Yesterday, DC announced a new line of titles slated to spin out of the events of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Dark Nights: Metal this fall.
Resurrecting character and property names that have been stagnant for years, DC is pairing all-star writers with superstar artists in the hopes of creating new franchises and new characters who will resonate with readers in the way few new ideas have done in the eternally-cyclical comics industry recently.
Featuring a diverse lineup of characters in powers, approach, philosophy and demographics, DC appears to be rising to fans' constant cries to diversify comics by "creating new characters" rather than using the built-in cache of big-name legacy characters to prop up a new or existing nonwhite, non-male character.
If that's the case, it's hard to know whether they're hedging their bets, protecting their IP, or just having some fun by applying names from 20 or 50 years ago to some of the characters, but we figured it was worth taking a walk down memory lane, reminding you who some of these characters used to be, and speculating about what their ties to the new folks holding their name could be.
Originally a villain from Earth-S, The Silencer shared a planet with the Marvel (Shazam!) family, The Silencer had a short and not-too-memorable run beginning with a 1981 appearance in World's Finest Comics.
Honestly, we can't track down much information on the original Silencer, and it looks as though he might actually have only appeared one or two times.
If not for the fact that his costume is pretty similar to the one being used by the new Silencer, we would assume the name is just a coincidence.
- Debuting in September
- Written by Dan Abnett with art by John Romita Jr.
- Honor Guest was the world’s deadliest assassin, until she traded it all for a chance at a “normal” life in the suburbs, free from the constant death and destruction. But as her former life comes back to haunt her, Honor must strip away her suburban persona and protect her family as THE SILENCER.
If you grew up in the '90s, you probably remember the Grant Emerson version of Damage.
Grant was able to absorb and redirect energy, and the high water mark of his career as Damage (besides the fact that he had a solo series that ran for 20 issues in 1994 and 1995) was when he served as the catalyst for a new Big Bang to restart the DC Universe following the events of Zero Hour, in which Parallax used the entropy at the end of time to consume all of history.
The use of the name "Damage" is an interesting choice now becuase ultimately the Emerson version of Damage turned out to be related to Al Pratt, the original Atom from the Justice Society. With the JSA seemingly making a return in the The Flash/Batman crossover "The Button," it might be interesting to see what, if any, ties this character will have to the Emerson version of Damage and his backstory.
- Debuting in October
- Written by Robert Venditti with art by Tony S. Daniel
- Ethan Avery only wanted to serve his country, but promises of becoming the ultimate weapon leave the new recruit living a nightmare. Cursed with the ability to unleash an unstoppable monster for one hour at a time, Ethan only wants to live out his life in peace. But if he can tame the monster inside, it might just be able to do more good for the country than Ethan ever expected.
There used to be just the Immortal Man. We guess he had kids?
More seriously, Klarn Arg was the archenemy of Vandar Adg, the caveman who would eventually call himself Vandal Savage. Like Savage, Arg was immortal.
He's not used nearly as often as Savage, obviously, although the dashing, tuxedo-wearing Immortal Man did show up in Grant Morrison's The Multiversity. He was also, at one point, part of the Forgotten Heroes, a team assembled by Rip Hunter to battle Vandal Savage.
(Yeah, kind of like the Legends. And, yes, they had a similar schtick in that they were generally castoff characters from other books who had been all-but-forgotten until they were brought back into play by the Forgotten Heroes' adventures.)
The new race of Immortal Men sound like they're some kind of Inhumans or New Gods-style society of powerful immortals. It will be interesting to see whether or not they have any real ties to Klarn Arg or if it's just a name.
- Debuting in October
- Written by James Tynion IV with art by Jim Lee
- Born at the dawn of time, five siblings find that with eternal life comes eternal war. As the forces of destruction march into the modern world, they operate from the shadows, recruiting the elite against the foes who seek to bring about Armageddon. They are humankind’s hope sprung eternal….they are the IMMORTAL MEN.
The Challengers of the Unknown have actually had a relatively recent story; Dan DiDio wrote one near the start of The New 52 in the DC Universe Presents anthology series.
They're a team -- kind of DC's Fantastic Four in a lot of ways, right down to the family dynamic, the flying car, and the recurring theme of discovery and challenging the bounds of science -- that tends to appeal to the creative side in writers and artists, who love the property and want to see it succeed. Still, depite attempts by Dan DiDio, Mark Waid, Barry Kitson, and more, it's been years since the Challengers had anything resembling a significant presence in the DC Universe.
With Scott Snyder and Andy Kubert, though, it's hard to come up with a creative team that would give a title a better chance at a lease on life...!
This one's kind of a longshot, but we couldn't think of another "Sideways" other than the wine movie with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 villain Paul Giamatti...
...Could this be a riff on DV8's Sideways Bob?
It seems unlikely -- mostly because the WildStorm characters are all seemingly off the table while Warren Ellis plays at reinventing their world with The Wild Storm. Still, anything is possible.
- Debuting in September
- Written by Dan DiDio and Justin Jordan with art by Kenneth Rocafort
- Forever changed by the events of DARK NIGHTS: METAL, a teenager struggles to live through high school as he comes in contact with Dark Matter and gains the power to teleport through the Dark Dimension. But each leap brings the new hero one step closer to succumbing to the allure of his new power and its dark origins.
THE BLACK ZERO CULT
The Black Zero Cult is an interesting one: they don't have their own title, so we know very little about who they are or what DC will do with them, but as the image above is from Kenneth Rocafort, it seems likely they're part of the cast for Sideways.
In the past, Black Zero has been a name that's taken on a number of meanings -- almost never good. It's been a Kryptonian villain, a Kryptonian cult, and a Kryptonian weapon of mass destruction. More than that, in fact, since Wikipedia says "Black Zero is a name shared by two supervillains, two terrorist organizations, one special forces group, and a computer virus that have all appeared in various comic book series published by DC Comics."
In any event, it appears this time that it will be tied to a Dark Dimension and Dark Matter, rather than (as Black Zero typically is) the destruction of Krypton. We'll see whether there's any connection between the two as that story plays out.