At the beginning of 2012, DC Comics announced the "Second Wave" of the New 52, featuring six brand new #1 issues to help expand the purview of the New 52. Five months later, the "Second Wave" has finally begun to hit shelves and fans are chomping at the bit to check out "Earth 2," "Worlds' Finest," "Batman Incorporated," "Dial H," "G.I. Combat" and "The Ravagers."
Catch up with CBR's coverage of the "Second Wave" before heading out to buy "Earth 2," "Worlds' Finest" and "Dial H" today at your local comics store!
After the initial announcement of the "Second Wave," DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras spoke with CBR News about the initiative and its keyword: world-building.
"I think one of the things that I was very gratified with with the New 52 initially was that people took what we did -- we freshened up some characters, we presented them in a different light, we gave them this new start and we built up this great, great excitement," Harras told CBR. "'Earth 2,' as part of the 'Second Wave,' is world-building. We're creating a bigger, larger epic that will encompass different worlds, different characters, and 'Earth 2' is very integral to that plan. More so than just calling it 'JSA,' we wanted to say, no, this is about a parallel world and what that parallel world will mean to our world down the line. Again, we have long-term plans."
The long-term world-building plans mentioned by Harras are tightly intertwined with "Earth 2" by James Robinson with art by Nicola Scott.
"This is a return to the old pre-'Crisis' Earth-Two," Robinson told CBR. "This is what we had for decades before "Crisis on Infinite Earths." Since then, there has been this generational thing with an old Jay Garrick, an old Alan Scott and various other characters living in the same world as the main heroes. We're going back to the roots of what it used to be. These heroes are not old anymore. They are all in their twenties, anywhere between 21 and 28. But at the same time, I have made it very clear that there are differences to their powers and how they have their powers and why they have their powers. There is something that makes them unique to themselves and I think that's what made the original Earth-Two fun. We're bringing that concept back so I think readers of the old DC continuity, if they have an open mind and aren't too closed off to trying new things, will ultimately enjoy and get a lot out of it.
"'Earth 2' is an entirely different ball game," Nicola Scott said in an interview with CBR. "Everything has been stripped down to basics and built from there. Everything and everyone is recognizable, but different. We're really trying our best to bring a fully-fleshed world to the new book. We're not in one city or even one country. This is Earth 2, and our story will take us places."
Linking to "Earth 2" in a big way is "Worlds' Finest" by Paul Levitz with art by George Perez and Kevin Maguire, which follows Huntress and Power Girl as heroes displaced in the DC Multiverse.
"I'm hoping that, by the time they finish the first page or page and a half and see Helena burning her passport and get some clues that tell them that things they're interested in are none of the answers they expected -- I hope by that time they'll say, 'I think maybe I'll hang around and find out what's going on here,'" Levitz said in April. "I think it's a book that's a little bit different from everything else out there. We haven't had this kind of female buddy action book really running at any point in recent years. You had [Gail Simone's] 'Birds Of Prey,' which was a very different flavor, a very popular one, and I hope this finds an equally passionate audience."
Meanwhile, "Dial H" by science fiction writer China Mieville with art by Mateus Santoluoco, ads to the Vertigo feel in the Dark corner of the DCU already occupied by titles like "Animal Man" and "Swamp Thing," no doubt fueled by Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger, who serves as editor for "Dial H."
"The reason I wanted to do to the run and the reason I was always into this title is because of being given the opportunity to invent new characters," Mieville told CBR. "Obviously, there is a desire to constantly create new ones. At the same time, I also have a great love for the original run and therefore, there is also a desire to put in some nods to some classic characters. My suspicion, at this point, is that the majority will be new characters because that's always the pleasure. But I don't know that I will be able to resist eventually dropping in Giantboy, the Mole or Zip Tide. They might creep back. But I have to think, every issue only has 20 pages, and every hero that I use which has been done before is one less that I don't get to invent myself. There is always going to be that kind of balance. Even though I am sure there will some kind of references and nods backwards, the invention of the new characters is really, for me, the strongest draw."
"The Ravagers" by Howard Mackie with art by Ian Churchill spins out of "The Culling" mini-event in "Superboy" and "Teen Titans" by Scott Lobdell and "Legion Lost" by Tom DeFalco.
"When N.O.W.H.E.R.E. decides they're going to destroy Superboy once and for all the Teen Titans take it upon themselves to go save him, but in order to do that they have to go deep into the heart of the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. complex deep in Antarctic," Lobdell said of the crossover in February. "Unfortunately, they get their heads handed to them and they find not only themselves but Superboy and a whole bunch of other teenagers trapped in something called The Colony, which is used to marinate meta-human teenagers and even human teenagers in an enclosed environment that's a very hostile environment controlled by the leader of N.O.W.H.E.R.E., whose name is Harvest. So they are already captives of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. when this story starts. One of the things Harvest has done over the years is he has been raising kids in The Colony but has been taking them annually into something called the Crucible, where all these kids fight for their lives and whoever comes out alive ultimately serves Harvest as a Ravager -- and those who don't are buried somewhere. That's where Tom can pick up with 'Legion.'"
Bringing a plethora of new characters together is Howard Mackie, who spoke with CBR about launching the series and its focus moving forward.
"This book is going to launch our characters on a journey of discovery," Mackie told CBR. "Much of it will be self discovery, but their actions will lead them to uncover more and more about N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and its plans. They will discover that Harvest and N.O.W.H.E.R.E.'s reach is wide, and will have ripple effects throughout the new DCU."
With the cancellation of "Men at War," "G.I. Combat" fills the void of war comics with three classic DC Comics war stories re-imagined for the New 52. "The War that Time Forgot" by J.T. Krul with art by Ariel Olivetti; "The Haunted Tank" by John Arcudi with art by Scott Kolins; and "Unknown Solidier" by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray with art by Dan Panosian.
"It's such a big, loud story. It's about mayhem and destruction and visceral action and that tale of survival," Krul said of "The War that Time Forgot." "There's not really much room for introspection, so it's all basically in your face and on the page. The soldiers all have their lives and things that they're trying to survive for, but at the end of the day, it's a very visceral tale and it moves at a much faster pace. It's about constantly upping the ante and throwing these guys curveballs, having the danger and the destruction and the threats just ramp up and up. There's some really crazy stuff that's going to happen -- and just when they think they understand or have found a safe place, everything rears its head up again and it's more chaos."
"Unknown Soldier, like Jonah Hex, is one of those iconic concepts that is always in the back of the line in terms of mainstream appeal," Gray told CBR about "Unknown Soldier." "Superheroes remain a constant, but I think there is an underlying need for these kinds of stories and characters, the underdogs, the outlaws -- the black and white rule breakers with their own morality that stands in contrast to the four color heroes. We see them particularly relevant in times of social strife, political instability and when people lose their moral compasses."
Finally, fan-favorite title "Batman Incorporated" returns this month as part of the "Second Wave" under the storytelling guidance of writer Grant Morrison and artist Chris Burnham. After the initial "Second Wave" announcement, editor Mike Marts spoke with CBR about the direction for the series and how it's affected by the line-wide relaunch.
"I think the content and tone will be very similar," Marts said in January. "You might see some differences in the way Grant formats his stories and executes his stories, the way he presents them to readers, but the general tone and content should be very similar to what readers have come to know and enjoy."
"For the second volume of "Incorporated" there are little changes like Catwoman not knowing who Batman is anymore or Batgirl being able to walk or Commissioner Gordon having red hair now," Burnham said of the title in New 52 continuity. "But all that stuff doesn't really matter in terms of the "Batman Vs. Leviathan" storyline. I've read the story notes and the first couple of scripts, and it's a brand new Batman adventure with new villains and new characters. And the stuff that's coming back from the first volume is the core Batman members versus the forces of Leviathan. I think it's hopefully going to dodge the question of the weird continuity problems. Hopefully we'll be able to dodge that entirely. [Laugher] So when Grant's full Batman run is completely done, you'll be able to read it all from start to finish and the "Flashpoint" thing won't even register. That's my hope."
Stay tuned to CBR News for continued coverage on the "Second Wave" of DC's New 52.