So, DC Comics has rebooted its superhero line again. Except not really. Through much of last year, the DC superheroes battled through something called "Dark Nights: Death Metal," in which pretty much the whole multiverse was destroyed. And then, of course, reborn. The nice thing about being a comics fan is knowing that, no matter how terrible everything might get, there's always a Reboot Button.
So everything came back, only at first through a lens called "Future State." For the first two months of 2021, DC's superhero line was replaced by books showing various futures for the various characters. Some, like "Future State: Superman of Metropolis," was set in the near future and showed Kal-El's son Jonathan Kent as his father's successor up in the sky. Others, like "Future State: Swamp Thing," were set so far into the future as to take place on an unrecognizable Earth.
I read these books with an eye toward the central question: Did these books represent the future of the DC Universe, or simply A future or two (or 12)? And that question was never answered, leaving us to believe that these books, in fandom parlance, were canon.
But with March came the reboot, called "Infinite Frontier," with the Spectre intoning that the previous two months were "possible futures that may or may not come to pass. It falls on humanity to decide now."
Normally, I'd be really irritated, feeling like I'd been robbed — that the two months of books I'd just read "didn't count." But weirdly, they kind of do. Not only did "Future State" introduce some characters that we're definitely seeing in the relaunch, but those various futures are already unfolding in revamped books that began arriving March 2.
The place to start is "Infinite Frontier" No. 0, a 64-page book (for $6) that serves as an overview of the DC Universe, as the Spectre takes Wonder Woman (and us) on a tour. Here are some of the more interesting:
Action Comics: This book still stars Superman, as it has since 1938. But it returns as a $4.99 40-pager because each issue will have a backup story starring second-tier characters who don't have a title.
Batman: This book is also a 40-pager with backups. And in the front of the book, we'll see the rise of the Magistrate, the fascist rulers of Gotham in the "Future State" books. Say, maybe they do count!
The Joker: The fan-favorite villain gets an ongoing title by doing something so awful in "Infinite Frontier" No. 0 (which I won't spoil) that he has to flee Gotham. James Gordon is in hot pursuit, part of a worldwide manhunt.
Justice League: The team has a new lineup, featuring Black Adam — who goes by "Shazadam" now.
Suicide Squad: It looks like Peacemaker is going to become the star of the Squad in the comics even before he becomes the star of the Squad in the movies.
Wonder Girl: This is a new Wonder Girl, a daughter of an Amazon and a Brazilian river god. I've loved her every appearance so far, and if that's only because of the gorgeous artwork of creator Joëlle Jones, is that such a bad thing?