The book, dubbed DC’s Year of the Villain, will release on Wed. May 1 and feature original stories written by Scott Snyder with James Tynion IV and Brian Michael Bendis, as well as artwork from Jim Cheung, Francis Manapul, and Alex Maleev. Oh, and the cover is by Greg Capullo. The comic feature 32 pages of new stories aimed at setting the tone for the year to come. This will all likely seem familiar to those who remember last year’s DC Nation #0, which teased Bendis’ Superman run, Tom King’s Bat-Cat (non) Wedding, and Snyder’s No Justice event.
This year’s book will be all about bad, though, with stories about Lex Luthor—who has been busy assembling the League of Doom to replace the usual capes in the pages of Snyder and Tynion’s Justice League—as well as the Batman Who Laughs, a newer character who spun out of the Dark Nights Metal event and is starring in his own six-issue miniseries right now, also penned by Snyder. In a press release, DC notes that the events of that series’ final issue will continue in the Year of the Villain, ultimately leading into a master plan that will be part of a comic debuting this summer that the publisher is yet to announce.
Finally, in this issue long-time collaborators Bendis and Maleev will “kick off a new status quo in DC’s dark world of espionage and terrorism” with a story billed as having major ramifications for Superman and his summer. This is, of course, will tie into the Leviathan story arc that started in last month’s Action Comics and has been teased by Bendis going back even further. Finally, Year of the Villain will also feature clues about Batman’s ongoing chess match with Bane, which is playing out right now in Tom King’s long-spanning Batman run and will continue with that book’s upcoming story arc, City of Bane, this summer.
Like DC Nation #0 did in 2018, Year of the Villain is poised to set the trajectory for the company’s superhero universe through the summer and into the fall and winter. Also like that comic, this one will feature three variant covers for collectors. One will be of Lex Luthor as illustrated by Maleev, another will be the Batman Who Laughs by way of Cheung, and a third will be the Cheetah drawn by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau.
A few days later, DC’s Free Comic Book Day offerings for the annual event on Sat. May 4 will showcase its new younger reader imprints: DC Ink for young adults and DC Zoom for middle grade readers. These free comics will show off early looks at Ink’s Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle and Isaac Goodhart and Zoom’s Dear Justice League by Michael Northrop and Gustavo Duarte.
The variant covers for Year of the Villain are below: