The Changing Face of the DC Universe

DC Comics is poised to have a huge year in 2016. With two movies poised for release and the inevitably busy summer for comic book events getting close, it's about time DC reveal their next line of recruits for new titles. <p>So what could DC add to its slate of titles in 2016? What books do we, as fans, want to see hit shelves? While there are plenty of possibilities, we’ve gone through and come up with a list of titles that we think would not only be viable, they’d be great reads as well. Here’s our list of ten ongoing series DC Comics could launch right now.

GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW

For several years, the hard traveling heroes Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen 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 newfound 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 long­-running title pre-­"New 52." 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. <p>Of course, Tim <i>does</i> have his own title at the moment – a near-future version of him is operating as <i>Batman Beyond</i>, but what we’d really like to see is the greatest Robin of all time doing what he does best – being Robin. Or at least Red Robin, as the case may be. He’s still anchoring <i>Teen Titans</I>, and Damien, the current Robin, has his own series. <p>But there’s plenty of room for Tim Drake to play a much larger role in the current DCU, as the figurehead of the new generation of heroes.

THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD

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 recently concluded digital-first <i>Batman ‘66</i> likewise showed 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

Ray Palmer's already generating excitement on TV's <i>Arrow</i> series, and his buzz is sure to grow as part of the <i>Legends of Tomorrow</i> team. <p>The "New 52" version of Ray was featured previously 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.

Birds of Prey

With the <I>Batgirl</I> series riding strong and former Batgirl Cassandra Cain returning to the fold in <I>Batman & Robin Eternal</I>, what if DC made things official and made a team of Batgirls..... called Birds of Prey? <p>Although the original iteration was more than just a Bat-group, given the multi-facted popularity of all-things-Bat, and the quality of once and future Batgirls like Barbara, Cassandra, as well as Stephanie Brown and colleague Harper Row, it makes for an impressive line-up. <p>Whereas <I>We Are Robin</I> focuses on a street movement, a rejuvenated <I>Birds of Prey</I> could work much like Chuck Dixon's original line-up melded with a bit of Grant Morrison's <I>Batman Inc.</I> as a group of connected friends who call one each other when a group approach is needed.

Captain Cold & Heatwave

Captain Cold and Heatwave are the heart and soul of the Rogues, and in the past two years they've evolved to a new level in the live-action CW shows -- so why not give them a comic book all their own? <P>While some might argue a full on <I>Rogues</I> series would be the best bet, a <B>Captain Cold & Heatwave</B> gets down to the essentials and really allows you to drill down to the classic buddy cop/dynamic duo scenario that's worked well for generations. <p>Mick and Leonard could skirt the line between good and evil, and perhaps even dive right into one or both for a time. Given Heatwave's memorable banter and Leonard's sarcastic wit (thanks to Geoff Johns), they could be the criminal version of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. <P>And speaking of Booster...

BOOSTER GOLD

Time travel is a hot button topic at DC right now, with the premiere of <i>Legends of Tomorrow</i> just around the corner – a show that features Booster Gold’s comic book son Rip Hunter in a central role. Combined with Booster’s recent role in <i>Justice League 3001</i>, and in last year’s <i>Convergence</i>, he remains the highest profile time traveler in the company’s stable. <p>Plus, he’s an undeniable fan favorite. People are always clamoring for more of the goofball with a heart of, well, gold – and if he can reteam with his longtime best bud Blue Beetle, all the better. DC has taken a stronger hand in presenting more humorous twists on superhero stories with their last round of new titles, so giving Booster Gold a new shot might be right up their alley.

SHAZAM

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 maybe the best bet in this entire list to be a part of the next wave of DCU titles. <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 – is ripe for exploration, and we think we’ll be seeing this one sooner than later. <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. <p>Do you smell what we're cooking?

THE SANDMAN

The dream king just enjoyed an all-too brief 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 DC Universe. 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 in the mainstream DCU, Sandman has enormous cache among fans and integrating him (and his family of characters) into mainstream continuity could yield some immense publicity (and hopefully for DC, sales). If not his own series just yet, imagine Sandman appearing in another supernatural title, or even a more high profile superhero book. 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

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 is getting plenty of mainstream attention during the lead-­up to Jesse Eisenberg's live-action portrayal in <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> throughout “Darkseid War.”

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

Date: 18 December 2014 Time: 12:00 AM ET