It does not look as though DC Comics will be ending their 2021 quietly. They are going to be going into the end of the new year with a lot of major things either ending or beginning throughout November 2021. That includes how we will see the Batman: Fear State event lead straight into the next big direction for the Batman Family. Along with that we are diving even more into how we are possibly either heading into or diverging from the state of the DC Universe we saw in the Future State direction. Let’s take a look at all of DC Comics future plans with their November 2021 solicitations.
BATMAN FEAR STATE USHER’S IN SHADOW OF THE BAT ERA
November 2021 is set to be one of the biggest months for the Batman Family in history for multiple reasons. One reason for this is that November 2021 will see 42 of the published single issue comic books for that month starring a member of the Batman Family or Batman’s villains. Now I can’t say that is the most Batman-related titles that DC Comics has published in one single month but it has been a noticeable trend how the Batman Family are basically everywhere in the DC Universe.
That said, the biggest news that is coming out of the November 2021 solicitations is that Batman #117, which is also the end of the Fear State event, will mark the end of James Tynion’s run on the Batman series. This is something that Tynion recently announced as he is moving on to work on creator-owned work through his Substack subscription service. After Batman #117 the only DC Comics titles that Tynion will be on is Joker, which he will end his run with Joker #14 in April 2022, and the DC vs Vampires mini-series.
Based on all the solicitations for how the Fear State event will end Tynion will definitely be leaving his mark on the franchise. We see that with how in Detective Comics 2021 Annual and Detective Comics #1045 are going to establish a major structure in Gotham City in the form of Arkham Tower. Based on everything we learn from the solicitations the Arkham Tower concept is giving me vibes of the direction things went in the Batman: Arkham City video game.
Making this upcoming direction stand out even more is how there are two sides being set up in this direction named Shadow of the Bats. On one side we have Bruce Wayne’s Batman. On the other side is Dick Grayson’s Nightwing. We’ve seen Bruce and Dick have differences of opinions and even fighting one another but the Arkham Tower will be a big test of their relationship. How the rest of the Batman Family factor into this major conflict as Bruce looks to be leading the efforts on Arkham Tower’s creation will be interesting to see. Even more so if this could possibly lead to Bruce taking a step back from being Batman when all is said and done in the Shadow of the Bats direction.
WONDER WOMAN GOES THROUGH EVOLUTION
Batman isn’t the only one who is getting their own event comics going on. Coming off the celebration moth for her 80th anniversary Wonder Woman is going to be getting a new mini-series event titled Wonder Woman: Evolution. This new series looks as though it will continue to draw on the more cosmic direction Diana’s Wonder Woman has taken in the last year. Which may mean we could see more of the connections to the Gods of the DC Universe being drawn on even more.
What makes Wonder Woman: Evolution a series to be even more excited for is the creative team of Stephanie Phillips and Mike Hawthorne. I have become a big fan of Phillips from her work on Harley Quinn, Superman: Man of Tomorrow, and Sensational Wonder Woman. It is great to see DC Comics recognize Phillips talent and give her an event mini-series starring Wonder Woman to work on. Mike Hawthorne should provide plenty of great artwork for this series. That should all lead to Wonder Woman: Evolution to be one of the comic books to keep an eye on.
JOCK TELLING A NEW DARK KNIGHT TALE
It’s not just the normal DC Universe were Batman will be having his hands full. There are alternate versions of Bruce Wayne’s Batman that will be dealing with major crises in Gotham City. One of these crises comes curtesy of Jock, who will be handling both the writing and artwork for a brand new Black Label series titled Batman: One Dark Knight. Seeing Jock’s name on a Batman title is already enough to get me to buy this new Black Label series.
Batman: One Dark Knight’s concept of Batman fighting his way through a wave of the most dangerous bad guys in Gotham City’s history at Blackgate prison can make for an exciting story. This will test Batman boh physically and mentally as the darkness that he normally makes into his weapon could work against him. The setting is sure to play into Jock’s strengths as an artist as we get some horror elements mix in with how dark of a setting we will get.
DARK KNIGHTS OF STEEL REIMAGINES THE DC UNIVERSE
Tom Taylor has found a great niche working on alternate universe titles like DCeased and Injustice. His work in the main DC Universe like Nightwing is still excellent. But it is clear that Taylor enjoys working on alternate universe tales. That is what he is going to once again get the chance to do as he brings us a new mini-series titled Dark Knights Of Steel.
The covers and preview artwork for the first two issues of Dark Knights Of Steel do exactly what you want them to do by grabbing your attention immediately. Seeing Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Black Lightning, Black Canary, and Harley Quinn in a setting that is similar to Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons is so awesome. You are left wondering how all of these and other DC Universe characters will be adapted for the medieval setting of Dark Knights Of Steel. It certainly a title I’ve already added to my pull list.
JEFF LEMIRE AND DUSTIN NGYUYEN TELL NEW DYNAMIC DUO ORIGIN
Of all the Batman titles that were announced for November 2021 the one that I’m most excited for is Robin & Batman. I’ve been saying for a long time now that DC Comics needed to tell a modernized version of the original Dynamic Duo’s origins. We have plenty of stories that are set in either Bruce Wayne’s first two years before Dick Grayson became Robin or at the very end of their partnership as the Dynamic Duo. It’s the early days and years before their break up that we have only seen in flashback form. 2021 is long enough to have a story of the original Dynamic Duo show what the team of Batman and Robin are like in a modern setting.
Tapping Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen, who worked together on the critically acclaimed Descender comic book series, is a great choice by DC Comics. Nguyen already has experience working within the Batman Universe from his work on Detective Comics, Streets of Gotham, and other Batman titles. So the artwork will definitely look great, which I’m already happy to see Nguyen modernize Dick Grayson’s Robin costume. Lemire will further compliment the artwork with strong dialogue as shown with his work on Descender with Nguyen.
JUSTICE LEAGUE INCARNATE RISES
With the Infinite Frontier event marking the end of the first phase of the current direction of the DC Universe it was only a matter of time before we saw a title that deals with the direct fallout of the event. Enter Justice League Incarnate. This Justice League is the team that we saw formed during Grant Morrison’s The Multiversity event. Scott Snyder brought the Justice League Incarnate back into the fold with the end of Dark Nights: Death Metal. Now after Darkseid showed off his ultimate power against the Justice League Incarnate the team is looking to pick themselves up from that defeat.
All that said, on a personal level the one thing that will likely keep me away from this title is Flashpoint Batman’s involvement. I’ve grown to have an aversion to the Flashpoint Batman with the recent stories he was involved in. That is nothing against the team Joshua Williamson and Dennis Culver are putting together for the Justice League Incarnate. A team of Superman of Earth-23, Mary Marvel of Earth-5, Aquawoman of Earth-11, China’s Flash from Earth-0, Captain Carrot from Earth-26, and Dr. Multiverse from Earth-8 is a great roster. Because of that if it was any other version of Batman other than Flashpoint Batman I would be all in on Justice League Incarnate. I just can’t at the moment.
ROBINS BUSY HOLIDAY SEASON
Nightwing, Tim Drake’s Robin, Red Hood, Stephanie Brown’s Batgirl, and Damian Wayne’s Robin all have their hands full with things going on in the normal titles they are in. But November will be a particularly busy month for all the current and past Robins. Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, and Stephanie Brown are going to be busy with Fear State while Jason Todd is working with the new Task Force Z and Damian Wayne is still in the middle of his fight to the death Lazarus Tournament.
That is not all for these characters in November 2021 as we will also be getting the Robins series by writer by Tim Seeley and artist Baldemar Rivas. This series will feature Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Damian Wayne teaming up to someone who has declared herself to be the true first Robin that Bruce Wayne’s Batman mentored and worked with. This unknown Robin plays into how we have learned that Bruce has worked with others in the early days of his training to become Batman. We saw that recently with Ghost-Maker being added to the mythology. This new Robin could be someone that shares a similar history with Bruce.
LEX LUTHOR MEETS SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL
Jon Kent can’t officially begin his era as Superman without a confrontation with Lex Luthor. That is exactly what the young Superman will finally do as Lex Luthor will be meeting with Jon Kent in the Superman: Son Of Kal-El 2021 Annual. What’ll be interesting to see is how Lex’s relationship with Jon differs from the one he had with Clark. Especially since Lex knows Jon is the new Superman that will change the dynamic from the one he had with Clark.
This could also lead us to see more of the Future State continuity being brought into play for the Superman titles. Afterall, Lex could very well be the biggest wildcard in the DC Universe. He could go with starting to set up his Planet Lexor or use the opportunity of Jon still learning to be Superman in order to gain more control on Earth.
NEW FUTURE BUILT FOR GREEN LANTERN CORPS
Outside of the Batman comic books the series that has been most exploring the implications of Future State has been Geoffrey Thorne’s Green Lantern. We already saw the destruction of the Central Power Battery leading to the Green Lantern Corps numbers to be reduced to only Far Sector’s Jo Mullein as the last remaining Green Lantern. Now with Green Lantern #8 we look as though we are going to be getting some answers as to the true reason the Central Power Battery was destroyed. Does that mean we will slowly start to see the Green Lanterns return? Or is Future State status quo the only future left for the characters that once made up the Green Lantern Corps?
The answer could be made even more complicated by the current situation John Stewart is in battling the Deistorm. The fate of John Stewart could be as important as what Jo and the others are doing on Oa for what direction the Green Lantern Corps will take.
ROY HARPER AND WALLY WEST RETURN TO THE TITANS
Continuing more of the fallout from Infinite Frontier will be Teen Titans Academy. Whatever takes place in the Infinite Frontier event looks to lead Roy Harper back to the normal DC Universe and reuniting with his Titans teammates. If that wasn’t enough Wally West will also be returning for the reunion. That alone should make Teen Titans Academy #9 something to watch for, even for someone like me who dropped the series because of how disappointing the first three issues were.
The solicitation for Teen Titans Academy #9 also already bringing into question to the school the core Titans created also seems to be very quick. The direction as a whole looks to be rushing to make the whole school be a failure rather than building how the Titans are trying to actually build the future of the DC Universe. That is extremely disappointing to see still be the case even when there are interesting things like Roy Harper and Wally West returning to the franchise.
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