The times, they are a changin’.
For nearly two decades Brian Michael Bendis has been a staple at Marvel. Without any exaggeration it can be said that Bendis shaped the course of Marvel comics more than any other Marvel writer. He brought new life into characters such as Daredevil and Luke Cage, created beloved characters such as Jessica Jones and Miles Morales, spearheaded major teams like the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy for years, and a whole bunch more. Many, including myself, thought that Bendis might do some independent work down the road, but that he would always have his toe dipped in the Marvel pool.
Then Bendis announced he had signed an exclusive deal with DC.
While it took my brain a while to compute what happened, once that was done I began to think of the possibilities. Another one of those “Top Five” lists the internet loves so much began brewing in my mind. My first thought, as I’m sure many others had as well, is that Bendis should write Batman, or any of the Bat-related books.
It seemed so obvious that he should do any of them and soon it was the entirety of my list. Feeling that doing that list would be intellectually lazy at best as would lumping all the Bat-books together as a single entry, I decided that anything under the Bat-banner was excluded. Let’s just all agree that Bendis doing something Batman related is a given and nothing more needs to be said about it. Taking the Bat out of the mix freed me to challenge myself and really think about where Bendis’ talents would be best applied, so strap in as there are more than a few curveballs below!
5. Justice League
Look, I said there were some curveballs, not that every entry would be one. Having Bendis do a JL book simply makes a whole lot of sense. Bendis’ Avengers run proves he is more than capable of handling a major team book with a diverse and rotating cast that has a large scale ripple effect across all main books. Bendis is a guy who could easily shake things up and set the course for DC for years to come.
Another plus is Bendis has a habit of bringing up and using lesser known and/or used characters (and DC has got a lot of them, way more than even Marvel) to great effect, giving the League an even more diverse element and with enough interest allowing DC to then perhaps launch new solo series for those characters. Bendis would create a fun, banter filled book that would become a must read.
4. Superman/Action Comics
Being born in Cleveland and loving comics, it is no surprise Brain Bendis feels a connection to Superman. Bendis even revealed to Cleveland.com that the decision to leave Marvel for DC came when returning to Cleveland (Bendis currently resides in Portland) for his brother wedding he visited the Superman exhibit at the Cleveland Library. With that perfect of a set-up how can anybody doubt that a pairing of Bendis and the Man of Steel needs to happen.
Superman provides Bendis the opportunity to challenge himself in new and exciting ways. He may have written heroes with somewhat similar philosophies to Superman such as Captain America as well as those with crazy Superman-esque powers like the Sentry, but they neither were ever the focus of any of the books Bendis did, playing supporting roles at best. Delving into the day to day struggles of someone like the Last Son of Krypton, about as traditional a good guy as ever existed in comics, is mostly untread territory for the accomplished writer, and I think doing something outside his comfort zone at this point in his career would be a welcome endeavor for both audience and creator.
Ever since DC relaunched the Wildstorm Universe (you should be reading The Wildstorm by the way, it’s awesome) people knew that a Wildcats book couldn’t be far off, Warren Ellis has even confirmed that Wildcats will be the next series to come from the line after the recently started Micheal Cray ongoing. Attaching a big name like Bendis to the project is a damn good way to get people to check out the book and the overall Wildstorm U.
The reason I think Wildcats would be a better fit for Bendis (and thus ranked higher) than the Justice League is the greater amount of creative control and freedom he would be allowed. Content and storylines he never could get away with on a JL book could easily be done in a ‘Cats comic. Plus through his work on the Ultimate line over at Marvel he has shown to be skilled to take established characters and story arcs and provide a fresh spin on them. Bendis can deliver a crazy comic full secret government organizations, corporate conspiracies, and crazy sci-fi superhero action, everything a book starring Wildstorm’s flagship team should be.
2. Power Girl
If Bendis is only ever allowed to write one Kryptonian during his entire DC stint, then as much as as I love the Big Blue Boy Scout, I want his efforts poured into resurrecting Power Girl. It has been a good many years since good ol’ Pee Gee has gotten the proper love she rightly deserves (thanks again, New 52) and I think Bendis is just the guy for the task.
Unlike Superman, Kara Zor-L is brash, blunt, direct, forceful, takes nobodies crap, and just maybe is a good deal more insecure under it all than she lets on. She isn’t some lazy carbon copy of Supergirl, she is her own bad-ass chick, and in my opinion, much more interesting. Power Girl is one of DC’s greatest outsiders, in large part due to her complications stemming from many DC continuity changes, so she has never fully fit in anywhere, a fact she is all too aware of.
This is fertile ground for Bendis to play in. Pee Gee has more than a few things in common with Bendis’ own much loved creations Jessica Jones and Deena Pilgrim, but is still is enough of her own person that neither Bendis nor the audience would feel that he was just re-hashing things. Point is, I just want there to be a good Power Girl comic again and Bendis is at the top of the short list of talent who could pull it off.
Back when he was starting out, before all the flashy superhero stuff, good ol’ BMB started getting noticed for his noir crime series’ such as Goldfish and Jinx among others. What I’m getting at here is Bendis cut his teeth writing and drawing stories of street criminals and con artists and his affection for those types of characters and stories has shown in almost everything he has ever done since. What better way to use Bendis than to put him to work writing comicdom’s greatest con man, the man who can and has tricked the Devil himself, the mage John Constantine?
Writing Hellblazer would be the perfect blend of writer and subject. Bendis could use the fact that John is British to expand his crime/horror tales into the UK scene, which is virgin territory for the writer, or he could do what Brian Azzarello did, and take Constantine on an odyssey across the dark and nasty parts of the US. There is so much potential here I almost feel DC should throw a little coin my way for putting such a great idea out there for them to capitalize on. I’m not often a gambling man, but Hellblazer with Bendis at the helm is a sure bet.
All images © DC