Fantasy Draft: Rebirth (pt. 3)

Be sure to read parts one and two of my Rebirth Fantasy Draft picks!

HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS

Written by Ray Fawkes, with art by Sebastian Fiumara & Kristian Donaldson, and colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr.

The title of this book makes me think that, of the two Green Lantern series, this one will lean more heavily into the “police-procedural-in-space” premise. Ray Fawkes has some experience putting a weird twist upon the police procedural in his sadly short-lived run on Gotham By Midnight, and I think blasting Mr. Fawkes up into space would give him a great opportunity to show his DC readers what fans of his independent work have known for awhile: the mind of Ray Fawkes is a big, strange and (at times) scary place. Thus, I can think of no one better to steer a cosmic police force whose powers are fueled by their imaginations. To visualize this, I have chosen two experienced purveyors of the strange: Sebastian Fiumara (Abe Sapien) and Kristian Donaldson (The Massive), both of whom excel at making the otherworldly convincing.

BATGIRL & THE BIRDS OF PREY

Written by Becky Cloonan, with art by Claire Roe and colors by Jordie Bellaire.

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Art by Claire Roe.

DC readers only familiar with Becky Cloonan as Gotham Academy’s co-writer might be surprised to learn that few comics creators are quite as metal as she is. Her stunning self-published comics, her Image series Southern Cross (with Andy Belanger), and her extensive list of art credits on books like Conan the Barbarian and The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys paint a picture of Cloonan as one of comics best badasses. Heck, she practically deserves to be one of the Birds of Prey herself, but instead, I’d just be happy to see her write the comic. The task of providing the stylish visuals to this girl gang comic falls to Claire Roe, whose work is comparably badass. Plus, few artists are as skilled in drawing a variety of body types, a skill which is an absolute must when drawing an all-ladies team (sorry, fanboys, the whole team can’t be built like supermodels). Seriously, though: Claire Roe is great.

THE FLASH

Written by Jody Houser, with art by Mike Norton & Shawn Crystal, and colors by Matt Wilson.

Jody Houser is earning lots of praise for her Valiant title, Faith. The titular character is a woman who is a tremendous comic geek, who gets imbued with superpowers of her own. For Faith, being a superhero is a huge thrill, something that delights her. That relatability  and enthusiasm is similar to what truly makes Barry Allen stand out in the DC Universe, and I think Houser would lend a much-needed levity to one of DC’s heavyweights, while still telling a straight superhero story that will satisfy ardent fan or casual passerby. Dynamic and energetic art is a must on a Flash title, and I think Mike Norton and Shawn Crystal, with their lean figures and bombastic action, would ensure this comic looks spectacular.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

Written by Peter J. Tomasi, with art by Jason Fabok & Jesus Merino, and colors by Dave Stewart.

The Justice League doesn’t require redefinition or alteration. As editor and writer, Peter J. Tomasi has overseen or directly written just about every hero that serves on the League, and usually does a damn fine job of it. The guy knows superhero comics, and one thing Justice League always ought to be unabashed about is that it is precisely that: a superhero comic. Jason Fabok and Jesus Merino are both superb artists, having perfected the DC house style and producing attractive, accessible comic books that deliver on the drama and the action.

JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA

Written by Richard Kelly, with art by Wilfredo Torres & Chris Sprouse, and colors by various.

I have a completely bonkers pitch for Justice League America. See, I was trying to figure out what would differentiate this title from plain old nation-less Justice League, and kept fixating on that one word difference: America. What, then, would make this Justice League so specifically American? I am not myself American, and thus wrapping a generic superhero comic in a flag doesn’t much interest me, so I started to ponder ways in which the concept of the Justice League might interact with the concept and history of the United States. The thought was abstract, at first, but then I realized, this is comics: the Justice League can literally interact with the history of the United States. Thus, time traveler Booster Gold is the central character, an inept commander of a small squad of superheroes from throughout time and space, on a mission to repair history (read: fix DC continuity) from getting rewritten as the result of an argument between the fifth-dimensional troublemakers Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite. But I don’t want it played just for laughs – I want a writer willing to use this time-hopping, reality-warping adventure story as an opportunity to assess how art is determined by its audience, to reinvent the concept of the Justice League for each period of history they visit, and to never shy away from the bigger and weirder questions it raises about the relationship between history and fiction. To bring a fresh perspective to these characters, I would love to see Donnie Darko and Southland Tales screenwriter/director Richard Kelly write this story. His ideas frequently seem too big to be contained to his own films (and as such, he notoriously has trouble getting those films produced), but I think comics are already primed for his ambitions. Giving the art a timeless, Golden Age flair, I would love to see Wilfredo Torres (Jupiter’s Circle) and Chris Sprouse (The Multiversity) trade art duties, while taking a cue from Cry Havoc, and using a rotating cast of colorists to differentiate the multiple timelines.

ACTION COMICS and DETECTIVE COMICS

Written and drawn by various.

I’ve always found it a little awkward that Superman and Batman each get an additional comic book, which tells a story either codependent upon the one unfolding the “main” title, or is otherwise so completely independent of it that it seems optional. To solve this problem, I think it would be best to treat Action and Detective as anthology titles, letting a variety of writers and artists tell shorter form stories.

SUPERMAN

Written by Max Landis, with art by Francis Manapul & Karl Kerschl and color by Brian Buccellato.

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Art by Karl Kerschl

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Art by Francis Manapul

In only the five issues released already, Max Landis has delivered some of the best Superman storytelling I’ve read since Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s masterpiece All-Star Superman. He’s a writer who really seems to understand what makes Superman super, and that, evidently, is a rare thing. On art, I would enlist Landis’s American Alien collaborator Francis Manapul and Gotham Academy artist Karl Kerschl, two incredibly dynamic artists with complementary visual styles, capable of giving the Man of Steel the iconic treatment he deserves.

BATMAN

Written by James Tynion IV & Ming Doyle, with art by John Paul Leon & Garry Brown and colors by Dave Stewart

A student of Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV has shared multiple co-writing credits with his mentor throughout Snyder’s tenure as the Dark Knight’s stenographer, and he is at once the most natural and safest choice to follow up his mentor’s tremendously popular run. Outside of his close affiliation with Snyder, however, Tynion’s own work on his creator-owned books The Woods and UFOlogy shows that he is a superb storyteller in his own right, his narratives taking a tighter focus than Snyder’s enormous ambitions. However, it’s his work with Ming Doyle on Constantine: The Hellblazer that makes me think the pair ought to write Batman, and I think adding Doyle’s sensibilities to Tynion’s would lift this new run out of an enormous Snyder-and-Capullo-shaped shadow. Shifting the visuals away from Greg Capullo’s dynamic and bombastic art would also go a long way to setting this new volume of Batman apart, and the pair of John Paul Leon and Garry Brown trading off art duties would give this book a heavily-shadowed noir feel perfectly suited to Gotham City.

WONDER WOMAN

Written by Tom King, with art by Marguerite Sauvage and Ming Doyle and colors by Jordie Bellaire.

Most comics bloggers and Twitter pundits are predicting that Tom King will takeover Batman from Scott Snyder, and while it doesn’t seem unlikely, I don’t think it would be the best use of his skills. See, Batman is easy, and King’s best comics (The Vision and The Omega Men) are ones in which he gets to approach a more challenging or lesser known character in a different and unexpected way. Wonder Woman is a character that DC struggles to get right, and I think King’s unique background and outlook could work wonders on a character who is both a soldier and an ambassador of peace. Diana deserves an art team that can depict her with grace, poise and ferocity, and for that purpose, I can think of no better pair that DC Comics Bombshells artist Marguerite Sauvage and The Kitchen artist Ming Doyle, paired with one of the finest colorists in the business, Jordie Bellaire.

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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