In America, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the blessings you’ve been granted while taking stock of all you have to be grateful for. In some years, this task is more difficult than others. But the challenges and tragedies we face just make the triumphs and fortune we experience all the more important to celebrate. So too, with our greatest heroes. Though for many, this year of trials and misadventures has been their toughest to date, even they have to take a moment to express some gratitude. So, after a year of following their stories, let’s look on the bright side and see what our favorite heroes might have to be thankful for.
As Tom King once wrote, every villain in Gotham thinks they’re going to be the one to bring down the bat. Every night, the Batman is challenged for his life and his city. And yet, despite it all, he’s still here. What’s Batman got to be thankful for? That with this month’s Fear State: Omega, he’s broken through Scarecrow’s designs on Gotham City once more and is ready to face a new beginning. Halloween belonged to the Scarecrow. But this Thanksgiving, Batman’s earned a respite to be grateful for another sunrise over Gotham.
With the start of the Warworld Saga in Action Comics, Superman is about to face what may be his greatest challenge yet, lightyears away from the world he made his home. And yet, his spirits are high, because he knows his son Jonathan will be there to keep the ideals of Superman alive on Earth. This year, Superman is both proud and thankful for his son.
Since the epic conclusion of Dark Knights: Death Metal, Wonder Woman has been on a spiritual journey of the most literal sense, exploring her space in the cosmos among the Sphere of the Gods. But now, finally, Diana has returned to Earth, and her family, friends and the world at large are overjoyed to see her once more. This year, Wonder Woman is grateful for a world once a stranger to her which has accepted her presence so openly.
Nubia, sister of Wonder Woman, was first introduced in 1973. Since then, she’s spent about 48 years riding the sidelines of the DC Universe, little more than a point of trivia. But ever since DC Future State, Nubia has taken the front-and-center role she’s always deserved, now functioning as Queen of the Amazons. This year, Nubia is thankful for some respect on the name.
While taking up her crusade in exposing Leviathan, Lois Lane has experienced a number of losses. Missing out on her son growing up. Her husband Superman taking an indefinite leave to the far reaches of space. The death of her father, and the discovery that he had been much shadier than she even realized. But from all that darkness also came the revelation of family we never knew, in the form of a secret brother—Leo Lane, raised from birth to be a super-spy for A.R.G.U.S. With Leviathan leaving the spy organizations of the world in shambles, this year Lois is thankful to get to know her new family.
Here’s the understatement of the decade for you: Wally West has kind of been through a lot. Erasure from the timeline, the memory of a family which never made the jump through a continuity reboot, everything that went down in Heroes in Crisis and Flash Forward. This year, though, headlining The Flash series for the first time since 2009, the world of Wally West seems to finally be on the mend. Wally has his wife and children back in one piece, he’s discovered that his greatest sins were never really his own, and he’s free once more to be who he is at his very best: The Flash. This year, Wally is thankful for the universe righting itself once more in his favor.
Remember “Ric Grayson”? This year, getting to celebrate with the friends and family that’s all come back to him since the Joker War is what Nightwing is thankful for.
As readers of Green Lantern know well right now, this has been a particularly harsh year for the Corps. But one surprising light this year has come from Jessica Cruz, who made a shocking transition to the Sinestro Corps in this year’s Green Lantern Annual. Is this the heel turn it seems to be? Well, don’t judge a book by its cover. This year, the anxiety-ridden Jessica Cruz learned that her fear isn’t something to overcome, but a part of her as valid as all the rest and even a source of strength. This year, Jessica Cruz is thankful for all the parts of her that have made her who she is today…even the ones she’s tried to suppress in the past.
As the star of his own miniseries, and soon to be one of the two leads of the ongoing Aquamen, this year Jackson is thankful for the upgrade from Aqualad to Aquaman. And of course, new opportunities for romance under the sea.
In his new role as Superman, the pressure is on for the son of Kal-El to make a big impact. Not just in the way his father did, but to be a new Superman who stands for the ideals and social change that the 21st century demands. Five issues in, we have to say he’s doing a pretty good job of it so far. We’re all thankful for this new Superman. But Superman’s own gratitude has to be a lesson he’s learned in the most recent issue, taking some time between global emergencies for his own needs—whether that’s an emergency power nap, or a new romance.
“Ever had a lightbulb moment? Like something out in the ether has been taunting you, teasing you. Like you know you’re supposed to be on the same page with your brain but not everything made sense. People keep asking me what I want. Oracle. Dick. Steph. Even Conner. But I couldn’t grasp it. Whatever it was, it always felt just out of reach. Until now. Until right now.”
Tim Drake is thankful for lightbulb moments.
Ever since 1993, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy have had a spark between them, but it was, perhaps, a heteronormative society which required them to keep that relationship on the DL. In 2021, there’s no reason to hide. Harley and her girlfriend are canoodling everywhere together from Batman to Harley Quinn: The Eat. Bang. KILL Tour. Harley is thankful she doesn’t have to stay quiet about her feelings any longer. (We all know, keeping quiet isn’t exactly Harley’s strong suit.)
Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown are just thankful that not only are they Batgirls once more, as they so richly deserve, but that they have their own series to be in. As for Barbara Gordon, she’s just thankful for a team she can rely on while she gets some time off her back.
This year was a pretty pivotal one for Jason Todd, making in-roads towards peace with Batman in Urban Legends. But as the reluctant leader of a crew of zombie villains working for the government in Task Force Z, all Jason has to be thankful for is that he isn’t quite one of them… yet.
The youngest Robin has been pretty hard on himself lately, ever since the death of Alfred Pennyworth. But as a closet manga fan, all we can say Damian is really thankful for this year is getting to live out a real-life anime tournament arc in Robin.
Between a spot in the roster on the Justice League as well as her own upcoming TV series on The CW, there’s quite a lot Naomi has to be thankful for. But most of all, Naomi has learned that what she’s most thankful for is the adoptive family which took her in and always provided a place where she belongs.
The public revelation of the Multiverse during Infinite Frontier has had enormous impacts on society in the DC Universe, but perhaps none more so than the director of Task Force X, Amanda Waller. Although it presents new challenges and existential threats, the Wall must be thankful for her multiverse access. After all, infinite earths means infinite expendable resources.
Let’s keep the conversation going around the table. Before we dig into the turkey and corn bread, what are you most thankful for from the vast worlds of DC this year? Let us know as we celebrate the good times together in the DC Community!
What are we grateful for this year? It's the same thing as every year—all of our amazing fans! On behalf of everyone at DCComics.com, we wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving.
Alex Jaffe is the author of our monthly "Ask the Question" column and writes about TV, movies, comics and superhero history for DCComics.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexJaffe and find him in the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Alex Jaffe and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.