The first casualties of the New 52 are official.
Earlier I posted my personal predictions, based on just the first set of numbers, saying that any book selling less than the lowest selling Vertigo title was at risk of cancellation.
There were a few surprises, but all in all, much of what I thought would happen, has. Mister Terrific, Hawk and Dove, OMAC, Static Shock and Blackhawks were my likeliest candidates and they are all now going to end with issue #8. No I am not supernaturally gifted with a power beyond mortal ken, this was just simple numbers. A bit more of a surprise to me was that Men of War is also ending. The impression I had gotten was the sales of that were climbing, and was really developing a following. Many of these will end their runs selling better than other titles that I predicted for the chopping block. House of Mystery and Captain Atom appear to be getting a few more readers and holding on though. I would expect announcements of some getting the ax will come once numbers on the first trade and hardcover collections come in. There have always been books that survive only because of the sales of the collections in the past and the New 52 will be no different.
I can’t imagine that there was anyone inside or outside of the DC offices that expected all 52 to survive and this is just the first wave of cancellations. There will almost certainly be another bunch, 3 or 4 titles at least to end with their second arc. To DC’s credit, they are spinning it well and making it feel organic. They were ready, as we all would have suspected, with the launch of a new group of books to replace them. In some cases, the replacement is pretty obvious continuations of concepts and characters that we saw in the cancelled books and other recent DC projects.
The new books have a great deal of promise. Everyone expected to see another Batman Inc to conclude the arc and it is now official. Not a surprise. Also announced early on, and now on the schedule is Earth 2 by James Robinson and Nicola Scott. The characters have been a fan favorite since their return to the DCU and Robinson’s take on them has been excellent and mostly well received. On my must get list is World’s Finest, starring Power Girl (yay!!) and the Huntress by Paul Levitz with George Perez and Kevin Maguire rotating art duties for each arc. These are the Earth 2 versions, stuck in our world and trying to get home. Makes me wonder what will become of this Earth’s Karen Starr though, as she has been relegated to girlfriend in one of the now cancelled books. This new book looks to be a continuation, of sorts from the Huntress mini series, and Levitz is the only writer that has ever really done justice to the Huntress. Of course he DID create the character, so one would hope that to be the case.
Dial H, G.I. Combat and The Ravagers all look to be interesting books. But only Dial H will get a look from me. I have never gone in for combat books and anything spinning off from the mediocre Teen Titans holds no interest for me. I have always been surprised that war books do well. Men of War is likely going to have its audience carry over into the new book. China Mieville on Dial H will be a draw for a while at least, but I think The Ravagers will not hold on very long, just a hunch really.
I am still enjoying the New 52 and think that it is being handled well. I am looking forward to what happens next, and that is what DC really want to hear from the fans. Love the books or hate them, they are still generating interest nearly 6 months in, and when was the last time a comics “event” did that?