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

Revising the Chopping Block: The Next to Die

I posted my first Chopping Block post way back in August before the Zero Month, or even the Third Wave. The goal was to predict as best I could what titles would be axed to make room for DC’s 4th Wave. In it I predicted that I, Vampire, Blue Beetle, Legion Lost, and Grifter would be the casualties of the 4th wave. While I got three of them right immediately, I failed to account for G.I. Combat and I was mislead about Frankenstein.

Now that the cancellations have begun for DC’s 5th Wave, I am to revise my list and try to pick out the next casualties of the New 52.

Let’s start with the Justice League Line. As of April the line will consist of 12 comics. The line consists of some of the most important comics to DC’s mythos, and thus will most likely suffer the least amount of casualties. JLA, Katana, and Vibe will be too new to be cancelled, leaving them safe. Justice League, Green Arrow, Aquaman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Earth 2, and Worlds Finest are all too important to the mythos of DC (and Earth 2) to cut. Two of the struggling titles are Savage Hawkman and Firestorm. While Hawkman’s importance will be increasing, it doesn’t mean he’ll have to have his on solo series. Firestorm too has struggled to find a place or direction in the universe.

The Superman Family. It’s fitting that the first family of DC is the only line guaranteed to be safe. I can’t expect any of its four titles to go anywhere anytime soon. Plus it will be adding Snyderman within the next few months to raise it to a healthy 5.

The Batman family is the largest with 13 titles, and could certainly use the most trimming. That being said, much of the line is safe. Batman, Batman and Robin, and Detective Comics are all too well distributed and acclaimed to be among the next to die. The extended family too has earned its place as keepers. Nightwing, Batgirl, Batwoman, Red Hood, and Birds of Prey too are either important or well to well received to die. That leaves Dark Knight, Talon, Batwing, and Batman Incorporated as the only real titles that could be cut from the line.

The Green Lantern Universe is small but far reaching and well received. I don’t see any of the GL titles going anywhere. That being said, Red Lanterns has always been an oddity among them and is easily the weakest spot of the GL Line.

The Dark is at suprisingly high number, with 8 on going series’ (after counting the end of I, Vampire). Not only are it’s two mega hits Swamp Thing and Animal Man safe, but they have also struck gold with the likes of Justice League Dark, Phantom Stranger, and the new Constantine solo series. All of the titles in the line are of exceptionally high quality, and Sword of Sorcery, Dial H, or Demon Knights wouldn’t be cut due to lack of quality. I fear, like I, Vampire, that they are simply on the fringes of the readers’ scope. The death of I, Vampire proves that a critical hit can and will be cut if the sales still aren’t up to snuff. That leaves the three listed in a very precarious situation.

The Edge Line is arguably the weakest of all of them, while they clock in at 7 titles, most of them are of pretty low quality. The only titles I see surviving for sure are Legion, All-Star Western, and Threshold. Team 7 could become one of the most important series’ in the New 52, but potential doesn’t sell a comic. Deathstroke and Suicide Squad are also out there. Suicide Squad is jumping from concept to concept, while Deathstroke just may not be the best use space. Finally I believe we could see the end of Stormwatch. While it isn’t ending in April, chances are that DC won’t keep two Wildstorm titles going for very long. It has also struggled substantially to find a valid place in the DCU especially among groups like the various different Justice Leagues.

The Young Justice Line is the sad inkling in the New 52. They comprise #51 and #52 of the line, and have had their line drastically depleted through the course of the initiative. While Teen Titans is not going anywhere, Ravagers has struggled to find a place in the universe, and has had an equally hard time capturing an audience. It’s stay might be coming to a close as well.

That means we have 15 comics that could all be on the chopping block. I’ll narrow them down 5 at a time.

It is unlikely that Dark Knight, Team 7, Sword of Sorcery, Talon, or Suicide Squad will go anywhere. Anything starring Bruce is unlikely to die, the 3 “unsafe” Third Wave titles are still packed with potential and all set it good directions, and Suicide Squad features a fan favorite character. So these would make 15-11 on my list of next to die. Possible, but unlikely.

Now to comprise 10-6. Both Stormwatch and Demon Knights fit into this category. Both are going in bold directions, but if Stormwatch goes I doubt DK will be far behind it. Dial H falls here because it is still on the fringes of the DCU, it has been tied in more as of late. But it’s critical acclaim doesn’t equal financial success, so I fear that it will suffer the same fate as I, Vampire. Given DC’s commitment to most of their titles, I’d find it more likely that they’d invest in revamping the Ravagers rather than dumping them off completely, so that will fall in this category as well. Finally, I think Hawkman’s time hasn’t come quite yet. I think DC will keep this title on watch, but it could very well achieve a new level of success given JLA. Thus it won’t fall within the official block. That means we have
10. Demon Knights
9. Ravagers
8. Savage Hawkman
7. Dial H
6. Stormwatch

That leaves the 5 I think are most likely to bite it. I think Red Lanterns has never really found its place, nor the proper audience. With the GLU so big, any other title could take it’s place. Batwing has always been the anomaly of the Bat family line. Though a good character, it is one of the most random titles in the New 52 and enjoyed a longer run than I think anyone expected. Deathstroke may be improving in quality, but do we really need it? Deathstroke has been everywhere in the past few months of solicitations, and is pretty much the only stand out character in Team 7. He’s at no shortage of appearances, perhaps it’s time for someone else more deserving to get a solo series? Firestorm has always struggled to find a place. With the greatest potential for the character reached in today’s Justice League #16, there isn’t a whole lot more the character could do. Perhaps he could be refurbished with the Justice League and repackaged else where? I think so. And finally Batman Incorporated. It is ending. No doubt about it. So while rather obvious, I think few people have thought about it. Here is the five titles on DC’s Chopping Block.

5. Red Lanterns
4. Batwing
3. Deathstroke
2. Firestorm
1 Batman Incorporated

Batman Inc. will be ending in June when it hits issue #12. I’d personally expect further cancellation announcements at the same time. How many that will be, and what will replace it is anyone’s guess. But I will wager that they’ll come from the 5-10 comics I listed here.

Until the next time,

Rn

DC’s Chopping Block: The Next to Die

By now I’m sure you’ve all been informed of the new Justice League team, if not I advise you to educate yourself and check back here.

Now that you are back, we can begin discussing what’s on the chopping block. Since we know January/May is the new time frame for the above title (and the rest of DC’s 4th wave, whatever that may be). Since we know DC is keeping the line at 52 titles, there will be at least one title cancelled. However, DC has wider reaching plans and a 4th wave will not have just a single title. Thus we know that there will be multiple cancellations (at least two, but hopefully more than that). My goal today is to discuss what is most likely to get cut. I plan to do that in the most systematic way possible.

First off, let’s look at what we know is staying. My plan is to narrow down on the 6 titles that will most likely be cut. So let’s begin, shall we?

The Batman line, it’s safe (well for the most part). It’s the highest selling title and almost all of the titles in the Bat-line sell within the top 50. However, I shall go ahead and list out the titles that are safe. Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman: The Dark Knight, Detective Comics, Batwoman, Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws. Now go ahead and count, that’s 8 titles. Now that isn’t the entire Batman line. However, those titles will not be cancelled (perhaps ever). Catwoman, and Birds of Prey however are not as safe. Though, for the sake of this cancellation I’d expect both to survive, however they might not be so lucky come the next round. But more on that another time. That brings the count up to 10 safe titles. Batwing however, Batwing is the title that could get cut the soonest. With Winick leaving Batwing at some point in the future (but after November) it’s very likely that this title could be cut in the January time frame I have already established. For this sake, I’m not going to count Batwing among the “safe titles”.

Next, the Superman family is safe. It’s small, but DC needs to keep the line iconic, and Superman anchored DC up until Batman’s popularity explosion in the 80’s. That’s 4 more safe, and a total of 14 titles safe.

The same goes for the GL line. All four of those titles are safe. That brings our count to 18. However, Red Lanterns is only a place holder. It’s conceivable that this title will also bite it once a better GL title comes out.

Next to the Justice League title. JL, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and DCU are all safe. That brings our count up by 5. That’s a total of 23 titles safe. However, that leaves Firestorm, Hawkman, and Green Arrow on a potential chopping block.

Onto the dark part of the line up. Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Justice League Dark, and Frankenstein are safe. That brings our title up to 27. Leaving out I, Vampire and Demon Knights.

The Edge line up is the absolute weakest of the bunch, All-Star Western, Suicide Squad, and even Stormwatch are safe. I say Stormwatch only because it anchors the entire line up currently. That leaves Deathstroke and Grifter, which I’ve already hinted at. This leaves our count at 30.

Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes are safe. That brings our count to 32 and excludes Legion Lost and Blue Beetle.

Now you may say I’ve left off nearly a dozen titles. However the brilliance is they are the safest titles. Batman Inc, Worlds Finest, Earth 2, G.I. Combat, Dial H, Ravagers, Talon, Phantom Stranger, Team 7, and Sword of Sorcery are all safe. They are the second and third wave titles. Neither would be cancelled so early into their run. Though a few have a potential for short runs. That brings our count up to 42 titles.

Now then, let’s narrow down the ten titles I have deemed unsafe. The titles that were passed up. We have Batwing, Firestorm, Hawkman, Green Arrow, I, Vampire, Demon Knights, Deathstroke, Grifter, Legion Lost, and Blue Beetle. These ten titles are all on the chopping block. Now we have to narrow them down to what’s most likely, and why. I, Vampire and Demon Knights help the numbers of the Dark line, these titles need to stay and their critical acclaim boosts their adaptability above other lower selling titles. Green Arrow and Blue Beetle also fit into this category. Green Arrow is too iconic to kill, and DC is hoping for more popularity with his appearance in the new JL title. Blue Beetle needs to stay to keep the numbers on the Young Justice title. It comes down to his title or Legion Lost, and it outsells LL.

That did it. The six titles on the chopping block are Batwing, Grifter, Deathstroke, Hawkman, Legion Lost, and Firestorm. The three Liefeld titles have been ravaged, perhaps beyond repair.  With Grifter appearing in a Third and Fourth Wave title, thus making is solo title obsolete. This title WILL be cancelled. I am almost positive of it. Next we’ll see the death of Hawkman or Firestorm. I can’t quite decipher which title is among the top two. It would seem like a slap in the face to cancel two Liefeld titles, but he kinda deserves it after his Twitter fueled power trip. Firestorm has been struggling along as well. It’s out-of-place, and has no official connectivity with much of anything in the DCU. I expect it’s among the highest on DC’s chopping block. So one last time, DC’s cancellations are among:

1. Grifter
2/3. Savage Hawkman/Fury of Firestorm
4. Deathstroke
5. Batwing
6. Legion Lost

These are the six titles I feel are most likely to be chopped next. Though it is possible the other four titles I narrowed down could be cut as well. Anyway, I’ve gone on long enough about all this. I hope you enjoyed, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Until the next time, I’m awesome.

Rn