DC Comics is going to be taking its time to fully show off what the DC Universe will be like in the aftermath of Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths. We see that with February 2023 continuing the trend from January where the Batman Family dominance in DC Comics’ publishing line-up is more apparent than ever. Some of that is being fixed as the Superman Family is going to finally begin their relaunched direction with Action Comics and Superman’s latest issues. That along with Lazarus Planet appears to be helping lift up DC Comics’ start to 2023. Let’s take a look at what we should be on the lookout for from DC Comics in February 2023 based on their latest solicitations.
THE SUPERMAN FAMILY RELAUNCH BEGINS
One of the franchises that was notably absent in DC Comics January 2023 solicitations was Superman and all his related characters. That absence was due to DC Comics waiting to have everything ready to fully relaunch the Superman franchise. Now we see it is going to begin in February 2023 as Action Comics and a relaunched Superman series are leading the way for where the Superman Family will be going in the future.
First, the new Superman series appears to position Clark Kent back as the prime Superman. What particularly stuck out to me in Superman #1 is that DC Comics is back to using the Clark Kent name rather than Kal-El name that has been used to identify Superman’s personal persona during the Infinite Frontier direction. That may sound like a small change but one I hope that they stick to. Because making Superman fully go into being Kryptonian and losing his connections to his foundation that is core to the character was a big mistake. Adding in Superman combatting Lex Luthor, who is in prison now, and the new Supercorp should add to how Joshua Williamson and Jamal Campbell plan to challenge the character.
Then there is Action Comics #1052 starting a direction I have been hoping DC Comics would do with more franchises. And that is using iconic titles and characters to create new anthology series to spotlight the vast DC Universe. We saw how great that was for Batman: Urban Legends an anthology series that showcased the wide range of characters within the Batman franchise. Turning one of their iconic titles such as Action Comics into an anthology series for the Superman Family is a big win. This will give creative teams a chance to showcase how important the entire Superman Family is. Which in turn could set up characters like Supergirl, Steel, and others to have momentum whenever they get their own solo series as Action Comics helps build their new directions and fanbase.
LAZARUS PLANET FORGES NEW DC UNIVERSE
Not getting to have any time to let the events of Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths impact the DC Universe as the two-month event, Lazarus Planet, is already looking to be making changes. Based on how DC Comics has been setting up its publishing schedule it does appear that Lazarus Planet is an event that they are making sure is wrapped up to start other plans they have. We see that with how Lazarus Planet is being told in two months rather than the traditional four to six months big events are told.
With so many major characters that didn’t have solo or team titles involved Lazarus Planet appears to set the foundation for many characters. Specifically, all the magic-based characters that includes the likes of Zatanna and Doctor Fate. That is hopefully the case because DC Comics has largely ignored building out the magic corner of the DC Universe outside of Justice League Dark. There is a lot of potential with these characters and the world that Lazarus Planet will hopefully help elevate and create a new, strong foundation.
Though it appears as the biggest impact Lazarus Planet will have is on Bruce Wayne and Damian Wayne. At least when it comes to the state of their father-son relationship. Bruce and Damian have had a very tense relationship the last few years that they have been unable to get past. It is looking like the events of Lazarus Planet were what Bruce and Damian needed to return to getting along as father-son. Now with Tim Drake being the main Robin, it’ll be interesting if however, Batman vs Robin and Lazarus Planet ends we will see Damian Wayne assume a new role in the DC Universe.
TIM DRAKE AND JON KENT SEARCH FOR BATMAN
There still appears to be a question as to where Bruce Wayne’s Batman is in February. We see in the main Batman series that Chip Zdarsky is going to be exploring what Gotham City is like without Bruce as Batman. Because we see in Batman #132 solicitation that while questions are had about where Batman is at that Bruce Wayne is still active. Though with Two-Face and Clayface running Gotham City it seems that Bruce isn’t home. Instead whatever the Red Mask mystery is has taken Bruce away from Gotham City, leaving it open for his villains to take over.
The mystery of where Bruce Wayne is is heightened by the backup story where we see Robin Tim Drake searching for his mentor. The mystery is so big that Tim Drake is teaming up with Superman Jon Kent to find Bruce. This appears to be the first time we will actually see Tim and Jon team up. Their dynamic will be interesting to see especially since they are the same age and going through similar experiences right now. It should make for a friendship that has different layers to the friendship Tim has with Conner Kent and Jon has with Damian Wayne.
NIGHTWING BRINGS THE TITANS TO BLUDHAVEN
The character being elevated the most in the aftermath of Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths is Dick Grayson’s Nightwing. After the previous DC Comics regime spent decades trying different ways to kill off the character we are seeing the original sidekick finally being elevated and allowed to grow into the role he has been training his entire 60+ year history for. And that is one of the main leaders of the DC Universe as it appears as though Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths will end with Nightwing playing a pivotal role in the heroes saving the Multiverse.
Now with his elevated status, Nightwing will be a lot busier. To help manage things Dick Grayson is going to be recruiting his Titans family to help him out. That’s already something Tom Taylor has been building toward as we’ve seen the Titans play a big part in his current Nightwing run. Now that is being expanded as the Titans will be moving to Bludhaven.
While Superman is getting credit for giving Nightwing we can also credit Nite-Mite for this as in Nightwing #98 he mentioned how Dick Grayson can fill the hole left behind by Blockbuster. Bringing Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, Donna Troy, and Wally West’s Flash to reform the Titans with their home base being in Bludhaven should help with that. This will give room for Nightwing to better split his time between Bludhaven and Gotham City while opening the door for the Titans to be involved in all future Batman events that happen all the time now.
On that note, with Dick Grayson also taking the time to mentor Jon Kent in the new backup story it would be cool to see Jon join the Titans. The Titans have always been about helping the next generation grow and they can provide Jon a superhero support system that he can be more open with. It also would help further build Jon’s credibility as Superman as he is still extremely new in the role.
WONDER WOMAN & WONDER GIRL FINALLY TEAM-UP
It only took one year after the end of Trial of the Amazons for Wonder Woman to finally team up with and possibly mentor the new Wonder Girl Yara Flor. It is finally happening in Wonder Woman #796 as Diana and Yara will be appearing together. Unfortunately, it does not look like this will be an actual team-up as Yara’s ex-boyfriend Eros will be using his Godly powers to turn Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl against each other. Will be a lesson learned to never get into a relationship with a God as they ruin everything.
On a more serious note, it is surprising that it took the Wonder Woman creative almost a whole year to actually have Diana and Yara appear in a story together. Waiting until they could tell a story where Diana and Yara will fight each other is not the best start to this. It does remind readers that those in charge of the Wonder Woman franchise have not done a good job at following up on the Trial of the Amazon to truly build out Wonder Woman to be similar to Batman or Superman where the entire family of characters is being given story opportunities.
Hopefully, the story in Wonder Woman #796 is just the start of Diana and Yara teaming up together. It would help both grow to see Diana actually mentoring Yara rather than just being a solo act she’s been for most of her career. It would help to establish a different dynamic than Diana had with Cassandra Sandsmark and Donna Troy, two protégé’s Diana was much more hands-off with as a mentor.