rather than the next generation. It probably doesn’t help that there is no sign as to what the bigger plans for the Young Justice or Future State generation of legacy characters are.
Now as for the World’s Finest: Teen Titans six-issue mini-series itself, it is something a long time coming. Whenever DC Comics has had creative teams revisit this era for the DC Universe they like to stick to how those characters acted in the era they were created rather than modernizing them. The closest we got to a modern retelling of the original next generation of DCU heroes is the Young Justice cartoon.
What makes you have hope with World’s Finest: Teen Titans giving a true modernized origin of the team is the creative team. We’ve seen this original generation of Teen Titans already given a modern take by Mark Waid and Dan Mora in Batman/Superman: World’s Finest. Not only are the Teen Titans given a more modern take but Mora has also made adjustments to their costumes so they fit more with the team at least beginning in the 2010s rather than the 1960s. Looking at the cover, Waid and Emanuela Lupacchino will continue what we’ve seen in World’s Finest for this mini-series.
3) MARK WAID & BRYAN HITCH UNITE TO TELL LEX LUTHOR LAST DAYS
Mark Waid and Bryan Hitch are sure keeping busy this summer. Waid in particular seems to be working on quite a few titles for DC Comics throughout 2023. Hitch himself is already working on Ultimate Invasion for Marvel. Now both are adding a new three-issue series titled Superman: The Last Days Of Lex Luthor to their workload.
Right away, it is hard not to wonder how Hitch will be able to keep up a schedule of working on two titles at the same time. Hitch is known for many of the comic books he works on to be hit with delays. Now that he has both Ultimate Invasion and Superman: The Last Days Of Lex Luthor coming out at the same time it is a major warning flag. All we can hope for is that Hitch has already finished most of the work on both titles at this point. Because if not Marvel and DC Comics fans looking to pick up Ultimate Invasion and Superman: The Last Days Of Lex Luthor should be concerned.
Scheduling aside, the timing Superman: The Last Days Of Lex Luthor is an interesting one. We’ve seen in the current run of Joshua Williamson and Jamal Campbell’s current run that Lex Luthor is trying to go in a new direction with how he is trying to “help” Superman. While Superman: The Last Days Of Lex Luthor appears to be taking place in its own Elseworld continuity this series pitch has some similarities to the current Superman comic. How Lex being in his last moments of life changes things at least peaks some interest in this mini-series.
4) SHAZAM FAMILY RETURNS IN KNIGHT TERRORS
One big question for the Dawn Of DC direction, especially after the Lazarus Planet story, is what is up with the Shazam Family. Going into that event we saw Mary Bromfield become the New Champion Of Shazam. That appears to have quickly changed as in the post-Lazarus Planet world Billy Batson is back as the sole member of the family with Shazam powers. This is something that DC Comics is at least implying with the new Shazam ongoing series that up to this point has only talked about Billy Batson.
The Knight Terrors event looks to confirm that at the very least Mary will be semi-active as Shazam as well. We see this from the Knight Terrors: Shazam two-issue mini-series where Mary as Shazam is positioned as the lead character. The solicitation for Knight Terrors: Shazam! #1 also teases that the rest of the Shazam Family will be involved in some way. Given that Mark Waid, who is writing the new Shazam ongoing, is writing this mini-series he may use Knight Terrors to bring at least Mary into the fold of the stories he will tell when the Shazam ongoing series returns.
5) BATMAN BEYOND RETURNS TO EXPLORE NEO-GOTHIC
Gotta give DC Comics credit. They will not let go of trying to make a Batman Beyond comic book work. Since 2010 DC Comics has done various Batman Beyond comics with the hopes of making Terry McGinnis’s comic book adventures grab fans as the DCAU animated series did. But no matter how much they’ve tried the Batman Beyond comics haven’t had the success they have hoped as there have been many attempts.
Not looking to give up DC Comics is back at it with the direction for Batman Beyond that Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing created in the Neo-Year mini-series. They are continuing that direction in a new series titled Batman Beyond: Neo-Gothic. Unlike Neo-Year, Batman Beyond: Neo-Gothic appears to be an ongoing series.
So that does indicate that Kelly and Lazing have long-term plans for the Neo-Gothic direction of Batman Beyond. Hopefully exploring Old Gotham within the Batman Beyond timeline will produce gold for the latest attempt to make a new Terry McGinnis ongoing series a success.