When December's sales numbers were released, over forty of DC's 52 ongoing titles were in the top 100 for sales in the industry. Six that weren't? Blackhawks, Hawk and Dove, Men of War, Mr. Terrific, O.M.A.C. and Static Shock. Those six titles will be concluding their stories with #8, according to DC's blog The Source, and will be replaced by two titles everyone already knew were coming--Batman Incorporated by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham, and Earth 2, James Robinson and Nicola Scott's Justice Society book--as well as four more that are somewhat less predictable: World's Finest, G.I. Combat, The Ravagers and Dial H.
“The excitement of the initial launch of DC Comics - The New 52 was in seeing the re-imagining of these classic characters and concepts,” said Bob Harras, DC Entertainment Editor-in-Chief, who also told The Source that many of the characters from the canceled books would appear elsewhere in the DC Universe. “The ‘Second Wave’ is all about world-building.”
Eagle-eyed readers will remember that Dial H For Hero was one of the titles we hoped would come in DC's next wave, way back when the first New 52 titles were still a distant ship on the horizon. The revamped version, written by novelist China Miéville with art by Mateus Santoluoco (and a cover here by Brian Bolland), apparently explores the psychological impact of being an everyday guy who suddenly becomes a superhero. This was dealt with in the first arc of Will Pfeifer's classic H-E-R-O, but certainly wasn't the premise of that book. Said incoming writer Miéville in the USA Today story, "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."
Robinson and Scott's Earth 2, as if the title wasn't enough of a giveaway, appears to be more of a Multiverse-centered book than just a Justice Society monthly would have been predicted. According to the description on The Source, the JSA "combats threats that will set them on a collision course with other worlds." While that's happening on Earth 2, the main DC Universe will be set on that same collision course in World's Finest, where Power Girl and Huntress strive to return to their world of origin. Written by Paul Levitz with an alternating art team of George Pérez and Kevin Maguire, that title might be seen as stepping in to replace the departing Mister Terrific, in which Karen "Power Girl" Starr has been a prominent supporting character.
In the "replacing the fallen" category, it's clear that G.I. Combat, which brings back The War That Time Forgot under the guidance of J.T. Krul and Ariel Olivetti and a series of backups by various creative teams that will feature characters like the Unknown Soldier and the Haunted Tank (both most recently seen as Vertigo titles), will play the role of standing in for Men of War and Blackhawks. The presence of a couple of war titles in the New 52 lineup was widely regarded as a boon to the overall initiative, lending variety beyond just standard superhero titles. When Krul left Green Arrow a few months ago, he told fans on his Facebook page that he had done so to accommodate an exciting, new DC project on the horizon that he couldn't, at the time, talk about.
Longtime Marvel stalwarts Howard Mackie and Ian Churchill will bring to life The Ravagers, a story that, according to DC, spins out of Superboy and Teen Titans and features four young metahumans on the run from N.O.W.H.E.R.E. The safe bet is that Ravager will play a role, but given the comic's pedigree one has to wonder whether the remaining members will include Gen 13's leader, Caitlin Fairchild, or other members of WildStorm's best-known teen team. Harras told USA Today with regard to the world-building going on in the Batman and Superman group crossovers as well as the events of The Ravagers, "That's part of the game plan. Readers and fans appreciate that, when they see these stories make sense, these characters would react to these big events."