DC Rebirth Super Spec(ial) – Part Two
Welcome back to the DC Rebirth Super Spec(ial)! In this week's article we will primarily be taking a look at how DC is shuffling characters around to new settings, introducing new/old costumes, continuing to showcase rising characters, and bringing in brand new characters to freshen up storylines across the board.
New Digs and Duds
Some characters will be diving into the deep end in completely new settings, and other characters may be revamped in new ways. I already went over the new styles of Harley and Croc, but there are others that stick out.
The most noticeable character in new situations in initial solicitations looks to be Damian Wayne, as DC is looking for new ways to get the fan favorite character into multiple major titles. Damian will be featured in 2 titles (at least) moving forward: Teen Titans and the new title Super Sons.
Damian’s first cameo appearance in Batman #655 (and its sleek variant) has gone up in recent years and has become what most consider his first true appearance over #656 (arguably 1st full) and the book where he was featured as a baby, Batman: Son of the Demon OGN. Another book to consider would be the beautiful, simplistic sketch variant for Batman and Robin #1 (his 1st appearance as Robin, which can be found much more affordably than a few years ago as it has slipped back under the radar) or the variant of Teen Titans #89 (both by Frank Quitely), which was the first time Damian (temporarily) joined the Teen Titans. I didn’t even know this variant existed until recently, but it exists for this minor key. Plus, it’s just an under-rated variant artistically, in my humble opinion.
Damian Wayne is also part of the new buddy/buddy book Super Sons with the new Superboy, Jonathan Kent (more on him shortly). On top of that, Damian Wayne is sure to pop up in traditional Batman titles at some point.
The Lex Luthor as anti-hero story seems to be continuing into Rebirth. Coming out of Forever Evil, Lex Luthor joined the Justice League. Now, he is diving deeper into the Super Realm and donning the symbol of the House of El on his new costume. I have yet to see how or why he develops it, but Lex Luthor will be dawning an “S” branded super suit in Rebirth. Many people thought he was going to be the lead in a new title called The Super Man, but that is not the case.
The whole Superman family line of books seem to be going in a new angle, possibly killing off the New 52 Superman entirely in the final crossover issues before Rebirth. The first appearance of Lex in the new suit appears to be in Justice League #51 and will carry over into Rebirth. If anyone out there knows the first time Lex Luthor donned a Superman suit, feel free to chime in. I found nothing, but I feel like it had to happen at least once in the thousands of Superman books that have existed over the years.
Lois Lane has super powers now and is back as the new Super Woman. Not much to say here. People that have been following the Superman: Lois & Clark mini series should continue here, as I believe that story spins out of there. Also, old school, American Boy Scout Superman is back and new 52 Superman is likely dead (but Clark Kent may be alive?). All very confusing, but lots of people jumped back on Superman with that storyline (and more on Jonathan Kent/Superboy shortly). Back to the spec, Lois Lane’s first appearance as Super Woman is Action Comics #60 for those of you that would like to do some Golden Age hunting.
The biggest book with the most direct ties to the Rebirth storyline seems to be Titans: Hunt, and I will get to this more later. Omen returned as Lilith in this series, and if you were wondering who the hell that green and black costumed being is in all the Titans promotional images so far, that is her as Omen in a new costume according to solicitations.
This gets my cheap spec nod for Rebirth, with a lot of upside. Her first appearance is in New Teen Titans #25 and can be found in most $0.50-$3.00 bins in most shops. I haven’t read Titans: Hunt yet, but I am on the lookout for the Jim Lee variant for issue #1 (which is a ghost in local shops with just a few online because how many shops ordered 25 copies of a Titans mini-series), but she is reintroduced in issue #1 and seems to be the only person in the entire DC who initially has an inkling that there was a forgotten past for all of these people. Again, more on this later.
New Teen Titans #25, I feel, could grow to a $20-$25 book depending on how big of a role she continues to play. That is what happened to All-Star Squadron #25 last year with the 1st appearances of minor characters getting heat in Jade, Nuklon/Atom Smasher, and Infinity Inc. who first appeared in that formerly dirt cheap issue. I can see the same happening here, hopefully. For such a small investment, why not grab a copy before people start digging.
Artemis of Bana-Mighdall and Bizarro 1 are the New Outlaws working with the Red Hood. I did not get how this group was going to be linked to each other until I read the solicitations and a few other online readers comments: they are the dark version of the Trinity. Each of the 3 represents a well intentioned but ill-fated co-character from each of the three member’s galleries: Red Hood (Batman), Bizarro 1 (Superman), and Artemis of Bana-Mighdall (Wonder Woman).
Artemis first appears in Wonder Woman #90, and Rosamund Pike is set to play her in the movie next year, so this book could heat up quickly. Bizarro first appears in Superboy #68, but the adult Bizarro that we know and love (Bizarro 1) first appears in Action Comics #254. This could be a fun series like the 1st volume of Red Hood & the Outlaws and could bring in new readers. Also, in case you’ve been living under a rock, Red Hood has become a pretty popular character and the Jason Todd incarnation of Red Hood first appears in Batman #635. Even if this book tanks, all 3 of these first appearances are safe bets to own with future flip potential.
Feels like the 1st Time: New and Returning Characters
If you’re not up on all things Superman, then you may have missed that there is a new Superboy. Considered one of the biggest failures of the New 52 was the rebranding of Superman. This was shown to be the case by the fans, as they latched onto the two mini-series that seem to appeal to old-school Superman fans more so than Action Comics or Superman. These two mini-series are Superman: American Alien and Superman: Lois & Clark. The latter is the one that is key here.
Spinning out of Convergence, pre-52 Superman had a son with Lois Lane. The new Superboy is this son of pre-52 Superman and goes by the name Jonathan Kent; he will be co-starring with Damian Wayne/Robin in Super Sons (basically Batman/Superman Jr). He first appears as a baby in Convergence: Superman #2, but appears in his childhood iteration (the one we will be seeing in Rebirth) in Superman: Lois & Clark #1. There is a nice Tony Daniel variant for this (which is actually repurposed art from his abandoned Action Comics run) – this book is basically a ghost. Upon release, this book could have been had for cover price to $15, if you could find it that is.
This book has taken off for the same reason the American Alien variants have: it has a story that resonates with older, loyal, longing Superman fans; has great art; and, because it was an under the radar mini-series, severely under ordered. Since people started picking up that it is also the 1st full appearance of Jonathan Kent, this book began jumping up in price in the secondary market and disappearing quickly after being listed almost every time. The few copies that have sold bounce between $30-60 with one raw copy even going for $80. The cheapest current listing on eBay as of this writing is $50. With only 3 copies listed and only 7 copies sold in April, this could mean that this is a book people are either sitting on until Rebirth or hoarding for personal collections. This book should stay high; if Jonathan Kent is a hit as co-star of Super Sons playing the boy scout to Damian’s trouble maker, then this book has a lot of room to grow.
The question seems to be do we already have a new Superman or are we continuously being teased until this new Superman shows his true face. Continuing the renovations to the Superman line, DC has revealed a new Superman. This new Superman will be getting his own book in the relaunch, and this new Superman is also Asian.
Many thought his first appearance was in Superman #51 a few weeks ago. There is the Romita Jr. variant, but like the rest of the covers from this theme it is not getting any heat. The regular cover is the go-to here as it is even going back for a 2nd printing. It has been heavily rumored that the Great 10 will be heavily featured in the DC titles in Rebirth. Perhaps they will join Superman and form a type of counterpart to the Justice League of America.
Update: this looks to be happening in the current “Super League” storyline even before Rebirth. They are mentioned in solicitations during the current cross-title Superman story arc. The Great 10 first appear in 52 Week #6.
Update to the update: Most of this article was finished before last Wednesday, when Batman/Superman #32 dropped out of nowhere. In this book, the driving storyline is that Batman and Superman are on the hunt for traces of a new Superhero signature that seems to be replicating Superman’s biological signature to some degree. There are panels in the book that seem to give us our first true look at Kenji Kong. Is this character really him, though?
There seems to be dissent among fans and word coming out is that this is not the new Superman. In any case, the bottom line is this was the hottest new book last week and arguably the hottest regular DC issue in ages without a variant, Batman or Harley Quinn in it, or some extra degree of heat promoting it prior to its release. If you haven’t gotten a copy yet, grab one and sit on it to see where the dust settles because one thing is clear: the entire line of Superman books is being completely shaken up. These final New 52 books are connecting the storyline it's happening in. They have low print runs and have the potential to hold some value for a while (or growing value) because of this.
All that has been revealed so far is that a new speedster will make a 1st appearance in issue #1 of the new volume of The Flash. Also, in the previews, it appears Flash (along with the Titans and Batman) are the first (or initially only) ones that will be aware of the past DCU as things change in the universe. Could be something if this speedster turns out to be involved or becomes a major player in future storylines.
Also, New 52 Wally West (on par with the tv version) is sticking around and getting in on the action. He will be the new Kid Flash. This incarnation of Wally West first appears in New 52 Flash #30 and Flash: Annual #3 (debates exist about which has more value and is the key, but both go for above cover value these days). Also, once again, Alfred E. Neuman has ruined another variant. Neuman! (Seinfeld voice)
Next week we will wrap things up by talking all things Batman, the Rebirth storyline, Rebirth Variants, and what will likely be the hottest book emerging out of Rebirth. Until then, happy hunting!