“The Lazarus Volcano… what… what’s the aftermath…?”
That’s the breathy question a badly injured Batman asks to kick off 2023’s Lazarus Planet event. In Batman vs. Robin, the latest DC Universe big baddie, the Devil Nezha, used the magic siphoning superhero Black Alice to channel every great source of magical power in the DCU into the Helm of Fate. But a fight with Batman and Robin saw the helm break into pieces over a Lazarus Pit, causing an enormous Lazarus Volcano to emerge which erupted magic storms across the globe.
What happens next is anybody’s guess, but we’re already seeing some major consequences in our first installment of that aftermath this week, Lazarus Planet: Alpha. Man-made technology doesn’t work the way it should, causing science-based heroes to fail. The remaining heroes with magical aptitude find their own abilities warping in unpredictable ways. And all over the world, the undead, the inanimate, and the gods themselves are rising up. All will be answered in due time, but we’ve got a few questions of our own right off the bat.
(Also, consider this your spoiler warning. From here on out, we’ll be spoiling things from the comic, so make sure you’ve read it!)
How did dumping a huge reservoir of magic into a Lazarus Pit cause all this?
We can hazard a safe guess. Historically, we’ve learned that Lazarus Pits can only be formed on the intersections of ley lines, veins of magical energy which run across the Earth. Perhaps overloading such a locus with magical energies is like overloading a power socket. But we can only imagine we’ll learn more about the particulars of how Lazarus magic works in the weeks and months ahead.
Why doesn’t alien technology seem as susceptible to the Lazarus Storms?
Again, this may have something to do with the fact that the Lazarus Pits are specifically anchored on the magic which runs through the Earth itself. After all, this is Lazarus Planet, not Lazarus Universe. But what does that say about how the force of magic works on a cosmic scale? We’d ask the Trenchcoat Brigade, but never expect a straight answer from Phantom Stranger.
Why is Nezha avoiding Superman and Supergirl?
Despite having a grudge to bear with the last cousins of Krypton from their previous run-in in Batman/Superman: World’s Finest, Nezha has been going out of his way to prevent a rematch. It’s suggested that Nezha is still recovering his strength, but we’re not so sure…could the Lazarus Effect have something special in store for our Kryptonians?
Power Girl isn’t from this Earth… how will the Lazarus Storms affect her?
As one of the cover stars of Lazarus Planet: Alpha, Power Girl stands out from our main cast for one major reason: she’s not from here. We’ve seen that alien technology affords some resistance to the storms of Lazarus Planet. What effect will they have on someone from a completely different reality altogether?
How does Black Alice put the genie back in the bottle?
This all started with Black Alice’s unique ability to channel the powers of any magic user on Earth. But as far as we know, those abilities don’t work in reverse. And yet, it seems like Black Alice is being positioned as the key to setting magic right again. What is it about Black Alice’s singular powers we don’t yet know, and how will we see that develop?
Are Damian, Black Alice and Monkey Prince the next Justice League Dark? Are they...Teen Titans Dark?
Having already gotten the chance to bond with Damian over in the ongoing Monkey Prince series, Marcus Sun gets to know Black Alice during a rare quiet moment in this issue to mend fences between the three young heroes involved in this latest world-threatening escapade. Are we seeing the beginnings of a new team for a new age of magic?
We hear Jaime’s scarab say "thank god." What kind of god does the scarab have?
Really makes you think. Some kind of really big space bug? Has anyone checked on Lady Styx? Maybe this is more of a question for Blue Beetle: Graduation Day. (Or it’s just Jaime giving a loose translation.)
Poison Ivy…and Ra’s al Ghul? Whaaaaat?!?
I’m sorry, we just found out that Ra’s al Ghul and Poison Ivy have a shared history and this is all I can think about right now. It makes too much sense for us not to have explored it before. Maybe we’re seeing a teaser for a future World’s Finest arc? Please, Mark Waid, help us out here.
How are the Lazarus Storms affecting the Green?
The reason Ivy’s in this issue in the first place is that she and Swamp Thing have become dreadfully aware that the Lazarus Storms are somehow messing with the Green, the subplanar field which connects all plant life. It certainly explains Ivy’s new look, but what’s really happening deep down in the Parliament of Trees?
What about the other Five Immortal Powers?
In Monkey Prince, we’ve seen King Fire Bull, Nezha’s son and greatest enemy, attempting to gather the Eight Immortal Powers from eight chosen heroes in the DC Universe. He’s gotten the power of Fear from Batman, the power of Voice from Aquaman, and seeks the power of Invulnerability from Superman. Is King Fire Bull’s role in this event to obtain the other five? And if so, who has them, and what are they?
What happened to Nezha’s Red Armillary Sash?
In Lazarus Planet: Alpha’s backup story we get a little more background on Nezha’s history. In his youth, Nezha and Monkey Prince’s father, the Monkey King, were once uneasy allies. A gift from heaven, the Red Armillary Sash, is what allowed Nezha to keep his demonic inner self in check. The fact that Nezha doesn’t have it anymore seems, well, important. What happened to it? And could it be the key to Nezha’s redemption?
Uhhhhhhhh, is Batman okay?
I mean, who can say whether Batman is ever okay? But after absorbing Nezha’s magic, he’s looking…particularly gnarly. Are we about to go down the Event Road of yet another evil Batman? And who could possibly stop him? Well, we remember how Death Metal went. Maybe Wonder Woman’s not busy. Oh, she is? Well…let’s pray to whatever gods Jaime’s scarab has that someone else can pull us out of the fire this time. Maybe Teen Titans Dark.
Alex Jaffe is the author of our monthly "Ask...the Question" column and writes about TV, movies, comics and superhero history for DC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexJaffe and find him in the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Alex Jaffe and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.