The big news for the week in comicdom is DC Comics’ confirmation yesterday that it will cancel 6 of its 52 regular series after Issue #8, after a lot of speculation over the past several weeks that DC would trim off some of its low selling titles. DC has offered very little by way of explanation other than low sales, and it released the names of the six titles unceremoniously at the end of its press release touting the addition of 6 replacement titles. Unfortunately three of the exiting titles were part of DC’s effort to diversify characters and its audience. As to the new titles, there is some good news, some indifference, and some… seriously?
The best news, of course, is that the very best of the New 52 titles are continuing, including All Star Western, Aquaman, Batgirl, Batwoman, Captain Atom, Justice League Dark, Savage Hawkman, and Wonder Woman. And a character who I thought deserved her own regular title is now getting one.
The departing titles are:
Blackhawks - Blackhawks are an elite force of military specialists equipped with the latest in cutting-edge hardware and vehicles. Their mission: Kill the bad guys before they kill us.
Hawk and Dove - The living avatars of war and peace root out the hidden forces who look to plunge the country into a deadly civil war. Dove made an appearance in Justice League Dark as a pretty good character.
Men of War – The attempt to bring Sergeant Rock to the 21st century just didn’t get the expected readership.
Mister Terrific – One of the departing titles featuring a black character. Though he has no super powers, Mister Terrific has a brilliant mind and an aptitude for science which he used to create the T-Mask, which renders him invisible to technology, the T-Spheres, which have several functions including holographic projection, generating electric charges and granting limited flight.
O.M.A.C. – Kevin Kho has become an unwilling participant in a war between Checkmate and Brother Eye as he is transformed into the One Machine Army Corp known as O.M.A.C.
Static Shock – A young justice title, focusing on a black teenager who was meant to be a modern, updated Spider-man for the DC universe.
DC Comics Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras stated that the characters in these titles will continue to be appear in the New 52 universe titles.
So the biggest disappointment of the new “second wave” on New 52 titles? A TWELFTH Bat-title: BATMAN: INCORPORATED. Really? If you’re not keeping track, we already had Batman, Detective Comics, The Dark Knight, Batwing, Batman and Robin, Batgirl, Batwoman, Knightwing, Catwoman, Birds of Prey, and Red Hood and the Outlaws. No criticism intended of some of these titles (like the exceptional Batgirl and Batwoman), but there is only so many Bat-stories one can keep track of each month. Ok, it was pretty clear Grant Morrison was going to come back with this title this year, so it isn’t a great surprise. Still…
The cool news is a revamped classic title, WORLDS’ FINEST, known for its Batman and Superman team-ups, now with the apostrophe moved from where it was in World’s Finest, as it appears to have intentionally moved to account for the multiple Earths in the DCU. The part we like is Huntress, just wrapping up her limited series, she will be a lead character sharing the storyline with Power Girl. Written by Paul Levitz with shared art duties for George Perez and Kevin Maguire. DC is marketing this one as Stranded on our world from a parallel reality, Huntress and Power Girl struggle to find their way back to Earth 2. Which brings us to the third new title:
EARTH 2. Written by James Robinson with art by Nicola Scott. This one could be fun, as there’s an unlimited number of change-ups that can be done with the parallel universe concept in the DCU. The greatest heroes on a parallel Earth, the Justice Society combats threats that will set them on a collision course with other worlds.
A big surprise for me is the reboot of DIAL H. Originally a classic series called Dial “H” for Hero, and rebooted only a few years back (2003) in a great series called just H.E.R.O., I think I have read all the back issues on this one and always liked the concept. If it is like the original, you have a dial like the alethiometer in The Golden Compass, which is used by Joe Citizen, often changing hands, to allow you to be the hero you want to be as circumstances require. It’s a little like Quantum Leap or Dollhouse, where you get to change everything with each new installment. This will be written by comics newbie China Miéville with art by Mateus Santoluoco.
And the war concept must not be dead, despite killing the Men of War title, as it will be replaced with the classic title, G.I. COMBAT. This will be a war series with three ongoing separate stories, written and drawn by three separate creative teams.
Finally the sixth new title to be added is THE RAVAGERS – Written by Howard Mackie with art by Ian Churchill. This is a Teen Titans and Superboy spinoff where four superpowered teens on the run fight against the organization that wants to turn them into supervillains.