Examining "Rebirth's" Treatment of Legacy & Promise of a Less "Grimdark" DC Universe
A steampunk-infused comic that pitted the Dark Knight against Jack the Ripper, 1989’s Gotham by Gaslight was DC Comics’ first — and, some would argue, best — Elseworlds story, inspiring a sequel, merchandise and nods in at least three video games. The alternate timeline created by Brian Augustyn, Mike Mignola and P. Craig Russell even rated its own world, Earth-19, within the DC Multiverse (last glimpsed in May in Convergence: Shazam! #2).
And now it’s the basis for a fan film.
DC Comics has announced the December debut of JSA: The Liberty Files — The Whistling Skull, a six-issue miniseries by B. Clay Moore, Tony Harris and Dave McCaig.
Set in the world introduced in JSA: The Liberty File, the 2000 miniseries by Harris and Dan Jolley, The Whistling Skull takes place in 1940s Europe, where, “with the Nazi war machine on the move, crimes are still committed even in the smallest hamlets.” No specific story details have been provided.
“For readers looking for a new spin on the DC Universe, combined with brand new headlining characters, I think the book will be a treat, and it’s just the first chapter in a much larger story,” Moore told DC’s The Source.” This initial offering introduces readers to the legacy of the Whistling Skull in a wartime, pulp-infused setting, and should provide something fresh for readers to sink their teeth into.”
Published under DC’s now-defunct Elseworlds banner, The Liberty File and its 2003 sequel The Unholy Three portrayed members of the Justice Society of America as covert government operatives rather than superheroes: Codenamed the Unholy Three, the Bat (Batman), the Owl (Dr. Mid-Nite) and the Clock (Hourman) are eventually joined by the likes of Mister Terrific, Clark Kent, Mercury (The Flash), the Huntress and the Hawk (Hawkman) in their fight against Nazi and KGB agents.
In case we didn’t already miss DC Comics’ Elseworlds imprint enough, at Comic-Con International on Sunday Cartoon Network premiered a fantastic clip from DC Nation’s three-part short series “Batman of Shanghai,” featuring an anime-influenced Catwoman in 1930s China (there’s also a cameo by a floppy hat-wearing Bane). If DC Comics doesn’t do something with Shanghai Catwoman — I love that character design — well, they’re really missing the boat. Maybe they can relaunch the character’s solo title (again) in the next wave of the New 52.
Check a somewhat shaky, but surprisingly decent-quality, fan-captured video of the clip below.