DC Comics has had such an interesting second half of the year. The pandemic certainly impact their scheduling and the amount of titles they publish. But now with the December 2020 solicitations out it is clear that DC Comics is planning to enter 2021 with a fresh start. There are a lot of things that they are ending, including Dark Nights: Death Metal, in December. That along with other big announcements create an interesting end to 2020. Let’s take a closer look at the things to keep an eye out for as we close out 2020 for DC Comics.
TOM KING & CLAY MANN’S BATMAN/CATWOMAN SERIES BEGINS
Finally, after teasing the series since 2019, Tom King and Clay Mann’s much talked about Batman/Catwoman series is finally going to release on December 1st. This new maxi-series is going to act as an extension of King’s epic run on Batman that concluded last year. But while it is an extension of his work on Batman it looks like Batman/Catwoman will be standalone as it’ll be part of the Black Label line for DC Comics. This means that King will have even more freedom to do whatever he wants with Baman/Catwoman without worrying about current continuity for the Batman franchise. And like Batman: Three Jokers this allows DC Comics and their creative teams the choice of if they’ll bring in story beats created by Batman/Catwoman into the main continuity after all is said and done.
All of this is really the best for everyone because King’s run on Batman certainly needed to have a form of a reset. I spoke about that during my retrospective of King’s Batman run and I still hold to that. King just seemed to have lost control of the direction he wanted to go by the time he went all in with “City of Bane.” Falling under the Black Label allows him to tell the story he wants to tell along with Mann and not be restricted to mandates that come when writing comics meant to be part of the main DCU.
The one thing that does cause pause for this new Batman/Catwoman series is the fact that Joker will be one of the main villains. While I get that King and Mann have been working on this series since 2019 to ensure its release on schedule Joker is a villain that does not create excitement. The Joker has been overused far too much in big stories, as I mentioned in my recent article about the Joker. Batman has so many great villains that King could’ve easily used in this spot like Black Mask or Two-Face, both who have personal stories with Batman and Catwoman that could be told.
That said, I do appreciate King and Mann brining in Andrea Beaumont, aka Phantasm, to play a big role in Batman/Catwoman. The Mask of the Phantasm movie is still one of the best pieces of content in Batman’s history. Having Phantasm be brought in to be a major player for a Batman comic creates a lot of excitement possibilities as King could go in all sorts of directions for what role she serves in Batman/Catwoman’s narrative.
JUSTICE LEAGUE BUSY WITH ENDLESS WINTER
Out of nowhere DC Comics recently started promoting a new Justice League event called “Endless Winter” with the release of two promotional images featuring Batman and Wonder Woman. Now we know what this event will as it will be a crossover between Justice League, Justice League Dark, Teen Titans, Flash, and Aquaman. All nine issues off this crossover event will be written by Andy Lanning and Ron Marz.
The thing that stood out most from this event is that all nine issues are going to be releasing within the five weeks in December rather than stretching it out through February. It’s clear that DC Comics wants to wrap up any major story they were planning for 2020 by the end of the year. The marketing of this being a five-week event is just a mask for that. Especially with the other big titles coming to end or releasing in December, which I’ll get to in a bit.
The concerning thing about this “Endless Winter” event is that it is nine issues. It would be one thing if it was a five or six part event. But it taking place over nine issues is asking for a huge investment from anyone interested in picking up the event. Especially considering that the audience that would be most interested in “Endless Winter” is the same audience picking up Dark Nights: Death Metal and Generation comics. That’s a lot to ask for fans to support, especially in a month when most will be even more cash strapped because of the holidays and what is going on in the world right now.
All that said, I have to admit that I am interested in what winter story that Lanning and Marz are aiming to tell. From the covers and solicitation information alone it certainly appears to have the scale you expect from a big event. Bringing in mythical elements from Greek and Viking mythology gives it a different tone from most DC events.
DC COMICS GENERATIONS DIRECTION TAKES NEW FORM
Everything around the Generation comic books that were Dan Didio’s baby project that he had been working on since New 52 has had an interesting arc. It seemed that the Generation comic books were going to set the stage for the future of the DC Universe going into 2021. That all changed when Didio was fired by WB and AT&T. Once that move was done the Generation comic books stopped being talked about.
Now fast forward to now and we finally know that the comic books Didio was heading up development of will be released in January 5th, 2021 in the form of Generations Shattered. This looks to include a large number of stories that were originally teased in the Generation comic books previously announced. Though it’ll be interesting if any of the stories that don’t make it into Generations Shattered appear in other anthology comics. We already know that one of the Batman stories meant for the Generations comic books is now going to be in Detective Comics #1027. That’ll likely happen with other unused stories since most of the work on Generations seemed to be done or almost completed.
Strictly from a story perspective the thing that stood out most from the solicitation for Generations Shattered #1 was the team on the cover. Having the original Batman, Kamandi, Starfire, Sinestro, Booster Gold, Dr. Light, Steel, and Green Lantern Sinestro all on a team together is a standout. The team is certainly unique and unexpected from such a Multiverse-centric story. The creative team is also strong to make Generations Shattered #1 a comic worthy of being one of the first comics to pick up in 2021.
DARK NIGHTS: DEATH METAL END BRINGS TOGETHER THE MULTIVERSE
Dark Nights: Death Metal is going to be racing to the end as DC Comics doubles up its shipment for the main series as we get the final two issues in December. This follows the trend of DC Comics ending the majority of their big stories as they close out 2020. DC Comics clearly is planning to enter 2021 with a fresh start which means it is vital that Dark Nights: Death Metal ends by the time they start their new year. It also shows that the ending of Dark Nights: Death Metal will impact the DC Comics line moving forward like all the other Crisis events have done in the past. If that means a reset for the DC Universe or soft reboot for many characters is unknown. But whatever the case is Dark Nights: Death Metal #7 will likely set the tone moving into the future of the DCU.
From a pure comics stand point all of the Dark Nights: Death Metal comic books coming out in December sound fantastic. The Secret Origin one-shot that Scott Snyder is writing with Geoff Johns sounds a lot like what DC was intending to do with their Generations comic books but on a Multiverse scale. It will at least serve as the conclusion for Superboy Prime’s story, which would be good because the character has been around since Infinite Crisis. Having an end to the characters story, whatever his fate may be, will be good because every time the character appears he shown as not having changed since his turn in Infinite Crisis.
Personally, the comic I’m most looking forward to of the Dark Nights: Death Metal one-shots in December is The Last Stories of the DC Universe. This one-shot reminds me a lot of the DC Universe: Last Will and Testament one-shot that we got towards the end of Final Crisis. That was one of my favorite one-shots for an event because of how well it tied into the family dynamic Batman, Wonder Woman, and others have with their respective families and superhero community as a whole. If The Last Stories of the DC Universe can do something similar I’ll be very happy.
BRIAN BENDIS RUN ON SUPERMAN FAMILY COMES TO AN END
After about a two and a half years Brian Bendis much hyped about run on Superman is coming to an end in December. For as much talk there has been about all of Bendis’ work on Superman, Action Comics, Legion of Super-Heroes, and Young Justice nothing has broken out. There have been notable things that he has done during his time on all these comics. But outside first issues and major anniversary comics Bendis’ work since coming to DC Comics has not sold as well as you expect. Both Superman and Action Comics don’t normally break into the Top 25 of comics sold monthly. Which is the space you expect not only from both Superman and Action Comics but a high profile series written by Bendis.
While that has to a disappointment given how much DC Comics has invested in promoting Bendis’ Superman work over other comics that also falls on quality. Bendis’ Superman work just does not connect with all their readers. I know for myself I just never got into Bendis work. That is majorily disappointing because I went into Bendis run actually enjoying everything the direction of Superman since Rebirth. The work Bendis did just never captured that same magic Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s run before him had. Hopefully Bendis is able to move to a series or franchise that is better suited for his writing style.
Now with Bendis ending his run it’ll be interesting to see who takes over Action Comics and Superman. There is also the question of if we will see more comic books in the Superman Family launch in 2021. Right now we only have Action Comics, Superman, and Legion of Super-Heroes. It would not be surprising if we get a relaunch for the franchise with new Supergirl and Superboy comics launching in early 2021.
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