REBIRTH OF THE COOL1 of 12This week, DC Comics revealed the nature of those “Rebirth” teasers that’s been making waves in recent weeks. And as Newsarama predicted, Rebirth is a publishing initiative that brings DC’s heroes back to their roots under Geoff Johns’ supervision.
Though Rebirth doesn’t constitute another reboot per se – it’s more of a relaunch, a la “All-New, All-Different” Marvel – DC is shaking up its line. Along with what exactly Rebirth is, DC also unveiled its slate of titles for the line’s first months, which starts in June. And while there are a lot of expected – and unexpected – inclusions, we couldn’t help but notice there are a few things that are arguably missing.
So we sat down and brainstormed a list of titles to fill the gaps – titles that could fulfill the Rebirth mission statement of bringing DC back to its roots, boiling characters down to their core essence, and embracing their legacy. Here’s our list of 10 titles DC should give "Rebirth" to later in 2016 and beyond.
SHAZAM2 of 12The lack of a Shazam title in Rebirth might be one of its biggest surprises, but then we’ve been expecting a Shazam title for a long time now. (We’ll be right eventually if we stick with it). After all, Shazam (formerly Captain Marvel) is a Geoff Johns favorite, and he’s been a big part of his Justice League in recent years. There’s also the little matter of a movie scheduled for 2019, with mega-star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson already attached as the film’s villain, Black Adam.
It’s likely a Shazam title could show up in the next wave of Rebirth titles – after all, he does seem to be part of the company’s future plans. But a fun, lighthearted take on the World’s Mightiest Mortal would be a great addition to DC’s return to its roots. Years ago, Gail Simone, Mark Waid, and Grant Morrison pitched a Shazam Family title – dare we suggest that DC could come back to that idea?
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES3 of 12The Legion of Super-Heroes has been a tough nut to crack for a very long time now. After a series of repeated reboots and efforts to streamline their various timelines, the team remained largely intact moving into the New 52 – and that may be part of the problem. With so much baggage, maybe the opportunity for a truly clean slate is one DC should have taken.
So why not exactly what Geoff Johns suggested in Rebirth’s announcement? Take all the things that work about the Legion – their iconic characters, their concept of uniting teen heroes from all over the galaxy (including perhaps, a Superboy for the first time in a long time), and their future setting – and develop new relationships, new ideas, and a new direction? Johns wrote the Legion to great effect in his Action Comics run several years ago, and the team was featured in the "Rebirth" launch video so we can assume DC has their eye on the property.
Oh, and did we mention Superboy?
ACTION COMICS4 of 12Yeah, we know. Action Comics actually is among DC's Rebirth titles. In fact, it's returning to its original numbering when Rebirth starts in June. But what if it reached into DC history for its leading man as well?
The pre-Flashpoint Superman has already been appearing in Superman: Lois & Clark, so what if DC took the opportunity, with Rebirth, to make him the star of his original title once again? Fans have certainly been asking for the return of the classic hero – red trunks and all – basically since the moment he went away.
And we’ll take it even a step further - for reasons we’ll go into in a moment, they could even move this Superman and his wife Lois over to Earth 2.
Which brings us to our next title…
EARTH 2 ... or JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA5 of 12Yeah, we know, like Action Comics, there will be an Earth 2 title. But since the New 52 it has featured kinda/sorta new spins on JSA characters, so we’re suggesting DC replace the current Earth 2 cast with a full-on return of the Society on their own Earth like the founding fathers intended, dammit!!
We already know they’re favorites of Geoff Johns – he made a name for himself at DC with a multi-year run on the team. So why not go back to those roots and make it official?
In fact, we think the pre-Flashpoint Superman we just talked about could even join the team. As we said, move him over to Earth 2 so there aren’t two very similar Supermen running around the same Earth and put him alongside Alan Scott, Jay Garrick (who’s silhouette is featured in the latest Rebirth teaser image), Stargirl (a Johns creation who needs a regular home) and the rest.
Johns, in fact. once added the Kingdom Come Superman to the cast of his JSA, so he’s seemingly already warm to the idea of a more mature Man of Steel on the team.
And if Earth 2 does wind up being a place where the JSA – and other alternate versions of DC characters can thrive – maybe DC could also fold in defunct versions of beloved characters. Maybe Earth 2 Barbara Gordon is Oracle, the JSA’s information hub, for example.
Maybe Ralph and Sue could be given a new lease on life?
Who doesn’t want to have their cake and eat it too?
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD6 of 12During the "New 52," one of the functions of the Justice League title has been to reintroduce classic concepts into the DCU. The Metal Men, the Doom Patrol, the New Gods, and Shazam were all brought into the fold through Justice League. So Rebirth could probably use a title that serves that function as DC moves forward.
We’re calling it The Brave and the Bold - the title that launched the original JLA way back in the ‘60’s. What better place for DC to bring in some of those concepts and characters that are iconic, are traditonally associated with the JLA, but have struggled to maintain solo titles. We’re suggesting an ‘Unlimited’ style team book – a large-roster rival to the Justice League but without trying to trade off the ‘Justice’ brand like so many DC spin-offs of recent years.
This would be a place for characters like Martian Manhunter, the Atom, Firestorm, Red Tornado, Hawkman & Hawkgirl, Vixen, Black Canary, Plastic Man, Booster Gold, Captain Atom and Animal Man, etc. – characters with a prominent place in DC lore. Have Green Arrow be their founder and benefactor and you’re in business.
RED ROBIN7 of 12Tim Drake is one of DC’s longest running, most successful solo characters, having anchored his own title from the early ‘90’s all the way until the start of the "New 52." For an entire generation of fans, Drake is the definitive Robin. A version of him has been anchoring Batman Beyond, which will carry over into Rebirth in some form, but Tim should be a solo star in the mainstream DCU – we’ll even let him keep the Red Robin moniker.
Given that Nightwing is coming back for Rebirth along with Red Hood & the Outlaws, and because we expect Super-Sons co-star Damian, it makes sense to give Tim his own series so each of Batman’s main sidekicks would have a starring title.
SANDMAN8 of 12Aside from The Hellblazer, there’s a distinct lack of “dark” and magical titles in Rebirth, which is odd as DC has done a lot of work reclaiming those characters and concepts for the DCU proper. So what better way to fully reintegrate the Vertigo wing than with one of the titles that started it all - Sandman?
While we doubt Neil Gaiman could be convinced to return to the Endless on an ongoing basis, he could handpick a writer, or writers that would do them justice, existing on the fringes of the DC Universe as they did when that series originally launched. Maybe Sandman would consist of short stories, perhaps even curated by Gaiman, that touch the dark corners of the DCU.
Even in more recent times the Endless have graced the DCU, though admittedly not since the "New 52." But what better time than Rebirth to explore the characters of a story that was all about the cycle of life, rebirth, and legacy?
NEW GODS9 of 12The New Gods just anchored a major story in “Darkseid War”, so adding a title featuring Jack Kirby’s cosmic mythos to the Rebirth line would make a lot of sense. Though they’ve occasionally struggled to maintain ongoing titles, Darkseid, Orion, Mr. Miracle, Big Barda, and the rest remain fan favorites. Refocusing on their internal mythology and fully integrating them into the DC Universe would be a great way to tap into that idea of “legacy” that Geoff Johns emphasized when announcing Rebirth.
And, if Darkseid does play a major role in DC’s movie universe as expected, introducing readers to his mythos and backstory wouldn’t be a half bad idea, either. And, since most of DC’s Rebirth titles outside of the Green Lantern books seem to be fairly grounded, New Gods might also be a good way to dip their toes in their rich cosmic wing.
LEX LUTHOR10 of 12Speaking of “Darkseid War”, one of the big effects of that crossover was placing Lex Luthor front and center in the Justice League. Judging by the cover of May's Justice League #51, Luthor may be fully embracing his role as a hero in the coming months, even if the look on his face raises questions. So why not make one of DC’s greatest villains into its next leading man?
Luthor has anchored a title before, having been the main character of a yearlong arc in Action Comics only a few years ago. But why not explore his potential as a hero? If Luthor really wants to beat Superman, why not “out hero” his archrival?
While certain rumors were apparently unreliable, we suspect the announced The Super-Man will wind up being that Luthor title, anyway.
This image is just a dead giveaway.
BATMAN & ROBINS11 of 12
Batman & Robin is just too iconic a title to pass up for Rebirth – but how about a twist - switching it up to Batman & Robins, and featuring Bruce teaming up with his various sidekicks on different missions.
Batman & Robins could put Bruce at odds with Red Hood, show off his fatherly side with Damian Wayne, reconnect him with his closest ally in Nightwing, and pair him with the DCU’s next best detective Red Robin, depending on the adventure. This would be a place to explore Batman’s relationships with the heroes he’s inspired and mentored over the years.
DC could even take it one step further, occasionally teaming up the sidekicks – Red Hood would be a pretty bad influence on Damian Wayne, wouldn’t he? Loop in Batgirl, Black Bat, and the rest on occasion, and you’ve got a great Bat-family title.
Think it couldn't work? It's working already with Batman & Robin Eternal.
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