The Final Fate of Lana Lang Revealed in ‘Superwoman’ #18

Spoilers ahead for Superwoman #18, on sale now.

With Superwoman #18, the first cancellation of the Rebirth era has come and gone today — and the end of the comic brought an end to the narrative arc for Lana Lang’s titular superheroine.

The issue’s solicitation text offers — sort of — an accurate idea of what goes on between the pages, but with some important surprises along the way.

DC had described the issue, from writer K Perkins and artists Stephen Segovia and Max Raynor, as “a day in the life of Superwoman…but someone else is in the driver’s seat,” and asked, “Will Superwoman manage to break her mind free from Midnight’s digital grasp and dispel her twisted protocol once and for all?”

…Actually, kind of no.

In the story, it turns out that Midnight is able to stabilize herself and reduce her worst impulses — but does so by virtue of proximity to Lana’s powers. The ultimate solution? Well, Lana voluntarily surrenders her powers, which brings security both to Midnight and to Lana herself, who has been under the constant threat of “could these powers kill me?” from the day she got them.

Superwoman was originally marketed as the continuing adventures of the New 52 Lois Lane; following 2011’s Flashpoint reboot, Superman was the character arguably the most impacted, with his marriage to Lois Lane removed from continuity and a world that hated and feared aliens — even the Man of Steel.

Ultimately, the pre-Flashpoint version of Superman (and his wife Lois, along with a child born during the Convergence event) returned to the main DC continuity, taking over after the New 52 Superman died.

At the moment of that character’s death, his powers flared out of him like lightning, striking both the New 52 Lois and Lana Lang. Ultimately, each of them would get powers…but in Superwoman #1, the powers would consume Lois, leaving Lana all alone as Superwoman.

Later, in the “Superman Reborn” storyline, Mr. Mxyzptlk would reveal that the New 52 Superman and Lois were always just a part of the more traditional versions of the characters, separated by a mysterious force implied to be Doctor Manhattan. The left-over energy of the “dead” versions rejoined the main bodies, realigning their personalities and backstories to be one continuous whole rather than two disparate pairs of characters. Lana got to keep her “share” of the powers and continued on as Superwoman — until now.

She will likely continue to appear as a supporting character in the Superman titles. Her boyfriend, John Henry Irons, is the superhero Steel, who was inspired by Superman and has come to his aid on more than one recent occasion.

Superwoman #18 is available today, in stores and online. You can get a copy at your local comics retailer, or order a digital copy here.


Syfy’s KRYPTON Will Not Be The Superman Story Comic Book Fans Expect

You may think you know Superman’s lineage, but Krypton is throwing out the classic script. Syfy’s new DC Comics drama isn’t sticking to the source material about the most famous superhero ever. The new series about Superman’s grandfather Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe) isn’t just going to be flashbacks to the House of El’s beginnings, it’s wholly reinventing them.

Set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s home planet, when Krypton begins, Seg-El is a young man faced with a life or death conflict to either save his home planet or let it be destroyed in order to restore the fate of his future grandson after getting approached by Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos), a time-traveler from Earth.

When the series was first announced, fans assumed Krypton would be just another origin story for the House of El that would give Superman to the world. But at the 2018 Winter Television Critics Association press tour, DC Entertainment boss Geoff Johns revealed to the room of journalists that by introducing time travel with Adam Strange, they aren’t beholden to the history of Superman’s origins.

“There’s been a lot of stories in the comic books about Krypton that we do derive inspiration from, but the time travel element does give us an unpredictability and some creative license to do stories that we don’t know stories that could play out differently than what people might assume,” Johns says. “The door is open for anything.”

In fact, because of that, Krypton has the ability to dive into deeper comic book stories than fans have ever seen in live-action before. “This is the gateway into the DC science fiction universe,” executive producer David S. Goyer says. “Even the inclusion of Adam Strange, that should tip you off that it’s not just going to be set on Krypton.”

The showrunners already have an idea for where they want to see Krypton go past the first season. “We do roughly have a seven, eight year plan,” Goyer says. “But a lot of people know that Krypton blows up and that’s what causes Superman to come to earth but this is really an untold story. Time travel is involved which means that the ending of our show, history can be changed and what happens in this show can be very different from the backstory that people know.”

That means the present day Superman stories being told in live-action will not be where Krypton ends up going in the present. And the fact that Krypton isn’t going to tie into the onscreen DC Comics world on television and in films means they can take their story anywhere. There’s no telling where it will end up.

“It’s almost entirely advantageous,” Goyer says of having this show exist on its own terms. “It is it’s own thing. Because of the time travel aspect, we have a tremendous amount of free reign. And it’s really an untold story.”

While the showrunners were cagey about specific plot points, Goyer did reveal that the show begins with the House of El in disgrace, a huge departure for the normally almost-royal family. “Krypton is really about how that ‘S’ [symbol] really gains this meaning,” he says. “When we start, it’s a symbol of shame, a scarlet letter. As we watch our character build it into something we love, that’s the core of the show, the heart of the show.”

What are you most excited to see from this new DC TV series? Tweet me at @SydneyBucksbaum and let’s chat all things Krypton!

Images: Syfy

Krypton premieres Wednesday, March 21 on Syfy.


Batman and Superman’s costume-swap double date is the best comic book story of the week

Batman #37 is about Batman and Superman taking their significant others on a double date. Batman #37 is also about them doing that in each other’s costumes.

This week’s issue of Batman is also about two old friends and two new ones, examining the uncertainty of commitment and the absurdity of love.

Batman #37 is a funny, human story featuring some of the world’s most famous characters. It’s a love letter to Batman and Catwoman and Superman and Lois Lane being in love. You should read it.

The pitch

The only outing that Batman and Superman and Catwoman and Lois Lane can to agree to visit is the Gotham County fair, only to find that it’s “Superhero Night” and nobody gets in unless they’re dressed as a superhero.

Of course, if they dress as themselves, they’ll look like the real thing. And so: costume swap. Lois puts on Catwoman’s outfit, and Catwoman gets in via … persuasion. That’s the setup, and it’s good.

Catwoman and Lois Lane sip a flask and talk about their pasts until they collapse giggling. Batman and Catwoman behave most untowardly in the Tunnel of Love. Batman and Superman agree that the pitching machines at the batting cages are far too easy, but then devolve into an argument over whether Batman could get a hit off of a Superman pitch.

At one point, this happens:

At another, there is this exchange:

The hit

Batman and Catwoman have recently gotten engaged. For normal people, this is the sort of time when a newly engaged dude would want to introduce his fiancée to his best friend and his best friend’s wife, if he hadn’t done so already.

But, as Superman says, “We don’t live normal lives. It can be … it’s really hard to do normal things,” a clear allusion to the issue as a whole.

Superman is surprised that Batman could find it in himself to do something as normal as getting engaged. He wants to know what pushed his friend, the self-flagellating, emotionally-closed-off loner, into opening up to someone.

Batman answers by talking about his parents (typical), and how their early deaths meant that he never fully knew them — or their relationship — not as an adult does. That’s left him without a roadmap for any kind of normal romantic relationship, and a life that’s also uniquely unsuited to them.

“I’m in the dark,” he tells his friend.

“You do all right in the dark,” Superman answers.

Here’s where I remind you that they say all of this while Batman is wearing Superman’s costume and Superman is wearing the Batsuit with his Clark Kent glasses over the mask and they’re surrounded by civilians in DC superhero cosplay and they’re both casually eating ice cream cones.

The home run

Batman #37 is just the latest installment of Tom King’s run on the series, in which he’s taken Batman through plenty of action and mystery and adventure. But it’s all in the service of examining whether a character who’s been seen through the lens of his trauma for so long can convincingly be transformed into a happier, healthier version of himself.

(It’s also the Batman run where Kite-Man becomes a big deal, which gets a reference in Batman #37.)

But #37 stands perfectly well on its own, a joyfully sincere story about friendship, love and how infrequently we take satisfaction in the normal. I’ve only put a couple of them in here, but there’s barely a page or even a panel without something delightful in it, thanks in no small part to Clay Mann’s carefully composed facial expressions.

Go on. Read it. Especially if you want to know if Batman can hit a baseball pitched by Superman, because I’m not going to spoil the ending.


Exclusive DC Preview: ‘Superman’ #38 –

DC has provided with an exclusive preview of Superman #38, due out next week from writers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, and featuring art by Ed Benes, Sergio Fernandez Davila, Vicente Cifuentes, and Gabe Eltaeb.

The issue is the final part of the “Super-Sons of Tomorrow” storyline, which pits the Titans of Tomorrow against their younger counterparts in the Teen Titans with the life of Superboy Jonathan Kent hanging in the balance.

This is the first time fans have seen the Titans of Tomorrow — featuring Superman Conner Kent, Wonder Woman Cassie Sandsmark and Flash Bart Allen — since before Flashpoint rebooted the DC Universe in 2011.

“Super Sons of Tomorrow” picks up plot threads from Detective Comics and introduces the Batman of Tomorrow to the Super Sons, Damian Wayne (Robin) and Jonathan Kent (Superboy). The dark, adult version of Tim Drake has plans to do away with the Boy of Steel, claiming that his continued existence jeopardizes the future.

Superman (2016) #38

Superman (2016) #38

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Can he be trusted, though, especially since we know this version of the character was profoundly affected by a different Superboy, Conner Kent?

The former Superboy’s erasure from continuity following the events of 2011’s The New 52 reboot will be addressed in-story within in the pages of Detective Comics, according to series writer James Tynion IV.

“Part of this story, where we started, was recognizing Tim Drake’s classic origin and realigning Tim to the original iteration of the character,” Tynion told “In resetting him back to his core, there’s one part of the core of the character that was not being addressed — that’s still missing. I knew that it would be false to bring back to core of the character and not point to the part of the core that’s missing. Using that as the piece that allows the future Tim Drake — the ‘Titans Tomorrow’ Tim Drake — to realize that this world has changed which means the future is no longer set and time can be changed, that’s what really propels us into the future. It leaves this powerful mystery dangling that Tim doesn’t know the answer to, but he knows it’s important. To see that one play out, you guys are going to have to read the comic books.”

The issue comes with a variant cover by Jorge Jimenez that pays macabre homage to The Adventures of Superman #498, the first issue of the “Funeral For a Friend” storyline, which featured Superman’s battered corpse on the cover, laying on cracked pavement following his battle with Doomsday.

You can see the preview pages in the attached image gallery, and the official solicitation text below.


With no other choice left, the Batman of Tomorrow brings in the Titans of Tomorrow to take on today’s Teen Titans—as the life of Superman’s son hangs in the balance! See the return of future Superman Conner Kent, Wonder Woman Cassie Sandsmark and Bart Allen Flash in the final battle of this epic crossover.


Believe it or not, the comic book business is booming – Belleville News

Q: There has been an onslaught of superhero movies based on comic books. Which character is the most popular in the U.S.? Which magazine sells the best? Which characters have been around the longest? Have the movies improved sales? Are they censored or banned in other countries? How big is the industry? What age group buys the most?

W.C., of Edwardsville

A: No matter how you slice it, it is a simply Marvel-ous time for comic book lovers, the folks at Fantasy Books in Belleville tell me.

And that goes for DC, Archie, Image and all of the other independent labels as well.

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That’s not just hype. Since 2010, estimated sales of the top 300 comic titles have soared nearly 30 percent from 69.2 million copies to 89.4 million in 2016, the latest year for which data is available, according to figures from Diamond Comic Distributors.

In revenue, that has brought a jump from $322 million to $437 million as the average price of a comic climbed from $3.55 to $3.85. When you add digital sales and an even stronger demand for graphic novels, you’re talking about a $1.085-billion industry in 2016, a $55 million increase over 2015, according to, which compiles comic book sales and trends.

Obviously, with an average price hovering at $4, adults are likely to buy more. I shudder to think that in my own comic-crazed years, I was buying 10 to 12 Marvel titles a month. At that time, I could easily set aside $1.50 a month for those 12-cent treasures. But even if my allowance had kept pace with inflation, I doubt if I could come close to the $40 to $50 bill today. As a result, a survey of comic book retailers last February on found the average age of customers had increased into the mid- to late-30s.

But that doesn’t mean the industry will fade as millennials die out. The explosion of superhero movies apparently has resuscitated the popularity of comics among the younger set. And, of course, they now can access them on their phones, tablets or whatever gadget is handy.

“The average age of our customers is usually 20 to 30,” Bret Parks, owner of Ssalefish Comics in Winston-Salem, N.C., told Newsarama. “However, somewhere after the first ‘Avengers’ film came out, I did notice a sharp increase in children reading. Absolutely there is hope in the rising number of kids reading comics, especially with their knowledge of comic characters growing in relation to the amount of information and media like movies and superhero shows out there.”

Locally, sales remain strong across all age groups, Fantasy says. There’s still Archie and similar titles for youngsters, Image, Dark Horse and other indies for adult tastes and an explosion of DC and Marvel titles for all ages. The big seller now is the “Dark Nights: Metal” series, in which Batman battles a half-dozen evil versions of himself after opening up a dark multiverse. But if you’re longing for the more innocent days of the ’60s, Marvel last year began its Legacy series, which focuses on the label’s classic heroes.

Even I couldn’t resist a return to my teens Thursday. In August 1967, Marvel debuted a title called “Not Brand Echh,” a satire starring Forbush Man decked out in his red long johns and a cooking pot with eyeholes for a helmet. (His secret identity was the mythical Marvel office gofer, Irving Forbush.) With appearances by Gnatman and Rotten, Superduperman and Ironed Man (among others), it ran for 13 issues (and I have all 13). Now, after a 49-year hiatus, Marvel published No. 14 this month as part of its Legacy series, and I had to have it. As it once boasted, “Who says a comic book has to be good?”

Now some final rapid-fire answers:

Most popular character: Depending on which poll you believe, Batman and Superman are neck and neck. In sheer numbers, Batman has appeared in 14,358 issues followed by Superman (13,164), Wolverine (12,912), Spider-Man (12,164) and Captain America (9,139). See the other 95 at

Best seller: In November, the top seller was Doomsday Clock, DC’s sequel to Watchmen, with sales of approximately 240,000. Various Batman titles held down the next five spots, followed by Captain America, the Batman annual and Star Wars. For all 413, go to

Oldest character: While characters like Doctor Occult predated him, there’s little doubt that the debut of Superman in Action Comics No. 1 in June 1938 fueled the birth of the superhero craze. Among names you would recognize, he was followed in short order by Batman (March 1939), Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner (April 1939), the original Human Torch (September 1939) and Flash and Hawkman (January 1940). Marvel started to roll with the Fantastic Four in November 1961. For more, see Wikipedia’s list of superhero debuts.

Banned books: You don’t have to live in Iran or North Korea to have comic books banned. There’s a group called the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund that fights banned and challenged comic books in North America all the time. If you’d like to read dozens of case histories — including some involving Spider-Man, Batman and Maus, go to

Today’s trivia

According to Comichron, what single comic holds the world record for most sales?

Answer to Sunday’s trivia: When Johnny Cash suggested that he write a song about blue suede shoes, Carl Perkins was skeptical. Then, while playing a dance on Dec. 4, 1955, Perkins heard a boy admonish his girlfriend for stepping on his “suedes.” Two weeks later (Dec. 19), Perkins recorded his “Blue Suede Shoes” in just two takes in the Sun Records studio. By Feb. 18, it had taken over the top spot on the Memphis charts, where it stayed for three months.


These days, comic books aren’t just for kids

In the 1930s and ’40s, comic books were largely the province of youngsters who plopped down their dimes at the corner drugstore for the latest issue of Superman or Batman

Nearly a century after publication of those first mass-market treasures, new issues continue to be released each week — comics that now cover a host of genres.

Yet one thing has changed over the decades: Comic books aren’t just for kids anymore. Maybe not even primarily.

And in this digital age, you hardly need to go to a drug or specialty store to find something that piques your interest.

How does one explain the continued appeal of comic book characters across a host of platforms from print to gaming to the big screen?

Ask Jonathon Smith, owner of Cameron’s Comics Stuff in Bowling Green. He thinks the connection comes once a reader is able to find a writer he or she enjoys reading and an artist who has the ability to add to the comic book story through images and various color patterns.

“You would never think that would be the case, but it most certainly is,” he said.

It helps, of course, that there seems to be a genre for just about every taste. Whether superheroes, horror, crime, or stories for children, mainstream and specialty imprints exploit nearly every literary avenue.

While Hollywood has long mined comic books for plots, the past 20 years have seen a tsunami of movies and TV shows based on such material. Iron Man? The Avengers? Wonder Woman? The Walking Dead? All based on comic books or graphic novels.

In 2017, films like Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarak, and Wonder Woman helped boost comic sales and attract fans to Steve Shufritz’s Toledo store, Monarch Cards and Comics.

“The movies are helping a lot to put these characters out in front of people,” Shufritz said. “Eventually they actively seek out a place like our store and stumble on [a comic book] and say, ‘This is cool.’”

In 2016, print and digital comic book sales in the United States totaled $1.05 billion, according to the research site, up 5 percent from 2015 and 32 percent from 2011 sales of $715 million.

That doesn’t include the high-end auction market, where people buy and sell the world’s most expensive comic books. Action Comics #1 — the first appearance of Superman — sold for $3.2 million on ebay in 2014. Fewer than 100 issues were released in June, 1938, and it cost a dime to purchase.

The shift in comic book readership from youngsters to adults is exemplified by Toledoan Dirk Manning, who has been writing comic book stories for more than 15 years and is known for his series Tales Of Mr. Rhee (Devil’s Due) and Nightmare World (Image Comics/Shadowline).

Manning became fascinated by comic book storytelling and dialogue as a teenager. He said there are now more adults reading comic books and visiting stores than children. Yet because of mainstream superhero movies, parents are bringing their children into local comic book stores to show them character authenticity.

“They’re recognizing, ‘Wow, that was based on a comic book?’ It’s building awareness of the genre,” Manning, 42, said. “The medium still exists. It’s really introducing younger artists [to the fact] that comic books [exist]. We went through a phase where the industry was not reaching a younger demographic.”

Smith, who opened his Bowling Green store in November, said superhero comics are the most popular, specifically Marvel. He said another popular comic seems to be Doomsday Clock, which is published by DC Comics.

He’s also seen an increase in women readers stopping by his store. He said many are interested in comic books like Snotgirl, Paper Girls, and Sheena, Queen Of The Jungle, all published through smaller printing companies and among his best sellers.

“They don’t pick up superhero [comics]. They like story-driven or fantasy-driven,” Smith said.

Toledo comic book collector and writer Jim Beard, 52, sold a story to DC in 2002 and has since written official Spider-Man, X-Files, and Planet Of The Apes fiction. He’s also contributed content to Marvel.

Beard said the comic book industry had a lot of diversity in the beginning, especially during the 1950s, exploring such genres as romance, western, war, mystery, horror, and superheroes. By the 1960s and ’70s, he noted, superheroes seemed to take over, generating most of the sales and getting much of the attention.

Today, he suggested, the field is rediscovering its early diversity.

“This is a cool time,” Beard said. “We’ve kind of come back now [to] where there is everything and anything, even though comic books are at a low point in their overall history. It’s still an incredible time for them. That’s why females are getting into comics. There’s a lot of diversity out there in what you can get.”

While adults are reading more comic books today than children, Beard said that’s likely because kids today are dealing with so much technology they no longer take the time to sit down and read a physical book.

“It’s so hard because kids today are coming out of the womb and reaching for a cell phone,” he said. “They’re not seeing what we saw as kids, where comics were still cool, colorful. … Now, if you like Iron Man you just pop in the movies. Why sit there and read a static series of images that don’t do anything?

“What it takes is an adult who will put these comics in front of the kids and try to show them why they’re cool and why it can be fun, and why it would be something to look forward to,” he said. “It’s an adult market.”

He said the real stars of comic books aren’t the characters these days, but the artists and writers. For Beard, who has always been an avid Batman fan, he will drop a comic if the writing isn’t to his liking or the colors and art aren’t appealing.

“People are looking for that art again and what appeals to them,” he said. “We’re more sensitive today. We want to have our characters do and say things [that] we agree with.” 

Contact Geoff Burns at [email protected] or 419-724-6054.

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Here Is What Christopher Reeve Could Have Looked Like As Superman In ‘Kingdom Come’

(Photo: KaineMaki (Reddit))

Years after his death in 2004, fans got to see Christopher Reeve take to the sky one more time as Superman when Superman II: The Donner Cut was released, giving closure to nearly thirty years of “what if…?” scenarios.

As fans now petition Warner Bros. to do the same for Zack Snyder’s assembly cut of Justice League, it’s as good a time as any to remember that comic book fans always seem to have a perfect…something…out there that they wish they could have seen come to the screen.

For fans who grew up in the ’90s, one such property is Kingdom Come.

A miniseries from Mark Waid and Alex Ross, Kingdom Come features a retirement-age Justice League deatling with the problems raised by a generation of irresponsible, attention-seeking kids given great power and possessed of no responsibility. Superman’s sulky retirement is cut short by a cataclysm that shakes the world and snaps him out of a years-long funk — and he reassembles his old friends to bring the younger metahumans to heel.

When the comic book was released in 1997, fans immediatley started fantasizing about a world in which the story could be told on the big screen, ideally with veteran Superman Reeve standing proud one last time and TV’s Adam West (who passed away in 2017) as the wily, wiry, aging Dark Knight.

For a number of reasons, that film was never meant to be, but a fan on Reddit used their PhotoShop skills to give fans a look at Reeve in the form of a bulkier, older Superman with the slightly-altered costume of Kingdom Come.

You can see it above, or follow that Reddit link for a full-body version.

In the thread, fans speculate about whether, with digital replacement of actors becoming more common and less taboo, a likeness of Reeve could one day be used to stand in for an Earth-2 or Kingdom Come version of Superman (both of whom are older and neither of whom would be likely to headline a feature film) should something like Crisis on Infinite Earths ever be adapted.

On its face, that might seem difficult to swallow — but remember that years before digitally replacing an actor was a plausible reality, Warner Bros. stirred controversy by resurrecting Marlon Brando’s Jor-El in 2006’s Superman Returns by using footage cut from Richard Donner’s (Reeve-fronted) Superman movies.

Justice League is expected on DVD, Blu-ray and digital in February.

You can get an extended director’s cut of Superman: The Movie, and Richard Donner’s cut of Superman II, on Blu-ray now through the Warner Archive or retailers like Amazon.

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DC Comics Universe & Superman #38 Spoilers & Review: TIME IS BROKEN In Super Sons Of Tomorrow Part 4 Plus A …

DC Comics Universe and Superman #38 Spoilers and Review follow for Part 4 of Super Sons of Tomorrow!

Superman #38 With Super Sons Of Tomorrow Part 4 with an unexpected and big sacrifice.

Only one more issue after this one in two weeks! Check out the Super Sons of Tomorrow event checklist below!

Super Sons of Tomorrow so far:

    Superman #38 opens with the Titans Tomorrow with Conner Kent Superman, Cassie Sandsmark Wonder Woman and Bart Allen Flash entering the timestream or hypertime after Tim Drake Batman Savior who is modern day DC Rebirth continuity.

    In modern day the Teen Titans have reconciled with Damian Wayne Robin and Jon Kent, the Super Sons. They save Superman from a red kryptonite prison of the future Tim Drake Savior. Tim explains why Jon’s powers are on the fritz and dangerous.

    Just then future Conner Kent Superman, Cassie Sandsmark Wonder Woman and Bart Allen Flash arrive in the present to capture Tim Drake.

    Damian Wayne attacks Tim Drake as Tim decides to…

    …sacrifice himself to save everyone, but…

    …he’s not dead; he’s floating in the timestream or hypertime.

    Super Sons of Tomorrow concludes in 2 weeks in Part 5 in Super Sons #12.


    The best written issue of this arc so far with amazing art to boot. 9 out of 10.

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    Inside DC’s Controversial Watchmen and Justice League Crossover

    Three decades after Watchmen‘s release, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ dark, cerebral graphic novel remains one of most critically celebrated works of the superhero genre. On the commercial side, the comics world of the Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.) contains some of the most well-known superhero stories of all time. So last year, when DC Entertainment announced it was going to launch a series that picked up where Watchmen left off and included the Justice League, the move was met with no shortage of questions.

    But for series writer (and DC chief) Geoff Johns, it was also necessary. “No one came to us and said, ‘Hey, you should do Watchmen in the DC Universe,'” Johns says. “We know the skepticism going in there, and we tried to create a book of the utmost quality and craft beyond what we usually do.”

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    As the first issue of Johns’ series revealed in November, Doomsday Clock takes place seven years after the events of the original, and follows Adrian Veidt—Ozymandias from Watchmen—as he leads a search for Doctor Manhattan in hopes of saving the world from his own plan to save the world. It’s a weighty premise, and one that promises a big (or at least compelling) payoff, but the goal wasn’t just to shock or awe. Instead, it’s a character study of some of the most complex personalities in DC’s universe.

    “We’re trying to do things that are unexpected, and make the book feel more about people, but it’s not about an ‘event,'” Johns says. “We’re really trying to do an inward story here, a personal story. The plot is extremely simple: These people are trying to find somebody to help save the world. That’s it. That’s the story.”

    A significant amount of the anticipation for the series, obviously, involves seeing Watchmen characters meeting members of the Justice League for the first time. The creators wanted to do more than stage a bunch of epic showdowns, though. “You put Batman and Rorschach in the same room, how satisfying is that, really?” says artist Gary Frank. “It’s a very shallow type of fun if all they do is have a fight. Yeah, it’d be great for a couple of pages, but the interesting stuff is how these two characters relate to each other, how they respond to each other.”

    Doomsday Clock‘s deeper purpose also lets them sneak in more meta-textual elements. In the series’ second issue, released last week, there’s even one—the so-called “Superman Theory”—that Moore himself might approve of.

    “It’s a very simple question that these scientists are asking in the DC Universe, which is why are 97 percent of meta-humans American?” Johns explains. “There’s a big textured story in the background that will be unfolding, a conspiracy of sorts, and something that ultimately explodes [into the main narrative]. Things that seem in the background and easily dismissed, actually all become part of the story. As dense as the book is, there are no throwaway moments.”

    The mention of back matter points to another way in which Doomsday Clock follows the lead of Watchmen. Like its predecessor, each issue is told in the nine-panel grid structure of Moore and Gibbons’ original and each issue features journalism or other in-universe elements that introduce or expand on the central storyline.

    That doesn’t mean Doomsday Clock is merely a retread of what came before. “We really wanted to maintain the feel, down to the paper quality, of the original book as much as possible, because the story was going to be so different,” Johns says. “We wanted it to be both similar and completely different.”

    Johns and Frank see their latest series as the pinnacle of a collaboration that stretches back almost 15 years to their time collaborating on Marvel’s Avengers series. The two talk twice every day about the project, Johns says, adding, “I don’t think we’ve ever worked this closely on a book.” And probably not as hard, either. Johns estimates Doomsday Clock scripts take five times as long to write as those for other comics. “I love it because it is different and new and it’s challenging,” Johns says. “I’m working with the best people in comics. I mean, Gary Frank is the best artist in comics. You can’t deny it.”

    “I deny it,” Frank laughs. Johns is near apoplectic in disagreement, but eventually submits. “You don’t need to agree,” he says. “Just wait until everyone sees issue three.”

    More Justice League


    Celebrating New Year’s With Joe Kelly Comics

    In Drawing Crazy Patterns, I spotlight at least five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics). Today, on New Year’s Day, we look at Joe Kelly’s long history of comic books set during New Year’s.

    Often, when we talk about recurring bits, they come to us obviously. You know, like “”focused totality of my psychic powers” or “Ah’m pretty much invulnerable while Ah’m blastin’.” Much rarer, then, are the recurring bits that really aren’t obvious at all until you look back and say, “Wow, Joe Kelly sure does like to write about New Year’s a lot.” New Year’s, you see, has long been the forgotten comic book holiday. If you’re a monthly comic book and you want to do a holiday issue in December, you’re not going to go for New Year’s Eve, you’re going to go for Christmas. And if you DO do one in December, the odds are that you’ll not want to spend a SECOND issue on a holiday the next month, ya know? So there have not been a whole lot of New Year’s comic book stories over the years.

    We open with X-Men #73, from Kelly’s run on X-Men (Joe Casey assisted Kelly on the story. The art was by Jeff Johnson and Dan Panosian). The issue is a bit of a fill-in story, but with sort of a framing sequence of Beast putting up a sing for the team to make their New Year’s resolutions…

    new years eve joe kelly superman spiderman xmen

    Here are the final resolutions…

    Fun stuff.

    Kelly moved from X-Men to Action Comics as part of the big Superman creative changeover in 1999. Kelly took over Action Comics. Early on in his stint on the book, they had a big crossover when 1999 turned into 2000, taking the worries over “Y2K” into a special one-shot, “Superman: YDK,” with art by Butch Guice and Will Conrad…

    The whole problem was started by Brainiac 2.5!

    It led to a whole crossover when Brainiac 13 showed up at the end of the issue!

    It’s a really good issue, by the way. Kelly goes back into the history of Metropolis to show stories of New Year’s past (mostly involving Luthor’s ancestors). The whole digitally constructed Brainiac 13 wasn’t as cool, though (some things don’t age well).

    A year later, in Action Comics #774 (art by Eric Canete), after Lex Luthor won the 2000 Presidential Election in the DC Universe, Superman is trying to avoid New Year’s with his in-laws (General Sam Lane was going to be part of Luthor’s administration) but his friend, J’onn J’onnz, convinced him to celebrate New Year’s….

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