As with many a month, October 2021 had quite a lot going on. There are series debuts, anthologies, seasonal events, and the return of some conventions, with not everything in these elements necessarily remembered for positive reasons. Regardless, let us all look back at this past October, as seen through impressions left by the publications of, in particular, BOOM! Studios, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics.
Best Debut Issue: “House of Slaughter” #1
There was a bit of competition amongst debut issues this past month, but it was “House of Slaughter” #1 that really was able to draw in enough to be both a dawn of a new story and a split off from an existing one. The expansion of the story beyond that told in “Something is Killing the Children” enables the further expansion of its story beyond that of Erica Slaughter to include various other forces, even without needing to concentrate in on the monsters themselves.
One runner-up was “DC vs. Vampires” #1, which had a great showing, but for which it may be too early to tell quality overall.
Best Anthology: “Wonder Woman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular” #1
Just in time for Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary, and several weeks before this year’s Wonder Woman Day (October 21), the 80th anniversary issue was exceptionally fun. With stories from a wide variety of authors, the true heart of the Amazon princess is brought to the fore. October may be a month associated with horror, but it is this anthology, rather than the horror-based one in the same period, that really stuck out and brought a smile to readers’ faces.
Most Talked-About Moment: Jon Kent’s Kiss (“Superman: Son of Kal-El”)
Technically speaking, this is about a moment that has yet to actually occur in books that have been released, due to a delay from DC Comics, but its prominence in culture is still notable nonetheless.
Regardless of how anyone saw it, Jon Kent, the newest Superman and son of the most famous one, Clark, and his upcoming kiss with his boyfriend, Jay Nakamura (confirming Jon as bisexual) has been definitely talked about far and wide, even with the issue in which it is set to appear, “Superman: Son of Kal-El” #5, having been delayed to the first week of November. Much of the publicity was bereft of context, merely calling the superhero “Superman” instead of identifying him as Clark’s son, giving rise to people calling out in hatred of the entire idea of him being with anyone other than Lois Lane (who is this Superman’s mother), but attention is attention.
In spite of the hatred leveled against the occasion, or perhaps even because of high-profile people voicing their hatred of the idea without considering identities or context, those who were in favor of the public support for the LGBTQAI+ communities apparently won out, considering the overwhelming amount of sales for the series from the first issue through to #5 after the news broke.
Most Tired Seasonal Event: ‘Darkhold’
Corrupted heroes, misled heroes, manipulated heroes… Marvel’s benevolent characters fighting one another has been done time and again. Yes, it has not been used as much of late, but seeing another “heroes fight other heroes” instead of focusing on a central villain (excluding ones that do but also include fighting heroes) is not encouraging, but rather appears to just be a method of using the month.
The threat of Chthon is one we have seen time and again, his Darkhold being, while not unimportant, at least seen in a reasonable light and handled appropriately. If taking this event in context, prior instances involving the Darkhold are discounted, and his threat seems to be impending in a way that would likely be a good idea for various heroes to have been involved previously, and Doctor Doom, a key character, would have likely been handling the situation intelligently, rather than making colossal mistakes of ego for the sake of having a problem to solve.
As presented in the ‘Darkhold’ event of weekly one-shots, the book itself is, even with all of the alleged importance, little more than an excuse to show heroes being bad (again). Characters who should know better act as though they need to make horrible decisions not because they are likely, but because they would create hostile circumstances.Continued below
Eh, better luck next year?
Most Publicized Character Group Out of DC FanDome: Batman Family
Okay, so this one is kind of a cheat. However, with this year’s DC FanDome, their digital convention’s second showing since last year (on account of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resultant travel restrictions), it seems best to draw some attention its way. There were a multitude of developments, primarily involving trailers without any new release dates for already-announced projects, but Batman had quite a number. Let’s go into listing them in order of announcement, first for the direct character announcements, then for others in his “family” of characters.
In terms of direct announcements and trailers, we had several across various forms of media. Rocksteady Studios’ Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League (which has been stated to take place in their “Arkhamverse”) had a brief cameo of a Batmobile, but not showing Batman himself (which itself may be a spoiler for the end of their last outing, Batman: Arkham Knight). The upcoming film of The Flash, which seems to be following the plot of the “Flash: Flashpoint” event, had the voice of Michael Keaton as a narrator, with his Batman from the 1989 film apparently appearing from behind. The Batman Unburied original narrative podcast was announced for Spotify, and later in the upcoming Batman: Caped Crusader animated series was announced from Matt Reeves, J.J. Abrams, Bruce Timm, and James Tucker. Finally, the FanDome ended with a new trailer for 2022’s The Batman film with Robert Pattinson in the role of the eponymous character.
For indirect announcements involving the family at large (including Batwoman, Batgirl, and Catwoman, among others), there is a wider scope. The Gotham Knights video game trailer delved into the origins of the Court of Owls, a relatively recent Batman enemy group brought forth in 2011, alongside the four “knights” themselves: Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin. Batwoman‘s season three trailer featured several elements from various Batman comics, including the reveal of the Batwing suit for Luke Fox (along with explaining its origins in this universe). The upcoming Catwoman: Hunted animated movie trailer featured the eponymous thief alongside Batwoman as well (in this case Kate Kane instead of the second one being shown in the live-action TV series). A DC Spotlight was given to lead actress Leslie Grace of the upcoming Batgirl live-action film, along with various other pieces of information including a look at a concept of her film suit. The scene from the next Titans season focused heavily on Wayne Manor and Selina Kyle, even if Batman himself did not appear. There was also a trailer for the next season of Pennyworth, following the early days of Batman’s butler Alfred Pennyworth.
Even if we were to avoid the tangential relations of certain characters to Batman, this FanDome still gave five different projects attention to the hero of Gotham City, with that number of announcements jumping up to eleven if we were to include those outside of the man himself. Quite a number, considering there were 32 announced projects, putting him at nearly a third of what was shown in some capacity.