Robot 6

Grumpy Old Fan | DC in April: Goodbye doesn’t mean forever

I will not caption this cover "Pistol Packin' Mama"

The big news from April’s solicitations was revealed last week, as DC announced the cancellation of six of the original New-52 books (to be replaced with five new series plus the returning Batman Incorporated). While there’s more to say about this on its merits, I do like DC keeping a fixed number of ongoing series. Nerds love structure, right? (Besides, it’s kind of like programming a television schedule.)

Of course, just two weeks ago I predicted that all of the original New-52 books would get to their twelfth issues, in part so that DC could claim they each “told their stories.” That doesn’t seem to be the case here, at least not from the solicitation texts. Instead, the solicits for each final issue mostly advertise how the series are all going down swinging. We know now, too, that in some ways this isn’t really the end: Mister Terrific’s Karen Starr looks like the Power Girl of the upcoming Worlds’ Finest; Men Of War’s superhero/military mashup should transition smoothly to G.I. Combat; and I don’t think DC will kill off Hawk and Dove again.

Actually, if I were Captain Atom, I’d be a little nervous. According to ICV2’s December sales estimates, Hawk & Dove was the highest-selling New-52 book to be cancelled (18,014 copies at #114), but CA was right behind (17,917; #115).

Anyway, on to the solicits themselves….

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LO, THERE SHALL BE … OH, YOU KNOW

Lots of finality in the April solicits, even beyond the obvious. Mister Terrific signs off with the Blackhawks and (more than likely) the return of Power Girl; and Men Of War guest-stars Frankenstein. Blackhawks and Hawk and Dove tease doom and gloom. Action Comics, Batman, Batwing, and Batman and Robin all wrap up their inaugural arcs (as does OMAC, but its first arc turned out to be its last), and the Justice League Dark/I, Vampire crossover concludes. Batman: Odyssey and THUNDER Agents finish their limited runs, and over at Vertigo, Northlanders ends with #50. Finally, Static Shock’s last issue looks more like an epilogue, hopefully indicating a decent role for the character beyond the end of his latest series.

CROSSOVER MADNESS

Possible groundwork for the next Pandora appearance: dark visions of the future show up in Captain Atom #8 and Teen Titans #8, while the Flash visits the Speed Force in Flash #8. If I wanted to connect it to the Daemonite plots over in Grifter, Voodoo, and Superman, I’d say that the Daemonites realize (somehow) that the former WildStorm Earth was probably a lot easier to conquer without the Justice League in the way, so they’re going after Superman to eliminate the biggest threat first. It’s all very “countdown to Infinite Crisis”-esque, you see.

Since I dropped Teen Titans after issue #1, it’s been surprisingly easy for me to ignore it and still read Superboy. However, I’m worried that might not continue as Superboy becomes more involved with both Titans and the upcoming Ravagers series. Then there’s Superboy’s crossover with Teen Titans and Legion Lost, which I should have seen coming back in September. Ordinarily, that would all be okay, but I have a bad feeling that Ravagers will get dragged into the whole thing, and the Gen13 kids will be there, and it’ll just turn into a whole big mulligan stew of teenaged super-people. Wow, now I really do feel old.

By contrast, the upcoming Resurrection Man/Suicide Squad crossover should be easier to take, just because it looks more isolated. Oh, and who else thinks the Squad’s traitor is involved with Skinny Amanda Waller? She’s got to be a fake, and the real deal will be about twice her size…. Regardless, the old Amanda shows up in Batman Beyond Unlimited #3, so that’ll be good.

ONE LEAGUE UNDER THE SEA

I am probably more excited than is necessary at the prospect of Green Arrow in Justice League. To be sure, I don’t know this version of Ollie that well, having dropped the current Green Arrow after issue #1 for being too bland. Maybe Ann Nocenti will light the proper fire under him, and maybe that will be reflected in his JL #8 characterization? After all, cross-promotion is one of the Justice League’s oldest and most subtle missions.

Meanwhile, it seems eminently appropriate for Batwing to join Justice League International — I’m guessing he’s not the “surprise team member” if he’s on the cover of #8 — but I kind of want him to take a page from his patron, and claim that he’s too busy with his own crusade.

And as long as we’re talking Leagues here, I agree with Scipio that Aquaman’s old team should turn out to have been the Sea Devils.

THIS AND THAT

There is a sort of backhanded precedent for Wonder Woman packing heat (issue #8’s“Pistols of Eros,” snicker). It comes from the end of Greg Rucka’s run, when the Amazons reverse the polarity of their Purple Healing Ray, build an industrial-sized version, and call it the Purple Death Ray. I trusted Rucka to do that, and I trust Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang to make the P’s. of E. work too.

I’ll never turn down George Pérez artwork, so it’s good to see his guest pencils on April’s Supergirl #8. It may also be a nice way to warm up for his work on another Girl of Steel in Worlds’ Finest.

COLLECTIONS

The Infinite Crisis Omnibus mentions “villains uniting,” but it doesn’t seem to collect Villains United. However, the miniseries and specials listed in the solicits only add up to about half of the Omnibus’ page count, so there seems to be room for VU and the Return of Donna Troy miniseries as well.

I have a feeling that the Batman: Prey paperback is meant to capitalize on Catwoman’s role in The Dark Knight Rises, even though “Prey” was primarily a Hugo Strange story. In fact, for my money, “Prey” is the second-most-influential Hugo Strange story, behind the seminal Engelhart/Rogers Detective Comics arc. “Prey” takes one iconic scene from Englehart/Rogers — Hugo as Batman, with a Bruce Wayne mask under the cowl — and extrapolates from that an entire psychosexual obsession with the Darknight Detective, also involving a second Batman impersonator in Hugo’s scheme to destroy our hero. All that and the post-“Year One” origin of the Batmobile too! It’s a good story, is what I’m saying.

I’m not sure about the causal relationship between the various reprint lines. The Archives came before the Showcase Presents books, so there were Challengers of the Unknown Archives and Sgt. Rock Archives before there were SP reprints. However, I bet the sales of the SP volumes supported the upcoming Challengers Omnibus and the latest Sgt. Rock Archives.  In any event, the hardcover market may be more eclectic than I thought.

The character — or at least this phase of his development — doesn’t seem to be remembered that fondly, but I’m looking forward to revisiting the “AzBats” Batman in the new Knightfall Volume 2. What’s funny is that two Batman artists from that period, Graham Nolan and Mike Manley, are now drawing the soap-opera strips Rex Morgan M.D. and Judge Parker. I wonder if their newspaper fans will want to see their superhero work.

I’ve already mentioned the Sea Devils, but I believe their Showcase Presents solicitation helps clarify certain recent events. Reading between the lines, it seems that DC has been working on a hush-hush follow-up to this series called Flame-Headed Watchman 2….

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Well, that’s what jumped out at me this month. What looks good to you?

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Comments

21 Comments

actually, the precedent for Diana’s got a gun goes a lot further back: http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post/16026989272/bullets#disqus_thread

The Amazon listing for the Infinite Crisis Omnibus lists the Villain United series and special, but not The Return of Donna Troy: http://www.amazon.com/Infinite-Crisis-Omnibus-Geoff-Johns/dp/1401235026/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327019284&sr=1-1

I like that Eros apparently carries two gold-plated Desert Eagles. Cos why wouldn’t he?

David Gates/Bread song quote FTW

I’m a huge fan of Prey, it’s one of my favorite Batman stories, and I hope this rerelease of the trade will give it some new fans.

Maybe the Pistols of Eros shoot bullets that are like Cupid’s arrows.

I suspect Prey is also being reprinted because demand for the OOP trade skyrocketed last year when it was rumored to be the basis for Dark Knight Rises.

J.T. Krul needs to stop using the Doctor Manhattan template and start imitating Jim Shooters’ recent Doctor Solar template.

currently enjoying animal man, birds of prey and captain atom more than is healthy this week (ok animal man came out over a week ago but it always sticks in my head whenever i think DC new 52). I’m rather surprised at how good supergirl and wonder woman are turning out to be. I’m setting up a new pull list and i have yet to downsize the 52 into the manageable 10. if captain atom, voodoo and grifter, plus other low selling series get cancelled then i won’t have to worry for too long….

I think the reason for the Prey trade is due to the great success of the Arkham City game and Hugo strange being a main character. When gamers wanted to read more with Strange there was little on the shelves. Also, it was part of comixology’s batman new year’s sale and it probably did well.

Im looking forward to the court of owls crossover in the bat books and seeing catwomans reaction to her parallel universe daughter in hers at some point. Dc is now occupying most of my pull list.

The really annoying thing that DC is doing with the new 52 is all these damn crossovers! I order my comics a few months in advance for a subscription service, so I basically miss all the crossover issues and then have to go try to track them all down again. I fee like DC is back in the 90’s or something with all these unwarranted crossovers and Rob Liefield drawn books!

Excited about the Infinite Crisis Omnibus, but not a chance it has the Return of Donna Troy miniseries in it. Always glad to see Phil Jimenez getting work, but that miniseries was confusing even if you were familiar with the classic “Who is Donna Troy” and other New Teen Titans stories. Donna’s quickly-forgotten New Cronos “base” appeared in Infinite Crisis, yes, but otherwise the miniseries was so unrelated that I can’t imagine DC using the pages on that before more of Superman: Sacrifice or JLA: Crisis of Conscience. I think it’ll just be the Countdown miniseries and specials, the main Wonder Woman “Sacrifice” issue, and Infinite Crisis itself.

I feel like DC is doing too many crossovers too soon. Let these books spend about a year or two telling their own stories then do the crossovers.

I stopped buying crossovers and events completely. No thanks.

I agree with Chris B. Events stopped be good the minute Civil War and Blackest Night ended.

DC’s new EXTRA LONG, DECOMPRESSED storytelling is starting to irritate the hell out of me. Batman & Robin and Snyders Detective run had some great 3 part stories before the relaunch – now everything is 6-8 issues long. I have to wait half a year MINIMUM to get a complete story.

I’ve cancelled alot of the new series with their 6th issue. But if they don’t start picking up the pace I’ll end up canceling them all.

I’m not too excited about the crossovers, nor the cancellations. Three of the six (Static Shock, Blackhawks, and Mr. Terrific) were books I was enjoying very much, and none of the replacement books will be making their way onto my pull list, either. And with some of the creative changes planned for May, it’s all looking very disappointing.

I read an article, I don’t remember where, that had one throwaway line in it referencing that OMAC would be joining Justice League International. Perhaps that’s the bait-and-switch planned with the Batwing appearance on the cover.

Laurence J Sinclair

January 23, 2012 at 9:13 am

What’s particularly baffling about the cancellations is the timing. Surely the crossovers are designed to try and get a few more readers for a title by borrowing them from another. So why cancel OMAC before they’ve even had a chance to see how much last week’s crossover with Frankenstein helped sales figures?

Canceling the comics doesn’t mean they won’t come back in some other format. OMAC for instance – if sales jump in the last couple issues could mean a return in DC Presents – the same for any of the others. And who knows maybe the next cancellation and launch wave will include another book where they can collect shorter stories for these lesser-known and lesser read titles.

GI Combat allows them to continue to tell the stories that would have appeared in Men of War and Blackhawks. DC Presents allows them to do 4-6 issue arcs for more ‘super-hero’ characters like OMAC, Hawk & Dove, etc. and they have already shown with the Huntress, Penguin, and Ray minis that they can always just launch a new mini if they want a short-run for a specific character that doesn’t fit into the other series.

Prey was an awesome story and look forward to its collection. My random notes include: I think I’m the only person who is majorly underwhelmed by the new Wonder Woman. I’m not married to her old persona but I don’t like the new one, mainly because she is still mostly an unknown element in her own book almost 1/2 a year later). I have no opinion about the guns…I didn’t read any of these canceled titles but am looking forward to Worlds’ Finest and JSA…I concur that this crossover nonsense is occurring too quickly and too frequently for my taste…Titans does kinda suck but I have hopes for Ravagers.

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