Friday, June 10

The New DC Universe - The 52 Titles

This afternoon DC Comics unveiled the final four in its week-long roll-out of the 52 new #1 issues to come out in September (fudging slightly in that Justice League hits 31 August). In the tab above (EDIT:  I've moved that material down below) you can see images, announced creators, and my short thoughts so far.

At the beginning of the week, I thought I'd take the plunge in September and get all 52 new first issues, with no intention of getting all the #2's in October. I'm less sure now. I kind of like the idea of getting all 52 just for the hell of it, but there are some things I know I won't be continuing - and some things I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole for any other reason than the first issue gimmick.

My current pull list is 21 titles. My inclination for what to continue getting, i.e., my projected pull list for October 2011 forward, is:

Justice League
Wonder Woman
Justice League International
Detective Comics
Batman and Robin
Batman: The Dark Knight
Birds of Prey
Legion Lost
Legion of Super-Heroes
Action Comics

That's 19 (assuming Batwoman actually does appear. I'm sure the first couple of issues will - surely they're in the can by now! After that, it's anybody's guess; and so far Finch's track record on Batman: The Dark Knight is shameful - only two issues in six months, so they're rebooting it back to #1 - ! It may well be I can count on that not actually coming out very often either....)

I'm considering adding back Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps to bring it back to 21. I've liked those two titles consistently; my dropping them recently was more about finding something to drop as a monthly just to save a little money (that's when I was getting about thirty titles, then DC recently cancelled several things I was getting - JSA All-Stars, REBELS, Azrael, a couple other things that escape me right now, which brought me down further). I had no idea any of this was coming.  But going forward, I think I can sustain 21-24 ongoing titles plus the inevitable specials and miniseries that I'll doubtless be getting (and I'm assuming the resumption of Batman Incorporated in 2012 will effectively be a miniseries), so holding at 21 gives me a little room if something strikes my fancy. Or I may look outside DC, at Dynamite or Moonstone.  They've got some interesting pulp property stuff going on - Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, Zorro, Warlord of Mars, etc. It's just that those are sometimes so erratic in publication that it's often more satisfying to just wait for trade.

That is always the other option:  picking up series not as monthlies but as trades.  I'll doubtless do it for some: Teen Titans - it's a pity that will be the only Tim Drake appearance, apparently. It looks so hideous. I may get it as trade ... there are several other things on the main list I'll probably get as trade as well, things like Blue Beetle, Demon Knights (the author and the concept intrigue me), and whatever else might look interesting down the road.

But that's how things stand right now.  Things may change.  Some of those titles (frankly, the Superman family of titles, based on the God-awful designs except for Action Comics; Birds of Prey as well, though) seem particularly tenuous to me right now.  I'll give them a chance, I'm sure - which means I'll probably go ahead and commit to #2 and #3, which I'll have to in the pre-order system I use before I have a chance to see #1.  But if that #1 doesn't catch me, they may lose me pretty quickly.  Really, that's true of all ....

For an old-timer DC Comics fan, some of this is truly heartbreaking.

- Kent

* * *

Here is what originally resided under a tab up top for a separate page, "The DC New 52."  Since it was old news by the end of the year, I closed that page and moved the content here:

52 new number ones, mostly launching in September.  Here's a running record of the announcements with links to the source and various comments by me.  (I'm leaning toward taking the hit and getting all 52 first issues, but here are my feelings about what I'll continue getting after that, mostly compiled along the way.)

1. JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 (31 August)
By Geoff Johns and Jim Lee
Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Cyborg, Aquaman, Flash; rumor has it the number will fill out to fourteen.
Johns and Lee. The Masterminds. But can Lee keep up a monthly book?

Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang.
We'll see, but I'll likely pass.  Actually, she is the third member of the "trinity."  I may just get this....

Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis
The same creators who've been handling him in Brightest Day. I plan on getting this. It's “my” Aquaman again after many, many years. Unless they do something truly bizarre, that's what's been being set up.

Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, both sharing writing and art duties.
I'll probably pass.

Ethan van Sciver and Gail Simone writing, art by Yilderay Cinar
Van Sciver's another artist. I've never been more than “meh” about this character, and I don't think even Gail Simone will change that. Everybody's assuming this is a total reboot based on the description, but I'm not so sure.

Tony Daniel writer, Philip Tan art.
I might have been interested had it been the previously announced James Robinson as writer, but I'll pass.

J. T. Krul writer, Dan Jurgens art
Sorry, just not interested.

Dan Jurgens writer, Aaron Lopresti art
Booster Gold, Batman, Rocket Red, Fire, August General in Iron, Vixen, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, Ice, and an unknown raven-haired female.  Speculation has her as either Donna Troy or Black Canary with her natural hair color.  But see the Birds of Prey entry below, so I'd put my money on Donna Troy.  Could be a totally new character, though.  Actually a couple days after this posted, I saw an interview with Jurgens - this is not Donna Troy or Black Canary either one.
This was forecast in-story in the final issue of Justice League:  Generation Lost.
Dan Jurgens was the writer/artist for a good bit of “his baby” Booster Gold's run, speculation is that this book replaces Booster Gold. I hope not, but Booster Gold hasn't been selling as well as it ought to.  I think I'll be getting this.

Eric Wallace and Roger Robinson
I like the character but not enough to get the series.

J. T. Krul writing, Freddie Williams II art

An “anthology” but description reads more like short varying feature story arcs rather than several different features per issue - more like Legends of the DC Universe than Showcase '96 etc. The first story arc is Deadman by Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang.

Geoff Johns writing, Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy art.
Le plus ce change, le plus c'est la meme chose. This is the same team that was doing the pre-Flashpoint run of this title. I just went back to wait-for-trade for the Green Lantern titles. Don't see that changing.  Actually, I may get this and Corps....

(Released to Comic Book Resources 12 June)

Peter Tomasi writing, Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna art.
Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and an elite Green Lantern strike force.
What goes around comes around. Tomasi wrote much of the previous run, but not at the end. (He'd moved to Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors, which looks to be gone.)

Tony Bedard writing, Tyler Kirkham and Batt art.
Kyle Rayner leading the “crayola corps.”
Wasn't Bedard just writing Green Lantern Corps as Tomasi's successor? I know he was doing R.E.B.E.L.S., so he's staying in space....  I doubt I'll get this, though.

Peter Milligan writing, Ed Benes and Rob Hunter art.
Atrocitus and company.
I have absolutely no interest in this.

16. BATMAN #1
Scott Snyder writing, Greg Capullo art.
Bruce Wayne Batman. There is no other. I hate that we're losing Dick Grayson Batman, but apparently the events of the past few years by Grant Morrison happened in some fashion, because Damian is still around in Batman and Robin, and he's returning with a continuation of Batman Incorporated (for both, see below).
I've been getting all of the Gotham City circle of titles for a long time now and I don't see that changing.   Most likely.  Depends on how large they bloat the line this time.

Tony Daniels writing and art.
Bruce Wayne. On the trail of the Gotham Ripper. Joker is shown on the image. Hopefully this is not some kind of reimagining.
He can definitely handle it, but there are a lot of Daniels-haters out there. I'm not one of them.
Renumbering Detective in all this is the first thing that's making me angry. This isn't "history in the making" - it's history in the unmaking!  I don't think it will last - #900 is coming up soon, but still.... This is the eponymous title of the company!

Peter Tomasi and Pat Gleason – the team followed Morrison for a short arc on the pre-Flashpoint run, but now it's a different Batman.  Tomasi's generally a good writer.
Bruce Wayne and his son Damian.  At least that little snot is still around.  Said with great affection.

David Finch writing, Finch and Jay Fabok pencils.
(snort) This had a #1 in 2011 already! With lateness, I don't think it has gotten to #3! Can Finch do any better this go'round?  (And the fact that they went ahead and went with the first launch makes me wonder just when all this came together ... putting it together with the timing of Batwoman's delay makes me wonder if that was sometime in February....)

J. H. Williams III, Haden Blackman, and Amy Reeder.
Plagued by lateness, originally supposed to come out months ago, maybe even last year, most recently aborted a month before its debut in March 2011 … speculation now is that it was delayed to push it out with the rest of the first issues in September, but I'm not sure that's all there is to it. Will it be the same without Rucka anyway?

21. BATGIRL #1
Gail Simone writing, Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes art.
Barbara Gordon. We're losing Oracle. And Stephanie Brown Batgirl. Crap. Crap crap. But I'll be getting it.  It's Gail Simone writing Barbara Gordon.

Judd Winick writing, Guillen March art.
March was doing most of the art for Gotham City Sirens which looks to be gone. I think I prefer a solo Catwoman anyway. At least it's Selina, in her “modern” outfit. (Now they just need to get Adam Hughes back on covers.)

Duane Swierczynski (mystery novelist) writing, Jesus Saiz art.
Gotham City's covert ops team.” Not absolutely certain who any of these are. I'm fairly sure it's Black Canary at 9:00 and Katana at 3:00. Is the red-head at 12:00 Poison Ivy? Or Mera? (Wouldn't that be bizarre?) Who's the brunette with a gun at 6:00? It looks like she has some kind of major tattoo on her left arm, which is nagging at my memory but right now I've got nothin'.
No more Gail Simone... nooooooooooooo! And can it be “Birds of Prey” without Oracle? Guess it'll have to be.... I'll miss Lady Blackhawk, too. And Huntress! Unless they're just not pictured here for some bizarre reason.  It's Gotham City.  I'll at least give it a try.

Kyle Higgins writer, Eddy Barrows art.
Dick Grayson. So where's Tim Drake? And I don't like the color change on the costume but can live with it. It would have been more appropriate for Tim, though, if Dick could have stayed as a Batman and Tim could have assumed the mantle of Nightwing, ditching that goofy “Red Robin” name. Now I'm worried he may not even be here. Surely not...?  (See Teen Titans below.)

Scott Lobdell writer, Kenneth Rocafort art.
Jason Todd, Arsenal, and Starfire.
Wha--? Jason Todd's still around and announced and still no Tim Drake? But Arsenal appears to have both arms – is Cry for Justice and Rise and Fall therefore out of continuity? Even Starfire's not enough to get me to read this.

26. BATWING #1
Judd Winick writer, Ben Oliver art.
Sorry, passing – not Gotham City.  I don't see it lasting long either.

BATMAN INCORPORATED #1 (sometime in 2012 so I'm not numbering it)
Grant Morrison writing, Chris Burnham art.
This announcement is really oddly worded. For one thing, although the text announces it as listed above, it then quotes Morrison as announcing: Batman, Incorporated will continue through to Issue #10 and August's shocking season finale that changes the Batman status quo yet again. The series will take a brief hiatus while I work on a major new project to be announced shortly. Batman, Incorporated returns next year with me, Chris Burnham and Batman: Leviathan, the epic 12 part conclusion to my 6 year Batman saga. Don't miss it!” Is Morrison saying it will be a new title? Does DC even know what he's doing?  All I know is I'll be all over it.


Scott Snyder writing, Yannick Paquette art
Sorry, never been a big fan of Swamp Thing. Even though Snyder's a good writer.

Peter Milligan writing, Mikel Janin art
John Constantine, Deadman, Shade the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu

Jeff Lemire writing, Travel Foreman and Dan Green art
Not interested enough even with Jeff Lemire whose Superboy run has been good.

Paul Cornell writing, Diogenes Neves and Osclair Albert art
The Demon and an “unlikely team,” set in the Middle Ages.
Might have to take a look at this, especially with Cornell writing.  Too bad I bet there won't be a Knight and Squire series.... Way too quirky I suppose.  Probably wait for trade.

Jeff Lemire writing, Alberto Ponticelli art
Frankenstein and the Super-Human Advanced Defense Executive from Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers. I don't think so.  Seven Soldiers was way cool, but this character really didn't do anything for me.

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning writing, Fernando Dagnino art
Abnett and Lanning on this character have quite a cult following from his 1990s series, but not me. That's when I was all but out of comics altogether.

33. I, VAMPIRE #1
Josh Fialkov writing, art by Andrea Sorrentino
I remember really liking this character in his ca. 1980 run in House of Mystery, but other than the name it doesn't look like this will be anything like that. Pass.

34. VOODOO #1
Ron Marz writing, art by Sam Basri
Not interested.

Fabien Nicieza writing, art by Pete Wood
From 12:00:  Wildfire, Dawnstar, Timber Wolf, Gates, unidentified male (Tyroc?), whatever-Yera's-(Chameleon Girl's)-codename-is, Tellus - and the description says seven so this is it.
It's back to the '90s, with part of the team lost in the past, part in the future. I can't say this art looks as good as I'm used to from Wood, either. And although I generally like Nicieza, why not just let Levitz do both books? He can handle it, and he is The Legion. Of course I'll be getting it – it's Legion. But I guess we're losing Adventure Comics, at least as a Legion book. That's sad. At least it won't have the indignity of a second renumbering in a couple of years....

Paul Levitz writing, art by Francis Portela
From front:  Chameleon Boy, Dragonwing? (from recent "Legion Academy" stories in Adventure), Ultra Boy, unknown male (?).
Thank God Levitz is still on the Legion! Now, as long as this continues to be the “retroboot” Legion we've had for the past couple of years, I'll be happy. 

Scott Lobdell writing, Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund art).
Starting at 1:00, Tim Drake Red Robin,unknown female, Kid Flash, unknown female, Wonder Girl, around Connor Kent Superboy.
Okay. I've liked Booth's art on recent Justice League. This is yuck. There is just so much I don't like about this – the overall punk mood, “thief known as Wonder Girl,” etc. I'll confine myself to this: Is this all the Tim Drake I'll be getting? Not sure I'll actually be getting it. He keeps the stupid Red Robin persona, although the costume is less a Doctor Midnite rip-off. I'd just gone back from trades to monthlies on Teen Titans. It might be back to trades, if that.

John Rozum and Scott McDaniel writing, art by McDaniel and Jonathan Glapion.
Maybe in trade.

Sterling Gates writer, Rob Liefeld art.
In trade. I'm happy to see Gates on something. Neither characters nor artist really excite me, though.

Paul Cornell writer, art by Miguel Sepulveda
Sorry, not even with Cornell.  Well, maybe in trade.

Mike Costa writer, art by Ken Lashley

Ivan Brandon writer, art by Tom Derenick
The grandson of Sgt. Rock. Anybody remember the grandson of Doc Savage? Nope.

Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray writing, art by Moritat
Jonah Hex in 19th-c. Gotham? No.

Kyle Higgins writing, art by Joe Bennett and Art Thibert

45. GRIFTER #1
Nathan Edmondson writing, art by CAFU and BIT

46. OMAC #1
Dan Didio and Keith Giffin writing, Giffin and Scott Koblish art

Adam Glass story, art by Marco Rudy.
Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, and Deadshot.
This looks hideous. Would much prefer to see Gail Simone's Secret Six continue. No.

Tony Bedard story, Ig Guara and Ruy Jose art.
Jaime Reyes but I can't tell if it's a reboot or not.
Wait for trade.

Grant Morrison writer, Rags Morales artist
“Superman defends a world that doesn't trust their first Super Hero.” That may be the reason there's no Justice Society. Perhaps DC is returning to a world in which Superman was the first. For the return of that concept, I can forgive them a lot....  But see my comment regarding this renumbering under Detective Comics above.  Artistically, well, (a) this seems to be Clark at the beginning of his career, and (b) I much prefer this "quasi-Connor Kent" look to....

George Perez story and layouts, Jesus Merino finished art.
The new “status quo.” But can Perez sustain a monthly pace any more?  Maybe since it's just layouts.
Dear God, that looks awful. Sorry, Perez is one of the greats, and I love his work, generally – but not this design.

Michael Green and Mike Johnson writers, Mahmud Asrar artist.
“The unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman and none of his affection for the people of Earth.” We're losing Gates' and Igle's recently well-developed character for another brat. Yay. It went over so well in the early stages of the pre-Flashpoint run before Gates and Igle salvaged the character.

Scott Lobdell writer, R. B. Silva and Rob Lean artists.
This looks like someone chewed up Connor Kent (along with an erector set) and vomited the idea of a Kryptonian-human clone back onto an art board. Literally. Bleaaaarrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh!
For all three of the latter designs, here's what I posted when the images leaked the day before they were announced by DC: “to shed tears of blood go see what the three may look like: ” My judgment has not changed.

Got the shaft (so to speak):
  • Justice Society – but maybe the reason is in the Action Comics description. Can I hope for a return of a “Golden Age Earth” at some point? If only in Grant Morrison's once-rumored Multiversity?
  • Power Girl – part of a general simplification, I get that - and the rumor that the new Supergirl could be a blend of the previous Supergirl and Power Girl could well be true.
  • Secret Six – unceremoniously replaced by that travesty Suicide Squad above.
  • The Marvel Family (Shazam) – damn.
  • Adventure Comics, DC's third venerable title – at least it was spared Action's and Detective's indignity of losing its numbering for a “fresh” #1.
There are some other rumored or apparently leaked titles, including a Justice Society of America, but officially that's how it stands 10 June 2011.  A week of good news and bad news.  Here is Bleeding Cool's "updateable list" of rumors and confirmations:

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