Geoff Johns, now DC’s Chief Creative Officer, has expended a considerable amount of time and effort restoring the DCU to what he remembers and loved as a kid. And good for him! He did the work, came up through the ranks, excelled at his craft, and wound up in a position to guide DC to what he likes best. However, it does open the door for every other fan and DC-lover to do the same thing. When we (inevitably!) become the CCO we’ll do the same thing. As a sneak peak, here’s a preview of the things we’ll do to restore DC to what we remember as kids.
See, I didn’t start reading DC books until ’92 or ’93 with the death and return of Superman. There actually aren’t many good memories of DC when I was a kid to which I’d want to return, but there are somethings I’d do responsibly with my great power.
- Flashpoint/ DCnU was all a dream. The Psycho-Pirate awakens from it to find he’s still in a padded cell within Arkham. ANNNnnnndd….
- Barry’s dead. It’s nothing personal, Bowtie, but your death was the best thing about you story-wise. We’ll pick up with Wally again sometime after Waid’s phenomenal arc, “The Return of Barry Allen.” I like my heroes full formed rather than whining about the burden of legacy and self-doubt. Also, what’s wrong with guys with gadgets? Captain Cold’s powers are now natural? WTF?!? Instead of being inspired by the cool Icicle, he’s inspired by the douchy Johnsian Icicle, Jr.? Come one Manapul! I’d have a moritorium on the use of Captain Cold so that he could rest from having such a horrid redo.
- Justice League International – This has come back somewhat with the New 52, but I like the idea of a Justice League in every country. In fact, it was SUCH a good idea that Marvel had their own take on it with the Fifty-State Initiative. It allows for more interesting backdrops, more characters to get spotlight, and gives other areas of the DCU such a time to shine. To this end, Max Lord isn’t a villain anymore, either. He was such a good bureaucratic good guy, a character we just don’t ever see. And much like the (Marvel) Sandman’s return to villainy from heroism, it doesn’t feel right. We’ve seen too many of his inner thoughts to buy that.
- I’d also bring back annuals. What better way to tell a few short stories, tryout new writers/ artists/, make a few bucks, throw in some nifty supplement material, and entertain the reader? If there’s something better than an annual not tied to a cross-over, I haven’t found it. To my mind, an annual is a good way to both audition talent and examine aspects of a character or character dynamics that can’t find page space in the regular book.
- No more Rainbow Lantern Corps – There will always be Green Lanterns, that’s a given, but the rainbow Corps (Corpses?) are only diluting the brand. First task: get rid of all but green and yellow rings. That’s been enough for 60 years. We’ll then pare that down to one lantern corps: Green. Most likely, just to make my mark, I’ll keep one yellow ring and have a lone Sinestro Corps member (not Thaal Sinestro) patrol the universe serving up fear.
- Jason Todd is dead – Nuff said. Fuck that guy
- As a basic concept/ look, I’ve always been drawn to Hawkman. As a character…or convoluted series of characters… not so much. As Assistant CCO of DC, All of Hawkman’s origins go bye-bye. He’s not the reincarnation of an Egyptian prince, he’s not an alien. He’s not an avatar for some Hawk-god. He’s not even an amalgamation of those ideas. He’s just a shirtless guy with wings and a cool helmet that likes to beat the tar out of criminals with a mace…and he’s been around a long time. A non-origin worked for Wolverine for over twenty years. Why does Hawkman have to be from somewhere? He simply is. Done.
- Marvel Crossovers – The Marvel/DC crossovers may not have always been great, but they’ve always been fun. When I’m in the CCO seat the Marvel relationship will be repaired and task one will be getting the Batman/Daredevil crossover going. I’m sure Bendis and Maleev are still up for it. I think I’ll ditch the Amalgam concept, though.
- Guy Gardner: Sexist Pig – Guy Gardner was always an ass, but for no discernible reason (other than spite). Since taking the reins on Green Lantern, Johns has toned down that attitude considerably, and just made it a result of Gardner’s enthusiasm for the job. We’re going back to the sexist braggart we all loved to hate. But don’t worry: if you don’t like this particular take where there’s Jerk Guy Gardner, Earnest Guy Gardner is also lurking. By Giffen and DeMatteis, if they’re willing.
- When was the last time the Martian Manhunter actually hunted “men”? You need somebody found? Go see J’onn J’onnz. Yeah, we’re bringing that shit back.
- No Superboy – I hopped on just after Crisis happened, when Clark Kent became Superman as an adult. This was also before Reign of the Supermen, when DC just wanted to expand the brand. While the Silver Age had some great stories, I think they’re silly for modern continuity. And there have been dome decent Connor Kent stories, the whole thing seems like emo Superman. So let’s just go back to that blissful period without a Superboy.
- No Guardians – Those little blue guys are asses, and much like Matt’s feelings toward Professor X, I don’t think I’ve ever read a good story with them.
- I’ve mentioned this before, but maybe someone will listen if I say it often enough. Captain Marvel and company need their own universe to play around in. It’s got to be a more timeless place. A modern setting doesn’t work, and being forced into a universe where dark psychotic killers exist turns Cap into drab generic punch’em-up kind of guy. A kid that turns into a grown up when he/ she utters a magic word is an idea that appeals to pre-teens because of its silliness and it’s wish fulfillment. A Captain Marvel book needs to be written with the same sensibility as Spongebob Squarepants or a Tex Avery cartoon. Silly and strange should be the order of the day when it comes to Captain Marvel.
- Tim Drake: Robin – The current Robin situation is a huge mess. Damian Wayne makes for a few good Morrison stories, but I’ve never liked the idea of Son of Batman, and it would take a huge reset button to put him back. Honestly, I don’t know why DC didn’t do that in 2011. Tim Drake was the right Robin for his time. Rather than an acrobat, a physical character, he was something of a hacker, which played to Batman’s detective side and had to work EXTREMELY hard for his physical development. And he was all planning, no impulse, which put him at odds with Jason Todd (seriously, fuck that guy). Meanwhile, it feels like he was shoehorned into the Red Robin role because no one wanted to get rid of him but nobody knew what to do with him. Put him back in the Robin suit and let’s get Damian back to being a digression.
- Only Batman and Superman have multiple titles – It seems like only Superman and Batman can truly support more than one title. Not Green Lantern, Aquaman, or Flash. Let’s not dilute the brand, DC. Focus your best talent on the top titles. There don’t need to be 4 Lantern-related books on the stand each month.
- One thing I’d keep that Johns and co. are doing right is the re-introduction of the anthology title or titles with rotating foci. While every hero or team is someone’s favorite, not all characters can support their own title. The New 52’s DC Universe Presents is an opportunity to… dare I say it… showcase characters and stories of this nature. But, why not do more? Bring back Mystery in Space and cast a wider net. Give the fans their Space Cabby, ULTRA, The Multi-Alien, Adam Strange, and others. What about a House of Mystery or a similar title for darker/ magical characters? Not only would I shuffle characters, I’d shuffle creators often. I’d use anthologies as an incentive to bring over and keep creative talent. It’s an opportunity for creators of on-going titles as well as new talent to play with more toys from the box. The only stricture would be to stay away from characters that currently have their own title.
- Elseworlds – Placing familiar heroes in unfamiliar settings is a GREAT idea and produced some amazing stories. Books Holy Terror, Red Son, and The Nail were both interesting takes on our heroes and took their concepts to the core so we could really examine what makes them strong. In fact, it was such a good idea that it was the theme for an entire year of annuals. Let’s see some more.