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DC Comics INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US: YEAR FIVE concludes and Writer Brian Buccellato Tips the Scales of War

Justice must be preserved! But in a world where Superman rules with an iron fist, Batman is the only thing standing between law and order. Series writer Brian Buccellato sheds some light on the series climatic finale!

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Finally! This is one showdown that’s been a long time coming! Gaming enthusiast have reason to rejoice as the adventure series Injustice: Gods Among Us draws to an epic climax. The narrative established by the hit fighting video game experience was first introduced as a DC Comics Digital First Series by Tom Taylor in 2013 and Year One immediately soared to the top of the New York Times list of Bestselling Series following it’s publication as a compilation. In this alter-verse Superman is driven to the brink when the Joker is responsible for the death of his beloved Lois Lane and their unborn child.

In a moment of unrivaled rage, driven to revenge the Man of Steel murders the Clown Prince of Crime, effectively ending the criminal’s reign of chaos, but setting Superman down a path to restore order to the planet under his own rule. What follows are a series of events that pit Batman against his longtime ally, and forces the heroes of the DC universe to choose sides. Every year since the power struggle as escalated, but now in Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five the war will soon come to a crashing end!

Comics legend Brian Buccellato the writer behind the runaway success The Flash during “The New 52” relaunch is responsible for the closing arc in this iconic battle between Superman and Batman, and the entirety of the DC Comics Universe!

How exactly did the writer come into the pen this project? We asked him: “I think it was because Tom Taylor (Injustice’s original scribe), got really busy,” Buccellato half-joked. “I really loved the series. I think one of the saddest decisions he [Taylor] had to make was giving it up midway through Year Three.” Buccellato took up the reins during the second act of Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Three inducting the magical forces of the DC universe, leading to an unlikely alliance against the supernatural might of otherworldly menaces. “My relationship with DC opened the door for me to come onboard.”

When Brian continued on with the series into Year Four the stakes only got higher, and the arc included a showdown between Superman and the actual pantheon of mythic Gods, when Zeus intervenes from Mount Olympus and Batman strikes a deal with Ares, God of War that put Wonder Woman in the middle of it all. “Superheroes obviously resonate with our society; just look at all the superhero films,” Brian offered. “We all love people that have great power and do great things with them. In comics we can dream and live vicariously through our heroes.”

The one-long established unique turn in the Injustice mythology is the advent of Superman as a self-proclaimed protector, a monarch, lording over the planet Earth. It’s a very dramatic portrait of a hero that has long inspired hope in his more than 75 years in popular culture. “Injustice is a very specific world,” Brian insists, “and the choices that Superman makes are driven by the destruction of Metropolis and the death of his child and the murder of his wife.” It’s an all-encompassing grief that consumes Superman. “And that’s the genesis of the this story.”

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A preview panel from Chapter 39 of INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US: YEAR FIVE by series writer Brian Buccellato for DC Comics.

The story Buccellato has been tasked with telling with Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five is centered around this version of Superman and the events around the “wrong call” that leads him to kill the Joker for the greater good, but at a great personal loss. “His descent into darkness comes from there.” The war between the two sides, now comes spiraling down to this final act! And as if things couldn’t have gotten any more complicated, Tom Taylor returned at the conclusion of Year Four with a story that put all the DC super villains imprisoned by Superman back in play!

As the conflict in Year Five reached a fever pitch, which saw the Flash finally coming to odds with Superman, and a new Nightwing rising in the ranks, Batman and his team of insurgents have all but been depleted leading the Dark Knight and Lex Luthor to make a desperate bid for evening the odds. “It’s always fun to do these ‘elseworld’ versions of these characters,” Buccellato said. “Whenever you get a chance to veer left or right, it opens up an opportunity that perhaps isn’t there if you’re writing the mainstream version of that character.”

In the Injustice storyline Lex Luthor plays both sides of the coin, and has aligned himself with Batman in a plan revealed in this week’s Chapter 39 of Year Five that may finally bring an end to Superman’s tyranny. “Lex Luthor is playing both sides,” Buccellato reveals. It’s a strategy that is lifted right from the game play as devoted gamers well know. “The game did a really great job of putting a unique twist on characters, and all these setups and pay-offs that we can explore [in the comic] more deeply.”

As for the writer’s own favored side in the conflict, Buccellato unabashedly reveals: “Batman is right. You just can’t go around murdering people — it’s just not good.” The way that Buccellato sees it, in Injustice Batman has compromised himself in a lot of ways and admittedly the character may not be proud of some of the things he may have done, but “There’s the one line Batman will not cross, and the one that Superman — in his other versions never crosses,” but as Injustice careens to its finale, hands down Buccellato is on the side of the Dark Knight.

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Batman enlists the help of Lex Luthor in his final efforts to stop the reign of Superman in the final chapters of INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US: YEAR FIVE.

With the final chapter looming, the Injustice: Gods Among Us epic will conclude with Chapter 40  the final episode of Year Five will hit the digital market on 9/20, Brian Buccellato is confident that already “We know how this story ends,” he said. “There’s always room to create more story especially if you devote the creativity to it.”

The anticipation (of course) for the fighting game’s follow-up is also very high! Injustice 2 was recently announced and will continue the battle where Injustice: Gods Among Us left off.

 

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five races to a close this month. The next chapters will be available for download Tuesday via the DC Comics App, Readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus.

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Celebrate BATMAN DAY…The Legacy Continues

In honor of the World’s Most Popular Super Hero an entire day is being devoted to the Legacy of the Dark Knight on September 17, 2016.

It is a day unlike any other on the fandom calendar! It ranks as one of the most anticipated days of the year, coming in slightly behind the annual pilgrimage San Diego Comic-Con. When every faithful follower of “The Bat” all gather under one Bat-Signal and not unlike Kevin Smith, the writer/prodcuer/master podcaster (the greatest Bat-Fan of them all) pay homage to the legend of the Dark Knight. Batman Day is upon us, and on Tuesday, September 17, every Batman Fan will win!

Because after all the best part of the annual event is all the unique swag that DC Entertainment hands out and the very special events that are scheduled with some of the best talent meeting and greeting fans to discuss all things “Batty”! 2016 will not be the exception! Already many are gearing up…the latest t-shirt hitting retailers this week spotlights the great new design inspired by the “Rebirth” redesign introduced in Batman: Rebirth #1 and carried on through all Bat-titles.

DC Entertainment recently announced: To commemorate BATMAN DAY, fans will receive a copy of Batman #1 from this year’s line of DC Rebirth titles written by Tom King and illustrated by David Finch. The art introduces a new super-powered defender that has come to Gotham City and is working overtime to clean the city up. Who is Gotham? What is the mystery behind his sidekick Gotham Girl, and what do both of them mean to the future of the Dark Knight Detective?

On digital platforms expect some massive sales in effect Sept. 13-19 all under the branding banner of “Road to Batman Day” which will included 15 digital ebooks and 100 periodicals starring the Caped Crusader which will feature best-selling titles including Batman: Hush and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and more. Now in its third year, BATMAN DAY remains a fan-favorite event that was first introduced and timed to celebrate the character’s 75th anniversary.

It has since synced the DC Comics hero as the imprint’s most world-renowned and recognizable persona. Visit the new BATMAN DAY website for more info at http://www.dccomics.com/BatmanDay.

Expect several star-studded signings and meet-and-greets to be coordinated across the coast to feature top Batman talent including an all-star lineup at Midtown Comics Downtown in New York City with Frank Miller, Tom King, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Additional signings include Snyder and John Romita, Jr. (Long Island, NY), DCE Publisher Jim Lee (Pasadena, CA), Hope Larson (Pasadena, CA), Paul Dini (Los Angeles), Julie and Shawna Benson (Los Angeles), James Tynion IV (Downtown Los Angeles, Danny Miki (Chino Hills, CA), Tim Seeley (Chicago, IL) and David Finch (Windsor, Ontario), with more to be announced.

DC COMICS Are HOT This Summer!

It looks like DC Comics publishing is experiencing a “rebirth”! Rousing sales over the summer months have resulted in record-shattering sales for the comics imprint which relaunched most of its titles over the season as part of a brand new initiative to return the brand to its greatness.

In an announcement released yesterday the publishing powerhouse confirmed that it has shipped over 12 million comic books this summer, with eleven issues topping 200,000, more than 60 issues exceeded 100,000 and 21 titles went back to print multiple times.

It would appear to confirm that the nostalgically motivated “Rebirth” — not-a-reboot — that was introduced as a marketing effort to re-institutionalize legacy elements that had been missing from the books since the previous imprint relaunch “The New 52” has been enthusiastically embraced by fans. The initial book written by Geoff Johns, DC Universe: Rebirth Special #1 intended to address a lot of those legacy misgivings, was a blockbuster hit on the newsstands!

DC followed the special one-shot with an all-new lineup of stories, restarting many of its more popular titles at #1 including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman which have also begun to ship twice a monthly, giving the creatives a broad brush by which to work intricate storylines that place the heroes back into their proper legacy context. That is none more evident than in The Flash which brought the missing favorite character Wally West back from oblivion.

The relaunch has also given two DC flagship titles the unprecedented opportunity to resume their original legacy numbering. Action Comics featuring Superman resumed with #957 and Detective Comics starring Batman picked up at #934. “This is the biggest story in comics publishing right now — fan and retailer demand for these books is at an all-time high,” said John Cunningham, DC’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Marketing. “This summer we’ve sold more issues over 100,000 units than we did in all of 2015.”

This bodes well for the publishing giant and for fans, especially the purist who were eager to see a return to greatness for the DC Comics characters, something that many fans felt was lost at the onset of “The New 52” reboot. “Hope, optimism and legacy are integral to the epic, universe-spanning stories that define what a ‘DC’ superhero is to me. As is building on the foundation of all the amazing writers and artists, as well as, characters that have been part of DC’s history and celebrating it,” said Geoff Johns, President and Chief Creative Officer, DC Entertainment.

With the digital market also moving in, many fans have turned to downloading their books using the DC Comics reader app for iPad by ComiXology as an option to keep their shelves open for the collected editions of some favorites. DC confirmed that major “Rebirth” arcs will be available as soon as early 2017.

For more news and recent developments visit www.dccomics.com.

The “Rebirth” Continues… iReview: SUPERGIRL #1

It’s the Maid of Might’s turn at the “Rebirth” carousel. Just what can fans expect from accomplished comics scribe Steve Orlando as he takes the wheel of the new ongoing title…

When Supergirl premiered as part of “The New 52” reboot at DC Comics the character was among the most dramatically overhauled to fit in with the new, more contemporary wave that the imprint was riding. In an effort to bring in more savvy audiences, Superman’s famous cousin was given a much edgier persona and a more fleshed out background. Kara Zor-El had a life on Krypton before it was environmentally destroyed, and was actually resistant about being part of her father’s plan to be rocketed away from her family in her planet’s final days, with a mission to keep her infant cousin Kal safe on their voyage to a new alien world.

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Kara arrives on Earth much later than anyone anticipated and crash lands in Russia. Her cousin Kal El has grown up and become Superman emerging in an era where people are sceptical about these so-called “super-heroes”, gods on earth, that walk among them. With no understanding of Earth’s customs or language, Kara’s arrival is met with a flurry of firepower from a military organization that is investigating her arrival. Fortunately Superman arrives just in time to intervene before Kara, who is just learning to control her new found powers, unleashes her own attack on her assailants. That was just the beginning of Supergirl’s introduction to the modern DC Comics multiverse.

For the rest of the Maid of Steel’s run she often found herself at odds with her cousin, and battling as furiously as any angry, average and rebellious teenage girl would. It made for a dramatically different take on a beloved character that in a much simplier time sacrificed herself in the midst of a major crisis to save Superman and the entirety of the multiverse. This new modern-era Supergirl certainly had her shining moments, joining forces with other disenfranchised heroes to help form the Justice League United and take the battle to the stars. She even joined the Red Lanterns Corp for a short time to work out those anger issues.

Now most recently, Supergirl is enjoying an entirely new popularity having joined the primetime universe as one of the successful series of DC Comics based action series on The CW. Returning to the optimism and hopefulness that made the heroine’s journey so attractive, the television series takes a classic approach to evolving Kara’s personality although making her a completely contemporary young millennial charmingly played by Melissa Benoist in the hour-long series Supergirl. The series has proven so popular that when obviously when the publishing imprint at DC Comics decided to return to a more character driven base with “Rebirth” the decision was made to pattern the relaunch after the show.

Overseeing the effort is veteran Comics writer Steve Orlando most notable known for his notorious turn on the recent Midnighter book that put the vigilante front and center. Now Orlando has a turn on working the same magic with Supergirl: Rebirth #1 which puts Kara Zoe-El/Danvers (her new Earth-born surname and cover) and to work for the DOE – the Department of Extra-Normal Operations. Sound familiar? It should. Although the DOE was introduced toward the final issues of “The New 52” Supergirl book’s run, the agency was enlisted to help Kara with her recent power loss. When Kara’s cousin Superman faced his “final days” it became imperative that Kara return to full strength.

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The Rebirth issue addresses that immediately as the DEO Director Cameron Chase assigned to be assist Supergirl with her case sends the Maid of Might rocketing straight ahead into the heart of our yellow sun! At the same time, a breach at the launch site releases a prisoner from the Krytonian Phantom Zone, a scientist and enemy of Zor-El, Kara’s father, who is sick with red krptonite poisoning. Rather than help him find a cure the man is imprisoned in the Phantom Zone until a remedy for his condition could be found.

What gets unleashed on Earth is a Kryptonian werewolf!

Another item co-opted from the television series are Kara’s Earth-bound foster parents. Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers are both very much an active part of their alien ward’s life, as well as active scientific agents under the employ of the DOE and under Chase’s direction. Whether her foster sister, Alex — who is her closest relative on the primetime series — appears on the page still remains to be seen, but whether this direct adaptation will refine Supergirl’s legacy going forward readers will have to stay tuned.

Supergirl is a title that has changed often over the years; the decision to have killed her off during the Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot of the DC Universe rocked Superman’s world and it wasn’t until recently that the “real” Supergirl was reintergrated into the DC Universe — and boy was she missed! Whether “Rebirth” does the Girl of Steel justice in the long wrong, we’ll hold out and hope. Orlando has proven a gifted auteur with great skill at telling unique stories and nuturing character personalities.

iReview: DC Comic’s JUSTICE LEAGUE #3

The “Rebirth” continues and Earth’s mightiest champions are caught in the middle of an alien invasion with an “Extinction Agenda” on its mind.

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The entire premise of “Rebirth” the current imprint-wide rebranding that’s taken over DC Comics is a reset to more pratical storytelling. After the widely admonished “New 52” reboot which was a far more dramatic retcon of established continuity as well as a contemporary cosmetic retooling of the major comics icons, “Rebirth” is taking a step back to get back into the types of adventures that got audiences hooked on the books in the first place. That is none-more apparent than what is happening in the pages of the publisher’s biggest team book.

With Justice League #3 the DC Comics premiere team-book that many of us depended on to deliver on the more cosmic, more epic elements we have all come to enjoy, it appears that the “Rebirth” is being taken very seriously. When the series ended its most recent run, which began with the collaborative legends Geoff Johns and Jim Lee retooling the origins of the Justice League (and the multiverse for that matter) and introducing the initial “Super Seven”, the entire first fifty-two issues of Justice League were larger than life! Really!

For most of those first fifty-issues the team roster (also) hardly changed. There was only a minor draft moment during the “Throne of Atlantis” arc (that was also turned into an animated movie), but none of those “reservist” remained on the team after the end of that mission. The next draft came shortly before the “Forever Evil” arc was implemented and brought most notably Firestorm into the mix, and Atomica (who turned out to be a double agent for the Crime Syndicate). Although the Justice League of America was also incorporated into that crossover, the core leaguers remained the same.

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Now that the “Rebirth” is taking shape, the line-up has also evolved. It includes not just one, but two rookie members of the Green Lantern Corps intergalactic police officers, and there’s a new Superman on the block — or rather — the original is back! It all may sound a bit confusing, but in the realm of comic books, these are gods onto themselves, and the spirit of them never dies. So although Justice League has been renumbered and rebranded to fall in with the “Rebirth” initiative, it still very much feels like the same team book fans have come to expect.

And this is a very good thing!

Though not necessarily really needing to be heavily overhauled, from the beginning Justice League was heralded as the flagship title for the line. It introduced The New 52 continuity and now continues to illustrate how this new multiverse is continuing to evolve. Now being helmed by writer Bryan Hitch and illustrated by Tony Salvador Daniel it continues to present all the favorites just as we’ve all come to expect them.

And maybe that’s the bad thing!

It all feels like we’ve been here before. In the latest arc opening up the new series “The Extinction Machines” an alien and element threat is possessing the population, stealing our heroes powers and sending Superman on an errant mission to the center of the earth that only he can save us all from. Sure, they are the best that the planet has to offer, but where is the character drama, the human element that really makes these characters stand out from the rest?

The mystery of this alternate-earth Superman that walks among them still has to be explored, but there’s a greater threat out there — the one that Wally West, the original Kid Flash presents at the beginning of “Rebirth” — the missing years and who’s behind them that still has to be addressed. Hopefully the Justice League will get to solving that mystery too, or at least give its readers more story per bi-weekly issue release at the bargain price of $2.99.

The Flash: Rebirth “Version 2.0”

With the “rebirth” of a legacy once again in the balance, the Fastest Man Alive faces a new crisis that may deal Barry Allen an unexpected hand as lightning strikes again in The Flash #1!

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After a stellar run during The New 52 relaunch, the latest “reboot” or rather Rebirth has brought a new energy into Barry Allen’s life, pitting him in the race of his life to remain the DC Universe’s fastest man alive!

If there’s any hero that understands the significance of how much difference a day can make leave it to Barry Allen to relate! As the entirety of the DC Comics universe braces itself for the “Rebirth” no other single character can perhaps be more connected to the upcoming series of events as is chronicled in the relaunch of The Flash #1. The special one-shot The Flash: Rebirth issue hinted as it elaborated on the consequences of the return of one of the DC Universe’s most favorite characters Wally West and how it relates to Central City’s fastest man alive.

As is theorized in the DC Universe: Rebirth #1 special issue, ever since the FlashPoint event and the emergence of The New 52 timeline, Wally has been lost in-between universes. Only recently has the former Flash (and one-time Kid Flash) been able to pierce the veil into this world. Finally making a breakthrough once contacting his friend and mentor, Barry Allen was West able to escape his prison and inform The Flash that “10 years of their lives have gone missing.” Almost immediately Barry recognizes Wally and his memories begin to resurface, but that hasn’t answered the question of who has reshaped the universe.

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Is there something far more sinister at work here? A lightning storm reminiscent of the one that first struck him and gave him his super speed powers, has begun to rain down on Central City. Since then, The Flash has dedicated himself to being “the people’s hero” and continuously made sacrifices at his own expense to serve those innocent in peril, but even Barry has to admit that he can’t be everywhere at once, and something (or someone) is on the hunt!

In the previous series runs, Barry has already encountered a “new” version of the Reverse-Flash and battled  Professor Zoom one of the more nefarious characters in his rogues gallery of villains, but there is something else out there, and still more dastardly — it looks like the Speed Force itself may be working against. Amidst the flames of a burning building and a hostage crisis in another part of Central City, one of Barry Allen’s colleagues tempts fate and is suddenly struck by lightning! Almost immediately something else intervenes — something is watching! A new speedster is in town!

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The Flash #1 written by Joshua Williamson with art by Carmine Di Giandomenico continues in the tradition of what has made The Flash such a standout run to follow since The New 52 relaunch. It’s worth keeping pace with a story that has as many twists and turns, but still feels very much like “classic” superhero storytelling. The creatives that have worked on The Flash most recently have also benefitted from the hero’s primetime presence and have given the comic Barry as big a heart as the one that actor Grant Gustin has embued his version with.

The start of a brand new arc “Lightning Strikes Twice” this is sure to spiral headlong into the mystery surrounding the DC Universe: Rebirth and with two Flashes running around, what more could fans want?