Villains Month at DC: Money-Saving Skip Month?

The regular books of the New52 are taking a break this month to focus on 52 different villains. The books are actually .1 issues (oh great, another Marvel "idea" DC decided to poach) of regular books with the villain's name slapped over the regular logo, and since some are going to .2, .3, even .4, it means some titles are taking a COMPLETE break. What does that mean for my reading? Because I'll be honest, though I've come down pretty hard on the New52 as a concept and execution, I do still regularly read - as of the last round of cancellations - 18 New52 titles. But just because I follow Scott Snyder's Batman doesn't mean I'm interested in reading four decimal Batman books by people OTHER than Synder. So will I wind up saving time and money? (Note: none of those damn "3D" gimmick covers for me; I can't imagine what Green Lantern readers must think of an overpriced issue containing only splash pages this month and starring... who the hell is Relic?!).

Well, my strategy here, especially since I'm not reading the Forever Evil event (comes out of Justice League eventitis and David Finch as artist? Forget it), is to go case by case. 1) Is it written by a writer I like? (I'm a writer-first reader, sue me.) 2) Do I a particular interest in the featured villain. And 3) is the special advancing a story I'm following at the moment, even if it's another book, and/or by a different writer?

Right away, if I tally up the villains that score on criterion #2, without looking at any creative teams, that would be just Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Brainiac, Arcane, Dial E, Deadshot and Killer Frost. However, #2 is not enough to get me reading if, for example, it's written by someone who's work I don't like, and in the case of Superman villains, well, I don't read very many Superman books these days for a good reason. Looking deeper, then...

-Cyborg-Superman just squeezes in because it's a story I've been following in Supergirl, the last remaining New52 Superman book still on my list (I'm all about Smallville Season 11 though). Why he's taking over Action instead of Supergirl, or in a blast from the past kind of way, Superman (the book he took over in Reign of the Supermen), I'll never know.
-The Joker: Nope sorry, not Snyder and overdosing on the character.
-Two-Face: Well ok. I'm reading Tomasi's Batman&Robin, and he's writing this .1. It will decide if I pick up any more of his issues.
-Ventriloquist: Why is this Dark Knight 23.1 when the character is a Batgirl villain written by Gail Simone??? I'm reading Batgirl, I'm reading this, and I'm gonna stop worrying about which villain takes over which book now. It seems to be down to marketing more than anything else.
-Poison Ivy: Nothing here for me.
-DeSaad: Earth 2 and not World's Finest?! (Crap, I promised I wouldn't mention it anymore, didn't I? Last time, I swear! And swearing is better than promising!) Anyway, it's a continuation of WF by Levitz and that's on my list.
-Count Vertigo: Lemire writes this Green Arrow chapter, so of course I'm reading it.
-Relic: Never heard of him. I don't read the GL books anymore.
-Darkseid: Greg Pak? I might give it a shot to see his take on the New Gods.
-The Creeper: The fact he's a villain is a sore point with me. Pass.
-Deadshot: Not reading Suicide Squad (has it gotten better since the change of writers?), but I'm Matt Kindt's little bitch.
-Bizarro: Sholly Fisch has a background in fun comics (Action Comics back-ups, Brave and the Bold and Cartoon Network), so this is a definite maybe.
-Grodd: Not reading Flash.

So this week, that's 5-7 comics out of 13. Like half! Is it just a big week for me, or is that a tendency that will be maintained over the next three? Well, Kindt is doing a lot more! Solomon Grundy, Harley Quinn and Sinestro! No choice. I'll definitely read Snyder's Riddler, Gates' Killer Frost, Soule's Lex Luthor and Arcane, Layman's Clayface, Miéville's Dial E, Ostrander's Cheetah, and Azzarello's First Born. MAYBE Grek Pak's Zod (but not Doomsday, I can't stomach Brett Booth's art), Palmiotti and Gray's Mr. Freeze, Tomasi's Scarecrow and Bane, and Fisch's Metallo.

Final tally: 16 to 23. If I stick to must-reads, I'm under the usual pull list, but I don't think it's a significant change. Ah well.

[Edit - Oh my, look at the comments for more, but since I wrote this last night, I've been having major culling impulses that could make Villains Month a jumping-off point for as much as two thirds my New52 pull list, and more besides. I'm already not getting all the villains issues I said I might. This week alone may drop to 3, with maybe no more than 9 others down the line.]



I don't think I will be collecting this month. From the previews I've seen they don't seem to wee done.


I need more caffeine!

Siskoid said...

Don't we all.

Since I wrote this last night, I've been warned off Darkseid, and the Batwoman announcement may just have me skip the entire Batman line for a while. Of all the dysfunctional editing branches at DC, it's the most annoying in its interference and incidental sexism.

When I quit Marvel entirely in 1990 (a ban that lasted 8-10 years easily), I remember a lot of nail-biting and justifying why I should stick to one or two books out of "loyalty" and then just quit cold turkey. It gave me a lot more $ and time to spend on the DC books of the day and tons of indies.

Maybe it's time for a massive company-wide culling. I feel like, at this point, I'm keeping tabs just in case it could fuel the blog.

Villains Month could turn out to be an easy jumping off point.

Siskoid said...

If I were to cut down to the books I most love (and why wouldn't I?), I'd be left with:
All-Star Western
Animal Man
Swamp Thing
Wonder Woman
and World's Finest

Earth2, The Movement, The Green Team, Green Arrow, and Vibe would be maybes. 6-11 New52 books, plus Smallville and a few Vertigo books. The more I talk about it, the more likely it is to happen.

googum said...

Urg. Even though everything I've bought from DC the last several years has been cancelled (really!) I was tempted by the Creeper issue. Just to see what the hell happened to him...went with the Star Wars and Ballistic instead.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Evidently Relic--whoever he is--is the reason why the Green Lantern Corps don't come to Earth during Forever Evil. Or so I've heard from two comic shop owners. One guy said he put in second orders already.

The Joker image was on a drinking glass (pint? I dunno) at least a year ago. Not even new art, and even on the 2Ds there's no credits on the covers. I'm a writer, too, and that would piss me off.

The Batwoman news is the worst I've heard from DC yet.

Wriphe said...

FLASHPOINT provided the perfect jumping off point for me, and DC hasn't done a single thing in the two years since to interest me in coming back. (The only comic I'm regularly buying is GREEN TEAM, and only because the release of the first issue coincided with a friend opening a comic shop. Now buying the monthly issue gives a good reason to go visit my friend.)

I think the stunt of having titles spotlight villains for one month is probably a sound one. It's proved popular in the past, with UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED and NEW YEARS EVIL. But as with everything DC has done in recent years, its execution is unsatisfying for fans.

Weekly issues at $4 each are just too much -- don't plan on eating out this month, collectors: DC wants all your money! And after carefully building a new audience for variant covers, DC's shorting orders on variant lenticulars strikes me as more of a marketing ploy for weak offerings (scarce resources = increased demand) than an honest accident. ("Look, our variant covers are going to be super valuable one day! Buy as many as you can!")

I've reached the point where I don't even see much point in complaining about DC's capricious editorial decisions anymore. They are clearly made by a corporation interested in maximizing profit (for Time-Warner shareholders?) by decreasing quality. If there are five stages of grief, I must be approaching acceptance.

Rex Kidd said...

I ended up checking out Bizarro and Deadshot (mainly because I'm reading Superman and JLA), liked them both. No doubt they're the exception rather than the rule.

I heard about that Relic thing before, it sounds farcical at best. Pushing a new character is whatever, but a format of pure splash pages, are you for real?

Forever Evil #1 was pretty stupid, I actually think I'll do a piece on it on my blog.

Siskoid said...

At 4$ an issue, that comes out to 52$ a month. WE GET IT DC.

Bill said...

The Joker issue was a disappointment. Attempt at an origin story and a dumb gorilla-based plot. Not at all what I would have wanted or expected.

Bob Buethe said...

Looking forward to Dial E. Passing on everything else.

Anonymous said...

Started out buying about 12-15 New 52s at the start, am down to 3 Batman books. As a completist, I got all 16 Batman point issues and was disappointed in several of them. Also picked up a couple other villain issues. What a ripoff. Marvel is on a roll lately and have a lot more interesting books, even the oddball stuff (check out Fantomex 1 as a great example!)

Anonymous said...

Are you the Robert Buethe who submitted numerous Dial H for Hero characters? Had one of my own published there too. Read the whole series and recall a few creator names even after 30+ years.
Tim Markin


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