After today’s announcement by DC Comics that they’re revamping their DC Universe lineup with a mix of 24 new first issues and 25 surviving ones, we couldn’t help but dig deeper. We’ve pointed out the five announcements we are most excited about already. Now, here are seven things we noticed from the initial news surge that you may not have your first time around. The New 52 is dead, and here are some takeaways.
Well, the Company IS Named After Batman’s First Book
Holy Bat-Additions, Batman! Okay, I swore I’d never use that as a lede, but it was too good here. Yes, the Bat group is getting busy in June, as if they weren’t already. If you have a pressing social engagement with group editor Mark Doyle or his team, you may want to get it out of the way before then.
Out of the new titles, Batman Beyond, Bat-Mite (limited), Black Canary (spinning out of Batgirl), Harley Quinn/Power Girl (spinning out of Harley Quinn – also a limited series), Red Hood/Arsenal (was Red Hood and the Outlaws), Robin, Son of Batman, and We Are Robin are all likely or definitely in the Bat group, or at least are featuring Batman-associated characters. You could argue a case for Midnighter, too, since he was a Batman archetype character at Wildstorm originally. These are added to existing titles Batgirl, Batman, Detective Comics, Batman/Superman, Catwoman, Gotham Academy, Gotham by Midnight, Grayson, Harley Quinn, and team books featuring Bat-characters like Justice League, Justice League United, Justice League of America, New Suicide Squad, and Teen Titans. So yeah, the Bat-family has 17 of the 49 ongoings, plus five more if you count the team books. That’s between 35% and 45% of their books, depending on your metrics.
Green Lantern Family, Though…
Conversely, the Green Lantern family is being scaled back. Core title Green Lantern sticks around with Sinestro, joined by Green Lantern: Lost Army. Omega Men is a peripheral book to the GL line. It’s not as drastic a cutback as some have seen; losing GL Corps and New Guardians but gaining Lost Army, and losing Red Lanterns and gaining Omega Men means if that last series does keep the original GL ties, then we’re only at a net loss of one.
Doing it for $*#&$ and Giggles
Yes, believe it or not, comedy is a focus of this revamp! The series Bat-Mite, Bizarro, and Prez are described by Co-Publisher Jim Lee as “offbeat, irreverently funny titles.” Add these to books with a funny swing like Harley Quinn and the new mini-series Harley Quinn/Power Girl, and you have some funny in your funny books again.
Sticking with the Classics
We’ll talk about the infusion of new talent in a moment, but first, note that there are plenty of tried-and-true writers and artists in this mix. Dan Jurgens gets two series in June, one with Bernard Chang. Scott Lobdell launches one and relaunches another (minus one of its characters). Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis, and Howard Porter team-up for a relaunch of their own. And long-gone returnees Bryan Hitch (as writer/artist) and the team of Garth Ennis and John McCrea pop into the ranks again. Plus, modern popular DC creators like Brenden Fletcher, Cullen Bunn, James Tynion IV, Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, and Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner expand their output. The goal from this revamp is “to ensure there is a comic book for everyone,” Lee said. That includes old and current fans.
And hey, how about the new kids on the block. Whether it’s writers and artists new to the DC Universe, or new to comics in general, there are plenty of names here that Image and Vertigo fans may recognize but DC fans don’t know just yet. Ming Doyle comes on one book as a writer, one as an artist. Annie Wu and Irene Koh join Black Canary. Riley Rossmo achieves “newcomer” status despite working for years on critically acclaimed creator owned series. David Walker, Alisa Kwitney, Ben Percy, and even Gene Luen Yang are jumping into the game. It’s an interesting mix, and includes a nice infusion of women and people of color that should make for a more representative and inclusive line-up of superhero comics from DC.
Looks Like Guillermo del Toro’s Movie is Happening, huh?
Justice League Dark ends, and Dark Universe begins. Interesting, since the latter is the title of the movie director Guillermo del Toro has had in the works for a couple of years now, featuring the magical characters previously included in the Justice League Dark lineup. Also interesting that buzz for the movie is considered a stronger branding choice than slapping “Justice League” on everything, which the animation arm of DC Entertainment readily acknowledges as a strategy (it’s “Justice League” or “Batman” for the last five movies, and the next 2).
The Mysteries, The Relaunches, the Outright Cancellations
There are certainly a few mysteries to this list of titles. We know Green Lantern: Lost Army takes the place of GLC, but who comprises that Lost Army? Where should fans expect to find their favorite GLs not-named-Hal? Earth 2: Society is certainly a promising name, implying a new Justice Society of America… but isn’t Earth 2 going boom? What the heck is Mystic U? Who are all those kids in various Robin gear in We Are Robin? Could they actually be making a book with all the candidates for Robin that have popped up in the last few years? Are both Justice League and Justice League of America using the original core line-up?
Oh, and, hey, who is writing and drawing Justice League United, from the continuing side of the line? There are some long-rumored and fan-desired books we don’t see on this list either, including Booster Gold, Shazam, Legion of Super-Heroes, and others. Maybe six months later, when those four mini-series end.
Thankfully for fans, many of the books that looked like they were being cancelled in March are just being relaunched. Here’s the list:
Constantine -> Constantine: The Hellblazer
Justice League Dark -> Dark Universe
Green Lantern Corps -> Green Lantern: Lost Army
Earth 2 -> Earth 2: Society
Justice League 3000 -> Justice League 3001
Red Hood and the Outlaws -> Red Hood/Arsenal
However, that does mean that some books published in March are well and truly gone:
Aquaman and the Others, Infinity Man and the Forever People, Klarion, Secret Origins, Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie, Trinity of Sin, Supergirl, Worlds’ Finest, Arkham Manor, Batwoman, Batman and Robin, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Red Lanterns, and Swamp Thing are all making way for the new series. It is important to note, also, that after a March that had 3 ongoing weekly series, there have been no weekly series announced for June, after the two month break in the line for the Convergence event (itself featuring a weekly series).