Welcome to Five Points, a feature at Geekfinity where we lay out five ideas, thoughts, suggestions, etc for a certain movie/game/comic/show. It could be characters we want to see used differently or more in a property, new settings for a game, new stories to be told, etc. All five of the points are the opinion of the current writer. Share your own thoughts about the points and what you want to see in the given property in our comments or through social media!
After a teaser during the recent Action Comics #1000, Brian Michael Bendis is ready to make his full debut at DC Comics as the new person taking control of the Superman titles. This week sees the debut of the six-part Man of Steel miniseries which leads into Bendis taking over both Superman and Action Comics this summer. Understandably there are many, alongside and overlapping the many that are excited, that are worried about a few things when it comes to someone new taking over the major part of the Superman line of comics after the successful runs that have been going since 2016’s DC Rebirth. Generally we’re very excited for Bendis turn on the books, coming after almost 20 years at Marvel Comics, but there are a few things we hope to see him avoid and areas we hope that he addresses with his run.
Let’s get into it!
Point One: Don’t Mess With The Super-Family
Ever since teases for Bendis run have begun, they have given off a very ominous vibe for the marriage of Lois Lane and Clark Kent and the fate of their super son Jonathan Kent. Bendis has gone on record that he likes the superfamily and that fans will “apologize” for being so worried once they see what he has planned (via Comic Book Resources). Right now we’ll take Bendis at his word because we have to till we see the rest of the story and because he’s earned that after all his time in comics. That being said, we really hope that he isn’t planning to break up the family.
For years DC has seemingly struggled to find a direction for Superman with sales being low before the New 52 reboot and things constantly shifting status quo wise since that reboot. Once they got to Rebirth though and brought back the older and more experienced Superman from the old DC Universe with his wife Lois and their son Jon in tow it was the best move. The Super-Family is wonderful and has added so many dimensions to the Superman side of things. Jonathan Kent alone is a fantastic addition to the DC Comics Universe, especially his friendship with Damian Wayne that has paid off in their own title Super Sons. Losing out on this family dynamic in any way (especially if they were to go with some Spider-Man like situation of shedding him of such relationships) would really sour this run going forward. Not the best foot to get started on.
Point Two: Avoid The Retcons
This one Bendis has already sort of broken, as his upcoming villain Rogol Zaar is a retcon of Superman’s history, but that’s okay. As mentioned in the last point, Dc Comics rebooted everything (just about, leaving some straggler continuity around) for their New 52 initiative in 2011. That meant that they shed almost all the continuity from the last universe and shook things up to try and get people back into their worlds. Soon enough though they began to change their mind about certain things and in certain cases made minor retcons here or there to change the status quos/continuity of many characters.
Jump ahead to 2016’s DC Rebirth where they moved to start bringing back tons of things that were shed during the reboot. Since then Superman has had his history retconned and shuffled around so much. There was the New 52 Superman dying and the Post-Crisis/Pre-New 52 Superman’s return, both being shoved together into an amorphous being with a shared history that retconned all of Superman’s New 52 and beyond history (including erasing his relationship with Wonder Woman and so many other stories). His father returning as a villain was another retcon that popped up, adding to the giant shifting constantly changing the history of the character. Once Bendis takes over, we hope that he stops this practice after Zaar. Let’s get Superman a constant history that doesn’t need to shift over and over again.
Point Three: Get Back To The Supporting Cast
For a major part of the tail end of the New 52 era and for a giant chunk of the Rebirth beginnings, Superman’s classic supporting cast (namely the Daily Bugle crew) were mostly missing in action. Superman’s life revolved around other stuff and they were there from time to time but didn’t play big parts in the overall narrative. Seeing Clark and Lois do more than be reporters was nice, but those folks should be a bigger part of things. One thing Superman & Spider-Man and a few other characters are known for are the strength of their supporting casts, making their worlds so much richer.
To be fair, this was being addressed somewhat before Bendis’ takeover as the previous writers had moved the Super-Family back to Metropolis and putting those classic characters to more use. Let’s keep it up in the Bendis era, doing far more with them. Maybe we can even get some stories again with the supporting cast members as the focus.
Point Four: Continue Rebuilding Superman’s Rogues
Bendis himself has spoken on the matter of building up Superman’s villains, including creating the new one Rogol Zaar. A lot of Superman’s typical enemies took a break during New 52 and a lot of DC Rebirth, outside of Lex Luthor who spent time on the Justice League and wearing Superman’s symbol as a hero. Those like Brainiac have begun to show up lately, but we’d like to see more. More of the classic and more of the new.
Batman and Flash have the most defined of the Rogues in the DC Universe, with Spider-Man and X-Men and Avengers being some of the ones with the same claim on the other side. Superman has some known ones but many of them are never used or are too powerful to use that often. Bendis has full control of both Superman books so there is plenty of room for him to flesh out some of the classics in a new way to make them more impactful or powerful, while also trying to create some new toys for the toybox that have staying power. Something he did well at Marvel over the last two decades.
Point Five: Reflect The DC Universe
This one is more of a Bendis thing than it is a Superman thing. While we really love much of Bendis work over the years, it was well known that he wasn’t the best at reflecting what was happening in other books in the line around his or things happening in the universe as a whole when at Marvel. His X-Men, especially at times, seemed very detatched from what the other writers had going on. He’s not the only one though. Geoff John’s Justice League and recently Brian Hitch’s Justice League/Justice League of America both did the same thing where they did not reflect the status of their characters that appeared in other books.
This is not to say that all books need to reflect everything happening all the time, but when part of a shared universe, books should at least attempt to show that they are in the same sandbox. Superman is part of the DC Universe’s Trinity, so what is happening to him in Justice League or elsewhere should at times be reflected in his own book (even if just a small off-hand reference) and what happens in his book should be referenced in Justice League or anywhere he appears. Scott Snyder has already said that he’ll be working hard on that for Justice League, so it stands to reason that these writers and others are all communicating about such things. Fingers crossed.
Do you agree or disagree with these five points? Do you have your own ideas for what Fox/Disney should do with the franchise? Share your own ideas with us below or through our social media channels!