The comic-book industry has a way of reinventing itself -- Ultimate alternate universes, infinite crises, ages of apocalypse, characters die, spines get broken, and comics get renumbered. It's a tale as old as time.
We've already heard that Marvel's starting fresh after the new Secret Wars, which will act as a vehicle to combine the 616 with the Ultimate universe to make something brand new. So, what's DC's response?
Well, they already tried that move once before, right? The New 52 was an initiative to put every comic back at #1, starting some characters over and drastically altering the backstories of others. So that ship has kinda sailed. No, while Marvel is embarking on their own relaunch, DC is doing the only thing that makes sense -- ending theirs. The DC 52 ends, and a new chapter begins, starting in June.
Yes, it seems that DC is acknowledging that their efforts to create one, cohesive universe in an effort to get more people reading funny books was a bit of a bust. Or, put more diplomatically, they're moving on to what's next. DCE co-pubisher Dan DiDio described the move as "a new era for the DC Universe which will allow us to publish something for everyone, be more expansive and modern in our approach and tell stories that better reflect the society around us." DiDio's partner, Jim Lee, added, "the June slate will showcase different styles and approaches to storytelling as we add offbeat, irreverently funny titles such as Bizarro, Bat-Mite and Prez. Truly there will be something for everybody as we simultaneously celebrate our rich legacy while embracing new voices and concepts."
No, this does not mean we're getting back the original numbering for some of the older books, but it does mean that you'll probably have to worry less about reading every single event story to know what's going on. DiDio described the change in editorial style by saying, "In this new era of storytelling, story will trump continuity as we continue to empower creators to tell the best stories in the industry."
Well, continuity was already out the window in 2011, and with fewer than 52 books coming out each month and the Future's End series over, there's nothing keeping the 52 brand intact. What kind of books can we expect to be (considering) reading? The tally is 24 titles that will continue running, and 24 new titles that will begin. Let's take a look at the titles and teams that have been announced so far.
Here's what's new:
- Batman Beyond, written by Dan Jurgens and art by Bernard Chang
- Bat-Mite, written by Dan Jurgens with art by Corin Howell
- Bizarro, written by Heath Corson and art by Gustavo Duarte
- Black Canary, written by Brenden Fletcher and art by Annie Wu
- Constantine: The Hellblazer, written by Ming Doyle and art by Riley Rossmo
- Cyborg, written by David Walker and art by Ivan Reis
- Dark Universe, written by James Tynion IV and art by Ming Doyle
- Green Lantern: Lost Army, written byt Cullen Bunn and art by Jesus Saiz & Javi Pina
- Doomed, written by Scott Lobdell and art by Javier Fernandez
- Earth 2: Society , written by Daniel Wilson and art by Jorge Jimenez
- Dr. Fate, written by Paul Levitz and art by Sonny Liew
- Harley Quinn/Power Girl, written by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner and Justin Gray with art by Stephane Roux
- Justice League of America , written and drawn by Bryan Hitch
- Justice League 3001, written by Keith Giffen and art by Howard Porter
- Martian Manhunter, written by Rob Williams and art by Ben Oliver
- Midnighter, written by Steve Orlando and art by ACO
- Mystic U, written by Alisa Kwitney, art TBA
- Omega Men, written by Tom King and art by Alec Morgan
- Prez, written by Mark Russell and art by Ben Caldwell
- Red Hood/Arsenal, written by Scott Lobdell and art by Denis Medri
- Robin, Son of Batman, written and drawn by Patrick Gleason
- Section Eight, written by Garth Ennis and art by John McCrea
- Starfire, written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner and art by Emanuela Lupacchino
- We Are Robin, written by Lee Bermejo and art by Khary Randolph
Here's what's sticking around:
- Action Comics, written by Greg Pak and art by Aaron Kuder
- Aquaman, written by Cullen Bunn and art by Trevor McCarthy
- Batgirl, written by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher with art by Babs Tarr
- Batman, written by Scott Snyder and art by Greg Capullo
- Detective Comics, written by: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccelato, with art by Francis Manapul
- Batman/Superman, written by Greg Pak and art by Ardian Syaf
- Catwoman, written by Genevieve Valentine and art by David Messina
- Deathstroke, written and drawn by Tony S. Daniel
- The Flash, written by Robert Venditti and Van Jensen with art by Brett Booth
- Gotham Academy, written by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher with art by Karl Kerschl
- Gotham By Midnight, written by Ray Fawkes and art by Juan Ferreyra
- Grayson, written by Tom King and Tim Seeley, with art by Mikel Janin
- Green Arrow, written by Ben Percy and art by Zircher
- Green Lantern, written by Robert Venditti and art by Billy Tan
- Harley Quinn, written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner with art by Chad Hardin
- Justice League, written by Geoff Johns and art by Jason Fabok
- Justice League United, creative team TBA
- Lobo, written by Cullen Bunn and art by Cliff Richards
- Secret Six, written by Gail Simone and art by Dale Eaglesham
- Sinestro, written by Cullen Bunn and art by Bradley Walker
- New Suicide Squad, written by Sean Ryan and art by Carlos D'Anda
- Superman, written by Gene Luen Yang and art by John Romita, Jr.
- Superman/Wonder Woman, written by Peter J. Tomasi and art by Doug Mahnke
- Teen Titans, written by Will Pfeifer and art by Kenneth Rocafort
- Wonder Woman, written by Meredith Finch and art by David Finch
And that's it! There's a lot to parse through here. The new titles are, dare I say it, mostly exciting-looking. Midnighter, Prez, Black Canary, Starfire, Section 8 and Bat-mite stick out to me in particular as books I'll probably pick up.
As for the books sticking around, Gene Luen Yang's placement on Superman is inspired. Here's hoping we'll get a Kal-El dealing with the more slice-of-life, day-to-day challenges of being an immigrant ... from another planet, that is. Now, if DC could just be cool about Dick Grayson and let him be Nightwing again (looking at you, DiDio), while simultaneously acknowledging that any creative team who would say Wonder Woman isn't a feminist needs to be kicked to the $#%ing curb, we'll be all set!
But what do you think? Take a look at some of the new art, and then give us your thoughts!