With the Justice League #75 issue out in April 2022 that will change everything about the DC Universe it leaves a lot of questions for the entire DC Comics publishing line. Every comic book will see some form of change. That change is only going to be hinted at in May 2022 as it looks like the month will be used to either complete storylines like the Batman, Deathstroke, and Robin “Shadow War” crossover or end titles like Teen Titans Academy. What other things will May 2022 hint at for the future of the DC Universe post-Death of the Justice League? Let’s find out by breaking down DC Comics May 2022 solicitations
ROAD TO DARK CRISIS BEGINS
Justice League #75’s “Death of the Justice League” story looks to be the prelude of the prelude as we will be getting Justice League: Road To The Dark Crisis one-shot and Dark Crisis: Free Comic Book Day Special Edition comics in May 2022. Both these titles will be key in shaping what the DC Universe will be without the Justice League around. Based solely on the covers and promotional images that DC Comics has released promoting post-Death of the Justice League content it looks like Jace Fox, Yara Flor, Jon Kent, Dick Grayson, Hal Jordan, Wally West, and Jackson Hyde are being established as key characters for this new direction. Given these seven characters relations to specific franchises and the greater DC Universe as a whole it is not to surprising that they would be the focus of the set-up for the new foundation of the DCU.
What makes things even more interesting when it comes to the set-up for how the whole “Road To The Dark Crisis” event is being handled is how much communication there has been with all the creative teams DC Comics employs. You can tell from the May 2022 solicitations themselves that the Death of the Justice League and Dark Crisis event wasn’t something every creative team was prepared for ahead of time. There are comics like Action Comics and Wonder Woman that are beginning fresh, new story arcs with their May issues that involve Clark Kent’s Superman and Diana Prince’s Wonder Woman. Then there are titles like Suicide Squad and Teen Titans Academy that are just simply ending as both those runs are coming off being involved in a major crossover and seemingly entering a new stage in their lifecycle before their respective cancelations.
All of this points to the likelihood that Dark Crisis is an event that grew larger than initially intended because of the trigger being pulled on the Death of the Justice League storyline being last minute. Because a story that big is normally something we see some sort of lead into, which Brian Bendis’ Justice League certainly wasn’t building towards. Hopefully I am wrong in my assumption for the possibility of last-minute changes because it could lead to a lot of rushed storytelling in DC Comics’ April and May titles. We won’t until then but I am leaning towards being optimistic for now.
BATMAN DOMINANCE CONTINUES
This entire breakdown can be dominated by talking about all of the different Batman titles DC Comics is continuing to flood the market with in May 2022. While I’ll save the talk for the Shadow War crossover conclusion for the next segment, it is tough to not notice how long you scroll through DC Comics May 2022 solicitations until you find a non-Batman Family title. It certainly speaks to how DC Comics must have internal data that shows that there the Batman franchise hasn’t reach the point of saturation yet. Though I do wonder because of Batman’s popularity if that means the DC Comics office is listening to less pitches for other characters since they do only publish a certain number of titles a month.
Of all the Batman titles that aren’t the main ongoing series for the character the one that stood out most is the new Batman: Fortress title by Gary Whitta and Darick Robertson. Whitta already showed he knows how to write in Batman’s world with the story he co-wrote in the Joker 80th Anniversary Special. And Robertson’s work on The Boys speaks for itself. This isn’t Whitta and Robertson’s first time working together as they worked on the Image Comics’ title Oliver that I enjoyed. So I know that Whitta and Robertson will bring the goods with Batman: Fortress. The only thing I do hope we don’t see is another Superman breaks bad story which the title and covers hint at. Hopefully the story is something else as there is plenty to mine when it comes to what the cosmic threat will be that Batman has to rally Earth’s heroes to combat.
BATMAN’S SHADOW WAR CROSSOVER ENDS
The Shadow War crossover between Batman, Deathstroke, and Robin is certainly one of the bigger crossovers DC Comics has going on thus far in 2022. It is the payoff to all the work Joshua Williamson has been doing with his Batman run. And given the fact that Williamson is the writer for Death of the Justice League and Dark Crisis it wouldn’t be surprising if he fits some hints as to the future of the DCU in the story. Especially since Bruce Wayne and Dinah Lance are on the watchlist for Justice League members that will die in Justice League #75 Shadow War ending could set-up Damian Wayne, Luke Fox, Talia Al Ghul, and Ghost-Maker as major players for the Dark Crisis status quo. That is certainly something teased in the final issue of the crossover taking place in Shadow War: Omega #1.
Other plot elements teased in the solicitations for the Shadow War crossover that stood out is the fact that Deathstroke will be infected with the Joker Toxin during the event. Slade Wilson being infected by the Joker Toxin is a twist I did not see coming for Shadow War. Even if it is just happening in a back-up story that is likely a flashback we could see this development become a major plot point for Slade’s character arc in Shadow War.
AQUAMAN GETS HIS OWN BLACK LABEL SERIES
DC Comics has slowly been expanding their Black Label brand to be more than just Batman and Superman titles, as was the case with the initial launch. Now finally Aquaman is getting his own Black Label series with Aquaman: Andromeda. The cover by Christian Ward instantly stands out as a selling point for the series. It looks like its going to be a weird and dark time.
But what sealed the deal for Aquaman: Andromeda as a must read is that Ram V is writing it. Ram V is one of the best writers working for DC Comics so to see him get an Aquaman series that doesn’t have to fit in any sort of continuity should be awesome. It gives him and Ward free reign to be as imaginative as possible with the underwater world without worrying about continuity. Which is really when we get some of the best DC Comics content.
NUBIA CORONATION DAY
In the post-Trial of the Amazon world the Wonder Woman franchise is going to be a bit smaller as we are only getting three Wonder Woman Family titles in May. One of those is the Elseworld title Wonder Woman: Evolutions. So having only two titles in Wonder Woman #787 and Nubia: Coronation Special does feel like a step back after how many titles the franchise had published during the Trial of the Amazon event. There isn’t even a hint as to what is going on with Yara Flor’s character, who is being positioned as a major player in the Dark Crisis build up in all the promotional images. Though it could be that the Death of the Justice League did put a pause on DC Comics plans with the Wonder Woman franchise because June seems to be when we will see the DCU true status quo.
That said we do have the big Nubia: Coronation Special that looks to lay the foundation of the Wonder Woman franchise with Diana possibly dying in the Death of the Justice League story. This one-shot will certainly position Nubia as a major player in the DCU. This coronation for Nubia also hints that she will be leading the three tribes of the Amazons not just those on Themyscira. Given that recent Wonder Woman books have shown Themyscira, Bana-Mighdall, and Esquecida all operating independently it’ll be interesting how they work together moving forward.
NIGHTWING BEGINS BATTLE FOR BLUDHAVEN’S HEART
Between founding the Alfred Pennyworth Foundation, protecting both Bludhaven and Gotham City, and helping run the Teen Titans Academy, Dick Grayson has been a busy guy since Infinite Frontier started. Things won’t be slowing down anytime soon for the former Boy Wonder because, as mentioned earlier, he is positioned as a key player in the post-Death of the Justice League status quo.
But while that may be the case Dick Grayson should not keep his eye of Bludhaven as the solicitation for Nightwing #92 teases us with a full on war taking place in the city. This is something that we knew would eventually happen given how Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo have been building up both Blockbuster and Heartless as villains for the series. Add in the fact that Dick Grayson’s half-sister, Melinda Zucco, is the Mayor of Bludhaven things were bound to explode in the city Nightwing calls home.
The other big development in Nightwing #92 that looks to be happening is Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon will be taking the next step in their relationship. They already are semi-living together with both of them raising their pet dog Haley. Though it has seemed both have not wanted to say they are in a committed relationship, even though everyone around them knows they are a couple. But now it looks like both of them will define their relationship as being together in a committed relationship together in Nightwing #92, FINALLY!