DC: One Year Later

March 27, 2006 | Comics

One Year Later.
That’s where we find the DC Comics Universe this month in the fallout of the ongoing Infinite Crisis miniseries. Over 20 DCU titles are blinked 365 days ahead, to a world where Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman have all been missing. Catwoman is pregnant, Green Arrow is the mayor of Star City, the JSA has disbanded and the Outsiders are gone — or are they?
DC piles hot writers on top of hot artists in this bold new direction for some of comics’ most familiar names.
One thing to remember though: this is One Year Later, not Year 1, so it’s not about retelling origins; it’s about catching up with missed time. Here’s a look at some of the first month of One Year Later issues:

WARNING: These reviews may contain spoilers!


Detective Comics #817/Batman #651
$3.50/$2.50 US
**** (out of five)

It’s been over a year since anyone’s seen Batman.
But don’t worry, someone’s got Gotham City covered.
The return of the super-villain Poison Ivy prompts newly reinstated police commissioner Jim Gordon to fire up the old Bat-signal and the Dark Knight finally makes his return.
But as Batman and Robin return to stop Ivy, a mystery is brewing: someone is murdering members of his rogues gallery, starting with the KGBeast in Detective #817 and continuing with Magpie in Batman #651.
Written by James Robinson, with layouts by Canada’s Leonard Kirk and finishes by Andy Clarke (the underrated duo who stood out on a recent stint on Aquaman) who hit real heights with Part 1 of the eight-part, Face To Face, while Don Kramer and Keith Champagne do likewise in Part 2, in one of the best relaunches of the new DCU.


Superman #650/Action Comics #837
$3.50/$2.50 US
**** (out of five)

The missing year was a good one for Clark Kent.
He’s back in the good books with his boss at the Daily Planet — getting all the best assignment again, and most importantly, he’s back on the good side of his wife, the lovely Lois Lane.
Only one thing’s missing: Superman’s powers.
This issue of Superman marks a number of milestones, as it returns to its original name and numbering (back in 1987 it was redubbed Adventures Of Superman and a new series began at #1), marks the debut of the (temporary) creative team supreme of writers Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns and the art team of Pete Woods on the interiors and Terry and Rachel Dodson on the covers for both Supeman and Action.
I’ve got to say: it’s a heck of a debut for all of the above. This new direction for the Man Of Steel will have you hooked faster than a speeding bullet.


Green Arrow #60
$3.50/$2.50 US
**** (out of five)

When last we saw the Emerald Archer, his city lay in ruins.
The Secret Society Of Super-Villains has set off a chain reaction of explosions that toppled building after building in Star City.
One year later, the city has still not recovered and is slowly decaying thanks to all the foul elements — criminal and otherwise — that come out of the woodwork in tough times.
A corrupt collective of corporations (say that five times fast) have plans to save the city by basically bulldozing and starting over and the only person standing up for the impoverished local citizens is new Mayor Oliver Queen — Green Arrow!
Writer Judd Winick, well known for tackling American social issues such as homophobia and AIDS through comics, gives us his thinly veiled spin on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana by inserting Star City in New Orleans’ place. Joined by new artist Scott McDaniel, Winick lines up the soapbox for what will no doubt be another provocative, if slightly preachy, storyline.


Blue Beetle #1
$4/$2.99 US
**** (out of five)

You can’t keep a good hero down.
And so… introducing the new Blue Beetle!
While we got a brief intro to Jaime Reyes through Infinite Crisis, this debut issue shows us a little more about who he is and how he came upon the enchanted scarab that imbues the Blue Beetle with his powers.
Complete with an old-fashioned knock-down, drag ‘em out super-hero misunderstanding brawl with Green Lantern Guy Gardner, this series opener really gets off on the right foot.
Now let’s see if this Beetle can fly.


Catwoman #53
$3.50/$2.50 US
**** (out of five)

Catwoman… and kitten?
This is the series that gets the highest “what the —-?” honours as it opens with Selina Kyle giving birth to her new baby daughter, Helena.
Perhaps “Nine Months Later” would have been more appropriate for this series?
Making matters stranger is the appearance of a new Catwoman on the streets of Gotham City. But that mystery is dwarfed immensely by the one lingering in every Cat fan’s mind: Who’s the daddy?
No answers here, but figuring it out who the mystery dad is is likely to keep readers coming back to this purrrrrfect One Year Later book for months.


Robin #148
$3.50/$2.50 US
**** (out of five)

Batgirl is dead and Robin is wanted for murder — and that’s only the first three pages!
Robin’s One Year Later story opens with a murder mystery. An old acquaintance of the Boy Wonder’s has been killed and dressed up as Batgirl. Now the Gotham City Police is targeting him as the main suspect.
Can the young detective figure out how he’s been set up without getting stuck in jail?
New writer Adam Beechen and art team of Karl Kerschl and Wayne Faucher have a tough legacy to live up to after a great run by Bill Willingham, Damion Scott and Scott McDaniel, but they get off to a great start.
Robin One Year Later has energy, intrigue and excitement aplenty.


Hawkgirl #50
$3.50/$2.50 US
*** 1/2 (out of five)

It’s one year later and I don’t know what’s freaking me out more — that Hawkman’s monthly series now stars Hawkgirl or that two comic industry legends are teaming up on it.
Walter Simonson (Thor) and Howard Chaykin (American Flagg) fast-forward us to find Kendra Saunders living alone in the southern U.S. city of St. Roch, with Carter Hall A.K.A. Hawkman missing in action.
Making matters worse for Kendra are some very vivid dreams about her former partner and the little fact that someone is trying to kill her.
A bold new era for the Hawks begins here!


Nightwing #118
$3.50/$2.50 US
*** (out of five)

Some people are just never happy in their own skin.
Jason Todd, for example, has followed in the legacies of Robin, Red Hood and Nightwing…?
After the destruction of Dick Grayson’s adopted hometown of Bludhaven in Infinite Crisis, one year later he’s decided to become a New Yorker. But there’s already a masked vigilante calling himself Nightwing in NYC and he’s having a bloody good time making a name for himself — with real blood!
Writer Bruce Jones’ debut, along with new artist Joe Dodd, is a bit cheesy, but once the battle for the mantle of Nightwing heats up between Grayson and Todd next issue, I’m sure we’ll forget all about it.


Green Lantern #10
$4/$2.99 US
*** (out of five)

Hal Jordan had a very busy missing year — and now he’s going to pay for it!
Green Lantern is being targeted by both foreign governments and his fellow heroes for his devil-may-care attitude toward apprehending intergalactic criminals.
And just as we’re about to find out a very dark secret about Hal’s missing year, a spaceship crashes down on his Air Force base containing a face from Green Lantern’s past — the face of someone who’s supposed to be dead!


Aquaman: Sword Of Atlantis #40
$4/$2.99 US
*** ½ (out of five)

OK, OK, I’ll admit it: I’m an Aquaman fan.
I thought the creative teams over the past year and a half had done a great job of making one of comicdoms perpetual punch lines into an interesting character again after a brutal launch to his latest series.
So it is with great apprehension that I read writer Kurt Busiek and artist Butch Guice’s new take on the King Of The Seven Seas.
Of course, I needn’t have been too worried — it’s not even the same character.
In one of the boldest moves of One Year Later, this newly titled series features a blond waterbreather named Arthur Curry, the same human moniker as the previous Aquaman, but it isn’t the same man.
This confused new swimmer quickly finds himself wrapped up in adventures in the wild world under the seas, making both new friends and enemies in short order. The mystery of who this new Arthur is and what happened to the original hero during the missing year may just be enough to put Aquaman back on people’s radars again.


Birds Of Prey #92
$3.50/$2.50 US
*** ½ (out of five)

The year off wasn’t exactly a vacation for the Birds Of Prey.
One year later, they’re at war with the forces of the Secret Society of Super-Villains and, led as usual by Barbara Gordon, A.K.A. Oracle, they’ve got a chance to deal the bad guys a major blow.
One of the Society wants to defect and a new flocks of Birds, featuring the Huntress, The Jade Canary (A.K.A. Lady Shiva) and a mysterious new stealth agent are on the case.
But what’s happened to the Black Canary?
One of few series not to axe its writer, Birds Of Prey is back with more adventures by one of the best in the biz, Gail Simone, who is joined by new penciller Paulo Siqueira for the run up to the long-awaited 100th issue.


JSA #83
$3.50/$2.50 US
*** ½ (out of five)

The JSA are no more.
But one year later, the team’s former members are all getting some eerie visits from ghosts from their pasts. When six of them — Green Lantern, the Flash, Mr. Terrific, Jakeem Thunder, Stargirl and Dr. Mid-Nite — reunite and compare notes a familiar villain from the team’s past appears to deepen the mystery.
DC’s President and Publisher Paul Levitz continues his return to monthly writing, joined by the new art team of Rags Morales, Luke Ross and Dave Meikis in a slow-building new direction for the DCU’s oldest team.


Outsiders #34
$3.50/$2.50 US
*** ½ (out of five)
The missing year has seen the end of the Outsiders.
Or has it?
Led once again by Nightwing and featuring some shocking recent additions, the Outsiders get back to their original plan of getting proactive against the forces of evil with this interesting jumpstart to a consistently enjoyable series.
The big question waiting to be answered here: what happened to the departed team members?


Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #23
$3.50/$2.50 US
*** (out of five)

There’s a little more fire in Firestorm one year later.
Jason Rusch needs to merge with another person to create The Nuclear Man and his latest partner is a bit of a surprise: longtime Firestorm supporting-character, Firehawk.
The missing year has apparently led Jason to develop some kind of allegiance to LexCorp., Mr. Luthor’s former company, as this revamp kicks off with a bang — or rather a big bang!

Blood Of The Demon #13
$3.50/$2.50 US
** ½ (out of five)

Once a niche series, always a niche series.
Let’s face it, Blood Of The Demon is not exactly mainstream fare and fast forwarding it by one year doesn’t make it any more so.
Plotter/penciller John Byrne and scripter Will Pfeifer do throw out a nice curveball with the revelation that there are now, in fact, two Demons, but if you haven’t been reading along since the beginning, you’re probably not going to find it enough to hook you on now.

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