Several years back, DC Comics had its last big universal crossover series, Flashpoint. For longtime DC fans, this was the turning point for a lot of things. As Flashpoint ended, the DC Universe got rebooted into what we now know as the New 52. Over the last 2 years, there’s been a lot of adjusting to the New 52 and readers such as myself are still wondering what made it through the cut and what didn’t. Since then, we’ve seen crossovers over books, such as the “Wrath of the First Lantern” that just completed across the Green Lantern titles and the upcoming “Trinity War” that covers the 3 Justice League books as well as spilling into several others, but we have yet to see a universal crossover occur. Well, until the news that DC released this morning and has been teased about online for some time – Villains Month.
As DC released on its blog as well as in an interview with USA Today, as the “Trinity War” ends we can expect to see the villains take over the main stage in the month of September. We will see first issues for the villains – 52 books in fact (I wonder where they picked that number from?). However, they will be “Point 1″ issues of various other DC titles. As an example, we can expect that Justice League #23.1 will feature none other than Darkseid, who was the main villain in the first arc of this series. As of right now, DC does not have 52 actively running books and some of their new books, such as The Movement and The Green Team which are labeled as New 52 titles but are unique creations, do not actively interact with heroes and villains of the New 52 (yet) so it’s unclear as to how those books will fit in to the grand scheme of things. I think it’s a fair assumption that there will be a few new ongoing titles launched at this time (with maybe the issues for those new books being #0.1 or #1.1 or something?) as DC has regularly stated their intention to maintain 52 books in the universe… although there could be a temporary solution to fill that gap – more on that below.
These books also offer something new within the New 52: motion covers. Now, funky cover-related materials were all the rage back in the 90s, with holograms running the show. It sounds like DC wants to take it a step further. As Jim Lee and Dan Didio (both co-publishers for DC Entertainment) explain, this is something they are very excited about:[quote]
“We’re also commemorating this event by doing something really unheard of, I think, as far as a major publisher – we’re actually adding a special cover on every single villain’s book. It’s called a 3D motion cover and it’s essentially artwork that’s been separated onto different layers, so when you hold the cover, which is a premium stock cover, and you slightly rotate the comic book left or right or up and down, the images move a bit,” Lee continued.
“It’s an incredible 3D effect that shows depth of field on the covers,” added DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Dan DiDio. “It’s the full cover stock, so it’s not anything that’s been glued on. More importantly, it’s actually pliable and soft to the touch – it’s a brand new technology and we’re going to be the first ones debuting in this fashion.”[/quote]
But how does this entail a universe-spanning crossover? It doesn’t but it ties directly into a miniseries that kicks that event off. Forever Evil launches in September as a 7-part miniseries written by Geoff Johns with art by David Finch. It purports to contain almost every villain that has been present within the New 52 to date in some form or another, with the characters of Lex Luthor and Catwoman playing a very prominent role. (Since Catwoman is a major player here it sounds like, and the fact that her own title is still going on, it’s unlikely that her death in the recent issue of Justice League of America will stick.)
October then brings 3 additional mini-series to fill out the gap, each being 5 issues in length. As reported on USA Today:[quote]
Forever Evil: Rogues. Writer Brian Buccellato (The Flash) and Patrick Zircher (Suicide Squad) put the spotlight on the Flash’s colorful and infamous gang of Rogues, led by Captain Cold — a particular favorite of Johns, the former Flash writer, as well as Finch. “I just love his mask,” the artist says. “He looks very steely and a little bit dead in the eye, which is very evil.”
Forever Evil: Arkham War. “The biggest story with Bat-villains you’ve ever seen,” as Johns describes it, features the creative team of Peter Tomasi (Green Lantern Corps) and Scot Eaton (X-Men).
Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) pens a title featuring the government agency Advanced Research Group Uniting Superhumans. DC comic fans have seen increasingly shady things the group’s been doing, and Steve Trevor will be learning about those as the audience does. “His heart is good,” Johns says, “and if ARGUS has a chance of rising above what it is right now and becoming a heroic force in the future, it’s up to Steve Trevor.”
Kindt will also take over Justice League of America for five issues emphasizing Martian Manhunter, the subject of the writer’s recent JLA backups who will be picking up what’s left of the Justice League. However, Johns will continue on the flagship Justice League series during Forever Evil for an arc with certain villains and the unlikely rise of some heroes to combat them.[/quote]
So it looks like the end of this year is gonna be big for the baddies over at DC. There’s bound to be many more teasers coming out soon as to what we can expect to see as the event progresses. I do enjoy the fact, though, that the books are bound to be standalone and it’s not going to be like older DC events such as Crisis on Infinite Earths, Millennium or Legends where you have to buy more than half of the books in the DC lineup in order to get the story. No, this is more encapsulated but which will have ripples outside of the confines of the story at a later time, but will be nicely collected for readers who only want to pick up the collections after all is said and done.
So what are your thoughts on this impending series? With Johns headlining it, I’m excited, and (with some of the images on the DC blog) the motion covers look gimicky but kind of interesting (especially the Batman/Joker cover) and it looks like the price point for each remains the same as the regular book (which is great). My only concern is that Villains Months is going to overshadow or cause an unnecessary delay in ongoing arcs for a number of books, including the upcoming “Zero Year” arc beginning in the main Batman title in June. Unless we deal with the Joker during this window, I have a feeling that this is why there’s only 11 issues of “Zero Year” and this will be the 12th book of the year until Snyder’s origin arc completes its run. Not sure how I feel about this really, but hopefully it doesn’t mess up the flow of these other stories too much.