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.
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.