So who didn’t make the cut?
January 2013 brought us the announcement of 4 titles who will no longer see the light of day come April. I’ll be honest: only one of them did I really care about personally. First up is the family and kid friendly Superman title Superman Family Adventures. We’re not finding as many titles that appeal to a truly younger crowd, so even though I don’t personally read that one it’s sad to see it go. Next is the one that I do collect and I’m not that happy about: Saucer Country. Why am I upset? Number 1, it’s a unique title. Number 2, it’s a Vertigo title and with the changes in Vertigo’s management I don’t feel that any title cancellation is in the label’s best interest. However, Paul Cornell has now moved over to Marvel and will be writing Wolverine after handing the Demon Knights reigns over to Robert Venditti, so maybe that’s part of the reason.
OK, now that we’ve covered the 2 books not in the mainstream DCU (if we can really call it that), let’s take a look at which New 52 titles are gone. The first is DC Universe Presents, which sounds an awful lot like Marvel Comics Presents from back in the day… Basically, it was a title that gave characters a chance to see if the public took to them within the confines of the New 52. Unfortunately, it never took off. Some of the characters they brought in just didn’t make sense (such as the Challengers of the Unnknown) and with others I think the story itself was lacking. I really don’t see why Deadman needed a solo story here when I saw him in Justice League Dark as well – he was in a title. (I completed the Deadman run but dropped it with Challengers; I did pick up #0, though, just for OMAC. I also dropped JLD around the same time as I did DCUP.) I think that without a clear focus on what was going on within the universe itself after the relaunch, this was just waiting to happen.
The final January cancellation that surprised many was I, Vampire. Now, when the New 52 started I gave every title a chance. Seriously. I bought the first 5 issues of every New 52 title to see what would stick for me and what wouldn’t. I, Vampire made the first cut but not the second. I liked the premise but, for some reason, I just could not get into the story. It didn’t grab me as it grabbed others – I cannot explain why. Maybe it’s just the concept of vampires within a superhero universe (of which I also complain about with Marvel, mind you), but it’s just not something that grabbed me. I remember the artwork being good, but I just could not get into the story at all… But, different strokes for different folks.
OK, now that January is out-of-the-way let’s look at the 6 titles announced today that would also be getting the cut. Most of the list is not a real big surprise to me, but one title did stand out as a “Really?” moment for me.
- Team 7 – I bought the first few issues and gave it a chance, but… No. I couldn’t get it. Yes, it took place in the past, but it just didn’t fly. It almost seemed like DC was trying to grab a number of their characters from a handful of old (and new) titles and toss them together. Amanda Waller and Deathstroke? OK, maybe. Black Canary? No. Didn’t fly (no pun intended). Grifter? Nuh-uh. Fairchild? Nope. Steve Trevor? Right. It just did not make sense from the get-go with that team. The first 4 issues (0-3) did not grab me and I opted to end with #3.
- Sword of Sorcery – I really wanted to like this book. I really did. I remember reading the old Amethyst stories as a kid and when they mentioned they were bringing her back I was hopeful, but unfortunately was let down. First off, not every magical story needs John Constantine to show up. Second, the backup stories were a huge let-down for me. The back-up story didn’t work for your war books either, DC; both of those got the can. What books do you have with backups now? All-Star Western which has a hugely established character of Jonah Hex, and Justice League which has… well, everyone. The occasional Bat-book has a backup story as well, but it’s actually related to the main story so that’s a different beast. No, I feel let-down by this announcement but I’m not surprised. (Really, I was hoping to see The Warlord make an appearance…)
- Ravagers – I read “The Culling” through Teen Titans and Legion Lost. I enjoyed it a little, even though I dropped Legion Lost some time back. But I didn’t think that this book would survive. I only got up to issue #2 and said enough was enough. Maybe it’s because I am a huge New Teen Titans fan and I just could not see Gar Logan as being red, or maybe I’d prefer Fairchild in an updated Gen13 book. It just did not grab me. Sorry.
- Savage Hawkman – Hawkman has not been my favorite character or the most well-known character for me (except for the fact that his Super Powers action figure wouldn’t fit into the storage case I had as a kid). But it didn’t pull me in like I was hoping. Even the crossover with Green Arrow… I didn’t even pick up the issue that’s how little I cared. Now, when it was announced that Rob Liefeld was joining the creative team for it, even if I was enjoying it I probably would have dropped it. I’m not a huge Liefeld fan and a creative team can make or break even the most optimal character (don’t get me started on Chuck Austen during his Marvel tenure…) and as soon as that was announced it was like DC saying “We have a big name on this book! Buy it!” It was a death knoll. And speaking of…
- Deathstroke – Yeah, another Liefeld book. What I will say, to give Liefeld credit, is he gave him back his classic outfit… at least on the covers. I never picked up the comic after issue #5 so I wouldn’t know what else was going on since then. (This isn’t a Liefeld bash at all – I honestly dropped both these books before he came anywhere near them. They just weren’t my cup of tea. And I can say that – I’m Canadian.) I’d like to see Deathstroke show up as a Teen Titans adversary again (we have Trigon, why not Slade?) and bring Joey/Jericho back to the Titans in the meantime.
- Fury of Firestorm – Although I’m not surprised this book got the shaft, I’m disappointed. With Dan Jurgens coming on board I think it was finally getting some footing. Although it started with way too many Firestorms, it did give is a cool concept of the Fury as an amalgamated Firestorm entity. I liked that. But it went through a few creative team iterations and never found its ground. That is kind of sad, as recently i think it found its hold in going back to some of the old concepts such as Firestorm and Captain Atom not being able to be near each other as their powers set the other off in some way.
So, there we have it. 8 books gone from the New 52, and what’s interesting beyond that is that DC has not announced any replacement titles. We can perhaps expect those with the May solicits to be released later this month but to announce cancellations and no replacements…. Interesting. At minimum, I expect to see 2 new titles in May to replace those that end in April, and the rest to maybe follow in June. Maybe DC is taking it easy, or maybe they’re trying to do yet another Bat-book (as we don’t have enough).
Thoughts? Are you glad that these books have got the chop? Should something else have gone instead?