DC cuts six, adds six to New 52; brings back Earth 2

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Some shall stand and some shall fall. Everyone know it was only a matter of time before some adjustments would be made to the New 52 lineup — and the John Rood/Bob Wayne interviews hinted that it was coming soon — and boom — six in and six out.

Heading into the big used comics box in the sky are BLACKHAWKS, HAWK AND DOVE, MEN OF WAR, MISTER TERRIFIC, O.M.A.C. and STATIC SHOCK, which will all end with their eighth issue (Meaning two issues of each will be forever uncollected — see, we told you to go to that back issue bin.)

Adding to the lineup, a variety of new and long-rumored titles — and news of more crossovers and more parallel worlds.

 *   BATMAN INCORPORATED – Writer: Grant Morrison. Artist: Chris Burnham. The acclaimed ongoing writer of ACTION COMICS, Grant Morrison, presents a fresh take on BATMAN INCORPORATED, in which the Batman brand is franchised globally in preparation for a major international threat.

Comment: Of course, this is a continuation of Morrison’s long running story line, which wrapped up its previous run with BATMAN: LEVIATHAN.

 *   EARTH 2 – Writer: James Robinson. Artist: Nicola Scott. The greatest heroes on a parallel Earth, the Justice Society combats threats that will set them on a collision course with other worlds.

COMMENT: This had long been announced, probably as a way to keep fans happy that the popular Scott wasn’t without a job. The bigs news, however is…EARTH 2?

 *   WORLD’S FINEST – Writer: Paul Levitz. Artists: George Perez and Kevin Maguire. Stranded on our world from a parallel reality, Huntress and Power Girl struggle to find their way back to Earth 2. Perez and Maguire will be the artists on alternating story arcs.

COMMENT: So this will be the new OLD Power Girl, not the one that was just a girlfriend in the now-cancelled MISTER TERRIFIC. Also…parallel characters? HEAD EXPLODO.

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 *   DIAL H – Writer: China Miéville. Artist: Mateus Santoluoco. The first ongoing series from acclaimed novelist China Miéville, this is a bold new take on a cult classic concept about the psychological effects on an everyman who accidentally gains powers to become a hero. Covers by Brian Bolland, and edited by Karen Berger

COMMENT: Miéville must really want to write DC comics. The much lauded English SF writer got his Vertigo reboot of SWAMP THING scotched in favor of Swampy’s return to the DCU. Berger’s involvement is a bit more of a surprise. So now at least one of the Vertigo-like books of the New 52 really WILL be a Vertigo book. This is the first time Berger has edited a superhero book in a looooong time. Miéville told USA Today:

Best-selling author China Miéville has long dreamt of doing a new take on one of his favorite comics as a youngster, Dial H for Hero, and he gushes at the thought of taking the reins of Dial H and working with famed British artist Brian Bolland. “I cannot believe that I get to just make up superheroes. It’s what you did as a kid,” Miéville says. “The whole point of Dial is that the roster of capes is changing every single month, often two or three times.” He also promises a darker series with horror, sci-fi and lots of psychological ramifications for its dialing protagonist. “In the original run, he’s turning into a giant spring coil to foil bank robbers, and I’m like, OK, what if you are a 25-year-old guy and you turn into a superpowered spring coil? That’s going to mess with your head.”

 *   G.I. COMBAT – Writer: J.T. Krul. Artist: Ariel Olivetti. Featuring the return of a classic DC Comics series, THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT, along with rotating back-up stories and creative teams – including THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, with writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti and artist Dan Panosian; and THE HAUNTED TANK, with writer John Arcudi and artist Scott Kolins.

COMMENT: Well the first two war books didn’t work, but they are standing by the genre.

 *   THE RAVAGERS – Writer: Howard Mackie. Artist: Ian Churchill. Spinning off from TEEN TITANS and SUPERBOY, this series finds four superpowered teens on the run and fighting against the organization that wants to turn them into supervillains.

COMMENT: Okay, everyone who was making Howard Mackie jokes since this whole thing got announced? Here’s your $5. Mackie is an old Marvel hand, whose long run on Spider-Man was once singled out as the main reason why the line had to be totally rebooted with the Ultimates. Obviously DC EIC Bob Harras is a man who stands by his friends, and this is a positive quality. Content-wise this title seems to have created the most speculation. Will it be a Gen13ish thing, or what? GIven the name of the “Ravagers” it sounds like BATTLE ROYALE.

The changed were announced in USA Today, which included a side-bar, Seven things to know about DC Comics’ new wave of books.

Bob Harras showed up at Newsarama.com to explain more:

- While Earth 2 is now confirmed, and DC did talk about “parallel worlds,” DC would not confirm to Newsarama that there are 52 worlds. But the company’s continuing use of the number “52″ would suggest they’re sticking with that number in the DCnU, as would the already announced upcoming Morrison mini-series Multiversity.

- The Ravagers is also linked to Legion Lost.

- DC is specifically not announcing what the prices of these new series are, although it’s clear that G.I. Combat will have a page count that DC usually prices at $3.99.

And what about that parallel world? Wasn’t keeping things simple part of the whole plan?

Harras: Earth 2 has been such a part and parcel of DC mythology that we thought this would be a great place to bring it back. And because a lot of story and a lot of characters have been discussed since the beginning, since before the launch of the New 52, we had discussions: What would it mean if there was an Earth 2 out there? What storylines would this bring to us? What drama? What tension? And that’s one of the reasons we went in that direction.

EARTH 2 I JUST CAN’T QUIT YOU.

It did not go unnoticed that two of the canceled titles included minority leads: Static Shock and Mister Terrific. Neither cancellation is much of a surprise: Static Shock was one of the first books to undergo upheaval when writer John Rozum left early on. And Mister Terrific…well, anytime you have the word “terrific” in a title you leave the door open for a lot of jokes. Newsarama’s Vaneta Rogers pressed Harras on this point:

Harras: As I said earlier, I want every book to succeed. Also, those characters that are not going to be in their own titles will be appearing in other books as well. We are definitely dedicated to diversity. That’s not going to stop now. That’s an ongoing part and parcel to what we do.

As I said earlier, those characters are not going away. They will be appearing in other books.

Nrama: Everybody’s seen the sales number. These three titles with people of color weren’t selling well. Without pointing fingers at anyone, is it at least disappointing to see that readers didn’t buy titles that you were hoping would add diversity to the line-up?

Harras: As I said earlier, you want every book to work. You do. And when it doesn’t work, yes, it’s always a disappointment. And you can Monday morning quarterback until the sun comes up. But it just didn’t happen. You just try your best and go to the next bunch of books.

UPDATE: The Harras interview at CBR is up and he talks about marketing lessons learned:

I think somewhat. I don’t think we’re going to launch 52 titles again, not for a long time. I do think there’s something to say we’re putting these books out, we’re proud of them, this is an event that we’re bringing these books out. It’s part of, again, a plan. It may be a smaller launch, but it is all part of a plan as we expand the DC Universe. So, yes. As long as you give people a reason to be excited and give them something to go, “Yes, this was worth it. This was worth the wait, this story was great, this art was great,” I think that’s a bigger win than anything else.


While everyone knew not every New 52 book would succeed, the big question for the Second Wave is now: will these books debut at levels comparable to the original lineup….or at the more typical (but still high) numbers of the newer books?

We get our answers this spring.

Comments

  1. Estimates for the bottom ten Nu52 titles (plus newer miniseries with ++). Cancelled titles with **.

    I VAMPIRE #4 – 19,44
    BLUE BEETLE #4 – 19,267
    ++PENGUIN PAIN AND PREJUDICE #3 – 19,131
    ++SHADE #3 – 18,922
    VOODOO #4 – 18,633

    **HAWK AND DOVE #4 – 18,014
    ++RAY #1 – 17,779
    CAPTAIN ATOM #4 – 17,917
    **OMAC #4 – 16,534
    **MISTER TERRIFIC #4 – 16,167
    **STATIC SHOCK #4 – 15,763
    **BLACKHAWKS #4 – 15,129
    **MEN OF WAR #4 – 14,977

    Captain Atom looks like it could be in trouble, but I guess Liefeld costs more than whoever draws that book.

  2. There’s a story I read back around the time that Harras was fired that Howard Mackie was Harras’s suggestion to write Ultimate Spider-Man with, IIRC, Scott Lobdell on Ultimate X-Men. Joe Quesada, then freelancing as the editor of the “Marvel Knights” line, suggested Bendis and Millar.

    One cannot escape the impression that Harras sincerely likes the work of Mackie and Lobdell. De gustibus and all that, but really….

  3. Rikk Odinson says:

    Sweet! First I get to keep the (pretty much) original LSH in two books but now I get the original Power Girl and Huntress (hopefully for the most part as well) in a new ongoing!

    Yay DC! Thanks!

  4. I’m surprised Voodoo, Grifter and Resurrection Man weren’t on the chopping block as well. The main problem seems to be a mandate from the powers that be to stall story lines into 2012 for big new year jumping off points. Even the books I continued to collect past issue 2 have gotten a bit tedious as their story lines went nowhere. Just fight fight fight and snappy banter…no actual progression of events, further exploration into even the lead characters or introduction of anything new to the mix. I’d say Batwoman was the rare exemption to this stall, though it seems those writers threw away the original premise in favor of their 2012 twist. The finale of their killer from the first story line was more than a little anticlimactic! It is my wish that DC will let books stand on their own in this new year, allowing creators to do what they do best, or risk having their top talent jump ship.

  5. MBunge says:

    I was getting MEN OF WAR and O.M.A.C. but can’t really complain about the cancellations. The back-up features in MOW were clearly better than the “real soldiers in a world of super-heroes” stuff at the front of the book. And O.M.A.C. is a brilliant Kirby homage…but that’s all it is.

    I’ll be all over EARTH 2 and will give WORLD’S FINEST, DIAL H and G.I. Combat a look.

    Mike

  6. Oops, sorry, I, Vampire #4 has estimates of 19,441, I left off the final 1 originally.

  7. Earth-2 Chad says:

    I was planning to hop back on Static Shock with Marc Bernardin’s first issue, and I still will, but it’ll be a shame to see it get cancelled after two issues of his run if I enjoy it.

  8. Chris Hero says:

    @Kevin

    I think Harras is just loyal to his friends. It makes sense, too…if you’re a boss and you have friends who are dependable and easy to work with, why not take care of them? (Obviously the why not is their books don’t sell that strongly, but comics sales didn’t use to be a spectator sport.)

  9. Micah says:

    If Dial H is anywhere near to H.E.R.O. from a few years back, it’ll be awesome. Sad that OMAC is going away; totally fun read. The Grant Morrison Batman Incorporated is a no-brainer. I’ll wait for reviews on everything else. Love DC comics right now!

  10. Synsidar says:

    I would have ruled out ever bringing back Earth 2. Conceptually, it’s possible to distinguish between alternate timelines and parallel universes. Alternate timelines are all linked to each other, with one “prime” timeline serving as the origin point; parallel universes arise independently of each other, and have their own alternate timelines. Even if a given parallel universe is practically identical to another universe’s alternate timeline, they’re physically separate, and couldn’t be accessed via time travel machines.

    DC’s set of Crises only works, conceptually, as manipulation of alternate timelines. There’s no reason to be concerned about parallel universes, since they originate independently, and there are infinitely many of them, to boot. With alternate timelines, though, it’s possible to have an insane person intent on conquering alternate timelines or eliminating them, for the sake of existential simplicity and purity. If Earth 2 is an alternate timeline, then it should have been caught up in the great collapse of timelines in FLASHPOINT and should no longer exist.

    Note that Marvel is no better off, from an editorial standpoint. The writers are overly dependent on alternate futures for source material, which results in serious storytelling problems; those same alternate futures would interfere with any reboot. Marvel Editorial isn’t even trying to coordinate appearances any more; trying to connect the appearances of Wonder Man in the AVENGERS ANNUAL (out last week) and AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #8 to Marvel’s upcoming event makes a person’s head hurt. A reader shouldn’t be left with the impression that the editors and writers at a company don’t know what they’re doing.

    SRS

  11. Jason says:

    Reinforces to me that it was a good thing I didn’t invest in Static past the first three issues. Men of War is a let down but I agree with the earlier post the back-ups where there was no super hero thread were far superiour.

  12. You know, when DC began this whole “52 comics” standard I started wondering… is this a way for DC to eventually go the “once-a-year” route for it’s titles, much like “Love & Rockets” did?

    I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that this (now) archaic practice of pumping out 22 page stories every month and charging upwards of $4 can’t possibly last. Especially with the addition of the digital format emerging as another venue. Let’s face it, about the only reason the monthly comic continues to exist is to keep comic shops alive.

    I’d thought the total of 52 was an odd choice at first, but with this news of six cancellation quickly replaced with six new titles to keep the total at 52 it’s become somewhat apparent to me. DC couldd easily set itself about to produce book-like comics (similar to the price & format of the aforementioned L&R) and release a new book every week. Hence the 52 titles for the year’s 52 weeks.

    This makes an odd kind of sense to me.

    Or am I just being nuts?

  13. “It did not go unnoticed that two of the cancelled titles included minority leads: Static Shock and Mister Terrific.”

    And yet it always seems to go unnoticed that the also-canceled OMAC also has a minority lead. Probably because he’s a big blue guy in his superhero guise.

  14. “which will all end with their eighth issue (Meaning two issues of each will be forever uncollected — see we told you to go to that back issue bin.) ”

    Were you being ironic, Heidi? None of the cancelled titles have collections coming. (Well, there is the reprint of the FIRST Liefeld H&D run, but that one was kind of fun. And I could see it getting cancelled anyway)

    -B

  15. I am thunderstruck by the DIAL “H” announcement. China Miéville, of all people, leaping at the chance for a big corporate gig? Doing work-for-hire? Submitting himself voluntarily to the capitalist exploitation machine? What is this world of lies?

  16. Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, AND J.T. Krul on one book? Christmas came early this year, yeah buddy.

  17. More rope for Resurrection Man! I’m really enjoying that title, and wish it would do better.

    None of these new books really scream to me. Maybe Dial H for Hero, and World’s Finest (though only for the artists, as I sadly find no interest in either character.) Hmm…

  18. “Meaning two issues of each will be forever uncollected — see we told you to go to that back issue bin”

    Or pick them up digitally, as that’s the other big change with digital comics, old issues of any digital comic should always be available.

  19. BryanD says:

    Glad to see Resurrection Man hanging on, for at least awhile, I really like that book.

    Worlds Finest and Dial H will probably find their way onto my pull list.

  20. Morrison continuing in his pre-nu52 continuity bubble. Return of original-style Power Girl. Earth-2. Parallel Realit(ies).

    And the CRISIS on the left… is now the Reboot on the right??

    YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    Meet the New DC. Same as the old DC.

  21. As pointed out above: Mister Terrific and Static Shock have been cancelled.

    But it should be noted that Batwing (David Zavimbe, the African character who is the “Batman of Africa”) is still alive and it’s a terrific book.

    For those looking for positive black super heroes in comics, this is a great place to start.

  22. DanielT says:

    “Were you being ironic, Heidi? None of the cancelled titles have collections coming. ”

    Wrong. DC announced their collection plans for the New 52 a couple of months ago.

    http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/11/10/dc-announces-new-52-collection-plans/

    http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2011/11/09/dc-comics-the-new-52-hardcovers-coming-in-2012/

  23. Ike Iszany says:

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

  24. Torsten Adair says:

    World’s Finest is a nice idea… Batman and Superman, but they’re women! Written by Mr. Levitz, who created The Huntress and wrote a good chunk of Power Girl.

    As for Dial H… I’m having flashbacks to another British fantasy writer taking an obscure character and completely reworking the premise. (Oh, wait… there are countless examples. I was thinking of Neil Gaiman.)

    DC, you are redeemed for cancelling his Swamp Thing (although you could have published it in parallel with the new series, just like John Constantine).

    New 52 Earth-2 (electric boogaloo)… Didn’t Flash knit them all together? Or was that just three universes? So are there 52, or 50? 51? Does anyone care?

    Oh, and since there’s an Earth-2, there can be “other” versions of Superman, Batman, etc. After “Year One”, when DC actually put the universe number on the cover (Captain Carrot, for example), DC could have had 52 different versions of Superman flying around the stands. Like Elseworlds, you can publish a mini-series, and if it has promise, you continue it. So DC can keep the New 52-niverse running, while developing other alternatives. Then instead of a re-whatever, you just shift publishing resources over to the line that’s making money.

  25. Zoomy says:

    Earth-2 isn’t new news. They were talking about it in the “All Access” page right from the start – the one about the Huntress.

  26. The Beat says:

    Brian and Daniel — the trades were announced. Perhaps they will collect all 8 issues…or quietly be cancelled.

  27. DanielT says:

    “Didn’t Flash knit them all together? Or was that just three universes? So are there 52, or 50? 51? Does anyone care?”

    I can’t believe I’m answering this because while I DON’T really care, it is something I’ve thought about.

    My take is Flashpoint #5 pretty clearly states what Flash did only affected Earth 0/New Earth. That world had been separated into three timelines: DCU, Vertigo and Wildstorm. Pandora used Barry to merge the three together.

    So is Earth-50 still Wildstorm world, as 52 established? Who knows, but why not since those characters are different than their current incarnations and so many of the other 52 Earths are variations of the DCU characters.

    But as Synsidar alluded to above, it gets really tricky when you start messing with parallel worlds AND alternate timelines.

    And this should satisfy my nerd posting quota for at least six months.

  28. Announced, sure, but not solicited — and with the parent title cancelled, I’m wiling to place a $5 bet right now that says they’ll never BE solicited.

    (We’ll find out in about a week, when the next solicits come along

    -B

  29. Even solicitations wouldn’t be binding. The next-to-last issue of Static Shock was solicited as a “new beginning” or something like that because it has a new writer. The penalty for changing their minds is… nothing. Same with cancelling an intended collection: if they want to make it look like they’re “100% behind” a series, they can say they intend to print a collection without worrying that maybe they won’t be able to.

  30. DanielT says:

    I’ll take that bet because I think they will be solicited (and probably with all 8 issues instead of just 6).

    Of course, those solicitations could be cancelled after they get the initial orders.

  31. DanielT says:

    And JAQ just beat me to it.

  32. DC will become eventually like Archie Comics,and just publish Batman,Superman,JlA and Green Lantern titles. Why publish other titles just to cancel them less then a year later? Let`s face it all DC fans want is Batman,Nightwing,Batwoman,Robin and Catwoman titles they could care less about Grifter or VOODOO. Dam they must publish a monthly Joker comic next.

  33. Synsidar says:

    New 52 Earth-2 (electric boogaloo)… Didn’t Flash knit them all together? Or was that just three universes? So are there 52, or 50? 51? Does anyone care?

    It matters because for a story written for teenagers and older, the characters have to be able to discuss the situation intelligently. If neither the writer nor any of his characters knows the differences between an alternate timeline and a parallel universe, he’s not capable of writing a good story on the subject.

    It also matters because real-world scientific research has progressed to the point that understanding the “many universes” model of reality is basic stuff, as is the basic makeup of DNA. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle underlies the physics of water and the existence of life. When fantasy is more primitive and less fantastic than reality, there’s a problem.

    But, again, Marvel is no better than DC. The current AVENGERS: X-SANCTION storyline, for example — there’s no logic in it. The notion of someone going from the “future” to the present to prevent something from happening only works in one fictional reality per story. Otherwise, the logical extension of the idea, given an unlimited number of alternate futures, is that some number of people less than ∞ will come to the same present to prevent things from occurring, and the universe will implode.

    In an alternate-reality story, logic is essential. Otherwise, there’s no story.

    SRS

  34. How did DC manage to get JT Krul to write two books a month? They must be paying him millions to keep other publishers from snatching him up.

  35. DanielT — Contact me at brian@comixexperience.com and we can “shake” on the bet, alright?

    -B

  36. Zach what’s with the double dose of JT Krul love that no one else in the world feels? He is an awful writer.

  37. Sorry to see O.M.A.C. go. One of the surprise books that I was really enjoying (the other is Suicide Squad). Didn’t I read somewhere that sales were good and no need to worry about it being cancelled?

    I’d pay the extra buck to have an O.M.A.C. backup in Frankenstein, or maybe a monthly monster anthology?

    Glad to see Earth 2 announced. Hoping this is a $2.99 title to replace O.M.A.C. The world needs more JSA.

  38. Jason says:

    My personal feeling is that DC will start launching the new titles that have flagship ties at $3.99 like Marvel did at first before making any new launch $3.99.

  39. Sorry to see Men of War and Static Shock go. I think the latter could’ve been better executed. Fun to see Virgil again though.

    @Synsidar, I agree. It also leaves me feeling the New 52 “DC Earth” is just one of many out there – so not “the” DC Earth. That at some point DC could revert back to the pre-New 52 Earth.

    ‘Earth 2’ and ‘Worlds’ Finest’ also feel too old-school and old-timer-DC. Wasn’t the New 52 about sweeping that all away?

  40. I just think Jesus smiled a little more brightly on JT Krul, giving him the gift of creativity and skill in the art of writing.

  41. Ooh, an OMAC backup in Frankenstein? *That* would bring me off the fence about that book…

  42. That Hero cover has a Morrison Doom Patrol vibe. I approve.

    Rob S. => Frankenstein is a great title. Total monster mayhem fun. Give it a shot.

  43. @Ed

    But it’s not the “old DC” of 2010. It’s the old DC of 1985. Which, to me, is better.

    @Synisdar

    At least the Avengers Annual proclaims that it took place before Fear Itself. I have no idea when Children’s Crusade is still taking place … in between the Avengers Annual but also before Fear Itself, maybe?

  44. Ron, I’ve been buying and enjoying it. But the budget’s tight, and some books I like are going to see the knife. Frankenstein is one on the edge… and an OMAC backup by Didio and Giffen would solidify my decision to keep it.

    But it’s definitely a terrific book!

  45. David says:

    Shouldn’t it be “Text H” or “Tweet H” at this point? Just sayin’…

  46. THE RETURN OF THE JSA! ALAN SCOTT, JAY GARRIC, POWERGIRL! THANK YOU DC! YOU HAVE REEDEEMED YOURSELVES FOR TAKING AWAY THE ORIGINAL SUPER TEAM. I WILL RECIND THE BLACK MAGIC CURSE I PLACED ON YOU FOR TAKING AWAY MY BELOVED POWERGIRL. AND SOMEONE FINALLY CUT THE “BOOB WINDOW” OFF OF PG! THANK YOU! LOOKS SO MUCH BETTER.

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