Say what you will about his ill-fated tenure as Batman, but Jean-Paul Valley always finds his way back into continuity somehow. It was only a few years ago that the original Azrael --- well, the original comic book Azrael, anyway, not the Angel of Death with four heads and a thousand wings whose body is made of billions of eyes and tongues --- returned to the page in Batman and Robin Eternal. And in February, he's making a pretty grand return in the flagship title of DC's Rebirth Era as Detective Comics hits its milestone 950th issue.
Check out the best superhero comics in 2016, including our critics' picks, and the comics you voted the runners up and winner in this category! This is the very best of 2016!
This week, in the final installment of this column, we take a look back at the legacy of the Electric Blue Era, and decide once and for all if it's as bad as its reputation would lead you to believe.
James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows and Alvaro Martinez's Detective Comics has been one of the absolute stand-out comics from the DC Rebirth initiative, melding X-Men style team dynamics with fan-favorite Batman characters and providing the highest of stakes for the heroes on Batwoman's team.
Heading into this week's Detective Comics #940, things didn't look too good for Tim "Two Weeks From Retirement" Drake as he faced down a horde of killer drones, but the conclusion of "Rise of the Batmen" and the revelation of Tim's fate are more shocking than anyone could have predicted.
One of the more interesting things about DC's practice of throwing out its existing continuity every once in a while and starting over with a new reboot is that it never quite gets to Batman himself. Sure, there are bits and pieces that are changed --- as the years go by, you lose elements like Joe Chill and Carter Nichols, until someone decides they want to bring them back again, for instance, and you might even get something as extreme as Zero Year coming along to supplant Year One --- but there's never really the kind of clean break with previous continuity that you see with Superman or Wonder Woman.
Instead, the core of what's going on with the character always carries over into a shift in focus, a new direction that brings one of those elements to the forefront in a new way. And this week, when Detective Comics returned to its original numbering under James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Adriano Lucas and Marilyn Patrizio, that's exactly what happened. It's the same Batman that we had before Rebirth, but with a new emphasis on his relationship to his extended family of sidekicks and partners. And it turns out that it's exactly what I wanted out of a Batman comic.
A while back, I wrote about how skeptical I was that a Martian Manhunter solo series could ever really work, and I don't know if I have ever been proven wrong as hard as I have been by the last few months. Somehow, Rob Williams, Eddy Barrows and Ben Oliver have discovered the magic formula that makes that character work, and it involves going way over the top.
DC Comics hosted a special livestream event at WonderCon in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon to unveil the creative teams behind its DC Rebirth event, which relaunches the entire DC Universe line with new issue #1s and multiple double-shipping titles. The relaunch will set the future course of DC Comics at a time when fans are wondering whether the company will embrace a new and diversifying audience or double down on serving a shrinking core audience.
The event was introduced by DC All Access host Tiffany Smith, with DC co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio and chief creative officer and Rebirth chief architect Geoff Johns introducing and interviewing the creative teams as they joined them on stage at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
I'll admit that I've been a little skeptical about the idea of the Martian Manhunter holding down a solo book. I even wrote a column a while back about why I'm not sure if it could ever work, but one of the biggest problems that I identified back then was that his origin story feels like something that's been done on a much grander scale with Superman. So if you're going to fix him, well, maybe giving him a new origin story is a good place to start.
And in case you missed it, that's exactly what happened this week in Martian Manhunter #10, in which Rob Williams, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Gabe Eltaeb give us a brand new origin for J'onn J'onzz --- and it is both completely bonkers and completely awesome.
Only Batman is eternal. Everything else ends.
DC Comics has announced what the third weekly comic series debuting this year will be, and it's going to deal with Earth 2. Earth 2: World's End will kick off in October, joining the publisher's already-running weekly series, Batman Eternal, and the weekly series The New 52: Futures End, which debuts May 3.