We’re in the final days of 2018 and it’s been a pretty entertaining year for comics, but I’m not a great one for retrospectives… I want to know What’s Next? Well, I don’t know, so let’s dream instead. Here are five things I’d like to see in 2018… and a wee PS.
The Return of the Legion of Super-Heroes
In 1958, in Adventure Comics #247, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy and Lightning Boy hazed Superboy as they invited him to join their ‘Super-Hero Club’ in a one-off gimmick tale. Readers wanted to see more and via cameos across the Superman family of comics, the other members of the Legion of Super-Heroes were introduced. The team’s own strip debuted in Adventure Comics #300 and the Legion’s mythos grew ever grander as generations of fans devoured the 30th century-set tales like Matter-Eater Lad eating a roasted babootch. The Legion survived death, destruction and reboots until 2013, when DC Comics cancelled the team’s latest series. The constant rewrites of their history made the characters poison to all but the most devoted readers, and even our patience was tested by a final storyline that presented the Legion as losers… it was far from the glorious send-off they deserved. Unbelievably, it’s been five years since the Legion members featured in their own strip. I suspect the appearance of Saturn Girl in Geoff Johns’ Doomsday Clock series was meant to presage the team’s big comeback in 2018, their 60th year, but the book fell so far behind in scheduling that that ship has well and truly sailed. Will 2019 see the return of my favourite super-team? DC is missing one of its biggest, most distinctive flavours, a series guaranteed to shift a certain number of copies? Instead of launching new books that are simply variations on earlier hits, why not return a true original to the stands?
The End of DC Rebirth
Talking of Doomsday Clock, the authorised Watchmen sequel was launched out of Geoff Johns’ incredibly popular DC Rebirth Special. Wally West came back, and as well as the return of the Legion we were teased that the Justice Society of America were coming back from their latest trip to limbo, and the impression gained was that the New 52 was going away. That was more than two years ago and other than the odd related book such as the Batman/Flash Button crossover, we’ve seen nothing in terms of wrap-up. Does anyone know if DC plans to end the DC New 52/DC Rebirth mash-up we currently have, and give us a firmly stated, fixed universe we can relax into?
A Marvel Rebirth
And talking of comic book universes that can’t decide what they want to be, I would love 2019 to see Marvel Comics cohere into something I can care about once more. A couple of years ago the Secret Wars event ended with the perfect narrative hat on which to hang a reinvigorated continuity, but Marvel ignored what they’d set up. Since then we’ve had the Fresh Start initiative, which didn’t exactly catch fire, and something else I’ve forgotten, and no doubt Marvel have already announced Big Plans for 2019. I want a back-to-basics approach, in which character, story ideas and new series spring from enthusiastic creators and Marvel’s massive continuity rather than what’s trending on Tumblr or big on the Silver Screen.
Dark Nights: Metal
Announced as a summer event, Scott Snyder’s Justice League story promised to be a short sharp shock of superhero fun. As it turned out, it was dragged out over almost a year, and proved awfully confusing, with far too many ideas trampling on one another. There were side books featuring alternate Batmen, spin-offs such as Hawkman Lost and the New Age of Heroes titles like Sideways and Damage, and eventually a bunch of Justice League books too. I like Justice League Dark an awful lot, and the regular Justice League has plenty of fun moments among the sprawling over-arching plot, but ye gods, the sheer amount of Metal sprinkled on DC’s line is annoying. We have a Hawkman book hobbled by Nth Metal shenanigans, the Flash awash with various Forces, the massively annoying Batman Who Laughs refusing to go away… I’m ready for the Dark Metal to go into the light.
The Redemption of Jor-El
Along with the positives of DC Rebirth was one huge negative – the revelation that mass murderer Mr Oz, an offscreen menace since the shortlived Superman run by Geoff Johns – was Jor-El, whisked away at the moment of Krypton’s death by Dr Manhattan or some such nonsense. Having one of Superman birth parents around is a big enough kick in the fundamentals without making them evil/mad/suddenly OK again. And anyone who’s followed comics for more than five minutes will have twigged that Jor-El aa Mr Oz was never Geoff Johns’ plan… almost certainly he was Ozymandius from Watchmen. An upcoming storyline in Brian Bendis’s Superman title has Jor-El and Jon Kent encounter Ultraman on Earth 3, the world where the good guys are twisted into villains… it’s the perfect opportunity to reveal that Mr Oz isn’t Superman’s dad, but is in fact that Kal-El’s psycho-poppa.
Just that… I know what I’d like to see but I’d love to be utterly knocked out by something I didn’t see coming.
What would you like to see in comics in 2019?