How I Would Have Done It: New 52 Beyond by Jerry Whitworth
Having covered Superman, Batman, the Justice League, and Young Justice in previous editions of “How I Would Have Done It,” now it’s time to finish out the new 52. When a new Earth popped up following Flashpoint, it essentially merged the Earth most stories of the DC Universe took place upon with WildStorm and Vertigo folded into it (with, of course, elements of Fawcett, Quality, Charlton, and Milestone already in the mix). However, a number of stalwarts of WildStorm were largely absent (or present but removed from where they were best recognized). Further, another opportunity was squandered to incorporate popular franchises of Hanna-Barbera which have largely gone extinct (outside the humor of [adult swim]). Previously, I had described how an Earth based on Hanna-Barbera would be popular with fans (as well as fairly easy to pull off). Now we can examine the DC Universe beyond the Justice League be it other heroes, in the past, the realms of the supernatural, or across the stars.
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA
When Johnny Sorrow resurrects the ancient King of Tears, the Sandman is forced to seek aid to battle the threat. However, with most of the Justice League of America offworld and unavailable, he summons those available in Wonder Woman, Hourman, Black Canary, Hawkman, Hawkwoman, Red Tornado, and Dr. Fate but realizes it’s not enough. So, the champion of the Dreaming recruits Mr. Terrific, Dr. Mid-Nite, Jesse Quick, J.J. Thunder, and Stargirl to his cause. The group would triumph by summoning the entity the Spectre, the Spirit of Vengeance, which attached itself to GCPD officer Crispus Allen. Working so effectively together, the group decided to remain alongside each other as the Justice Society of America. Based out of a brownstone in Gotham City, the team has battled the likes of the Ultra-Humanite, Per Degaton, Psycho-Pirate, Axis Amerika, and Vandal Savage’s the Light. They would become part of a trinity of legacies (alongside the League and Teen Titans), so far as even inspiring a team of youths in Infinity, Inc. they would team with in the Ultra War. However, when that young team becomes embroiled in a civil war in Kahndaq, the Society is forced to intervene to try and prevent a major international incident. Will the Society have to battle their proteges or will the team stand beside them?
When superheroes and supervillains began emerging on Earth as well as threats from the stars and other dimensions, the US government had to develop counter measures to defend itself. Though having some success with metahuman and technologically enhanced operatives, they were losing to the sheer number of events assaulting the planet. Enter Amanda Waller, head of Task Force X, who brought back a controversial clandestine government program that used criminals as a covert operations unit. Dubbed Suicide Squad, convicts could take on missions with high risk (i.e. low chance of survival) in order to commute time served. The original unit’s sole surviving operative, Rick Flag, was made field commander of the new force and assembled a team of supervillain volunteers where members were swapped out as they finished their tour of duty, best met the criteria of the mission, and, most commonly, expired in the field. Today, like Flag, Bronze Tiger and Nightshade have long finished their tours but elected to remain (the former out of friendship with Flag and the latter out of love for him). The Suicide Squad would have a lasting effect on the espionage community, countries like Qurac, Russia, China, and Israel establishing similar organizations (at times allies and other times as foes to the Squad). In the team’s latest mission, they’re tasked with taking down the assassin Cheshire following her murder of a US senator (all previous attempts through conventional means have ended in the loss of all seeking operatives). Red Arrow, father to Cheshire’s daughter (and former Suicide Squad operative), is drafted into bringing her to justice alongside Rick Flag, Bronze Tiger, Nightshade, Count Vertigo, Clock King, Riot, Jane Doe, Girder, Vulcanus, and Cyborgirl. However, not everything is what it appears when the trail to Cheshire pulls the Squad into what could be their final mission.
WILDC.A.T.S: COVERT ACTION TEAMS
When the millenniums old conflict between the Kherubim and Daemonites was brought to Earth, it would in many ways reshape human culture. As alien hybrids and advanced technology dotted human civilization, only a select few people even knew about the secret war taking place in the shadows. One such person is Vandal Savage who, after exposure to an alien meteor made him immortal, founded the Illuminati (known today as the Light) to combat the Daemonites and other future alien invasions. However, in time the focus of the Light changed as Savage grew in love with the power he held in time aligning it with the Cabal, an organization founded by Daemonite High Lord Helspont to enslave humanity. The move prompted a similar measure between the Earthbound Kherubim and Stormwatch, an offshoot of the Light that didn’t share Savage’s new agenda. Today, Stormwatch is a shadow of its former self and the Light and Cabal threaten humanity more so than ever in its history. The only force preventing the Daemonite domination of Earth is the WildC.A.T.s, a clandestine alliance of anti-Daemonite alien and alien hybrids funded by Lord Emp, led by Spartan, and includes Mr. Majestic, Zealot, Grifter, Voodoo, Maul, Warblade, and Void. However, when the team is exposed to the public and appears to be attacking normal people (in reality, Daemonite-possessed humans), the Team (covert arm of the Justice League) is tasked with bringing the group to the authorities. Will the Light and the Cabal be able to wipe out both of their foes without lifting a finger?
When Stormwatch was formed, it embodied a force to combat alien attack and human corruption. However, just as its predecessor, it would also be plagued by corruption. The organization would be systematically dismantled by one of its own in Jenny Sparks and the remnants she felt still had merit became the Authority. Alongside Apollo, Midnighter, the Doctor, the Engineer, Jack Hawksmoor, Swift, Union, and Mikaal Tomas, the Authority came out to the public as a new, more proactive and less friendly team of heroes combating threats to the Earth premiering by slaughtering the clone army of Kaizen Gamorra. Attacking major cities across the globe faster than forces like the Justice League of America could contend with, the Authority crippled the army of their old enemy in Stormwatch and was quickly accepted by young people and those that felt that a cruel world needed a harder team to save it. The Justice League, on the other hand, were less enthused. After the Authority inspired the similar team the Elite, the Justice League was forced into a struggle with the new force. The battle would be put on hold when the so-called “God” returned to Earth to terraform it and wipe out humanity. When Sparks sacrificed herself to save the Earth, the League entered a shaky treaty with the group leaving both teams to monitor each other. Now lead by Jenny Quantum, the Spirit of the 21st Century, the Authority saves its brand of justice for threats that require a harder hand, their most recent threat Henry Bendix and Stormwatch on behalf of the United Nations who fear the Authority will usurp the power of the world’s nations.
MYSTERY IN SPACE
An anthology series spotlighting the cosmic DC Universe, Mystery in Space will feature a main story and a back-up series. Its stories will be complete within themselves, often intertwining with each other at some level (be it cameo appearances of characters appearing before or after a storyarc within the series or a reoccurring location, like Apokolips, New Genesis, Oa, Rann, Thanagar, Colu, or the Vega System). Some characters that could appear include Starman, Adam Strange, Space Ghost, New Gods, Lobo, the Omega Men, Herculoids, Comet, Galaxy Trio, L.E.G.I.O.N., the Weird, Claw the Unconquered, Maxima, Space Cabbie, Probert, Starfire of Pytharia, the Pirates of Dark Water, Vartox, and more. The series could also have reoccurring foes like the Spider Guild, Lady Styx, Blackfire, the Citadel, etc. And when a threat arises too great for one hero, Starman could bring several of these heroes together in the Vanguard to combat it.
HOUSE OF MYSTERY
Cain and Abel (sometimes, joined by mother Eve), caretakers of the House of Mystery, return in this anthology series telling tales of the supernatural in the new DC Universe. Featuring a main story and a back-up series, the book intertwines horror and action where although stories are complete within themselves, they often intertwine with each other at some level (be it cameo appearances of characters appearing before or after a storyarc within the series or a reoccurring item, like the Idol-Head of Diabolu, Spear of Destiny, or the Philosopher’s Stone). Some characters that could appear include Doctor Fate, Deadman, Etrigan the Demon, John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Phantom Stranger, Deathblow, Wetworks, Xombi, the Spectre, Andrew Bennett, Resurrection Man, Enchantress, Shade the Changing Man, Raven, Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, Shining Knight, Klarion the Witch Boy, Animal Man, Baron Winters, Prince Ra-Man, the Warlord, Grim Ghost, Tim Hunter, Doctor Mist, Kid Eternity, Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Zauriel, Apache Chief, Samurai, El Dorado, Golden Pharaoh, Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, Creature Commandos, and more. And when threats emerge too great for any one hero to combat, Dr. Fate can summon to the Tower of Fate a force to combat the evil in the Shadowpact.
Continuation of Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti’s work.