52 Geek-Out: DCU Part 6

[continued from yesterday]

The Secret Six
Writer: Marc Andreyko / Artist: Stefano Gaudiano

Even among those beings of power and valor dedicated to patrolling the vast skies
and dank alleyways, few are aware of all that imperils humanity, peace, and the very existence of life as we know it. Yet through the ages demons and dark magic have ever lurked, and ever have six champions wielding sorcerous arts and artifacts been chosen by the mysterious Seventh to defend the world. The Secret Six follows the fractious endeavors of the latest such assembly, whose current membership consists of investigator Richard Occult; modern-day ronin Tatsu Yamashiro, alias Katana; the shaman known only as Doctor Mist; the enchantress named June Moon; the medicine woman called Manitou Dawn; and powerful but irreverent wizard John Constantine. Writer Marc Andreyko [DC’s Manhunter, Image’s Torso] and interior artist Stefano Gaudiano [DC’s Gotham Central, Marvel’s Daredevil], bring grim humor and grit to this crossroads of the literal and metaphorical underworld, with covers from The Unknown’s Erik Jones.

Justice League America
Writers: Gail Simone & George Pérez /
Artists: George Pérez & Jerry Ordway

Of those costumed adventurers who have chosen to step into the light of day, many banded together early on for reasons both sociopolitical and just plain social — as well as, of course, for the simple fact that there are threats even superfolks can’t face alone. Now the Hall of Justice stands as a beacon of hope, headquarters, and sometime homestead for heroes from across the United States. George Pérez [The New Teen Titans, The Brave and the Bold] returns to the League once more, with fellow Wonder Woman scribe Gail Simone as co-writer and former Crisis on Infinite Earths collaborator Jerry Ordway as co-artist. Adam Hughes revisits his JLA roots as cover illustrator depicting a neo-classic lineup that includes Superman, The Flash, La Garra, Cyborg, Wonder Woman, Doctor Fate, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Doctor Light, Hawkman, and The Atom.

Teen Titans
Writer: Jeff Parker / Artist: Neil Vokes

It was only a matter of time before the sidekicks and protégés of the Justice League decided to form their own team to represent their generation and, well, because hanging out with fellow superkids is cool. The Teen Titans have built a solid legacy in their brief existence, one that continues with current members Robin, Supergirl, Blue Beetle, Rocket, Cyclone, Kid Eternity, Raven, and Impulse — while asking the musical question, Who is Wonder Boy? Neil Vokes [DC’s Superman Adventures, Acclaim’s Ninjak] interprets the inventive scripts of Jeff Parker [Marvel’s Atlas, Hulk, and Thunderbolts] under covers from such eclectic comics talent as Jason Pearson, Lea Hernandez, and Colleen Coover.

Green Lantern Corps
Writer: Chris Claremont / Artist: Alan Davis

Long before Earth became a magnet for intergalactic travelers and the veritable
center of super-powered activity in the 3600 sectors of the cosmos, a Green Lantern was assigned to each of those sectors as ambassador, protector, and when necessary warrior. Green Lantern Corps reunites the titanic team of Chris Claremont and Alan Davis, who partnered so memorably on marquee Marvel properties from X-Men to Fantastic Four, to chronicle the exploits of Hal Jordan and his fellow ringbearers under the direction of the Guardians of the Universe. Brian Bolland returns to the scene of his first work in American comics to provide the covers.

The Outsiders
Writer: Joshua Dysart / Artist: Cully Hamner

Bruce Wayne is not a traditional team player, but he does know something about running complex multi-billion-dollar enterprises. So while keeping in touch with Superman and other friends in the Justice League, Batman has put his logistical skills to work guiding a parallel network outside the law to counter menaces, often clandestine ones, that the League is less equipped to combat. Among the operatives most frequently drawn into his plans as needed are his former partner Dick Grayson; old flame Zatanna, mistress of magic; Roy Harper, the pacifist sharpshooter now known as Arsenal; Urania Blackwell, the amazing Element Woman; and one of the planet’s most empathetic, most powerful, and most significant outsiders, an enigmatic private detective named John Jones. Kevin Nowlan covers a new take on the team written by Joshua Dysart of Vertigo’s Unknown Soldier and Dark Horse’s BPRD: 1946, drawn by Red co-creator Cully Hamner [Blue Beetle, Black Lightning: Year One].

Doom Patrol
Writer: Jeff Lemire / Artist: Becky Cloonan

Crimefighting isn’t always pretty and, frankly, the same can be said for the crimefighters. Names like Robotman, Beast Boy, Livewire, Metamorpho, Insect Queen, Hunchback, and The Negative Twins only hint at the afflictions of the sometimes reluctant adventurers affiliated with scientist Niles Caulder’s research into the blessings and curses of metahumanity. Jeff Lemire, acclaimed creator of Vertigo’s Sweet Tooth and The Nobody, writes and provides covers for Doom Patrol, drawn by Demo and American Virgin artist Becky Cloonan.

Justice League International
Writer: Kurt Busiek / Artist: Ivan Reis

Many of the world’s greatest superheroes have inevitably met time and again in the course of battling forces that might overwhelm each of them individually. What began as spontaneous pooling of resources and pockets of camaraderie based on geography or shared interest soon became a single organization affiliated with the United Nations based on America’s instantly legendary Justice League. Aquaman, Vixen, Red Rocket, Seraph, Knight and Squire, Celestial Archer, Sirocco, Green Flame, Troia, and of course Superman are just a handful of those who number themselves among Justice League International. Writer Kurt Busiek [Astro City, JLA/Avengers] and artist Ivan Reis [Green Lantern, Blackest Night] keep the fires burning with this latest incarnation of a beloved franchise under covers from the accomplished Ryan Sook.

And so concludes at last my personal fannish exercise in rebooting the DC superhero line with 52 titles, just as a relatively paltry — but much-ballyhooed amidst the current shrinking market — couple hundred thousand readers get their hands on the first full taste of the real thing. Like I said earlier, I find it at least as interesting to see the few places where my choices of concept and creative team more-or-less gibe with those of DC’s editorial staff than the areas where I went in another direction entirely. Of course, DC wasn’t really working with the blue sky that I was, although even given the decidedly harsh confines of reality I can’t help but be disappointed in the general lack of imagination evident so far despite a few interesting, out-there experiments.

I wanted my concepts to be forward-looking while respectful and inclusive of DC history, and just as much so I wanted my creative teams do the same; most importantly, perhaps, without sacrificing quality or good sense, I wanted both my casts and crews to be as diverse in culture and gender as possible. With so few women working in the increasingly air-quote-necessary area of “mainstream” comics even today, it wasn’t easy, but I think that the results are strong. I’d like to hear what you think — and, of course, your own suggestions are always welcome.

Intro | DCU Part 1 | DCU Part 2 | Multiverse | DCU Part 3
| DCU Part 4 | DCU Part 5 | DCU Part 6 | Index


  1. The Simone & Pérez / Pérez & Ordway JLA is a thing of brilliance. And of course the rest sounds fantastic too. You were wise not to try to replace Simone on the kind of Secret Six she was doing, and this Shadowpact / Trenchcoat Brigade hybrid is really intriguing. A Lemire / Cloonan Doom Patrol, though, with Metamorpho and Insect Queen? You're either a mad genius or just mad, although I'll take my chances.

  2. PS: I've said it before, but I really appreciate the gender and cultural diversity, as well as how you pulled in some unlikely suspects from the "indie" world or days gone by. Well done, Blam!

  3. I loved the recently-ended Secret Six, but you did a nice job of setting up a premise in which I'd be equally interested.

    Also, nice job in making the Outsiders relevant and distinct for the first time, well, maybe, ever...