Thursday, September 19, 2013

Whither Geoff Johns?

So, Geoff Johns has left Green Lantern, he's leaving Aquaman, he's leaving JLA. When Forever Evil (eventually) ends, the only book he's known to be writing is Justice League.

Which is interesting, because Johns is the Golden Boy, the one writer guaranteed to goose sales substantially. Remember how they had him co-write the first issue of Vibe, just to trick people into reading it?

So it seems unlikely that DC is going to allow their "indispensable man" to script only one book, even if it is the flagship. Surely he has to be writing at least one more mag. Yet there's been nothing but silence about what's coming.

So, here are my wild ass guesses, along with how likely I think it is, based solely on hunches and my readings of Johns and the status quo at DC. I have no insider knowledge, no secret source. Please, no wagering.

This one seems by far the most likely. Johns invested an awful lot of time and back-of-the-issue space to rebuilding and rebranding Captain Marvel for the DCU. We also know he has a ridiculous man-crush on Black Adam, and this would be the book that gave him the most opportunity. The only question is, why haven't they announced it yet? Artist problems? Waiting for Forever Evil to wind down?


Johns has history with Booster, and his run on the series last decade was pretty highly regarded. In the nu52, he cowrote the Justice League International Annual that removed Booster from our time as a reaction to the Superman-WonderWoman snogfest, so clearly he has a story in mind somewhere. Bonus: He's been dropping hints about Ted Kord in Forever Evil--a Blue & Gold reunion? Problem: Booster works best with a light touch, a bit of humor, something Johns has showed zero interest in in recent years.


Obviously Johns has history with the character. And of course, he's the man responsible for bringing back Barry Allen. He was writing the revived-Barry titled and seemed to have some ideas going on when Flushpoint interrupted, and has seemd to enjoy writing the character in JL. And Manapul and Buccellato are leaving, so a prime opportunity. Still, for Johns is it "been there/done that"?


This really is a wild ass guess. But clearly Johns has his own ideas about the character and her supporting cast and love life. Did you know that Etta Candy and Steve Trevor have never appeared in Diana's own nu 52 book (have thery even been mentioned?), while Johns has obviously used them in JL? And don't bring up the relationship with Superman. One has to wonder when Azzarello's ability to completely ignore the rest of the nu52, and ignore their desire for how to use Diana, (and to publicly diss on their use of her) will last (blackmail pictures? A wish granted by Mxyzptlk?). She would be new territory for Johns, and he clearly has plans for her...


Speaking of unexplored territory, Johns has never written one of the Bat books. He's done pretty much everything else at DC, so when will he add Bruce Wayne to his resume? Now that one of DC's other untouchables, Grant Morrison, is off the franchise, and one of the books defunct, is this a chance for Johns to move in and give us his take on the Dark Knight? CON: Snyder seems fully in control of the franchise right now--would Johns play well with the constant tie-ins that Snyder seems to require?


Obviously Johns has been to this party before (although all of that was wiped out by the reboot--sorry!!). And the franchise has frankly been in something of a creative disarray seemingly from the very moment of the Flushpoint, with musical chairs for writers. Snyder doesn't seem interested in extending his take to the whole brand a la Batman. Is this an opportunity for DC Chief Creative Officer to step in and bring some order to the chaos of one of their most important IPs?


Again, a franchise Johns has history with and affection for. We also know that DC is planning a second Earth-2 book, and James Robinson walked off because it was given to some other writer. Johns, perhaps? This could be an interesting possibility, because given the reboot and new world, it would be a prime opportunity for Johns to do some world-building, something he's never really done before--he's always been playing with pre-existing toys.


Having Trinity War spin straight into Forever Evil, without even a one-issue breather, was pretty depressing, but it seems the way that nuDC is going to roll these days. And since Johns has written or co-written most of the DC events for the past decade, it seems logical to keep him going. That might also explain why nothing has been announced for Johns' plans yet--they're contingent of the post-Forever Evil status quo, and they don't want to issue spoilers yet. Zero Hour 2, anyone?


Like all DC writers, Johns would love to do all Darkseid, all the time. And this would almost have to involve bringing the New Gods fully into the nu52, far more so than Azzarello has done in Wonder Woman. And really, don't we miss Metron floating around in his chair being snooty? Hmm, me neither. Still, it was Johns who used Darkseid as the nu52's first villain, and who (co)wrote that Darkseid's daughter was being held by A.R.G.U.S. I'm not sure if DC would want to give them their own comic yet again, though...


It's been clear for years that Geoff Johns is far more interested in villains than in heroes. I'm surprised he never did a book that was just 20 pages of Sinestro and Black Adam fighting then making out then fighting. And DC has been pushing really hard on the "villains are cool and important" meme lately--a documentary?? "Our heroes are defined by their villains?" Perhaps the upshot of Forever Evil is that we get a permanent bad-ass villain book. Set on Earth-3? Or starring the Secret Society? This is clearly the direction Johns has been pushing DC in...


OK, I'm not really serious here. But can you think of a better franchise for Geoff Johns to vent his desire for killing and maiming and dismemberment on? Every issue, he can rip off limbs, rend heroes in half, decapitate them...and then just have them rebuilt for the next issue!! Unleash Superboy-Prime in the book!! Go crazy!!


Remember how, at the beginning of the nu52, it looked as if the incorporation of Wildstorm into the main DC Universe was going to be significant? Wildstorm characters got their own mags, or were seeded into the supporting casts of others; hints were strewn about a coming war with the Daemonites; Jim Lee collected royalty checks...But most of DC's long-term planning has been done on an Etch-A-Sketch the past couple of years, and most of the Wildstorm concepts have been mercifully put to out of our misery. Still, Jim Lee is co-publisher, and he may have some car payments coming due, so we might get the threatened WildC.A.T.s book. Who better to draw actual readers to a 14-time failed concept than Geoff Johns?


"THE FIELD": There's a huge swath of characters out there we haven't considered, and while the chance of any one of them being a new Johns project is small, together their cumulative percentages make it not unlikely that we'll get a complete surprise form out of left field. Dingbats Of Danger Street? Cave Carson? A full-time A.R.G.U.S. title? G.I. Robot? The Spectre? Omega Men? Etc etc...


Maybe, just maybe, after his prodigious output for the past few years, Johns is just going to kick back and take it easy for awhile. Or, perhaps with the WB finally (kinda sorta) getting its act together on the movie front, his duties as CCO will make him spend more time on non-comic work. Ditto animation.With Snyder now a bona fide star, with Lemire and Kindt taking on increasing writing chores, maybe Johns isn't the "indispensable man" anymore, and he doesn't HAVE to take on a new project.


Of course, your comments/guesses are welcome.


Siskoid said...

Shazam is the most likely, I agree. If he wrote Booster as he did last time, that was the comic that brought me back into the fold re: monthlies, I would be totally up for it. However, how would a comic about visiting DC history make any sense in a DCU with no history?

snell said...

Well, there is some history--Demo Knights. Pandora, All- Star Western tell us this.

And if you made Booster a time travel series (although that's not a requirement for his series), you could have him exploring "The Secret History Of The nu52", wherein we find that maybe things didn't just start up 5 (6? 7?) years ago, that there were many previous heroes (and villains) who were just unknown to the world at large...

Matthew E said...

I'll hazard a couple of chips on Teen Titans.

Siskoid said...

But is that the same as visiting events we remember? Because Team7 or whatever it was tried to do that and fell with a resounding thud.

Still, point taken. Booster did recently appear in All Star Western, lost in time, which might point to a Palmiotti & Gray Booster down the line instead.

Michael May said...

Azzarello's ability to completely ignore the rest of the nu52 will last exactly as long as my interest in nu52 Wonder Woman.

Mr. Whiskas said...

-And Manapul and Buccellato are leaving

NOOOOO! That was one book I really enjoyed under their helm.

I hope it is Booster Gold btw.

SallyP said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for Booster.

Gary said...

I think Shazam's a definite but I'd be surprised if he goes back to anything (like Teen Titans or Flash) where he's already done a lengthy run.

Gary said...

Woke up thinking about this (that's what you do to me, snell) and thought of another title... and cheekily posted it on my blog: Blue Beetle!