As the comic book industry prepares to make its return to normal publishing schedule DC Comics put out their planned schedule for the month of August. Some of the comic books in the August 2020 solicitations show that there are many books that have been pushed back in scheduling. That is not surprising as DC Comics, like everyone else, is making sure to not unload everything at once. While August 2020 is has many comic book issues previously solicited for earlier in the summer there are a ton of new books in DC Comics latest batch of solicitations. That includes books like Batman: Three Jokers, Dark Nights: Death Metal, DCeased, Joker War and much more. Let’s take a look at the standouts from DC Comics August 2020 Solicitations.
BATMAN: THREE JOKERS FINALLY BEGINS
After being announced as part of Black Label when DC Comics originally announced the line Batman: Three Jokers is finally coming on August 25th. I have not gotten into any of the Black Label comics thus far. I’ve tried them all out but none of them have grabbed me. That said, I have no doubt that Batman: Three Jokers will knock it out of the park. With the amazing dream creative team of Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok this book will not only tell an great story but look fantastic.
The other exciting aspect of Batman: Three Jokers is the fact that it looks like all three issues are done, at least on the creative side. Fabok recently mentioned on his Twitter account that he has completed all the artwork for Batman: Three Jokers as of May 12th. So, barring any creative changes to the story or halts in normal publishing Batman: Three Jokers should be released on a normal monthly schedule.
That is all without talking about this story. Johns has shown to be a master at crafting continuity, no matter how convoluted or far reaching, to all make sense. And with this story laying out the answers as to why we have had these three different Joker’s since the character was created will be fascinating to watch. Adding in Barbara Gordon and Jason Todd as Batgirl and Red Hood, respectively, should add to how Johns plans to make these answers about the Joker more complex.
DARK NIGHTS: DEATH METAL EXPANDS ITS REACH
Dark Nights: Death Metal continues in August with not only the event but two tie-in one shots. While we are getting Death Metal Guidebook and Death Metal Legends of the Dark Knights one-shot its surprising, we are getting more. It looks like maybe DC Comics has learned from the incredible success of DCeased that they do not need to flood the market with tie-ins to their major comic book stories. At least for things like Dark Nights: Death Metal that seems to be its own self-contained big event.
Keeping the tie-ins to a minimum actually makes the excitement over Dark Nights: Death Metal greater. This gives a greater sense of importance to the main series as it is where almost the entire story will be told. And with all the recent developments over at DC Comics in the past year it’ll be interesting to see how Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s story turns out. This could be the comic book that defines the rest of the DC Universe on a top level once all is said and done. Given that it is a continuation of Snyder’s run on Justice League that would not be surprising at all.
DCEASED JUSTICE LEAGUE FACE DEADLY OLD FRIENDS
DCeased: Dead Planet continues to role ahead and it looks like things aren’t going to be going great for the new generation of Justice League that return to Earth. Based on the cover for DCeased: Dead Planet #2 Wonder Woman will be one of the major antagonists of the series. That is not surprising given that Wonder Woman was the final superhero we saw turned into an Anti-Living at the end of the original DCeased. So her being around to be one of the biggest threats to the Justice League’s attempt to help Earth recover will be interesting how it plays out in the greater story.
The two things that are surprising from the information, and more specifically the covers, for DCeased: Dead Planet #2 is that we do see Clark Kent Superman and Cyborg featured in both of them. At the end of DCeased we saw that the Anti-Living Superman was supposedly killed by Wonder Woman, in her final act before being turned. But if Anti-Living Superman somehow survived his near-death encounter things may be even worse for our heroes.
Cyborg being featured on one of the alternate covers for DCeased: Dead Planet #2 is also surprising. Because, like Superman, Cyborg was shown to have been killed by the Anti-Living Wonder Woman when DCeased concluded. His survival could be a key turning point if he did in fact survive. Because as we saw in the final issue of DCeased, Cyborg did learn that they did not have to kill the Anti-Living. He seemed to realize that there could be a cure to the Anti-Life Equation virus. If he is still around then Cyborg will likely be the most important character in DCeased: Dead Planet.
CLOWNHUNTER RISES UP IN “THE JOKER WAR”
“The Joker War” is a Batman event that it looks like no one will be safe. Now things will only get deadlier as a new character named Clownhunter rises up during “The Joker War.” We won’t know much about this new character until Clownhunter makes his official debut. But based on his design and how he is talked about in the Batman solicitation he won’t be allying himself with the Batman Family or Joker. This new character could be as much of a wild card as Punchline looks to be during this event.
Catwoman and Harley Quinn also look to be taking on bigger roles in this Batman event. Harley Quinn seems to be a big target for the Joker. This could be the biggest development that Harley Quinn has had since she became one of DC Comics pillar characters. “The Joker War” may help define the character’s future direction after all is said and done.
BATGIRL HAUNTED BY JAMES GORDON JR.
While “The Joker War” will no doubt impact Batgirl, Barbara Gordon is going to be having other things to worry about during this event as James Gordon Jr. makes a big return. Anytime Barbara’s brother is around there is concern for what is going to happen. And with Joker threatening Gotham City in such a big way James Gordon Jr. will likely take advantage of all the chaos. This could all further how James Gordon Jr. has become Batgirl’s biggest nemesis’ in the last decade.
It’ll also be interesting to see how Cecil Castellucci handles Barbara temporarily being handicapped again. This is the type of story that needs to be carefully handled. Castellucci has shown to be someone that you can trust with this type of storytelling through her work on Batgirl thus far.
HARLEY QUINN COMES TO AN END
With how big of a role Harley Quinn is going to have in “The Joker War” it is not surprising that DC Comics will be ending her current ongoing comic book. The more we learn about “The Joker War” the clearer it is that the story will be defining her character’s future. So it is very likely that Harley Quinn #75 will be the last issue of any solo ongoing series for the character until “The Joker War” ends. Though there is still the Black Label Harley Quinn and Birds of Prey that will be published that should give Harley Quinn fans their fill of the character.
All that said, it is good choice to have Harley Quinn #75 wrap up this ongoing series with Harley Quinn facing off against Punchline. As Joker’s new sidekick and girlfriend Punchline has quickly risen up to be one of DC Comics most in-demand characters at the moment. Harley Quinn will have a lot to say about that when she finally learns about Punchline. This clash will be one that Joker and Harley Quinn fans will be highly anticipating play out.
JOKER PUTS NIGHTWING UNDER PUNCHLINE’S CONTROL
Based on the tie-in reading list Nightwing is going to be the series that most ties into “The Joker War.” What’s interesting about the updated Nightwing #73 solicitation we see no mention of Ric Grayson. DC Comics is making it clear that Dick Grayson is the one that Joker is targeting. This is signaling that we are much closer to the full return of Dick Grayson. Nightwing’s tie-in to “The Joker War” may be the biggest catalyst to Ric Grayson returning to being Dick Grayson once again.
But that return will not come easy as Nightwing is going to be placed under the control of Punchline. What makes this particular storyline interesting is how it will use the mind controlling crystal that the Court of Owls used to help transform Dick Grayson into Ric Grayson will be used. The last issue of Nightwing showed that Joker was able to steal that mind controlling crystal. So it is likely Nightwing will fall under Joker and Punchline’s influence due to the mind controlling crystal being used on him again. That could play into what plans Joker has for Batgirl and the Robins, who all are absent in the talk about “The Joker War” in the main Batman series.
MAXWELL LORD RETURNS AS WONDER WOMAN GETS NEW BEGINNING
Mariko Tamaki’s start on Wonder Woman got pushed back to August. But even with the push back I am still exciting for Tamaki to begin her run. She has delivered on all the comic books she has written thus far. That includes her work on Supergirl: Being Super and X-23.
Making Tamaki’s run something that is exciting is that she will be bringing in Maxwell Lord as the first big bad guy Wonder Woman takes on first. This already makes the story engaging for fans of the movie since Maxwell Lord is one of the main antagonists of Wonder Woman 1984. That familiarity could be a boast for the series. Add in the comic book history between Wonder Woman and Maxwell Lord this could be a story that sets the groundwork for a bigger story down the line.
CAN CLARK KENT STILL BE A REPORTER AS SUPERMAN
One of the biggest questions that has come with Clark Kent revealing he is in fact Superman to the world is how it will impact his work as a reporter. Given that he has written many stories about Superman that puts a major question on his agenda as a reporter. Even if Clark has always been committed to be a reporter with high morals that will not stop people questioning his ethics. Especially now that they know he is Superman it puts a major target on him and the Daily Planet.
How Lex Luthor factors into the direction of Superman will be interesting to see. Lex has been busy with the big Multiverse adventures from Snyder’s Justice League. That storyline elevated Lex to be almost God-like. How Bendis and DC ground Lex back as a Superman villain will be interesting to see play out.
AQUALAD RETURNS TO SAVE AQUAMAN AND MERA’S SON
Jackson Hyde is a character that has been around in comic book form since Brightest Day #4 back in 2010. The character has shown to be incredibly popular with his appearance in the Young Justice cartoon, with Kaldur’ahm predating Jackson Hyde. But since being introduced Jackson Hyde’s Aqualad has had several start and stops in the Aquaman and Teen Titans comic books. The character just cannot catch a break in trying to breakthrough the comic book realm like he did in the Young Justice cartoon.
That said, maybe now with Jackson Hyde’s Aqualad return to Aquaman and help his mentor save his and Mera’s kid he’ll get the time to be established. Based on the cover that will be made difficult with Black Manta, his father, around. That should add to how Jordan Clark will be establishing Aqualad back into the series.
JOSHUA WILLIAMS ENDS HIS FLASH RUN WITH “FINISH LINE”
Joshua Williamson has had a character defining run on The Flash. Now that run is going to be coming to an end with “Finish Line.” Williamson has delivered with every story he has written on The Flash thus far. He knows how to properly build on each storyline. Now with “Finish Line” he is going to conclude his run on The Flash with a final clash with Reverse-Flash. There is really no other way to end things with how Williamson has not only developed the Speed Force but other Power Forces throughout his run. And Reverse-Flash has been ever present in these storylines, whether directly or indirectly.
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