It seems that at least once a year the Big Two superhero publishers push for a major relaunch of their titles with a wave of new number ones that often feature characters that haven’t had an ongoing series in a long while. The choices are sometimes baffling, but the relaunches usually result in at least a few surprise hits, like Omega Men and Superwoman.
DC Rebirth seems to be going well for the publisher, but in most regards it was a very safe relaunch, with many core properties bumped up to twice-monthly schedules, and only a few real risks being taken. We’ve put together a list of five ideal candidates for the next big relaunch, which might seem a little riskier than another new Batman comic, but could lead to some great new stories.
Booster Gold was DC Comics’ breakout character of the late 2000s in a way that no-one could have expected. His starring role in 52 led to one of Geoff Johns’ greatest runs on an ongoing series with Dan Jurgens, where they made him The Greatest Hero You’ve Never Heard Of and partnered him with Rip Hunter to police and patrol the timeline. He was on Smallville, even! People couldn’t get enough of Booster Gold.
It seemed like he’d be a big part of The New 52, but the plot thread of the future Booster was abandoned and then resolved in Convergence of all places. People want to love Booster Gold, but you need to give them a Booster Gold comic to love. You could even do a new Time Masters or Legends of Tomorrow title and make it an ensemble cast. It’s time to give the people what they want!
While Booster Gold may have been the unlikely breakout star of the ‘00s, perhaps no characters were screwed over as royally as Ralph and Sue Dibny. I don’t even want to talk about what happened, or acknowledge that garbage fire of a story, but there’s so much potential in a new Elongated Man series given the current comics climate.
Elongated Man is great because he's the true World's Greatest Detective, but unlike some bat-themed people he's more fussed with getting on with his work as opposed to branding and taglines. Try as DC might during the last decade, Ralph isn't driven by tragedy; he's driven by adventure and new discoveries, and is walking proof that marriage doesn't and shouldn't stunt a character's ability to be interesting.
Imagine an all-ages husband and wife detective series in the vein of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, where Ralph and Sue travel America solving mysteries steeped in DC Universe lore. It could be a huge hit. There would also have to be an arc set at Gotham Academy where Ralph meets his biggest fan, Maps Mizoguchi.
The Legion of Super-Heroes
The Legion of Super-Heroes is a great concept, yet DC hasn’t known what to do with in literal decades. The worry with the Legion is similar to the worry with Hawkman now, in that anything you do with them just makes them more complicated. Even if you try and start over, you’re making it more complicated, because that’d be the fourth distinct incarnation of the Legion to exist in as many decades, and Geoff Johns did all that hard work tidying it up in Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds.
With the right creative team though, DC could have its own Guardians of the Galaxy, which is a weird thing to say because the Guardians of the Galaxy used to be Marvel’s attempt at the Legion. There are so many great characters, ideas and concepts buried in those early Legion stories that are just waiting to be mined and updated, and with the revival of Star Wars and Star Trek, optimistic and hopeful sci-fi hasn’t been this much in demand in years.
The Question’s appearances in The New 52 were so gosh-darn weird. He showed up as one of The Trinity of Sin alongside Pandora and The Phantom Stranger, and was cursed to be faceless and nameless for some great crime he supposedly committed. Then, years later, Vic Sage was introduced as a separate character who was placed in charge of the All-New Suicide Squad for some bizarre reason.
With a new Question series, DC should take a page from the new Blue Beetle and have it feature Renee Montoya as The Question, but with Vic Sage (who was undercover in the Suicide Squad) in a mentor role. I don’t know quite how to explain away The Trinity of Sin stuff, but it might be best to just not touch it.
A new Question series should take cues from the classic Denny O’Neil/Denys Cowan run, which was a lot more nuanced and philosophical than people might have expected. With The Question, you can explore aspects of street level crime and corruption that you just can’t with characters like Batman, and as a bonus DC would get a new queer lead character to bring its total up to... three.
The New Gods is another franchise in desperate need of a fix of some sorts, because, in case you had forgotten, DC made Darkseid a baby! There have only been two creators since Jack Kirby to really get The New Gods, and that’s Walt Simonson in Orion and Grant Morrison in Final Crisis, although the latter does tend to go over some peoples' heads.
The New Gods’ stories should be big and bombastic, but also familiar and recognisable. The characters aren’t alien in the same sense as, say, Martian Manhunter. The New Gods are just people, if people lived their lives as metal as possible one hundred percent of the time.
It might sound strange, but I think the best approach to New Gods might be to take inspiration from Chris Claremont’s legendary run on Uncanny X-Men, but dialed up to full blast. With so many characters and relationship dynamics, you’d need to do a lot of plate spinning, but the payoffs to those kinds of stories are always so satisfying.