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If you're already starting to lay out your plan of what comics to get on Free Comic Book Day, make sure you have some loose change in your pocket, too. DC Comics is announcing a 25-cent 32-page pre-FCBD special, Year of the Villain #1, that features stories written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Brian Michael Bendis, plus artwork by Jim Cheung, Francis Manapul, and Alex Maleev.
They will be new stories that stem off of storylines that are currently running in Justice League books, Superman and Batman titles and will set the stage for big upcoming stories in the DCU this summer and fall.
For those following Justice League and specifically the recent Justice League Annual #1, Snyder and Tynion are developing an ongoing story of Lex Luthor assembling the Legion of Doom and acquiring artifacts that will help them rule over the DC Universe. Perpetua, the celestial being that was imprisoned in the Source Wall, has been freed, and her story along with Luthor's continued plan of getting rid of the heroes will continue here.
Snyder will also bridge the events of the last issue of The Batman Who Laughs six-issue miniseries and a yet-to-be-announced new series that will launch this summer. Batman fans will also want to pick through the special to find out tidbits for the "City of Bane" summer storyline.
In addition to all of that, Bendis and Maleev will be using the end of the "Leviathan Rising" story arc that is about to begin in Action Comics #1007 to launch their contribution to the special, revealing the new status quo in DC's dark world of espionage and terrorism that will then play out in the Superman titles this summer.
Remember, this Year of the Villain Special #1 is set to debut May 1, the Wednesday before Free Comic Book Day, which is May 4. So in case you want to track down variant covers (Cheetah by Stanley "Artgerm" Lau, Lex Luthor by Maleev, The Batman Who Laughs by Cheung and Manapul, or the standard cover by Greg Capullo showing Perpetua with Bane, Luthor, Cheetah and the Batman Who Laughs), be sure to get into the comic shops that Wednesday. See the entire cover gallery below.
For the actual event of Free Comic Book Day, DC and participating retailers will use that opportunity to preview their young adult imprint DC Ink with Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale and middle grade imprint DC Zoom with Dear Justice League. This is an interesting strategy by DC Comics, as they are going all in with their new imprints and aiming at new readers and those looking for something to try out. However, for those concerned that there isn't a FCBD offering set within the DCU at large, there's the 25-cent Year of the Villain Special.
Tell us which comics you're planning on getting on Free Comic Book Day below.