I thought about it and while I’m a big DC fan, he maybe right. So I took the DCU books from November and cut out Geoff Johns books and projects he is involved in and Grant Morrison books and what are we left with:
EL DIABLO #3 – A mediocre book at best. Grade C.
VIXEN: RETURN OF THE LION #2 – An okay beginning. Grade B (being nice).
SECRET SIX #3 – Solid book, well written, great start. Grade A
TEEN TITANS #65 – Very uneven. Grade C.
TITANS #7 – Rough beginning. Grade D.
TERROR TITANS #2 – Okay start. Grade C.
RANN/THANAGAR: HOLY WAR #7 – Convoluted, but fun for an old DC fan. Grade C.
REIGN IN HELL #5 – Again for a die hard DC fan only and even then questionable. Grade C.
TANGENT COMICS: SUPERMAN’S REIGN #9 – Grade D.
THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT #7 – Grade D
BATMAN: CACOPHONY #1 - TBD
ALL-STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER #11 – Grade A
DETECTIVE COMICS #850 – Grade B.
NIGHTWING #150 – Grade A
BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #23 – Grade B.
BATGIRL #5 - Grade C.
BATMAN: GOTHAM AFTER MIDNIGHT #7 – Grade B (but a very narrow audience)
BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #13 – Grade D.
ROBIN #180 – Grade C.
SIMON DARK #14 - Grade A – but again a narrow audience.
SUPERGIRL #35 – Grade C and only lately.
SUPERMAN/SUPERGIRL: MAELSTROM #1-2 - TBD
SUPERMAN AND BATMAN VS. VAMPIRES AND WEREWOLVES #3-4 – Grade B
SUPERMAN/BATMAN #54 – Grade B
BIRDS OF PREY #124 - Grade B (barely, moving towards a C)
BLUE BEETLE #33 – Grade C (borderline B at times)
BOOSTER GOLD #14 – Grade C. The concept was a mini-series.
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #19 – Grade C (Last two issue were horrible).
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #30 – Grade B
THE FLASH #246 – Grade D
JONAH HEX #37 – Grade A
MANHUNTER #36 – Grade B
GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY #14 – Grade D (use to be an “A” a few months back)
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27 – Grade C
WONDER WOMAN #26 – Grade C
THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #48 – Grade B (sometimes a C)
Now realize Manhunter and Legion of Super Heroes have been cancelled. Flash is going on hiatus and rumors are Batman Confidential may bite the dust. Subtract the big three from that list of books (any books were they play a prominent role) and you have.
SGT. ROCK: THE LOST BATTALION #1
AMBUSH BUG YEAR NONE #5
EL DIABLO #3
VIXEN: RETURN OF THE LION #2
SECRET SIX #3
TEEN TITANS #65
TERROR TITANS #2
RANN/THANAGAR: HOLY WAR #7
REIGN IN HELL #5
THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT #7
SIMON DARK #14
BIRDS OF PREY #124
BLUE BEETLE #33
BOOSTER GOLD #14
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #19
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #30
THE FLASH #246
JONAH HEX #37
GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY #14
What you have left is one or two new super hero books that I would label as I would really miss (Secret Six and GL Corps). I love Simon Dark and Jonah Hex, but they could be Vertigo books just as easily. That is not much of a base and the mini-series are all pretty weak.
While I applaud DC in letting various books have their own stories and not be interrupted by Final Crisis I do want to know how the timeline plays out in broad strokes. Even if it would hurt Batman RIP or Trinity. At least put a footnote stating that these stories will come together after both story lines are concluded or something. While I do not need tight continuity it is like I’m reading about five different Superman characters within one month’s reading. The Superman in Action/Superman is one of them, the one in Superman/Batman is another; the one in JLA is a third, a fourth in Final Crisis and a fifth in Trinity. An editorial saying that there is a plan at least would be nice, but I get the feeling there is no plan.
I also get the feeling that the story editor they hired is not doing his job, why else are Busiek and Johns running down the road with one version of Hawkman and Starlin is fixing his past in another series. If Starlin has Hawkman pull him out of the other books. If Trinity is before Final Crisis and Rann/Thanagar is after Final Crisis let me know.
It does not have to be perfect. If Batman is holding a batrang in his left hand on page one and it is in his right hand on page two I can live with that. But if Batman is crazed and been so shattered he has left everything behind, then who the flock is running around in Trinity. In Superman/Batman Kryptonite is taken out of the equation, not mentioned anywhere else.
So DC looks like they are floundering and lost at times. They have a weak line of books absent Johns and Morrison projects. They have lost cohesion in the DCU, like I said it doesn’t have to tie together perfectly, but things are done in book A and no one every picks up on it (see James Robinson’s restart of Batman One Year Later and then see that work ignored).
DC has some great books and some great titles, but the universe needs to be pulled together and books need to have a rationale for existing and should have one to two years of plots laid out before launching a book (see Flash, BATO, WW, etc).
Fire Mike Carlin or Dan Didio or Paul Levitz (not Paul), but shake up something people or DC will be fighting Dark Horse and Image for market share as Marvel becomes half the market permanently (which is a bad thing for the industry).