Fantasy Draft: Rebirth (pt. 2)

Be sure to read part one of my Rebirth Fantasy Draft picks!

GREEN LANTERNS

Written by Tom King, with art by Barnaby Bagenda & Bernard Chang and color by Romulo Fajardo Jr.

I love The Omega Men. It is the closest thing to a Green Lantern title that I’ve found interesting, and I really think DC would be wise to entrust The Omega Men team of Tom King, Barnaby Bagenda and Romulo Fajardo Jr. (with an able assist from current Batman Beyond artist Bernard Chang to keep up with the double-shipping) to tackle a book featuring a diverse team of lesser-known Green Lanterns. Guaranteed, it would be the most interesting, most visually spectacular, and most thought-provoking Green Lantern book that DC has ever published.

BATGIRL

Written by Noelle Stevenson, with art by Irene Koh and colors by Serge Lapointe.

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Art by Irene Koh

Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr’s take on Batgirl was a runaway success, well-loved by many, and provided much of the impetus for the DC You initiative. While Rebirth does mark a bit of a backtrack from DC You, I still think they’d be silly to take Batgirl herself in a decidedly different direction. Irene Koh is no stranger to Batgirl, having provided the art to the Secret Origins issue about her, and her anime-tinged artwork is a little more grounded than Babs Tarr’s more overtly cartoonish stylings, but it would nevertheless be an easy transition. Noelle Stevenson, on the other hand, is new to the character, but she has demonstrated both in Nimona and in Lumberjanes that she can write stories which comfortably juggle smarts and sass with kicking ass.

BLUE BEETLE

Written by Lee Bermejo, with art by Scott Hepburn and colors by Nick Filardi.

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Art by Scott Hepburn

In We Are Robin, Lee Bermejo is just starting to hit his stride as a writer. It would be a shame if he weren’t allowed to continue to write the adventures of a teenage superhero (assuming, of course, that this Blue Beetle is Jaime Reyes rather than Ted Kord). On art, Scott Hepburn is an artist of whom I always want to see more: at this moment, I have an original page of his Orchid artwork hanging not even two feet to my right.  His lean, expressive visual style would serve as a comfortable through-line from Bermejo’s We Are Robin collaborators, taking enough cues from animation to be accessible to the Young Justice fans waiting years for just such a Blue Beetle series, while not being even a little bit derivative of anyone else out there, setting this series apart as something entirely it’s own.

CYBORG

Written by Alaya Dawn Johnson, with art by Khary Randolph & Thony Silas, and colors by Rico Renzi.

Rebirth has a well-documented diversity problem, leaving Cyborg as the sole black-fronted title in the roster. While it wouldn’t make up for this enormous blunder, I do think that DC would be well served to take a page from Marvel’s Black Panther playbook and look outside their usual rolodex of talent and assign Cyborg to a high profile African-American writer, well known outside the comics industry. While Alaya Dawn Johnson may not have any Pulitzers to her name, she is a staggering talent in Young Adult Science Fiction, which is the perfect intersection at which to set a Cyborg series. With her terse but lyrical prose style, I have no doubt she would transition comfortably into comics, especially bolstered by the bold visual stylings of Khary Randolph. While Randolph’s skills are near superhuman, I still doubt he could stay on top of the double-shipping schedule by himself, and I could think of only one artist who could complement his distinct look: Batman Beyond 2.0 artist Thony Silas.

DEATHSTROKE

Written by Brian Azzarello, with art by David Finch & Tony S. Daniel and colors by Tomeu Morey.

Rebirth or not, DC Comics is still the House That Frank Miller Remodeled, and I have no doubt that DC will continue to deliver stylish and violent action books featuring heavily muscled protagonists in the vein of their cantankerous patron saint. It’s what some people want, I guess. For convenience, I’ve put the best at delivering precisely that on the book best suited to it: Deathstroke. With his turns on Luthor and Joker, Azzarello has proven himself a great voice for DC’s villains, telling gripping stories about entirely amoral individuals. David Finch and Tony Daniel deliver the DC house style better than any, adept at the blockbuster action demanded by Slade Wilson.

EARTH 2

Written by Jeff Parker, with art by Tonci Zonjic.

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Art by Tonci Zonjic

Jeff Parker is getting a reputation as the man to call to write a comic that evokes a bygone era, penning Batman ’66, the Golden-Age-tinged Shazam! issues of Convergence, and even his take on the Silver Age X-Men in First Class. Thus, I think it’s only appropriate that he gets complete control over Earth 2, where the heroes of the pre-Crisis DCU are reaching their Golden Years. While Doc Shaner would be the obvious collaborator, I would love for more folks to recognize Tonci Zonjic’s name. Plus, I think his scruffed-up retro Darwyn-Cooke-meets-David-Mazzuchelli aesthetic would be a fun interpretation of Earth 2.

GOTHAM ACADEMY: THE NEXT SEMESTER

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Art by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Written by Faith Erin Hicks, with art by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell and colors by Maarta Laiho.

I would be happy to see Gotham Academy’s regular creative team continue beyond Rebirth, but this is nevertheless a fun opportunity to see what a different team might do with these characters. With a Lumberjanes crossover coming in June, I’ve mined that series’ roster of talent, which happens to include one of my absolute favorite comics creators. Come on, surely no one expected me to get through this list without suggesting Faith Erin Hicks for at least one title? I’ve paired her with her Lumberjanes: Beyond Bay-Leaf collaborator (and the artist of the upcoming crossover) Rosemary Valero-O’Connell.

SUPER SONS

Written by Christopher Hastings, with art by Pat Gleason & Mick Gray and colors by John Kalisz.

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Art by Pat Gleason & Mick Gray

This is another series at which I’m only guessing the premise, but as the “Super Sons” were originally the sons of Batman and Superman in a series of alternate universe stories from the 1970s, I’m choosing to think that this series will feature the adventures of Damian Wayne and either Christopher Kent (Superman’s foster son), Connor Kent (Superman’s teenage clone) or maybe even Jon Kent (alternate-universe-Superman’s son). Which sounds like a delightfully mismatched buddy-cop comedy, punctuated by moments of over-the-top violence, a little like Christopher Hastings’ webcomic, The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. Pat Gleason and Mick Gray are pretty much the definitive Damian art team by this point, and I think they continue to straddle the right line between cartoonish and superheroic to pair Robin up with Superboy.

TEEN TITANS

Written by Brenden Fletcher, with art by Annie Wu and colors by Lee Loughridge.

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Art by Annie Wu

I love the Teen Titans in their cartoon iterations – whether the eponymous Glen Murakami-produced anime, or the sheer brilliance of Young Justice. Their team roster has boasted many of my favorite characters, but with only a few exceptions, the comics about them are mediocre and forgettable at best, rendering a premise rich with potential into a standard-issue superhero comic. If ever there was a group of characters that needed Brenden Fletcher’s magic touch, it’s the Teen Titans – his uncanny skill at placing existing characters into new settings and circumstances to re-contextualize them as contemporary is precisely the shot of adrenaline that the team requires. Black Canary remains one of my favorite books to emerge from DC You, and I think Fletcher and co-pilot Annie Wu could work similar wonders on this team of kid sidekicks.

TRINITY

Written by Paul Dini, with art by Clay Mann and color by FCO Plascencia.

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Art by Clay Mann

A title featuring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman demands an iconic treatment, but few writers have a solid grasp on the voices of all three of those characters. One writer who has given each a masterful iteration across DC’s animated universe, however, is Paul Dini. On art duties, I’ve chosen Clay Mann – he is an artist whose work is consistent, accessible and appealing, just as good as superstars like David Finch and Tony Daniel, but whose figures are a little more natural. I feel he’s one big gig away from being one of the biggest artists in the business, and DC recently signed him to an exclusive contract, evidently recognizing that potential.

Check back tomorrow for part three, 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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