Dawn of DC continues to develop as DC Comics will be bringing a number of new titles to their publishing line-up in May 2023. Some were titles that DC Comics announced several weeks ago with Titans, Green Lantern, and Cyborg. Along with those titles we will be getting several titles starring characters that debuted in the Lazarus Planet event. With all these titles DC Comics’ publishing line-up is finally appearing to get deeper and not as Batman-dependent as they’ve been the first four months of the year. Let’s take a look at the comics to watch out from DC Comics May 2023 solicitations.
TITANS FILL THE HOLE LEFT BY JUSTICE LEAGUE ABSENCE
We learned a few weeks ago that the Titans would be getting a new ongoing series after their new status quo is established in the current Nightwing series. Rokk and I discussed this new Titans series on a recent episode of the Comic Book Revolution Podcast. In recapping that discussion this new direction for the Titans is a good foundation for the team. DC Comics is clearly not in a rush to bring back the Justice League. We may very well go through most of 2023 without an official Justice League team. With that in mind, there is no better team than the Titans to protect the DC Universe in the place of the Justice League.
Now, this isn’t the first time DC Comics relaunches the Titans with having a Justice League-like direction for the team. This was done during the DC Rebirth era when the Titans were part of a Justice League initiative to have them along with the Justice League Dark working out of the Hall of Justice. While having potential the direction got quickly derailed due to various creative decisions during the DC Rebirth era, such as Dick Grayson being shot in the head and being turned into Ric Grayson.
This time around it doesn’t appear that DC Comics is entering into the Dawn Of DC without a clear creative direction that their creators are all at least being communicated on. That gives me hope there will be more stability with this version of the Titans compared to the last two decades of DC trying to recapture the magic of Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s Teen Titans run. Tom Taylor and Nicola Scott are a fantastic creative team to give this shot to. Taylor has already shown he not only knows how to write Nightwing but the other Titans as well during his run on the Nightwing solo series.
That said, while the team of Nightwing, Donna Troy, Wally West’s Flash, Cyborg, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Raven is a great core line-up I hope this isn’t the final team. The Titans franchise is at its best when there is a range of characters that can be brought in and out as they are all extended family. There are many former Titans such as Arsenal, Omen, Tempest, Bumblebee, Cassandra Sandsmark, Blue Beetle, and more that could be added or brought in when Nightwing, Flash, or Cyborg are busy with major storylines in their ongoing titles. With Nightwing training Jon Kent in the backup for his series Jon’s version of Superman would be cool to see as well as the rest of the Titans also help train him.
BILLY BATSON IS BACK AS THE CAPTAIN
Billy Batson has made his return in Lazarus Planet. With that return, Billy is starting off by working with Wonder Woman against the Greek Gods. Once wrapping that up Billy will be once again going solo. Having Mark Waid and Dan Mora as the creative team does certainly an A+ team DC Comics has assembled to try yet again to get Shazam over. This is by far the best team to finally accomplish what even the likes of Geoff Johns couldn’t. What we don’t know is if we will eventually see the rest of the Shazam Family involved in the title as Billy Batson looks to be the only one getting the spotlight.
And now thanks to Mark Waid we know he isn’t returning to being called Shazam. Rather than taking on the Shazam name Billy is going to be going with The Captain. It’s certainly a choice. This seems to be a half-commit thing where DC and Waid couldn’t agree on going with Shazam or Captain Marvel so they met in the middle with The Captain.
NEW BEGINNING FOR GREEN LANTERN
The Green Lantern Corps appears to be in reset mode. We know from both John Stewarts backup in the new Green Lantern ongoing and Kyle and Guy’s appearance in Unstoppable Doom Patrol #3 that the Green Lantern Corps are very much active. What we don’t know is what role they will now be serving in the DC Universe. Last we saw the Green Lantern Corps almost went extinct as they are trying to work with the United Planets.
While there are a lot of questions about the Green Lantern Corps’ role in the DCU we know that Hal Jordan will be taking time for himself by returning to Earth. As the lead of the new Green Lantern series, Hal is finally reconnecting with his roots. This is certainly something new for Hal, who has been Green Lantern 24/7 since he returned back in Green Lantern: Rebirth. With that being his sole identity for close to two decades there is the question of who Hal Jordan is. That question can drive a lot of different stories, though I do hope we still get cosmic stories told in this and John Stewart’s future solo series.
CYBORG GOES SOLO
DC Comics invested a lot in getting Cyborg over as a solo hero beyond being known as a Teen Titans. Since the New 52 direction as a whole was dropped Cyborg was a character that saw being faded into the background. We haven’t seen much of Cyborg, whether as a Justice League member or a solo hero. That has certainly been disappointing as Cyborg is a character that has a ton of potential to be a pillar for DC Comics’ roster of characters.
Now that is getting fixed with the new Cyborg series by Morgan Hampton and Tom Raney. The big selling point for this new series is how it appears that Hampton and Raney are planning to equally explore Victor Stone’s human side alongside the fact that as Cyborg he is always connected to the online world. That makes for a lot of great storytelling potential.
It is also great to see that DC Comics using talent that was part of their Milestone Initiative to find and train new comic book creators by giving Hampton this new series. That is something we should reward as DC Comics should be investing more in helping train and guide the next generation of talent rather than always just going to established talent.
BUYING THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD NOT FOR BATMAN
Just like Batman: Urban Legends what is selling me on Batman: The Brave and the Bold is the stories not involving Batman. With how many Batman titles we already have more Batman-led stories are not something that makes me want to buy a new series. Especially when that new Batman series also involves the Joker. That is unfortunately what we are getting right away with Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1 having a new Batman vs Joker story along with a Joker Black & White story. No matter the talent these two stories are not selling points whatsoever. If anything it is a turn-off as we’ve had way too many Batman vs Joker stories in the last five years in particular.
With that said, the story in Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1 I’m most interested in is Ed Brisson and Jeff Spokes’ StormWatch. Now I have no experience with reading anything involving StormWatch but one of my favorite underutilized characters is Rose Wilson. It appears that this new direction for StormWatch will have Rose Wilson front and center. That along with the fact that StormWatch is one of the few super teams in a DC Universe without the Justice League could make this story in Batman: The Brave and the Bold hint at a greater story going on.
LAZARUS PLANET SPIN-OFFS FINALLY HAPPENING
DC Comics wasted no time going from one big event to another with Lazarus Planet happening right after Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths ended. Now after two months after the original Lazarus Planet ends, we will finally see some of the new characters getting chances at their own mini-series with Xanthe and City Boy.
Now clearly DC wants to push these characters in May as that is when AAPI Month is taking place. And credit to them for creating and establishing new characters rather than having Xanthe or City Boy take the mantle of other characters. Along with The Vigil, DC Comics is showing an attempt to create new superheroes with Spirt World and City Boy. The creative teams are also solid choices.
That said, DC Comics is not doing these characters any favors by waiting two months after Lazarus Planet ends and three months after they debut to launch the Spirit World and City Boys mini-series. With that much time between their debut and the mini-series it wouldn’t be surprising if many Lazarus Planet readers forgot about these characters.
That’s just the nature of comic books and entertainment as a whole. There are so many options now that allowing this much time could very well lead Spirit World, City Boy, and The Vigil not to sell as well if they were released in March after Lazarus Planet originally intended to end. I hope that is not the case as all three titles sound like they have fantastic premises. We will see.
BATMAN REACHES 900 ISSUES BUT WHAT IS NEXT?
Batman #135 will also mark the 900th total issue of the Batman ongoing series. While Detective Comics has already surpassed 1,000 issues this is still an incredible milestone that few comic books have hit. This is yet another example of not just the longevity but how Batman’s creative teams have been able to evolve the character to maintain and grow the Dark Knight’s popularity.
Batman #135/#900 will also mark the end of “The Bat-Man of Gotham” storyline that Chip Zdarsky has been working on post-Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths. We know that Bruce Wayne will be returning to the main DC Universe but what we don’t know is how this latest Multiverse trip will change the character. Detective Comics could hint at how we will continue to see Bruce deal with him being an aging hero in a world where there are heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman that don’t lose their prime. Whatever the story is I have high hopes for whatever Zdarsky has planned next for his run on Batman.
POWER GIRL ONE-SHOT SPECIAL
The first real test of how well executed the current Superman franchise direction is going for DC Comics will be with the new Power Girl Special one-shot comic book. Spinning directly off Power Girl’s new direction seen in Action Comics #1051 this will show how much readers connected to the story Leah Williams and Marguerite Sauvage told with Power Girl. While not necessarily make or break for Power Girl it will show DC Comics if Williams and Sauvage are the creative team to give an ongoing or mini-series for the character in the future.
And as has been shown in the past, Power Girl is a character that can carry her own solo series. She is a character that fans love and if Williams, Sauvage, and DC Comics can tap into that fanbase and get them to buy the Power Girl Special this could be just the start for the character. That is what I hope happens as we need more of a variety in Superman titles that aren’t just another comic book starring Clark Kent and Jon Kent.