I WILL TELL YOU #52: The New DC Implosion

“52 DC Comics on the rack, 52 DC Comics;
If one doesn’t sell, then bid it farewell.
51 DC Comics on the rack.”
Traditional campfire song, sort of

Only months into its relaunch, the first casualties from DC’s New 52 have been reported. OMAC, Hawk & Dove, Men of War, Static Shock, Blackhawks, and Mister Terrific will end in April with issue #8, although a number of new titles have also been announced for the following month.

In a general sense, this should come as no surprise; the scope of this relaunch was massive and while it would have been nice to see all of the new titles succeed, pretty much everyone knew that 100% success was unlikely. But the specific titles that are being cancelled should come as no surprise, either, at least to anyone who’s read an issue of any of them. OMAC has taken a lot of heat, as most any project that tries to ape Jack Kirby’s 1970s work usually does. As has Hawk & Dove, with fans citing the usual shortcomings that they cite with any Rob Liefeld project. And Mister Terrific seemed to be the comic that no one ever wanted or asked for. The rest, perhaps, just didn’t catch on.

There was no shortage of fans speculating which titles would go first, either, and the ones that got the axe were all odds-on favorites, in large part for the reasons mentioned above. I kind of wish I had speculated on this a little more myself early on, because I dumped five of these titles after their first issues. I would have seemed really smart if I had mentioned this publicly. Although, I actually stuck with Mister Terrific through issue #3, even though I was one of those who never asked for a Mister Terrific comic to be published.

So, I might not have been morbid enough to boldly predict the first wave of the DC New 52 Implosion, but by golly, I certainly have no qualms about predicting the second. Presuming there is one, and I believe there will be, because there are still plenty of titles from the original 46 still standing that have the reader in me scratching my head and the critic in me ready to explode. So, I’m going to take this opportunity to not only vent about some of these titles but also in turn predict the next five victims of the New 52 Implosion – Wave 2. You ready? Here goes:

Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #8

1)     Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE
So, what is this comic, exactly? A literate and well-versed Frankenstein monster is a key part of a covert ops organization that employs other monsters. So again I ask: what IS it? There’s this strange Peter Milligan / Grant Morrison-type weirdness-for-weirdness’-sake vibe here, which always gives me this uneasy feeling that I’m missing something. I’m sure there are those who dig this kind of thing, but I’m willing to bet not enough of them. After all, an effort has to fail commercially before it can be deemed a cult classic. This can be fondly remembered by those few once it’s gone.

Blue Beetle #8

2)     Blue Beetle
It was only six years ago that we got introduced to a new incarnation of Blue Beetle, who as  of late had been hanging around the fringes of the DCU. So it was puzzling that this second-rate character was awarded a new title as part of the relaunch. This comic shows how deep DC had to dig to reach this magic 52 number that they’ve obsessively embraced in recent years, as witnessed by a story that features a re-introduction of the same character, that we didn’t need, and an origin, that we’ve seen before; namely in Spider-Man, Firestorm, Green Lantern, et al. We didn’t need this title before, and we don’t need it now, and we won’t have it anymore once DC figures that out. Again.

Demon Knights #8

3)     Demon Knights
Does every single DC story that takes place in the past have to feature Vandal Savage? Set in the Dark Ages, this title seems insistent on establishing that the DCU existed at that time. And, um, I think we knew that. So that gives us Savage, Etrigan, Madame Xanadu . . . yawn. Pretty slim pickin’s back in those days. All this title proves is something that we already knew: that it would have sucked to have lived back then. And reading about it isn’t much better. Just because a comic can be set in a certain era, doesn’t mean it should be. These characters could never support a title before, and they’re not going to now.

Captain Atom #8

4)     Captain Atom
Older fans will remember how bad Superman comics were by the early 1980s; Superman’s powers had evolved so much over the years that no writer knew how to handle the character anymore. That’s about where Captain Atom is, and because of his non-iconic status, that’s probably where he’s going to stay. No writer has ever been able to make Captain Atom interesting, as it’s clearly difficult to find challenges for this character. The end result will be the ultimate challenge that no comic book character has ever survived: insufficient sales. Captain Atom will go down again.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #8

5)     Red Hood and the Outlaws
I haven’t met a single female reader who likes this book, largely because of the portrayal of Koriand’r that panders to the basest urges of fanboys everywhere. But aside from the fact that, yeah, Koriand’r is hot, just to get that out of the way, I don’t know many guys who like this book either. It’s not like it’s not fun; it kind of is, but it’s competing with fifty other DC titles. If this had been slid in the publishing schedule a year or two ago, more readers would have taken notice, but as part of major relaunch, it’s getting drowned out, and probably won’t be around in the long run.

Now, I know what you’re saying. I do, and I will tell you: you’re saying, “Frank/Beetle/Knights/Atom/Hood is my favorite comic, JJ! You’re crazy!” Or, you’re saying, “I can’t believe that you think Insert Unmentioned Sucky DC New 52 Title Here is going to stick around!” If so, we’d like to know what you think.

And I think that Frankenstein is toast. So there. Seeya.

JJ

About Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson (@quigonjimm) will tell you! He got a chance to write for the big boys at CBR, so we don’t see him around the site as much as we used to. Check out his stuff anyway!

Comments

  1. I am actually thoroughly enjoying Fankenstein. It was giving off this vibe like it could have turned out to be a poor man’s Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., but I think that bullet has been dodged. I don’t have the Grant Morrison “weird for the sake of being weird” feeling that you do, but I can see how you would. I respectfully hope you’re wrong on this one, JJ.

  2. Well written and though out conjecture, sir. I don’t think I would disagree with your picks either. Though I’ll admit to only buying one of the five boks you’ve “targeted”, Demon Knights, and I gave it up after issue # 3, along with a number of other new DC 52 books. I still think Omac was pretty good and I even liked the cross-over into the Frankenstein book, sort of. But not enough to start buying it!

    Actually I’ll be looking to trim even more of my DC purchases after they reach issue # 6. I like to give a book that many issues before cutting them, but a few of the new DCs never made it past issue # 3s!

  3. Good points. After perusing many collections at comic conventions, it comes to my attention that some series or issues of comics one looks at and says, “What were they thinking”? and “What the heck was I thinking?” I am tired of this, and after seeing what comics JJ was selling, it’s typical of my comment. Certain titles or mini-series seem ‘cool’ at the time, but after a while interest fades and yet another book collects mold and mildew in the bowels of comic shops. Sticking with current and back issues of titles that have always stood the test of time is paramount for the industry. A fresh, 22 year old college student is new, vibrant and seems cool, yet I wouldn’t let the kid clean up dog crap from the sidewalk for fear he couldn’t get it right. From ‘sick and tired of it all’ Dean, don’t you go changin’!

  4. Tom Costello says:

    Of this predicted lot Frankenstein is the only one I still buy (I was buying Mr Terrific but gave it up). I like it actually but if it dies I would understand. I like the presentation of the Monster and I also appreciate DC finding a role for Ray Palmer. I would gladly trade the rest of them mentioned however for a good Justice Society run, which hopefully we will get with Earth 2. I would also think that Green Lantern New Guardians will be going the way of the dodo sooner rather then later as it is pretty weak.

  5. Boy, I hate to be negative, but….yea, some MORE of the new 52 will be gone soon.

    See, I TRIED to give up continuity, but face it, the “old” Captain Atom and Blue Beetle were better, weren’t they?

    Frankenstein….I like, so I’m hoping it ain’t toast.

    Strangely, I like Demon Knights too, but just don’t really want to see too much more of them.

    Red Hood and the Outlaws (as well as Teen Titans and Superboy) should all go away as they disgrace everything that had been done on any previous Teen Titans title. The Teen Titans aren’t the X-Men, though you couldn’t tell by reading any of these three!

    And, why no pining for the end of Grifter, Voodoo and I, Vampire? I want to give two of those three a chance, but…

  6. And, what will replace them (though DC doesn’t say 52 is a magic number….)

    We have six new series coming soon

    http://gobacktothepast.com/more-cool-stuff-dcs-new-52-the-second-wave-first-time-around/

    What do you think of them?

  7. The comics I’m selling that Dean refers to include many recent DCs: Final Crisis, Brightest Day, and yeah, some of the New 52. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that, but I’m really having trouble remembering why I was actually looking forward to many of these comics.

    I’m actually glad to see that people are enjoying FRANKENSTEIN, because I sure haven’t heard much reaction about it. I don’t make these picks for probable cancellation with any kind of glee, and in truth I hope I AM wrong.

    When Ted Kord is brought back AND fans embrace the idea without moaning about dead characters coming back, THEN there will be hope that past continuity can be overlooked . . .

    And, DC doesn’t HAVE to say 52 is
    a magic number; their actions say it for them. A relaunch with, say, 35 titles would have probably have been better.

  8. First things first: THIS version of Blue Beetle follows the most widely displayed version of ANY Blue Beetle in that Jaime Reyes was on the critically acclaimed and much ballyhooed Batman The Brave & the Bold cartoon. Folks weren’t going to go rooting through back issues to try and find Jaime’s adventures, so it makes complete sense to offer this up. Besides, Ig Guara’s art is spectacular on this book.

    As for it be ing a retread of Spider-Man/Firestorm/Green Lantern, what were those titles if not retreads of something else? Firestorm was Gerry Conway TRYING REAL HARD to create a Spider-Man-like character for the DC Universe. I ask, where is that kind of character now? Where is the character struggling against his power, trying to compose his morals, and learning exactly what it means to be human and hero? Right here in Blue Beetle.

    Sorry. I’ll put that soapbox away. For now.

    Frankenstein is a book that I’m really digging, as is O.M.A.C., so I hope Frank’ll stick around a bit.

    One point that I expected to see here, but didn’t is the fact that the single Rob Liefeld book in the New 52 is cancelled with issue #8. So what happens? He’s given one other book entirely and two more to write. Those three titles, JJ, should be numbered amongst the next implosion wave.

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