The next phase of the DC Universe begins here! Dark Knights: Death Metal presented the darkest threats of the Multiverse. DC Future State revealed what may lie ahead. Now it’s time to look into the Infinite Frontier of the current-day DC Universe.
In Gotham City, the Joker jolts citizens awake with an attack even the Dark Knight never expected. In Brazil, a young woman discovers her destiny and her connection to the Amazons. In Belle Reve, Amanda Waller plots an invasion of Arkham Asylum. In the far reaches of space, Mongul dreams of galactic domination, while the Green Lantern Corps hosts a summit of its greatest enemies. At the Hall of Justice, the League joins forces with Black Adam. Beyond the mortal world, Wonder Woman settles into a new role in the godsphere. And somewhere in the DC Universe, it’s the return of Stargirl—in an all-new tale written by Geoff Johns!
This oversized, all-star issue kicks off the next great era of storytelling and excitement as top writers and artists reveal what’s next for the World’s Greatest Heroes and opens the door to some of the greatest stories of 2021.DCCOMICS.COM official solicitation
After the New 52 and the Rebirth, and with Dark Nights Metal over, DC are trying again to revitalise their Universe. The New 52 was initially successful but the shortening of the timeline wiped out large parts of DC history, including the whole of the Justice Society, and confused some storylines. There were also unnecessary changes to characters personalities (Superman), relationships (Green Arrow and Black Canary), and concepts (Birds of Prey and Oracle) that proved unpopular with a lot of readers. But the main thing was they took away the idea of legacy in the DC Universe. Rebirth fixed Superman but didn’t fix the timeline. It also made the big books twice monthly which, while that was good if you were a Batman fan, at the current cost of comic books limited disposable income for a wide range of titles.
DC like to change things using a ‘Crisis’ and this time ‘Dark Nights: Death Metal’ was the catalyst. At the end of that story Wonder Woman is chosen to shape the new DC Universe and what we are left with ends up being less of a reboot and more of a role back. We have a Universe that feels like the late 90s to early 2000s DC.
The book is structured like ‘Kingdom Come’ with the Spectre acting as Diana’s guide through her new Universe. She has been invited to join the Quintessence, a group of the higher powers who oversee everything, but she senses that there is something not quite right with her creation. The Spectre takes her on a trip to find the darkness but there is none to be found. The darkness has literally been removed from the DC Universe.
Batman gets the bulk of the book as the Bat titles will, as usual, dominate the publishing line. This is an all action, less grim, Bruce who is working and communicating with his team. Barbara Gordon is Oracle again but not confined to a wheelchair and she is working with Huntress along withStephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain who are both Batgirl again. The hook of this story is that Joker has unexpectedly attacked Arkham and killed Bane.
The rest of the stories are brief. We see a happy, positive Superman working with the Flash. Black Adam is going by the name Shazadam and try to be a hero. Nubia is now queen of the Amazons. Yara, the new Brazilian Wonder Girl is headed to America but being followed by other Amazons. Alan Scott is reintroduced and comes out as gay to his children. The Titans have started a school. Jonathan Kent, while good, may cause the downfall of mankind. Green Arrow and Black Canary are a couple again and Roy Harper is back from the dead. Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E. have returned and are going to team up with The Seven Soldiers Of Victory. All the Green Lanterns are working together. Barry Allen is joining a Multiverse task force and Wally West is the Flash again.
Diana realises that the heroes are pure and all the darkness has been removed. The heroes are refreshed and ready to battle what comes next. She is happy with her creation but she turns down the Quintessence offer to join them. She has been reinvigorate and is ready to start the next chapter.
But an epilogue reveals all is not well with this new Universe. The ultimate DC villain, Darkseid, has also returned.
This book is not so much story but a road map for what to expect next from DC. If you are a fan of the DC where the heroes are positive, work together and aren’t bogged down in tragedy then you have a reason to be excited. If you like to wallow in the misery then the next step might not be for you.
Interestingly, several things that are mentioned in the solicitation don’t happen. There is no Suicide Squad, no Mongul, no Hall of Justice. For whatever reason the book must have been rejigged.
But most importantly, the fun and the legacy (Justice Society) look like they are back.