***NOTE: This concept should only be attached to New 52 branded #1 issues. No other issues, international prints, or trade collections.***
Launch of the New 52
With dwindling/stalled sales, in October 2010, some of DC Comics lead executives and creative talents came together to discuss how to put a jolt of energy into their entire comics line. The fruits of this meeting were revealed in June 2011 with DC announcing the New 52, a line-wide relaunch of all their titles. Starting in September 2011, following the end of Flashpoint, DC would launch 52 titles all starting at #1. Along with a number of brand new titles, many titles were relaunched versions of classic books like Action and Detective Comics. The initiative was an effort to get people excited about comics, attracting new, current, and old readers with easy jumping on points with 52 new #1 issues. The New 52 also saw DC's launch of day and date digital release of all their titles.
The initiative launched on August 31st, when on the same day Flashpoint #5 was released, DC also released Justice League #1, written by DC Comics CCO Geoff Johns, and drawn by Co-Publisher Jim Lee. Due to the effect of the ending of Flashpoint, both the Vertigo and Wildstorm Universes were merged into the DC Universe, starting the whole universe anew. This would be explored in Justice League, with the first six issues being set five years in the past, where the concept of super-heroes were new to the world, delving into the new origin of the Justice League. Besides arcs in Justice League and Action Comics, as well as a hand full of specific time period books, the rest of the line would be set in the present.
The relaunch wasn't merely cosmetic, many of DC's properties were re-imagined or refreshed. Changes to current characters ranged from minor tweaks, to complete reboots. Due to sales being generally high on both the Batman and Green Lantern franchises prior to the initiative, much of those family of characters' continuity remained the same. Some books, like Green Lantern, directly following the events of War of the Green Lanterns, the final story arc of the previous volume of the book; meanwhile, the new Teen Titans explores the first meeting of the team, effectively erasing the history of the previous modern day Teen Titans. In other cases, characters were brought in from different universes, such as with Voodoo, Grifter, Midnighter, Apollo, and more from the Wildstorm universe.
All the New 52 titles were put into one of seven groups, or "families" of similarly related books. The first family was Justice League, that featured the JL titles and many traditional super hero books except the big three that have their own group. The Batman family contained all the books about Batman and his allies like Nightwing, Batgirl, etc., as well as Detective Comics. The Superman family contained all the book about Superman and his allies like Supergirl and Superboy, as well as Action Comics. Green Lantern featured all the books revolving around the various Lantern Corps. The Dark featured books whose characters were more magic or mystic based. The Edge featured characters with more of a hardline, action oriented setup. Finally, Young Justice featured titles involving many of the DCU's teenage heroes, such as the Teen Titans.
A list of the "First Wave" of DC New 52 titles:
First Cancelations & Second Wave
In January 2012, it was revealed that the first New 52 titles that would be cancelled were, Hawk and Dove, Static Shock, Mister Terrific, Men of War, O.M.A.C., and Blackhawks, all ending that April with their eighth issues. In May, DC would replace these six cancelled titles with "Wave Two" of New 52 titles.
A list of the "Second Wave" of DC New 52 titles:
New 52 Annuals
In May 2012, DC introduced New 52 Annuals for a handful of their popular books. These annuals were intended to expand upon plot lines in the main books, participate in crossovers, or launch new concepts and titles. The annuals are only released in months with five Wednesdays to provide retailers with content on the fifth Wednesday, that traditionally saw a decreased amount of titles released. Starting in July 2013, some of the annual volumes would start to receive second issues.
The New 52 Annual volumes are as follows:
May, 2012 - Annuals Wave #1:
August, 2012 - Annuals Wave #2:
Justice League International Annual #1 is the conclusion to the ongoing title of the same name that was cancelled with issue #12 in August 2012.
October, 2012 - Annuals Wave #3:
January, 2013 - Annuals Wave #4:
May, 2013 - Annuals Wave #5:
July, 2013 - Annuals Wave #6:
Instead of new annuals, five annual volumes will receive their second issues:
October, 2013 - Annuals Wave #7:
Two annual volumes receive their first, and four their second issues; with six in total this is the biggest Annuals Wave of The New 52 so far.
January, 2014 - Annuals Wave #8
April, 2014 - Annuals Wave #9
July , 2014 - Annuals Wave #10
Zero Month & Third Wave
Come August 2012, Justice League International would be cancelled with its 12th issue. Following that, it was announced in early June 2012, that to mark the one year anniversary of The New 52, in September all the New 52 titles would be renumbered to issue #0, in order to tell stories or origins that took place prior to the series' first issues or to fill in some gaps in stories. Along with the #0 issues, the third wave of titles would be released. At the time of announcement, the other three cancellations that would coincide with the launch of four new books were not named, but when September solicitations were announced it was confirmed that Captain Atom, Resurrection Man and Voodoo would be cancelled.
A list of the "Third Wave" of DC New 52 titles:
Fourth Wave & WTF Certified
At Fan Expo 2012, DC announced that writer Geoff Johns and artist David Finch would launch a new Justice League of America title in early 2013. The title would spin out of Johns' Justice League as a separate group of heroes employed by the government organization A.R.G.U.S. In an interview speaking of the title, Finch indicated that the series would launch in February 2013, potentially with the rest of the next wave of titles. With December 2012 solicitations, it was revealed that G.I. Combat would be the next title to be cancelled, and like Justice League International, was not cancelled in a "wave". At New York Comic Con, DC announced two more titles, the first being a new Superman ongoing by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, and the next being a cosmic anthology title called Threshold, by Keith Giffen, Tom Raney and Scott Kolins. Threshold was set to launch earlier than the rest of the wave, to replace G.I. Combat in January 2013, where as the untitled Superman project would launch later in 2013, presumably with a fifth wave of titles. Other titles confirmed for cancellation during the "Fourth Wave" are Blue Beetle, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Grifter and Legion Lost. In early November, it was announced that joining Justice League of America, team members Katana and Vibe would receive ongoing titles as well. As well as the focus on the JLA characters, Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino were announced to be taking over Green Arrow. The final book of the wave was announced along side the cancellation of the Vertigo title, Hellblazer. After Hellblazer's 300th issue, it would be cancelled, and in its place, John Constantine would receive his own in-universe New 52 solo title in March 2013. Because Constantine launched a month after the bulk of the fourth wave titles, February only had 51 ongoing titles, so in the 52nd place, DC released a special one-shot titled Young Romance: A New 52 Valentine's Day Special featuring different superheroes in six Valentine's Day related love stories.
A list of the "Fourth Wave" of DC New 52 titles:
WTF Certified & MAD Variant Covers
April 2013 was set to see a new line-wide initiative dubbed "WTF Certified". Each title that month would ship with a fold out cover that would apparently have large surprises including characters, and actions on the other half of the cover intended to make readers think/say "What the F---?!". Along with the covers, each issue would be branded with a stamp logo saying it was "WTF Certified". The initiative itself was met with mixed reaction, many citing the immature nature of the branding. DC would later decide not to use the "WTF Certified" branding on the outside and inside of the books, but the content and gate-fold covers would remain the same.
Along with the gate-fold covers, April and May 2013 also saw a number of New 52 titles sporting a MAD variant cover. This was done in celebration of MAD Magazine's 60th Anniversary. The DC titles that came with MAD variants are:
DC announced it's first cancellations for the fifth wave with the news that both DC Universe Presents and I, Vampire would end in April 2013. At the time, no replacement books were announced. Later, it was revealed at an Arizona comic convention, without official confirmation, that The Savage Hawkman had been cancelled, assumed to be announced with May solicitations. Shortly before the May 2013 solicitations, DC announced a large number of changes coming to their line. Six books consisting of The Fury of Firestorm, The Ravagers, Sword of Sorcery, The Savage Hawkman, Deathstroke and Team 7 would be cancelled in May. Among the announcements, the next wave of annuals for Red Hood and the Outlaws, Batman: The Dark Knight, Earth 2 and Catwoman were also revealed. A slew of creative changes hit many titles as well, Justin Jordan would begin writing Superboy, Michael Alan Nelson would become Supergirl's new writer, and Sterling Gates took over writing duties for Justice League of America's Vibe. It was also announced that the long teased storyline, Trinity War would begin in May as well. Following the May wave of cancellation announcements, the two titles that would replace I, Vampire and DC Universe Presents were announced, The Movement and The Green Team, both politically charged books on the opposite ends of the 99% vs 1% spectrum. Among other changes brought about t
he May solicitations, Geoff Johns ended his nearly decade long run on the Green Lantern franchise, with him the creative teams on the other three Green Lantern titles finished their runs, leading the entire line to all new creative teams in June. With the announcement of the new Green Lantern family creative teams, it was confirmed that Orange Lantern Larfleeze would gain his own title, with the same team in his Threshold back-up. DC would continue with the new announcements, confirming that Greg Pak and Jae Lee would launch a new Batman and Superman team up book titled Batman/Superman set in the past of the New 52. Then, at Emerald City Comic-Con '13, it was announced that the mysterious Pandora, who had appeared in the background of many New 52 #1s would also receive her own title. It was then confirmed that Scott Snyder and Jim Lee's Superman title would be called Superman Unchained.
A list of the "Fifth Wave" of DC New 52 titles:
With the launch and the first issue of Trinity of Sin: Pandora in June, The Phantom Stranger will be renamed to Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger as of issue #9.
Cancellations & Trinity War
Oddly enough, once the fifth wave was revealed, only 50 ongoing titles would be published in the month of June, the first month ever to feature less than 52 titles. Then in July, Batman, Incorporated would conclude with issue #13 (rather than be cancelled for low sales). In May 2013 DC announced the cancellation of even more low-selling books with Demon Knights, Legion of Super-Heroes, Dial H and Threshold seeing their final issues (#23, #23, #15, and #8) in August, leaving only 45 ongoing titles afterwards.
Instead of launching new titles immediately, beginning in July, DC would release Trinity War, the long teased event from 2012's Free Comic Book Day special. Trinity War would be held between three books, Justice League, Justice League of America and Justice League Dark, in their July and August issues. Justice League and Justice League Dark would be written by their normal writers, Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire respectively, but Justice League of America would see Lemire co-write with Johns. Titles to tie into the event would be Constantine, Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger, and Trinity of Sin: Pandora. It was later promised that new books would spin out of the event's conclusion.
Villains Month & Forever Evil
In early June 2013, DC announced plans for the New 52's second anniversary in September of that year, which manifested as Villains Month. Following the conclusion of Trinity War after the Justice League's "defeat," the Secret Society of Super Villains would take over the DC Universe, and thus each New 52 title. During the month of September, a particular villain would grace the cover of a title whose number was supplemented by a decimal point number, with numerous books receiving multiple issues in the month. Because some titles would get as many as four issue in a single month, not every title participated in the event, although some villains and writers that would usually be in a nonparticipating title, were moved to a corresponding issue of another book. As with Zero Month, Villains Month would also receive special covers, this time each cover being a 3D motion image, which ended up coming at a price, with each title that month being listed at $3.99.
See Villains Month for all the Point One issues and the villains they feature.
Along with Villains Month, the New 52's first true crossover event titled Forever Evil would begin, also as a result of the conclusion of Trinity War. The crossover would see a seven-issues mini-series Forever Evil along with three tie-in books that are limited series (six issues each) and five tie-in books that are currently ongoing, plus another Aftermath one-shot.
Ongoing titles that tie-in to the event: Justice League, Justice League Dark, Suicide Squad (all with their issues #24-26), Teen Titans (issues #24-25), Justice League of America (issues #8-10), and Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger (issues #12-14) as well as Trinity of Sin: Pandora (issue #6).
In June 2013, DC would also introduce new ongoing titles following the beginning of the Forever Evil event in October 2013, the first of which being Superman/Wonder Woman, a title focusing on the relationship between the two that had been developing in the prior months. The next title would be Justice League 3000, a book starring a version of the Justice League a millennium into the future, and reuniting the classic creative team of Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire. San Diego Comic Con would see new titles announced, including Harley Quinn from Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner.
A list of the "Sixth Wave" of DC New 52 titles:
Forever Evil Followup/Seventh Wave
DC announced that there will be a few brand new series as well as new books spinning out of Forever Evil, and 11 titles that would be cancelled.
Cancellations: Talon, Animal Man and Batman: the Dark Knight will be cancelled in March at issues #17, #29, #29 respectively. Justice League of America, Nightwing, Suicide Squad, Superman Unchained, Stormwatch and Teen Titans will be cancelled in April at issues #14, #30, #30, #9, #30, #30 respectively. Teen Titans will also have Annual #3 after #30. The Movement will end in May at issue #12 and Larfleeze will end in June at issue #12.
The books announced that are spinning out of Forever Evil or starting after the conclusion of Forever Evil. These books start coming out in April 2014.
- Aquaman and The Others; written by Dan Jurgens and drawn by Lan Medina and Ed Tadeo.
- Justice League United; written by Jeff Lemire and drawn by Mike McKone; The first issue will be #0. The JLU would feature the Martian Manhunter, Animal Man, Stargirl, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Adam Strange, and Supergirl, as well as a brand new teenage-heroine called Equinox which powers connected to the Earth and that change with the seasons.
- Secret Origins; written and drawn by various artists.
- Sinestro; written by Cullen Bunn and drawn by Dale Eaglesham.
The following brand new books will be launched between June-July 2014:
- Grayson; featuring Dick Grayson as super-spy; written by Tim Seeley and Tom King, former CIA counter-terrorism operations officer, and drawn by Mikel Janin.
- Infinity Man and the Forever People; written by Keith Giffen & Dan DiDio and drawn by Keith Giffen & Scott Koblish.
- New Suicide Squad; written by Sean Ryan and drawn by Jeremy Roberts. This Suicide Squad would feature Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Deathstroke, Black Manta, and Joker's Daughter.
- Star Spangled War Stories; featuring a soldier called "G. I. Zombie". This series is written by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti and drawn by Scott Hampton.
- Teen Titans; written by Will Pfeifer and drawn by Kenneth Rocafort. The new Teen Titans would feature Wonder Girl, Red Robin, Raven, Beast Boy (who is now green instead of red), and Bunker.
This wave will also see a new creative team for The Flash and the return of Wally West. With issue #30 in April The Flash is written by Robert Venditti & Van Jensen and drawn by Brett Booth.
New 52 Multiversity
In April 2014 DC finally announced a release date for Grant Morrison's limited series Multiversity. The project that has been in the making for a couple of years already is now scheduled to be launched in August 2014.
Batman Eternal is a weekly series centered around the Batman Universe that was launched in early 2014 just in time for the 75th Anniversary of Batman's first appearance.
The series is spearheaded by Scott Snyder with Jason Fabok on art. Some issues and stories are written by James Tynion IV, John Layman, Ray Fawkes and Tim Seeley.
The series would see the return of Stephanie Brown.
Future's End is a weekly series about 5 years into the future of the New 52.
The series' main writers will be Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens, Brian Azzarello and Keith Giffen. The main artists will be Ethan Van Sciver (who is kicking off the series with #0), Jesus Merino, Aaron Lopresti and Dan Jurgens. Ryan Sook will be doing the covers.
The series will start off with #0 on Free Comic Book Day (FCBD).
Earth 2: World's End
In April 2014 DC announced they would release another weekly title called Earth 2: World's End by October. The title would be written and illustrated by various writers and artists, and focus on DC's alternate universe and characters.
The following brand new books will be launched between October 2014 - November 2014
As part of the Ninth Wave Announcements the following books will receive new creative teams and they are going for bold new directions.
- Batgirl #35; After events in Batman Eternal Barbra Gordan decides she needs a new outlook in life so she moves away from Gotham City and gets a new costume! This book will have a more light hearted tone. Writers; Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher , Artist; Brenden Fletcher
- Catwoman #35 Spinning out of events from Batman Eternal Selina Kyle is now one of the top crime bosses in Gotham City! Writer; Genevieve Valentine , Artist; Garry Brown.
- Green Arrow #35 With the departure of Jeff Lemire from the book it was announced that two writers from the Arrow (CW TV Show) will be taking over writing the book. They are Ben Sokolowski and Andrew Kresiberg with the goal to give the book a similar feel to the show. Issue #35 will also feature The New 52 debut of Felicity Smoak!
- Superman/Wonder Woman as of Issue #13 Charlse Soule will be leaving the book being replaced by Writer; Peter Tomasi and Artist; Doug Mahnke. The direction will remain the same however it will continue to explore Clark and Diana's relationship with each other.
- Word's Finest #26 Will be the final issue featuring Powergirl and Huntress. The book will switch focus to Batman and Superman of Earth 2 and it will be set before Darkseid's invasion roughly five years in the past.
- Wonder Woman #36 will feature the creative team of Writer; Meredith Finch and Artist; David Finch. They will be focusing on Diana's human side with a goal of tying the book to the rest of the DC Universe.
- Supergirl #36 Mike Johnson will be taking over writing duties again along with new co-writer Kate Perkins. The goal will to be give Kara a more normal life on Earth and turn her into a more likeable character.
Cancellations: The following books will be coming to an end during the month of August.
- Batwing on Issue #34
- Birds of Prey on Issue #34
- Superboy on Issue #34
- All-Star Western on Issue #34
- Trinity of Sin: Pandora on Issue #14
- Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger on Issue #22
All of the books except All-Star Western will have a Futures End tie in issue as part of The New 52 jump five years into the future.
The following brand new books will be launched between December 2014 and January 2015.
- Secrete Six by Gail Simone. The book will feature The New 52 debut of Catman and Black Alice! It will also focus on these two characters going forward.
In the first couple of months of 2014 DC would be doing themed variants to there main New 52 titles as follows: