I hope everyone feels rested and relaxed after their holiday break, because 2023 is going to be a busy year for DC. Last year saw the death and return of the Justice League and the restoration of the multiverse, but this year, the DC Universe has some bigger surprises planned. What sort of surprises? Well, it wouldn’t be fun if we just told you, but if you’ve been paying attention to some of our biggest titles, then you might find some hints.
In short, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve read Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 and Batman vs. Robin #4 before you dive into this week’s Lazarus Planet: Alpha. Whether you realize it or not, those two issues planted some major seeds that will drive a lot of the developments you’ll be seeing this year. Just in case you need a refresher, here are some of the big moments these two issues gave us.
No More Justice League
The Justice League have recovered from their death in 2022’s Justice League #75, but they’ve decided to take a timeout for a while. As Batman explains to Nightwing in the final pages of Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, the League will be taking a break as they reexamine their mission.
“It needs to be more than just new members,” Batman says. “It needs to find a new mission. A new legacy.” The Dark Knight sees Nightwing as his legacy, and an important voice as he shapes the League’s next iteration. It will be interesting to see what that looks like. In the meantime, it’s interesting to note that “Death of the Justice League” lived up to its name in more ways than one.
Batman’s New Cowl
Batman recently made an…um…interesting change to his costume. During Batman vs. Robin #4, the Dark Knight battled the Devil Nezha. Of course, there aren’t any tools in his utility belt that can combat an enchanted demon, so Batman donned the Helmet of Fate. Yes, THAT Helmet of Fate. The same one that gives Doctor Fate untold magical powers.
Batman quickly adapted to his new cowl, magically adding bat ears, summoning familiars and using magic powers to defeat the Devil Nezha. However, during the struggle the Helmet of Fate was shattered and its pieces ended up in the Lazarus Pit.
Yikes, I hope nobody was planning on using that later.
Beware Amanda Waller
The heroes of the DC Universe have defeated the Great Darkness, but will they be able to handle the Light? If you’ve ever watched HBO Max’s Young Justice then you might be familiar with the secret society of movers and shakers. The mysterious group made their mainstream continuity debut in Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 and they’re working with Amanda Waller, which is never good news. The leadership council has their faces obscured on the video monitors, so as of now the Light’s membership roster is unknown, but their plan is deadly. The Light has given Waller the freedom to hunt and kill all metahumans and it looks like she already has a team assembled. I don’t know, friends. It’s starting to feel like the Justice league picked the wrong time to disband.
It’s Raining Lazarus
If you’ve read Batman vs. Robin #4, then you know that Lazarus Island has been destroyed, causing a massive volcanic eruption. But it’s not ordinary eruption—this one is spreading pieces of the Lazarus Pit all over the planet and the results are going to be disastrous. The powerful Lazarus Resin can do more than raise the dead, it can also grant powers to ordinary people. Do you trust the entire planet to be able to handle superpowers responsibly? Neither do I. We’re going to see this play out in Lazarus Planet, the first DC event of 2023.
The Legacy of George Pérez
As we look to the future, it’s important to celebrate our past. Throughout Dark Crisis, the theme of legacy is visited many times, and we can’t help but think about George Pérez. The legendary creator passed away last year, but his fingerprints are all over this book, even though he never worked on it.
Dark Crisis is a spiritual sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths, which was one of Pérez’s biggest contributions to the DC Universe. Characters and concepts from the original Crisis were used in Dark Crisis, and several scenes paid homage and were illustrated in the style of Pérez himself. Deathstroke, who was one of the big villains of Dark Crisis, is another Pérez co-creation. In fact, during the battle within the Great Darkness, Dick Grayson and Slade Wilson are illustrated to look like they did when Pérez drew them in The New Teen Titans. Batman and Deathstroke both make it clear, Dark Crisis is all about legacy, and I think it’s clear whose legacy it is.
So, while you were all celebrating at New Year’s parties, Amanda Waller has been planning her next move and Batman has been trying to figure out a way to stop the Lazarus rainstorm. Buckle up DC readers, because 2023 is going to be unforgettable.
Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 and Batman vs. Robin #4 are both available now. Lazarus Planet: Alpha #1, which kicks off the Lazarus Planet event, hits comic shops and digital retailers tomorrow.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DC.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.