Instead of making things simpler, these kinds of “stunts” often made things worse for the continuity of the characters because publisher would revert them back and wipe away the restart or new writers would bring over ideas and things from the previous incarnations of the characters that made it very difficult for fans to truly start over.
After seeing the very diverse lineup of comic books, which included a good deal of horror, sci-fi, action, and war comic books, and being able to actually read many of them, my thoughts changed on The New 52. I greatly enjoyed many of them and thought they handled the relaunch very well. There were some surprises there as well and I reviewed some of them, including, Swamp Thing, I, Vampire, Justice League, and Aquaman. The surprise to me was that I actually thoroughly enjoyed Aquaman and thought it was one of the better comics of The New 52. Color me surprised and impressed.
Flash forward just a few short months later and we have the announcement that six titles will not live past April of 2012. The list includes, “BLACKHAWKS, HAWK AND DOVE, MEN OF WAR, MISTER TERRIFIC, O.M.A.C. and STATIC SHOCK, all of which will conclude with their eighth issues in April.”
I was glad to see the ones that I found interesting made the cut, but also worry of their future. I, Vampire was pretty close in sales comparison to the cut titles, with Swamp Thing and Aquaman being a bit higher in total sales through the end of the year. There are a lot of titles that are still in the danger zone so time will tell whether they see it past issue 12.
Of the comic books cut, none of them were really surprising. It is sad to see two titles with African American leads go away but that is the way of things. Liefeld’s Hawk and Dove was also interesting to see being cut and is certainly more interesting with the announcement that he would be working on three other DC books as artist/writer on one and as a writer on two others. That will definitely need to have an eye kept on it.
With the cuts out of the way, let’s take a look at the comics replacing the above mentioned titles.
DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 "Second Wave" includes:
- BATMAN INCORPORATED - Writer: Grant Morrison. Artist: Chris Burnham. The acclaimed ongoing writer of ACTION COMICS, Grant Morrison, presents a fresh take on BATMAN INCORPORATED, in which the Batman brand is franchised globally in preparation for a major international threat.
- EARTH 2 - Writer: James Robinson. Artist: Nicola Scott. The greatest heroes on a parallel Earth, the Justice Society combats threats that will set them on a collision course with other worlds.
- WORLDS' FINEST - Writer: Paul Levitz. Artists: George Perez and Kevin Maguire. Stranded on our world from a parallel reality, Huntress and Power Girl struggle to find their way back to Earth 2. Perez and Maguire will be the artists on alternating story arcs.
- DIAL H - Writer: China Miéville. Artist: Mateus Santoluoco. The first ongoing series from acclaimed novelist China Miéville, this is a bold new take on a cult classic concept about the psychological effects on an everyman who accidentally gains powers to become a hero.
- G.I. COMBAT - Writer: J.T. Krul. Artist: Ariel Olivetti. Featuring the return of a classic DC Comics series, THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT, along with rotating back-up stories and creative teams - including THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, with writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti and artist Dan Panosian; and THE HAUNTED TANK, with writer John Arcudi and artist Scott Kolins.
- THE RAVAGERS - Writer: Howard Mackie. Artist: Ian Churchill. Spinning off from TEEN TITANS and SUPERBOY, this series finds four superpowered teens on the run and fighting against the organization that wants to turn them into supervillains.
Of the six comic books there are to be launched, I actually expected more comics to come from the trinity of characters (Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman – for those not in the know). There is only one addition to this with Batman Incorporated and it being penned by Grant Morrison sets it up for a good showing.
The other three were a bit of a surprise with GI Combat, Dial H, and The Ravagers. All could easily be great recipes and sound like solid choices, but then again I think that could be said for the six that were cut as well. I know my dad will be interested in GI Combat as that was a comic book he collected as a kid and still has some today. I remember seeing one of The Haunted Tank stories in one of his comics.
The last two, Earth 2 and World’s Finest are a bit perplexing to me. We just jettisoned huge amounts of continuity in the DC Universe and here we have two comics that are just bringing it right back in. To say that DC’s past was convoluted is the nice way of putting it. It was a mess that more than one writer tried to fix, but no one truly did. I worry that these comics are just the opening of the door needed to flood back more and more continuity mash-ups that DC fans just don’t need.
No matter what you or I personally think of this move, it would seem that the fans have spoken, The New 52 breathed new life into DC’s lagging sales and gave them a stellar end to 2011. They established themselves as a publisher willing to take risks for the betterment of the company instead of a publisher meeting the status quo and I look forward to seeing what DC does next. It is invigorating to see a publisher continue to take chances on new ideas like 52, Wednesday Comics, and The New 52 and I wish them well. The world of superhero comic books needs this kind of thing.