After the shake-up in top management in 2009 and 2010, 2011 seems to be the year that DC Comics' plans begin to manifest themselves. DC's top writer – and CCO – Geoff Johns is spearheading the year's event series Flashpoint and guiding the Green Lantern titles, while Grant Morrison leads a strong contingent of creators with all-things Batman, and the other areas of DC shows promise this year. There's a lot to be excited about if you're a fan of DC, so here's a rundown of what to expect.
The keystone to DC's year seems to be the event series Flashpoint by Johns and artist Andy Kubert. Originally rumored to be a Flash event similar to the Green Lantern-led event Blackest Night, recent teaser images put this summer event in a whole new category – and a whole new world. From what DC has released so far, readers can expect Flashpoint to showcase a world where things have gone different – where the infant Superman never made it to Earth, where Wonder Woman had an arranged marriage, and where Bruce Wayne never fell into the shadow of the Bat. Some readers have surmised that this might be due to some tinkering in time thanks to the Speed Force, but no one knows for sure.
Over in the realm of the Dark Knight, the Bat-Franchise remains the strongest family of titles in DC with 10 ongoing series in its shadow and several miniseries and one-shots. At the center of it all is Grant Morrison's redefinition of the Batman character with the return of Bruce Wayne and the institution of Batman Inc. which franchises the symbol across the globe. Fans have taken to the new Robin Damien Wayne, and his predecessor Red Robin as well as Batgirl continue in their own series. The long-awaited Batwoman series is expected to launch in early summer after a trial run in Detective Comics, and recently acquired exclusive artist David Finch is redefining himself as a writer/artist with Batman: the Dark Knight series. Also on the horizon is the alternate universe revisioning of Batman with Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, which brings the hero's origin and ideas into a modern context as an entry point for new readers.
From the dark streets of Gotham to the sky, Superman's 2011 shows promise as Chris Roberson takes over the character's namesake title while Action Comics continues to wow fans with an unexpectedly novel take on Lex Luthor as its lead character. Both Supergirl and the recently relaunched Superboy are making strides to find a permanent place on comic shelves, and the character's stories in Superman/Batman continue to be stunning. With the new movie set to enter producing this year for a 2012 release, expect a big push from DC's new management team with their flagship character.
After pushing DC to the top of the charts last year with the event series Blackest Night, Green Lantern continues to shine a bright green light onto comic shelves and movie theatres this summer. With the character's first major movie on its way and three titles in the GL family of characters already on the books, expect long-time writer Geoff Johns to take this story of a green-hued space cop to the limit with not only the GL Corps but the other colored corps as well.
While Flashpoint has emerged as the tent pole event for DC in 2011, another series on the horizon is the long-awaited Multiversity series from writer Grant Morrison. This eight-issue series promises standalone issues of seven major alternate universes in the DCU, from a Captain Marvel-helmed work called "Thunderworld" to the classic Charlton characters that inspired Watchmen. Morrison has already announced frequent collaborators Frank Quietly and Cameron Stewart as artists on this series, so sit back and wait for the full details to come out.
From alternate universes to something even more different, DC's mature-readers line Vertigo is entering the new year with a strong group of ongoing series spearheaded by Fables, American Vampire, DMZ and Hellblazer. With last year's news that Vertigo was focusing less on DC-owned characters and more on new and unique concepts, expect a host of announcements in the coming weeks and months for new series from Vertigo stalwarts and newcomers alike. The biggest thing so far on the horizon is the reunion of 100 Bullets collaborators Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso with the limited series Spaceman.
With those occupying the big picture of the DCU in 2011, there are several other odds and ends that could pop up unexpectedly. After the surprise appearance of Sandman's Death in Action Comics, expect longtime Vertigo character Swamp Thing to make his DCU return – as well as the cast from recently shuttered line Wildstorm. And with the recent launch of the MMORPG DC Online, expect more crossover from the video game to comics world, as well as project lead Jim Lee to pop up on more comics now that the game is complete. Jim Lee even teased at one point of doing a Justice League series with Geoff Johns – wouldn't that be something?
Stay tuned for Friday for a look across the aisle at what Marvel's cooking up for this year!