Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Green And The Bold?

You know what the nu52 needs? A team up book.

We're a year into the project now, and if you were to ask me, one of the things the rebooted DC Universe is sorely lacking is a sense of interconnectedness, a feeling that all of these books are operating in a shared universe.

Another major problem is that, post-Flushpoint, DC has 10,472 characters who are unaccounted for. Do they still exist? Have they been "born" yet? How are they different (or the same) in this crazy new rebooted shared universe?

Yes, DC does have DC Universe Presents...but that acts more as a Marvel Premiere or Marvel Spotlight--extended arcs that act more as pilots for potential projects, and not a particularly swift way to reintroduce new characters, or to explore some of the nooks and crevices of the nu52. The same goes for the DCU mags that have back-ups.

No, what they need is a team-up book, the perfect vehicle for character interaction, for establishing that all of our heroes are playing in the same sandbox, and to help take care of fan cries of "what about character X?"

That doesn't mean the book has to be a quick series of one-offs, either. With skilled writers given a licence to thrill, Marvel gave us some really grand arcs in their team-up books, like...

...the time Chris Claremont gave us the four-parter where Spider-Man teamed up with Black Widow, Nick Fury and Shang-Chi(!) to keep the Viper and Silver Samurai from assassinating Jimmy Carter!!

...the time Bill Mantlo gave us a four-parter with Spider-Man, Scarlet Witch, The Vision, Doctor Doom, and Moondragon versus and evil super-Puritan witch hunter.

And Marvel Two-In-One, while less consistently brilliant, did give us...

...the six-part Project Pegasus saga, which let Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio explore the obscure cul-de-sacs of the Marvel Universe by teaming Ben Grimm with Quasar, Deathlok, Giant-Man (aka Black Goliath), Thundra, and Wundarr (plus, half the issues had art by Byrne, half by Perez!).

But, books that don't have a regular star don't seem survive very well. So who should be the regular star in DC's new team-up book?

Brave & The Bold might suggest Batman. And that would probably sell pretty damn well. But let's be honest--the last thing DC needs right now is yet another Bat book, am I right? Plus, the current incarnation of Batman is not exactly conducive to team-ups, is he? The broody loner who (depending on the writer) holds most other heroes in contempt? There's a reason Batman team-ups lost their luster post-Frank Miller...

Superman? well, nu52 Superman is almost as much a broody loner as Batman. And if DC Comics Presents taught us anything, it's that it is hard to write good team-up stories when your character is that powerful. Then again, forced interaction with other heroes might lighten Clark up a little.

No, we need someone else. Someone who is more of an everyman, like Spidey or the Thing. Someone who is a down-to-earth character, someone who wouldn't overwhelm every story, someone who would benefit from interacting with other DC characters. I can't believe I'm saying this, but we need:

Yes, Hal Jordan.

He's pretty much perfect for this scenario. He's powerful, but not, ahem, overwhelmingly bright, so he can use the help most of the time.
His background gives him ties both to Earth (remember when Green Lantern was supposed to patrol our sector? And had adventures on our planet? Remember?!?) and the cosmic spots of the DCU, making teaming up with Green Lantern the perfect vehicle to go all over the freaking universe.

Plus, as a bonus, you could occasionally stick one of the other Green Lanterns in there instead of Hal.

And, let's face it--aren't you tired of Hal Jordan et al being stuck in these interminable "Color Corp Wars" and other never-ending Geoff Johnsian epics? Don't you long for at least a peek at Green Lantern fighting crooks, rescuing babies...just being a hero, a part of the DC Universe?

So cancel Red Lanterns--seriously, WTF, guys?!?--break Hal Jordan out of the current Green Lantern ghetto, and give us a nu52 team-up mag. Hell, you can even call it Brave & The Bold if you want.


Siskoid said...

This is really the reverse of Michael May's recent post, isn't it? ;)

I agree that a good team-up book would be a plus. I'm all for one-offs, personally, as I think Marvel's recent team-up efforts for Spider-Man and Captain America, with their multi-issue team-ups annoy me. Team-up books are fun because there's always a new co-star each issue. As extended X&Y mini-series, they lose a lot of that excitement. And if you don't like a guest-star (or story) you're stuck with it for several issues. Team up books are inherently silly and crazy, and anything that goes against that is anathema to them.

But Green Lantern? While I might have agreed with you a couple years ago (and he WAS used in the first couple issues of the last Brave&Bold), I'm so sick of him now. Johns has destroyed him for me with the extended plot line you talk about, but also his ridiculous immaturity in Justice League. Everything you say makes sense, but he's just not a character I want to read about.

Of course, I also agree that neither Batman nor Superman would make good team-up guys in the present continuity. But who's left?

snell said...

Well, that's the problem, isn't it? I picked Jordan because a) the book would sell b) he could be fun interacting with a lot of different types c) lack of any other options of the top of my head. I have no love for the guy, either, but I couldn't think of a better choice.

That's one of the problems with the new 52--everything is so compartmentalized, it's tough to find a (currently existing) hero who could reasonably interact with the whole universe AND leave open a plethora of story possibilities.

Siskoid said...

That, and while I like the idea of using a team-up book to "discover" the rebooted universe, the reboot takes away another thing I love about team-ups books, i.e. the use of all sorts of obscure characters from the shared universe's long history.

The Mutt said...

Marvel Team Up and The Brave and the Bold are two of my favorite titles of all time!

I think a Green Lantern is too powerful to work in a team-up book. Same with a Flash. If they team up with Robin or The Question or some other non-powered person, what is the guest star going to do? Cheer them on?

I think the best bet to star in a team-up book is Ollie Queen.

ShadowWing Tronix said...

Personally, since they want Hal "out there" they could use Kyle. He seems better suited to stay on Earth and isn't so full of himself. If he's still "green" (sorry) in the New 52 it could work.

notintheface said...

What about Wonder Woman? The Azzarello WW is more approachable than Nu52 Supes or Bats (except Snyder's version of the latter). She would also be fun to see interacting with a variety of characters, particularly other female ones. They could call it "Sensation Comics".

That's one of the things that sucks the most about the DC reboot: It annihilated most of the DCU historical reference points and reduced much of our personal connection to the characters. Without that connection, many of DC's Nu52 books were practically on the same starting footing as new independent books. And I notice as I've been dropping DC titles, I've added indie titles in their places.

Siskoid said...

GA would get a direction, which isn't something he really has right now.

Wonder Woman's the other member of the Trinity, and the only one who hasn't had a team-up book. I'd like it, but she's also notoriously difficult to write. So you better put Gail Simone on the book permanently.

SallyP said...

Excellent idea! I've always liked Team-up books, and how can you go wrong with Hal? Just so long as you show him getting hit in the head, and focus on his totally adorable buttocks, and I'm Am In!

Siskoid said...

No surprise there! :D

MOCK! said...

I'd grab it because I miss Green Lantern. When it seemed like Johns was never going to reach any sort of ending, I had to walk away...

Siskoid said...

Your post sparked a blog response.