Now that DC has officially announced what’s upcoming in their New 52, we thought it would be fun for our two resident comic book experts, Scott West and Jason Bowles, to sift through DC’s rich publishing history and select the concepts that are still unaccounted for in the New 52, to determine what we think DC still needs to add to their publishing roster.
1. Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters
Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths, Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters existed on Earth X, where the Nazis had won World War II. The concept intrigued fans! But when Earth X was eliminated after the Crisis, these characters have had trouble finding their proper niche in the larger DC Universe. But with the Justice Society returning in ‘Earth 2’ why not send the Freedom Fighters back to Earth X and its Nazi warlords? DC’s new war books haven’t been attracting readers, but how about a war book starring super heroes in a gritty desperate struggle to free their world from their fascist dictators? That could be a real hit!
2. Teen Titans: The Wonder Years
Perhaps no property in the New 52 has seemingly had its history as convoluted as ‘Teen Titans.’ Cyborg is now debuting as a member of the Justice League. Starfire, Red Arrow and Flamebird have been referenced as past members of the Titans, but stalwarts like Wally West (the original Kid Flash) and Donna Troy (the original Wonder Girl) don’t even seem to exist! This series would be set in the past, like ‘Justice League’ and would follow the formation and continued exploits of the original Teen Titans, which would also include Dick Grayson as Robin and Garth as Aqualad and would also introduce and clarify just who does and doesn’t exist and what became of them. I’d love this series to be written and illustrated by the brilliant Phil Jiminez, a Titans and Donna Troy super fan who would be sure that they get the treatment they deserve!
3. Mystery In Space
I commend DC for trying to offer a diverse range of titles. They have horror books, war books, supernatural books. What they don’t have, outside of the ‘Green Lantern’ titles, is a straight space-based science fiction title! It’s a glaring omission! This series would star stalwart Adam Strange, an Earth-born man who is constantly ping-ponging between the Earth and his adoptive planet Rann. It would be a grand, sweeping space epic! I’d also love to see some cameos by DC’s other dormant space properties like the Omega Men and Starman!
4. Black Lightning
With the cancellations of ‘Static Shock’ and ‘Mister Terrific,’ DC is seriously lacking in headlining heroes of color. While Mister Terrific was a fine character in ‘Justice Society,’ he was a fairly new and untested property. Why not go with a hero with some history, DC’s very first true black super hero, Black Lightning? Jefferson Pierce is a successful man who could easily be living the good life, but instead is determined to make a difference in his old community, Metropolis’ Southside, or as it is more colloquially referred to as, “Suicide Slum.” As a public school teacher, he urges his students to make a better life for themselves. But when the going gets tough, he fights crime as Black Lightning! And what happens when his two young daughters start to demonstrate super powers of their own?
5. Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld
Another gap in DC’s lineup, with the possible exception of ‘Demon Knights,’ is epic fantasy. Sure, I could have gone with ‘Warlord,’ but instead I thought, if DC is trying to attract a more diverse audience, why not try marketing something toward young girls? Amethyst is regular 13 year-old girl Amy Winston who discovers she is actually the Princess of Gemworld, a magical dimension that was conquered by Lord Dark Opal. Due to the different nature of time there, Amy becomes a 20 year-old enchanted warrior, teams with Princess Emerald and the handsome Prince Topaz, and battles to free her birth world from tyranny. DC is creating an animated Amethyst special to air on the Cartoon Network. It only makes sense to have a tie-in comic on stands!
1. Captain Marvel
Sure. The New 52 already has Superman and, to a lot of people, the superficial similarities between Superman and Captain Marvel are reason enough to keep him out of the new universe. However, Captain Marvel is about as far removed from Superman as is possible. Rather than being alien, Marvel is actually a young boy who has the ability to transform into a superhero by saying the magic word “Shazam!” While he’s Captain Marvel, he retains a lot of his youthful “golly gee whiz” mentality. It makes for a fun read and one that is perfect for bringing in younger readers since it is pure fantasy fulfillment. I mean… what kid doesn’t dream of having super powers?
2. John Constantine
The chain-smoking, demon dealing John Constantine is already a member of the team over in ‘Justice League Dark’ but the character has proven himself enough to carry his own title. He’s proven it by being the longest running title ever for DC’s Vertigo imprint. But now that horror titles like ‘Animal Man’ and ‘Swamp Thing’ have been re-integrated into the regular DC Universe with New 52, it’s time that Constatine made his proper return with his own title. Plus, with the interwoven stories in ‘Swamp Thing’ and ‘Animal Man’, it wouldn’t be too out of place to add a third book to that mixture, being as Constatine made his first appearance way back in 1982’s ‘Saga of the Swamp Thing’ series.
3. Sandman (golden age)
Before you get yourself into an uproar, I’m not referring to Neil Gaiman’s masterpiece Sandman here. I’m talking about the original Sandman from the 1940s. The green-suited fedora-wearing hero that carries around a gas gun and fights crime in good ol’ two-fisted fashion. One of the best books of the New 52 is ‘All-Star Western’ so it wouldn’t be a far reach to do another period book set (How’s ‘DC Noir’ for a title?) in old Gotham or Metropolis and feature Sandman as the central character with back-ups featuring other classic noir styled characters.
4. The Question
Speaking of noir characters, I’d love to see The Question return to DC in the New 52. When we last saw The Question before the relaunch, the original Question (Vic Sage) had been killed and Gotham PD officer Renee Montoya had taken up Sage’s mask and mantle as the new Question. Personally, I would love to see either version of The Question reappear in the New 52. Of course, the best case scenario would be to have Renee become the main Question with her own title and have the original Question appear in back-ups either in the regular Question series or over with the Sandman in ‘DC Noir’.
5. Jack Kirby’s New Gods
When Jack “The King” Kirby unleashed the New Gods into the world in 1971, DC was given its own mythology that has since gone on to become a major piece of the DC Universe. With Darkseid having been revealed as the main villain of the first story arc in ‘Justice League’, it’s obvious that the New Gods exist in the New 52 universe. Although, in what capacity, remains to be seen. I’d love to see the team behind the ‘O.M.A.C’ series (which was recently announced as one of the canceled series) take a spin at the New Gods in their own book. With all of the wonderful characters that Kirby created for the Gods, there is more than enough fodder for a full-blown epic title.
What do you think of the picks? Are there any characters that we picked that DC should leave behind now that they have a fresh start? What characters would you like to like to see appear in the New 52? Comment below and voice up!