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What is the Dawn of DC comic event?

Behind the scenes of DC's 2023 revamp that promises to forge one hero at a time.

Jon Kent_Electric_Blue_Superman_Dawn_of_Dc
Image via DC Comics

DC Comics has spent the better part of 2022 in one of its happy places — a major multiverse-threatening crisis. But following Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths and as the hero-mashing Lazarus Planet event heads to a close in early 2023, it’s time to pack the darkness to one side. 

Seizing the chance for another reset, DC has decided to repeat the optimistic expanse of 2021’s Infinite Frontier relaunch by casting a light on characters who’ve been a bit neglected. Unsurprisingly, there’s a wave of confidence as the beacon of hope that is Clark Kent returns to Earth, and the Superman titles are juggled and refreshed. 

As DC publisher and chief creative officer, Jim Lee put it when he promised one of DC’s most ambitious initiatives: “After the near-Multiverse-ending events in Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths and DC Universe: Lazarus Planet, the DC Universe will be heading toward the light.” 

The bright lights of DC

Unstoppable_Doom_Patrol_Dawn_of_Dc
Image via DC Comics

Over a year, Dawn of DC will see high-profile creatives craft epic stories that return to basics — creating a refreshed DC universe, one hero at a time. Over 20 new titles will join DC’s line-up, returning some much-missed characters to the fold, casting a new light on classic icons, and continuing to develop new heroes. It sounds like just the refresh required after devastating fights against the evil that dominated 2022, not that there won’t be any sinister forces to fight on the way. 

The narrative will run through multiple events and titles, starting with January’s Action Comics #1051. That famous title will also undergo a facelift, with its standard single story replaced by three stories in each issue. 

Alongside Superman, heroes including Batman, Nightwing, and sometimes villains like Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are set for new directions in stories that the publisher hopes are satisfying for regular readers and a great jumping-on point for newbies. 

In particular, DC hopes to shine a new light on characters who haven’t been getting much attention lately. Following in the clown shoes of Joker and buoyed by a new big-screen incarnation, fans of feathery criminals will anticipate the Penguin’s first solo title. Launching alongside the new HBO Max series, it will see Oswald Cobblepot’s retirement in Metropolis interrupted when the U.S. government forces him back into crime.

New titles breaking with the Dawn of DC

Dawn of DC Timeline
Image via DC Comics

Dawn of DC will reinvigorate existing characters. Green Lantern Hal Jordan joins Superman in returning to Earth, and there are high-profile new titles for classic heroes Shazam and Green Arrow. 

Notably, Doom Patrol is returning to mainstream DC for the first time in more than a decade as the fourth series of its HBO Max series arrives. Unstoppable Doom Patrol will spin directly out of the events of Lazarus Planet.

Among the announced titles, two highlights are The Brave and the Bold and Steelworks. The return of the classic team-up comic book will develop the core stories of Dawn of DC, showcasing alliances revolving around the Dark Knight. It’s exciting to have the title back in the publishers’ sights — after all, this is the comic that first brought us, Barry Allen, as the Flash, Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, and the Justice League of America. Top creatives coming to The Brave and the Bold include Tom King, Rob Williams, Mitch Gerads, Guillem March, Gabriel Hardman, and Dan Mora.

Following the deluxe reissues and comic book returns to the era of the Death of Superman storyline for its 30th anniversary, Steelworks will see John Henry Irons passing the mantle of Steel to his niece Natasha. A sign of the light breaking through the clouds, Metropolis is being namechecked far more than Gotham City in this revamp.

We can expect the 20 titles and the talent behind them to be fully revealed over the coming months, but here are the titles we know about so far:

  • March — Unstoppable Doom Patrol by writer Dennis Culver (Justice League Incarnate) and artist Chris Burnham (Batman Incorporated).
  • April – Green Lantern: Hal Jordan by writer Mariko Tamaki (Detective Comics) and an unannounced artist.
  • TBC – Green Lantern: John Stewart by writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson (Action Comics) and an unannounced artist.
  • April — Green Arrow by writer Joshua Williamson (Dark Crisis) and artist Sean Izaakse (Thunderbolts).
  • May — Batman: The Brave and the Bold, featuring stories by Tom King, Mitch Gerads, Guillem March, Gabriel Hardman, Dan Mora, Rob Williams, and more.
  • June — Shazam!, by writer Mark Waid and artist Dan Mora.
  • June — The Penguin (working title), by writer Tom King (Batman) and artist Stefano Gaudiano (“The Walking Dead”). 
  • June – Steelworks, with creatives to be announced.
  • TBC — Cyborg, with creatives to be announced.

Kent Jr, who took on the Electric Blue powers last seen affecting his father in the late 1990s, will no doubt see his powers continue to differentiate from Kent Sr.

Dawn of DC’s teaser poster resembles a timeline of ominous tentacles — a heavy and electric crackling hint that Brainiac could be the event’s big bad. While dawn is clearly breaking on the left, what looks like a sentence starting with “knight” is obscured in shadow on the right. Knight time? Knight team-up? Knight today? We may have to wait until the end of 2023 to find out.  

If one thing’s certain, more familiar heroes will be joining the revamp and helping to reveal that text. Alongside familiar emblems of the characters who’s already had their titles announced is a Hawk symbol, so don’t be surprised if a Hawkman, Hawkgirl, or Thanagar title is added to a list that’s already shaping up nicely.

Matt Goddard
About the author

Matt Goddard

Matt enjoys casting Jack Kirby color, Zack Snyder slow-mo, and J.J. Abrams lens flare on every facet of pop culture. Since graduating with a degree in English from the University of York, his writing on film, TV, games, and more has appeared on WGTC, Mirror Online and the Guardian.