DC Comics’ New 52 summer event will be to return to an old storyline, according to co-publisher Dan DiDio, and the big casualty may be Superman.
The storyline, entitled DownFall, will see the Man of Steel battling to save the planet from a nameless intergalactic powerhouse who becomes known as DownFall by the media. The introduction of the villain will be teased in various DC titles before going on a rampage that will see him battle – and defeat – various heroes before moving on to Superman. However, DiDio is being understandably cryptic about the outcome.
“It’s been over 20 years since the death of Superman storyline, and what was done then was revolutionary. It changed the way that comic books were perceived by the world’s press. And this summer, you’ll definitely see Superman back in the news!” DiDio said.
However, the head of DC refused to make too many comparisons to the earlier storyline, Doomsday, in which Superman met his temporary demise at the hands of an alien prisoner who made his way across America, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.
“This isn’t Doomsday, it’s DownFall,” DiDio stressed. “Looking back, it’s easy to say some mistakes were made in that original story. There should have been more heroes coming to Superman’s aid, and Superman should have been far more pro-active. For a large portion of it, he just sat on the sidelines or rescued people. Our [New 52] Superman isn’t like that.
“I think if there’s one thing we saw with the new film it’s that the public really want a more pro-active superhero who’s willing to do whatever it takes, even if it involves crossing some lines. Destruction of property and innocent bystanders getting killed, that’s collatoral damage in war. This is a kill-or-be-killed scenario, and the outcome is going to turn a lot of heads.”
DiDio has dismissed rumours of other heroes meeting tragic fates at the hands of the new villain, despite artwork leaked for an upcoming issue of Batman which clearly shows the Dark Knight detective having his back broken in a way reminiscent of the 1993-1994 storyline Knightfall.
“That was just an idea we were kicking around. The creators – Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison and myself – we’ve discussed a lot of things and we know what the way forward is. There are some pivotal moments for characters in DC’s history, ones that the fans will instantly recognise, and it’s natural to do homages here and there. We’re not re-hashing old ideas, we’re creating new ones that just seem very similar,” DiDio argues.
“It’s about finding fresh ways to tell stories. If we have Mr. Mxyzptlk show up, that’s been done before. If we have him show up and battle Zatanna in a battle of backwards-magic, where she tries to get him to say his name backwards but instead he says, ‘yaD s’looF lirpA yppaH’ then that’s something new.”