A little over a year ago, DC Comics announced their publishing event Rebirth and the titles that it would be comprised of. The brand-wide relaunch has been a major success, and as we head into the second year, I took in several panels at San Diego Comic Con to see what is in store for the future of the first universe.
The first panel involving DC Comics was their “Meet the Publishers” panel with Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. They talked about how Rebirth was a back-to-basics idea, and how the next two years are going to be about broadening the reader base beyond the current subscribers. As such they’re going to have a few different formats floating around to attract different types. They are keeping the smaller digest-like format for younger readers, as they have with the DC Super Hero Girls books right now. They will have a more prestige format size like the old graphic novels to attract older readers to the medium. These prestige books are going to try to recapture the magic of books like Watchmen and the Dark Knight Returns. DC also plan on introducing all new characters in the Dark Matter books, which will stay at the $2.99 price point and have no variant covers. This panel also brought out Grant Morrison as a special guest, and he announced Wonder Woman Earth One volumes two and three and Batman: Arkham Asylum 2. We were told that both the Milestone universe and Captain Marvel (Shazam!) were coming back soon.
Next up was the “Spotlight on Geoff Johns” panel, where he spent a lot of time talking about the upcoming event Doomsday Clock. Doomsday Clock is releasing in November because Johns has fond memories of reading comics over Thanksgiving break and he wanted to give others the same memories. At this panel, they confirmed that Doctor Manhattan is the one responsible for the lost time within the DC Universe. They then did a panel association game showing six panels from the first issue. The first panel shown was the first panel from the book, showing a “The End is Here” sign.
Next was the shadowed face of someone Johns called a new character, who’s in a prison cell. Then the scene of a jailbreak, “Or maybe she’s not in a prison cell.” An abandoned car, which Johns said represented “Desperation.” An X-Ray of a man’s head, and the backdrop of Metropolis were the last two. This is Superman’s story. Doomsday Clock will be twelve issues and is set a year in the future of the current DC Universe, so when it ends (fingers crossed against shipping disasters or similar) the rest of the books will be caught up with it. It’s a celebration of everything DC, and Johns’s favorite moment is when Lex Luthor, the smartest man of the DC Universe, meets the smartest man of another universe. The last image we got was one of the Justice League, captioned “Who Watches the Watchmen?”
Neither the “Rebirth” panel on Friday nor the “Justice For All” panel on Saturday revealed anything major, though Dan Jurgens did reveal that we would find out Mr. Oz’s identity in Action Comics #987. The bigger reveals from those two days came at the “DC Metal and Dark Matter” panel. Metal will focus on Bruce Wayne’s nightmare versions of himself from what is known as the Dark Multiverse. Scott Snyder called the event “Crisis level crazy.” All seven of the Dark Knights get oneshots as a mini-series entitled Justice League: Bats Out of Hell. It will culminate with The Batman Who Laughs, the scariest of the Dark Knights and the only one unrevealed.
DiDio then announced the Dark Matter slate of books. First up we have Damage written by Robert Vendetti, and drawn by Tony Daniel. Next is the Immortal Men by James Tynion and Jim Lee, followed by Brimstone by Justin Jordan and Philip Tan. Scott Snyder is writing New Challengers with Andy Kubert and Dan DiDio is writing Sideways. Last they brought out Jeff Lemire, announcing his return to DC Comics. Lemire will be writing The Terrifics, which seems to be a blatant dig at Marvel not currently having a Fantastic Four book on sale. This team will be Mr. Terrific (the smart one), Plastic Man (the funny one), Metamorpho (the disfigured one) and Phantom Girl (the intangible one, and the girl). The Terrifics will be drawn by Ivan Reis. And while there will be no variant covers or price increases for the Dark Matter books, the first issue of each will feature a vertical gatefold cover.
As we look forward to Metal and Doomsday Clock, it’s good to remember that it’s the smaller books that have been such a driving force in Rebirth’s success. So while the big announcements came at the event panels, it was the “Rebirth” and “Justice For All” panels that had the real heart of the DC Universe.