The Other History of the DC Universe Book Three Review

by James Caudill on March 30, 2021

The Other History of the DC Universe Book Three Cover

The Other History of the DC Universe Book Three Review

1983-1996: Katana


“I was relentless. Tenacious. Vicious”--Katana


Story: John Ridley

Layouts: Giuseppe Camuncoli

Finishes: Andrea Cucchi

Color: Jose Villarrubia

Lettering: Steve Wands

Cover: Giuseppe Camuncoli & Marco Mastrazzo

Variant Cover: Jamal Campbell

Publisher: DC Comics


The third book in this series “The Other History of the DC Universe” is another wonderful addition to this storyline that DC Black Label is putting out. Overall, The Other History of the DC Universe is the most important book that DC has put out in a LONG time. Katana’s story doesn’t disappoint. 


Set in 1983, this book tells the haunting story about how Tatsu Yamashiro became the nearly mythical figure of Katana. For those not as familiar with comic book history, Katana first appeared in July 1983 in The Brave and the Bold #200 and has been an often used and often overlooked character within the DC Universe. Bryan Hill gave her a lot of love in his Batman and the Outsiders run recently, but that has pretty much been the extent that her particular set of skills has been shown off. 


That is ultimately the point with the Other HIstory of the DC Universe. This is a series taking the disenfranchised groups of heroes within DC Comics and telling the history from their own eyes. The first issue in this series was Jefferson Pierce, a.k.a. Black Lightning, who debuted in 1977 during the Blaxploitation age which had started earlier in the decade. The second issue explored the lives of Karen Beecher-Duncan better known as Bumblebee and Mal Duncan who showed up in the Teen Titans during the 1970s. Just a mild spoiler, life wasn’t exactly kind to these characters. 


This third book drops at a time where there is hatred toward our Asian American communities and is thus even more important. We have consistently seen violence toward those members of our society within the past year and it has reached its pinnacle within the last two weeks. Obviously with the events of last summer, the previous two books were just as important. Overall, that is the beauty of this book. For those that don’t know, John Ridley is a writer and director that was responsible for bringing us 12 Years a Slave. I, for one, am very glad that he is writing this book for DC Comics. 


I would be remiss if I did not mention the fabulous artwork by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Andrea Cucchi along with the beautiful colors by Jose Villarrubia. These three artists “get” these characters. They use a fine mix of their vision for what these characters should look like but blend that with how the characters looked when they first appeared in the comics. For instance, there is a page that shows Katana in her original outfit, with the bright red and gold that harkens back to her debut. But, those colors are muted against the background of the comic. I don’t want to spoil anything but when you see it, you will get my meaning. 


As a teacher in my day job, I will read some comics and think “I have to find a way to get these books into my classroom.” The Other History of the DC Universe is certainly one of those books. Once this is all collected into a beautiful hardcover like many of the DC Black Label books, I will be getting multiple copies. One for my bookshelf at home and the other copies will be on my bookshelf at school for students to borrow. The Other HIstory of the DC Universe is that important. Book three about Katana is a wonderful addition to this storyline. I can’t wait to see the next issue.

Our Score:


A Look Inside