Friday, January 20, 2012

Analysis: The Second Wave of the New 52


The Second Wave of the New 52

Recently, DC announced the cancellation of six titles from Septembers relaunch called the 'new 52.' The six titles include the Rob Liefield-penciled Hawk and Dove, as well as Men of War (Brandon, Derrenick), Mister Terrific (Wallace, Gugliotta), Static Shock (Bernadin, McDaniel), Blackhawks (Costa, Lashley), and O.M.A.C., penned by DC co-publisher Dan DiDio. DC cited low sales as reason for their cancellation. While this may have been true for the excellent O.M.A.C. and Men of War, critics have lamented titles such as Hawk and Dove and Blackhawks for poor writing and directionless storytelling.

DC followed up news of the cancellations with the announcement of six new titles to fill the empty slots that will new known as the 'Second Wave' of New 52 titles. They are as follows. I've added some commentary, but take it with a grain of salt until you read them when they launch and judge for yourself.

Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
Written by Grant Morrison
Pencilled by Chris Bunham

Honestly, did we really need a second run of Batman, Inc? Was anyone but Grant Morrison clamoring to do this? At this point, I'm sure Morrison has DC by the balls and is pretty much allowed to do whatever he wants, despite how weird it gets (anyone remember Seven Soliders back in 2004?) I tried to read Batwing back in September, but was sorely disappointed, so I'm not too hot on Batman Incorporated.

Earth 2
Written by James Robinson
Pencilled by Nicola Scott

On the flip side, Earth 2 is the book fans have been clamoring for since the Justice Society of America went away back before Flashpoint screwed everything up for everyone ever. Instead of mucking up it's own established history of superheroes only appearing 5-10 years ago, DC has opted to give readers the Justice Society once more, but will keep them on their native Earth 2 in the multiverse...which now seems to exist again. Some might argue that this title calls into question if Infinite Crisis ever happened, while others will keep their mouths shut and be happy to have a Justice Society title once again.

World's Finest
Written by Paul Levitz
Pencilled by George Perez and Kevin Maguire

Another puzzling choice, but for different reasons than Batman Incorporated. Powerl Girl and Huntress will be the focus of World's Finest, starring as citizens of Earth 2 trapped in our universe trying to find a way back home. I understand the desire to introduce more characters into the revamped universe, and I think World's Finest is an excellent way to do that. Honestly, I just wonder why Power Girl and Huntress specifically? I understand they're both from Earth 2, but in this revamped world, they could have paired almost any character with Power Girl and made it work because why not! I'll remain optimistically skeptical until I read the first issue.

Dial H
Written by China Mieville
Pencilled by Mateus Santoluoco

A re-imagining of Dial H for Hero, this new series by novelist China Mieville sounds awesome! The concept revolves around a mysterious dial that grants normal people superpowers for a short time by entering H-E-R-O on the dial. Not too dissimilar to Resurrection Man, an already fantastic series, Dial H has the potential to be a great showcase of heroes and powers.

G.I. Combat
Written by J.T. Krul (main issue), Jimmy Palmiotti (back-ups), and Jon Arcudi (back-ups)
Pencilled by Ariel Olivetti (main issue), Justin Grey (back-ups), and Scott Kolins (back-ups)

As you can see from the list of authors and artists, G.I. Combat is going to be a more collaborative effort. While DC cancelled Men of War and Blackhawks, it's two military-themed books, this new series will be reinterpreting classic DC military tales for the modern age, including the first primary arc about the War that Time Forgot. Back-up tales featuring the Unknown Soldier and the Haunted Tank are on schedule with more to come!

The Ravagers
Written by Howard Mackie
Pencilled by Ian Churchill

Loosely spun-off from events in Superboy and Teen Titans, this new series from Howard Mackie will tell the tale of four super-powered teenagers on the run from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., a sinister organization trying to turn them into super-villains. My assumption is that Rose Wilson, daughter of Deathstroke, will be among the group, seeing as her moniker was Ravager before the 'new 52' relaunch and she's been heavily featured in Superboy since it debuted.

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