The Changing Face of the DC Universe

With this week's news that DC is ending or canceling half its line this spring means the 2011 reboot of the DCU — now more than four years old — is clearly at a turning point, just as it heads into <i>Convergence</i> and the editorial offices move to California. <p>There's been a lot of speculation about what's coming in June, when <i>Convergence</i> ends. But at the very least, whether the multiverse drastically changes or not, DC has to fill its shipping schedule with new titles. <p>We can take a few educated guesses about what characters will get the focus in the summer. DC finds its most success in the New 52 with books that have strong ties to their most popular properties, plus we now have a list of upcoming Warner Bros. films that might give us a clue about a few characters that stand out. <p>So with that in mind, here are 10 possibilities for new DC titles, sticking this time around with what we think of as “low hanging fruit” ­ titles that would be easy for DC to introduce, and <i>should</i> be easy for DC to sell.

GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW

<p>For several years, the hard traveling heroes of Hal Jordan, Green Lantern, and Oliver Queen, Green Arrow, paired up to take on both cosmic foes and Earth-based social issues - and the danger of Ollie's spiced chili. <p>With the <i>Arrow</i> TV show helping Green Arrow to new found popularity, pairing him with Hal again would give DC a chance to bring a socially conscious book back into play. <p>It also would provide a much-needed grounding to Hal Jordan, who has been so wrapped up in epic space battles and multi-colored corps that he seems to often forget he also happens to be <i>human</i>. <p>Adding an extra layer of intrigue to this classic dynamic would be the fact that Hal would be the rogue half of the pair if he used his Lantern powers on Earth. <p>This one might be a long shot, but the right creative team could make it work.

RED ROBIN

For an entire generation of comic book fans, Tim Drake <i>is</i> Robin — and not for nothing, he was star of a very long­running title pre-­New 52. <p>Amazingly smart (he figured out Bruce's secret entirely on his own) and a natural leader, Tim has the skills of a young Batman but without some of the obsessive baggage. Given room to explore his adjusted role in the New 52, Red Robin could be an option as the Bat-universe recently made some room with a couple cancellations. <p>As a character that has had to investigate the past, battle the future, and try to find his place in the present, Tim is a unique representation of what has been, what is, and what's to come for the DC Universe. And with the important role he's already playing in <i>Futures End</i> — combined with the success already found by the <i>other</i> Robins in their own series — a new series for Tim Drake in June would make sense.

THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD

<p>No matter how popular the idea of the brooding Dark Knight is, readers - and especially casual fans - love seeing Batman teamed up with their favorite DC heroes. Given the popularity of the Cartoon Network series with both younger and adult viewers and the fond nostalgia for the often-outrageous Bob Haney and Jim Aparo stories of the 1970s, adding a Batman team-up book makes sense and gives DC a chance to use its deep bench paired with a popular character. <p>The digital-first <i>Batman ‘66</i> likewise shows that a lighter take on the character still works, and still appeals to fans. A <b>Brave and the Bold</b> relaunch has enormous potential to introduce other characters from the fringes of the DC Universe to new readers, as well, by giving them the familiar face – er, cowl – of Batman to guide them along.

THE ATOM

<p>Ray Palmer's already generating excitement on TV's <i>Arrow</i> series, and he'll be getting his own <i>Convergence</i> tie-­in series come April. <p>The New 52 version of Ray was featured earlier this year in <i>Batman/Superman</i>, with the Man of Steel encouraging him to pursue a career as a superhero after first appearing in <i>Frankenstein</i>. The Atom is a classic superhero ID with a classic power set, with a longstanding seat at the Justice League table (even though his seat was usually <i>on</i> the table), <i>Hawkman</i> and <i>Firestorm</i> had their chances — it’s time for The Atom’s chance. With a reference like Superman on your resume, Palmer ­as ­Atom is bound to get his foot in the door.

TALES OF THE LANTERN CORPS

If there's anything we've learned from the recent "Godhead" storyline in all the <i>Green Lantern</i> books, it's that the different colored Lanterns are fun to read in one, giant, cosmic story. <p>Now that <i>Green Lantern Corps</i>, <i>Green Lantern: New Guardians</i> and <i>Red Lanterns</i> are all ending in March, we're hoping DC will just combine the different corps into one title instead of constantly crossing over multiple books. <p>Sure, there will be conflict, and the storylines will follow different groups at various times, but housing them all in one comic would make sense — bringing Guy, Kyle and John back together, while adding readers who love Dex­Starr, Larfleeze and Carol Ferris too.

CYBORG

Taking the place of Martian Manhunter in the formation of the <I>Justice League</I> in the New 52, Vic is the only main member of the team without a solo book. He has previously been most closely associated with the Teen Titans (partly due to cartoons) and seems to have nailed down a role as a solid supporting character. <p>Unfortunately, that makes him a hard pick to hold his own series, with his personality often being as cold as his metallic body. To make a <b>Cyborg</b> series fire on all cylinders, the creative team would need to find a unique angle, possibly his desire to hold onto his humanity. <p>But with the character playing a role in 2016's <i>Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice</i>, setting him up for his own <i>Cyborg</i> movie in 2020, now might time to finally time to give Cyborg his comic book S.T.A.R. turn (get it?)

BOOSTER GOLD

When DC revealed their September <i>Futures End</i> event one­-shots earlier this year, it didn’t go unnoticed that Booster Gold was the only character featured in a solo one­-shot that didn’t have their own solo series. <p>The September issue — which was notably written by <i>Convergence</i> co­-writer Dan Jurgens — implied that Booster's the one who gave Brainiac the means to create all the "domed" cities we'll be seeing in the April­-May event. So we expect him to have extra incentive to save the day, perhaps even teaming with Rip Hunter and other time travelers in the task? <p>Time travel seems to be en vogue (at both major publishers) at the moment, so DC’s resident guy ­from ­the ­future might have found his moment. <p>Add to that the coming return of Ted Kord in the pages of <i>Justice League</i> and ... <p>well, you know where we’re going with this...

SHAZAM

<p>You don't get to take up valuable real estate in DC's flagship title unless you are being primed for your own series. The newer, more aggressive Billy Batson is probably the best bet in this entire list to be a part of the next wave of New 52 titles, especially since Geoff Jones isn't writing as many titles as he was when New 52 began. <p>Since DC has pushed "the Big Red Cheese" as far away from Jeff Smith's all ages take as possible, picturing this as part of the magic-oriented sub-line of books doesn't require the wisdom of Solomon. The contrast of a young boy living in an adult’s world – especially now that he’s been corrupted by Pandora’s Box, is ripe for exploration, and we think we’ll be seeing this one soon. It is also worth noting that Shazam replaced Aquaman in the roster for the New 52-based animated feature <i>Justice League: War</i>, further lending some hope to his fans that he'll be in the solo spotlight soon. <p>And all of this isn't even <i>mentioning</i> Warner's plans for a 2019 <i>Shazam</i> film starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson... well, until right here.

THE SANDMAN

<p>The dream king is in the middle of a return with <I>Sandman: Overture</I>, but what happens next? It's been presumed that this limited series will act as Neil Gaiman's swansong with the creation, but that doesn't mean it's an end to the Endless; perhaps it's a new beginning? <p>We've already seen John Constantine make a high-profile transition from the world of Vertigo to the New 52. And Gaiman has already made a deal with a publisher to intertwine a character of his into company-owned continuity: Angela at Marvel. And it's not like Sandman and his fellow Endless have been Vertigo exclusive - both Sandman and Death have made high-profile appearances in DCU continuity. Maybe it's time for these visitors to move permanently? <p>And in terms of the possibilities at New 52, Sandman has enormous cache among fans and integrated him (and his family of characters) into the New 52 could yield some immense publicity (and hopefully for DC, sales). If not his own series just yet, imagine Sandman joining <I>Justice League Dark</I>, or even the main <I>Justice League</I>. The idea of him joining a superhero team might be jarring to most, but a good storyteller thrives on telling stories about the unthinkable -- especially when it's this enticing.

LEX LUTHOR

<p>One of DC's most well known and popular villains, Lex has held his own as a feature character in the past. Done poorly, he's jealous, insane, and criminal. But if portrayed as a man who believes he is humanity's best hope who refuses to be bound to traditional morals, Luthor has plenty of potential as the star of his own book. Seeing him foiled by Superman and others, even when doing the right thing, would be an intriguing take. <p>It won't hurt that Lex Luthor's name will get plenty of mainstream attention during the lead-­up to Jesse Eisenberg's live action portrayal of the character in 2016's <i>Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice</i>. But in the comic book universe, DC has also opened the door to Luthor in a new way. Villain series like <i>Harley Quinn</i> and <i>Sinestro</i> have done well, and Luthor's been a central part of <i>Justice League</i> for the past few months. <p>In an interview several months ago, Geoff Johns hinted at as much, telling fans, "Keep your eyes on Lex. He’s the one to watch."

DC NEEDS ONGOINGS! Ten No-Brainer Suggestions For New Titles

Date: 17 December 2014 Time: 09:30 PM ET