It was announced last week that The Immortal Men would be cancelled with its sixth issue coming out in September. This comes as something of a surprise considering co-publisher Jim Lee and star writer James Tynion IV are both a part of the series. The choice for The Immortal Men to fall first may be surprising, but the cancellation of titles from DC Comics’ New Age of Heroes line is not. This collection of 8 new series was first announced in 2017 as a collection of titles that would be driven by artists and introduce a wide range of new characters to DC Comics in the wake of their fall event Dark Nights: Metal. While “Metal” was a big success for the publisher, collecting some big sales numbers and rave reviews, everything that came from it has not experienced a similar reception.
The entire New Age of Heroes line has been plagued with struggles from its very launch. The Immortal Men was originally planned to be launched before the end of 2017, but was significantly delayed. This might be due to delays in the originating event as the final issues of Dark Nights: Metal were pushed back repeatedly, resulting in a staggered launch of new series that often referenced plotlines that had not been completed yet. Instead of providing a popular launchpad, it only generated confusion. The component of the line that was supposed to be artist-driven was also not well implemented. Many series began with fill-in artists contributing pages to the first several issues. There was a general lack of interest in the line as a whole. Unlike DC Comics’ many successful imprints from the past several years, like Young Animal and Wildstorm, this New Age of Heroes seemed less cohesive and lacked a clear marketing strategy.
The truth is that it’s not surprising to see titles cancelled in their first year, only that The Immortal Men was the very first to fall. It very likely won’t be the last to be cancelled in 2018 (or maybe even this August). That’s why we’re taking a look at the overall health of the New Age of Heroes brand, walking through the recent sales of each title along with their connection to DC Comics current creators and line. If you’re interested in what might happen to many of these new heroes, we have prepared odds on them surviving the year and justifications for each set of numbers. It’s not a reflection of the overall quality, as many of the series have offered great premises or some top-notch talent, but it is the unfortunate truth of where this collection of titles is heading.
Things are not looking good for The Curse of Brimstone. In addition to quickly flagging sales numbers in the direct market (all sales are based on those made via Diamond to stores in the North American market), there has been very little talk about this series, even when compared to other titles in the New Age of Heroes line. With little critical buzz and, frankly, terrible sales, odds are that this series may be quickly following The Immortal Men out the door at DC Comics.
June Sales: 15,949
2018 Survival Odds: 5:1
Damage is looking slightly better, as it features more prominent creators and has not suffered as much sales loss due to attrition. While it is barely selling better than The Curse of Brimstone, it is also further into its lifespan at 7 issues. Having made it this far, DC Comics is likely to keep it going at least long enough to gather a second collection from the series and see if the first collection leads to any bump in sales. Damage is likely on the chopping block before December, but it can at least keep believing there’s a chance for survival.
June Sales: 17,308
2018 Survival Odds: 3:1
The cancellation of The Immortal Men was met with a collective shrug. There have been no outcries for it to be resurrected and little surprise at its loss. While DC Comics have brought series back from cancellation before, most recently The Omega Men, it doesn’t look like that will happen here. The odds of The Immortal Men #7 ever existing are the longest of long shots.
June Sales: 25,770
2018 Survival Odds: 300:1
It is almost unfair to put the New Challengers on this list as it was announced as a miniseries. This story was always supposed to end at 6 issues and the only way it keeps going is due to a massive cry for more. So the odds against more New Challengers appearing are great, but that’s simply because there was never any intention to do go beyond one collection.
June Sales: 22,094
2018 Survival Odds: 200:1
This series is a tough call. Its sales are closely in line with those of Damage and The Curse of Brimstone making it a prime candidate for cancellation. However, it is being co-written by DC Comics’ other co-publisher Dan Didio, featured prominently in their new line of Wal-Mart books, and has significant connections to long term plans for continuity. In spite of poor sales and lackluster reception, Sideways has a lot of other reasons to continue and may survive in spite of itself.
June Sales: 16,543
2018 Survival Odds: 1:2
The Silencer led the New Age of Heroes brand and is therefore the furthest along in its run and has also shown the greatest decrease in sales. It is difficult to look at its current numbers and not believe that it will be ended by issue 12, if not even sooner. While Romita Jr.’s presence on the title has delivered some of his best art from the past several years, it simply hasn’t been enough to keep The Silencer in the conversation.
June Sales: 13,868
2018 Survival Odds: 12:1
If there’s a surefire survivor from the New Age of Heroes in 2018, it’s The Terrifics. There’s a reason that this series was the first to be announced as it features beloved B-list characters, some of the best talent in superhero comics, and a much needed dose of Fantastic Four fun. While the Fantastic Four are back at Marvel as of this month, The Terrifics have had enough time to generate a fanbase and its sales reflect a solid readership. While that return of competition may spell a downward spiral in the future, there’s little doubt that this series will continue strong well beyond the rest of the line.
June Sales: 26,676
2018 Survival Odds: 1:6
The Unexpected benefits from the latest launch date of the entire line. It is only on its third issue and sales have yet to significantly flag. The series also offers some of DC Comics’ favorite creators and one of the publisher’s best new character designs. It will almost certainly last for a complete collection of its first and second arcs, making it a likely survivor of 2018 at the very least.
June Sales: 28,028
2018 Survival Odds: 2:3