DC did the expected this month, and killed just about all the titles you’d expect it to: “The Fury of Firestorm,” “The Ravagers,” “Team 7,” “Deathstroke,” “Sword of Sorcery” and “The Savage Hawkman.” Half of these are original New 52 titles, given nearly two full years to develop fan bases, creative synergy and/or interesting storylines. And yet, these books have only shown flashes of anything resembling good comic books (“Deathstroke” has been better since Justin Jordan came on board, and “DC Universe Presents” had an arc or two of interesting). As for the one Second Wave and two Third Wave books cancelled, I wish I cared more than I do. “Team 7″ never quite gelled, “The Ravagers” was a dud from early on (despite a strong first issue), and “Sword of Sorcery” has consistently underperformed expectations.
These cancellations are always a mixed bag for readers. Since DC has a very strict “52 titles at a clip” policy, this means that six new series will have a chance to catch on next month, which is good because, honestly, though these books must have their fans, they aren’t breaking too many hearts by going away.
This is, however, also bad news for fans of books that aren’t Bat-related. Looking at the books that still exist in the New 52, it’s hard out there for a non-established sales threat. You can practically time travel to the September solicits, where “Katana,” “Vibe,” “The Phantom Stranger,” “Dial H,” “Stormwatch” and “Demon Knights” are shown the door. I really think the answer to this is more digital first series, only to be collected if demand is there. It is a cheap way to make sure fans get stories from their favorite characters, without sacrificing 7 issues of a print run of a book that will inevitably get canned. Maybe even do on-demand trade printing. Whatever, there are a lot more stories to discuss.
A ton of books have new creative teams (more in depth description here), but three stand out to me as really interesting.
Written by JUSTIN JORDAN
Art by R.B. SILVA and ROB LEAN
“BLOOD AND STEEL” begins as The Teen of Steel decides it’s time to become more proactive in his battle against evil. But how far will he go before he crossed the line?
Jordan has been a critical darling for some time, and DC is showing real confidence in him by putting him on “Superboy.” However, for a character that has succeeded when there is real heart at the center of his stories, is Jordan, a guy best known for epic violence, the right guy for the job?
Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art by FABRIZIO FIORENTINO
This issue answers the question that’s been on everyone’s mind: Who is Batwing?
This is a really weird one; not so much the creative team, but the decision to change who wears the Batwing armor. “Batwing,” under the pen of Judd Winick, was one of the few books featuring an almost brand new character in the New 52, and covered a lot of ground early on. To change the hero seems to be either a) an admission that the character never really worked (which is false), or b) an attempt to get more sales, which will most likely fail as well, unless they totally undermine the mission statement of the book, which is to have an African Batman. Sadly, and read whatever you want into this statement, there appears to be a limited audience for the tales of an African Batman. So, unless he won’t be an African Batman anymore, I don’t see sales spiking on this.
Written by JIM STARLIN
Art by YVEL GUICHET and JONAS TRINDADE
Don’t say we didn’t warn you! The new StormWatch is even more bloodthirsty than the previous team! On their first off-planet mission, the new StormWatch has to prove itself—while Lobo is seduced by aliens!
Technically, this team took over last issue, but this solicit and cover make something very, very clear: this is a totally new book. This appears to be one of the most dramatic retoolings of the New 52, with the book seemingly having almost no connection to the first 19 issues. Also, between Starlin, a guest spot from Lobo, and the art style, 1994 is back, baby!
Two new books that, despite everything DC has been saying, is clearly influenced somehow by the Occupy Movement. Just look at that image! More info on these here.
Geoff Johns is leaving “Green Lantern,” after nearly a decade on the title, and he’s taking the writers from the other Lantern books with him. While I’m happy to see some new blood on these books, it is Johns’s “Green Lantern: Rebirth” that got me back into comics, and I owe everything I’ve ever written on this site to him. It goes down in history as THE definitive run on any Green Lantern title, and he should be damn proud of his work. That said, I’m not pleased that pages of his finale will be taken up with a “special retrospective.”
It’s the final battle against the First Lantern and the Guardians in this, the extra-sized finale of Geoff Johns’ historic run on the title! Plus, don’t miss a special retrospective on Geoff’s run on GL!
To see who myself and MC cohort David Harper think may be the new writers, check this out.
Long story short, Orson Scott Card, writer of the sci-fi classic Ender’s Game, is both the first writer of the new digital first series “The Adventures of Superman,” and also a vehement anti-gay rights activist. People are not happy, and lines in the sand are being drawn. Two things really bug me about this: 1) shame on DC for not taking a stand one way or the other on this issue (not the gay rights issue – the creators’ personal beliefs versus company policies issue), and 2) it’s too bad he seems to be a giant tool, because I’d sort of like to read what Card could do with Superman.
“Earth 2,” “Catwoman,” “Batman: The Dark Knight,” and “Red Hood and the Outlaws” all get annuals. Not shockingly, “Earth 2″ sounds the most interesting, and that Adam Kubert cover is pretty sweet:
EARTH 2 ANNUAL #1
Written by JAMES ROBINSON
Art by YILDIRAY CINAR, CAFU and JULIUS GOPEZ
The new Batman of Earth 2 debuts as The Atom begins a mission to lead a new team of heroes—but are any of them prepared for the threat they’re about to face?
Not too much to say about this, but I’m glad to see the New God sticking around after leaving “Wonder Woman.” <3 New Gods, y'all.
BIRDS OF PREY #20
Written by CHRISTY MARX
Art and cover by ROMANO MOLENAAR and VICENTE CIFUENTES
On sale MAY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The traitor revealed! Who will aid Mr. Freeze as he continues his onslaught against The Court of Owls—and how can the Birds hope to stop him?
I can’t imagine the answer is so shocking it requires a silhouetted front cover. Tell me if I’m wrong, BoP readers!
WORLDS’ FINEST #12
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art by KEVIN MAGUIRE and GERALDO BORGES
As Power Girl returns to her classic look, DeSaad wreaks havoc on her tech empire—and PG and Huntress find themselves hunted by the talented torturer from Apokolips.The traitor revealed! Who will aid Mr. Freeze as he continues his onslaught against The Court of Owls—and how can the Birds hope to stop him?
This begs the question: how can a character have a classic look if, in this continuity, they never wore this look?
This may seem small, but things like this are the signals of the New 52 continuity morphing back into the pre-“Flashpoint” continuity.
ANIMAL MAN #20
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by JOHN PAUL LEON and STEVE PUGH
Cover by JAE LEE
The battle against the Rot has left Buddy’s family in ruins, and now they must withstand another force trying to subvert him: his own celebrity!
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Backup story written by SCOTT SNYDER and JAMES TYNION IV
Art by GREG CAPULLO and JONATHAN GLAPION
Backup story art by ALEX MALEEV
Cover by GREG CAPULLO
A strange visitor comes to Gotham City when tragedy delivers the team-up you’ve been asking for since the start of The New 52!
WONDER WOMAN #20
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO
Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG
Wonder Woman was certain there was one person in her life she could trust—but she thought wrong!
THE WAKE #1
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art and cover by SEAN MURPHY
“THERE’S SOMETHING DOWN THERE…”
When Marine Biologist Lee Archer is approached by the Department of Homeland Security for help with a new threat, she declines, but quickly realizes they won’t take no for an answer. Soon she is plunging to the depths of the Arctic Circle to a secret, underwater oilrig where they’ve discovered something miraculous and terrifying…
Writer Scott Snyder (BATMAN, AMERICAN VAMPIRE) and artist Sean Murphy (PUNK ROCK JESUS) bring their acclaimed talents to this sci-fi/horror epic that explores the horrors of the deep, probes the origins of human history, and leaps far beyond to a frightening future.
“The Wake,” from two Multiversity faves, Snyder and Murphy, is the first breath of fresh air from Vertigo in quite some time. Let’s hope that this is the beginning of a tidal wave of new Vertigo material. Boy does it need it.