Some pretty major storylines are coming to a head in DC Comics' series this winter - and so to set the stage, DC has released DC Nation, a collection of stories being offered free digitally (or for a bit cheaper in comic book stores) that give some hints at interesting and troubled times ahead for the world's finest.
Cover art for DC Nation. Image: Jorge Jiminez and Alejandro Sanchez (DC Comics)
The new comic is broken down into three tales: "Your Big Day" by Tom King, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles; "Office Space" by Brian Michael Bendis, José Luis García-López, Dexter Vines, Alex Sinclair and Josh Reed; and "No Justice Prelude" by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Jorge Jiminez, Alejandro Sanchez and AndWorld Design.
DC Nation offers some intriguing wrenches being thrown into the lives of Superman and Batman before showing that things are about to get a hell of a lot worse for, well, the entire universe. Here's a few of the biggest details.
The Joker's Invited to Batman's Wedding... Kinda
The Joker's got mail. Or, he thinks he does. Image: Clay Mann and Jordie Bellaire (DC Comics)
"Your Big Day" is perhaps the smallest of DC Nation's offerings, in terms of scale - it's simply about the Joker terrorising a poor man named Roger while he waits, in Roger's house, for the mail to arrive. What Joker's waiting for, as the tense encounter reveals, is an official invite to Batman and Catwoman's big day.
It never actually comes, but he's the Joker, so like hell he would have passed on showing up to Bat's big day anyway. He pretends that an invite has come, baffling Roger, who ends up being shot by the Joker as the clown prince of crimes makes off to plan for his next grand act: Gate-crashing the biggest wedding of the year.
The Daily Planet Has a Dangerous New Hire...
Robinson Goode is up to, well, no good. Image: José Luis García-López, Dexter Vines and Alex Sinclair (DC Comics)
"Office Space", meanwhile, introduces a new face to the Daily Planet team: Robinson Goode, a hotshot reporter that Perry White is hoping can shake up a news team in disarray.
But while Robinson is eager to get to know her new coworkers (especially Clark, who she almost catches making a hasty exit from the rooftop as Superman), it turns out that she has bigger plans, and is working with a mysterious benefactor to bring the Planet under her control.
Something's Happened to Lois Lane
Honestly, it seems a bit creepy of Lois to leave a cardboard cutout of herself in her old office, staring out at her former colleagues. Image: José Luis García-López, Dexter Vines and Alex Sinclair (DC Comics)
But why does Perry so desperately need a new beat reporter? For the same reason that Clark's become a distracted mess at work: Lois Lane is seemingly missing.
She no longer works at the Daily Planet, hence Goode's hiring, but the story lays down some intriguing hints that things aren't right beyond Lois getting a new job. There's no acknowledgement, for example, that Lois and Clark are husband and wife, and there's no mention of Jon, their son.
The story also makes it clear that Perry is obfuscating the reasons behind Lois' absence for Clark's sake - and his work at the paper has been affected by whatever's going on with Lois - rather than because he seemingly knows where she is. Either way, whatever's happened to Lois is going to be a bit of a mystery going forward.
Given that Bendis has also teased some pretty tough foes coming for Superman in the near future, it looks as though the Man of Steel is in for a hell of a time.
The Justice League Is Much, Much Bigger...
Say hello to Team Mystery, just one of four Justice Leagues in operation. Image: Jorge Jiminez and Alejandro Sanchez (DC Comics)
DC has already revealed that the Justice League is getting a huge, weird expansion after the fallout of Dark Nights: Metal. The League is now split up, as four interconnected teams:
- Team Entropy: Batman, Lobo, Beast Boy, Lex Luthor and Deathstroke
- Team Mystery: Superman, Martian Manhunter, Starfire, Starro and Sinestro (and we know that at some point Darkseid himself will slot in here)
- Team Wonder: Wonder Woman (duh), Dr Fate, Zatanna, Etrigan and Raven
- Team Wisdom: Cyborg, Harley Quinn, the Flash, Atom and Damian Wayne
We finally get to see these peculiar uneasy allies in action in the "No Justice" prelude, racing to the planet Colu - the homeworld of Brainiac himself - to protect it from a cosmic new threat. But we also get to know why the League has been forced to radically broaden its horizons... and it isn't for good reasons.
... Because All of Reality is At Stake
These cosmic fellas have come to pay Earth a visit. Image: Jorge Jiminez and Alejandro Sanchez (DC Comics)
It turns out, the DC Multiverse is kind of broken thanks to the League's effect on the Source Wall - the cosmic structure marking the literal edges of the multiverse itself - during Dark Nights: Metal. The damaged wall is letting all sorts of incomprehensibly powerful cosmic entities called Omega Titans into the universe - beings which are intent on carving a path of destruction throughout all of existence.
The only way to fight them is to unite in those four random teams, which are meant to embody the four essential cosmic energy sources of the universe. Also, yes, the four sources of energy for all things are apparently Mystery, Wonder, Wisdom and Entropy, so just roll with it.
The Leagues are fighting on Colu because, as a planet at the very edge of the universe, it's the most under threat from the Omega Titans. But it turns out that the Titans have different plans in mind, as Supergirl discovers in the final pages of the issue: They're already at Earth, and there are no Leagues there to defend it. Oh dear.
It seems as though the next few months are going to be rough for DC's biggest heroes, in ways big and small. But if DC Nation is anything to go by, there's a few more intriguing mysteries to be uncovered in the lives of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent just yet.