(AP) - Nearly three years after its debut, DC Comics is pushing its New 52 five years into the future with writers Jeff Lemire, Keith Giffen, Brian Azzarello and Dan Jurgens to examine how heroes change with the passing of time and technology.
The weekly title, "The New 52: Futures End," debuts on Free Comic Book Day in May with a free zero issue, with the first issue of series hitting shelves and digital storefronts later that month. It is the second such weekly book for DC in 2014. The other, "Batman: Eternal," launches in the spring as DC celebrates Batman's 75th anniversary.
"Just look at the talent roster that's been gathered. How could you not want to be a part of that?" asked Giffen, who did layouts for DC's weekly comic series "52" in 2006.
Hints about the series have been dropped by DC in recent weeks, with images of Batman Beyond online as well as a mention in the "DC All Access" web series that saw a pair of logo designs dubbed "Five Years Later."
Lemire calls the new weekly series an exploration of DC's past, present and its future.
"Really, what we're trying to do with this book is to explore the nature of what a hero is and we're doing that, obviously by playing with the future of the New 52 timeline," he said. "Past present and future all colliding in this story line."
That means exploring the past with a character like Frankenstein, the present with Firestorm and the future with Batman Beyond who is, Lemire said, making what is his first "in-continuity appearance. He'll become part of the New 52."
Those three, however, are not the only characters who will have a place in the series.
"That's definitely one of our mandates, too," Lemire said. "To create new characters and new concepts that will hopefully have a life beyond the series."
Artists on the series include Ethan Van Sciver, drawing the zero issue, along with Jesus Merino, Aaron Lopresti and Jurgens, among others who will be added as the series goes from one issue to the next, every week.
The writers, all of whom have deep and historical ties to DC Entertainment and its roster of heroes and villains, have been working to craft a story that focuses on the past, present and future that will have implications across the DC universe, says Lemire, calling it a "high concept" work.
"The cast is quite large," he said. "They are three of many that are getting a significant amount of time in the series."
DC Entertainment is owned by Time Warner Inc.
Moore reported from Philadelphia. Follow him at http://www.twitter.com/mattmooreap
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