Wishlist: Comic Book Team-Ups Part 1

Reading Aquaman #30 (review) and Justice League United #0 (review) the other day got me thinking about what kind of team-ups I would like to see in comics, whether as part of new ongoing series or a limited series. Team-ups are a very old concept in comics and currently you look at most publishers, you will see a smattering of some kind of a team-up happening. DC, Marvel, Valiant, Dark Horse, Zenescope, Dynamite, IDW, etc, they all do team-ups, many of these in their own ongoing series or in special event series. Team-ups are fun because in a single book you get the chance to interact with a whole bunch of characters, each with their own attitudes and personalities and beliefs.

So, in that vein, as a fan of team-up comics, I thought I’d put together a list of some comic book team-ups that I’d love to see in the next five years from the various publishers. The idea started off as involving superhero comics from both DC and Marvel, but then I thought about it and decided to go broad spectrum, and so have included several other publishers as well. Part of this list is because of the comics fan inside of me and part of this list is because I genuinely want to see something different from the current spate of comics that are being offered on shelves. We all need diversity to sustain ourselves, in one form or another, which is yet another reason for this list.

1. Batgirl + Supergirl

Batgirl-SupergirlAs legacy characters of Batman and Superman, Batgirl and Supergirl have a lot of history together. Thematically, they make a great fit, but it is not just for that reason that I’d love to see a team-book with these two ladies. Right now, they are both in a very interesting place. Batgirl is trying to deal with her brother’s death at her hands and has been going through a lot of family issues. Plus, it doesn’t help that in the convoluted continuity of the New 52 at the moment, the one person that she loved, Dick Grayson, has been outed as Nightwing to the entire world and will be considered dead once the current Nightwing series ends and the new Grayson begins (more here). With Supergirl, her father was recently exposed as a major villain and since then she’s gone on to join the Red Lanterns as one of their number although very soon she is going to be a part of the new Justice League team that Jeff Lemire and Mike McKone have put together for Justice League United.

One character is dealing with questions of loss and trust while the other is dealing with keeping her incredible powers in check, keeping her rage in check, and still trying to find her place in the world. I think that they make a natural team. Kara can provide Barbara with a grander focus for her adventures and show off new sights and sounds while Barbara in turn can share her experiences with Kara and help her deal with her emotional issues. It really is no secret that Batman and his allies are some of the most well-trained individuals out there and that they always keep their strength in check when going up against bad guys. Especially when it concerns villains who’ve really given them a reason to hit back with full force. The masks of control have slipped occasionally, but the measure of their character is in how they deal with it and then move on. That is something that Barbara can provide Kara with. Find her center.

Plus, a Batgirl/Supergirl book would be quite unlike any other book from DC right now. Paul Levitz’s World’s Finest started off as a really fun book, but then it devolved further and further into boredom until I eventually just gave up on the series. A Batgirl/Supergirl book has so many possibilities. It could explore the relationship between two developing friends who are ancillaries to some of the greatest heroes in the world. How would they deal with that kind of a legacy? How would they define themselves in light of that and make their own way forward? This has actually been one of the points raised in the Supergirl series since the New 52 began, and results are still inconclusive.

Preferred Writer(s): Gail Simone, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, Michael Alan Nelson

Preferred Artists: Ardian Syaf, Vicente Cifuentes, Admira Wijaya, Diogenes Neves, Jordie Bellaire

2. Captain Marvel + Ms. Marvel

Captain Marvel-Ms Marvel

When Marvel rebooted its universe in 2012 (jury still out whether it was a reboot or just a restart or whatever), Carol Danvers left her identity as Ms. Marvel behind and became Captain Marvel at the insistence from Steve Rogers aka Captain America. Mar-Vell was already dead for quite a while and the “position” was open, so to speak. So followed one of the most daring books in comics history, but it was marred by an extremely complex first arc and constant artist turnover.

Recently, with the superhero identity of Ms. Marvel open, Marvel executive editorial opted to introduce a new character, Kamala Khan and make her the new Ms. Marvel. A second-generation Pakistani immigrant, Kamala’s transformation into a superhero is part of the ongoing Inhumanity/Inhumans storyline in several Marvel comics, and she has emerged as a winner so far. And just a month after Kamala’s debut, Marvel brought back Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel for a second series, after the first one was cancelled due to falling sales. With a new outlook and a a shift in the character’s own focus, the new series picks up from where the first one left off but puts the character in space as a cosmic Avenger.

Of course, the question of legacies comes up once again. And it is even more significant this time since Kamala looks up to Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel and the other Avengers. They are her idols, her heroes, and she is enamoured by them, especially Carol. So how would Carol deal with someone like that? Someone who idolises her? She is trying to find her own center right now and she has a mission in space, but she is going to be making Earth visits regardless so there’s a good chance that she hears about the new Ms. Marvel. I consider that inevitable, personally.

And I think that it would be a really fun mini-series at least. Kamala is trying to find her own identity as a hero, who she wants to be, what she wants to be. The media has already labeled her as Ms. Marvel, but there is far more to her than that. There’s also the question of her culture, and for as high-profile a legacy character as Ms. Marvel, this could be a really great narrative hook, to explore her superhero identity through the context of her culture and her upbringing.

Preferred Writer(s): Kelly Sue DeConnick, G. Willow Wilson

Preferred Artists: Dexter Soy, David Lopez, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring, Lee Loughridge

3. Conan + Red Sonja

Conan-Red Sonja

This one should kind of be obvious. And the best part is that this is indeed happening! Dark Horse and Dynamite announced last year that they would be putting out a joint crossover book sometime this year. If I remember correctly, the release was supposed to be in February, but as of now nothing has materialised. So I got in touch with Gail Simone, who is the current writer of Dynamite’s Red Sonja and she told me that the approvals had taken longer than anticipated but the book was definitely on the cards and will be coming out very soon. That made me happy.

Conan and Sonja are both creations of Robert E. Howard for his Hyborean Age setting, and while Conan was a huge hit from the get go, Howard’s version of Sonja didn’t quite click for readers from what I’ve read. It wasn’t until she began to get her own stories and many of those through the comics medium that she really started to gain an equal amount of popularity. All to the tune that there’s even been a full-on live-action movie, although that didn’t quite succeed commercially. Still, the character has remained popular ever since and Gail Simone/Walter Geovani’s current run on the title is some of the best Red Sonja fiction to date. And from what I’ve read of Brian Wood’s run on Conan the Barbarian, his run is equally good, so the time is perfect.

A team book where the two of them go on adventures together, take down some bad guys, all the while being as awesome as they are? I’m all up for that. And I wouldn’t even mind a bit of romance between the two of them, although I’d hope that that doesn’t become a plot point in itself, but is something natural, more of a fling rather than something serious.

Preferred Writer(s): Gail Simone, Brian Wood

Preferred Artists: Becky Cloonan, Dave Stewart, Walter Geovani, Adriano Lucas

4. Aquaman + Doctor Fate + Wonder Woman

Aquaman - Doctor Fate - Wonder Woman

Aquaman #30 does a great job of setting up a possible crossover between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, or rather, a team-up. It is something that I would love to see, given how Jeff Parker has introduced a strong element of Greek Mythology to Aquaman. But then I got thinking and took things even further. I am not all that familiar with DC’s mystics, but I’d say that Doctor Fate stands as one of the most powerful of the bunch. Ancient magical powers + mythological hero + ancient civilisation that developed away from the rest of the world. It is a very, very potent mix.

And when you consider how these three could interact, taking on monsters and villains of both a magical and a mythological nature, then things get even better, in my mind at least. And I think that with these three characters, we have the best of three separate worlds. None of the characters is overly powerful or clever in that the stories just boil down to solving a great puzzle as Batman would do or punching things as Superman would do.

If DC would do such a book or a limited series, then it gives Aquaman another book to show off his stuff. Right now he has only his own book and the new series Aquaman and The Others, which is about him and his pals from before he was ever with the Justice League. Its an alright book, no great shakes, but it isn’t exactly the kind of team-up I’m looking for here. And Wonder Woman, well she definitely needs another book, more than most other characters out there. And it has to do with the balance. While she is part of DC’s Trinity of heroes (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman), she has been quite marginalised and misrepresented at times in the New 52. Let’s break her out of that, shall we? And as far as Doctor Fate is concerned, James Robinson did amazing work with him in the Earth 2 book until his run ended with issue #16. I haven’t really read Tom Taylor’s continuation from #17 but from the 1-2 issues I did, he was nowhere to be seen. And I love Dr. Fate, everything about him really and would like to see his Earth 1 debut somehow.

So there’s a lot to be done here.

Preferred Writer(s): Geoff Johns, James Robinson

Preferred Artists: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Rod Reis, Nicola Scott, Ming Doyle

*****

So that’s the first part of my wishlist. What do you think? Any further suggestions? Let me know in the comments!!

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Posted on April 26, 2014, in Comics News, Editorial, News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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