That doesn’t mean no masks, and it doesn’t mean no superpowers, but it does mean fewer gaudy costumes, and a turn towards the more grimdark Vertigo/Charlton atmosphere, with two very obvious effects. There are no titles here aimed at young readers, but some are more inappropriate than others.
38. HELLBLAZER features John Constantine, hard drinking, chain smoking Londoner, magician and antihero, and while it’s not a continuation of the Vertigo title, it’s much the same in feel. John wanders London, battles the forces of magical darkness, and reluctantly saves the world. Being the only book set in London, while sometimes a character from Knight and Squire might show up, this book might as well be set in its own universe.
39. THE QUESTION is Vic Sage, a private detective and a martial artist working out of Hub City in an attempt to fix the broken city politics. He battles with his conscience constantly about how far he should go with his quest, and it’s a book about personal exploration more than anything else.
40. HQ. When the GCPD headquarters were destroyed in a bomb attack, there was only one survivor of the people within. (Jim Gordon, Maggie Sawyer and others were not in the building at the time.) Renee Montoya makes it her quest to hunt down the perpetrators: a mission that exacerbates her violent and alcoholic tendencies until she resigns from the force to pursue it full time. Her leads all point her in one direction: Mandragora. Meanwhile, Helena Bertinelli arrives in Gotham with a vendetta of her own: to find the man who killed her family. The women are at odds with each other, despite sharing a common goal, and each has strong Opinions about the other’s techniques. It is heated and angry, but a mutual respect develops, and of course, they have a whole buttload of sexual tension.
41. ADVENTURE COMICS is an anthology title focusing on non-powered or non-costumed characters: Vigilante (Patricia Chase), Roy Harper (Red Arrow), and a whole bunch of others I can’t think of right now.
42. DC: WASHINGTON. Joseph Wilson was scarred and left unable to talk by a knife attack by an enemy of his father: Slade Wilson, Deathstroke the Terminator. An adult, Joseph wants nothing to do with the costumed community, except that occasionally he runs into associated problems in his job as Communications Director to POTUS. This is West Wing, if that story was taking place in a world where the most powerful force in the world is an alien living in an American City, where American cities are frequently hit by huge disasters, and where many ordinary people feel helpless against forces out of their control. Joseph isn’t vehemently anti-costume, but he deals with people who are. One of his staff members (the rest of the regular cast are all new characters) discovers shortly into the run that he is a White Martian, having had his memory wiped and given a false identity by the Martian Manhunter. Spoiler: he doesn’t turn into a supervillain, but realizing he is not an American citizen gives him pause to thought.
Tomorrow I will be run off my feet between derby and a ball, but next time when I get to it: OUT OF TIME