New 52 Fourth Wave: The Cancellations

Another wave of DC cancellations, and I have my standard thoughts. I'm going to be holding off on my impressions of the announced titles until they actually announce what the fifth new title is, but been sitting on these for a while. we go!

1. Blue Beetle: Like Static Shock before it, this is a book that had a lot of potential that it never lived up to; unlike Static, it actually had a core premise I’d like to see still explored.The tone of this book was all over the place, fluctuating between comedic to moody to outright goofy, often in the same issue. But Jaime has always been an interesting character, and Bedard clearly enjoyed writing the banter between him and the bugsuit. DC also clearly has larger plans for the character, so I expect to see him pop up elsewhere; he’d be a welcome addition onto the Teen Titans, but I suspect that editorial would prefer to keep him cosmic focused for the time being.

2. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.: The book I am saddest to see go, though it lost some of it’s spark since original writer Jeff Lemire left the book. A lot of people criticized this title for being a fair shamelessly riff on Hellboy’s BPRD, but I never fully understood why that was a bad thing. Both Lemire and Kindt wrote Frankie well, though his supporting cast fell into the background pretty swiftly after the creative turnover. Like Blue Beetle, the character is set to live on as a part of the Justice League Dark group under Lemire’s pen again. I just hope that S.H.A.D.E. still exists as well, even if only the periphery.

3. G.I. Combat: Of interest as the only second wave book being cancelled, though that is a bit misleading; this was really a second stab that DC took at trying to create modern military book, so this is really the second time that they’ve pulled the plug on Men of War. The tone took a sharp turn towards the absurd to be sure, but even at the end of MoH’s run that was already the case; that series ended with a one-shot about Frankenstein’s role in World War 2. As I said back then, I think that the core idea here wasn’t misguided. This was DC trying to capitalize on the current popularity of modern military shooters and diversity in a line of comics dominated by capes and tights is always appreciate. The audience just clearly wasn’t there, especially at a premium price point. Maybe down the line they’ll try again, but for now this experiment seems to be buried.

4.Grifter: I had a lot of hope for Grifter. The initial conceit (a man stumbles upon a massive alien invasion while the rest of the world believes him crazed and very dangerous) had a lot of promise. Unfortunately, like many other of the WIldstorm reboots, it lacked focus or direction through multiple creative teams. By the time Liefeld took over plotting and it became an excuse in bringing in more and more WS characters with little purpose, it became a bit of a bore. What will be interesting to see is where Cole pops up next. He’ll certainly be part of Team Seven, but as far as current-day books, he’ll likely show up somewhere eventually. May be a good match for Suicide Squad?

5. Legion Lost: Legion books as a whole are fairly impenetrable to any besides those already literate in this peculiar corner of the DC universe. I mention that just to laud Legion Lost on being fairly approachable to even the most casual or uninformed of DC readers. It was a basic, universal story of strangers in a strange land, with the strangers being very strange and the land being our own. That said, this book lost a lot of it’s appeal for me when Fabian Nicieza left; Tom DeFalco’s work on the book was inoffensive but lacked a certain flavor and spark that Nicieza’s run had. Add a rather misguided crossover with Teen Titans that derailed the books own momentum, and a growing level of complexity, and what made this book special was quickly lost (no pun intended.) More Pete Woods art is always a good thing though, and this book was consistently pretty to look at. It will be interesting to see where this book leaves off, and if these characters will still able to interact with the main core of the DCU or return back to the future.