2019 is going to be a landmark year for DC fans. Talent-driven new imprints and highly-anticipated titles are shaping this up to be DC’s year. Before we can barrel ahead, 2018 deserves some parting love. DC’s rookie lineup of 2018 brought to life infamous offspring and mysterious new faces with formidable powers to match. Their future appearances remain undetermined, but with such obvious potential, we can assume we’ll be seeing these characters again very soon. Of course, these are not all of the new faces to grace the pages of DC comics in 2018, but each is memorable enough to merit some extra attention as their debut year is behind us.
Jinny Hex (Batman Giant #4, December 2018)
From Dripping Springs Texas, Jinni Hex is the great-great-granddaughter of legendary gunslinger Jonah Hex. Her first appearance in December 2018 teases an upcoming role in January’s Young Justice series. Jinny takes after her ancestor with a fearless attraction to adventure. In her Batman appearance, the Dark Knight searches for Jinny to assist him in a mission. After crime-fighting alongside Batman, Jinny scores a spot in Young Justice. Not surprisingly, she’s a skilled marksman and definitely the person you want behind the wheel if you’re making a getaway.
William Wu/ Roundhouse (Teen Titans Special #1)
William “Billy” Wu can turn himself into balls, an interesting powerset that earned Wu a spot in Damian Wayne’s Teen Titans. With the help of his “Roundhouse suit”, Wu can morph into different elemental spheres such as ice, fire, and iron. Additionally, his superspeed and extraordinary strength make him somewhat of a human wrecking ball. He’s one of several new Teen Titans to appear on this list and, notably, is the only one to have the gift of superhuman intellect and precise computer knowledge.
Xiomara Rojas/ Crush (Teen Titans Special #1, August 2018)
Xiomara Rojas goes by the alias ‘Crush’- a nod to her wild father, Lobo. Lobo is a constant of the DC Universe, sometimes helping but often hindering the Justice League’s core members as the Universe’s best bounty hunter. He’s half heavy-metal comic relief and half force to be reckoned with. Crush is the spitting image of good ol’ dad in style and demeanor. Trouble is fun and Crush doesn’t mind smashing a few things to indulge in it
Xiomara crashed to Earth as a baby. Fittingly, her landing was made at the Burning Man festival, where two well-meaning hippies, David and Lisa Rojas, adopted her. Xiomara did not come alone. A sentient chain called Obelus was wrapped around the baby and seemed to serve the purpose of protecting her from external threats. When Obelus allowed David and Lisa to touch the child, they assumed they were meant to act as her parents until her real family came to claim her. Unfortunately, when her adopted parents are killed, there is no keeping Crush out of trouble. She participated in illegal fighting rings until being approached by Robin to join the Teen Titans, an invitation she accepts with the belief that the Titans can help her locate her parents’ killer.
Derek James/ Sideways (Sideways #1, April 2018)
Derek James is a dimension-hopping teenager who adopted the alias ‘Sideways’. After accidentally falling into a rift in the Dark Multiverse, Derek returns to Gotham with the ability to jump from rift to rift and travel between dimensions. His powers attract the attention of Tempus Fuginaut, a mysterious antagonist who accuses Derek of damaging space-time. Derek may not be a danger on purpose but his powers are formidable, to say the least. Sideways has the ability to create uncontrollable black holes, and his rifts are razor sharp, making them able to cut through solid matter.
Djinn II (Teen Titans Special #1)
Djinn is a four-thousand-year-old genie bound to a magical ring. Fortunately, she does not age, which makes her new membership on the Teen Titans somewhat less awkward. Djinn is recruited as a magic wielding, shape-shifting, force of nature- one that Damian Wayne may be falling for. Djinn finds her ancient roots in Arabic mythology (something anyone who’s seen Aladdin can guess).
In ancient mythology, Jinn/ Djinn are powerful magic deities who interact with the human world. The complex history of the Jinn predates Islam and Christianity, traveling far back into long lost Pagan beliefs. They have been romanticized through the centuries as dangerous tricksters and subservient genies, always with awe-inspiring magic abilities and less than predictable loyalties. What this means for the newest Teen Titan remains to be seen but having a legendary supernatural being in your corner couldn’t hurt, right?
Bart Allen/ Impulse (Flash Vol. 5 #50)
The Flash family got even bigger in 2018. Bart Allen, grandson to Barry Allen and Iris West, follows the speedster tradition into deep trouble. Bart becomes trapped in the Space Force (possibly due to his own recklessness) and only escapes when Barry Allen and Wally West accidentally break the force barrier while battling Zoom. Bart sheds the typical ‘Flash’ name, choosing instead to go by ‘Impulse’- a telling name when it comes to Bart’s impulse control.
Rogol Zaar (Action Comics #1000)
As the only *confirmed* villain on this list, Rogol Zaar crashes into the DC universe with a dangerous legacy. Rogol is an alien who claims responsibility for the destruction of Krypton. His claim is personal for Superman and Supergirl, both of whom end up battling Rogol until Supergirl uses the Phantom Zone Projector to banish him to the Phantom Zone. For the time being, imprisonment may keep Rogol at bay but it’s safe to assume that in the true comic tradition, we haven’t seen the last of him.
With any luck, 2019 will bring DC fans another list of interesting new characters and stories to explore. The possibilities are endless, especially for the Teen Titans’ ever-changing roster. It’s safe to wonder whether Djinn will be a loyal Titan, or lead Damian to crash and burn. Heroes like Sideways, Impulse, Crush, and Jinny Hex are already making waves as potential DC regulars – which is good, considering the Phantom Zone may not hold Rogol Zaar forever.