DC Comics - Convergence, Divergence ... Resurgence?

So it's goodbye to the New 52. DC has announced that come June, following the two-month Convergence event and the Divergence Free Comic Book Day special that follows, the branding its books have had since September 2011 is being dropped. I think everyone saw it coming - it's been a while since the company was publishing 52 titles monthly, and the term is often used as a perjorative (ahem). 

More interesting is that DC is cancelling a slew of titles and replacing them with others. Here's the science bit: 

Action Comics
Detective Comics
The Flash 
Gotham Academy 
Gotham By Midnight 
Green Arrow
Green Lantern
Harley Quinn
Justice League 
Justice League United 
Secret Six 
New Suicide Squad 
Superman/Wonder Woman 
Teen Titans 
Wonder Woman 

Batman Beyond
Black Canary
Constantine: The Hellblazer 
Dark Universe
Green Lantern: Lost Army 
Earth 2: Society 
Dr. Fate 
Harley Quinn/Power Girl
Justice League of America
Justice League 3001 
Martian Manhunter 
Mystic U 
Omega Men 
Red Hood/Arsenal 
Robin, Son of Batman 
Section Eight 
We Are Robin

Wot, no Supergirl? The Girl of Steel, whose recently revamped book has been getting all kinds of praise, and who's due to get her own TV show this year, is out? My guess is that DC has pulled the series for a few months so it can relaunch when the CBS drama begins, but does that mean the comic's storyline will mirror the show, with Kara aged about 24 and living with the Danvers, including an adoptive sister? Yes, DC co-publisher Dan DiDio said yesterday that 'story will trump continuity' but I can't see the TV world melding with the current Superman Family scenario. Could it be that there'll be a Supergirl TV comic, but no regular DC Universe book? Has the Green Arrow experiment of having a DCU Ollie book alongside an Arrow TV comic proved a failure? I'm keen to see the coming telly show, but if it's a choice between a DCU Kara and a TV version, I'll take our comic girl. We've watched Kara's difficult first years as a refugee in Earth, seen her face her troubles and mature, and relax. I'm not ready to say goodbye to her. 

And where the heck is the Legion of Super-Heroes? They've been guest starring in Justice League United - and I'm delighted to see that book continuing, I hope Kara keeps her membership there - making them a shoo-in for a book any day now. Errr... I do hope we don't have to wait until the rumoured LSH film before the 31st Century's greatest super team gets a series again. 

It could be that both books are coming, on another wave of books a few months down the line. Shazam and Booster Gold would be welcome then, too. 

As for the new line, I'm interested.  The phrase apparently being used - thank you Bleeding Cool - is 'the Batgirling of DC Comics'. It seems the recent soft reboot of Batgirl, taking her from gritty avenger in her twenties to flighty college girl of around 19, has proven such a success that it's opened the floodgates for new ideas and approaches. More comics are going the Batgirl route of not worrying too much about heavy lines of continuity, freeing writers and artists up to go a little wild. We've already seen some of this blue-sky thinking (or maybe red, given DC's favourite Crisis colour) with the launches of Gotham Academy, Grayson and Gotham After Midnight, all great series. 

You might also think of it as the Wednesday Comics-ing of DC - the wide variety of subjects and creatives in Mark Chiarello's weekly tabloid is almost certainly an influence. DC should have picked up on its tricks years ago.  
So I'm excited by such things as series for Martian Manhunter, Black Canary and Dr Fate. All three have had interesting runs previously, but not for many years. Let's see how they fare today - if Dr Fate gets anything near as great a series as when the character was written by first JM DeMatteis, then William Messner-Loebs, I'll be thrilled.

I've never been much of a Starfire or Cyborg fan - to me, they're great ensemble characters, but a little one-note ... still, here's a chance for them to be - no pun intended, Victor Stone - fleshed out. Starfire, especially, should be worth watching, given the Power Girl team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner are writing, and current Supergirl artist Emanuela Lupacchino, a ridiculously talented creator, is drawing. The new costume is a great start. 

Let's have a look down the list...

Batman Beyond I've never liked the design of the character - too pointy - so haven't seen the cartoon. I am reading Futures End and Terry McGinniss just doesn't interest me. But darn it, Dan Jurgens is writing and he always entertains me. Bet he gets Booster Gold in there... And I do enjoy Bernard Chang's art, so I'll give it a look. 

Bat-Mite I always enjoy the cheeky wee imp, and I like that DC is trying more light-hearted books. Dan Jurgens writing, with the talented Corin Howells drawing? Sold. 
Bizarro So many writers have a hard time remembering how reverse-logic affects speech, and that bugs me. I do hope writer Heath Corson and Gustavo Duarte get him right - a charming goof rather than the killer of recent years. I believe it's meant to be a funny book... the announcement that he's from Bizarro World and isn't the Lex Luthor clone from the Forever Evil storyline gives me hope. 

Black Canary Gotham Academy and Batgirl's Brenden Fletcher, Hawkeye's Annie Wu? Could be great, but I do hope they cheer Dinah up, she's not been having a good time in Batgirl and has been rotten company. 

Constantine: The Hellblazer Writers Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV and artist Riley Rossmo look to be starting from the ground up after the disappointing New 52 version of Scouse con magician John Constantine. Hopefully he'll quit with the magical blasts. 

Cyborg Fingers crossed for Victor to become the hero DC says he is, courtesy of David Walker and Ivan Reis. I've not read any work by Walker, so far as I can recall, but I do like former Aquaman and JLA artist Reis a lot, he'll be a huge asset to the book. 

Dark Universe Tynion and Doyle again, but this time the latter is drawing the new take on Justice League Dark, retitled to match the planned Hollywood film. I'm intrigued. 

Green Lantern: Lost Army I dunno what this is, bar a relaunched Green Lantern Corps. Apart from Red Lanterns when Supergirl was in it, I've not been a fan of the GL books since the Lanterns became the Crayola Corps, with every plot turning on the failures/secrets of the Guardian. As I liked writer Cullin Bunn's Fearless Defenders, and artists Jesus Saiz and Javier Pina are rock solid, I shall give this a crack. 

Doomed Scott Lobdell gives us I Was a Teenage Doomsday. Oh so very Pass. 

Earth 2: Society Well, I was hoping for a return of the original Justice Society of America, but this sounds like a continuation of the current, depressing Earth 2 series. I hope I'm wrong, or if I'm not, that we're getting a heel-turn in tone. 

Dr Fate One of my favourite comic book legacies by Paul Levitz, writer of the Legion of Super-Heroes' best run, and Sonny Liew, whose art is reminiscent of Ms Marvel's Adrian Alfona. Colour me intrigued.  

Harley Quinn/Power Girl Following the recent three-part team-up in Harley's existing mag, this would be an example of 'hang continuity' - unless Power Girl returns to revisit DC's Earth Prime or Harley pops across to Earth 2. And I couldn't be happier, as I loved those issues. Hey, there's even a review link on the home screen. 
Justice League Bryan Hitch is writing and drawing. I'd rather he were just drawing. 

Justice League 3001 This is, of course, a continuation of the excellent, underappreciated Justice League 3000, by the same creative team of writers Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis, and artist Howard Porter. If you've not tried the book, it's excellent. Again, I have reviews. 

Martian Manhunter Rob Williams writes, Ben Oliver draws and I have high hopes that this book will contain a refreshing mix of superheroes and strangeness. And if we see J'onn's old domestic cat secret identity, so much the better. 
Midnighter I can't stand this guy, but I'll try an issue or two, see what writer Steve Orlando brings to the table. If it's anything like the gleefully blood-drenched image that's been released, one issue will be enough. 

Mystic U All that's been released at time of writing is the name of the author, Alisa Kwitney, former Vertigo editor and writer, and romance novelist. That's a great background, and I'm guessing we're getting a college for spooky kids. Klarion the witch boy's  comic is cancelled, maybe he'll be in there along with Tim Hunter, Traci 13 and other young mystics. 

Omega Men I don't think I've found these guys interesting since they debuted in Green Lantern, but Grayson writer Tom King is on board, which is a plus, and artist Alec Morgan looks an unlikely choice, so I'm intrigued.  
Prez Joe Simon's Seventies concept returns with Prez Rickard now a girl. And maybe not Rickard. Who knows? Ben Caldwell is a superb artist, so despite my lack of interest in the idea, it's worth a try. I Googled writer Mark Russell but couldn't find a definite hit, so while he may dazzle or dismay, he gets a chance. 

Red Hood/Arsenal I quite liked these too when they first showed up in the New 52 but soon got bored, and continuing writer Scott Lobdell, with his love of illogical leaps, isn't a huge draw. If Arsenal keeps the baseball cap that makes him look like a moron, forget it. 

Damian, Son of Batman Replacing Batman and Robin, this keeps artist Patrick Gleason, but loses the excellent Peter J Tomasi. Gleason is writing, and I can't see that he has the experience to fill Tomasi's big shoes. We're talking big DMs, not yellow pixie boots. 

Section Eight Garth Ennis and John McCrea return to the rubbish super-team from their sublime Hitman series. This will be great. 
Starfire So yes, a favourite creative team on a most un-favourite character. I trust Conner and Palmiotti, bring it on. 

We Are Robin I love the image that's been released, I want a Robin letterman jacket. Artist Lee Bermejo is writing, while the talented Khary Randolph illustrating. It looks to be about a street gang inspired by Robin to do good. Could be amazing, could be awful - teen characters so often are - but anything from Mark Doyle's Bat office is worth a look. 

So, those are my initial thoughts. How about yours?


  1. I am actually excited about all of these books. sure, there's some I probably won't read, but I love the wide variety here of creators, characters, and concepts on these books. There's possibly something for everyone. All I need now is to here some premises and see some preview artwork for some of the books so I can know what I'm getting into, like Mystic and Prez.

    Frankly, I'm super excited for Stargirl. I love the creative team for all of their work on Harley Quinn and also with Power Girl, so I must read it. Also, her costume reminds me a bit of hers from the Teen Titans cartoon, so that's even better!

    1. I do think the announced creative team could be the ones to make me a Kory fan, rather than someone who likes her only occasionally.

  2. I'll confess that I'm not getting nearly the amount of New 52 series that I was at the beginning as my series keep getting cancelled out from under me. And I'm pleased with the decision to remove the New 52 branding from the books. It's time. I'm also pleased that they seem to be getting rid of the two things that I most disliked about the New 52 - a heavy editorial hand guiding the direction of the line and a tendency towards house-style art and stories. I couldn't be happier to be getting books with a strong creative voice and vision and I'm really looking forward to checking out some of these titles.
    I'm okay with the fact that there are titles missing that I'd like to see (Shazam, Legion, Doom Patrol) and that some of the potential TV characters are also missing books (Atom, Supergirl and Firestorm among others). All that tells me is that there isn't a creator who feels strongly about those characters to deliver a worthwhile pitch yet or they're saving some books to act as replacements after six or seven months have passed.

  3. Naming all those almost-certain-to-appear titles has me really rather excited, Murray. Firestorm, Doom Patrol - yes please. I like that DC is taking chances with the super-obscure, but there are certain favourites I just want around.

  4. I know they're not high priority, but if Midnighter is getting a title and Deathstroke is keeping his then I'd like to see DC put some of the Milestone characters to good use. Static (also set to get another TV show!) the Blood Syndicate (maybe renamed the Outsiders) and Icon and Rocket would fit right in with the tone DC seems to be trying to set here. Then again I've wanted to read a current comic about a conservative lawyer superhero and his liberal teen mum sidekick long before the New 52.

    Promising stuff all round!

    1. What a brilliant idea, I'd love more Icon especially, too. If memory serves, the new Milestone Media said they'd not be averse with working with DC. Fingers crossed!

  5. Man, when did you jump aboard the Scott Lobdell hate train? One of the joys of occassionally popping in here was to read your positive reviews of his Superman run. I know I'm in the minority already, loving his Red Hood book too, so sad to see you so joining the rest of the internets in being so down on Lobdell...

    On the bright side, yeah, really excited for a lot of this, from Doyle&Rossmo on Hellblazer all the way to Dr. Fate, Midnighter and Section 8. And I think a teenage Doomsday could be ridiculous zany fun of the best kind. But that's just me. :)

  6. I've always abhorred Doomsday, he's a rubbish non-character, invented purely to pummel. That something like that should 'kill' Superman is a disgrace, A DISGRACE I tell you. It shoulda been Luthor! I can't imagine a teenage version being any more palatable than mindless monster version.

    And there's no hate train, I've always taken Scott Lobdell stories on a case by case basis. This is hardly the first time I've expressed less than huge enthusiasm for one of his projects. But I hope it finds an audience, and that you do indeed love it.

  7. Dan Didio should get his own comic, "Dan Didio, the man who single-handedly destroyed the DC Universe." I stopped reading DC years ago when every fresh innovative series that I started reading and became invested in was cancelled out from under me. That, and the fact that every 6 months ushers in some new cataclysmic cosmic event that inter-connects every single book and re-starts the universe over from scratch. You can't give me one or two good books with consistently good story-telling outside of and unaffected by every crisis coming and going, but you will try to shove the Omega Men down our throats each and every re-boot. Sheesh! You are rapidly approaching the point where you will have milked someone else's creative genius until there is not one single story left to tell.

    1. Actually, the Omega Men is rather good! Have you tried it?


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