Old and new creators and reboots. That’s what the “Next Four” of the DCU will present . Here’s the creative lineup:

TALON – Co-Writers: Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV. Artist: Guillem March.
Meet Calvin Rose, the only Talon to ever escape the grasp of the Court of Owls. This former assassin of the Court is trying to live a normal life … but that’s impossible when he’s being hunted by his former masters!

SWORD OF SORCERY – Writer: Christy Marx. Artist: Aaron Lopresti.
Featuring the return of Amethyst, Amy Winston leads a strange life on the road with her mother and resents it. She’s about to learn it’s all been necessary when she discovers she’s the lost princess of Gemworld—and she’s being hunted by her murderous aunt. With a back-up story written by Tony Bedard with art by Jesus Saiz, set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the monstrous warrior Beowulf is charged with finding and defeating the evil Grendel.
THE PHANTOM STRANGER – Writer: Dan DiDio. Artist: Brent Anderson.
Spinning out of his recent appearances in JUSTICE LEAGUE and DC’s Free Comic Book Day story, learn more about the true origin of The Phantom Stranger and his connection to the mysterious Pandora.

TEAM SEVEN – Writer: Justin Jordan. Artist: Jesus Merino.
Set in the early days of DC COMICS-THE NEW 52, threads of the entire DC Universe collide. As Superman emerges, so does the world’s counter measures against him and his kind. Team 7 is comprised of Dinah Lance, Amanda Waller, Steve Trevor, John Lynch, Alex Fairchild, Cole Cash and Slade Wilson — and their story will change everything you know about DC COMICS-THE NEW 52.


Aaaaand the individual stories. For Amethyst, DC went back to Christy Marx, a long-time animation writer who created Jem and the Holograms. So…she’s qualified. She also worked with DC’s Dan DiDio in his animation days, so the pick makes sense from every direction. As a long-time Amethyst fan this raised warning bells:

CM: This will be a complete reboot. The first thing I wanted to do — based on the tonal guidance Dan gave me — was age her up a bit. She’s just turning 17 rather than being 13. She has a very different family background, but the same basic things are there. She grew up on Earth with a strange childhood and ends up back in her homeworld which she’s never seen before.

Hm. Older. But not “legal”. And she’s wearing pants. So…promising.


With TEAM SEVEN, DC raided the Image bench and picked a new writer, Justin Jordan, creator of The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, which has been creating a bit of buzz lately. Jordan explains the premise:

Jordan: Basically, in the New DCU after Flash, Green Lantern, Batman, and Superman all become public knowledge, the government is concerned about the run of superhuman threats and develop Team Seven to help deal with them. They’re kind of a “first contact/do something about the problem” team. The basic concept is that the government has taken an interest in trying to get ahead of any kind of superhuman threat before it becomes an issue, so they assemble a fairly covert team to deal with it. That’s not necessarily deal with it in the “we’re gonna shoot ‘em” way, but also to figure out what’s happening and come up with a solution for it.

And switching from creator-owned to editorially-driven comics:

Jordan: Well, I’ll tell you, the creator-owned thing, especially with Image, is that Image doesn’t get into any editorial stuff on the book. The only suggestion that Image made to us when we were initially pitching the project was that we should get a different letterer, which turned out to be an excellent choice. But at the same time, that means that all of the creative pressure is on me. There’s nobody else but us making decisions about whether something works or doesn’t; you’re all inside your own heads. You have to take a lot on faith because of that; you don’t really have other eyes looking at what you’re doing. Whereas with DC, I’m working with Eddie Berganza, so I get to bounce things off him and it’s been to the benefit of the book. I have come to appreciate that editing really can add to a book, which not that I didn’t appreciate that before, but coming from a creator-owned background, I just don’t have the experience with it. So there are pros and cons to both in that regard. I mean, at the same time, I am working within the DC Universe so there’s just stuff that I can’t do. I can’t blow up Superman’s head, you know what I mean?

Note: We miss fat Amanda Waller, but guess you gotta be fit to fight.


USA Today has the Talon reveal despite their insistence on running only partial art—rookie error, people. The massively blowing up, soon to be all-media king Snyder explains:

"A lot of people say it's great to see new blood and young writers given a chance, and this book is that," says Snyder, a former writing teacher of Tynion's at Sarah Lawrence College. DC asked Snyder if there were a character from the Court of Owls or a Talon who would make for a good spinoff. There are plenty to go around: In the current "Night of the Owls" story line, the Owls have sent their whole, mostly undead army of Talons, a vicious lot who are decades and even centuries old, to blitz Gotham City and Batman like no other villains have. Snyder didn't think it was possible at first, but Tynion came up with the winning idea: introduce a man who was supposed to have been a Talon but basically is made of sterner stuff than the Court expected.

The Phantom Stranger talk centers on the whole Pandora lady in pink thing that’s been running through the reboot:

MTV Geek: Phantom Stranger kicks off with a #0 issue… What can you tell us about that? Dan Didio: A lot about that – but not too much. In the Zero issue, we’re actually picking up and filling in some scenes before and after the character’s first appearance… Which was in the Free Comic Book Day book back in May. What we’re doing is showing a little bit about how he got to that location, and what happens to him after he meets the Council of Wizards… Where he’s sent off to. Then, we’re going to get back into more current times with The Phantom Stranger, and actually give a sense of what his purpose is on Earth, and what his motivations for all his actions have been as he moves through mankind.

The PHANTOM STRANGER cover doesn’t seem to have been released yet. Oh here you go:

Observation: As opposed to the haste with which the original new 52 was put together, these books seem to be taking their time with setup a bit more, which is probably a healthy development.

DC also released the new BATMAN INC cover.



  1. So from these new creative teams, some speculation about three titles that are still to be cancelled. Is Catwoman in trouble? Since Guillem March is drawing Talon now. And even though it’s only a backup, Jesus Saiz is on Resurrection Man right now. Which I expect to be cancelled shortly. Unfortunately. Travel Foreman is only doing three issues of Birds of Prey, so he was hoping Jesus would be brought back onto that book, but perhaps that won’t be the case. Grifter is now on Team 7, so I can’t imagine his book is long for the world.

    I’m loving the Amethyst cover! Is that art by the interior artist, Aaron Lopresti?

  2. Dan Didio naming himself as writer again makes me sick. Name one successful Dan Didio book ever. The guy has a 100% failure rate, driving numerous books to cancellation (Superboy, Outsiders).

  3. Wow. Relax there Steve.

    I can’t see what “warning bells” could possibly be going off by the Amethyst description. Sensationalism at its best.

  4. Very excited about AMETHYST! Each of these four books is being pencilled and inked by the same person? I ask because inkers weren’t listed, so I’m assuming the one person does both pencils and inks.

  5. Is there some actual reason that they couldn’t name the book Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld instead of the generic Sword of Sorcery? Since the character is probably intended to hit an 80s nostalgia button, putting her in a title that people won’t instantly know stars her is a really bad business move.

  6. @Nick Jones:
    Because, like All Star Western, Men of War and GI Combat; Sword will have back ups with other characters.
    And who knows, Amethyst may not always be the cover feature.

  7. “I can’t see what “warning bells” could possibly be going off by the Amethyst description.”

    She’s a female character at DC Comics.

  8. The only thing I see with these titles are that they are made to last 6 to 12 books then gone into a trade paperback.
    Talon reminds me of Manhunter Paul Kirk by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson . The Council realizing Kirk couldn’t be their assassin, the Council ordered him terminated. Just a switch in names and places not so original ndcu.

  9. Nice to see a continued effort for new titles. Even better to see more effort in getting new talent on their books. Wonder what other 3 titles will get the axe.

  10. @arrowshaft
    Batman reminds me of Zorro by McCulley. Man dressed in black avenging lost loves. Just a switch in names and places not so original dc.

    See what I did there?

    The argument of “that’s not original” goes back to the creation of Eve. Adam probably looked at God and said “meh, she’s just another me, but slightly different.”

  11. jonboy have you read Manhunter Paul Kirk by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson. The whole idea of The Council wanting to kill Paul Kirk for not killing an Interpol official when ordered to. Realizing Kirk couldn’t be their assassin, the Council ordered him terminated.
    The whole Talon is basically the same idea. So any fan who read the Paul Kirk Manhunter story line can see how close Talon resembles Manhunter’s.

  12. I’m optimistic about Phantom Stranger and Amethyst.

    The Talon thing makes me groan. I thought we’d finally be done with our Owl-fest by the end of the summer. I started out nicely but has really overstayed its welcome. Snyder is trying so hard to squeeze water out of a stone on this one.

  13. I had a feeling we would see some new books starting up with the #0 issues, much like the original Zero Hour #0 issues gave us Starman, Primal Force, etc.

    Yay for Amethyst! Fans have been wanting this for a long time.

    However, Team 7? Why? The integration of Wildstorm and DC continues to puzzle me. It just seems beyond contrived.

    I agree with Steve about DiDio… why does he keep putting himself on books when his past has shown they just linger towards the bottom of the charts? Anderson as artist does sound intriguing.

  14. Amethyst cover is nice. Title is really awful.

    Dan Didio on Phantom stranger doesnt click for me. Phantom Stranger will never carry a book, why bother, he’s a very interesting secondary character and like wolverine, his origins are best left in doubt.

  15. How is the Wildstorm/DCU integration any more contrived than the Charlton/DCU, Quality/DCU or Fawcett/DCU integration in the 1980s?

    Anyway, I think the only one on this list that appeals to me is Sword of Sorcery, not because of Amethyst or Beowulf, but because I want to see what DC does in the fantasy genre. Team 7 might have been interesting to me ~10-15 years ago when I was more into following the DCU, Bat-books just leave me cold, and Phantom Stranger…you shouldn’t get to know the character. It’s right there in his name.

  16. I guess that people pissed about getting definite answers in Phantom Stranger have never seen shows like Lost. The more questioned they answered, the more new questions will arise. Phantom Stranger won’t be Judas because DC isn’t based on the Bible. Pandora won’t be like the Greek myth. Just like all previous mythical and historical figure in DC and Marvel have some twists to make them unique from the original material

  17. While the Talon book may not be ‘original’, since the new52 is supposed to be geared toward new readers, none of them will have heard of or read Manhunter (I’m an old reader and am not familiar with it). It’ll be new to them.

    I don’t see the Owls storyline having overstayed its welcome. While it hit all the Bat books in May, that’s only one month with a few in April, unless we’re talking about the Batman title itself, which is only one storyline that’s been quite good.

    I’ve only read OMAC by Didio and it was good for the most part, in a retro way. Perhaps my love of Kirby gave me rose-colored glasses.

    As with all new 52’s, I’ll be trying these. Doesn’t mean I’ll be getting the #2’s…

  18. @Kelson “How is the Wildstorm/DCU integration any more contrived than the Charlton/DCU, Quality/DCU or Fawcett/DCU integration in the 1980s?”

    Wasn’t around/reading any of those so I could be totally wrong, but weren’t those properties more along the lines of the Red Circle and First Wave books, where they mostly stood apart from the DCU at first? Heroes eventually joined various Justice League incarnations and were folded into the DCU, but they weren’t retconned into past teams like we’re seeing here with Team 7. Or even thrown together haphazardly like we’ve seen with Martian Manhunter on Stormwatch and Caitlin Fairchild in Superboy/Ravagers.

  19. @Nathan Aaron

    Don’t get your Jesus panties in a twist. :-)

    Jesus SAIZ is the artist on Resurrection Man, formerly of Birds of Prey.

    It’s Jesus MERINO whose been tapped to do Team Seven. He was working on Superman before.

    Adriana Melo has now taken over as the artist on Catwoman (or is about to? I don’t read Catwoman to know if she’s joined yet, but I did notice the artist change in the solicits).

    The name I’m surprised to see on this list is Brent Anderson’s – aka the artist of Astro City. I hope this doesn’t mean we won’t be getting any more Astro City. What’s up with that book anyway? I miss it.

  20. @Kard LOL!

    SWORD OF SORCERY – With a back-up story written by Tony Bedard with art by JESUS SAIZ, set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the monstrous warrior Beowulf is charged with finding and defeating the evil Grendel.

    The ninth issue of Ressurection Man was suppposed to be his debut on that title, but he only did like five pages. Meanwhile, you could cut him some slack if he’d done the previous months issue of Birds of Prey, but in fact he had not (his inker drew that one.) So he’s not the fastest artist around, which makes me wonder if he could continue with Resurrection Man AND do a backup feature.

  21. Hey Nathan,

    Yeah sorry about that. I completely mis-read your comment. I thought you’d mixed the Jesuses up and were getting worked up about it. My bad!

    Thanks for the heads up about Jesus Saiz. Didn’t know any of that stuff about Resurrection Man. Was my favorite New 52 – just heard it’s been cancelled :'(( Yeah, I’d read somewhere Jesus Saiz was excited to be transitioning onto a Dark title. Well, I guess we can only speculate as to his lateness. Too late for the R-Man though :'(((

  22. Amethyst wearing pants? No thank you. DC’s war on skirts and legs has to stop. Women get a never ending supply of shirtless scenes in superhero and vampire porn. Can’t we have at least one title female character keep her traditional skirt. I hate DC.