by Wayne Markley
Almost a year ago DC re-launched all of their titles with number one issues. They have had various levels of success with the new 52. Some titles have done extremely well, such as Batman and Justice League. In fact, Batman is one of the best books DC is currently publishing. But over the course of the last year they have also cancelled a few books, and have added some to replace them to keep the number of titles at 52. So this time out I am going to look at the new titles that have been added as well as reviewing some other books from DC, from both their Vertigo imprint as well as their kids line.
DC cancelled six books from the initial 52 titles that they re-launched. The titles that got the ax were Hawk and the Dove, Blackhawks, OMAC, Men at War, Static Shock, and Mr. Terrific. It is a shame in that I was really enjoying Men at War and OMAC. DC has taken a number of the characters from these cancelled books and moved them into other titles, such as OMAC and Mr. Terrific. So DC does see promise in the characters, even if they cannot support their own titles. On to the replacement titles.
The first title I want to look at Earth Two. This book is by James Robinson and Nikola Scott. This was teased in the fan press as being a re-launch of the classic Justice Society. I was personally hoping it was a book that would feature the old DC Universe characters that were wiped out with the New 52. Alas, it is neither. The story is some of Robinson’s better writing, as some of his recent work, such as the Justice League of America (before the re-launch), was not very good. This is not up to his Starman standards, but it is a well written book and it looks pretty. Unfortunately, it is not the classic JSA or a return to the classic DC world, but it is a “modern” re-working of what I guess is sort of the JSA, but once again, like the other 52 books, it is not a JSA I would ever recognize. I will give it a chance to see where it is going, but based on the first issue, it is not for me.
Next is Worlds’ Finest. Now this book I really enjoyed. It is a fun story with very nice dialogue by Paul Levitz and great art by George Perez and Kevin Maguire. This book takes the Huntress from the recent miniseries and Power Girl from the pages of Mr. Terrific and combines them into one book. It is basically the story of two heroes who are from Earth 2 and somehow end up on Earth 1 and are trying to get back to Earth 2. I really enjoyed this title. Whether or not it will last, only time will tell, but I hope so.
Another recent release is Dial H. This is at least the fourth try at re-launching this classic 1960s series. It is written by horror writer China Mieville. I will say it has a very nice cover by Brian Bolland. The story is interesting and I will see where it goes, but as a first issue it did not grab me and the art left me cold. I can see potential here, so I will read it a little longer and see where it is going. Outside of the magical dial being in the book, there is very little in this incarnation of the book that original fans would enjoy.
Another title being launched is Batman, Incorporated. As with the previous incarnation, this book is written by Grant Morrison. Based on the earlier versions of this book, and Grant’s writing (such as in Action), this book will not be for me. While I am really enjoying most of the other Batman titles, such as Batman, Nightwing, and Batman and Robin, I did not enjoy the previous versions of Batman, Inc. and I see nothing in this new revival to interest me. This title is supposed to be Morrison’s swan song on Batman.
The Ravagers spins out of the pages of Superboy and the Teen Titans. The premise is there are four teenage heroes on the run from a secret agency that wants to turn them into super-villains. I have read some of the Ravagers appearances in Teen Titans and Superboy and I have not been impressed. It seems to me this is just a knock-off of a concept that has been done to death and many times much better by Marvel. I am willing to give the solo title a chance, but I do not have high hopes for it. To be fair, I am not the target audience for this title or Teen Titans.
Finally we have G.I. Combat. Now here is a title I enjoyed. OK, I am a sucker for DC war books in general, and while I hated Men at War at first, by issue eight it was one of my favorite books. So with G.I. Combat, since I am a big fan with issue one, I am a bit afraid how long this title will last. I hope it gets more than eight issues. There are two stories here. First is the War That Time Forgot. Yes, G.I.s fighting dinosaurs. You can’t go wrong there. As a nice twist the stories are set in modern day and in North Korea. The first issue caught my attention and drew me in and features great art by Ariel Olivetti. There is a second story featuring the Unknown Soldier. This is a return to the original concept verses the recent Vertigo series. It is written by two of my favorites, Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. There are also plans to add the Haunted Tank to the mix a later point. I would highly recommend this title if you are looking for something different. Of the six new titles, this and Worlds’ Finest are the two I would recommend.
Vertigo has also lost some titles recently, such as iZombie, Sweet Tooth, DMZ, and Scalped. They also have launched some titles to replace these titles. Of these new releases, I really enjoyed and highly recommend Saucer Country and New Deadwardians. Both of these are unique stories with nice art and are fun reads. Saucer Country is about a female governor who is running for president who has been abducted by aliens in flying saucers. I have no idea where this story is going, but I really have enjoyed the first three issues. The New Deadwardians is a mix of zombies and vampires set in Edwardian England. It is an eight issue mini-series, but I would highly recommend giving it a try, it is a lot of fun. The third title is Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child. This title left me cold and I did not enjoy it. At one time I was a huge fan of Denys Cowan’s art, but this book does nothing for me. A fourth title they launched is Fairest, a side title to Fables, with short stories about specific female characters from the Fables universe by different creative teams. This first arc has been great and given the history of Fables, I have high hopes for this title.
Finally I wanted to wrap this up with a fond farewell to two great books, Tiny Titans and All-New Batman: The New Brave and the Bold. Both of these titles were for younger readers and both were fantastic reads for comic fans of any age. I will really miss both of these titles. Fortunately DC is launching a new title called Superman Family Adventures by the same team that brought us Tiny Titans. I cannot wait for this new title, as the sample that was in the FCBD preview was fantastic. I hope that DC can add another title that will be as good as All-New Batman: The New Brave and the Bold to their lineup. As always, everything in this column is my opinion and do not reflect the thoughts of Westfield or their employees. Comments, disagreements, and thoughts are welcome at MFBWAY@aol.com.