Hidden in the credits among DC's just-released December 2020 solicitations is a bit of news marking the return of a long-absent creator to the DC Universe, with writer Mark Waid contributing a story to DC's Dark Nights: Death Metal: The Last Stories of the DC Universe anthology one-shot.
Waid last worked for DC in 2008, prior to the onset of 'The New 52' in 2011. Following his departure from DC, Waid worked in a staff role at several publishers, from a stint as Boom!'s editor-in-chief, and now currently publisher of Humanoids.
Since his departure from DC in 2008, Waid has worked extensively at Marvel - even signing in 'exclusive' deal with the publisher for a time. He's currently writing Fantastic Four: Antithesis, which is drawn by Neal Adams.
Though it's unclear if Waid's return at DC is a one-off or the start of a rekindled longer-term working relationship with the publisher, it's worth noting that 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the start of Kingdom Come, Waid's seminal DC story with artist Alex Ross which depicted a bleak but ultimately hopeful future for the heroes of the DC Universe – and which has consistently been considered among DC's best stories ever.
Kingdom Come has been reprised and referenced in the DC Universe several times, including a 2010 story in Geoff Johns's JSA marking the story's 15th anniversary alongside Ross. Given Ross has been celebrating the 25th anniversary of his story Marvels with writer Kurt Busiek, a similar landmark tale at Marvel Comics, for the last year, could he and Waid do something similar at DC for Kingdom Come?
Waid was also part of several group Superman pitches, including a late-90's pitch alongside Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, and Tom Peyer, eventually resulting in Superman: Birthright, Waid's retelling of Superman's origin alongside artist Leinil Yu. With longtime writer Brian Michael Bendis departing from Action Comics and Superman ongoing series in December, there could be room for Waid to take a crack at the Man of Steel's adventures once and for all.
Waid said at WonderCon 2017 that his "dream project" was Shazam!, saying "That one is in my sights."
With the current Shazam! title scheduled to end in September, could Waid's arrival open the door to a new series there as well?
Time will possibly tell.
Bendis's departure from Superman and a host of new Death Metal one-shots aren't the only news from DC's December 2020 solicitations – read all about Jinny Hex getting her own one-shot right here.