Thoughts on the New DCU – Part 4: The Dark Side

Continuing our series reacting to the news of DC’s September relaunch. Previously we’ve looked at the Justice League, and Green Lantern and Batman books. Now we look at DC’s attempt to reclaim its characters from Vertigo.

Justice League Dark · Demon Knights · Swamp Thing · Animal Man by Jeff Lemire · Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE · Voodoo · I, Vampire · Resurrection Man

Kelson: This is the section that appeals to me the most. It’s clearly DC’s attempt to re-integrate the characters who had previously crossed over to Vertigo, and it’s also the first section where they’ve taken big risks.

Greg: The fact that these books are being trotted out with the new DC is a great sign that the rich stable of characters and talent are being utilized in this new push.

Devin: This is a corner of the DC Universe that I’ve never much cared for, no matter how many times I’ve tried to give it a chance. Magic, horror and supernatural stuff as a whole just doesn’t appeal to me as much as traditional super heroics.

Justice League Dark

Kelson: The idea of a team including John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, and Shade the Changing Man (and apparently Zatanna) sounds like a lot of fun, and I have confidence in Peter Milligan…though I hope “Justice League Dark” is a working title. I know they want to go with the name recognition, but it just sounds awful.

Greg: Milligan is quite good and this sounds like an interesting title. I think spreading the “Justice League” brand around is a good idea, and a way to catch that envisioned new audience browsing.

Lia: I don’t know about this one. The lineup is cool, but how is this going to be any different from, say, the Shadowpact series? The title makes it seem somewhat superhero-y so I’m not sure it’s a good fit, and I personally have mixed feelings on Peter Milligan’s work.

Swamp Thing

Lia: Is he going to go around killing people like in Brightest Day, or is he going to be more like the classic Alan Moore Swamp Thing? I prefer trippy and funky over murderous.

Animal Man

Lia: I don’t really have a lot to say about this one, except that I preferred Grant Morrison’s less-adult series over the Vertigo series, and would be more likely to read this one if there’s a minimum of horror in it. I’m a total wuss when it comes to horror, and scary stuff or abuse involving animals makes me even more uncomfortable.

Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE

Kelson: This version of Frankenstein was one of the more interesting characters to come out of Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers (though I think the updated Klarion was the most interesting), and I enjoyed the first issue of the Flashpoint tie-in by the same writer as the new book.

Lia: No interest, sorry. I’m puzzled by the very existence of Frankenstein in the DCU.

Demon Knights

Lia: The medieval aspect of this book is unique and could be a lot of fun, but I’d want to know more about the general concept before forming an opinion.

Kelson: I want to want to check this one out (if that makes sense), but I don’t think I know enough yet to figure out whether it appeals to me.

I, Vampire

Lia: I liked him in the Doctor 13 series, but vampires in general are not my thing.

Kelson: No particular interest I, Vampire, but it’ll be amusing to see it on the shelf next to iZombie.


Kelson: I thought Voodoo was a new character until someone pointed out she comes from WildCATS. Which is interesting, as this was our first confirmation that DC has finally started folding the WildStorm Universe super-heroes into the DC Universe the way they did the Quality, Fawcett and Charlton characters in the 1980s…and more recently the Red Circle and Milestone characters.

With Voodoo, Stormwatch and Grifter launching, I have to wonder which other WildStorm characters will return, and how well they’ll fit.

Lia: Oh dear, the Wildstorm universe joining the DCU. Perhaps it’s unfair on my part, but I’m opposed to this because I liked very little of Wildstorm and don’t think its series are a good fit in the DCU. And please don’t make Voodoo a stripper again; no disrespect intended towards sex workers, but I’m tired of seeing female characters in the same stereotypical professions.

Resurrection Man

Kelson: Resurrection Man is one of those series where I always meant to track down the back issues. Now’s my chance to start fresh.

Lia: The concept is interesting to me, but I’ve never read anything with this character.

Part 1: Justice League
Part 2: Green Lanterns
Part 3: Batman
Next up: The Next Generation of Justice


This entry was posted in Opinion and tagged , , , , , , , , on by , , and .

About Greg Elias

Greg is a lifelong DC Comics fan and Flash collector who began contributing to Speed Force in 2010. He currently lives and works in South Carolina, with his wife Ellen.

About Kelson

Kelson has been reading comics since he was eight, starting with DC and moving out toward indies. He started reading The Flash in 1987, and has since tracked down all of the Silver Age and more Golden Age Flash comics than he expected. He ran the fan reference site, Flash: Those Who Ride the Lightning for 15 years.

About Lia

Lia is a Canadian fan of the Flashes and the Rogues. She's particularly interested in memorabilia of the Rogues and Reverse Flashes, collecting art, and memorizing a whole lot of pointless trivia. She may be the world's only diehard fan of the Top due to a love of hopeless causes, and she runs a fan blog on Tumblr, known as gorogues or The Rogues Kick Ass.

About Devin

My name is Devin Johnson and I write for, a blog dedicated to providing all the latest news about the Scarlet Speedster. I mostly contribute to the collectibles part of the site since that is my thing. I recently started my own blog at that highlights items from my collection and great art!

6 thoughts on “Thoughts on the New DCU – Part 4: The Dark Side

  1. Jason West

    Kelson for once we’re almost in complete agreement. Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE, Resurrection Man, and possibly Animal Man are making the cut here with several more of these sounding more and more interesting everyday…:)

  2. Savitar

    JLD sounds interesting. Hellblazer on team? Might work, but Milligan has been writing Constantine for awhile, so I think this title has a decent chance.

    I never read Morrison’s Animal Man. But I really grew to like the character during 52 and his later mini by Gerry Conway. So I may check this out to see how Buddy is doing.

    But by far, the biggest title in this group for me is Demon Knights. Cornell is a terrific writer, I love the Demon, and the idea of medieval superheroes intrigues me. In a recent interview, Cornell likens this concept to the Magnificent Seven, in that this group is loosely brought together lead by the Demon. Can’t wait to see who all is on the team.

    1. Lia

      Morrison’s run on Animal Man is my absolute favourite run in all of comics. It’s worth picking up in trades. To some extent it’s a bit dated now, in the sense that a lot of comics since have touched on meta themes and animal rights is a bit more mainstream these days, but it broke a lot of ground and still holds up well.

      (And as an aside, that’s where Mirror Master II made his debut! As much as I love Johns’ McCulloch, there’s no comparison to the way Morrison wrote him)

  3. Kelson

    According to the solicitations posted at Bleeding Cool, one of the other characters in Demon Knights will be Madame Xanadu. (In her solo series at Vertigo, she was revealed to be Nimue, Morgana La Fey’s sister in the DCU version of Arthurian legend.) I’ve heard good things about Cornell’s writing, and this gives me another reason to check it out.

  4. KC Flash

    Unfortunately, this is the only part of the new DCnU that I am very excited about. I will definitely be picking up both Animal Man and Swamp Thing. Lemire and Snyder have both been hitting home runs in my estimation on “Superboy” and “Detective Comics.” Swamp Thing is a character that seems to be perfect for Snyder.

    The good news is that I will be able to worry less about my pocketbook thanks to the new changes….Still enjoy the hobby thoroughly but the silliness with everything is getting rather tiresome. Just my opinion, mileage may vary.

  5. JonQCitizen

    Really excited about Swamp Thing’s return to monthly comics! I do enjoy Constantine as well, but I’ll need a second job soon to pay for all the titles I want! So even though most in this list sound great…I’ll have to narrow it to 1 or 2….lol.


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