Fantasy Draft: Rebirth (pt. 1)

This coming weekend is a big one for DC Comics: not only does Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice pummel its way into movie theatres this Friday, but the same day will see the publisher unveil the creative teams which will be steering their Rebirth titles. Despite my severe reservations regarding Rebirth, I am an optimist by nature. There is a lot of information still forthcoming regarding the shape of DC’s universe this June, but the key piece of information which will determine my pull list going forward will be what creative teams are working on which books. To counter the pessimism of my previous Rebirth editorial, I thought I would indulge in some sheer geekery and select my fantasy draft picks, so to speak, and assign my choices of writers and artists to the announced Rebirth books. This is a wish list; it has little to no basis in fact, other than I’ve largely confined myself to writers and artists who have a working relationship with DC Comics. As well, because of the twice monthly shipping schedule on most of these titles, I’ve chosen two artists for each book, because it’s inevitable that these books will require a couple of artists to stay on top of the deadlines. Neither are these predictions; it would be really damn cool if Rebirth ends up looking anything like this, but I really don’t expect that it will.

AQUAMAN

Written and pencilled by Gail Simone, with art by Lee Garbett & Stephanie Hans and color by Serge Lapointe.

I would love to see a take on the King of Atlantis which plays up his “epic fantasy” aspects, and I can think of few better qualified for the job than Red Sonja writer Gail Simone. On art, I’m pillaging DC’s Vertigo roster, pulling Lee Garbett and Stephanie Hans from their current work on Lucifer. Both are superb artists, and as their work on some of Marvel’s Asgard-centric titles demonstrates, they are adept at strikingly realizing a fantasy setting.

GREEN ARROW

Written by Steve Orlando, with art by ACO & Stephen Mooney and colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr.

Midnighter is (mostly) great, and the tag team of ACO and Stephen Mooney provide stunning action visuals that at times recalls the bold stylings of Andrea Sorrentino’s incredible Green Arrow run. Given that Sorrentino and Jeff Lemire’s run on the character is the only occasion in recent memory that DC seemed to make good on the character’s increased exposure due to TV’s Arrow, DC would be wise to stress the comparison. Orlando’s writing is whip smart, his plotting taut and tense, and I have no doubt that he would bring a new vitality to the Emerald Archer.

THE HELLBLAZER

Written by Dan Watters, with art by Caspar Wijngaard.

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Art by Caspar Wijngaard.

Limbo is one of my favourite creator-owned comics coming out right now. It’s a spooky voodoo noir, and I would hope that both DC and Marvel is courting this dynamic creative team for any number titles, but the continuing adventures of John Constantine would be a natural fit for their major label debut.

NIGHTWING

Written by Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly, with art by John Timms & Jorge Corona and colors by Lee Loughridge.

The team of Lanzing & Kelly have penned some of Batman & Robin Eternal’s best banter, and I would be just as happy to see them on Red Hood due to their characterization of Jason Todd in their issues. But, I think their wit and quick pace make them just as ideal to inherit the ongoing solo adventures of the first Robin, Dick Grayson. The lean and stylized characters of John Timms (Harley Quinn) and Jorge Corona (We Are Robin) would be a good fit to the acrobatics and dynamic action of Nightwing, and I think this pairing of writers with artists would yield a book every bit as fun as a Grayson book ought to be.

RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS

Written by Genevieve Valentine, with art by Carmine Di Giandomenico and colors by Mat Lopes.

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Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico.

If DC is serious about convincing me that they’ve learned a single damn thing, they’ll keep Scott Lobdell the hell away from this title. Just about anyone would be better than Lobdell, but I can think of few who would be as good as Genevieve Valentine. Her first arc on Catwoman was pretty much perfect, and her issues of Batman & Robin Eternal demonstrates she has a solid grasp upon Jason Todd’s voice. Carmine Di Giandomenico’s contribution to the Robin War crossover demonstrated a similar aptitude, with a gritty, dynamic style and some tremendous fight choreography.

TITANS

Written by Tim Seeley, with art by Mikel Janin and colors by Jeremy Cox.

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Art by Mikel Janin.

Assuming this iteration of the Titans will be the same lineup as Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans, only all grown-up, this would be the book that I would most want to see Tim Seeley and Mikel Janin trace the ongoing adventures of Dick Grayson, rather than in his own Nightwing title. Tim Seeley writes tremendous banter, which makes him a fantastic writer for a team book, and absolutely no one draws dynamic and acrobatic action like Mikel Janin.

BATMAN BEYOND

Written by Scott Snyder, with art by Sean G. Murphy.

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Art by Sean Gordon Murphy.

Scott Snyder deserves the space to play with big ideas and big concepts without the hindrances of continuity. His take on Bruce Wayne’s Batman is already iconic, and I would love to see what he could do by taking the concept of Batman out of Bruce’s hands and into the future. He teased some of these big ideas in his story in Detective Comics #27, and I would choose the same collaborator for Batman Beyond: no one can draw futuristic cityscapes like Sean Murphy.

HARLEY QUINN

Written by Heath Corson, with art by Gustavo Duarte & Brett Parson and colors by Pete Pantazis.

Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner and Chad Hardin’s run on Harley Quinn is an enormous success for DC, so I honestly doubt that DC will shuffle the creative team on this one. That’s fine, but I’ve been itching for more Heath Corson and Gustavo Duarte since Bizarro wrapped up, and their comedic and cartoonish stylings would be a fantastic fit for Joker’s erstwhile girlfriend. It’s worth noting, too, that Heath Corson has actually written the character before, penning the screenplay for the DC animated film Batman: Assault on Arkham.  Trading off art duties with Duarte, I would love to see Brett Parson lend his cartooning skills to the character – over in Vertigo’s New Romancer, he has shown himself adept at combining both the adorable and the grotesque with remarkable effectiveness.

SUICIDE SQUAD

Written by Tim Seeley, with art by Juan Ferreyra & Riley Rossmo and colors by Ivan Plascencia.

I’m going to pretend that I haven’t heard the announcement that Jim Lee will be part of the art team on this book post Rebirth, because Tim Seeley and Juan Ferreyra only just got started on New Suicide Squad with issue #17, and it was magnificent. I want to read these two tackle Task Force X for a good while longer, and I can only think of one artist who could complement Juan Ferreyra’s off-kilter visual style: current Constantine artist Riley Rossmo.

SUPERGIRL

Written by Marguerite Bennett, with art by Doc Shaner and colors by Matt Wilson.

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Art by Evan “Doc” Shaner.

As Warner Brothers is apparently dead set upon forcing Zack Snyder’s Ayn Rand-ian interpretation of Superman upon the world, it falls to Kal-El’s cousin to be the beacon of hope that the Man of Steel once was. Writing DC Comics Bombshells, Marguerite Bennett has demonstrated a strong affinity to the old-school values that make superheroes endure, and no current artist can conjure that same Golden Age sense of wonder like Doc Shaner.

THE SUPER-MAN

Written by Peter Milligan, with art by Mike Allred and colors by Laura Allred.

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Art by Mike Allred

I have no idea what the premise of this series is, but extrapolating from it’s title, I wonder if it might draw inspiration from a proto-Superman story by Jerry Siegel entitled “Reign of the Super-Man,” in which the titular character was a bald megalomaniac who used his extraordinary power to dominate mankind. That’s right – Siegel originally conceived of Superman and Lex Luthor as the same character, before stripping Luthor of any powers and instead taking a more optimistic approach by imbuing a more altruistic character with those abilities. However, a Luthor-with-superpowers book (a sort of All-Star Lex Luthor) could be an extraordinary amount of fun, especially in the hands of the proven oddball team of Peter Milligan and the Allreds.

SUPERWOMAN

Written by Kim Barker, with art by Joelle Jones and color by Rico Renzi.

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Art by Joelle Jones.

Like The Super-Man, I don’t know what this book’s premise actually is, but I really want it to be the book Lois Lane always deserved: no superpowers, just the story of a determined, resourceful and smart-as-a-whip journalist living in a world where extraordinary things happen every day. Because I want it to be like no comic yet written, I’ve chosen a writer who has not yet written comics: actual journalist Kim Barker. Her diverse journalism portfolio demonstrates that, like Lane, she will follow the story wherever it takes her, and her memoir, The Taliban Shuffle, shows that she can spin a narrative just as well as she reports the facts, with a surprising amount of humor. Given the more grounded, human-focused subject matter, this book would require a nuanced artist who is an absolute master of body language and acting, and I can think of no better artist than 12 Reasons I Love Her artist (and recent American Alien collaborator) Joelle Jones.

Check back tomorrow for part two, in which I reveal my top choices to tackle the rest of DC’s Rebirth titles, including Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman!

What writers and artists do you want to see tackling your favorite characters post-Rebirth? Join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter!

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2 thoughts on “Fantasy Draft: Rebirth (pt. 1)

  1. Pingback: Fantasy Draft: Rebirth (pt. 2) | Gutterball Special

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