In July 2017, DC Comics announced a massive event titled Dark Nights: Metal. It lasted over 9 months. It was a gigantic event that included one-shots, limited mini-series, and crossovers. If you want to hop in on this event, here is the reading order. This event involved all major DC characters and ends it on a very astounding note.
The aftermath of the event is titled “The DC Universe just got Bigger”. It included new faces and new teams to now be part of the DC Universe. This initiative is known as “The New Age of Heroes”.
What We Were Given
8 titles were announced as part of the New Age of Heroes initiative. Namely, The Silencer, Damage, The Terrifics, Sideways, The Curse of Brimstone, The Unexpected, New Challengers and The Immortal Men. These books initially planned to be monthly and bi-monthly ongoing books.
What Was Taken Away
But in August of 2018, New Challengers was announced as a 6-issue limited series. Later on that same month The Immortal Men was also announced as limited series too. Thus becoming the first 2 books to be canceled in the New Age of Heroes initiative. In DC’s January 2019 solicitations, it was confirmed that The Unexpected #8 will be the finale of this book, making it the third book from the New Age of Heroes to end.
Later in DC’s February 2019 solicitations, The Curse of Brimstone #11 is marked as the final issue for the run. Also in the same month, The Sideways run will also end at issue #13.
And as of April’s solicitations, it is been confirmed that Damage will also end at #16.
So only 2 out of 8 books will continue as an ongoing series for the New Age of Heroes as per DC’s March solicitations. What happened to all the books, and why did they fail? Let’s take a look.
The Immortal Men
Synopsis: This was a band of heroes who have been protecting humanity from the shadows since the dawn of time. These heroes are immortal. The team, headed by the Immortal Man, has waged a secret war against the House of Conquest for countless years—but Conquest has dealt a devastating blow.
Why it failed: With such an interesting concept and having the likes of Tynion still didn’t save this book from drowning. The main cause behind the failure can be attributed to, not only being delayed, but Jim Lee didn’t even complete the first issue! With flat stories and negative criticism from the community, this book ended in its first story arc.
Synopsis: A group of heroes who were trying to save the entire multiverse from the maniacs who have been trying to destroy it with help of Nth metal. Led by Neon and with the fury of Firebrand, this team tries to stop the Bad Samaritan. Later, Hawkman joined the team to help in their adventure.
Why it failed: This is one of the most underrated books of the New Age of Heroes lineup. The first issue is positively acclaimed, while the next few issues failed miserably. Later on, the story builds up to a very interesting point, but it was too late as the series was already announced to be canceled at #8.
Synopsis: A group of non-powered adventurers solves the mysteries of Dark Multiverse while living on borrowed time, running from death toward the greatest mysteries, wonders, and terrors of the universe.
Why it failed: This is one of the few books that faced negative reviews from its very first issue. This book is supposed to recreate the classic Challengers of the Unknown with new faces, but in doing so, it failed miserably.
The Curse of Brimstone
Synopsis: Joe Chamberlain is not just your average kid trying to get by, in his chewed up and forgotten small town of York Hill—he also unknowingly made a deal with the devil that cursed him to be Brimstone, with the power of fire and destruction in the palm of his hand.
Why it failed: DC’s very own interpretation of Ghost Rider. As a solo character, Joe Chamberlain has a lot of potentials, and his dynamic with other characters makes him more unique to the DC Universe. But the first arc of the story lacks and is mostly ambiguous to the reader. While it is in its second arc, the story was picking up the pace, but it has already been canceled at #11 in March.
Synopsis: During the events of Dark Night, high school junior Derek James accidentally fell through a rift into the Dark Matter dimension. This gave him the unique ability to rip through dimensions. And ‘with that much power comes great liability’. If that seems to be a little similar, then yes, the character is, more or less, DC’s answer to Spider-Man.
Why it failed: Sideways is one of the light-hearted characters who got his power and tries to balance his normal and superhero life. While reading this book one can draw similarities between him and Spider-Man, in terms of powers, Derek James is unique throughout the DC Universe. If not for the failure of the book, Sideways could have become a major character in the future.
Out of the eight New Age of Heroes books, only three made it to an ongoing series. These are the absolute best. Out of these 3, two books made it to our Best DC Comics of 2018 list.
Synopsis: Bound together by fate, and united by the spirit of exploration and hope for tomorrow. The Terrifics are bound by the Dark Multiverse of Metal. When Mr. Terrific, Metamorpho, Plastic Man, and Phantom Girl find themselves literally bound together by a tragic accident, the team must rely on one another to make their way back home.
Why it survived: This is DC’s adaptation of Fantastic Four which leads to an amazing team-up. With an amazing dynamic between all four members and an interesting ongoing adventure, this book is one of the finest in the lineup. A team of misfits can be only liked by the audience if the writing and the art are on a whole other level. Here’s hoping this team will be involved with major DC characters someday.
Synopsis: Ethan “Elvis” Avery just wanted to serve his country. Instead, he’s been changed into a monster. Tasked as the government’s own living, breathing, ticking time bomb, Ethan retains no control when the monster takes over. The beast is cheaper than a nuclear warhead and twice as effective. Ethan fights to rein in the damage he unleashes when it springs free for one hour a day.
Why it survived: DC’s own HULK. Yes, this guy faced Superman toe-to-toe and lived. Damage has so much potential and the whole one hour limit makes a more interesting and to-the-heart concept which is outstandingly coming to pages because of the awesome story and artwork by two geniuses of our time. With cameos from Poison Ivy to Superman to Suicide Squad and Justice League, this attracts readers to the very end.
Edit: Damage has been scheduled to end in April 2019.
Synopsis: A deadly assassin and secret weapon of Talia-al-Ghul for her Leviathan empire, super-strong, highly-trained, armed with devastating and stealthy metahuman abilities, the Silencer is virtually invincible. She put her past life behind her and started her new normal life with her family. But Talia isn’t done with her. Now Honor Guest must do whatever it takes to save her normal life and kill Talia once and for all.
Why it survived: Silencer is one hell of a badass character with an amazing fighting ability that allows her to go toe-to-toe with the Dark Knight himself. She is amazingly written and drawn, and with every issue the story gets more impactful, keeping the reader interested throughout.
Only 3 books are ongoing series (for now) which raises the question what the future holds for all these characters. All these characters are unique and have lots of potentials. It would be a shame if DC wasted all these characters and never used them in the future.
In my opinion, these books basically failed because of the writing. That doesn’t mean the characters don’t have potential. Maybe some characters are not good enough for being the star of their own book, but they can be part of a large scenario of teams, like the Immortal Men and New Challengers.
Although, characters like the Terrifics, Damage, Brimstone, Silencer, and especially Sideways can if handled wisely, outperform some existing characters.
What can DC do?
DC can create a small event only for these New Age of Heroes showcasing their history and plans for their future. Some characters can be part of the short-time team up like Damage and Sideways as both the characters are different from each other in every way, and it will be amazing to see the dynamic between these characters. Brimstone can be part of Justice League Dark as his powers and abilities are a match for this team.
The only thing is, DC must do something so these characters’ potential does not get wasted and the New Age of Heroes can live to see the future.