Slugfest | Superman’s ‘House of Brainiac’ begins + more new comics coming from DC in April

Read about DC’s Free Comic Book Day plans, the 300th issue of Nightwing, DC’s Spring Breakout and more.

Slugfest is a roundup of cool announcements about projects coming to a shelf near you. This edition focuses on DC’s April 2024 announcements. Hit the links for more information.

DC’s solicitations for April 2024 arrived this past week — you can find them on The Beat or on Newsarama — and I thought I’d pull out some of the highlights. There aren’t many new first issues, but there is a big Superman-themed crossover event launching, several annuals, some graphic novels and listings for three of their four Free Comic Book Day titles for this year.

So let’s begin …

Connecting Covers to Action Comics #1064 and Superman #13 by Rafa Sandoval

DC announced House of Brainiac back in November, as part of something they’re referring to as Trinity of Evil that puts the spotlight on three villains who will be making life hell for the DC heroes this year. It’s a crossover that will feature the Superman family, Lobo, Green Lantern and more, as Brainiac puts together an army of Czarnians to invade Metropolis.

In April, House of Brainiac will kick off in Action Comics #1064, which will feature the Superman family contending with the invasion as Superman and Lex Luthor try to figure out what Brainiac’s real agenda is.

That’ll be followed by Green Lantern #10, an issue worth noting whether you’re into the idea of the crossover or not, as it features, in a back-up story, writer Jeremy Adams and legendary Justice League International artist Kevin Maguire doing a Guy Gardner story. That’s something to get excited about, as Gardner tracks down Lobo at an intergalactic wrestling event.

Then you have Superman #13, by Williamson and Sandoval, who continue the main story and send Superman and Lobo off to find Brainiac.

And if you’re wondering “Hey, is Lobo’s daughter Crush going to show up here?” you can wonder no more, as she’ll appear in Power Girl #8 by writer Leah Williams and artists Eduardo Pansica and Júlio Ferreira.

The first month of the crossover will wrap in House of Brainiac Special #1, by Williamson and Mark Russell, with artists Edwin Galmon and Steve Pugh.

Superman: House of Brainiac Special #1 cover by Jamal Campbell

The special will reveal how Brainiac created a bottled city of Czarnia in the first place, and also feature stories about Lois Lane, Perry White, Bippo, Amanda Waller and more.

I believe House of Brainiac will run for three months — and that’s purely based on the Guy Gardner back-up in Green Lantern running in three parts — but I’m sure we’ll get a handy schedule of all the issues it’ll run through at some point, like the big comic companies like to do for these sorts of crossovers.

Moving on now from the Superman Family to the Dark Knight’s brood — Nightwing #113 is also the 300th issue of Nightwing. Interestingly, it’s not an oversized issue, but DC does promise something special:

Since the 1940’s, you’ve seen him go from acrobat to orphan; from Dick Grayson to Robin; from Robin to Nightwing. You’ve seen him work alongside the universe’s most powerful heroes, against existence’s most sinister villains. You have seen Dick Grayson do so many things, but now, in his 300th issue, you will see him…well, you’ll just have to pick up the issue and find out. Join us for this legacy 300 milestone!

The issue is written by Tom Taylor with art by a plethora of artists, along with a back-up tale by Michael Conrad and Howard Porter.

Also arriving in April — and maybe this is why Nightwing #113 isn’t oversized — is the 2024 Nightwing Annual. It’s written and drawn by Travis Moore and will focus on Bea Bennett, the pirate queen who used to date Nightwing. She recently reappeared in the main Nightwing title, and this will delve into her back story.

(I have no idea why the main cover is so small … that’s apparently how it went out with the solicits).

Guess who else is getting an annual in April? That’s right, Harley Quinn — and it’s by Unbeatable Squirrel Girl‘s Erica Henderson! The story will feature Zatanna getting accused of murder on a cruise ship, and Harley jumping on the case.

The third annual arriving in April features the Flash, and it’s by Simon Spurrier and A.L. Kaplan. Wallace West, Avery Ho and Circuit Breaker take the spotlight as they deal with all the chaos happening in Central City in the regular Flash title.

Josie Campbell returns to the Shazam! family to write Shazam! #10, which features art by Emanuela Lupacchino. After their house was destroyed by Black Adam, Billy Batson recruits the gods who give him his powers to rebuild it. Oh, that’s gonna be a fun one …

The solicit for Justice Society of America #11 makes no mention of Starman, but he does appear on this variant cover by original Starman artist Tony Harris.

Another DC seasonal anthology arrives in April, this one with a spring break theme. It’ll feature stories by Meghan Fitzmartin, Cameron Chittock, Joey Esposito, Morgan Hampton, Patrick R. Young, Tom Krajewski, Mike Barr, Kenya Danino, Vasco Georgiev, Paul Pellietier and more:

Spring has sprung! Flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, Harley is breaking King Shark out of Belle Reve prison…all is right in the DCU as both heroes and villains face all sorts of different spring breaks. Breaking out of a coffin? Lex Luthor has that covered. Spring break training? Send in Superman! Breaking out of your shell? Batman and Mr. Freeze explore that possibility through a connection in their shared past. Breaking down a worthy adversary? Katana and her sword of souls might just be able to tackle that. And it wouldn’t be a spring break without a Teen Titans beach trip! All these and more in DC’s Spring Breakout!—eight breakout stories to put a spring in your step (is there a zit breakout story? You’ll have to read to find out!)

Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo return to the world of their YA Teen Titans graphic novels with a new focused on Starfire. Reimagined as a Santa Monica teenager name Kori who starts developing super powers after her sister’s boyfriend’s uncle’s pharmaceutical company recruits her for an EDS study, Starfire has an “inexplicable draw to the stars” and hangs out with a kid named Victor Stone. Which probably gives you an idea of the next graphic novel in the series you can look for.

Prez: Setting a Dangerous President, the 2016 miniseries by Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell, is being collected and re-released as a YA graphic novel. The story “introduces readers to fast-food worker Beth Ross, against the backdrop of a national meltdown and the 2046 presidential elections. Due to a hilarious combination of events and a video of Beth getting her hair caught in a deep fryer, the 19-year-old viral sensation known as ‘Corndog Girl’ becomes the youngest commander-in-chief in United States history.” It’s peak satire by Russell and features Caldwell’s dynamic artwork (and it’s good to see it find a new life here).

Finally, let’s jump ahead to May and the greatest of all comic book days, Free Comic Book Day. On May 4, DC will have four comic available, and they’re still keeping the nature of one of them — focused on an upcoming event — under wraps. But the other three include a preview of Ngozi Ukazu’s Big Barda graphic novel:

A preview of Yehudi Mercado’s Barkham Asylum graphic novel:

and a MAD Magazine FCBD issue:

That one features a cover by Kerry Callen, and the joke is a running gag for him.

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