If anything, 2018 is proving to be a time for innovation over at DC Comics. Not only have they kicked off their New Age of Heroes initiative, but there’s also that matter of the Sandman Universe giving fans something to look forward to. The fun doesn’t stop there, either, as the publisher has now pulled back the curtain on what’s being called DC Black Label.
Basically, this new imprint affords all-star creative teams the luxury of playing around with the most iconic superheroes around, only without the drag of continuity. As such, it causes us to wonder if the massive hit that is Batman: White Knight was the catalyst for this endeavor, but we’ll take any story that pushes the envelope, no matter what the inspiration.
Naturally, those involving the Caped Crusader will be among those that garner the most attention, with Batman: Damned leading the way. Written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Lee Bermejo, it’ll follow the titular character and John Constantine as they must pick up the pieces after the Joker’s death, which already sounds like a must read to us.
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Now, before we proceed any further, don’t get your tights in a twist. Remember that these stories take place outside of main continuity, so there’ll be much more Joker to come in the flagship books. That aside, here’s what we know about this title so far:
On a deserted Gotham City bridge, a body is found. Whispers spread the news: Joker is dead. But is this a dream come true or a nightmare being born? Now Batman and DC’s outlaw magician John Constantine must hunt the truth through a Gotham City hellscape. The city’s supernatural recesses are laced with hints about a killer’s identity, but the Dark Knight’s descent into horror will test his sanity and the limits of rationality, as he must face a horror that doesn’t wear a mask.
Funny enough, the Joker can’t catch a break in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman: Last Knight on Earth. This time around, his head is alive – but in a jar. From the sound of it, this is the end to Snyder’s Batman epic that he’s been teasing for some time now, only with Capullo in place of Sean Murphy.
Here’s the synopsis for that one:
Batman wakes up in a desert. He doesn’t know what year it is or how The Joker’s head is alive in a jar beside him, but it’s the beginning of a quest unlike anything the Dark Knight has undertaken before. In this strange future, villains are triumphant and society has liberated itself from the burden of ethical codes. Fighting to survive while in search of answers, Bruce Wayne uncovers the truth about his role in this new world—and begins the last Batman story ever told.
Also being included in DC Black Label are the following books: Superman: Year One, written by Frank Miller and drawn by John Romita Jr.; Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and drawn by Phil Jimenez; Wonder Woman: Diana’s Daughter (working title) by Greg Rucka; and The Other History of the DC Universe by John Ridley. As usual, we’ll keep you posted as more news develops.