In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

I tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself. First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

DC is a company with a particular connection to the cosmic hero. Green Lantern was a perfect hero for the space age and the idea of the GLC helped put the cosmic superhero on the map as a concept. Heck, even Superman is an alien. But despite the booming popularity of their Green Lantern titles and their early victories in the comic book Space Race, they’ve kind of lost touch with their cosmic titles. The Legion can’t seem to find its footing and Guardians of the Galaxy has ensured that Marvel controls the conversation around such comics. Nonetheless, DC has one highly underutilized resource in this regard: the Vega system.

 

OMEGAS BY NICK SPENCER

The Vega System is a sector-sized Mos Eisley, a wretched hive of scum and villainy that was beyond the reach of the Green Lantern Corps for millennia. This distinction has allowed the sector to develop its own mythology, largely separate from the GLC and has given birth to a slew of interesting alien races and conflicts. Vega would grow in importance to the DCU when Marv Wolfman created the planet Tamaran and their princess, Starfire, in the New Teen Titans. Shortly thereafter, in the pages of Green Lantern, he would introduce another staple of the system, the Omega Men. This ragtag band of freedom fighters fought to liberate the Vega system from the Citadel, a race of brutal conquerors and encountered Hal Jordan in an attempt to end their tyranny. A year after that New Teen Titans #23 and Tales of the Teen Titans #4 both released, giving us a much stronger understanding of the Vega system and launching the Titans into an adventure with the Omega Men that laid the groundwork for their eventual series.

While the Omega Men series is probably best remembered now for introducing Lobo, it ran for 38 issues and ensured that the group would appear frequently when dealing with DC’s interplanetary politics.

Since then the system has survived a myriad of changes and the mystery of Vega has been revealed, the immunity to GLC authority retconed into an ancient treaty between the Guardians of the Universe and Larfleeze, master of the Orange Lantern. Since this came out, Larfleeze’s actions have resulted in the Corps regaining operational authority in the Vega system, forever changing the status quo of the region.

The original Omega Men series was interesting in that it ended the war after only six issues. Omegas would follow in its footsteps examining the trials of peacetime and the threat of a backslide.

While it would be easy enough to write in a retcon that the Corps returned control of Vega to Larfleeze or follow the original series’ lead and end the war entirely, I think its actually more interesting to look at a system adjusting to the rule of law for the first time in centuries without fully ending the Citadelian conflicts. While one might argue that an entire Corps of Lanterns would be more than able to put down some small scale conquerors, I imagine that they’d have a hard time enforcing the entire sector with two Lanterns and the power vacuum could be even worse. Thus I propose a series set after the fall of the Vega embargo starring a couple of the surviving Omega Men, in this continuity still battling an, admittedly weakened, Citadel Alliance, and championing the right of Vega System citizens to police themselves.

I imagine the series starring Tigorr and Doc, somewhat purposeless after the Citadel’s diplomatic but obviously temporary withdrawal from many of their conquered planets. The incursion of the Green Lantern Corps and the criminal panic that results gives the pair both a cause to fight for and a venue to ply their skills. However the few other surviving Omega Men aren’t interested in returning to rebellion and the two are forced to recruit a new team, one less altruistic in goals. While there would definitely be new members of familiar races and a couple of altogether original creations, this series positively calls out for some familiar characters. Lobo seems an obvious choice, as do Ciji and Xylon, if a justification can be devised. I’d also like a couple of other women on the team, though most of the obvious choices I’d want are tied up elsewhere. Maybe we’d actually get some new female characters, imagine that! There’s also Larfleeze, who could be a regular guest star on the book. I’d actually love to have him as a member of the team, but I don’t know that a character as powerful as him would work in this context. Either way I imagine that his presence would be a big draw for the book and could be a source of significant complication for the Omegas.

I imagine the book focusing on Tigorr’s revolutionary zeal being contrasted against the less than heroic team he’s assembled as they slowly become friends and a force to be reckoned with. Along the way, we could look at the idea of the Green Lantern Corps’ authoritarianism, explore the Vega System, and build a larger plot – perhaps some sort of conspiracy – that’s lurking behind the individual missions or Tigorr’s beef with the GLC.

Tigorr took command of the Omega Men after Primus died, a casualty of the Dominator Invasion of Earth.

I admit that it’s something of a different take on the characters, but, while I tried to respect who they were before, so few people know the Omega Men that I doubt changes of this level will cause too much of a stir (I said taking the first step down a dark road). I admit that my take on Tigorr definitely has shades of his co-founder, Primus, with whom he would often disagree, but I think there’s a way to combine the two without losing what made the character unique. I like to think of him as an old, increasingly maudlin, revolutionary who was never supposed to be in charge. While I give the writer full permission to try an entirely different take, or even to introduce Primus himself, I think it could be fun to treat Tigorr as a long suffering boss, trying to do right and keep his legendary temper under control.

If there’s really a problem with the book it’s either that it has next to no name recognition or that it will almost inevitably be compared to Guardians of the Galaxy. The first I hope to overcome with a strong choice of writer, but the second is just going to be the way things are. I mean, people love GotG, so as long as we tried to make this its own comic and not a cheap imitation of Marvel’s success, there should be a market for it, but it would take something to convince readers hearing about this for the first time that this isn’t just a knock off, especially if we introduce classic Omega Man Broot.

But while there’s little we can do to overturn the public’s perception other than writing a good and different book, that’s not the Marvel comic I was trying to rip off when I concocted this idea. Guardians of the Galaxy is great, but the book that guided my thinking on this title was a little number called the Superior Foes of Spider-Man.

This is our ‘hero’s’ origin story…

Unsurprisingly, I nabbed the writer, one Nick Spencer, for Omegas. As he begins a run on Marvel’s Ant-Man and looks back on Superior Foes’ many, many ‘best of’ picks, Nick Spencer has a pretty great track record. Not only did he make a comic about Boomerang and Speed Demon a must read book, but he’s also written the well-received Bedlam, opened Thief of Thieves with a bang, and built (and kept) a ravenous following on Morning Glories.

This was relevant to the plot…THIS!

Spencer’s talent for characterization is a big part of his success. It also helps that he’s sharp as a tack, seems to have an affection for the darker (though decidedly not dark) side of comics, and is a genuinely funny writer. Why wouldn’t you put this guy on another C-list team book, especially one that holds the possibility of letting him write Lobo and Larfleeze!? But while I’d hope that this is a very funny book, it subtly differs in my mind from yesterday’s entry in the fact that, where DC Universe was envisioned as a comedy with enough plot to keep you engaged, this is more of a comedic sci-fi comic, not built purely for the sake of humor. Still that seems to be the benefit of putting Spencer on a book: he doesn’t seem to see any reason why one should preclude the other.

A lot of the New Year’s 52 books are attempts to expand the number of franchises fans are familiar with and connect to, but Omegas might be one of the most obscure to the average reader. That’s a risk, there’s no doubt about it, but I think there’s something thrilling about it too, something that could really pay off if Spencer turned in the kind of script I expect he would. Like all of them, it would really be up to you. So, what do you say? Would you pay $3.00 for this?

Pictured: You.

 

Tomorrow… “Justice, Like Lightning, Should Ever Appear To Some Men Hope, To Other Men, Fear.”

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