Calling it: The future of The New 52

Posted: August 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

After months of consternation, hand-wringing, relentless hype and flat-out despair, the relaunch of the DC Universe begins today with the publication of Justice League #1, a single issue that will be followed by 51 more #1s throughout September.

I’ll admit to being firmly on the fence about “The New 52.” My gut reaction is to hate it, and as an overall concept I generally think it’s a mostly pointless idea being executed in a short-sighted way. Changes could have been done much less drastically (though that wouldn’t have attracted the media attention DC is no doubt clawing for), and some changes already being made put things on a good track. Chris Roberson’s work on Superman comes to mind, in particular.

On the other hand, a new direction can be a good thing, especially when it means reimagining or repurposing characters that have been withering on the multiversal vine for a while. The reboot is giving long-standing characters like Aquaman and Hawkman a shot in the arm, while also making room for largely disregarded (but fan-favorite) characters including O.M.A.C.; Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.; and basically every magic-user in the DCU. Personally, I’m excited as hell to see Blue Beetle and Static making a comeback.

With the New 52 being both a Good Thing and a Bad Thing, it makes sense to think some of the titles will survive, some will struggle and some will just have to be put out of everyone’s misery. I’m not usually the kind of guy to make outrageous claims, but what the hell – here are my predictions for the future of The New 52.


Some of the titles being launched by DC are going to remain popular, attract (or at least keep) readers, and will basically always be on the roster. Almost anything with Superman or Batman is a given. BUT. This doesn’t mean some of these books won’t revert to something more in line with the previous status quo somewhere down the road. Titles will include:

Justice League (and it doesn’t hurt to be done by the Chief Creative Officer and one of the co-publishers)
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Action Comics
Detective Comics
Batman and Robin
Green Lantern
Green Lantern Corps
Deathstroke (people love this guy)



There will be books that – either through strong word-of-mouth, talented creative teams and a loyal fan-base, or an obvious pact with the Devil – will hang on for at least a couple of years. Some of these will even go on to be solid, well-loved series … if DC gives them the chance. These titles may not bring in big sales numbers, but shit, what does?

Justice League International
The Fury of Firestorm
Green Arrow
The Savage Hawkman
Batman: The Dark Knight
Green Lantern: New Guardians
Justice League Dark
Swamp Thing
All-Star Western
Teen Titans
Static Shock
Blue Beetle
Legion of Super-Heroes



And then there are the books that just won’t have a chance. They’ll be ham-strung by a far-out concept, the lingering stink from past attempts,  bad art or an obscurity that can’t be overcome. I know part of the reason DC is rebooting things in the first place is to make continuity irrelevant, but even casual comic readers need something they at least think seems familiar. It’s not fair, but there you go. These books will manage to eke out some shelf-space for about six months to a year, enough to squeeze out a trade or two, and then pbbth, that will be it. Let’s bring out the dead.

Captain Atom
DC Universe Presents
Mister Terrific
Birds of Prey
(sorry, but no Gail Simone, no Birds – especially not like this)
Red Hood and The Outlaws
Red Lanterns
Animal Man
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
I, Vampire
Resurrection Man
Demon Knights
Suicide Squad
Men of War
Hawk and Dove
Legion Lost


OK, so let me make something clear: This list doesn’t reflect the books I’m personally looking forward to, that I desperately want to make it or that I’m at least pulling for.

THIS list does:

The Fury of Firestorm (though I would’ve liked it if they had just made it a Jason Rusch solo book)
The Savage Hawkman
DC Universe Presents
Mister Terrific (this sounds pretty awesome – seriously)
Batwing (I love the concept, but I hate that Judd Winick is writing it. Joshua Dysart would be great for this.)
Justice League Dark (So. Much. Potential.)
Swamp Thing
Animal Man (Jeff Lemire, man.)
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. (see above)
Resurrection Man (weird, original and interesting as hell – sadly, it probably doesn’t have a chance)
Grifter (one of the few early-Image concepts I actually like)
O.M.A.C. (a Kirby classic updated with an assist from Keith Giffen – I’m in)
Men of War (I’m leery of a “young, headstrong” Sgt. Rock, but I live in hope.)
Static Shock (This never should have gone away in the first place.)
Blue Beetle (Hopefully this time DC will realize canceling a popular character isn’t a good idea.)


So how close  is all this? At best this is all educated guessing and gut-feeling – only time and the vagaries of an ever-changing market will tell.

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