It appears that April 2014 is going be something of a cancellation fest over at DC, which has cancelled six ongoing books that month, but is also making way for some big, new high profile projects. First on the chopping block is Superman Unchained, which had a big hyped debut coinciding with DC’s Free Comic Book Day 2013, not to mention the movie debut of Man of Steel a few months later, and is ending with issue #9. Although Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s run was always scheduled to only go for nine issues, the future of the actual book was uncertain till now. For some reason, nine issues seems to be the limit on a project with Jim Lee lately; All-Star Batman and Robin ended after nine issues, and he only completed nine issues of what was to be twelve of his New 52 run of Justice League.
Nightwing also ends in April with issue #30, despite being one of DC’s better sellers. After the events of Forever Evil, where (SPOILER) Dick Grayson’s identity was exposed to the public, the future of the character was in question. DC Editor-In-Chief Dan Didio has wanted to kill off Dick Grayson for years, but it seems there are other plans for him this time, and those plans are said to take place in the new weekly series Batman Eternal (see below.) Rumors are that an all-new female Nightwing is going to get an ongoing book soon, but that’s all just rumor… for now.
Also ending in April are Suicide Squad, Stormwatch, and Teen Titans. Stormwatch represents the last of the Wildstorm titles that were folded into the DC Universe proper with the launch of the New 52, and the final issue features a return of the classic version of the team, maybe setting up a future relaunch. Suicide Squad and Teen Titans are mainstays of the DCU, so I can’t imagine those titles won’t return sooner rather than later, in some form. The sixth book ending in April is Justice League of America, ending its year long run, although that book is being replaced by Justice League United.
DC is adding a slew of new books to replace the cancelled books however, including an ongoing solo book for Green Lantern’s # 1 baddie Sinestro, in a book by Cullen Bunn and art by Dale Eaglesham. In what would have seemed crazy just a few years ago, Aquaman is getting a second ongoing book, with the debut of Aquaman and the Others, written by Dan Jurgens and art by Lan Medina and Ed Tadeo, featuring the team Geoff Johns created in the early issues of the New 52 Aquaman series. Also being added is Secret Origins as a monthly title. One of the biggest complaints of the New 52 continuity is that many of the altered backstories of many of the DC characters have gone unexplained (for example, just why is Wonder Woman in our world in the new continuity? Stuff like this is, as yet, unexplained.) Secret Origins will address these stories, with a rotating creative team taking on different characters.
DC’s biggest addition in April, though, is the debut of the ongoing weekly Batman series, Batman: Eternal, from Bat-guru Scott Snyder and fellow writers James Tynion IV, John Layman, Ray Fawkes, and Tim Seeley, and art chores handled by Jason Fabok. According to DC, this will be “a Bat-story so big it’s going to take every week of the month to tell! A massive cast of Gotham City’s best (and worst) examines the relationship between Batman, his allies and his city.” But most importantly, this book will feature the New 52 debut of Stephanie Brown, the much beloved former Batgirl/Spoiler. That alone should get many a fanboy and fangrirl’s attention.
Over at Image Comics, The Walking Dead juggernaut continues, with issues #125 and #126 hitting in April from Robert Kirkman and artists Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano and Cliff Rathburn. The solicitations go something like this for 125: “ALL OUT WAR; “The f*ck f*cking f*ckity f*cking penultimate chapter of All Out Motherf*cking War!” For issue #126, it goes: “This changes everything.” Well, neither descriptions are subtle, I’d say. We’ll see if the changes are as big as they say they are this April when both issues hit.
Marvel has a whole new set of ongoing books debuting in April as well, featuring the return of many fan favorite characters (and writers). First, there’s Iron First: Living Weapon, from writer/artist Kaare Andrews. According to the preview, “Danny Rand, a.k.a. Iron Fist The Living Weapon, is haunted by the consequences of choosing death over life. A message from Iron Fist’s mystical homeland of K’un-Lun brings Danny back to his blood soaked origin of betrayal and vengeance.” Also coming is Elektra #1, from writer Haden Blackman and artist Michael Del Mundo. “Witness the beautifully violent return of the world’s deadliest assassin. A life spent in silent pain has led Elektra to the precipice of despair. As she prepares to shed her past and take her next step, everything you know about her will change! Death is no escape, but she will find her way as a new option opens up that will take Elektra to places no other Marvel character can go.”
After having recently been brought back to life in the pages of Amazing X-Men, Nightcrawler gets his own ongoing series in April as well, from the man who might know him best, writer Chris Claremont, teamed with former Young Justice artist Todd Nauck. Sadly, with all these new books, another book has got to go to make room; Avengers Assemble ends in March, with issue twenty-five being that book’s last. According to writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, who wrote the book alongside Warren Ellis, “the book fulfilled its mandate, so it’s done with issue 25.” Let’s hope Marvel puts this duo on another team book ASAP.