DC Comics is going to be getting to a new normal post-Knight Terrors as all of their ongoing titles get back to the plans their creative teams have in September. The month also is going to be a big one for new series starting their Dawn Of DC direction as we see new launches for Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Blue Beetle in the September solicitations. There is also a big Batman and Catwoman event starting up. Let’s take a look at the biggest takeaways from DC Comics September 2023 solicitations.
WHAT WILL THE IMPACT OF KNIGHT TERRORS BE?
Knight Terrors is the event that is dominating the closing months of the summer for DC Comics. The event is so big that it is pausing almost every comic book DC Comics is publishing so all their heroes and villains will be involved in Knight Terrors. Given how dominant Knight Terrors is going to be in July and September you would think there would be a big impact for the rest of DC Comics publishing plans for 2023.
That does not appear to be the case based on DC Comics September solicitations. There are only five titles, Batman & Robin, Superman, Harley Quinn, Batman/Catwoman: Gotham War, and Power Girl, that make a reference to Knight Terrors. That is surprising as we got new titles for Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Power Girl, Birds Of Prey, Blue Beetle, and Fire & Ice starting in September. Of those only Power Girl seems to be utilizing Knight Terrors as a launching point for the series direction.
This does put into question how smart it really is for DC Comics to put a pause on all their titles for Knight Terrors. If there wasn’t a plan ahead of time to have a bigger impact on what the characters experience in their big event what was the point of having all the tie-ins? We don’t even know how well Knight Terrors will do since the event is cannibalizing itself with the massive amount of tie-ins. That does make the sales rankings for July and August have an even bigger spotlight on it as DC Comics may have unnecessarily paused the momentum of Dawn Of DC, even though that’s not the intention of Knight Terrors.
BATMAN & ROBIN RETURN AS THE DYNAMIC DUO
It’s been a while since we saw the Dynamic Duo working together on a long-term basis. While Bruce Wayne has been working with Tim Drake that was only in the Failsafe story. Outside of that, Bruce has been working solo while Tim, Damian Wayne, Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, etc. have been helping him in different ways. Now that is finally changing as Joshua Williamson and Simone Di Meo are launching a new Batman And Robin ongoing series with Bruce and Damian as the leads.
Bruce and Damian being the Dynamic Duo is an interesting concept. The father-son duo hasn’t had the most positive relationship in recent years. While they have made amends Bruce and Damian have been doing their own thing. And with Damian having gone through as much as he has as he started his early teenage years there is a lot Bruce will have to adapt to. The good thing is he has experience with teens from his previous Robins.
This does immediately give Williamson an angle to explore Bruce and Damian’s relationship. Williamson is also coming into this with having written Damian’s adventures in the Robin ongoing series during Infinite Frontier. That experience will help in all of this character exploration. And with Simone Di Meo on art, we are sure to get incredible action sequences with the Dynamic Duo fighting the Batman Rogues Gallery.
BIRDS OF PREY RETURN
The Birds Of Prey have been noticeably absent from all of DC Comics’ plans in recent years. We haven’t really seen them in a substantial way since 2018 when the two-year run of Batgirl & Birds Of Prey ended in the DC Rebirth era. Since then the team has been MIA with Barbara Gordon, Dinah Lance, and Helena Bertinelli doing their own things. Now the team is returning though only with Dinah Lance on the new Birds of Prey roster that includes Batgirl Cassandra Cain, Harley Quinn, Big Barda, and WildCATS’ Zealot.
The new Birds Of Prey roster may raise many eyebrows, especially those who hoped that Oracle and Huntress would at least be on the team. That is certainly a disappointment but I’m willing to give this a chance. That is thanks to the creative team DC Comics has assembled for Birds Of Prey, Kelly Thompson, and Leonardo Romero. This is exactly the type of title that plays into Kelly Thompson’s strength as a writer. And Leonardo Romero is sure to deliver a lot of quality artwork.
As I mentioned in my deep dive for the Birds Of Prey return announcement, this is the best time for the team to make their comeback. Like the Titans, in a DC Universe without the Justice League, there is a big need for superhero teams right now. The Birds Of Prey position themselves within the DCU as a team that stands on the same level as the Titans and Justice League, when they inevitably make their return.
BLUE BEETLE GETS A NEW ONGOING
About a month after his big screen debut DC Comics is giving Jamie Reyes a shot with a new Blue Beetle ongoing series. As we have seen both Marvel and DC Comics do, the timing is a bit off since the new Blue Beetle ongoing will start three weeks after the movie premieres. And with the lack of success for DC Comics-related movies, there is the question of how much momentum there will be for this new Blue Beetle comic book. Blue Beetle has never sold particularly well. Unless DC Comics, hopefully, gives Blue Beetle’s new comic book series a marketing push the movie momentum may not be enough.
The marketing and sales part of it aside, there has always been potential in Blue Beetle being a character that a series can be built around. There is a lot to the character’s mythology that we saw built in the pre-New 52 era that can be tapped into. And with DC Comics grounding the Green Lanterns to Earth right now Blue Beetle has a chance to be one of the few titles that explores the current state of the DCU’s cosmic side. That appears to be something Josh Trujillo and Adrian Gutierrez will do with both The Reach and Starfire on the cover for Blue Beetle #1.
WALLY WEST NEW START AS FLASH
Continuing the relaunch trend for Dawn Of DC we are going to see Si Spurrier and Mike Deodato Jr. take over the Flash series. Si Spurrier has proven to be a talented writer with their work on Coda and Damn Them All which was published with BOOM! Studios. Spurrier also has a background in writing various superhero books for Marvel. Though admittedly Spurrier’s creator owned comic books have been much better than his superhero work at Marvel.
Though having Mike Deodato on art is going to be a big help for Spurrier. Deodato is sure to deliver incredible artwork. How Deodato adapts his art style to showcase Flash’s constant movement through the use of the Speed Force is something to watch.
Wally West starting as Flash is a good call. We saw with Jeremy Adams that Wally has everything you want from a lead. He is also different from Barry Allen and other solo heroes in the fact that Wally is a family man. He has a positive home environment with his wife and kids. That is not what we see in the majority of superhero comic books. The one thing I hope Spurrier and Deodato don’t fall into is having Wally be a solo hero. Have Wallace West, Bart Allen, Jessie Quick, Max Mercury, and other speedsters involved as they are all part of the magic of what makes the Flash franchise special.
JOHN STEWART GETS HIS OWN GREEN LANTERN SERIES
DC Comics took a more measured approach with their reboot of the Green Lantern franchise. While they have kept the whole United Planet angle for the Green Lantern Corps it’s clear the franchise needed a reset. The last run just did not click. And we’ve been seeing in the first Green Lantern series a John Stewart backup story to go along with the main story starring Hal Jordan.
Now in September, we are getting the second title for the franchise with Green Lantern: War Journal. Along with this being John Stewart’s title it is noticeable that it is also a solo series like the main Green Lantern series. This is certainly a choice being made by the creative teams and editor for the Green Lantern franchise. Having two solo titles is going to be a test to see if this is really the direction to go.
As great characters as Hal Jordan and John Stewart are it would be a shame that DC limits the Green Lantern franchise to only being about two characters. We have way too many great characters in the franchise with Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, and Jo Mullein, to name a few. Hopefully, there are some plans for the Green Lantern franchise other than having Hal and John grounded on Earth.
TOM KING & DANIEL SAMPERE WONDER WOMAN RUN BEGINS
The Infinite Frontier direction for Wonder Woman was a major disappointment. The creative run for Wonder Woman left a lot to be desired. Especially coming out of Dark Nights: Death Metal everything was set up for Wonder Woman to be elevated even more. Unfortunately, that momentum was not captured no matter what DC Comics tried with Wonder Woman. That included the franchise getting multiple ongoings, mini-series, and events during the Infinite Frontier Era.
Now with Dawn Of DC, there is a new chance for Wonder Woman to gain the momentum to possibly be on the level of Batman and Superman, as should be expected for the franchise. Tapping Tom King and Daniel Sampere as the new creative team does show DC Comics is trying by assigning a top-tier creative team. Like with Flash and Green Lantern, the new Wonder Woman series should be the focus for the franchise right now to fortify the series’ long-term success as a possible top-selling series.
There are certainly questions about whether Tom King and Daniel Sampere will be able to get Wonder Woman to that top-level success. King specifically has been known to start strong but not finish a long run strong. King’s strengths as a writer have been best highlighted in mini- and maxi-series like Supergirl: Woman Of Tomorrow and Vision. Part of King’s success is how much DC Comics editorial will not dictate his creative plans. That was something that had a major impact on the second half of his run on Batman. Hopefully, that is communication that is cleared up this time around as King’s Wonder Woman could be where we see Wonder Girl and other related titles down the line spin out of the new direction for the franchise.
BATMAN VS CATWOMAN BEGINS GOTHAM WAR
Bruce Wayne really gets no time to rest. In the last year alone Bruce has gone through the Shadow War, Dark Crisis On Infinite Crisis, Failsafe, Bat-Man Of Gotham, and Knight Terrors. And that’s not even talking about things going on over in Detective Comics and the dozens of other titles Bruce’s Batman appears in.
But not getting any rest is just Bruce Wayne’s normal as coming out of Knight Terrors he will be going to war with Selina Kyle. A crossover between Batman and Catwoman titles, The Gotham War is the latest Batman franchise event. This is a conflict that Chip Zdarsky heavily hinted at in Batman #136 when Bruce and Selina reunited.
For at least the first month it looks like The Gotham War will be contained to the Batman and Catwoman series along with a mini-series for Red Hood. That is not to say that we won’t see titles like Nightwing or Harley Quinn tie into the event in future months. But for now, it seems like Zdarsky and Tini Howard will be driving the story. Though given that characters like Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Duke Thomas are noticeably absent from all the Batman books they are likely to get tie-ins similar to Jason Todd.