A smattering of DC Comics news from February 25th - 27th, 2013!
DC Comics spoils "Batman Incorporated #8" shocker!
In taking a page from their rivals at Marvel Comics, DC has sought to ensure that the final issue of Grant Morrison's run on the Batman franchise is a sell out which is reprinted a few times by issuing a spoiler press release to the mainstream media. As reported by the New York Post, the latest Robin - Damian Wayne, the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul - will "[die] an absolute hero" according to Morrison in "Batman Incorporated #8". While the circumstances leading to the conception and birth of the character began in the Batman graphic novel "Son of the Demon" from 1987, it wasn't until Morrison began his run on "Batman" in 2006 where the character got a name, origin, and personality. While Morrison's influence on Batman has spread across to other writers and Batman comics, it was Damian who has seemed to define it. This naturally confirms a rumor which arose across the internet last week.
Naturally, he's not the first Robin to die on panel in a Batman comic. Jason Todd, the second Robin introduced in 1983, was killed off during the "Death in the Family" arc some five years later after the result of a telephone voting poll offered for readers at the time. In that he was graphically murdered by the Joker while attempting to reconcile with his birth mother. However, as with many deaths in comic books, it didn't stick - writer Judd Winick revived him as a new Red Hood during his run on the Bat-books in 2005. In 2004, during the crossover story "Batman: War Games", the first female Robin, Stephanie Brown was quickly tortured and killed by Black Mask not long into her tenure. The story was very controversial at the time, especially since unlike with Todd, Brown received no monument in the Batcave. Brown's death was undone roughly four years later, and she ultimately became Batgirl.
While the deaths of major characters in comic books are often treated as stunts for sales, the one saving grace is that this is apparently how Morrison wanted to end his story, as he gets a lot of leeway at DC Comics. It will remain to be seen whether this comic winds up topping the sales charts for the month due to this hype. Unfortunately, the "death to life" ratio for Robins will now stand at three out of five.
After less than two years, DC Comics will be relaunching their main team-up title between their two biggest superheroes. "Superman/Batman" will return later in the year handled by writer Greg Pak ("Incredible Hulk", "World War Hulk") and artist Jae Lee ("Inhumans"). This will be Pak's first work for DC Comics and the first direct collaboration. As reported by USA Today, this series will chronicle the first meeting between Batman and Superman in the "New 52" continuity, which began in 2011. Apparently that will mean the series initially takes place before the launch of "Justice League", which also had the characters meet (alongside Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg). Pak only offers some vague statements about his run, stating that it is a honor to work on these characters while at the same time, he wants to help shape something new.
Originally an homage to "World's Finest", "Superman/Batman" first launched in 2003 under writer Jeph Loeb and artist Ed McGuinness. Their first two arcs have been immortalized in DVD animation as "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" and "Superman/Batman: Apocalypse". Pak's own "Planet Hulk" story for Marvel was also immortalized in DVD animation as well; it will remain to be seen what arises from this new project.
Is a "benched" character returning to the New 52?
As reported by the Huffington Post at the start of the month, DC seeks to capitalize on the whole "Occupy" movement with two new series based on the themes of the movement as well as social justice. Beginning May 1st, they are called "The Green Team" and "The Movement". The former is based on a brief DC Comic from 1975 and will be written by Arthur Baltazar and Franco Aureliani ("Tiny Titans") and drawn by Ig Guara which chronicles a cabal of teenage millionaires who are at the top of the social structure and seem to literally buy themselves super-powers. The latter will be written by Gail Simone ("Wonder Woman", "Birds of Prey", "Secret Six", "Batgirl) with art by Freddie Williams II about less prosperous figures who operate in the new DCU.
Within the week, however, Simone noted on Twitter that a "benched female character" will appear in "The Movement". This term has been coined following interviews with DC brass who claim certain characters aren't to be used anywhere in the "New 52" era - most specifically Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain. Those two were shot down earlier, but speculation is that it could be Scandal Savage, the lesbian daughter of immortal villain Vandal Savage who Simone created in 2005. Given how Simone has proven difficult to fire from a book at DC Comics, it will be interesting to see what waves she makes of "The Movement".
Read last week's DC Comics news here!