Robot 6

Grumpy Old Fan | So it begins: DC’s April solicitations

Ironically, G'Nort has nothing Larfleeze could possibly want

In fact, G’Nort has nothing Larfleeze could possibly want

This look at DC’s latest round of solicitations may be quicker and dirtier than usual, mostly because this week I thought I was going to be talking about Teen Titans’ cancellation. We’ll do a little of that this week, along with the other titles on the chopping block.

However, for a while now we’ve known that April — being the first post-Forever Evil month — will feature some big changes, and those start right here.

BY THE NUMBERS

I count 47 ongoing New 52 series, but that includes the six books canceled as of April, and it only counts Batman Eternal — which, contrary to my expectation, is not solicited as a limited series — once. Thus, if DC still wants to hit the magic number, it needs to come up with 11 new series for May.

In terms of franchises, Batman still leads with nine titles (Batman, Detective, Batman and [Robin], Batwoman, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Batgirl, Batwing, Eternal), but Superman and Green Lantern each have six (Action, Superman, Supergirl, Superboy, Batman/Superman, Superman/Wonder Woman; GL, GL Corps, GL: New Guardians, Red Lanterns, Larfleeze, Sinestro) and the Justice League still has four (regular, Dark, United, 3000). Those franchises account for 25 of the 41 surviving series.

Other associations suggest themselves:  Constantine, Phantom Stranger, Pandora, and Swamp Thing seem to be part of a “dark” group, Aquaman is getting a second series, we could add Birds of Prey and Red Hood to the Bat-total, and Worlds’ Finest and Earth 2 are naturally paired. That leaves six relatively standalone series: Secret Origins, Flash, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman (yes, despite the Superman thing), The Movement, and All-Star Western. Makes me wonder how long it’ll be before Flash or Green Arrow gets a companion title. Green Arrow and the Outsiders, anyone?

MANY HAPPY RETURNS

Doomsday comes back in the three remaining Super-titles, emerging from the Phantom Zone in Action #30 (April 2), causing trouble in Superman/Wonder Woman #7 (April 9), and headed through the Earth’s core in Superman #30 (April 23).

Elsewhere, SHADE (late of Frankenstein) returns in Red Hood #30, Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Scott Kolins pit G’Nort (!) against Larfleeze, and Gail Simone brings Ragdoll back (!!) in Batgirl #30.

Also in Gail Simone news, not only is The Movement not canceled (as of Issue 11), its first collection goes through issue #8. That suggests DC might want at least another eight issues for the second collection, which is good news for fans of the series.

VICTORY LAPS

I guess technically, Teen Titans won’t end with Issue 30, as its Annual #3 comes out a week later. (DC did something similar with the New 52′s Justice League International Annual.) Again, much more on Titans next week.

Ironic that Dick Grayson’s origin is retold two weeks after Nightwing ends. Maybe that’s supposed to be a consolation to distraught Wingnuts (are they still called that? I remember when they were Robin-Rooters). My money’s still on “Dick goes underground as a blond.” Maybe he’ll be the new Azrael. Remember, DC only canceled the original Nightwing ongoing series when Dick became Batman, and I have to think there’s a new Nightwing (if not a new person in the costume) waiting in the … well, you know.

I’m not surprised by the end of Superman Unchained. Scott Snyder and Jim Lee are both busy people, and I don’t know who DC could have gotten to replace either or both — or, for that matter, what would have justified another Superman ongoing. Anyway, these nine issues should make a good Absolute Edition.

Between the ends of Suicide Squad and Stormwatch, April’s not a good month for gritty, edgy super-teams. Again, I have to think that this is less final than it seems. Maybe there’s a Checkmate on deck?

ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT

One of those super-team slots will be filled by Aquaman and the Others. Now, I’ve always liked Aquaman, and I’ve liked his entourage, whether they’ve included Aqualad/Tempest, Mera, Dolphin, the Arthur Curry group from Sword of Atlantis, or just the finny friends. However, I don’t know that the world was clamoring for an Others ongoing series. I’ll try it — its fundamentals should at least be decent, with Dan Jurgens writing — but maybe that sense of ennui is why DC has tied it to Futures End.

By the way, I think the over/under for Aquaman and the Others should be 19 issues, because that’s how long Superboy and the Ravers lasted in the late ‘90s.  If leather-jacket Superboy could support a second title for more than a year and a half, surely Aquaman can do comparably well.

Batman Eternal is finally on the schedule, and despite its “big enough to fill every week” hype, it looks like it may be telling standalone stories for its first few issues. Jason Fabok draws the first three issues, and Dustin Nguyen returns to the main Bat-verse for the fourth, so it should look good. With five writers credited on every issue, I wonder if it’s going to be a 52-esque collaboration, with certain writers taking specific subplots. Of course, John Layman is leaving after Issue 4, so that’ll shake up the division of labor.

I am prepared to like Justice League United, because I’ve enjoyed Jeff Lemire’s superhero work and I’ve liked Mike McKone ever since his stints in the Justice League International days. Furthermore, I’m glad that since the “JLA as government pawns” subplot has apparently played out, the book — regardless of title or national affiliation — can get back to being a more straight-up adventure series, not dependent on an ongoing relationship to the main League. (That’s helped JL Dark too, I think.) Besides, having Adam Strange on the team pretty well guarantees getting away from Earth. As to JLA #14′s warning that “no one’s survival is assured,” I don’t see Vibe on the new United roster, and he got killed off toward the end of the original JLA series too. Oh, but DC wouldn’t do that again, so don’t worry too much.

Speaking of the main League, it’s appropriate that Sinestro gets his own book in the same month that Luthor becomes League leader. I think Geoff Johns may be positioning Luthor as the same kind of headliner Sinestro was in Green Lantern. He won’t like doing good, because it won’t be on his terms — and it’s a toss-up as to how sympathetic he’ll be.

The new Flash creative team takes over in April, with Robert Venditti, Van Jensen, and Brett Booth producing both issue #30 and Annual #3. Venditti and Jensen have been decent but not great on the Green Lantern books, so we’ll see what they bring to the Flash. Meanwhile, Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul move over to Detective Comics, no doubt inviting comparisons to their stylish Flash work. I’m just glad they’re still doing superheroes.

Not that it’s new or different, but it won’t fit anywhere else: I had dropped Catwoman during the whole “Underground/Joker’s Daughter” storyline, but the “Race of Outlaws” arc sounds intriguing. Maybe it’ll be a good paperback.

And that brings us to …

COLLECTIONS

The Shazam! paperback looks surprisingly affordable, so I’ll look forward to re-reading it in that format. The new hardcover of Dan Slott and Ryan Sook’s Arkham Asylum miniseries should look nice next to the spring and summer’s new Amazing Spider-Man issues.

I’m very glad to see Showcase Presents Super Friends Volume 1 on the schedule. I have a couple of color paperbacks DC put together a while back, but they were kind of hit or miss in terms of issues collected. Actually, I wonder if this volume will be the only Super Friends collection for a while, since the original series only ran for 47 issues and this collects 34 of those. I don’t see DC doing a Volume 2 just for those last 13.  Still, SPSF will give the 5-year-old more reading material.  She loves the more recent DC Super Friends paperbacks (collecting the very clever Sholly Fisch-written series) and we should work through all of Tiny Titans by the time the older Super Friends book comes out.

The John Ostrander/Tom Mandrake Spectre series is one of those about which I have heard good things, but which (for whatever reason) at the time I chose not to read. Same goes for their later Martian Manhunter series. I did read their Firestorm run, but that must have been the least-popular of their collaborations. Anyway, I have no excuse for not picking up this chunky (320 pages!) paperback when it comes out in May.

* * *

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

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Comments

42 Comments

I’ll probably be sticking with Batman, Batgirl, Supergirl and i hope they find out what to do with Pandora. The idea of an immortal trying to find redemtion should be a good story if you didn’t have to go through all the “dark” books to follow the adventure.

I gave up on all the Lantern books. I just can’t afford buying nearly all of them just to keep up with what’s going on.

Still going to get Flash and with the tv show coming, it will be nice to see how the comic might shift some to fit or direct how the tv show might go. My biggest hope is Batman Eternal. I’ll probably give it a full month to impress me (and that covers the reintro of Miss Stephanie Brown).

Please make Green Arrow and the Outsiders happen! Let the main GA book focus on his adventures in Seattle and have the team deal with the globetrotting stuff.

I was going to drop Detective after Gothtopia (not that I haven’t been liking Layman/Fabok – just getting too expensive and I’m already getting several other Bat-books). But I’ve heard such good things about Buccellato and Manapul that I’ll probably give their first arc a shot

I’ll second GA & the Outsiders.

Aquaman and the Others – def try

Great to see the Spectre collected.

Can’t wait to see what May brings. Shazam, Doom Patrol, Legion ?

Definitely picking up the Super Friends collection.

Sticking with Aquaman; maybe adding Aquaman and the Outsiders – I mean Others…Or is that Justice League of Atlantis? There was a fifth week event!

I’m staying away from The New 52 proper. I’ll be checking in on the Smallville collections, Batman ’66 and Scooby Doo Team-Up – comics should be fun. One day, I might pick up The Court of Owls, and grab the Earth-2 trades. But that’s about it. There’s still a bunch of stuff already on my reading list – Solomon Grundy and The Shade.

Many things are wrong with this article.

Even counting Batman Eternal as just one book, there are still 52 books. (FE Aftermath and Secret Origins count, plus all other books set in the new 52 universe)

John Layman is not even Batman Eternal after issue 4. He doesn’t write the first four issues. He helped organize the first 22 and writes 4 issues out of those. DC most likely won’t even announce who is replacing him till the summer since they can get away with that.

Just a opinion here..

DC definitely won’t kill of Vibe in JLU since he is reportedly going to star in the upcoming Flash television series.

Brian from Canada

January 23, 2014 at 6:40 pm

DC announced major changes will happen at the end of “Forever Evil”; there’s also rumours of two more team books coming.

My guesses?
Suicide Squad becomes the Sinister Six.
Out of the ashes of ARGUS and Suicide Squad rises Waller vs Trevor in Checkmate.
Stormwatch takes a new duty to protect the planet from interstellar threats as Planetary.
The League pays more attention to the Titans, resulting in Young Justice.
Nighting’s origin is covered because Dick Grayson takes the lead in Eternal.
Add 4 more slots for the “five years later” weekly, and in one month you have 9 new series.
And that’s not including a must-come Shazam ongoing by Johns.

If they relaunch Stormwatch as Planetary, I’m going to cry for a straight year.

I really, really want Green Arrow & the Outsiders, though.

Bets on Dick Grayson moving to another city and choosing a new moniker for himself? Since everyone knows that Dick Grayson is Nightwing? Given how movie-tie-in friendly comics tend to be, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was suddenly calling himself John Blake or something.

I’m waiting for Multiverse series.
I’m waiting for Batman: Earth one vol, 2
I’m waiting for something totally different.
I’m waiting, I’m waiting…..

Dick: “I’ll need a new identity.”
Bruce: “Mmmm. John Blake?”
Dick: “Nah. That is too silly.”

I wish that DiDio, Lee, Harras, and Johns could go away. :(

Weak showing for classic reprints this month. Ostrander’s Spectre is the lone exception. At least I’ll save money I can use for the Steranko Artist Edition from IDW.

philfromgermany

January 24, 2014 at 6:08 am

Why are so many posters ont the net guessing Suicide Squad “becomes” Secret Six? That really sticks in my craw. Even before the new 52 launched a lot of S6 fans assumed SS would be stealing the spot of their favorite book. They are not mutualy exclusive, and they never had anything in common except for Deadshot being a member.
Justice League did not “become” the Outsiders ’cause Batman quit one team and joined the other. And DC did not have to cancel one to launch the other.
Regardless, Suicide Squads cancellation has me vexed, Kot had set up amazing things and Kindt who was brought in needless also was no slouch. Almost made me forget how terrible Adam Glass was. And the book sold reasonably well. Whoever mandates the direction of DC at the moment is making too many terrible choices.

I’m certain you will like the Spectre collection, a great run, which fans have been demanding for ages.

‘Why are so many posters ont the net guessing Suicide Squad “becomes” Secret Six?’

Because DC are unlikely to have two books featuring villain teams. And yeah, Deadshot.

I’d like a Wonder Woman solo title – no playing second fiddle to a bunch of godly pillocks.

Spectre collection finally!!! You’ll enjoy reading that for the first time. It was one of the few series I kept up with back during my “mid 90s swearing off DC/Marvel comics because they were editorially driven corporate dreck” phase (Starman, Books of Magic & Batman: LOTDK we’re the only others I kept). Ironically I’m quickly approaching that phase again as I shed more titles each month than I have in years. This time though I’ve been replacing them with Image and other independents. Still…I do miss a DCU that feels like home and I eagerly await the cycle to come around again for me.

Rich,

“Steranko Artist Edition from IDW.”

Me too, both of them!

Looking forward to Aquaman and the Others. Teen Titans needs an revamp and Please Please bring back the Legion of Super Heroes. There is WAY too much history there to ignore.

I wish I could understand DC’s business plan. It truly seems like a “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” approach. Instead of cultivating well written/well drawn stories with fully developed characters, we’re getting stories about things that have no audience. (Aquaman and the Others, really?) They branded themselves with a number of books that was impossible to produce in a sustainable manner from the get go. Couple that with the rumors that you continue to hear regarding shifts in creative teams, editorial interference, etc and you get a picture of a company in trouble.

All I want is a Doom Patrol that doesn’t suck.

I don’t see Batman Beyond Unlimited listed. One quick solution is to split the Batman Beyond and the Justice League Beyond book onto two books. Sldo Metal Men worked well in Unlimited, Why not some sort of Metal Men (any era) book?

Also, why not a Robin League Group or the Red Brigade? NIghtwing, Red Robin, Red Hood any any other living present or former Robin.

I would like to see the silver era Secret Six and the Doom Patrol of any era resumed.

I’m picking up Eternal for Stephanie Brown, bringing my grand total of New 52 titles to….three (the others being Catwman and New Guardians). I would love to see Eternal evolve into a monthly Batman Family book when this series ends, with a 20-page rotating main feature and a 10-page back-up (perhaps headlined by Stephanie).

jose luis pinto

January 26, 2014 at 7:20 am

I am waiting for Infinity inc!

Not long now

New 52 needs to give Martian Manhunter more love.

Ostrander/Mandrake series was superb (MM too!). Give it a try. I believe it was one of the best 90s series published by DC. It added a lot to Spectre´s mythos.

Snyder has already confirmed in his Newsarama interview that Eternal will be using the “Brand New Day” model of having each writer write their own arc. Also, Kyle Higgins is taking Layman’s spot.

And why isn’t anybody counting Eternal as four titles? It takes the same resources as four separate monthlies.

I’m curious to see what the Spectre collection looks like. I have pretty much all the individual Spectre comics from Vol 2 onward, plus most of the major appearances. I’m not really a huge DC fan, but I’ve always liked the character. I wonder what kind of paper they will print it on. The O&M series was on pulp newsprint, which pushed the colors darker and dictated a flat coloring style. The books from that period publishers have reprinted on gloss pound paper look weird to me with the flat coloring of that day.

The downside is that readers of the tpb won’t get those cool glow in the dark covers. I still geek out when I read them.

j

“And why isn’t anybody counting Eternal as four titles? It takes the same resources as four separate monthlies.”

My wallet sure is! Yes, it’s one title, but it’s the equivalent of picking up four new monthlies (five, depending on the month).

I was thinking about picking up Sinestro– but since I didn’t pick up his run in Green Lantern I decided against it. So, I’m picking up Wonder Woman and whatever Grayson is going to be called. That leaves Fables and Fairest, which are wrapping up.

So for the first time in my long comics career, I’m making mine Marvel.

For May, I would like to see DC Announce the following.

More focus on Earth 2 titles.
- WORLD’s FINEST changes direction as Huntress and Power Girl return to Earth 2.
- The delayed JUSTICE SOCIETY book is announced.
- A solo series for an Earth 2 character: Batman or Dr.Fate or Hawkgirl or Flash

More focus on the Multiverse.
- The return of Earth 16′s YOUNG JUSTICE series.
- MULTIVERSITY comics that explores various Earth’s in the DC Multiverse.

I was happy as all get-out when I saw the solicit for the Spectre book, as it’s one of my favorite runs ever (Thanks again, John & Tom!), but then I saw the dreaded two letters, TP. C’mon, DC, if this series isn’t worthy of an Omnibus edition, I don’t know what is! (Please?)

Robin-Rooters *snig*

Brian from Canada

January 26, 2014 at 12:03 pm

@natureboy1:

This is one time I don’t think DC is just throwing out ideas. Many of the changes are story-based: this is the post-”Forever Evil” world, and it makes sense that Amanda Waller and Suicide Squad would come under the microscope heavily, Teen Titans would need more supervision, Dick Grayson would be doing something different, Justice League of America changes names, etc.

“Forever Evil” is the first story to really force editorial to consider where everyone is in the whole line, and the problems they’ve found in some titles — not to mention the weak sales of others — shows just how much they need to continue thinking more of the output as a whole rather than the family approach they were doing before.

And, not coincidentally, these books would be worked on during the final transition from NYC to LA, and that may also explain how things are going to be a lot more concentrated and directed at DC.

Honestly: with hints of another major event or two on the horizon, I would not be surprised if the reason for these line tinkerings is purely to prepare that. The Lanterns seem gearing up for an inevitable battle between colours (Sinestro) while the League may need assistance against the Seven Seas (Aquaman & The Others).

Johnny_Thunders

January 26, 2014 at 6:52 pm

With Harras, Lee, DiDio and Johns calling the shots at DC, It’s a great time to be a Marvel fan.

I think there is a possibility that Dick may not become Nightwing again. Forever. At least in this universe.

Very curious how DC plays this hand.

So only 9 titles that are not explicitly a Bat, Supes, Lantern, JL (not Dark) title. That’s pretty sad, when you think about how broad the New 52 started out. In many ways, though I’d like it to be otherwise, we have no one to blame but ourselves — the people who buy books. Sure, occasionally some books that sell well get taken down for story related reasons (Unchanined, Nightwing) or for both story and editorial reasons (Animal Man), but more often than not, it’s because the just don’t sell well.

I’d love to take the money I’m spending on the more popular titles and put it toward lesser known characters to help boost their sales and help to more fully develop the new 52 universe. But, I’ll be damned if I can find a way to go that isn’t likely to be chopped off sooner rather than later.

As an aside, I’m incredibly disappointed to see the departure of Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul from The Flash. Sure, the writing at times made me want to ditch the book, bu the art kept me coming back for more. I’ll be interested to see how their style (which I only know from Flash) will translate to the darker world of Tec,

The Showcase Presents: Super Friends has to be 24 issues, not 34 to run 500 or so pages. All issues were 17 pages + cover except #14 was #25 + cover.

Eh those books minus suicide squad kinda needed to go im just wondering who’s junk Jimmy palimatti is throating to keep batwing and the Jonah hex book going because everywhere I go those books sell terrible and on another note ever notice that when starlin picks up a title the weird and lobo shows up in his DC stuff and in marvel warlock and thanos how about the ego on that Guy.

i agree with Wonderdog about the content of the Showcase Super Friends book, but even if it does end up at 34 issues, DC did publish a slim volume of Bat Lash stories in a Showcase Presents format. so not unprecedented.

in fact, i’d love to see DC do that with other books from the era, like Angel and the Ape, the 1960s Secret Six, etc. not all of those have to be mammoth sized.

“Aquaman is getting a second series”

Wow, I didn’t realize DC was that desperate.

All I know is, I want a Showcase Presents: Young Justice series . . . they could probably collect the whole thing in two volumes . . . *sighs* But I’m going to pick up the Super Friends . . . I was just telling my kids about that show. I’m always going, “Meanwhile back at the Hall of Justice!”

How would a slim edition (Bat Lash) have anything to do with 34 issues of Super Friends running over 700 pages? 24 would run 500-plus which is typical of Showcase Presents. No chance of a slim edition here.

Young Justice is way too new for Showcase Presents which has barely scratched the 80s and are down to maybe 6-8 editions a year. It’s possible Super Friends, Captain Carrot and Great Disaster had already begun when they were solicited years ago. Could they be clearing off the shelf and winding this line down for good?

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