3:25pm PT by Graeme McMillan
'Batman v. Superman': Which Comic Books Tease What Happens Next
[This article reveals elements of the plot of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. If you want to remain unspoiled, perhaps save this in a to-read list until you've had a chance to see the movie itself.]
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a movie that moves a lot of pieces into position for future releases, especially next year's Wonder Woman and Justice League. But for those who can't wait that long, there are many comic books out there that can help fill in the blanks. Consider this a post-Batman v. Superman recommended reading list.
Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood
Ties in with … Further reading on Wonder Woman.
There are many places to "start" when it comes to Wonder Woman's comic book mythology — both the first comic stories from the 1940s and the fan-favorite reboot from the 1980s are fine options — but the most recent relaunch of the character in 2011 offers a new origin for the Amazon Princess, and a new position for her within the pantheon of gods she interacts with. Expect much of this to serve as backstory for next year's solo movie.
The Flash Vol. 2: Rogues Revolution
Ties in with … Further reading on the Flash.
Flash also relaunched in 2011, but it's the second collection of the current series that arguably offers the best taste of what the comic book mythos can offer, throwing in a number of iconic villains, a city filled with hyper-intelligent gorillas and the revised origins of the Scarlet Speedster. Everything you need to know about the Flash is right here… aside from that time travel thing he's apparently doing at one point in Batman v. Superman.
Aquaman Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis
Ties in with … Further reading on Aquaman.
This collection of a storyline that ran in both the Aquaman and Justice League comic books — in which the armies of Atlantis attack "the surface world," and Aquaman is stuck in the middle, unsure of his loyalties — works as a primer not only for what Aquaman can do in terms of superpowers, but also his political position on land and in the sea. The comic book version of the character — blonde, blue-eyed — doesn't resemble Jason Momoa one bit, but in terms of persona, this could very well be a glimpse of things to come onscreen.
Justice League Vol. 1: Origin
Ties in with … The origin of Cyborg, and some of the "Knightmare" sequence of Batman v. Superman.
The 2011 reboot of DC's Justice League comic is filled with "firsts": the revised first meeting of the superheroes who make up the team, the first public appearance (and, indeed, revised origin) of Cyborg, and the first time that über-villain Darkseid visited Earth in the current version of the comic book mythology. It's also somewhere that the Parademons and Mother Boxes play a large role, putting their brief glimpses in Batman v. Superman into something approaching a greater context. All this plus a Green Lantern who is, amusingly, a massive jerk.
Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Vol. 1
Ties in with … The "Knightmare" sequence of Batman v. Superman.
There is a surprising amount of Fourth World iconography in Batman v. Superman, and this is the origin point for it all, a massive collection — the first of four — of Jack Kirby's 1970s superhero epic for what was, back then, DC Comics. Spanning issues of four different series (Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, New Gods, Mister Miracle and Forever People), the Fourth World cycle lives up to its billing in an early installment: "An Epic for Our Times!"
Ties in with … The "Knightmare" sequence of Batman v. Superman, potentially Lex Luthor's prophecy at the end of the movie.
Providing an end of sorts to Kirby's unfinished Fourth World story, Final Crisis — a 2008 comic book series that features Superman, Batman and an army of other familiar faces — offers up a world where Darkseid has not only invaded Earth, but conquered it with ease. How does he do it, and what clues does it provide to what's going on at the end of Batman v. Superman? That latter part remains to be seen, but don't be too surprised if Lex Luthor is experiencing something similar to what some heroes go through in this story…
Injustice: Gods Among Us Vol. 1
Ties in with … Bruce Wayne's dream visitation from a future Flash.
The (potentially dream) visit of a future Flash, warning Bruce Wayne that Lois Lane is central to everything might have been a shout-out to this collection of the video game spinoff comic in which Lois Lane's murder leads to a reactionary Superman who declares martial law on the entire world. Unsurprisingly, many heroes aren't incredibly fond of that idea. Forget the upcoming Captain America movie; this is the real superhero civil war.
The Death of Superman/Reign of the Supermen
Ties in with … The big finale of the movie.
Yes, Superman is apparently dead — but being killed by Doomsday turned out to be just the beginning of a massive comic book story that only increased in scope as four strangers claimed to be the Man of Steel returned from the afterlife, and one of whom is planning nothing less than the total subjugation of the human race. Can the remaining three alternate Supermen save the day? (Spoiler: not alone.)