The DC Comics 52 Explosion Phase 2

The relaunch of DC Comics is in its next phase. Mere months after debuting 52 monthly books, some based on established characters while others were dusted off old concepts (such as OMAC). A handful were canceled to make way for Earth-2, World’s Finest, G.I. Combat and Dial H… and now we are seeing another cycle of death and rebirth as three more books are chopped and three new ones arrive.

What is more unsettling is that DC editorial seems to be struggling with some of their cornerstone properties. Superman and Catwoman will both be on their third change in creative teams, just what is the problem there?

In any case, September has been dubbed Zero Month and will take readers into the hallowed and well-traveled origins of their favorite heroes while also bringing in some new blood.

I have very mixed feelings about the four new books, Talon, Sword of Sorcery, Team 7 and Phantom Stranger but I must applaud the variety that is represented here. Talon is by the hot talent at DC Scott Snyder whom I have deeply enjoyed since he took over Detective then Batman, Phantom Stranger has Brent Anderson on art chores and the character is one of my favorites. Sword of Sorcery does nothing for me, but it’s great that another fantasy title will be joining Demon Knights. Team 7 seems like a 1990’s flashback, but there is a fan base for such things, so… what do I know?

Art and cover by GUILLEM MARCH
On sale SEPTEMBER 26 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• A new series featuring the Court of Owls’ unstoppable killing machine!
• Meet Calvin Rose, the only Talon ever to escape the grasp of the Court of Owls. This former assassin just wants to live a normal life…but that’s impossible, since he’s being hunted by his former masters!

TEAM 7 #0
Art and cover by JESUS MERINO
On sale SEPTEMBER 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• Threads of the entire DC Universe collide in this new series set in the early days of The New 52 from writer Justin Jordan (The Strange Talents of Luther Strode).
• As Superman emerges, so too does the world’s counter measures against him and his kind!
• Dinah Lance, Amanda Waller, Steve Trevor, John Lynch, Alex Fairchild, Cole Cash, Slade Wilson are Team 7 – and their story will change everything you know about The New 52!

Written by DAN DIDIO
On sale SEPTEMBER 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• Learn what happened to The Phantom Stranger after the FREE COMIC BOOK DAY story!
• Who has been sacrificed? Who is guilty? Who can save us? And who…is The Phantom Stranger?
• Major players in The New 52 will be introduced in these pages!

Backup story written by TONY BEDARD
Backup story art by JESUS SAIZ
On sale SEPTEMBER 19 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
• In this new series featuring the long-awaited return of AMETHYST, Amy Winston leads a strange life on the road with her mother. She’s about to learn why it’s all been necessary when she discovers she’s the lost princess of Gemworld — and has powerful enemies hunter her!
• AMETHYST is written by Christy Marx, best known for her work on animated TV series including G.I. Joe, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more, as well as the comics series Sisterhood of Steel.
• And in the backup story set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the monstrous warrior BEOWULF is charged with finding and defeating the evil Grendel.

In addition to the new titles, there are several zero issues that explore the origins of the New 52 DCU.

Shazam takes center stage in Justice League #0 while Aquaman #0 establishes the king of the seven seas and the fabled continent of Atlantis.

Earth-2 #0 stars the sadly deceased Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman of that parallel world and Green Arrow, the Flash, Wonder Woman and Hawkman all get special secret origin tales.

DC Universe Presents #0 introduces a new version of the Ditko classic heroes Hawk and Dove (has anyone outside of Ditko ever made sense of this due?) just as Captain Atom, Voodoo and Resurrection Man bow out with a zero issue… strangely.

It all strikes me as very bizarre to reboot your universe and a few months down the road amid the carnage of cancelled comics, special issues are released with origin stories. These are just quarter bin fodder as far as I can see. That’s not a slight on the material as most of it looks quite good, but it does appear to be a marketing disaster. The only issues that I plan to pick up are Batman, Batwoman (drawn by JH Williams!), Detective Comics (written by Gregg Hurwitz!) and Nightwing and that’s just because I’m in a bat-fever.

My main complaint isn’t with the material at all, but the scatter-shot nature of the releases.

There are some gems in here such as young John Constantine in Justice League: Dark written by Jeff Lemiere and an early Animal Man story by the same author. Legion of Superheroes will feature artwork by the always exciting Scott Kolins and Legion Lost welcomes the excellent Pete Woods.

GI Combat looks like an astonishingly superb issue that establishes the new Unknown Soldier, as well as more tales from the War that Time Forgot.

Even with all my whinging, there is a lot of high quality material here (hiding in the middle of the awful looking Grifter, Hawkman, Superman, Firestorm and the unlikely physique of Catwoman) and I hope that readers take the time to flip through a few, if only to respect the hard work and outstanding talent that went into them.

What issues are you picking up?


6 thoughts on “The DC Comics 52 Explosion Phase 2

  1. The only comics I have been reading lately have been digital ones, via Comixology… and I was debating some of the new 52 first issues that recently dropped to 99 cents. Having read this, I agree this feels weird. Not even a year into the reboot and it feels like DC is flinching.

    Also kind of shameful if a title like Superman isn’t more reliably good than it sounds like it is…

    That Catwoman cover is almost painful, forget her build… is that pose even humanly possible?


  2. Mostly been picking up things from the various sales… some new to me, others not. I picked up the first 4 Walking Dead “TPBs” and read those, and am hoping for others to go on sale again so I can read some more. I also bought some “oldies” like Dark Knight Returns, and some other semi-random Batman issues from a 99-cent sale a while back.

    Basically I keep my eyes peeled for their sales and see what’s what. Most of the newer stuff hasn’t jumped out at me, though, and certainly not enough to pounce at full price.

    I dropped out of the regular weekly reading scene several years back, and I thought I would miss it… but outside of a few random things like the Walking Dead, I honestly can’t say that I feel like I’ve missed much.. which saddens me a little for the state of comics.


  3. Um, did I read that right? Hawk and Dove *again*?! Hadn’t Rob Liefeld already pooed that out in his inimitable fashion? What the…?
    Talon sounds like a cross between Denny O’Neil’s Azrael and the classic Goodwin/Simonson Manhunter. Not very original then.
    Notice how both Amethyst and Talon feature characters being hunted down? Surely two “new” comics shouldn’t be sharing Stock Plot #3b, do people at DC talk to one another at all?
    As an aside, I may have reservations about Earth 2 but it’s one of the best-looking comics on the shelves thanks to Nicola Scott’s art and the punchy colours (or *colors* to my American friends).
    There are obviously people out there who could make Superman work, it is *inconceivable* that there isn’t, the problem therefore *has* to be DC. Sure, there are readers who think themselves too hip for Superman (silly) but given an inspired enough writer the Man of Tomorrow could be a real hit. Yeah, me likee Superman, me sick o’ the Dork Knight Defective. Sorry!


    • At the risk of losing favor that I gained by being in the red-headed league…

      That original Liefeld Hawk & Dove mini was actually the only thing Liefeld has been involved in that I actually liked. Maybe it wasn’t classic Hawk & Dove (are there fans of classic Hawk & Dove??) but I thought it was a good story, and oddly… Liefeld did better art in that book than he usually does though maybe he owes my like of that book to the work of the Kesels moreso than his own efforts?


  4. The integration of the Wildstorm world into the DC universe has a great potential, in my opinion. The Wildstorm world has a lot of intriguing superheroes and villains who never met the DC ones, so their union is a potential goldmine of brand new stories. At present it’s not working, though: Voodoo closed, Grifter will probably close, and Stormwatch sells quite well, but is boring as all hell. I hope the potential I see will be expressed in the upcoming Team 7.


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