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.

Ever since its first appearance in The Brave and the Bold #28, the Justice League of America has been torn between two principles, that the team should function as a showcase for heroes without other representation and that this was a collection of DC’s greatest heroes. The core Justice League title already provides a place for some of DC’s greats to be recognized as the best and brightest the universe has to offer, but every once in a while there are threats that need a greater show of force…

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED BY JONATHAN HICKMAN

If Justice League is a reinvention of the Detroit and Post-Infinite Crisis theories of the League, this is our equivalent of Grant Morrison’s JLA. In the New Year’s 52, the Justice League was founded by Wonder Woman; Aquaman; Black Lightning; Earth’s Green Lanterns, John Stewart (2814-1) and Hal Jordan (2814-2); The Flash; and the Martian Manhunter. Black Canary, the Elongated Man, and more would join soon after, with Superman, Batman, and Green Arrow taking up a part-time status. While several members would leave over time – leaving J’onn; Hal; and, until recently, Black Lightning in charge of the team – occasionally there are extinction level threats that gather the founding members together again.

The Unlimited team is the DCU’s last resort. They’re the originals and, while they may or may not be the best League available, they’re certainly the most powerful.

Convened only to deal with the most serious threats, the Unlimited team is comprised of whatever arrangement of Wonder Woman, The Flash, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, John Stewart, and Superman is capable of dealing with a crisis. Black Lightning and Batman could appear from time to time as well, but Lightning’s recent departure from the regular League and the pair’s dedication to their work in Metropolis and Gotham, respectively, make them the only members unlikely to show up at J’onn’s first request. A spot on the team is considered a high honor and, while there are moments where a member’s other responsibilities mean that simply cannot answer the call, a JLU alert is a priority one message to essentially all of the members, issued only when solo heroes and the regular League are incapable of preventing a catastrophe, whether due to the timing or power of the threat.

Because the team is only convened in the most dire of circumstances, I imagine JLU as a more decompressed book, willing to deal with threats over six to twelve issue mega arcs. This will allow the writer to bring a real sense of gravitas to the series as well as look at some of the protocol of the Justice League. This is the best of the best together again and fans want to see just how good they are. The book will be slick and action oriented, but I think the most interesting possibility is that even this team will struggle from time to time.

What does the scouter say about his I.Q.!?

Breaking into comics with bold miniseries like The Nightly News and Pax Romana, Jonathan Hickman is one of the biggest writers in the industry, both in terms of influence and scope. He’s written Fantastic Four, the Avengers titles, S.H.I.E.L.D., and most of Marvel’s big events over the past few years. Despite all of that, I’m actually not looking to copy Marvel’s style so much as I’m looking for the writer of The Manhattan Projects. Hickman’s smash hit Image series about the true achievements of the Manhattan Project, the ones that make nuclear weapons seem both trivial and uninspired, Manhattan Projects is basically the ‘real world’ equivalent of JLU, the most powerful, the most dangerous, men and women on the planet assembled to defend it from threats beyond the public’s ability to comprehend. And while Manhattan Projects is quite a bit darker than I want JLU to be, the sheer creativity of it is exactly what I want out of this series.

This is the place to really go nuts, try things that are crazy. Especially since many of the threats are likely to come from space or alternate dimensions, etc. or too enormous to be known by the public, there’s a nice little buffer between this title and the rest of the DCU. That distance allows a near Silver-Age level of creativity to intermingle with modern tone and storytelling and that seems like a book worth publishing.

The sheer creativity and brilliant storytelling that have made The Manhattan Projects a hit are the same qualities I’m looking to bring to Justice League Unlimited.

Hickman excels at this kind of big thinking and wild ideas and the self-contained nature of the story arcs means that he can really pick and choose what ideas he plays with. He’d effectively be writing one to two serialized graphic novels a year at more or less any point in current continuity.

I think this book has the potential to bring in a huge number of readers and to offer them a different experience than most of the rest of the line. Instead of events dominating continuity, we’ll have an ongoing series of brilliant, self-contained events.

Tomorrow… The next generation of great characters can call DC home, they just need a…

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