What You Might Have Missed In DC’s February 2017 Solicitations
Every month, comic publishers release their solicitation announcements to provide information to readers and retailers on comics that are coming out in three months’ time, but there’s so much information dropped at once that a lot can slip through the cracks.
This month in DC's January solicitations, a number of iconic '90s characters make their return to the spotlight, Batman faces off against the Green Lanterns, and Doctor Doom invades the DC Universe... kind of.
The Spirit of the 20th CenturyThe Wild Storm #1 (Warren Ellis & Jon Davis-Hunt)
While The Wild Storm seems to be a complete redesign and reboot of the beloved '90s imprint and all of its characters, the mention of Jenny Sparks in the solicitation text is somewhat confusing. Sparks was introduced by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch in The Authority as “The Spirit of the 20th Century” and it was a major story point that she died when the clocks ticked over to midnight on January 1st, 2000.
One of the best things Mark Millar did in his run on The Authority was to establish that the Spirit of the 21st Century, Jenny Quantum, was not born in a Western country, and in many ways symbolized the growth and importance of East Asian countries on a global scale in the new millennium. Hopefully the return of Sparks is more than just, “Oh, she’s the one everyone remembers” and there’s a solid story reason for her appearance in this new incarnation of Wildstorm, and hopefully there’s a place for Jenny Quantum too.
The JLA vs Doctor Doom and The AvengersJustice League of America #1 (Steve Orlando, Ivan Reis & Joe Prado)
It’s unlikely that you missed the news that Steve Orlando and Ivan Reis’ Justice League of America is going to be dope as heck, but something huge stuck out in the solicitation text that makes the new title all the more interesting as it seems the team with be facing off against the obscure team of villains known as The Extremists, who bear more than a passing resemblance to a number of familiar characters from a rival publisher.
The Extremists are in fact all analogues to Marvel Comics villains, with their leader Lord Havok being an obvious Doctor Doom pastiche. The team also features counterparts to Doctor Octopus, Dormammu, Magneto, Sabretooth and Arcade, and come from the world of Angor, which is essentially one big Marvel Universe homage.
The Sword of St. DumasDetective Comics #950 (James Tynion IV & Marcio Takara)
Speaking of rad and underserved '90s characters and concepts, the blockbuster mega-sized Detective Comics #950 sees Azrael finally join Batwoman’s team of sidekicks that really needs a name at this point. Azrael was re-introduced in the pages of Batman and Robin Eternal, and has made cameo appearances in Detective Comics, but this is the first official confirmation that he’s joining the team.
If you don’t know who Azrael is, he’s the super cool dude that took Batman’s place after Bane broke his back, and went on to put a bunch of knives all over his Batman costume and started killing dudes. In the past he served as an example of how bad things can go if the wrong person is Batman, but in this new universe Batman has a chance to take Jean-Paul Valley under his wing and guide him towards a heroic path, and that kind of redemption always makes for a great story.
Green Lanterns Go GothamGreen Lanterns #16 (Sam Humphries & Neil Edwards)
The rookie Green Lanterns title has been the most exciting that franchise has been in a long time, and the creative team has been doing some really interesting character development with both Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, which is why I’m so excited for the duo to take a trip to Gotham City in February.
It hasn’t really been addressed yet, but currently Batman serves on a Justice League team with a Green Lantern who literally carries a gun, and surely he’s got to have a problem with that. Hopefully this arc and this team-up can dig into the Batman/Baz dynamic a bit more and explore that conflict, perhaps leading to Simon eventually coming to terms with trusting his ring and giving up the gun.
The Return of HawkwomanDeath of Hawkman #5 (Marc Andreyko, Aaron Lopresti & Livesay)
As something of an accidental Hawkman scholar, I’ve been paying close attention to the current Death of Hawkman miniseries for any changes to continuity I need to be aware of, and it seems in the fifth issue we get a big one as the one and only Hawkwoman returns to the DC Universe, and she’s got Katar Hol in her sights.
There was a Hawkwoman (Shayera Thal) introduced in the current universe, but she died, and she had a Rob Liefeld costume that looks more like Valkyrie than Hawkwoman. There’s also Earth-2 Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders), who has a more militarized design and was re-imagined as a person of color. Now, Death of Hawkman is introducing a Hawkwoman who looks like pre-Flashpoint Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders), so it’s a very exciting time if you’re like me and keeps obsessive track of how the Hawks’ continuity works.