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DC Comics news: Weekly comics series hat trick and Grant Gustin as "Flash"

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DC Comics to launch THREE weekly comic book series this year!

It is already known that DC Comics would be dipping into the realm of weekly for the first time since 2008, when their weekly "Countdown to Final Crisis" ended after nearly a year. It would be called "Batman Eternal" and it would be produced by a committee of writers led by hit Batman writer Scott Synder, which will feature (among other things) the return of Stephanie Brown. However, amid some sales slumps and a recent spat of cancellations (such as "Green Team", "The Movement", "Teen Titans" and even "Superboy") it seems that the company has reached a rut since the "New 52" kicked off in fall 2011 and something new is in order. Now it seems that next month's "Batman Eternal" won't be the only weekly series coming down the pipe.

The second weekly series kicks off in April and is called "Futures End". It will be written by the writing committee of Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens and centers around peaking into the "New 52" universe five years in the future. After an apocalyptic event, it will be left to a collection of figures from the past, present and future - the Frankenstein Monster, Firestorm, and Terry McGinnis/Batman from the year 2041 - to sort things out. In addition to being a weekly series, it will also cross over into a variety of ongoing series, side mini's and one-shots which will feature the return of the 3D motion covers which had retailers in a tizzy last year. These covers will appear in comics published in September and include "Superman #35". The idea is to show the "potential" of where various characters and story lines are going. This is ambitious, considering the difficulty many "New 52" books have had with either surviving or maintaining one creative team (or even two) throughout. The 3D motion covers were last used during the start of "Forever Evil" last year and earned ire from retailers due to DC Comics being unable to meet the high demand of orders and thus assuring high resale value of the comics on eBay and other places.

As so many infomercials say, "but wait, there's more!" Apparently "Futures End" will wrap up in October which will lead to a third weekly series which kicks off the same month. Dan DiDio compared the challenge to when their line rebooted in 2011 with the "New 52" and that this weekly series would involve more "world building" rather than be focused on one character like "Batman Eternal". Historically, DC Comics saw great success from "52" which ran weekly from 2006-2007, but "Countdown to Infinite Crisis" the year after didn't fare nearly as well. Now, DC Comics will be tripling down on such a strategy. While "Batman Eternal" relies on the strength of DC Entertainment's healthiest franchise (and assumes/hopes fans won't reach "peak Batman" and turn away, much as Marvel once presumed "Wolverine" comics could sell over 95k an issue forever), "Futures End" relies on some eclectic characters and an investment in the universe as a whole. Retailers, many of whom likely still have copies of "52" and "Countdown" that they literally can't even give away (because nobody would take them), could be wary of yet another long term stunt. Yet this time it seems DC will have three separate weekly series rather than one all encompassing one, even if the result is the same.

Frankly, this is a scheme which will involve a lot of talent and editors working as cohesive units, which hasn't been DC Comics' strong suit since Bob "Bankruptcy" Harris took over as editor-in-chief a couple of years ago. It is either ambitious, desperate, or desperately ambitious. As Marvel Entertainment prepare to put a raccoon and talking tree into a summer blockbuster, DC Comics fret over Superman having red underwear. It will be fascinating how well, poorly, or middling this effort does in terms of sales, and what talent springs forth from it.

Grant Gustin becomes "The Flash"!

The CW is hard at work prepping their spin-off to their successful "Arrow" series, which will be "The Flash" starring Grant Gustin as Barry Allen. Considering the network's previous vague titles for superhero series ("Smallville" for Superman and "Arrow" for Green Arrow), it is amazing the series wasn't simply called "Fast" or "Speedster". In fact, it seems this is the first of their DC Comics adaptations which isn't shy about having their central character be in spandex. While Clark in "Smallville" refused to wear anything beyond a tee and jacket until the tenth series finale and "Arrow" had its hero in eye-shadow and a hoodie, Warner Brothers have released an image of Gustin wearing what looks a solid replica of Flash's iconic mask, complete with ear-wings. The red in the mask is muted even more than the costume from CBS' "The Flash" from 1990, to the point that it is a crimson or rust color. At any rate, the pilot is filming for a shot at the 2014-2015 schedule, produced by much of the same crew behind "Arrow".

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