New 52 News: Arsenal, Reverse-Flash, Batman of Africa

Next up on the rotating feature reel that has been DC Universe Presents, a title that provides a variety of characters and creative teams a place to shine, is Green Arrow’s ex-sidekick, Arsenal. Issue #17 offers a one-shot story about Roy Harper’s altercation with Killer Croc in the streets of Japan. The issue also guest stars Arsenal’s co-stars in the pages of Red Hood and the Outlaws, Red Hood and Starfire.

Previously starring Deadman, The Challengers of the Unknown, Vandal Savage, Kid Flash, and Black Lightning and Blue Devil, DC Universe Presents puts the spotlight on the more obscure characters of the DCU in their own adventures. Challengers of the Unknown, Vandal Savage and Black Lightning and Blue Devil all made their re-imagined debut in the pages of this book. Kid Flash had previously starred in a one-shot that was closely connected to the Teen Titans, where he appears regularly, before another multi-issue story came in, so you can expect another story arc to come in after Arsenal has gotten his moment.

At this time it is still not known what his relationship is to the now de-aged Green Arrow. Curiously, they look to be about the same age, while in original continuity Roy Harper was the teenage sidekick known as Speedy. He would stay under the wing of Oliver Queen during his years as a literal super-hero Robin Hood, until it was discovered he was addicted to heroin! Roy was a founding member of the Teen Titans and went on to his own Arsenal identity for years before briefly joining the Justice League and becoming Red Arrow. Then his daughter died, he lost an arm, went crazy, got hooked on drugs again and became a complete mess. Lets pretend that never happened.

DC Universe Presents #17 is out in February and will be written by Joe Keatinge (Hell Yeah, Glory) and drawn by Ricken.

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Speaking of Kid Flash, it appears that Bart Allen is finally going to meet with Barry Allen for the first time in the New 52. For those that don’t know, Bart is Barry’s grandson from the future, so it should be interesting to see what their relationship will be like. Bart was only introduced after Barry died, so they’ve shared very little panel time together. With Wally West no longer in the DC Universe it looks like Kid Flash is in need of a mentor.

Professor Zoom vs. Kid Flash

He’ll be appearing as part of the new story arc in The Flash, which focuses on the reintroduction of the Reverse-Flash. Francis Manpul’s and Brian Buccellato’s interpretation of the classic Flash villain will play up on the opposite qualities of the Flash as a hero and Barry Allen as a person. It’s clear they mean to make him a completely unlikable person, but I wonder how they’ll handle his power set. Perhaps he’ll be super slow, or be able to reverse time or something like that.

I think the old Reverse-Flash still kind of looked like he was in the Flash family, and I think it owed a little bit too much to the Flash look and less like the opposite or the dark side of The Flash. We’re definitely going to go in that direction. -Brian Buccellato

Traditionally depicted as a villainous Flash, the Reverse-Flash, also known as Professor Zoom (Eobard Thawne), was the arch-nemesis of Barry Allen until Barry broke his neck to protect his loved ones. When Wally West became the new Flash, a new Reverse-Flash was introduced, known simply as Zoom (Hunter Zoloman). Now he was badass. Barry Allen and Thawne eventually returned in the pages of Final Crisis and The Flash: Rebirth, respectively. It’s unknown who the villain will be this time around because that’s half the story. It’s a mystery!

It should be interesting to see how they handle the reintroduction of this classic villain and the first meeting between Barry and Bart. The Flash has been very well received since its launch in 2011, so they seem to know what they’re doing. If the changes made to the Rogues were any indication, expect something brand new.

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The Justice League of America variant covers I mentioned earlier have been revealed and they are as stupid as I imagined. The David Finch cover is just repeated over and over

again 52 times to represent all 50 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico. If you really like America, and variant covers, DC is also offering a bundle pack of all the covers and the regular covers together! Who wouldn’t want that? And with the die cut variant covers making their way around the Bat-related titles, it looks like we’re returning to the 90′s, back when holographic, glow in the dark and chrome covers were a regular thing. The Bat titles were one thing, they looked pretty cool, but these new covers just seem excessive.

They’re trying to push the whole ‘America’ angle in the Justice League of America, but it’s still going to confuse people that the characters that are normally related to the JLA are actually in the Justice League, which is not the same thing. The traditional Justice League of America was never so nationalistic and the new one seems more like a government sponsored team than an all-for-America team, so the link is somewhat superficial. It’s just a silly gimmick and I can only immagine what they’ll do next.

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Batwing is getting another writer now that Judd Winick, the writer who launched the title back in 2011, will be leaving the book. Frequent Bat-title writer, Fabian Nicieza, will be taking his place starting with issue #15. The Red Robin and Robin writer originally planned to write a one issue lead-in to the next writer’s run, but it ended up being a setup for himself.

Batwing follows ex-child soldier turned police officer, David Zavimbe, in his one(-ish) man crusade against police corruption and crime in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nicknamed the ‘Batman of Africa’ by DC Comics, Zavimbe was recruited by

Batman to join Batman Incorporated and become part of the network of Bat-heroes across the world. He previously fought the super-villain who destroyed the Justice League of Africa, known as The Kingdom, and also joined Justice League International for a time before its dissolution.

I think the most interesting facet about him compared to others in the Bat-Family is where they are all looking to stop criminals as a result of harm that was done to them (or their family), David is looking to atone for harm he did to others -Fabian Nicieza

Fabian Nicieza joins current series artist Marcus To and their run officially begins with issue #16. I imagine the only thing keeping this title alive is its relationship to Batman (he appears regularly in the comic) so if you’re interested, you should check it out. The first six issues are already available in paperback form as Batwing Vol. 1 The Lost Kingdom, with some great art from original series artist, Ben Oliver. The next volume, Batwing Vol. 2 In the Shadow of the Ancients is due for a 2013 release.

There’s only so many minority characters in comics and this book stars one. Low sales don’t always mean a title is bad. The market can only support so many titles and this one is on the cusp. Nicieza has been dealing with Batman characters for years now and Batwing sounds like a fun adventure on the other side of the world. Not everything can take place in America.

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