Every now and then the powers that be make changes you don’t like. With DC Comics’ effort to keep 52 main titles going (despite the fact that they really have more ongoing series than that, adding things like Huntress and Before Watchmen) I knew it wouldn’t be long before one of my five favorite DC Comics series got nixed. This week DC Comics announced changes coming in September, including canceling Justice League International, Resurrection Man, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E, Voodoo, and a borg.com favorite, Captain Atom. The good offshoot hopefully will be freeing up artist Freddie Williams II for bigger and better projects.
September will offer other changes for the New 52 with a month of “zero” issues. Issue #0 for each title will be standalone stories. “Some issues will tell the origins of a character or a team, or in some case where an origin has already been told, they will fill in the blanks in terms of questions readers may have about the New 52 DC Universe,” said Bob Harras, DC Entertainment Editor-in-Chief.
In October 1994, all of the mainstream DC Comics titles released an Issue #0 issue to coincide with the “Zero Hour” crossover event. The purpose of the zero issue was to reveal a previously unknown aspect of the title character’s background. The new 52 zeroes do not appear to have a single crossover event in common.
I’ve always thought “Issue #0s” an oddity you’ll only find in comic book publishing. The strangest variation on the theme was DC Comics issuing a series of comics numbered 1,000,000. It’s like they were daring everyone else to have a higher numbered book. Shown above and below are several covers to the September Issue #0 titles.
But in keeping with DC’s purported attempt at maintaining 52 titles, they also announced four new titles to begin in September, including two classic titles to add to their list of recent throwbacks to the classic era like Worlds Finest, DC Comics Presents, Brave and the Bold, G.I. Combat, Dial H for Hero, and All-Star Western.
Talon - Writer Scott Snyder with co-writer James Tynion IV and artist Guillem March resurrects a concept character from 2006 that feeds into the “Night of the Owls” storyline begun in Batman but crossed into other series this past year. Snyder wrote the New 52 story arc that fleshed out this society of criminals called the Talons, and this series focuses on one named Calvin Rose who breaks away from the rest.
Sword of Sorcery – Writer Christy Marx and artist Aaron Lopresti will attempt to rejuvenate DC Comics’ attention to the fantasy genre in this classic DC title. Broken into two continuing stories, the first will follow Amethyst, princess of Gemworld, and the second will include a Grendel/Beowulf retelling. With all the fantasy stories out there, you wonder if there will be enough Amethyst fans to keep this series going, vs. exploring some other classic fantasy concepts. I have to admit, with an epic title like Sword of Sorcery I’d like to see a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen-type book where Robin Hood joins forces with King Arthur and Siegfried and Sinbad and Hercules to take on Madame Xanadu and the folks from Justice League Dark.
The Phantom Stranger - Writer/editor Dan DiDio and artist Brent Anderson bring back this dark title that will focus on the titular character who recently resurfaced in the Free Comic Book Day DC Comics issue. This is one of the classic titles being brought back to appeal to readers’ nostalgia for classic comics. All these old titles in the past year make you think the DC lawyers are sending memos around to make sure the company is using its characters and trade names so they don’t dilute federal copyright or trademark protections. Phantom Stranger getting to the bottom of the story of Pandora–that character that appeared in every New 52 title last year–and the Spectre, may make this an interesting read.
Team Seven - Writer Justin Jordan and artist Jesus Merino bring the Wildforce team into the DCU. Team Seevn is a motely group of superheroes from the past, including Birds of Prey/Green Arrow character Dinah Lance (Black Canary) and Slade (Deathstroke) from Justice League Dark and Grifter’s Cole Cash.
Stay tuned to hear our thoughts as these new series debut later this year.