The Old 52

With the most recent announcement that 4 original DC titles are getting the ax (Superboy, Birds of Prey, Batwing, and All-Star Western) in August, the remains of the “New” 52 are all but gone. Of all the books DC publishes now, only 21 original titles remain. That’s less than half of the books that were launched. While their are exceptions (Suicide Squad and Teen Titans are getting relaunched, JLI was scrubbed for story purposes, etc) it is still rather alarming to think that the original New 52 has dwindled this far. While DC has added solid replacements such as Earth 2 and Harley Quinn, those serve as the exceptions to DC’s line. The ongoing series’ and the once that have survived are the 21 I have noted above. Of all the books launched to replace books, very few of them exist. Of the Second Wave only Earth 2 survives, with Worlds Finest now joining Batman Inc, Dial H, The Ravagers, and GI Combat. Of the Third Wave, we Phantom Stranger is joining Talon, Sword of Sorcery, and Team 7. The next few launched were JLA and Katana, also now gone.

While I will give DC credit for trying new things, with only 23 books on the shelf that have proved to be tried and true, a problem has emerged. Only time can tell if some of DC’s more recent gambits such as JLU, Infinity Man, Constantine, JL 300, and the Superman-Batman/Wonder Woman books will test as well as Earth 2 and Harley Quinn have thus far. To truly succeed and gain back market share, DC is going to need to be bold, but also smart. I posted previously how I felt Marvel’s Hawkeye strategy was effective, and should be emulated. DC needs some help adding titles that can survive in the long run. And with characters like Cyborg, Captain Marvel, and even Lex Luthor gaining increased popularity, DC has the characters to do it. Once again, I’m all for them trying new and bold things, but they need to balance that with books that can and will sell. I may not know exactly what those books look like, but I’m pretty sure all of us out there have many ideas that DC could utilize. For that we’ll have to wait and see what we get to replace these books come October.

What are your thoughts on the matter? What do you think DC has done right and how do you think they could improve for the future?

Until the next time, Rn

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Marvel VS DC Monday’s #9

While taking yet another hiatus, MoreFunTravis and I are ready to deliver our interpretations of the past week of comics.

Though minimally commented, DC walked away with another victory in issue 8 by just barely edging out Marvel 2-1.

The last week of the month saw heavy hitters on both sides, with both sides pulling a few punches as both companies had a few miss-ships this month.

As always, I will try to unite the collective group of true blue DC fans to rally to help DC win out once again. The internet is full of DC hate and Marvel praise, it is up to us to buck that trend. So let’s get to it!

1. Justice League Dark #19- While Marvel saw all three of their big Avengers books published (as well as many smaller ones) this week, DC only needed one to thrill us. Justice League Dark has been particularly astounding since Lemire hopped on board, and hot off the heels of the last story arc, Constantine finds himself without a home as the House of Mystery is hijacked from him. Featuring guest appearances by both the Swamp Thing and the Flash, JLD gets more integrated with the DCU as each issue passes. It’s the JLD + Swamp Thing + The Flash VS the House of Mystery and it’s mysterious hijacker. This book has enough to thrill seasoned fans of the book such as myself, as well as attract a whole new audience.

2. Before Watchmen Comedian #6- The much awaited ending to the Before Watchmen line was only 2 months late, but with it comes a surprise hit for the week. Comedian #6 is by far and away the best issue in the entire run. Though the mini series missed out on some great opportunities and struggled at times, this issue wraps up the plot with a blood red bow. I was very pleasantly surprised with it’s high quality and thrilling plot as Comedian alters history yet another time. This book is full of everything that made not only the character, but the original Watchmen book such a hit, and I recommend this to any veteran or novice fan.

3. I, Vampire #19- The final issue in the 20 issue run of I, Vampire was just what readers needed to not only remind us of the immense quality the book continued to deliver, but how much its presence will be missed with the DC Universe. With hints that our hero Andrew Bennett will appear else where, we focus on the epic finale to the series in which Andrew must stop the forces of hell and heaven from colliding and eliminating all life. It’s a high stakes game with a meaningful yet melancholy end to a series. There is a season for everything, and we can only hope that the season of I, Vampire will bloom once again.

4. All-Star Western #19- Featuring the return of Booster Gold to the DC Universe, fans get an unlikely team up. That of outlaw hero Jonah Hex and our favorite screw up, Booster. Their interaction and brief team up is not only humorous but delightful for long term fans of both characters. With an ending that leaves not only Booster’s status Quo wide open but one that drastically alters Hex’s life too, this book shouldn’t be missed (it sold out at my comic book store!). With a back up featuring the 19th centuries version of Stormwatch this is one comic well worth it’s cover price and hype.

5. Superman #19- Though Lobdell has received a lot of hatred for…. well about everything in the New 52, his take on Superman has refreshed the title and brought a new level of levity and excitement. Having Rocafort return on art duties is only the icing on the cake as Hector Hammond (of Green Lantern fame) messes with the minds of Superman and all those he holds dear. Ending with an imminent confrontation with Orion, the book is poised to deliver at least a few more enjoyable punches. Say what you like about Lobdell, but Superman was a sinking ship before he hopped aboard.

Now that you’ve heard my side, it’s time for MoreFunTravis’ rebuttle.

Let me preface my arguments with this little number:  Free Comic Book Day is this upcoming Saturday, May 4!  Please, please, please look up your nearest friendly local comic shop and pay them a visit.  Every year, Free Comic Book Day gets bigger and bigger so definitely mark your calendars and get out and enjoy the festivities.

Now, I have not been as fortunate as my dear friend Ravingnerd with time to devote to catching up on my monthly funny books.  That being said, I am afraid I cannot match RN numerically…but I can certainly try for quality.  Can’t I?

1.) Uncanny X-Men #5 – What can I say?  I’m still a sucker for Bendis’ X-Men.  I just can’t get enough.  And the fact that we get an issue honed in on Ilyana?  Yup, I’m down.  Frazier Irving’s art is a nice little departure from what the series started with and his unique vision adds a lot to the kookiness of this issue.  I adore the hellfire splash page we get in this.  Every issue of Uncanny X-Men makes me want more, and that fact alone makes it a winner in my book.

2.) Young Avengers #4 – Wow.  Okay, tell ya what.  Stop reading this right and now and go find a copy of YA #4.  Now, flip to Noh Varr’s entrance.  Just take that it.  That right there folks?  That’s the way Marvel makes funny books!  Good Lord I could just wrap myself up in that page and go to sleep in all that innovative, pop-art goodness.  Young Avengers is hipper than Ravingnerd or I will ever be.  It’s cool.  Seriously cool.  Even if you hate all things Marvel…this is one you must check out.  It is just plain fun.

3.) Guardians of the Galaxy #2 – Swashbuckling? Gorgeous space babes?  Almost every Marvel galactic race?  Talking Raccoons?  A bad-ass space faring raccoon resembling alien?  YES, YES, YES!  Strap in folks, ’cause Brian Michael Bendis is taking us all for one helluva ride.  This is just obscenely fun.  I was just a bit nervous about this series when it launched a while back, but with this issue I am fully on board.  The art is stunningly gorgeous and if you don’t like this, well…then you must hate fun.

Forgive my paltry entry into this week’s competition, but I hope you all can see…even when I still barely get to read…I do love me some Marvel!

Now that both of us have spoken it’s time for you to take to the internet and vote, but replying one of our tweets, commenting on facebook, replying on this post, or even reblogging with your answer on Tumblr, there is a plethora of ways for you to get your voice heard. So who was most convincing? And who do you think ultimately had the best week, Marvel or DC?

Until the next time, the battle rages on.

Rn and MFT