As we reach the end of 2020 we have been learning more about what plans DC Comics has planned for 2021. We already know that in January and February 2021 that DC Comics entire publishing line will be taken over by the Future State direction that gives us a glimpse at the possible futures of all our favorite heroes and villains. Now with DC Comics releasing their March 2021 solicitations we are given a clear picture of what the rest of the upcoming year will be as the entire publishing line is restructured under the “Infinite Frontier” banner. This new direction looks to spin out of the events in Dark Nights: Death Metal, Generations Shattered, and Future State. Let’s take a look at all of these plans shown off in DC Comics March 2021 solicitations.
FUTURE STATE IMPACT ON INFINITE FRONTIER
You can click here to read my breakdown of how Infinite Frontier sets the foundation for the DC Universe. To get there DC Comics will kick off the new future for the DC Universe with Infinite Frontier #0. This one-shot special looks to set the groundwork for what this new direction under the “Infinite Frontier” banner will be, just like DC Rebirth did several years ago.
This time around rather than it being just one creator setting up the foundation for what this direction will be DC Comics has tapped all the creators they have to collaborate for Infinite Frontier #0. All the creators are largely the ones that we will be seeing writing all the different ongoings in this new direction. The few exceptions are Scott Snyder and Geoff Johns, who do not have any announced projects at DC but likely will get announced later in the year.
Making Infinite Frontier #0 even more interesting is how it will lay the foundation for several characters that aren’t mentioned in any of the other solicitations. The Green Lantern Corps, Stargirl and Yara Flor’s Wonder Girl are all mentioned in Infinite Frontier that do not seem to play a role in any of the other titles going on in March. This likely means that Infinite Frontier #0 will act as a backdoor pilot for characters like Aquaman and Green Lantern get their own titles or back-up stories at some point in 2021.
WONDER WOMAN MYTHOLOGY EXPANDS
Through the course of Dark Nights: Death Metal we have seen the importance of Wonder Woman in the DC Universe further elevated. She has always been an important character within the DCU as a founder of the Justice League and Trinity. Dark Nights: Death Metal has further established the role Wonder Woman serves in the DCU by defining her around the truth that she represents in comparison to what Batman and Superman represent. Now it looks like Wonder Woman’s role in the DCU will continue to develop in new ways.
For one we see that she will be front and center in the bigger picture of what is going with Infinite Frontier. Because of that it looks like she will be stepping away from being a member of the Justice League, opening the door for Hippolyta to fill the Wonder Woman role on the team. Diana not being part of the Justice League does hint at what happens in Infinite Frontier #0 will be a big deal for the direction of her franchise.
Speaking of, the expansion of the Wonder Woman franchise as a whole looks to be continuing when Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad take over her core series. We already know that the Amazons reach will be expanded to a group that is located in South America, where Yara Flor comes from. This is on top of the connection between the Amazons and New Gods growing closer since the New 52 started. Now the mythology that Wonder Woman is surrounded by will be further expanded on as she will be traveling to what looks to be Asgard. The mention of Valhalla in Wonder Woman #770 certainly points to Wonder Woman visiting Asgard at some point in the future. That could mean we may see the DC Universe version of Thor debut.
THE JOKER IS JIM GORDON FINAL CASE
At this point I’ve come to accept that I am an outlier when it comes to my views of Joker. The Batman villain is great when treated as a special attraction. But given the characters continuing growing popular thanks to things like Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker movie there is no way DC Comics won’t do everything they can to capitalize on it. Because of that it is not surprising to see that DC Comics announced a new Joker ongoing series.
Now I will give some benefit at the doubt at The Joker series being more than just a cash grab. That is because the person writing The Joker series is James Tynion. Tynion clearly has big plans for the Batman franchise as a whole and The Joker series will play a big part in that. Having Jim Gordon act as the protagonist of The Joker certainly helps as the series revolving on what he sets as his final case is an interesting concept. How characters like Harper Row factor into this storyline could add another strong hook for the series.
HARLEY QUINN OFFICIALLY PART OF THE BATMAN FAMILY
I have never picked up a Harley Quinn series before. I just have not been interested in her solo adventures even when her status was elevated during the New 52 era. That said what does pique my interest in the new Harley Quinn series is that it will be written by Stephanie Phillips. Phillips wrote one of my favorite comic books of 2020 with her work on Superman: Man Of Tomorrow #17. That comic showed me that DC needed to immediately give Phillips one of their ongoing series. Seeing them do just that by having her on the new Harley Quinn series guarantees I will be giving this comic a shot when it comes out in March.
DAMIAN WAYNE STRIKES OUT ON HIS OWN
One of the major back-ups that I am most interesting that will happen in March is the one involving Damian Wayne in Batman and Detective Comics. What makes this standout is the fact that DC is marketing Damian’s back-up stories in Batman and Detective Comics as Robin. Given the recent events in Detective Comics it does seem like Damian is striking out on his own for a while without the Robin identity. Maybe this two-part story will officially give us what Damian will now be going by. Based on the solicitation information it at least seems the back-up stories will set-up a future ongoing series for Damian and/or Robin.
BATMAN NAVIGATES GOTHAM CITY WITH NEW ALLIES
The Batman Family were left in a tough spot in the aftermath of “Joker War.” That plot thread is going to continue in Infinite Frontier as Batman and company will have a lot of things to deal with in the new Gotham City that has been left to them by Joker. While there aren’t as many Batman comics to deal with the fallout as in the past there are still a lot of stories to be told.
DC is getting creative with tapping into that fact by publishing the anthology comic called Batman: Urban Legends. This new anthology comic will tell individual stories that will involve Red Hood, the Outsiders, Grifter, and Poison Ivy. In its own way Batman: Urban Legends will fill the role of several normally separate Batman series in one comic book.
Going with that direction for the Batman Family can help strengthen the solo series’ that we do get in March and later into 2021. This will certainly help with things that Tynion has been establishing in his Batman run. There are a lot of little stories that Batman: Urban Legends can focus on to make into bigger stories that the core Batman titles can tackle down the line.
TOM TAYLOR AND BRUNO REDONDO ON NIGHTWING
Out of all the comic books that were announced as part of DC Comics “Infinite Frontier” direction the one I am most hyped for is Nightwing. Nightwing is one of my favorite comic book characters. But what makes this series get to the top of my list of most anticipated comics for 2021 is the creative team. Tom Taylor has written some of my favorite comics of the last decade with his work on titles like Injustice and DCeased. So as soon as I heard that he was writing Nightwing along with frequent collaborator Bruno Redondo handling the artwork I was immediately sold. I could not ask for a better creative team to be working on Nightwing.
Based on the solicitation for Nightwing #77 Taylor and Redondo know exactly what they are doing as they will be immediately tackling key elements of Dick Grayson’s character. On top of having Barbara Gordon as a key supporting character on Nightwing we will be seeing someone with the name of Zucco appearing as the new Mayor of Bludhaven. The Zucco name immediately throws up red flags for what the future will mean for Nightwing. Given that the first name of this Zucco family member isn’t mentioned it could be someone we’ve already met like Tony Zucco’s daughter, Sonia Zucco, or someone new. Whatever the case I am hyped to see what Taylor and Redondo have planned for Nightwing and the Batman franchise.
WALLY WEST REDEMPTION BEGINS
If there is one character that deserves better than they have been given Wally West is at the top of the list, and there is absolutely no competition. DC Comics has continuously beaten the character down further than anyone deserves. Especially with how important Wally West has become everything that has happened to the character since he returned at the beginning of DC Rebirth has just felt downright mean and undeserved.
Now hopefully DC Comics will finally do right by Wally West when The Flash series returns. While The Flash #768 teases Wally entering retirement we know that no one can ever retire from the superhero life. Adding further interest in this upcoming storyline is if it will lead to a competition for who the main Flash story will be when all is said and done.
BRIAN BENDIS BEGINS NEW JUSTICE LEAGUE ERA
After a long run on the Superman franchise there were only a few titles that Brian Bendis could work on that would be on a similar level. Justice League was one of those titles and that is exactly where we will see Bendis work next. As much as I would like to give Bendis a chance on Justice League his work since coming over to DC Comics has left a lot to be desired. His run on Superman franchise never connected with me. The only DC series that Bendis has work on which I enjoyed was Naomi
Given his history with writing team titles like Avengers I’m just not excited to see him work on Justice League. His strength is working on solo titles with characters like Peter Parker, Miles Morales, Matt Murdock, and Naomi. Having multiple big names to juggle at the same time is just not his strength as a writer.
I hope I am proven wrong and Bendis work on Justice League is a home run. It would be nice to see because I am a Bendis fan at heart. If I hear good things about his first Justice League arc I will definitely give Bendis’ run a shot. But for the initial launch I will be cheering from afar when it comes to Bendis on Justice League.
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