Across the DC Universe #24 - Part 1

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Welcome to Broken Frontier's regular roundup of the pertinent events in the DC Universe, focusing on all the major Bigger Picture developments and subplots. This week we're catching up with both this week's releases and the New Year issues to boot. Before reading please remember our Spoiler Warning: Read no further if you've not had your DC fix this week and don't want to read about key story elements.

No Evil Shall Escape My Sight...

As the Blackest Night approaches the factions are building up their forces in the GL books. Green Lantern #36 has a "Rage of the Red Lanterns" banner as Atrocitus and his anger-fuelled Corps look for revenge on Sinestro, leader of the fear-inducing "Yellow Lanterns". Elsewhere Hal Jordan, John Stewart and co. meet the first members of exiled Guardians Ganthet and Sayd’s hope-filled Blue Lantern Corps.

Apart from the revelation that Hal could be the future leader of the Blue Lanterns, and that Sinestro’s survival is vital, there’s a subplot here that may dovetail with the Red Lantern plotline. The blue ring energy is used to pacify an angry John Stewart, giving him hope that he will see his wife, the deceased Korugarian Green Lantern Katma Tui, again. Is this merely a vision of the afterlife or something more? Possibly linked to this, Atrocitus taunts Sinestro when he discovers the existence of the renegade’s daughter. In silhouette said offspring looks suspiciously similar to Katma. Hmmm… The other leading candidate is Soranik Natu, the current Korugarian GL first introduced in Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #1 back in 2005.

Katma Tui, of course, was (first) killed by Star Sapphire way back in Action Comics Weekly #601 which is a neat way of segueing into the rise of another of that particular faction in recent Lantern titles. Green Lantern Corps #31 is highlighted as a "Sins of the Star Sapphires" tie-in and there’s a further notable recruit to the "Corps" of love when GL villainess Fatality joins their ranks in Green Lantern #36.

Batman Family

Post-"Batman R.I.P." the Dark Knight’s family continue to struggle with their loss. The presence of Two-Face in Nightwing’s life seems all-pervading at the moment, with Harvey Dent’s threats of revenge against Dick Grayson in Nightwing #151 still resonating. Batman #684 is a "Last Rites" issue that sees Dick Grayson take down Gracchus, the Two-Face impersonator, in Batman’s absence.

The chase for the Neron card that gives its owner a "Get Out of Hell Free" takes a shocking turn in Secret Six #5. Having been pursued across the country by the vicious crimelord Junior and his small army of super-villains, the Six finally come face-to-face with the relentless villain and learn his true identity: "he" is Rag Doll’s sister! I’m not sure if it was intentional or not but there are some nice visual parallels here between Junior and Mockingbird, the original mysterious leader of the 1960s incarnation of the team. And if you already thought Secret Sixer Bane, the man who broke the Batman, could take some punishment before this issue, you need to see what he receives from Junior this month.

With his plans to replace Batman and destroy his reputation in tatters Hush begins his to put his life back together in Detective Comics #852. Impersonating Bruce Wayne he begins rebuilding the fortune stolen from him in revenge by Catwoman, whose heart he removed in the "Heart of Hush" arc in Detective Comics #s 846-850. But Selina Kyle isn’t finished with Tommy Elliot yet! For fans of the new Global Guardians, seen in Checkmate and Green Lantern of late, this issue also features a guest-shot from Australia’s resident super-hero the Tasmanian Devil.

And finally with the Batman links it’s hardly surprising, given events in Gotham, that Robin takes his leave of the Titans in Teen Titans #66.

Superman Family

Coming to a conclusion this week with its fifth issue is Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom miniseries. The two strands to this arc finally converge as, on Earth, Superman and Supergirl take down the Female Furies and end Maelstrom’s quest to gain Darkseid’s affection by killing the Man of Steel. While it’s been fun seeing a more traditional approach to the world of the New Gods in this pre-Final Crisis adventure the more interesting aspect has been the examination of Superman and Supergirl’s relationship and her growing acceptance of her role and place in the DCU. This latter theme, of course, is one being consolidated throughout the Super-books of late since the "evil Supergirl" origin was well and truly refuted in Supergirl #35.

Superman #683 is the penultimate part of "New Krypton" and tensions between humanity and their Kryptonian visitors are reaching breaking point. What’s the one thing that Superman’s family are significantly vulnerable to besides Kryptonite? Yes you guessed it... the DCU’s magic-users join the battle alongside the JLA. For those enjoying Reign in Hell there’s a number of luminaries from that series on show here including Zatanna, Dr. Fate, Dr. Occult, Enchantress and the new Sargon and Ibis.

Teen Titans Spotlight

The machinations of the Dark Side Club are of concern to the DCU’s younger heroes in that very same Teen Titans #66 mentioned above. With teen metahumans either captured by, or in hiding from, the Club it make the Titans’ current recruitment drive a somewhat more difficult proposition! The major surprise of this issue, however, is the revelation that the Calculator is the father of the Titans’ Wendy and the recently deceased Marvin.

Over in Terror Titans #4 there’s more Milestone incursions into the DCU-proper as Static looks to be the hot favorite to win the Dark Side Club’s tournament of teenage heroes. Fans of the Milestone heroes will want to make sure they also grab Justice League of America #28 wherein the Shadow Cabinet seek Dr. Light’s remains, Superman enters into a secret alliance with Icon and Hawkman returns to Earth to enlist everyone’s aid against the Shadow Thief. Presumably the candle the Spectre turned Arthur Light into in Final Crisis: Revelations #1will prove the key to stopping the Hawk-villain. Personally I would have preferred to have seen the Milestone characters inhabiting their own Earth in the 52 but, regardless, it’s great to have them back.

Join us on Monday when we look at the magic-based corners of the DCU and speculate on what Earth-22 may mean to the future of the Legion...

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