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?
Written by SCOTT SNYDER and JAMES TYNION IV
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
Written by JUSTIN JORDAN
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!
THE PHANTOM STRANGER #0
Written by DAN DIDIO
Art by BRENT ANDERSON and SCOTT HANNA
Cover by BRENT ANDERSON
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!
SWORD OF SORCERY #0
Written by CHRISTY MARX
Backup story written by TONY BEDARD
Art by AARON LOPRESTI and MATT RYAN
Backup story art by JESUS SAIZ
Cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON
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.
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.
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?