|Justice League of America (Vol.3) #1|
DC Comics recently announced the cancellations of six of their titles, three of them featuring fairly well known characters. The Savage Hawkman, Firestorm, Deathstroke, The Ravagers, Team 7 and Sword of Sorcery all got the boot, making way for new titles to take their place come spring/summer of this year. When I first saw the lineup of New 52 titles I was skeptical of the lesser known titles, worried that they wouldn’t be anywhere as successful as mainstream heroes like Batman or Superman, which would lead to their cancellation. This has happened to a lot of those ‘underdog’ series. The biggest problem with trying to make these series successful is that their popularity will never match the already established series, which still begs the question as to why Hawkman or Deathstroke were cancelled, but then again, maybe upper management wasn’t happy with their recent profits, or maybe the creative teams weren’t happy with where the stories were going, I’m not sure.
What I am sure of is the replacement titles coming later this year, which include: Threshold, Constantine, Katana, JLA’s Vibe, Justice League of America, and Superman: Man of Steel. The two that strike the most intrigue would be Geoff Johns and David Finch’s JLA, which will focus on a new team of heroes, separate from the original Justice League, featuring Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow and the return of Hawkman, right after his cancellation, and Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s new Superman series, which will again examine his outsider role in Metropolis. As excited as I am for these new series, the same old problem still remains with half of them. Will they be able to sell as much as the “regulars” or be as popular? Maybe not, which is why I’ve compiled a short list of ‘could-be’ titles that DC could use come the next cancellations.
A fan favorite from the Justice League Unlimited cartoon series, The Question can introduce a more serious, mature feel to the New 52. With more sophisticated stories involving detective work, mysteries and good old, non-super powered, badass crime fighting, I believe this character would create a cool, new, noir-like setting not seen in any other series and would become a popular series, just because its so different.
Surprisingly, DC has yet to affectively use one of their more popular characters, especially one who is, in reality, a normal kid who, with the utter of one powerful word, becomes one of the most powerful heroes on the planet. Not only would young Billy Batson appeal to the relatable aspects of young readers, but would give the creative team some humorous situations to create, considering that even in his super powered body, Captain Marvel is still just a ten year-old kid. And if they really want to mix things up, the origin of Shazam could also be revisited or altered to add change.
Not Captain Atom, but Ray Palmer, a scientist specializing in microscopic science, with the ability to decrease his size to that of an atom. If this were to ever become a series, it would certainly feature less action then any mainstream title, but as I recall, some of the best comic series are based on good story, not good fights. The Atom would be a series focusing on scientific problems, mostly microscopic, which would then fall into the responsibility of Palmer. The microscopic adventures could make for some pretty cool visuals as well. Okay, so if the Atom isn’t the best choice to have a solo title, at least put him in the new Justice League of America.
By now, this villain has already been used in Action Comics and will most likely be used in future Superman stories, but what I’m suggesting is a series based solely on the villain, with no mention of Superman or anything like that. The series would explore Brainiac’s origins, whether it is from Krypton or somewhere else. The premise would follow Brainiac as he travels the universe, interacting with alien worlds, collecting data of the universe and destroying worlds. It could delve into why he seeks the answers to everything or why he must kill to do so. It would be a series unlike anything currently in the New 52, a series focused on the villain, as apposed to the hero.
Crime Syndicate of Earth-3
The New 52 has already created an Earth-2 title, examining alternate versions of our favorite heroes, loosely based on younger versions of the Justice Society. Earth-3 would focus primarily on a world controlled by the all-powerful Crime Syndicate (Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, etc), alternate, evil versions of the Justice League. This would be yet another series based on the villains as apposed to the heroes but I think it would be very successful and give us a lot of diversity. Plus, I think that exploring alternate universes is very cool, which is why I like Earth-2 so much. A series based on the Syndicate and their battles against the heroes of Earth-3, good-hearted versions of the Legion of Doom. Damn, I get goosebumps just thinking about it.