Tomorrow DC Comics releases the second of the new reader-friendly “Earth One” graphic novels, Batman: Earth One. Originally announced in 2009, this second graphic novel is just hours away from release, and people are already looking toward the line, and this title’s, future. DC has already announced that J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis have a sequel to Superman: Earth One due out Nov. 6, and Geoff Johns let slip that he was already writing a Batman: Earth One sequel in an interview posted on Entertainment Weekly‘s website. With those two balls in the air, and DC actively looking to expand their roster of mainstream-friendly characters, I thought I’d give some unsolicited advice on what they should consider next for the “Earth One” line.
1. Wonder Woman: Earth One: As the third part of DC’s trinity of superheroes, it’s a no-brainer that Diana would — and should — be included. While she might not be Superman or Batman, that in itself is a unique marketing ploy and creative springboard. And if you step back and think about it, DC is in the unlikely place of having multiple possibilities for Wonder Woman: Earth One already in place. The obvious choice seems to be the untitled Wonder Woman story that Grant Morrison and Ethan Van Sciver have mentioned working on for years now, but there’s also the possibility DC might consider dusting off a script they bought and never used: Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman script. And then there’s always the shelved All-Star Wonder Woman series by Adam Hughes; earlier this year he said that both he and DC have considered reviving it at some point for something.
2. Green Lantern: Earth One: DC’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns (and de facto chief writer) might be charting a years-long course on the monthly Green Lantern titles, but I think he’d be the first to admit that it’s not as new reader friendly as DC would hope in a perfect world. DC could really break open the Green Lantern concept and undo some of the damage the Green Lantern film caused by putting Hal Jordan, Sinestro, Carol Ferris and others in a rebooted setting.
3. The Flash: Earth One: As the fastest man alive, the Flash is a hard one for readers to grab a hold of. Without a benchmark movie to introduce the mainstream public into his concept, putting him at the center of a standalone “Earth One” graphic novel would be a no-brainer.
4. The Joker: Earth One: It’s conspicuous that the Joker has no part to play in the Batman: Earth One graphic novel coming out tomorrow, but thinking about the character further, I’d argue that he doesn’t need to share space with Batman; he has the popularity and the history to carry his own book. DC’s had Joker in his own solo stories on numerous occasions, but getting a story centered on a villain right–without reforming the villain–is difficult. Maybe Scott Snyder has some ideas for this.
5. Green Arrow: Earth One: When done right, Oliver Queen is an ideal foil for the more mercurial heroes at the top of DC’s super-hero pantheon and seems like a character that would most benefit from a new-reader friendly origin in an “Earth One” book. Andy Diggle and Jock did an excellent Green Arrow: Year One series a few years back, but I think this requires a different kind of touch to make work — mixing the millionaire aspect with his penchant for bow and arrows. The Arrow TV series is set to premiere later this year, so a Green Arrow: Earth One graphic novel could do well in the near future.
6. John Constantine: Earth One: Although he doesn’t have a long history playing with the super-hero stalwarts of the DCU, Constantine is a prized possession in that four-colored treasure chest of ideas DC owns. Imagine finding a creative team that could successfully bring the British sensibilities of this warlock in the modern world. Just don’t tell Keanu Reeves.