Direct Currents #1 Gives Sneak Peek At DC’s Early 2017 Plans

This week, DC released the first issue of Direct Currents, a quarterly magazine to give readers an advance look at what’s coming up in the next few books. In case you missed it, DC Comics News is here with a summary of what the information reveals coming up for DC.

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The information is mostly teaser, with little spoiler information, so it should be safe to read the following unless you prefer avoiding all teaser information altogether before reading your regular titles.

Also, this magazine appears to cover only the main DC Universe titles. There is no information about DC’s other imprints like Vertigo or Young Animal.

The amount of information given varies from title to title, with the headliners getting a fair amount of coverage, while others get little more than a quick mention.

So first off, Co-Publisher Dan DiDio greets us with an introductory letter discussing DC’s plans for 2017. The main takeaway from DiDio’s intro is that DC is about to start the Rebirth storyline moving.

  “Beyond the new books and events, everyone at DC knows how interested readers are in the seeds planted in DC Universe: Rebirth #1.

“Your patience will be rewarded in 2017.

“You’ll start to see some of the great mysteries of REBIRTH addressed very soon. There’s the mystery of the Atom: what happened to Ray Palmer? Ryan Choi’s journey to find out what became of his mentor will appear front and center in Justice League Of America. There was also that mysterious little button found in the Batcave. Batman and Flash will be joining forces to forensically find out what it is and, more importantly, where is came from. And Mr. Oz: what exactly is his deal? Is he gathering heroes? If so, why? Mr. Oz will be coming to the forefront in the first half of the year as well.”

The first headline story is the Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad event. This event runs through Suicide Squad #8-9, Justice League #12-13, and the Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad mini-series #1-6.

In the story, the escape of five powerful villains: Emerald Empress, Lobo, Doctor Polaris, Johnny Sorrow, and Rustam leads Amanda Waller to enlist the aid of Justice League in assisting the Squad in stopping the quintet. Also, it appears that Maxwell Lord is the major bad guy, and their escape is part of his plan for world domination.

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Spinning out of this event is the launch of the new Justice League Of America title from writer Steve Orlando and artist Ivan Reis. After these events, Batman feels the need to form a new JLA, and enlists Killer Frost, Vixen, Black Canary, Lobo, The Atom (Ryan Choi), and the Ray.

The new series will be preceded by five one-shot specials:

  • Justice League Of America: The Atom Rebirth (Jan 4)
  • Justice League Of America: Vixen Rebirth #1 (Jan 11)
  • Justice League Of America: The Ray Rebirth #1 (Jan 18)
  • Justice League Of America: Killer Frost Rebirth #1 (Jan 25)
  • Justice League Of America: Rebirth #1 (Feb 8)
  • Justice League Of America #1 (twice monthly starting Feb 22)

The Atom special will delve into Ryan Choi’s search for Ray Palmer, who was shown to be missing in DC Universe: Rebirth #1.

In Batman #16 (Feb 1), Bane will return to Gotham in response to the provocation Batman gave him in the “I am Suicide” storyline. According to writer Tom King, “Batman welcomes Bane back to Gotham, welcomes the pain that has to come. And the greatest battle in the history of Batman begins.”

In Nightwing #17, Dick Grayson will be welcomed back to Bludhaven by a number of familiar villains from the 90s Nightwing title, including Stallion, Thrilldevil, Giz, and Orca, and more.

Beginning in All-Star Batman #6, the series’ second arc features Mr. Freeze, who has a plan to cover the entire planet in sub-zero temperatures.

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Batwoman is returning to solo adventures starting with Batwoman: Rebirth #1 (Feb 15) leading into Batwoman #1 in March. Batwoman will be leaving Gotham City for the world stage as she sets out to find and destroy the “Monster Venom” that was used to create the Monster Men in “Night of the Monster Men.” Batwoman will be written by Marguerite Bennett with art from Steve Epting.

With Batwoman departing from Detective Comics, two new members will be inducted: Batwing and Azrael. Detective Comics will be putting the emphasis on the “Detective” part of the title, as the team will explore a number of mysteries: What does Col. Jacob Kane know about the League of Shadows? Who is Cassandra Cain’s mother? Is Tim Drake really dead? Also, will Clayface inevitably betray the team?

Starting in Batgirl #7 (Jan 25), Batgirl is due for a lot of changes in her life: new roommates, new classes, a new home, but most importantly a new romantic interest. Barbara is about to meet Ethan Cobblepot, estranged son of deadbeat dad Oswald Cobblepot – the Penguin. Penguin will feature prominently in the title as Ethan tries to reconnect with his father. Also, we are told that there is a 50% chance that Ethan is not evil like his father.

Meanwhile, in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #7 (Feb 8), the Huntress decides to make Gotham City her new home. However, this sets off events that may leave the Birds of Prey looking for a new headquarters.

Beginning with Wonder Woman #15 (Jan 25), Wonder Woman will realize that someone has been messing with her life as she remembers it and will set out to discover “The Truth.” While in the alternating issues, “Godwatcher” will show us how a cabal of villains has been poking at her life.

Harley Quinn #11 (Jan 18) starts the “Joker Loves Harley” storyline. As editor Chris Conroy explains it, “the Joker shows up on Harley’s doorstep and is suddenly very nice and apologetic and wants to be a part of her life. He’s respecting her boundaries and being polite, which she doesn’t really understand how to handle.”

The big news in the Superman family of books is “Superman Reborn,” which begins in Action Comics #975 and Superman #18 (both in March). What will happen in this event is yet to be revealed, but Action Comics writer Dan Jurgens assures us that “coming out of [“Superman Reborn”], I want a new appreciation for Superman. That includes Jon and Lois, as well. I think we’ll have the characters positioned for some strong forward momentum.”

Leading up to this, Action Comics will focus on Lois’ return to the Daily Planet, and on the mysterious duplicate Clark Kent that claims he was never Superman. Clark will develop into something “more unsettling.” Also, we will see Superman and Lex Luthor team up on an alien world with disastrous results that will lead into the “explosive” events of Action Comics #974, which in turn leads into “Superman Reborn.”

Supergirl will battle the Cyborg Superman in Supergirl #5-6, then in #7 the DEO will attempt to use the Kryptonian werewolf Lar-On as a weapon.

In New Super-Man #7 (Jan 11), the Bat-Man of China will return to the Academy of the Bat, where he was trained, to discover that the Academy may have its own Joker.

Superwoman #6 (Jan 11) has Ultrawoman facing off against Superwoman and Steel as the Major Crimes Unit and the Atomic Skull face her army of Bizarress clones.

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Not much information is given about it, but the much-awaited Super Sons monthly title arrives February 1st from writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Jorge Jimenez, who have already done stellar work with the Superman title.

Beginning with Teen Titans #4 (Jan 25), we will see the Titans dealing with Damian’s past. Damian’s grandfather, Ra’s al Ghul, will send the Demon’s Fist against the Teen Titans, a group composed of Damian’s fellow trainees in the League Of Assassins.

Deathstroke #11 will feature a special story examining the effects of gun violence, and will explore Deathstroke’s own feelings about gun control.

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Titans #7 will have the original Wally West meets Superman. Currently, these are the only two DC heroes that remember the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe, so Rebirth hints are bound to appear in this issue.

In the Green Lantern titles, we will see a number of important developments:

  • Guardians Ganthet and Sayd will return – not to lead the Corps, but in a guiding role.
  • Hal will start a quest to find the remnants of the Blue Lantern Corps and restore hope to the DC Universe.
  • White Lantern Kyle Rayner will return to help Hal restore the Blue Lantern Corps.
  • Led by Soranik Natu, the daughter of Sinestro, the Sinestro Corps will attempt to mend their ways and become heroes.
  • Batman will request the help of Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz in Gotham City in the pages of Green Lanterns.

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Starting with The Flash #14 (Jan 11), Barry will have a number of problems to deal with:

  • The Rogues Gallery will return to Central City with the goal of making the Flash’s life miserable.
  • Godspeed warned the Flash of an upcoming threat that Barry would need Godspeed’s help to defeat. That threat may be arriving soon.
  • The Flash continues to mentor the new Kid Flash and try to figure out why Wally has the ability to throw Speed Force lightning.
  • The Black Hole organization is still looking to use the Speed Force as a weapon. It’s a sure thing that Barry isn’t done dealing with them yet.

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Green Arrow also has his hands full in issues #14-15 (Jan) of Green Arrow:

  • Having lost his fortune, Ollie is forced to live in the forests of Seattle.
  • Someone is killing people with a bow, framing Green Arrow for the murders.
  • Ollie will find that this murderer is someone he knows. Is it Emiko? Shado? Tommy Merlyn?

Aquaman #14 continues after Aquaman ends the war between Atlantis and the surface world. However, there is still much left for him to deal with:

  • Aquaman finally gets recognized by the world as a respected superhero, but he must patch up relations with the Justice League after his fight with Superman
  • Aquaman and Mera proceed with their plans to get married, but what about the prophecy that states the world will end if Mera is crowned Queen of Atlantis?
  • Aquaman will get a presidential pardon from outgoing President Barack Obama. However, no mention is made if Donald Trump will attempt to rescind the pardon.

In Cyborg #8 (Jan 4), Victor Stone is headed to Detroit to restore his cybernetic body so he can rescue his father from an evil doppelganger.

In Blue Beetle #5 (Jan 25), Jaime Reyes travels underground to stop a mysterious magical entity that is giving people super powers.

In Batman Beyond #4 (Jan 25), Terry McGinnis uncovers something surprising during his battle against the Jokerz.

In Trinity, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are trapped in the illusory world of the Black Mercy plant. But this has been infected by the White Mercy – whatever or whoever that is.

In Red Hood and the Outlaws, Jason Todd has to figure out what to do with his dangerous companion Bizarro, while Artemis prepares to face a threat from her past.

It looks like an exciting few months ahead for DC readers. It was a shame they couldn’t share a bit more about Super Sons, but I’m sure we’ll see more about that title before long.

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.