DC Comics begins their first full month post-Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths not really addressing the big event that will end their 2022. Its an odd thing to notice when looking through DC Comics January 2023 solicitations. Everything appears to just be following up on where the titles that are still continuing in January 2023 as if they are only following up on events in their respective titles. We see that across the board except for two DC Comics titles. Let’s dive into the most notable things we can expect from DC Comics based on their January 2023 solicitations.
WHERE IN THE DC UNIVERSE IS BRUCE WAYNE?
One of the immediate things that we see in DC Comics January 2023 solicitations is the Bruce Wayne’s status quo will be unknown in both Batman and Detective Comics. We do still see Bruce starring in Lazarus Planet but that is an event taking place in its own corner at an unknown period in the DC Universe history. In the present we see that Bruce is nowhere to be found. At least that is what the solicitation for Batman #131 points out with Detective Comics #1068 telling a Two-Face story with Bruce absent. Then we get further indication of Bruce’s disappearance in the new Batman: Legends of Gotham #1 that mentions Bruce being MIA at the moment.
This appears to be more about what has been going on in both Batman and Detective Comics than clue us into what may have happened to Bruce Wayne in Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths. Both these comic books have shined a spotlight on Bruce having more time as Batman behind him the in front of him. In the current Failsafe storyline in Batman we’ve seen the new super android physically break Bruce. Meanwhile in Detective Comics its been shown to us that Bruce’s age and injuries from being Batman are finally catching up to him.
All of that puts into question if 2023 for Batman will be telling the story of how Bruce will evolve as a crime fighter. Whether that means finally looking into handing over the mantle or responsibilities of Batman to the Batman Family while taking or moving into developing technology like we see in Batman Beyond. Given the direction Batman creative teams have been going on I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more of a move towards the Neo Gotham future we saw in Batman Beyond. That includes Bruce finally upgrading his costume to overcome his age slowing him down and injuries that have been piling up. That is at least what I hope as it is a creative direction with a lot of potential for many years to come.
SUPERMAN FAMILY RELAUNCH BEGINS
The relaunch of the Superman franchise will be a slow one. It will begin with Action Comics #1051 where we will get the debut for the status quo of the Superman Family post-Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths. That includes everyone in the Superman Family except Clark Kent getting newly redesigned costumes. Outside of Clark’s Superman costume everyone else looks to be largely the same except for how form fitting their respective jackets are. From the initial impression this does give the Superman Family this does look like they are all looking to emphasize being united.
This indicates that moving forward DC Comics will be looking to explore how the Superman Family will look to establish their own clan and start building Krypton 2.0. This is something we saw teased in the Future State comic books where Kal-El’s future family line was shown. With the presence of two unknown Kryptonian twins also on the cover for Action Comics #1051.
How much of that we get in this first post-Dark Crisis issue is unknown. Though I’m excited to pick up Action Comics #1051 as the anthology series direction is one that has me highly intrigued. DC Comics showed they can produce consistently a high quality ongoing anthology series with strong creative teams with Batman: Urban Legends. If Action Comics can follow suit than it could be in contention for comic book of the year in 2023.
LAZARUS PLANET TAKES OVER THE DC UNIVERSE
DC Comics is not wasting anytime in having their next big event as Lazarus Planet will be taking place starting in January. Based on everything that has been revealed about Lazarus Planet this appears to be the Magic Crisis that has been teased in Justice League Dark and various other comic books for years. The catalyst for Lazarus Planet even happening is based on however Mark Waid’s Batman vs Robin mini-series event will conclude.
Based on the information we do have the event will be taking place over the course of two months with weekly releases of one-shots covering the various aspects of Lazarus Planet. While the creative teams for each one-shot will be different Mark Waid is being promoted as the showrunner of the event, basically making him the editorial lead of Lazarus Planet.
I’m honestly not sure how to feel about Lazarus Planet. While I’ve greatly enjoyed Waid’s Batman/Superman: World’s Finest run I have been highly disappointed by the Batman vs Robin mini-series. Waid doesn’t seem to have a full grasp on telling stories within the present day continuity of the DC Universe. He’s much better at doing his own thing free of working within a continuity, as shown by how fun his Batman/Superman: World’s Finest series has been. Hopefully working as the editorial lead for Lazarus Planet will work as all the creative teams could benefit from his knowledge of the DC Universe and takes the burden away from him figuring out the voices for the “modern” DCU.
NIGHTWING 100TH ISSUE CELEBRATION
In terms of ongoings Nightwing has been one of DC Comics best sellers during the Infinite Frontier era. DC Comics has also finally took notice of Nightwing’s popularity as instead of constantly trying to kill him off in various events or Batman stories we are seeing Dick Grayson take a prominent role in Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths. To build off that momentum DC Comics is going all out with the Nightwing #100 issue as it is getting numerous variant covers by top-tier artists, something normally saved for character anniversary or Batman comics like Batman/Spawn.
While that alone shows how DC Comics is targeting Nightwing #100 to be a big deal from a storyline perspective it will be one of the first comics to deal with the post-Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths continuity. Or at least one of the only ones promoted in that way, with the other comic book that has been given that status being Action Comics. Based on the main cover alone Nightwing #100 will hint at many DC Comics characters post-Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths status quo since Dick Grayson has ties to the Titans, Justice League, JSA, and Batman Family.
As much as that makes Nightwing #100 enough to be a comic book to look forward to I hope there is more. Because one of the things we still don’t know about is what this all will mean for Bludhaven. There is a tease in Nightwing #100 solicitation that we will finally be getting around to what Heartless plot is. Hopefully that is the case because we haven’t gotten much from Nightwing’s rogues gallery being built out due to how busy Dick Grayson has been while involved in various events that go beyond Bludhaven.
DC POWER CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH
One of the cool things we’ve seen both DC Comics and Marvel do is the one-shot anthologies that celebrate various cultures and ethnicities. They’ve provided spotlights into how there really is a diverse cast of characters that exist in their respective universes. And we see that with DC Power: A Celebration as all the characters on the cover for this one-shot anthology have become major characters in their own right. Each character from Jo Mullein to Wallace West could star in their own ongoing or mini-series if given the chance.
Now these celebration issues are always a double edge sword. Because as great as they have been thanks to the talented creative teams behind each of them it does shine a spotlight on how DC Comics and Marvel have failed to promote these characters to maximize their successes. Taking DC Power: A Celebration as an example only Jace Fox is the only one that could be considered a series lead in their own comic book. While Wallace West and Jefferson Pierce are each appearing in Flash and Batman: Legends of Gotham they are positioned as supporting characters.
Something DC Comics can do to immediately change that is announce new Justice League, Titans, Green Lantern, and Aquaman titles. They would not only feature characters in DC Power: A Celebration as series leads but also other characters in the diverse pool of unused characters (coughall the forgotten and lost Titanscough). Maybe we will start seeing that in February since Justice League, Titans, Green Lantern, and Aquaman are all titles with an MIA-status.
MORE DC COMICS YOUNG ADULT GRAPHIC NOVELS
We all know that DC Comics has struggled with attracting a younger audience with comic books more than ever being targeted to older demographics. Which is why I have liked seeing DC Comics attempting to target younger audiences through the young adult genre through graphic novels that lean into that demographic. Its been obviously successful as we continue to see them try to put out a new young adult graphic novel featuring reimaginations of their characters every few months.
Now we see that is filling out their Spring 2023 release schedule with three different young adult graphic novels. They are Teen Titans: Robin, Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story, and Bruce Wayne: Not Super. Each one of these graphic novels has a distinct direction as they are each going for different audiences. Which is great as there is so much to be done within the young adult category that we see the superhero comics do all the time as well. Hopefully DC Comics continues to do more of these types of graphic novels with other characters in the future.