DC Comics Relaunch: Three BIG October Surprises (Green Lantern, Jim Lee’s Legion & Batman Family)

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The big question from retailers seem to be grappling with is how to figure out how many #2 and #3 books from the DC Comics Relaunch in October and November to order when the issue #1’s haven’t come out yet. Now, I think DC has some kind of super-returnability for the next few months for retailers to mitigate any order errors, but it’s not fool proof.

That said, as a consumer, I am excited about a lot of the DC Comics Relaunch solely based on covers, solicits, and what I’ve read from creators. Does that mean that all of DC’s 52 will be a success? No. Does that mean all the books I’m thinking of picking up will make it into year 2 of the relaunch? No. Does that mean I’ll like what interests me so far? No. However, there is an intrigue and excitement around the DC Universe that I haven’t felt line-wide in a long time, if ever.

Considering the surprise pull OMAC #1 & #2 by Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen has for me, and I have no idea why, I’m not yet ready to add it to my Top 19 DC Comics Relaunch monthlies from the new DC. That said, beyond the surprise and strange allure of OMAC, and beyond all the September fanfare, DC dropped a few surprises of its own in its October 2011 solicits and from the San Diego Comic Con International. And, they all revolve around the Legion of Super-Heroes and/or DC Comics’ former publisher Paul Levitz and they impact the DCU in a big way.

1. Four Legion of Super-Heroes titles in October 2011.

There is not one Justice Society of America (JSA) book and there’s only two Superman books (Action Comics and Superman) in the new DCU, but there are four LOSH books in October 2011.

Legion Lost is a time-displaced ongoing series set in 2011 with a handful of legionnaires stuck in the past with us, helmed by Fabian Nicieza with Pete Woods on art. The issue #2 solicit reads:

Trapped in time with two teammates already dead and unsure if they’re infected or can ever return home, the lost Legionnaires must confront the horrific reality about the pathogen released by the terrorist Alastor when they are forced to confront the very first Hypersapien!

Babos Commentary: Out of all the LOSH books, this is the one that hooked me from the beginning. I’m a sucker for stranger-in-a-strange-land kind of stories and I’m equally a fan of time travel and sci-fi. I loved the Cosmic Boy mini-series from the 1980s where he was even a part of DC’s Legends event. I think this might be the sleeper hit book of the LOSH titles and it’s written by someone who was written teen hereoes well for Marvel with New Warriors and for DC recently with Red Robin.

The second book is Legion of Super-Heroes. It is the LOSH ongoing book set in DC’s future with the legionnaires that aren’t stuck in modern day. It is written by Paul Levitz and drawn by Francis Portella. The issue #2 teaser is as follows:

Taken hostage on a hostile world, the Espionage Squad is outmatched by a rebel leader that only one Legionnaire could possibly stand against – but Legion leader Mon-El may be outgunned as well! And just what does Brainiac 5 see in Glorith’s magic that could be a game changer for the Legion?

Babos Commentary: I wasn’t that keen on this book, but issue #2 with the return of Mon-el, my second favourite Legionnaire behind Cosmic Boy, has me intrigued. I’m also curious at what kind of mourning process the Legionnaires in the future go through not knowing what happened to their “lost” brethern or assuming that they are dead.

The third book is a mini-series penned by Paul Levitz, remember him :) , and it is a Legion: Secret Origins title that looks back at the origins of Legion of Super-Heroes. It is drawn by the uber-talented Chris Batista. DC’s write-up for the debut issue is below:

The architect of today’s Legion of Super-Heroes, Paul Levitz, delivers a science fiction odyssey on a scale you’ve never seen in a new, 6-issue miniseries!

The broad strokes of the Legion’s origin are well known, but you’ve never seen the secret machinations that went on behind the scenes! Why was the organization known as the United Planets formed? Who tried to kill R.J. Brande the first time? And what great power could leave entire planets desolate and lifeless? Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad may have founded the Legion, but the story starts here!

Babos Commentary: I also really enjoy Year One or Secret Origins look-back books that flesh out the past of our fave heroes. I’m not that fluent in LOSH history as I’ve been more of a fan of the JSA, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad, and others. So, the DC Comics Relaunch will be a nice fresh start for me in addition to my tpb rereads of what I understand are classic LOSH tales, e.g. The Great Darkness Saga, The More Things Change, etc.

Lastly, the fourth LOSH book was the big surprise out of SDCC which involved IDW helming a joint venture with DC that would see the classic Star Trek original series Captain Kirk and Crew from Star Trek cross-over with legionnairs in the aptly named Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes. :) Here’s what we know:

IDW Publishing is proud to announce its first-ever crossover with DC Comics’ Super Heroes in STAR TREK/LEGION OF SUPERHEROES, a six-issue monthly series beginning in October 2011.

STAR TREK/LEGION OF SUPERHEROES tells the tale of the original crew of the Starship Enterprise, who beam down to a planet only to discover that the planet isn’t their intended destination, or even in the right universe. At the same time, a group of “Great Darkness Saga” Legionnaires inside a time sphere find themselves cast into the 23rd century, but it’s not the 23rd century as they know it, either. STAR TREK/LEGION OF SUPERHEROES is a galaxy-spanning adventure that draws both teams together to face a menace that includes Khunds, Klingons, Borg, and other threats that aren’t quite as they should be. The egalitarian United Planets in one universe and a United Federation of Planets in another is now the Imperial Planets of Terra, a dark empire focused on war and conquest, and that’s just the beginning for this special series.

Babos Commentary: It’s probably no surprise that I’m also a Star Trek fan. I am engrossed in some of the trek lit out of Pocket Books including the post TV finale adventures of Deep Space 9 and Peter David’s New Frontier series and more. The cross-over between Star Trek and the LOSH makes a lot more sense than the cross-over Marvel did between ST and the X-Men in the 1990s. Now, that made no sense. IDW and DC’s 2011 cross-over pits two futuristic franchises together. I hope it delivers. Chris Roberson will write the book with Jeffrey and Philip Moy on interior art.

IDW has also announced a fair bit of variants too:

Phil Jimenez, will provide covers for the entire series, while each issue will also feature variant covers from classic Legion of Superheroes artists such as Keith Giffen, Steve Lightle, and Mike Grell, as well as IDW mainstay and Best Artist Eisner-nominee Gabriel Rodriguez (Locke & Key) and others.

2. Where is the LOSH’s Green Lantern?

You’ll notice that Jim Lee’s design for Mon-el does not include the the Green Lantern costume or ring he had recently. See the black and white sketch to the left.

Babos Commentary: Another intriguing part of October is the reapperance of Mon-el to the LOSH title. However, he’s not sporting the Green Lantern ring or costume he did the last time we saw him.

Is he no longer the 31rst Century’s Green Lantern?

Is there a bigger a GL-related arc coming as the Corps is rebuilt in the future?

With Green Lantern being one of DC’s most successful franchises with four related ongoing titles in the DC Comics Relaunch, it’ll be interesting to see where Paul Levitz takes the GL mythology in DC’s future.

3. Paul Levitz’s Third – yes, THIRD – October Title

Paul Levitz is as prolific as Geoff Johns and Scott Lobdell in the new DCU! Wow. That is welcome news. In addition to the ongoing Legion of Super-Heroes book, and the Legion: Secret Origins mini-series, Paul Levitz adds one more mini-series to his plate in October. And, it is NOT set in the future.

Paul tackles the character he introduced in the 1970s, the Huntress. The Huntress mini-series will be written by Paul and drawn by Red Robin’s spectacular artist Marcus To. Here is what we know about the book’s first issue shipping in October:

Look out! By the end of this hot new miniseries, the Huntress will have the largest price on her head in DC Universe history.

What will the Huntress do that warrants such a death mark? And who puts it there? The jaw-dropping events will be revealed as the Huntress heads home to Italy and embarks on a mission that defines her life. Don’t miss out, because this story will tie in to upcoming events in BIRDS OF PREY!

Babos Commentary: I have enjoyed the idea behind both Huntress and Power Girl. They were, from me, the female equivalent for DC’s Batman/Superman. And pre-“Crisis” they were Batman’s daughter and (a) Supergirl respectively. They had a lot of potential, then the Crisis of Infinite Earth hit, and poor execution followed afterwards as Batman no longer had a daughter and PG was the odd Kryptonian out and no longer Supergirl. PG may not even exist in the new DCU.

Huntress on the other hand has been used, not as confused as PG, but has seemed like a generic ‘Bat’ family heroine. My hope is with this new mini-series Huntress has a uniuqe voice and a unique place in the new DCU. I’m on board!

So, what surprised YOU about DC’s October 2011 solicits?

John is a long-time pop culture fan, comics historian, and blogger. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief at Comics Nexus. Prior to being EIC he has produced several column series including DEMYTHIFY, NEAR MINT MEMORIES and the ONE FAN'S TRIALS at the Nexus plus a stint at Bleeding Cool producing the COMICS REALISM column. As BabosScribe, John is active on his twitter account, his facebook page, his instagram feed and welcomes any and all feedback. Bring it on!