New 52: The Next 3 Cancellations (and 4 New Titles)

He’s coming… to CANCEL YOUR BOOKS!

So, last Friday, DC announced four new titles for their New 52… and DC fans know what that means: four titles have to go on the chopping blocks.  And after the VERY surprising announcement a few weeks back that Justice League International would be the first of those four cancellations, DC has finally announced what the other three books leaving us will be.

Just like last time, I want to talk a little about the books that will be disappearing, as well as what we can expect from the new titles.

First order of business: to the surprise of almost no one, we can sadly bid adieu to Captain Atom, Voodoo and Resurrection Man.  None of those titles are surprising cancellations, and, of them, only Resurrection Man ever really began to garner the kind of cult attention necessary to survive with such low sales – and only Resurrection Man was nowhere near the cancellation level currently set, having to leap over the lower-selling Frankenstein, The Savage Hawkman, Blue Beetle, I, Vampire, Fury of the Firestorm, DC Universe Presents and Grifter to hit the level of Voodoo.

But, again, those books may undersell Resurrection Man, but many of them have a slightly higher profile than the book, and I could see DC wanting to use its fairly high-profile writing team on another project (or losing that team altogether to their upcoming Boom! title).  Similarly, it could be that some of those other books have big changes or tie-ins DC hopes to use to boost sales.  Honestly, there’s no way to know.

As for the new books, well, let’s take their solicits straight from The Source

TEAM 7 #0

Written by JUSTIN JORDAN

Art and cover by JESUS MERINO

On sale SEPTEMBER 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

• Threads of the entire DC Universe collide in this new series set in the early days of The New 52 from writer Justin Jordan (The Strange Talents of Luther Strode).

• As Superman emerges, so too does the world’s counter measures against him and his kind!

• Dinah Lance, Amanda Waller, Steve Trevor, John Lynch, Alex Fairchild, Cole Cash, Slade Wilson are Team 7 – and their story will change everything you know about The New 52!

Conceptually, there’s some interesting stuff in Team 7, including a pretty great team of main characters, though DC hasn’t yet had luck setting a series in the past – no crossover potential – and it may infringe on Suicide Squad territory.  Then again, Suicide Squad was the first New 52 book to break the downward sales trend, so I understand believing there’s an audience for this sort of thing.

THE PHANTOM STRANGER #0

Written by DAN DIDIO

Art by BRENT ANDERSON and SCOTT HANNA

Cover by BRENT ANDERSON

On sale SEPTEMBER 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

• Learn what happened to The Phantom Stranger after the FREE COMIC BOOK DAY story!

• Who has been sacrificed? Who is guilty? Who can save us? And who…is The Phantom Stranger?

• Major players in The New 52 will be introduced in these pages!

Brent Anderson is a great, great choice for this sort of book on art, but I’m not sure how I feel about Didio as the writer.  OMAC was good, pulpy fun… but it completely failed to draw an audience, and the Challengers of the Unknown story he wrote recently was less accomplished.  Spinning out of the Free Comic Book Day issue was smart, and I’d imagine the book will get plenty of support going into the first Big Event of the New 52, which features the Phantom Stranger heavily.

SWORD OF SORCERY #0

Written by CHRISTY MARX

Backup story written by TONY BEDARD

Art by AARON LOPRESTI and MATT RYAN

Backup story art by JESUS SAIZ

Cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON

On sale SEPTEMBER 19 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

• In this new series featuring the long-awaited return of AMETHYST, Amy Winston leads a strange life on the road with her mother. She’s about to learn why it’s all been necessary when she discovers she’s the lost princess of Gemworld — and has powerful enemies hunter her!

• AMETHYST is written by Christy Marx, best known for her work on animated TV series including G.I. Joe, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more, as well as the comics series Sisterhood of Steel.

• And in the backup story set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the monstrous warrior BEOWULF is charged with finding and defeating the evil Grendel.

This will probably be a very enjoyable book.  It will also probably be a book that 17 people read.  This is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about when I wrote an article recently on how you can’t just toss books out there to see what sticks.  Unless this gets fairly rapturous critical acclaim (like Animal Man #1), I can’t see this lasting out a year… but, hey, here’s to hoping.  I’ll certainly check out the first issue, and I hope some of you will try it with me.

TALON #0

Written by SCOTT SNYDER and JAMES TYNION IV

Art and cover by GUILLEM MARCH

On sale SEPTEMBER 26 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

• A new series featuring the Court of Owls’ unstoppable killing machine!

• Meet Calvin Rose, the only Talon ever to escape the grasp of the Court of Owls. This former assassin just wants to live a normal life…but that’s impossible, since he’s being hunted by his former masters!

This, on the other hand, has a chance to really succeed.  A Batman book spinning out of a reasonably successful Batman event with a super-cool anti-hero?  Check and mate.  It could infringe on Deathstroke territory, and God knows we don’t need yet another Batfamily book out there, but expect this to be the big sales success of the third wave.

There’s nothing in here to replace Justice League International (though I would be shocked if we had to wait more than a month or two for that particular replacement book), but that’s okay – a new Batfamily book should float sales up a bit, while Team 7 and The Phantom Stranger both stand a decent chance (if they’re solid enough) of becoming solid mid-level performers.

Of the Second Wave books, only Ravagers and G.I. Combat were out-and-out failures, creatively speaking – the rest have ranged so far from middling (Worlds’ Finest) to excellent (Batman Incorporated).  Hopefully, they can step up with these four new books and bring something fresh to the table.

read/RANT

19 Responses to New 52: The Next 3 Cancellations (and 4 New Titles)

  1. xxadverbxx says:

    Didio with writing? Ugh, not going to work well. He’s too into the older era of comics (and that matter, Soap mindset) I believe to really pull off a story that will hit most the readers today. Plus, I at least still like to give him the majority of credit for ruining most of what I love about DC.

    Talon could be interesting, and I think it would be great if they actually wrote it away from Gotham and the Bat Family to help set it out from the Batman. I suppose it would still count as a Bat book though :/ Personally though, I’d like to see more on Grayson’s relative, but I’m sure Snyder will make up a good character to follow.

    • Cal C. says:

      I don’t think he’s a bad writer, and I actually think the ‘soap opera’ mentality that a lot of old school writers have is actually a really strong instinct for comics writing (see Peter David’s X-Factor if you want to see it done really well), particularly in an ensemble piece.

      But it does keep with a change I’ve noticed at DC lately, which is the pursuit of workman-like competence rather than the auteur’s messier ambition. All the artists on writing duties, all the mid-90s loyalists and editors brought back into the fold – it’s all part of a concentrated push towards a more tightly controlled (but blander) DC Universe.

      Think about how someone like Morrison, Gaiman or Moore would have decimated a Phantom Stranger title – but they would not have written one that would lead into the Trinity War event. Read John Rozum’s account as to why he left Static Shock – http://johnrozum.blogspot.com/2012/01/why-i-quit-static-shock.html – essentially, the editor and the artist took over writing duties behind his back, eschewing his more patient storytelling for an easier to sell textbook approach. Look at Simone, knocked from three books, two of which were beloved cult favorites with a distinct tone, down to one, fairly safe and bland Bat book.

      I liked how YWz put it – the New 52 Universe still feels fairly scarcely populated. I think part of it is the push towards mean and potatoes storytelling. Even the more interesting books are looking back, rather than forward*. Sword of Sorcery? Animal Man? Swamp Thing? Dial H? These are all titles and characters that gained prominence in the 80s. Mackie, Lobdell, Liefeld – these are all creators that gained prominence in the 90s.

      It’s like they’ve decided that they want to try and turn back the clock to a time when comics were selling well and hope that brings back the 40+ year old men who have abandoned the medium rather than making a concentrated push to move the industry forward. The only concession they’ve really made was a very, very smart one, of course – same day digital releases – but even then, the pricing model is way off and sales have not been spectacular.

      I respect a lot of what they’ve tried to do and unlike a lot of fans, I actually like a lot of what Didio tries to push (seriously – he kept some very good books alive in the last 10 years that probably should have been axed, just by sales standards), but I’m not a huge fan of the company’s current direction.

  2. wwayne says:

    Your predictions were 100 % exact. Can you give me the lottery numbers? Joking aside, I’m a bit angry because of Voodoo’s fail. Not only because I had just ordered the TP, but also because it wasn’t the same old series focused a big character. We perfectly know DC classic superheroes, and series like Voodoo introduce us to the ones we know less, which is wonderful, because this lack of knowledge means a lot of interesting starting points and unexpressed potential.

    • Cal C. says:

      Haha. Thanks! The predictions were definitely good, though I don’t think they were too tough to make – Captain Atom and Voodoo were CLEARLY on the way out, and while Grifter and Hawkman had bad sales, they also had a high-profile writer shift I knew DC would want to hope to take advantage of coming up. Blue Beetle is too much of a media presence to dump without trying to fix, and DCU Presents could also potentially gain readers by focusing its anthology-like nature on A-listers periodically. That left Resurrection Man next in line to get dumped. And no one alive could have predicted the JLI cancellation.

      I understand the frustration with Voodoo being canceled – if it had happened a few months back, I would have been pretty pissed myself. But I think Marz’ run (the first trade) is the best the character’s got, while it went a bit downhill after he got replaced. Just my opinion, but I hope you’ll enjoy that first trade plenty despite the cancellation!

      • wwayne says:

        Thanks! About Voodoo: You mentioned something that happens quite often with brand new series: the writer has a good initial idea, he develops it, and then he founds out he doesn’t know how to go on. “What can I do? That’s an easy question: I’ll always tell the same story, in a slightly different way for each story arc!” I didn’t read anything of Voodoo so far, so I can’t say this is what Marz thought, but this is how it usually goes.
        About Liefeld: He is artistically infamous, and DC perfectly knew that when it gave him the 3 series he’s writing, so I still don’t know if DC wanted him to cure the patient or to give him euthanasia. Anyway, as I wrote in a previous comment, sometimes he writes good stories, and he got off on the right foot with the series I like most, so I’m not involved in the negative hype surrounding him. I also like him as a person: I started to follow him on Twitter since he started to write Grifter, and it is clear that he’s a good husband and a loving father. This shouldn’t influence me when I judge him as a writer and artist, but nowadays it’s very hard to find a man having the moral values I mentioned, and the fact that he has them makes me forget he doesn’t know how to draw feet.

  3. ikeebear says:

    I’ll mourn Resurrection Man. I’m still enjoying it a lot. Talon sounds interesting enough to me. It might make me a snob, but I just don’t enjoy the integration of Wildstorm into the DCU.

    • wwayne says:

      Welcome back! About Wildstorm, it’s a matter of tastes, so I understand if you are enjoying more classic superheroes than “born indie” ones. And I can unsterstand how you’re feeling about Resurrection Man as well, since I went through it a lot of times: Steel, Generation X, Gotham Central… now I hope with all myself that Grifter won’t be the next one, but I have to be realistic: it lost over 60 % of its readers from the 1st issue, and most of the series that sold less than Grifter have been replaced with giants like Batman Inc. and Earth 2, so I’m afraid there’s nothing left to do. Which is a terrible shame, since Grifter has so much quality and potential that even Liefeld can do a good job with him.

    • Cal C. says:

      I think the problem with the Wildstorm integration (and the problem with the Milestone integration too, for that matter) has been more in the execution than in the actual content. Why they thought a Grifter book in the DC Universe would do any better than a Grifter book outside of the DC Universe is beyond me, but it clearly didn’t work. A more reasonable push would probably have seen them popping up as supporting characters and team members on more popular books so they could build some recognition/popularity before slowly transitioning them (one at a time) into their own titles.

      • wwayne says:

        Totally agree about the supporting characters theory. I had never heard Grifter or Voodoo before the New 52 started, and this is the best proof of how inaccurated DC has proven itself to be in some of its New 52 choices. They later tried to raise the sales of their weakest titles with some advertising on their most popular comics (it’s like treating a broken bone with an aspirin), but it was too late.

  4. strummer says:

    R.I.P. Resurrection Man.

    Never read any of the others, but Resurrection Man was still in my top 10 DC titles.

    • wwayne says:

      This makes me regret I never tried it even more. Why did you like it so much?

      • strummer says:

        Well I’d never read any of the original Resurrection Man so when I first found out the general concept of the character I just thought it was intriguing on a very morbid level. I mean this guy died grizzly deaths in an almost issue to issue basis. Then it’s interesting to see how he discovers his new powers and how he’ll use them to fux up whatever government agent/angel hitman/demon/Super-hero assassin is on his heels that week.

        I liked the way both heaven and hell seemed to want him out of the picture as he upset some kind of cosmic balance that I’m not sure if they’ll ever resolve now that it’s getting shut down.

        He was also morally ambiguous as it became clear somewhere half-way through the series that he was a pretty big asshole in his former life but now was seeking to redeem himself.

        I dunno, it was just good pulpy fun with an interesting protagonist and was peppered with larger than life side characters constantly.

        R.I.P Mitch Shelley, maybe they can throw you in with the Justice League Dark crew.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Scott sunder has a pretty interesting interview on newsarama about the new talon

    -ywz

  6. YWz says:

    Ugh actually guillem march is the artist so my enthusiasm is deflated

  7. wwayne says:

    @ strummer: Thank you! I understand your hope to see Resurrection Man being taken up in some group: I’m almost resigned to the fact that Grifter will close soon, so when I knew he is going to be a regular member of Team 7 I thought “Epic win!”.

  8. wwayne says:

    10 days ago I ordered the # 12 issues of the New 52 line. 12 issues cover a whole year, so I made a list of the DC issues I bought and ordered in this first year of the New 52 line. The following list includes the TPs as well (for example, I wrote Animal Man 1 – 6 because I bought the TP):

    All Star Western: 1
    Animal Man: 1 – 6, 8, 11
    Batgirl: 3, 6
    Batman and Robin: 10
    Batwing: 3, 7, 11
    Batwoman: 6
    Deathstroke: 4, 9 – 12
    Green Arrow: 7, 8, 9
    Green Lantern: 6
    Grifter: 1 – 12
    Hawk and Dove: 1 – 8
    Hawkman: 10
    Justice League International: 6
    Nightwing: 1 – 12
    Static Shock: 1, 6, 8
    Stormwatch: 10
    Suicide Squad: 6
    Superboy: 4
    Teen Titans: 7
    Voodoo: 1 – 6
    Wonder Woman: 8

    I wish I had ordered more issues of All Star Western, but Moritat is too awful. I usually don’t give much importance to art (if I like a story, I don’t care about how it’s drawn), but this time I can’t turn a blind eye. Another proof of how poorly this list reflects my tastes is given by Batwing: I bought the 3rd issue and I didn’t like it, but I was forced to order it a second and a third time because of Nightwing’s appearance. What do you think about my purchases? And what did you buy in this first year of DC new deal?

    • Cal C. says:

      I bought… waaaaay too much in the first year of the New 52. I bought every #1 – which, to be fair, I try to do anyway in the sake of experiencing new things – about 35 #2s, and on down to where I am now, which is reading about 20 DC books monthly. I’ve pre-ordered trades for a number of books I dropped, however – Batgirl, Batwoman, Suicide Squad, JLI, etc….

      I’m curious about the random smattering of issues for something like Static Shock – why 1, 6 and 8? Anything you came late to and found yourself really loving?

      • wwayne says:

        Thank you for your reply!
        When I order comics, this is my method: I pick the Diamond Preview up, I gave a quick read to each page, and I order only the comics that strike me at first sight.
        Static Shock stroke me 3 times out of 8, and that’s impressive. Anyway, even if I ordered it quite often, I didn’t like the New 52 version of this character very much. But I don’t feel like I wasted my money: each time I see SS (even as a simple Teen Titans member) I remember the wonderful Milestone times, and that’s enough for me.
        You were asking me if there was a series I fell in love with late. Well, with the New 52 line this happened quite often, and most of the times it happened because of what I read here on read/RANT. For example, I would never have even noticed Animal Man, if it wasn’t for the enthusiastic opinions I had read here. And I would never have decided to order Blue Beetle TP, if you hadn’t described it to me as “Spider Man as action-horror”, which thrilled me a lot. Thank you!

      • Cal C. says:

        I’m too obsessive to do something like that, unfortunately – even books that I’ve heard have improved significantly, I very, very rarely jump on in the middle unless there’s a shift in creative team or it’s an interesting-looking one-shot. I generally order from #1 on, and if I miss that jumping-on point, I read it in trades.

        Glad you enjoyed Animal Man! You’ll have to let me know what you think of the Blue Beetle trade when it arrives – I’m curious as to how someone unencumbered by the previous run would enjoy it.

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