Things look to be escalating for the DC Universe as we enter the summer months of 2020. DC Comics June 2020 solicitations show us a DC Universe that will be going through a lot. From Dark Nights: Death Metal to DCeased 2 to Joker War, the heroes and villains of the DC Universe are going to have their hands full. Let’s take a closer look at what stood out from what DC Comics revealed in their June 2020 solicitations.
DCEASED RETURNS WITH DEAD PLANET
DCeased was a wildly successful event. Having the freedom of taking place in a continuity that is its own separate thing away from the current DC Universe gave Tom Taylor a lot of freedom to take greater risk to where the story ends. The success of DCeased was clearly a big surprise since we only got a single one-shot tie-in comic to the event. Being focused on just one comic book actually helped DCeased become as beloved as it was.
I was a big fan of Taylor’s original series and enjoyed the first issue of the tie-in semi-sequel DCeased: Unkillables. So getting a sequel in the form of DCeased: Dead Planet is incredibly exciting. Having Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine, who was the main created team for DCeased, back on board adds to the excitement for this sequel.
What really stood out was the fact who the new leads for the series will be. From the cover it looks as though DCeased: Dead Planet takes place several years after Dceased and Unkillables happen. A big reason for that is because we see Damian Wayne, Jonathan Kent and Cassandra Sandsmark have fully taken on the identities of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, respectively, and are the new Trinity. Damian, Jonathan and Cassandra look to be joining Dinah Lance, who became a Green Lantern during DCeased, and Green Arrow as the new Justice League. It’ll be interesting to see with how many years they were away what becomes of Earth, especially with how DCeased: Unkillables implies that Vandal Savage is going to take advantage of the Anti-Life Equation virus infection.
BATMAN: THREE JOKERS FINALLY BEGINS
Batman: Three Jokers was a series that was announced back when the Black Label was originally revealed by DC Comics. This series by Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok is supposed to explain why we have had so many different interpretations of Joker over the years. Specifically, the Joker that Batman originally battles who is always implied to be the original Red Hood, the Joker from Killing Joke and the present day Joker. Each of these Jokers, while having the same basic design, have been different characters that the Batman Family have battled. Now Johns and Fabok are going to give us the answer as Batman: Three Jokers #1 is going to be released in June 2020.
Based on the teaser we understand that in addition to spotlighting Batman and Joker, this series will also star Jason Todd’s Red Hood and Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl. Jason and Barbara being key players in Batman: Three Jokers makes sense given their respective past with one of the three Joker’s being spotlighted. What will be interesting is if whatever we learn from Batman: Three Jokers will be brought into the main DC Universe continuity once Johns and Fabok wrap up their story. Based on the concept art it does look like Batman: Three Jokers is an out of continuity story but could potential be made official continuity once all things are said and done.
WONDER WOMAN ADVENTURES THROUGH THE DARK MULTIVERSE
Dark Nights: Death Metal is such an intriguing series. The original Dark Nights: Metal was a fantastic DC Universe event. From everything that has been said about it Dark Nights: Death Metal seems to be its own thing that is not necessarily connected to the current DC Universe. But given how heavily Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are diving into the Dark Multiverse with Wonder Woman as the lead there are a lot of implications that Dark Nights: Death Metal is closely tied into the events in the DC Universe.
Especially considering how 2019 was the year DC went all in with the Dark Multiverse through their Year of the Villain banner that spotlighted Lex Luthor and Batman Who Laughs. Not paying off what Year of the Villain built throughout 2019 and tie it into the core DC Universe would be an odd decision to make. So I definitely expect the adventure Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman are on during Dark Nights: Death Metal will be highly important to the DC Universe’s future.
JOKER WAR LEADS BATMAN TO FIND CLOWNHUNTER
The more we learn about the Joker War the more it seems like it is a story that is reminiscent of the Arkham City and Arkham Knight games. The cover for Batman #97 in particular with Batman being infected by Joker’s toxin reminds me of what Joker did to the Dark Knight at the beginning of the game.
In addition to that it will be very interesting to see how Joker War ends up impacting Harley Quinn. James Tynion and DC are heavily emphasizing Punchline as Joker’s new girlfriend since the character debut. With how much of a spotlight Punchline is being given this could all build towards a bigger arc for Harley Quinn within Joker War.
The other thing that the new Batman solicitation seem to be emphasizing is that we will be getting a new character that will be known as Clownhunter. That is a very specific name that raises an eyebrow for what is going on in Joker War. Maybe the mysterious Clownhunter could tie-in to what is going on over in Detective Comics where we are seeing Peter Tomasi imply Two-Face could possibly die or take a new path in life.
BATGIRL’S BROTHER RETURNS WITH DARK PLAN
Batgirl being a part of the Joker War is something that was unavoidable. Especially with how Joker is going after all the Batman Family members Batgirl is likely one of the members to be most involved. What is interesting about Batgirl’s tie-in to Joker War is that it will bring out James Gordon Jr. from hiding. Since being reintroduced a decade ago James Gordon Jr. has been built up as being a Joker-like criminal in Barbara Gordon’s life.
The timing of James Gordon Jr. return is made even more interesting given that his and Barbara’s father, Commissioner Gordon, is out of commission due to being one of Batman Who Laughs’ Infected. Maybe this new Batgirl storyline will bring Commissioner Gordon back into the Batman books and part of Gotham City. That could be an even bigger deal in the large scope of the plans for the Batman Family in the future.
NIGHTWING TO BECOME JOKER’S PUNCHLINE PUPPET
In addition to what Batman and Batgirl are doing during Joker War the other series to watch for this major storyline is Nightwing. With each new solicitation of Nightwing that we are closer to Dick Grayson’s full return. That return may be met with its biggest roadblock in Nightwing #73 as Joker’s focus on going after the character looks to lead Dick Grayson becoming Punchline’s new puppet.
Making Dick/Ric Grayson being turned in Punchline’s puppet could play a key role in Joker War as it brings Batgirl and Robin directly into Joker’s plans. While Batgirl has been a part of Joker War in her series we haven’t seen much indication Robin is part of the story. Now with Joker going after Dick/Ric Grayson and trying to turn him it gives Damian Wayne a bigger role to play. Damian and Barbara could end up being the people that fully bring Dick Grayson back full-time.
NEW CREATIVE TEAM TAKES OVER WONDER WOMAN
Wonder Woman is one of DC Comics most important characters but for whatever reason her ongoing series seems to have the biggest trouble with having a long-term creative team. Since the Rebirth relaunch in 2016 we had Greg Rucka, James Robinson, G. Willow Wilson, and Steve Orlando step in as the main ongoing writers. That is in comparison to Batman who had Tom King as its lead writer up during that period and only recently had James Tynion take over the series in January 2020.
Now after Steve Orlando took over Wonder Woman after G. Willow Wilson back in November 2019 with Wonder Woman #82 we now have Mariko Tamaki stepping in to be the new writer. Part of the reason for Tamaki stepping in to be Wonder Woman’s new writer may be due to Orlando not being exclusive to DC Comics and working on a new project for rival Marvel Comics.
As frustrating as the continuous change in Wonder Woman’s creative team Mariko Tamaki is a great writer. Her work on X-23 was fantastic and showed she can work within a larger continuity for both the Marvel Universe and Laura Kinney’s character. Having Mikel Janin on board as the new artist should make Tamaki’s Wonder Woman story have great artwork as well. Hopefully Tamaki and Janin can use what Orlando is currently doing with the series to make for a strong start to their run.
FLASH BATTLES LEGION OF ZOOM
After building up that Reverse Flash is now recruiting the Rogues Gallery to make his own family we are going to see the payoff come quick as the new Legion of Zoom go after The Flash. Making the debut of the Legion of Zoom an even bigger deal is the fact that Reverse Flash seems to have been able to corrupt the Tornado Twins, Barry Allen and Iris West children in the future. That is a huge development that makes the Legion of Zoom an even more personal story that it was already looking to be.
A corrupted Tornado Twins could lead into bigger personal developments for Barry and Iris’ relationship. The Tornado Twins involvement could lead into Bart Allen, who is also in the present and is part of Young Justice, to get involved in the Legion of Zoom storyline. Bart could be the help that Barry will need as things become a family matter now.
DEATHSTROKE JOINS THE DC ANIMATED UNIVERSE
Deathstroke is one of the few major DC Universe villains that never appeared in the DC Animated Universe. That is likely due to during the period DCAU was out Deathstroke was primarily a Teen Titans villain. The Teen Titans were never officially part of the DCAU, save for a few brief references to the team. And Deathstroke didn’t become a bigger player in the DC Universe until Identity Crisis in 2004.
But now that the DCAU is making a return in comic book form through Batman: The Adventures Continue it is finally time for Deathstroke to debut. The solicitation for Batman: The Adventures Continue #2 imply that the DCAU Deathstroke will be more on the grey side of things. Also labeling Deathstroke as a swashbuckling mercenary also implies the DCAU Slade Wilson will be different from both the DC Universe and Teen Titans cartoon version of the character. Robin being connected to DCAU Deathstroke is also appropriate given that it could lead into the Teen Titans being teased.
LOIS LANE AND JIMMY OLSEN SOLO JOURNEYS END
One of the biggest things that Brian Bendis brought with his take over of the Superman franchise was bringing Greg Rucka and Matt Fraction along to write a Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen series, respectively. Now both Lois Lane and Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen will conclude their respective 12 issue run in June 2020. Both comics have done a good job in giving the fan bases for Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen fun and intriguing stories to enjoy. But now that both comics are ending it’ll be interesting to see what plans Bendis and DC Comics have for both Lois and Jimmy in the second half of 2020. Maybe these final issues of Lois Lane and Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen will clue us into the bigger plans that are in store for the Superman franchise moving forward.
SHAZAM GETS NEW CREATIVE TEAM
Wonder Woman isn’t the only character who is getting a new creative team. Starting with June 2020’s SHAZAM #14, the former Captain Marvel will have Jeff Loveness and Brandon Peterson step in as the new creative team. It is disappointing that Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham aren’t SHAZAM’s creative team anymore but this is a change that honestly needed to happen. SHAZAM has long been suffering from one delay after another with each issue. Given how SHAZAM is supposed to be one of the key characters for DC Comics success in not only their comic books but also live-action movies these delays are unacceptable. Now maybe with Loveness and Peterson on board SHAZAM can get on a consistent monthly schedule while also delivering the high quality storytelling Johns and Eaglesham delivered in their 13-issue run.
ROBIN LOOKS FOR REVENGE AGAINST KGBEAST
One of the things that stood out to me from DC Comics new comics in June 2020 is the solicitation for Teen Titans #43. The solicitation does spoil the fact that Damian Wayne’s Robin exit as a member of the Teen Titans is only temporary. But that is not the thing that stands out from the Teen Titans #43 solicitation. What stood out is the fact that now after almost two years after Dick Grayson was shot in the head by KGBeast we will see Damian get his revenge on the assassin.
That is such an odd choice to make because getting revenge on the person who not only shot his mentor but also big brother figure in the head is something Damian would seek right away. But here we are two years later, and several months in the DC Universe timeline, and we see some actual follow-up on the events of KGBeast shooting Dick Grayson in the head. Hopefully the story can hit on the impact this storyline would’ve had if it happened much earlier.
YOUNG JUSTICE TRINITY FRIENDSHIP REFORMS
The latest Young Justice series by Brian Bendis has been around for a while now. Which makes the fact that Bendis waited until Young Justice #17 to reestablish Tim Drake, Conner Kent and Bart Allen’s friendship a weird choice. While this falls in line how Bendis likes to take his time with every single story he writes Tim, Conner and Bart are considered the Trinity of their generation. Before the New 52 relaunch these three were always considered to be best friends. That has not been the case in the current DC Universe continuity. Hopefully Bendis can tap into the magic of the best friendship between Tim, Conner and Bart.
Also, once again, David F. Walker is co-writing Young Justice with Bendis for this story. This continues the indication that Bendis is grooming Walker to take over Young Justice at some point in the near future. That wouldn’t be surprising since Bendis is likely to take an even bigger role in shaping the DC Universe given the shake-ups at the company thus far in 2020. Walker would be a great choice to write Young Justice given his strong library of work, specifically with Naomi.
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