Something that comes up a couple of times in this Geoff Johns interview is the seeming importance of DC’s Free Comic Book Day release this year to the DCU as a whole and Justice League specifically; we’re told that the FCBD issue will hint at the future of the team in regards to new members and a shifting public face, as well as evolving the Pandora plot that’s come up a couple of times since the character debuted in Flashpoint #5 last year. What seems interesting about that to me is that it feels like the first time one of the Big Two publishers is making the FCBD release a “must-read” for fans, as opposed to a “Would be nice” added extra.
Marvel was the publisher to push original non-reprint content for FCBD first, in terms of the Marvel/DC axis at least, but all of their books have been seemingly intentionally peripheral in terms of the larger continuity or stories being told (With the potential exception of “Swing Shift,” which previewed the Brand New Day status quo for Amazing Spider-Man months before it actually happened). DC has teased a different route with #0 issues of both Blackest Night and War of the Supermen in the past, but both of those issues have been there to bring readers up to speed and repeat storybeats and information from elsewhere, as opposed to offer anything new in and of themselves. If what Johns is saying about this year’s FCBD title is the case, that sounds like it’ll change this time ’round.
I’m in two minds about this approach. On the one hand, it makes FCBD more of an “event,” with more reason for “regular” fans to go and support their stores on the day, and it also gives readers who’re picking up the DC FCBD book cold more of a sense of “something’s happening!” when they look inside. And yet… It also risks making the DC FCBD book more of a commodity to be hoarded, speculated on and sold on eBay for ridiculously high amounts of money, thereby defeating the “come one, come all!” nature of Free Comic Book Day itself, so… I don’t know. Is it too much to hope that DC will have overprinted/overshipped this book on the possibility that it’s more popular than anyone anticipated…?