Despite the considerable critical backlash, DC Comics’ Before Watchmen line of titles has become one of this summer’s top sellers, and the publisher announced at Comic-Con International that it’s revisiting the classic Sandman in a prequel written by Neil Gaiman. With that in mind, I’ve come up with six other wells the company could return to for new projects. I’m not saying they should or shouldn’t, but given recent events this might be where fans, and DC, could look next.
#1 – Preacher: Old Testament: The original five-year Preacher series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon was one of the key titles that established Vertigo, and although it’s been 12 years since the title’s conclusion I wouldn’t count out a return. It could be that, if the long-gestating Preacher movie ever gets on track, it could prompt a second look. Story-wise, it could go into Jesse Custer’s road to becoming the preacher we see in the first issue, or perhaps telling the story of the supernatural hook-up of angel and demon that spawned Genesis.
#2 – Z: The First Man: The final issue of Y: The Last Man was one of the best endings to any comic in some time, but just because there’s a great ending doesn’t mean there can’t be more stories. With Brian K. Vaughn back in the comics game with Saga, imagine if he and Pia Guerra came back together to tell about a miraculous pregnancy post-Yorick and the all-female population of Earth dealing with that.
#3 – Wonder Woman: Year One: Whether it be “Earth One” or “Year One,” DC’s failed in ever giving that treatment to Wonder Woman. And as I’ve mentioned several times before the publisher potentially has the story already written and in its vault. Although I’ve not read the Joss Whedon movie script to the failed Wonder Woman movie, DC’s parent company Warner Bros. does own it. Even if someone else is brought in to adapt it to comics form (Phil Jimenez, perhaps?), imagine the buzz and potentially great story they have there.
#4 – Planetary: Before the Beginning: One of DC’s more recent mainstream successes, Planetary made a big impression on readers despite its lateness. Although it might be unrealistic to expect Warren Ellis and Jon Cassaday to jump on board for more (shades of Watchmen), the contractual situation is probably there for DC to conceivably do more without their participation. I’d hate to get on Ellis’ bad side, but there’s a multitude of story ideas a sequel could harbor on, from the early days of the Four to Elijah Snow pre-amnesia, to more of the always excellent Ambrose Chase.
#5 – Kingdom Gone: DC has already produced sequels to Kingdom Come, but never has it been able to capture the majesty that Mark Waid, Alex Ross and Todd Klein managed in the summer of 1996. Incumbent on getting all the original players on board, a new Kingdom Come series could delve into how things got the way they were in the beginning of the first graphic novel. The retirement of its heroes, the rise of Magog, and maybe more of Wesley Dodds.
#6 – The Dark Knight: During the promotional cycle surrounding the release of The Dark Knight Strikes Again in 2001, Frank Miller and his editors mentioned there were some talks about expanding the series into a set of comics, with Miller even bringing in outside collaborators. The closest thing we ever got to that was All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, but TDKR still stands as one of the bestselling graphic novels of all time — and Batman’s still arguably the most popular superhero in the world. Imagine Miller enlisting a who’s who of comic talent to go with him and revisit his older Batman and his older Gotham City.