Bendis To Write Superman, Big Events Coming

Looks like the speculation over what BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS will be doing at DC Comics is over – he’ll be taking over the company’s most iconic character, as the writer will take over both Superman titles in July, with another big event to precede it.

In a wide-ranging interview with Forbes magazine, published today, Bendis discussed what fans can expect from him in the next few months, after he debuts for the company in April’s ACTION COMICS 1000. Let’s break down some of the news here, point-by-point.

• May 30 will bring the start of a six-issue weekly book from Bendis to kick off his run on Superman. The miniseries, which was called Man of Steel in the Forbes piece, harkening back to the John Byrne miniseries from 1986 that rebooted Superman for the post-Crisis era, will run six issues, weekly. Art on the books will be handled by an all-star line-up of talent, including Ivan Reis, Evan Shaner, Ryan Sook, Kevin Maguire, Adam Hughes, and Jason Fabok. According to Bendis, the story will introduce a new villain and follow-up on the changes to the status quo coming out of Action Comics 1000.

“We’re going to dig in very hard, this is one of my goals, to be as additive to Superman as possible. The characters we debut right away, including this new villain, will send ripples of horror across the entire Superman family and beyond!”

I hope they don’t ACTUALLY call the miniseries Man of Steel and find a new name for it – it already has a place in the mythos as a transformative event for Superman. I’m hoping Bendis was using that name as a placeholder until the actual title is announced in solicits.

Bendis stressed his debut on Superman won’t be a reboot.

“We’re not throwing anything out, we’re not abandoning anything, we’re following what’s been going on and taking it to surprising new areas.”

There will be SOME rebooting, though…

• After Action Comics 1000, the Superman books will be getting a bit of a vacation as the company focuses on the weekly miniseries that starts at the end of May – at least, Action Comics will. With the anniversary issue due out April 18, Action Comics 1001 won’t be released until July. No word on the schedule for the Superman book, but the Forbes piece did say that title would be rebooted with a new number one, also in July. Superman will be the “adventure-driven book” while Action Comics focuses on Clark Kent.

“The fallout of Man of Steel #6 is enormous. It’s some of the biggest status quo changes to Superman literally since Crisis. So we’ll be launching Superman with a brand new #1, and that’s going to be very Superman-focused and big DC action stories. Action Comics will be launching with #1001, I’m very happy to say, and that will be focused more on Clark and Metropolis and the Daily Planet, and how the world of Superman effects the world of DC.”

I assume he means more than just the return of the red trunks when he talks about status quo changes…

Given Bendis’ history with Marvel, when he says he’s got “some of the biggest status quo changes to Superman” coming down the pike, I admittedly get a bit antsy. Between the New 52 revamp, the Rebirth correction, the new son and everything in-between, Superman has had an eventful decade or so. To have a status quo change that can top all of that – or even something like the Electro-Superman era, where they changed his costume and power set – is a pretty tall order. As a reader, I want good stories, and I don’t necessarily need universe-shattering, status quo-changing huge event things. Yes, it’s Superman’s 80th anniversary, and the company should absolutely celebrate that and the publishing of Action Comics 1000. But with DC Metal, Doomsday Clock and other big things happening at the publisher, I don’t want event fatigue. I may just be overreacting to a guy hyping his story, though…

• Is the era of twice-monthly Superman books over? The article kept referring to Bendis taking over the “monthly Action Comics and Superman” titles with no reflection of the twice-monthly release schedule the books have had over the last 18 months or so. Guess we may have to wait til July to find out the answer to that one.

• Bendis noted that he’s doing a story with José Luis García-López for something called DC Nation #0. The article says it’s coming out on May 2, which is the Wednesday before Free Comic Book Day. I suspect this is DC Comics’ FCBD offering, as it will also include a story about The Joker learning about Batman and Catwoman getting engaged.

DC Nation #0 sounds like a sampler for what’s to come in the next few months.

“That storyline will set up a lot of what’s going to be going on in Action Comics, we’ll dig really deep into what’s going on at the Daily Planet, and introduce some new cast members at the Daily Planet and some new villains in Metropolis.”

One thing is for certain, Superman comics are going to be very interesting going forward.