The first half of 2019 has quite the ride for the DC Universe. Things aren’t going to slow down when DC Comics begins the second half of the year. As we see from July 2019, the Year of the Villains is going to be in full effect with Lex Luthor’s fingerprints all over DC Comics latest solicitations. Along with that Batman’s 80th anniversary celebration continues with several big event-level storylines taking place in July. And those are just two of the many major things going on across the DC Universe. Let’s take a closer look at what else we learned from DC Comics July 2019 solicitations.
LEX LUTHOR SETS YEAR OF THE VILLAIN & JUSTICE-DOOM WAR INTO MOTION
As mentioned in my opening, Lex Luthor is all over DC Comics’ July 2019 solicitation. He is mentioned in someway in just about every comic book solicited in July. That is not a surprise since DC announced not to long ago that 2019 would be the Year of the Villain. There is no bigger villain within the DC Universe than Lex Luthor. That has become even more apparent with his actions as the leader of the latest incarnation of the Legion of Doom. This will likely lead into the big Justice-Doom War that is being teased
In all of the solicitations that he is mentioned it is shown that he is recruiting just about every villain in the DC Universe for whatever he has planned. One of the recruits that was in particular eye catching was his recruitment of Jason Todd and Selina Kyle. That is something mentioned in the July Red Hood: Outlaw and Catwoman solicitations. If Jason and Selina are even considering Lex’s offer this could mean they may be two of the key players for the Year of the Villain for both sides of the upcoming conflict.
CURSE OF THE WHITE KNIGHT LOOMS OVER BATMAN
Batman: White Knight is one of the best Elseworld stories that DC Comics has published in years. Sean Murphy created a fascinating alternate DC Universe where Joker was able to be portrayed as the protagonist. Though that did not mean that the Joker became a hero, we were able to get an intriguing new twist into the war between Batman and Joker.
The way White Knight ended left a lot of opportunities to follow up on. That is something that Murphy is going to do with Batman: Curse Of The White Knight. From the solicitation it looks as though Joker will be recruiting former Batman ally Azrael as he goes back to being a villain full time. Given how Batman was presented in White Knight, how he deals with Joker’s latest scheme can shake his world in a way no one expects.
WALMART GIANT DC UNIVERSE HITTING TRADES
The Walmart Giant comic books is one of the best ideas that DC Comics has ever come up with. It gave DC the opportunity to expand its distribution and be in a place like Walmart that millions of people go to daily. While a brilliant move to bring in new readers it has been tough for many DC Comics fans to pick up these Walmart Giant issues since they do sell out fast.
Because of that it is very smart for DC to finally release the Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman stories found in these Walmart Giants in their own trade paperbacks. This further opens the opportunity for more readers to read these stories. And for those that are only looking to read about the adventures for specific characters this will be the ideal format to read these stories. All in all, this is just another win for DC Comics as they expand the ways for more readers, new and old, to read stories about Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and others.
LOIS LANE AND JIMMY OLSEN GO SOLO
Finally, after talking about these comics for several months, we are finally getting the release of Matt Fraction’s Jimmy Olsen and Greg Rucka’s Lois Lane solo comics in July. These are two comics that can very well be among DC’s best ongoings. They certainly have two very talented writers that fit perfectly for each character. As he showed with his work on Hawkeye, Matt Fraction knows how to write a series that is both light hearted and grounded. That is exactly what a Jimmy Olsen series should be.
Meanwhile, Greg Rucka is the perfect writer for Lois Lane. Rucka is at his best he writes characters that have more of a detective background. We saw that with his runs on Gotham Central and Batwoman. Lois Lane falls in that realm with her investigative journalism background. Delving deeper into how Lois approaches investigating her stories could be extremely fascinating and unique in a world with superheroes that are considered Gods to many people in the DCU.
AQUALAD AND BLACK MANTA RETURN FOR AQUAMAN
The Unspoken Water arc has not necessarily hit the way Kelly Sue DeConnick and DC likely wanted. That can all change with DeConnick bringing back Jackson Hyde, the current Aqualad, and Black Manta back into the fold. Black Manta in particular is someone that should be established as the biggest threat that Aquaman faces. DeConnick can tap into that potential, using the Year of the Villain direction to build Black Manta in that way.
As for Aqualad, Jackson Hyde has never gotten a fair shot since being brought into the DC Universe. This version of Aqualad has been properly developed in the Young Justice cartoon into one of the most important superheroes of that DCU. With his return to the comics DeConnick can build Jackson Hyde’s Aqualad in the same way. And that needs to start with establishing a strong mentor-protege relationship between Aquaman and Aqualad.
BATGIRL GETS NEW CREATIVE TEAM
Batgirl is getting a new creative team with Cecil Castellucci and Carmine Di Giandomenico coming on board. Batgirl has been one of those comics that has been quietly consistently good. DC has done a good job giving the Batgirl series to the right writers. Though this is the third creative team for Batgirl in the last year. Hopefully Cecil Castellucci is able to be on Batgirl for a while so she can tell a few long-term storylines during her run.
BATMAN FALLS AS CITY OF BANE RISES
After 74 issues of build up Tom King will finally begin the “City of Bane” storyline with Batman #75. While there have been some minor stumbles along the way, for the most part King has done a masterful job building up Bane’s long-term plot to break Batman. So far Bane has been extremely successful in staying ahead of Batman. That is not easy to do given how Batman is the most prepared person in the universe.
What will be interesting to see if “City of Bane” will actually be the end of this Batman vs Bane plotline. Though that is what has been hinted I won’t be surprised that by the end of “City of Bane” we are teased with an even bigger story that leads into King’s true endgame of his planned 100 issue run Batman.
TMNT’S RAPHAEL BECOMES THE NEW RED HOOD
Something that I just noticed with the solications for Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III is the fact that Raphael is going to wearing Red Hood-like Batman armor in the series. I’m not sure if that has been teased before but it is something different for this series. Afterall, Batman has built a strong bond with the Turtles through these crossovers. Raphael being the one to wear a Batman-inspired costume is appropriate since he is the most like Batman. How this actually ends up playing out within the crossover will be something else to look forward too.
WHO IS THE NEW DEATHSTROKE?
Even though Slade Wilson is being killed off in the Deathstroke/Teen Titans crossover the Deathstroke series is continuing. The big question was that if the Deathstroke series continuing meant Slade Wilson faked his death or if someone else is picking up the mantle. The solicitation for Deathstroke #45 seems to answer that question with it being the latter option. Though it is not clear who exactly this new Deathstroke will be. We can strike Rose Wilson and Jericho off the list since they are both mentioned separate from the new Deathstroke.
JOKER RETURNS TO TERRORIZE GOTHAM CITY
After stepping back from the Gotham City spotlight for a while the Joker is ready to return and terrorize Batman’s city. With all that has gone on with Joker the last few years the big question will be which version of the character we will get. That will all depend on how Tomasi decides to write him since he changes his approach all the time. Given that the solicitation for Detective Comics #1008 emphasizes Joker’s Clown Prince of Crime moniker he will likely return to being more of his classic horrific jokester self. That’ll be a good reset for the character since most people are familiar with the version of the Joker from the Batman: The Animated Series.
DCU’S GREATEST DETECTIVES ASSEMBLE FOR EVENT LEVIATHAN
Event Leviathan will only get more intense in July. Which will force some of the world’s best detectives to put their minds together to overcome the threat that Leviathan is. And with those assembled being Lois Lane, Batman, Green Arrow, Plastic Man, Manhunter, The Question and Batgirl that shows you how big of a threat Leviathan is. How Brian Bendis will handle juggling all these great characters without trying to make one of them look bad will be very interesting to see.
Also, given that Even Leviathan is a Superman event it’s interesting to see that Superman is not mentioned in July’s solicitation. This makes me wonder if Superman’s role in Event Leviathan will be kept to the Superman and Action Comics ongoing series. That wouldn’t be surprising since Bendis is known to have key story details in his ongoing titles that tie into the big events he writes. That is hopefully not the case since Bendis’ Marvel events always suffered when he did this.
YEAR ONE ENDS WITH THE BIRTH AND DEATH OF FLASH
Being a Flash is not a safe job. Just look at the Flash #75 solicitation. As the issue will close out “The Flash Year One” storyline we are being teased with the death of another Flash. Though it is highly unlikely that Barry Allen will turn out to be the Flash that will die. It could very well be likely this could be someone like Jay Garrick since he hasn’t had the best of luck surviving stories in the current DC Universe.
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