THE APPRENTICE- 1st Challenge Completed Projects

We’ll be back with our thoughts later on. For now there’s plenty of reading to do with these pitches.

In alphabetical order by contestant:

 

SHANE BERRYHILL

From: “Geoff Johns” <G_Johns@warnerbros.com>
To: “Diane Nelson” <D_Nelson@warnerbros.com>
Sent: Friday, July 26, 2013 12:52 PM
Subject: DCU Ultimate All-Stars

Dear Diane,

Holy cow, Batman! Did you see how the crowd went wild when we leaked the news for our upcoming WORLD’S FINEST movie this past weekend at San Diego Comic-Con? Our “marvelous” competition may have the edge when it comes to light hearted fare (Their team movie was admittedly awesome fun), but our hardcore, monomyth approach will see to it that our films become classics that stand the test of time.

On that note, I’m very excited to share with you what the new guy we have in Vertigo editorial has cooked up for our DC Ultimate All-stars line (Have you seen the Kickstarter for his OGN? http://kck.st/14fzIhA I need to talk to Shelly and she if we can’t convince him to bring it into the Vertigo fold). As we requested, he’s lined up a great, reality-grounded approach alla the marvelous competition’s Ultimate line that stays true to the core of the characters while showcasing them in fresh and exciting ways.

As directed, he’s relegated the existence of superpowers solely to Clark and Diana (to begin with, anyway), and centralized/streamlined the reason for said superpowers’ existence in the real world (taking cues from both the Wold Newton mythos of Philip Jose Farmer and our own Smallville, not to mention how our marvelous competition is handling the backstory for the cinematic version of its thunder-god). But what’s really exciting are the incredible creative teams the new guy has brought together to kick off the four initial titles. Here are the four pitches he presented:

DARK KNIGHTS

Think: “Batman Incorporated meets HBO’s The Wire (The latter is very relevant. More on that, later), with a dash of Batman Beyond thrown in.” BRUCE WAYNE, the ORIGINAL BATMAN of pre-WWII America, has realized the end game of his crusade in modern times–an end game that Frank Miller alluded to in the final pages of his groundbreaking work, The Dark Knight Returns. Wayne now runs the largest private security firm in the world, DARK KNIGHT, INC. (modeled after the infamous, real-world private security agency, Blackwater). He oversees a literal army of specially recruited BATMEN (AKA, DARK KNIGHTS) who, once trained, help police the world with bat-themed vehicles and gadgets–each of them operating out of centralized stations and riding along with a partner, just like real-world cops.

But Wayne’s vision is not all it’s cracked up to be, and corruption and intrigue runs rampant throughout the Dark Knight organization, often making it appear the only difference between the Batmen and the STREET GANGS OF JOKERS, TWO-FACES, and RIDDLERS they police is the cowl-equipped body armor they wear.

The initial story follows jaded, veteran Batman, DICK GRAYSTAVO, a Hispanic native of South Central L.A. stationed at the Dark Knight, Inc. hub in Gotham(See? The new editor is taking our advice and righting some 1930s wrongs by bringing our characters into the global, multicultural-minded 21st century). Graystavo–still reeling from the loss of his long-time partner and friend, JASON TODD–must learn to deal with his new partner, gung-ho rookie and native Gothamite BARBARA GORDON, to solve the murder of Wayne’s own wife, ex-cat burglar-turned-activist, SELINA KYLE-WAYNE.

Over the course of the first twelve issues, Dick and Barbara discover that the clues to finding Selina’s murderer lay in her and Bruce’s past as costumed adventurers. Thereby, the readers of DARK KNIGHTS are treated to two mingling plot-lines–one set in the past that reveals the origin of the Waynes, the original Batman and Catwoman, and Dark Knight, Inc. via flashbacks–and the present-day storyline of Selina’s murder investigation that, in a twist, ultimately reveals the culprit to be the grandson of a long-time enemy of the Waynes who, in present day, is masquerading as Bruce Wayne (The imposter/murderer is none other than actor and master of disguise, BASIL KARLO III, aka, CLAYFACE).

While this first story arc closely follows the exploits of Dick, Barbara, and Bruce (the latter, again, via flashbacks), I’m very excited about the storytelling possibilities opened up by having a global, paramilitary force of Batmen.

I’m also super-excited (or should I be “Bat-excited,” haha) to announce that we’ve tapped David Simon, author of Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and creator of HBO’s The Wire, to serve as the writer for DARK KNIGHTS (That one’s going to set us back a piece. But thanks to Man of Steel’s box office, we can afford it, haha). On art duties, we’ve stolen James E. Lyle from the guys at Zenescope, getting him as an exclusive. James’ natural, chiaroscuro approach will be perfect for the flashback sequences featured in DARK KNIGHTS. Here’s an example of his work: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.387361351351238.100131.359533657467341&type=1

For the present-day DARK KNIGHTS plotline, we’ve landed up-and-coming artist, Amancay Nahuelpan Bustmante. A frequent contributor to Ash Can All-stars, Amancay’s grim and gritty, kinetically-fueled style will compliment Lyle’s while still providing enough of a contrast to make readers feel like they’re getting two awesome books for the price of one (which they are!).

MAN OF STEEL

He was known as the scourge of the galaxy, the Kryptonian Devil–the truth behind the stories that countless parents across the universe told their disobedient children to scare them into behaving: Be good, or KAL-EL will come for you!

When a small, advance force from the KRYPTONIAN MILITARY crash-lands on ANCIENT EARTH, they leave Kal-El behind, believing their leader dead. In truth, his CRYO-POD is thrown from their ship’s wreckage. Kal-El sleeps for millennia, hidden, until a freak accident unearths him in modern-day METROPOLIS.

Kal-El awakens with no memory of his former life. He’s discovered by the talented-but-struggling reporter, LOIS LANE.

The first twelve issues feature Kal-El, now calling himself CLARK KENT, on the run with from the U.S. MILITARY with Lois as he discovers his ability to “leap tall buildings in a single bound (There is no true flying, or heat vision. Ultimate All-Star Clark’s abilities will be more in line with Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars–at least for the foreseeable future. And a black trench coat alla Smallville and a shirt from one of Lois’ old boyfriends–a member of the minor league baseball team, the Metropolis Saints–takes the place of the trademark suit and cape).”

The first story arc culminates with the arrival of the KRYPTONIAN INVASION FLEET, and the choice its appearance forces Clark to make: will he return to his life as a Kryptonian Death’s Head, and exterminate the humans who have hounded him, or will his emerging love for Lois cause him to forsake his past and become Earth’s protector in the form of “THE SUPER MAN?”

I’m pleased to say we’ve locked down a sort of true-life super-man to write this title: explorer and filmmaker extraordinaire, James Cameron. In true Renaissance man form, he’s giving his page rate to charity!

For the art, we’ve hired on 12-Gauge Comics alumnus, Daniel Hillyard. His crisp, naturalistic style is perfect for the flagship title we plan for MAN OF STEEL to become.

WONDER WOMAN

If you thought MAN OF STEEL had a radical change in backstory, the Ultimate All-star tale of DIANA PRINCE is more radical still, and now ties into the former.

The immortal Diana Prince, dubbed WONDER WOMAN by the press, is founder and CEO of the INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE GOLDEN LASSO (Based on the International Red Cross Society). She has walked the Earth since 5th Century BC, serving as a warrior, humanitarian, and sexual pioneer. Gone are Diana’s Caucasian appearance and one-piece. She is now depicted with her Mediterranean heritage proudly on display. And, when battle is at hand, she suits up in neo-Spartan armor that harkens to her origins in ancient Greece while flying the colors of America, the nation of freedom we’ll ultimately reveal she played a direct part in helping to create.

While legend claims Diana to be the demigod offspring of Zeus, in truth, she is the only known HUMAN-ALIEN HYBRID in existence. Her mother, HIPPOLY-TA, was part of a small crew of ANCIENT ALIEN ASTRONAUTS FROM KRYPTON who crash-landed on the Earth of antiquity (Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the same group of Kryptonians who crash-landed in MAN OF STEEL). They found Earth’s environment granted them superhuman abilities and unnaturally long life. As the ages drew on, Hippoly-Ta grew disenchanted with her fellow Kryptonians and their SUPREMACIST VIEWS. She broke away from the group and struck out on her own, ultimately falling in love with THESEUS–a native of ancient Greece–and having his child (Diana), both unforgivable taboos among her fellow (hypocritical) Kryptonians. In reprisal, the Kryptonian leader, ZOD, known among the peoples of Greece as ARES, murders Hippoly-Ta and Theseus, and the INFANT he believes to be Hippoly-Ta’s child. In truth, Diana has been secreted away to the nation of SCYTHIA, where she is raised among the AMAZONS to be an independent, free-thinking woman. However, DIANA’S LAMENT is that she’s found her dual heritage has had rendered her incapable of having children. As a positive consequence, she becomes mother to the world.

Diana embarks on centuries of adventures in love, war, and self-exploration, wherein she fights for the cause of equality among all peoples, classes, and genders. The first twelve issues feature the return of an ancient evil she encountered during the days of WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE–one she’d first faced only decades before in Victorian England–THE RIPPER VIRUS, an alien parasite that arrived on the Kryptonians’ ship. Over the millennia, the Ripper evolved a twisted, misogynistic sentience and the ability to control the mind of its hosts (while bestowing heightened physical abilities via the hosts’ adrenals) thanks to the augmentative properties of Earth’s environment.

While Diana has superhuman speed, strength, and stamina, she is not the demigoddess of mainstream DC, and can be hurt. As a figure on the world stage, she faces constant threat, and so has a personal security team led by ex-CIA operative, STEVE TREVOR. Diana’s story is told through the eyes of Golden Lasso INTERN, DONNA TROY.

While we couldn’t get Joss Whedon, the granddaddy of writing empowered women in genre, for WONDER WOMAN, we got the next best person in line: bestselling author and feminist, Patrick Rothfuss. Pat showcases unparalleled talent in his Kingkiller Chronicles for writing strong women of mystery.

We’ve landed Daniel Govar to serve as artist on WONDER WOMAN. I’ve been watching Govar since his days of illustrating Azure under our now defunct Zuda imprint (I was so sad to see that go). The balance of sensuality and power in his art makes him the ideal choice for DC’s leading lady.

TWILIGHT EARTH

The new guys tells me this Ultimate All-Stars version of EARTH 2 took some major legwork to make happen. But, in my opinion, it was well worth the effort, as this may be the Ultimate All-Stars book that I’m most excited for. We get to “have our cake” with the three core books “and then eat it, too” with this fourth and final book of the initial rollout–a book that features characters more akin to the mainstream versions of our heroes and villains, and yet exists in a continuity all its own–one even separate from the aforementioned three main Ultimate All-Stars titles (in true Earth 2 form).

TWILIGHT EARTH is best described as Alan Moore’s never-before-published Twilight of the Superheroes storyline meets George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones (aka, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE).

You read that right! I don’t have a clue how the new guy did it, but I’m pleased to tell you that, at long last, we have Moore’s blessing to use the concepts from his Twilight’ pitch. Not only that, but we’ve secured George R.R. Martin himself to develop and write TWILIGHT EARTH as an ongoing series. He’s already given us a couple of taglines to use for the book:

“Twilight is coming.”

and

“A Luthor always pays his debts.”

Don’t you just love it?!

TWILIGHT EARTH takes place decades after the LAST TWO APOCALYPTIC WARS of the DCU. The FIRST BATTLE was between the heroes and villains, and left the world a scarred ruin presided over by various METAHUMAN DYNASTIES. The SECOND WAR occurred after the supreme ruler of these dynasties, SUPERMAN, who–in mourning over the death of LOIS LANE–left the HOUSE OF STEEL for deep space. Not long thereafter, his successor–a synthetic kryptonite-addicted SUPERBOY–ignited the second war when he slaughtered the HOUSE OF THUNDER (the MARVEL FAMILY), convinced by the then imprisoned war criminal, LEX LUTHOR (Superboy’s supplier), that they were plotting to usurp his throne.

TWILIGHT EARTH takes place in the aftermath of this second war. The Earth is now divided between two ruling houses, the aforementioned House of Steel and the HOUSE OF JADE (presided over by THE GREEN LANTERNS) with the majority of other metahuman houses flocking to either banner. The ruling houses are engaged in a decades-long COLD WAR in which the terms “hero” and “villain” have lost all meaning.

Meanwhile, a REBEL FORCE OF NON-POWERED HUMANS (albeit one supplemented by VARIOUS ALIEN FACTIONS) led by a frail, elderly BRUCE WAYNE and his grandsons, DICK and DAMIAN WAYNE, plots the overthrow of both houses.

The first twelve issues sets up the major players and houses, their backstories, and the intrigue existing between them, and the skirmishes which result from their HUNT for the rumored SURVIVING HEIR to the house of Thunder who could potentially tip the balance of power.

The aforementioned heir, a young woman named MIA, is unaware of her heritage as she has been raised as a human by a disguised J’ONN J’ONZZ (aka, the MARTIAN MANHUNTER), never knowing that her utterance of a single word (SHAZAM!) would grant her near-limitless power.

If I’m pleased with our selection of writer for TWILIGHT EARTH, I’m just as pleased with whom we’ve garnered to serve as artist. For this epic, emotionally-charged comic, we’ve landed someone who has proven herself more than capable of doing the heavy lifting required: Fiona Staples.

And so there you have it. All four pitches for the DC ULTIMATE ALL-STARS initial rollout. We should have ASH CANS for you to circulate among the Warner Brothers execs, soon.

I’ve got a good feeling about these books in that regard. Quentin caught wind of DARK KNIGHTS in San Diego, and has been texting me nonstop, saying he wants to develop the property for AMC. Jimmy C is dying to share Rothfuss’ WONDER WOMAN scripts with his ex-wife. And I just received an email out of the Wingnut Films office with the subject line, “TWILIGHT EARTH?! I’M IN!!!”

I guess we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed!

Onward and upward,

Geoff Johns
Chief Creative Officer
DC Entertainment
A Warner Brothers Company

RYAN CADY

This is a DC Universe where the sun is setting on the Golden Age. The edges are getting sharper, the shadows longer – Metropolis feels a bit more like Gotham, and Gotham feels a bit more like someplace you’d never want to be after dark. Some of the old heroes are dying, some are changing, but some are just lost in a world that threatens to move on without them. This is an earth ready to accept superheroes, but only on its own terms. This is an earth where the mightiest men and women are often the most brittle.

This is…THE NEW EARTH!

New Earth Superman: This is a Superman who has seen failure. His hair slightly graying – not because he’s really aging, but because he feels older. He stresses himself. Now middle-aged, Lois Lane is at odds with the Man of Steel; they never officially married. The world is faster than him, the heroes and villains he fought with and against dying off one-by-one. With his parents long dead, the Blue Boy Scout feels less and less like Clark Kent and more like Kal-El of Krypton every day, replaying the same old advice from a computerized Jor-El in the Fortress of Solitude over and over again. Superboy, Kara Zor-El, Krypto, etc. never existed in this world. As his friends, and even his enemies, pass, the Last Son of Krypton becomes truly alone in the world. Metropolis is disappointed in him, the new Justice League doesn’t trust him, and an aging Lex Luthor is ready to bring him to his knees.

Exploring the divide between new heroes and a modern world, New Earth Superman will examine the entropic danger of metahumans and the paranoia that they engender in the general public. The best Superman comics always focused on his struggle to just fit in with humanity, to just be normal. New Earth Superman finds himself more apathetic on this front every day, and when he finally loses touch with humanity, will he still fight for it?

Story: Tom Waltz (Various IDW comics)
Art: Amanda Conner (Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre)

New Earth Savage: The second title to be released in the New Earth wave is simply titled “Savage,” and follows the world’s smartest caveman, Vandal Savage, as he traverses the New Earth. Savage’s backstory is similar to his standard – a strange meteor crashed outside of his tribe’s cave. In the rain, feeling a strange red energy flowing from the rock, Savage spills the blood of his fellow Neanderthals in order to please the rock. He wonders to himself if the rock really did grant him his immortality and intelligence in exchange for the sacrifice, or if the energies from the rock simply made him bloodthirsty. But in this world, this Savage is a bit simpler – consider him an evil sort of wanderer, like Cane from Kung-fu. Perhaps in ancient times he was a conquerer, but like with Superman, this modern world has moved too fast and too far away from him. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he has one last trick up his sleeve…

The beauty of this series as that each issue shifts between the past and the present – some hero Savage battles or events he encounters remind him of the past, and this will allow the creators to help craft the history of the New Earth.

Story: Clive Barker (Hellraiser)
Art: Francis Manapaul (New 52 Flash)

New Earth Gotham: This New Earth title follows the city of Gotham (whose individual heroes will eventually get their own spin-off comics), and the heroes and villains therein. It begins, and opens, with crossed scenes of Bruce Wayne’s public funeral and the private funeral held for him by the Bat-Family. A brief origin rundown, explaining how Bruce became Batman, etc – the standard origin story, but cursorily told by an almost apathetic narrator…his time has passed, after all. The origin should lead up to his death, including the Robins – though not going too in depth on Jason or Tim in narration. Bruce, aging, was killed during a battle with the Joker, who was so distraught by (unintentionally) taking the game too far and killing his nemesis, that he attempts suicide, but is rescued and confined in Arkham.

In this world, Dick Grayson is a thirty-year-old Nightwing, and still bitter towards Bruce, he leaves the Cape-and-Cowl to the college-age Robin, Tim Drake, who will struggle with 1) Does he actually want to be the Batman? And 2), CAN he be the Batman? Jason Todd is presumably still dead. Alfred is growing weaker and older. Damian Wayne does not exist. Barbara Gordon, Batgirl, lives with Dick, but both their personal and professional relationships are fraying thin. Commissioner Gordon has cancer. And the villains of Gotham, hearing that the real Batman is dead, prepare for a free-for-all.

At the end of the day, can this dark city be saved? Is it even worth saving?

Story: Nick Spencer (Image’s Bedlam)
Art: Riley Rossmo (Image’s Bedlam)

New Earth Justice League: In this world, there was never a Justice Society/League. In the Golden Age, heroes just saved the day the way they saw fit, occasionally working together out of necessity or personal preference. But with Batman and numerous other heroes like him dead, and growing protests and conflict against heroes, the United Nations state a proclamation – the remaining heroes of the world must register and act within the law, or face the consequences. The United Nations asks Superman to form a task force, which he calls the Justice League, to act in the interest of gathering the world’s superheroes and, at the very least, forcing them to become licensed.

However, even as threats increase and numerous street-level heroes (like The Question and Green Arrow) protest the Justice League, the League proves more “effective” at stopping villains than the heroes ever could on their own. The League attempts to make the world a safer place for both heroes and citizens alike, but will internal struggles for power, outside criticism, and weak leadership cause it to crumble under its own weight? Cast includes Superman, Batman (Tim Drake), Wonder Woman (who is violent and estranged from the world and serves only as an emissary of Themescara), Aquaman (currently an exile from Atlantis), The Flash (an aging Jay Garrick, who will die by the second or third issue), a young and brash Hawkgirl, and Cyborg. Potential members to join as time goes on: Green Lantern, Flash (Barry Allen), Icon, Zatanna, Martian Manhunter, and more.

Story: Gail Simone (Batgirl)
Art: Fiona Staples (Image’s Saga)

 

STEVE DISHON

For my launch, I have pared the DC universe down into its most important, lucrative, and iconic parts.  The Universe will begin with four titles: Ultimate Superman, Ultimate Detective, Ultimate Green Lantern, and Ultimate Magic.  Although it appears that only a few characters are getting treatment, many other characters will be involved, either pre-power or powered with an agenda.  Each comic will begin with a seemingly self- contained story; however, each comic will ultimately have one thing in common: a cosmic threat.  As this new Universe first breathes life, many nefarious entities could not help but notice- each turning his/her/its eye toward Ultimate Earth.  Darkseid sends his minions to investigate and prepare for his arrival.  Brainiac sets his sights on, and brain, on stealing all knowledge of this fledgling world. Krona is curious about this new world and runs into a newly named champion, intent on stopping the aggressor.  Finally, Trigon, inter-dimensional demon, sees this new universe as another world to destroy and….senses someone.  Tying it all together is The Monitor, who with his Hand,  Forerunner, keeps a close eye on the events unfolding in anticipation of a “wall” breach into one of the other 52 worlds.

While each comic will stand alone for 10 issues, issues 11 and 12 of each book will cross-over to tell one story that will conclude with the launch of Justice League #1- which, pooling all of our heroes’ strengths, will bring an end to the plans of Darkseid.  From this point on, the books will have individual storylines, but will always be closely linked so that someone reading all the books will have a sense of a real universal experience.

ULTIMATE SUPERMAN

Writer:  Mark Andrew Smith Artist: Dustin Weaver

Cast: Kal El, Lex Luthor, Johnathon  Kent (briefly),  Lois Lane, Perry White, Steve Trevor , Diana Prince

Premise:  YEARS AGO Superman lands on Earth, but is not found by the Kents.  His adoptive parents, The Luthors father Lex sr. and Mary, plan to use him for personal and economic gain. Kal El, now called Clark, has an encounter with the Kents while stealing livestock to drive home the point that Lex sr. owns them.  Johnathon Kent gives him the livestock so he doesn’t get in trouble, but gives him advice/teaches him in a way that begins a change in Clark that will last forever.  Clark witnesses his adopted father belittle and bully folks in Smallville repeatedly. The final straw comes when he witnesses his “father” physically and mentally abuse Johnathon Kent to the point he has a heart attack.  While Johnathon lies dying on the ground, Lex sr.  walks off, leaving him to die.  Clark kneels to help; it’s too late.  With his dying breath, Johnathon tells him he is “more” than the Luthors, that he has the ability to make a difference.   Clark feels helpless, but determined to make a difference, to be a champion for the “little guy.”  With that, in his rage, he leaps to the sky and flies for the first time.  He lands in Metropolis to make a new start as Clark Kent.

We now bounce forward in time a few years to the PRESENT TIME, Clark is now working at the Daily Planet, a world-wide news organization.   Lex Luthor jr.  is now the CEO of LexCorps, a company he started out of his blind hatred for being the “second son” and for having to continually see the triumphs of his “brother” in the paper and on the web every day.  His hatred for Clark is what drives him and will drive him indefinitely. He knows who Clark is, but will tell no one because he in no way wants to be connected to him.  Lex will watch from the background as the Brainiac invasion happens in issues 5-9.  He will return following the crossover and wrap up in JL #1.

With the appearance of this superhero in Metropolis, Steve Trevor- White King of Checkmate has his Black Queen, Diana Prince keeping an eye on Superman.  They are largely background players here, but will take more of a role in the crossover in issues 11 and 12.

Villain: Luthor, Brainiac

ULTIMATE BATMAN:

Writer: Mat Johnson Artist: Chris Samnee

Cast: Bruce Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth, Renee Montoya, Crispus Allen, Barry Allen

Premise:  The focus of the first arc of Detective will be to show Batman handling thugs and underworld bosses.  He is working exclusively with the GPD.  The book will appear more like a police procedural with Batman having a close relationship with Montoya, Allen and Allen.  An evangelist has taken up residence in Gotham.  He is espousing the power of anti-life.  His words are very persuasive, super naturally so.  He has rallied a cult following.  As Batman and Crispus Allen investigate Glorious Godfrey, they are both taken hostage by a being known as Forager, a once enemy and now ally of Darkseid.  (Forager was manipulated by Darkseid when he and his people were treated as inferior by the New Gods of New Geneis) When Batman and Crisps awake, both are strapped down in a torture chamber.  Through the torture, we learn of Batman’s origin in flashbacks.  This is simply the most horrifying way to torture Batman.  For Crispus the torture lasts only briefly as Granny Goodness appears behind Desaad whispering in his ear.   Darkseid has seen the future and knows that Crispus will one day be the Spectre.  Darkseid would like to expedite the process, bring forth the Spectre and ally himself with him, meaning, make the Spectre subservient.  Before creating an easy escape for the duo, a suggestion is planted within Batman to kill Allen at a time designated by Darkseid.  It is then that Crispus will become the Spectre and kill Batman for killing him.  However, Batman proves too strong mentally to be driven to kill.  Darkseid uses his fail safe and has Parademons from Apokolips Boom tube in, kill Crispus Allen, and depart.   Crispus Allen does in fact become the Spectre, but senses no necessary retribution and leaves.  He will return in JL #1 as the final battle rages.  In the meantime, Renee Montoya has infiltrated the Anti-Life gang.  She is discovered by Godfrey.  Finally, Batman saves her, kills Godfrey and sets off the final decent of Darkseid leading into issue 9 and the crossover.

Villain: Desaad, Granny Goodness, Glorious Godfrey, Forager, Parademons

ULTIMATE GREEN LANTERN:

Writer: John Jackson MillerArtist: Ryan Ottley

Cast: Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, Sinestro, Carol Ferris, Jennifer-Lynn Hayden

Premise:  The first few issues will be split between Kyle Rayner, Hal Jordan, and Abin Sur.  Kyle Rayner is a street artist, living on tips from passer-bys.  Hal Jordan is a former military pilot who is now working for Ferris Air.  Abin Sur is sent to stop Krona, a scientist from Oa.  Obsessed with new universes and worlds, Krona has become obsessed with knowledge of new worlds, even if it means destroying them to gain deeper knowledge.  Krona directly disobeys the orders of the Guardians and surreptitiously travels to Ultimate Earth.  As Krona is approaching sector 2814U,  Abin Sur engages.  In a fight, Abin is mortally wounded.  He manages to escape and make it to earth.  There he finds hotshot pilot Hal Jordan.  Hal accepts the ring, hesitantly.  He is forced into quick combat as Krona approaches Ultimate Earth (UE).  He engages Krona, fights, but is vastly outmatched.  Without knowing, Abin Sur had sent an emergency beacon to Sinestro, who shows up in time to stop Krona, but not save Hal Jordan.  He takes Hal’s ring and follows its call to the one on earth with the will power to handle it.  Sinestro is drawn to a social welfare office; the pull is strong.  Whoever is in there is an extremely willful person. Sinestro fights the ring and instead approaches the artist on the street outside the office.  He offers the ring to Kyle Rayner, seemingly out of desperation.  Sinestro seeks to be able to control the bearer of that ring.  Too many egos will be the undoing of the Corps.  The issues following this storyline will be one and done issues showing Kyle learning to use the ring, with Sinestro’s aid.  They initially practice on common street thugs.  Kyle’s constructs are true works of art.  From there, Kyle battles Kanjar Ro and Bolfunga convincingly.  Sinestro leaves feeling Kyle is capable, yet still his inferior.  At the end of issue 10, the ring alerts Kyle to the presence of a far greater threat than even Krona.

Villain: Krona, Kanjar Ro, Bolfunga

ULTIMATE MAGIC:

Writer: Gerard Way Artist: Vincent Locke

Cast: John Constantine, Zatanna Zatarra, Rachel Roth, Amanda Waller

Premise:  Amanda Waller, head of Shadowpact and handler of Constantine and Zatanna who are a couple at this point, heads up the organization that handles magical threats and brings new players into the fold.  The first issue will draw you into the world and show the relationship between Constantine and Zatanna.  Although Constantine is a con man, the one person he will absolutely not con is Zatanna.  Their teamwork is flawless, each complimenting the other.  After a series of small time magical arrests, the issue ends with Amanda Waller handing Constantine and Zatanna their next assignment.  When they open the manila folder, the picture inside is of a witch, shrouded in mystery.  From there, our heroes attempt to apprehend the witch, who is surprisingly trying not to use her power.  Eventually, to avoid being arrested, she lashes out in Darkness.  A large fight ensues.  Our heroes finally subdue her and bring her.  Completely unaware, Raven, having used her powers, has alerted her father, Trigon, to her presence on UE…and more specifically to her location at Shadowpact headquarters.  As the issues move forward, Constantine and Zatanna will have to learn to trust Raven if they are to defeat Trigon.  Eventually, they do send Trigon back through a black hole to “who knows where” and all seems well.  That is, until the appearance of Boom Tubes all over UE.  Beginning their investigations brings them into the crossover event as they work with the other heroes to take down Darkseid.

Villain: Trigon

COURTLAND FUNKE

In 2006, 5 years after the Super Powers Registration Act was written into law, congress passed the Equality in Competition Act (EiCA) which forbid the quickly growing mutant population from holding jobs in which their powers gave them an unfair advantage.  This is a theme that will run through all of the books as it puts limitations of the lives of our super powered characters (not just mutants).  The world is quickly growing wary of those with extra abilities and fear for their own ability to compete in the world when some are born, or are given, talents that exceed natural ability.  It is not a violent, mutant hating world but the law has created a growing divisiveness between those with and those without powers.  As legal maneuvers over the last few years have failed, some with powers are starting to talk about, and take, more extreme measures to regain their freedom.

Keeping the line at a core 4 titles for now, I envision the different books sharing characters so that they are all telling a larger story rather than 4 books just taking place in the same universe.   Individual titles will still be able to be read on their own, but characters from other books will make frequent appearances.  Seeds will be planted to expand the universe if needed.

Keeping with tradition, stories will be broken down into 6 issue arcs

X-FORCE

Written by: David Schulner and Illustrated by: Geoff Darrow

X-Force – Super powers have been banned in combat and in military forces as a response to the Super Powers Registration Act.  To give the U.S. a leg up in the war on terror, Nick Fury has assembled a covert ops team, each member of which is concealing a super power from the rest and, they think, Fury himself.

Cable – Little is known about the squad leader other than he emerged from the French Foreign Legion with the chosen name Cable.  Side effects from time travel give him limited precognition and a techno virus from the future gives him the power of telekinesis which allows him to guide his bullets to his targets. Cable has travelled back in time to protect his younger self and reunite him with his father, the mutant agitator known as Cyclops. He believes that if the two are not reunited, Cyclops will become a mutant terrorist and inflict acts of mass destruction on the world.

Askani Summers (Cable Jr.) – Codename: Phoenix – Also gifted with telekinetic powers.  Suspicious of his squad leader and the attention he pays to him in combat but soon starts to notice that his powers are amplified when they are in close proximity.

Kurt Wagner – Codename: Nightcrawler – Powers: Teleportation, Shape Shifting.  Kurt is the scout of the group, using his abilities to blend in and access hard to see locations.

Gunther Bain – Codename: Elliot Ness – Powers: Impenetrable force field.  Gunther takes point on most missions and uses his force field to deflect initial enemy fire away from the team.  He is not the brightest member of the team but takes on the

Geldoff (last name unknown) – Codename: Proton – Powers: Emits bursts of energy from his body that can stun his targets.  Proton emerged from the Foreign Legion at the same time as Cable and is secretly working as Nick Fury’s eyes and ears on the team. He has been made aware by Fury that Cable has powers but not the rest of the team.  He is also unaware that Fury knows of his own powers.  Geldoff is the heavy gunner of the group.

Jonathan Storm – Codename: Hothead – Powers: Heat manipulation and generation – Johnny is the driver and pilot for the team.  While his responsibilities usually lie just with transportation, he has been known to join the team in combat and can always be relied on to have their backs.  He is good friends with, and is protective of Gunther.

Arc 1 – The first arc sets the stage for the team.  We get a panel or two of Nick Fury recruiting each member and we see his file with their skill sets/powers to go along with each character.  These recruitments cut back and forth between Cable telling his story, letting us know he’s from the future and how he’s here to keep an eye on his younger self.  The first mission is a standard military style mission to set up the characters and their relationship within the team. In this arc, they are deployed to the middle east to rescue Andrea and Andreas, the son and daughter of a congressman who was instrumental in getting the EiCA written and passed into law.  They have been kidnapped by Hydra with no ransom demands.  The team locates and infiltrates the Hydra base but discover that the son and daughter were not kidnapped but recruited by Hydra because they were concealing super powers of their own.  When the brother and sister are touching one another, they can generate and release powerful energy blasts.  The mission ends with the brother and sister escaping but the Hydra base destroyed.   At the end of the last issue, Nick Fury has to let the congressman know that his children have defected but chooses to withhold the information about their powers.

Arc 2 – News of Captain America’s freedom has become public and Nick Fury’s team has been assigned the task bringing him in. Always with his own agenda though, Fury decides to clear a path for Cap instead and assigns his team to take out some of the various groups that are trying to bring Cap into their fold.

Issue #7 – The Serpent Society – They seek retribution for what he did to them in the Vietnam War

Issue #8 – Batroc’s Brigade – Batroc wishes to face the “world’s greatest fighter” in final combat.

Issue #9 – A.I.M. – They don’t believe that Cap is a mutant and wish to reverse engineer the process they think created him.

Issue #10 – U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. – Ultimatum believes that getting Cap, the embodiment of the American flag, to reject his country and the very idea of countries and borders will send a strong message to the rest of the world.

Issue #11 – The Wrecking Crew – The Wrecking Crew believe Cap’s shield to be enchanted like their own weapons and are looking to take it to replace The Wrecker’s destroyed crobar.

Issue #12 – The Ex-Men – This issue crosses over into the eX-Men #11 and #12.

THE HAND

Written by Stan Sakai and illustrated by Mike Zeck

The Hand – Masters Logan and Murdach have taken control of the hand and refocused its mission to target the mutant menace.

Master Logan – Codename: Wolverine – Powers: Healing, Adamantium Claws and Skeleton – Little is known about the history of Master Logan other than he was loved and respected by Clan Yoshida as much as an outsider could. He also seems to have some history with Captain America although the extent of their relationship and whether it was positive or not remains unknown.

Master Murdach – Codename: Daredevil – Powers: Radar, heightened senses – Blinded by chemicals in a freak accident as a child, Matt Murdach was trained by Master Stick to harness his abilities and blend in with his surroundings.  Raised by his father, a retired boxer and financially struggling dock worker, to better himself, Murdach put himself through law school and started a successful law practice.  It wasn’t until the death of Master Stick, that Murdach was reluctantly drawn into the world of super heroes and powers when he was chosen as the successor to his deceased sensei as the new master of the New York branch of The Hand.

Dennis Dunphy – No known powers but a highly trained and skilled combatant – A former lieutenant in the United States Army and special operative assigned to Captain America, Dennis was first recruited into The Hand by Master Murdach when he left the military, disillusioned by what he had seen in the Super Soldier program.  Because of his connection to Captain America, he will later be tasked with re-earning his trust in an attempt to bring him into The Hand.

Daniel Rand – Codename: Iron Fist – Powers: Focused chi energy strikes – Sole heir to the Rand family fortune, it has long been suspected that Daniel Rand is one of the main financiers of The Hand.  Recruited by Wolverine after his family was killed in a suspicious plane crash, Daniel has long suspected that the government was involved in his family’s death and hopes to use the Hand’s resources to bring them to justice.

Rachel Leighton – Codename: Diamondback – Powers: No known powers but a highly trained and skilled combatant – Rachel is the former confidant and right hand “man” of Madame Viper.  Her defection to Master Logan and Murdach’s side during the struggle to gain control of The Hand was a major turning point in the conflict.  Her motives for doing so remain unknown and she is kept at a distance by both masters for the time being.

Arc 1 – The first arc brings shows us the battle between three warring factions of The Hand. One led by Master Logan (Wolverine) in Asia, one by Master Murdach (Daredevil) in The United States, and one led by Madame Viper in Europe.  When all the members of Clan Yoshida are wiped out in a strike by one of Nick Fury’s special ops teams, the three largest factions are left directionless and struggle for control of the empire.  Master Murdach, wants to seize control to guide The Hand in a more positive, legal direction, Master Logan wants them to be a force of justice starting with bringing Nick Fury to trial for murdering his true love Mariko Yoshida in his attack while Madame Viper wants nothing more than to rule the world.  Murdach and Logan soon realize that although their methods are different, their goals are similar enough that they should work together to bring focus to The Hand.  They join forces and defeat Madame Viper, beginning a new era for The Hand.

Arc 2 – Masters Logan and Murdach struggle to bring a sense of balance to the newly formed Hand.  Murdach would like to use the Hands vast resources to tackle the Super Powers Registration Act while Logan wants to pursue Nick Fury and his X-Force and bring their actions into the public spotlight.  As they work towards this balance, Diamondback is tasked with weeding out agents who are still loyal to Madame Viper and are sabotaging facilities throughout the U.S. and Asia. When they hear through back channels of Captain America’s escape, they decide to do what they can to bring him into The Hand.  We see them recruit and communicate with a secret agent who at the end is revealed to be Dennis Dunphy, former Bucky to Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

Written and illustrated by Jeff Smith

Captain America – Believed by the U.S. government to be the first mutant, his powers keep his body in a state of peak human physical perfection at all times.  First deployed behind enemy lines during World War 2, he was then cryogenically frozen by the government only to be thawed out in times of war.  Freed by Cyclops and his team of eX-Men he is now a man lost in time, torn between his patriotism and what he sees has become of the world he once lived in.

Steve Rogers – Codename: Captain America – Powers: Peak human physical perfection – Weapon: Shield – Raised by loving parents in a blue collar home in New York City, Steve excelled at everything he did with little effort.  After winning a number of athletic championships for his high school while earning perfect scores in all his classes, Steve soon caught the attention of the United States Government who believed they found the first specimen in the next step of evolution.  When World War 2 broke out, Steve registered for the military but was diverted to a top secret project right away.  When shown the atrocities that we occurring in Europe, Steve agreed to give up his former life and serve his country in any way they needed him. His death was faked, and Steve was unleashed on the German Army as Captain America.  When the war ended, his government asked him to be cryogenically frozen until the next time he was needed, and being the loyal patriot that he was, Steve agreed, starting the cycle that would see him used in countless wars over the next 60 years.  Accidentally released during a botched attack on his base by an unknowing eX-Men, Steve is now starting to question his patriotism in this new world and is struggling to create a new purpose in life that doesn’t betray his core beliefs.  Of course, the government would like to have him back and he’s caught the attention of groups on all sides of the super powers debate, so that won’t be as easy as he likes.

Arc 1 – In issue 1 we learn about Cap’s history from the beginning of his volunteering for the Super Soldier program to the last conflict he was deployed for.  At the end of the issue, he awakens to see his cryogenic chamber room in chaos as the eX-Men are attacking the complex in an effort to free him.  By the end of the 2nd issue, Cap has rendered anyone alive, unconscious.  Dazed and confused, he leaves the complex in search of answers.  The next 4 issues deal with Cap trying to integrate himself into the real world while avoiding both the government and the eX-Men who seek to bring him back in.

Arc 2 – Still on the run from the government and the eX-Men, Cap is located and contacted by an unlikely source.  Former Lieutenant Dennis Dunphy, formerly known as Codename: Bucky, was Cap’s right hand man and liaison in the field for three tours of duty before leaving the service after his last tour. Dennis has tracked Cap to his old neighborhood in New York where he hopes to help him re-assimilate into modern society and keep him away from the two groups who are looking to control him.  These 6 issues play a game of cat and mouse as Cap and Dennis struggle to stay one step ahead of the government and the eX-Men.  At the end of the arc, we (but not Cap) learn that Dennis answers to a mysterious third party who are also interested in bringing Cap willingly into the fold

The eX-MEN

Written by Jim Zubkavich and illustrated by Gabriel Moon and Fabio Ba

Believing the world no longer sees him as a human, Scott Summers joined the Ex-Men, a group of like minded mutants determined to live with the same rights as the rest of the human race.  This book will combine the talking heads philosophical discussions that made much of Brian Bendis’ work in the Ultimate Universe popular with team based super powered action scenes.  The team will grow as the series continues but I’m starting it small to let the reader get used to the main characters and their ideals.  Though Charles is the leader of the team, Scott is considered to be the more prominent character and plays a larger roles in the Ultimate Universe.

Charles Xavier – Professor X – Telepathy (the ability to read, but not control, minds) – After building a successful psychology practice, Charles Xavier was forced to leave his profession as a result of the EiCA.  Using his considerable wealth, he formed the eX-Men, a group dedicated to fighting discrimination against super-powered individuals and groups across the globe.  His mission is a peaceful and legal one.

Scott Summers – Cyclops – Optic Blasts – A former patient of Charles’ and his second in command.  Being forced to wear visible protective lenses all his life in order to hold back his powerful optic blasts, Scott has never been able to hide his super power from the rest of the world.  His is the most bitter and angry member of the team and his philosophy is increasingly at odds with the professor’s.

Jean Grey – No Codename as she doesn’t like that sort of thing – Telekinesis – Inspired by Xavier’s story, she was one of his earliest recruits.  She is in the beginning of a romantic relationship with Cyclops and she has a calming effect on him.  Jean outed herself as a mutant a long time ago.  Despite his feelings for her, Scott is somewhat resentful at her choice to

Peter Parker – Codename: Spider-Man – After failing a random mandator DNA test at the Daily Bugle, Peter Parkers powers and super hero identity were revealed to the world and he was fired from his job as photographer under the Equality in Competition Act.  Having nowhere else to go, Peter joined the eX-Men, hoping to fight prejudice and end the discrimination against those with extra abilities.  His sense of responsibility and time working as a solo hero often put him at odds with the rest of his team.

Ororo Munroe – Codename: Storm – A Somalian refugee who came to America only to find her new freedoms limited because of her special abilities, Ororo was found living in the New York City sewer system with a number of other disenfranchised mutants (The Morlocks). Ororo was recruited to the team by Jean Grey after learning of the extent and strength of her powers.  Though a peaceful person by nature, Ororo is increasingly frustrated by those who would infringe upon her rights as a human being and is more and more willing to respond to those threats with action.

Arc 1 – Charles Xavier is furious that his friend and protege Scott, has carried out a botched military style mission (the freeing of Captain America) without his consult setting the stage for conflict between to two philosophies of this group.  Scott has grown weary of publicity stunts and raising awareness of their plight and favors a more direct, sometimes violent, approach to achieving their goals while the professor, who is not opposed to action, is concerned that the strike was poorly planned and executed and will now reflect badly on their organization. The world is starting to see them more and more as terrorists instead of activists.  As the team discusses/argues what their purpose and focus should be, a large armed military squad arrives at their front door to take them into custody.  After trying to negotiate, Professor X reads their minds and sees that there is no way to get the military to leave them alone.  As he tries to back away into a position that will allow them to peacefully flee the scene, Scott senses the Professor is retreating and unleashes an optic blast on the squad to create a distraction. The eX-Men scramble to get out of the house and flee to a secret location with the military hot on their tail. The next issues focus on the team resolving differences and trying to stay one step ahead of the military as they look for a new base of operations, eventually landing in an old abandoned medical hospital in rural Westchester, New York.

Arc 2 – As the various team members go about their business (Peter trying to restore some power to their new base, Jean trying to calm Scott down and make him see the errors in some of his decisions, Storm trying to re-establish contact with her Morlock friends), Charles tries to devise a way to put a positive spin on their recent troubles with his good friend, and still-closeted mutant, Henry McCoy.  These are the issues where the line in the sand between the differing is starting to be drawn with Charles and Peter on one side, Scott and Ororo on the other, and Jean stuck in the middle.  As the team tries to come up with a way to settle their differences and present a unified front to the public, they are tracked down by Nick Fury’s eX-Force while out on a supply run.  Peter senses the danger and warns Jean first who is able to convince Scott to lead them out of the public eye before confronting the military team.  Scott leads them to a quarry pit where Fury’s team finally reveal themselves, surrounding the eX-Men.  A battle ensues and soon only a few are left standing.  The last pages of the arc show a desperate and frustrated Cyclops unleashing the deadliest optic blast he’s ever used against another person on Askani and Cable.  Thinking he’s killed them, he begins to try to revive his fallen teammates or get them into their truck but as the dust settles, we see Askani and Cable still standing, clothing tattered but their bodies otherwise unscathed, and their eyes glowing bright red

FORREST HELVIE

DC: THE GOLDEN AGE

WORLD OVERVIEW:

It’s 1940.  The world is in the midst of the first year of World War II, but the United States has not yet openly entered the war against the Axis Powers.  Instead, FDR has begun implementing a covert program where superheroes are being manufactured—both in mind and body.  Some are programmed to believe themselves to be demi-gods, others as aliens who’ve been raised by foster parents on a strange planet, while still others have willingly joined this crusade of their own accord knowing full well what they signed up for.  Each of these heroes works together with the government to secretly aid the Allies in frustrating the forces of the Axis Powers from breaking up spy rings to conducting raids on key locations.  This is… DC’s Greatest Generation!

GENERAL OVERALL ISSUE BREAKDOWNS:

Each title will tentatively plan to accomplish the following narrative trajectories within the approx. given range of issues.

Issues 1 to 3:  Origin Stories.  Establish the hero /heroes’ origins and overall setting.

Issues 4-7: Story Arc #1.  Up to the creative team, but it should introduce one of the main rogues.

Issues 8-10: Story Arc #2.  Up to the creative team.

Issues 11 and 12:  Final Story Arc.  The final story arc for the first 12 issues would be a cross-title event that would bring each of the four heroes together to form the Justice League. The manner in which this would happen should center around Herr Luthor; however, the writers will have the creative leeway to figure out how this takes place within their respective title/s.

TITLES INVOLVED IN THE RELAUNCH

THE DETECTIVE (Pulp-Noir, i.e. The Shadow)

Writer:  Karen Berger (The Editor of Vertigo) Artist: Chris Mooneyham (Five Ghosts)

This particular title would be a procedural crime comic with supernatural elements mixed in starring Batman.  A Robin would be present; however, it would be a female Robin, much like Frank Miller’s DKR; however, her role would not be as a field agent, but instead , more along the lines of a support role along the lines of Oracle.  The series will focus on Batman’s pursuit of domestic spy rings within the United States, as he attempts to aid the U.S. government in preparing for its eventual entrance into WWII.  Oswald Cobblepot serves as the primary villain as he attempts to peddle information about the United States to the highest bidder—including the Nazis.  As the series progresses, Cobblepot brings in other villains to carry out his interests.  Additionally, we will see how Wayne Corps aids in the war effort through R&D as well as corporate warfare against other organizations, which are working on behalf of the interests of  the Axis Powers and sympathetic entities.

WORLD’S FINEST (Pulp Adventure, i.e. Captain Marvel and Family)

Writer:  Michael Chabon (Cavalier & Clay) Artist:  Michael Avon Oeming (The Victories)

This series would take place across all battlefronts as the newfound Wonder Woman and Superman are deployed throughout the various theaters to disrupt various plans of the Reich and their allies – sometimes together, sometimes on solo missions.  Each issue would be split between the adventures of Superman and Wonder Woman, with the occasional joint issue.  The ultimate villain they would face off regularly against would be Germany’s ambitious head of research & development: Herr Lex Luthor. One of the major tensions throughout the series would be secret origins of each hero, which Luthor insinuates that the U.S. government created these two super-powered beings.  This is a question each hero struggles with over the course of the first 12 issues: Are they who they were told they were or are they government-created super soldiers?

THE TIMES (Procedural)

Writer:  Michael Chabon (Cavalier & Clay) Artist:  Becky Cloonan (The Mire)

This series has Barbara Gordon as the main character as she begins her new role as a reporter for the Gotham City Times.  She begins by following the exploits of The Batman, but she soon embarks upon night time adventures of her own as she follows the trail of Batman.  The story would be a mix of her official reports to The Times as well as her own first-hand experiences tracking Batman and eventually uncovering the world of the secret superheroes.  As the series gets underway, she will eventually take up the role of Batgirl – in homage to her hero, Batman.  Yet, she will quickly grow to become a strong, independent woman without the need to rely on The Batman for support or self-actualization (think J.H. Williams III’s Kate Keene/Batwoman. The first three issues would focus on her reporting on and trailing Batman as well as her decision to become Batgirl. Subsequent issues would begin to expand her exploration of the world of the superheroes as she provides readers with a ground-level view of these super-powered beings.  An additional source of conflict would arise from the federal government as it attempts to shut down Barbara’s stories and keep her from going public about the superheroes she is slowly uncovering.

CYBORG: THE INVISIBLE MACHINE (i.e. G.I. Joe from another era)

Artist:  David Petersen (Mouse Guard) Writer:  Milton Davis (Steamfunk!)

This series would be geared for younger audiences but it would still appeal to older readers as well.  It would focus on Cyborg, and cast him as a World War I veteran who spent the years following his return home from war recovering from his battle wounds and continuing the fight against prejudice in his hometown. Seeing little options, he accepts a government call for veterans willing to participate in some experimental tests.  The result is he becomes Cyborg—part man, part machine. Of course, this version is pared down compared to his present version, and he would take on a sort of steam-punk approach given the technology of the day.  Cyborg would be re-commissioned to serve in the U.S. Army, but this time as a member of the newly formed Special Operations Command.  The first 2-3 issues would cover his origin story and how he becomes Cyborg.  Then, his adventures would take him to the Asian-Pacific battlefront facing the Axis Powers’ versions of man-machine warriors!

NATHAN KENKEL

When the Ultimate Universe was created it was with the original intention of modernized re-imagining of the character Spider-Man. This proposal for a new Ultimate Universe takes this objective to a broader scale, introducing the readers to the beginnings of the heroic age in a modern setting.

This is not the first time that super-powered heroes and villains have been a part of the world. During the Second World War the Axis crushed the Polish resistance using only twelve post-human soldiers.  The Allies quickly followed suit and superhuman combat quickly became as critical to the conflict as air warfare. After the war ended the international political community recognized the power that was possessed by their citizenship and created S.W.O.R.D. to ensure the containment and control over those individual through political action.

15 years prior to our opening S.W.O.R.D. created S.H.I.E.L.D. a pro-active military unit, after Dr. Bruce Banner transformed into the Hulk and decimated Reno, Nevada. Since that time S.H.I.E.L.D. has been policing and imprisoning post-humans. S.W.O.R.D.’s leadership and actions are no longer altruistic, and will create the first common threat that will run through the line.

When we begin, S.W.O.R.D.’s policies have created stagnation in what would otherwise have become a thriving superhero community. Captain America is still on ice, Tony Stark is still a military industrialist, and it will be several years before Peter Parker is bitten by a spider. The mutant X-gene has only just recently blossomed, activating slowly across the world. With a small population mutants are not yet seen as a threat to baseline humans in the evolutionary ladder. The public is aware of them, but the general public is mostly not concerned. There is however a vocal minority that see mutants as an abomination and resort to violence against them. Thus, mutants will not often “out” themselves. However, the world is on the cusp of change.

NICK FURY: AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Writer: Jeff Jensen Art: Benoit Springer

Characters:

Nick Fury This version of the character is younger than we’ve seen him in most other versions, and currently has both of his eyes. When the story begins Nick is 27 year old Marine-turned-cop for the NYPD. He is reckless and impulsive, but he’s usually right. His plans to become a detective are interrupted when he loses his partner and lover, Valentina; subsequently being recruited into S.H.I.E.L.D. . Recent experiences have made it difficult for him to sleep.

Valentina de la Fontaine Nick Fury’s Italian-American partner and lover. She believes truly in the greater good and that she is meant for great things. After a run in with Nitro she is believed dead. However, she is now working for HYDRA against S.H.I.E.L.D.

Colonel Dugan Current head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the hero of Reno, Nevada. He is a large imposing man. While he is to some degree aware of S.W.O.R.D.’s more nefarious goals, he hopes that the ends justify the means.

Tony Stark Arrogant and cocky military industrialist, he works for his father Howard and is consultant to S.H.I.E.L.D..

James Rhodes  Professional pilot. If it can fly he will fly it. He is often the quietest man in the room, but if he speaks it is worth listening to. James has a great dislike for Tony Stark.

The Mandarin Chinese mystic and cult leader. His mystical powers are mostly just illusions.

Tadzio de Santis/ Johan Schmidt/ The Red Skull The Red Skull was the head of the Nazi superhuman ranks during the Second World War. After the war ended, the Skull went into hiding in Brazil. He eventually left Brazil and replaced the lead of S.W.O.R.D., Tadzio de Santis. As de Santis he has begun changing the organization to a militarized direction. His goal is to bring about a world where only the strong can survive.

Sharon Carter  Top S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who is at first cold towards Nick, but eventually warms up to him.

Nitro Mentally handicapped man who cannot control his explosions.

Electro Research scientist that turned his cancerous tumors into electrical batteries.

Arnold Brown Former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Arnold was an average at best agent, mostly assigned to desk duties.  Arnold gained access to many of S.W.O.R.D.’s databases and soon went AWOL; founding and recruiting members to HYDRA.

Proposal:

Officers Nick Fury and Valentina de la Fontaine step out of their NYPD squad car in front of a demolished and smoldering building. After overhearing several detectives mention that they haven’t recovered any evidence of an explosive device, he begins observing the perimeter of the scene. Nick observes a man pulling himself out of the wreckage. Though naked and clearly disoriented the man quickly flees the scene. Nick pursues the man and tackles him in an alley. Upon interrogation it is revealed that the man, calling himself Nitro, is mentally impaired. Before Nitro can reveal what has caused his condition, S.H.I.E.L.D.  agents arrives and pulls rank. During the commotion Nitro explodes again, escaping the interrogation room. Nick and Valentina track Nitro to the subway. Nick orders Valentina to evacuate the subway terminal. Nick loses Valentina in the crowd but continues to track Nitro. Nitro explodes again, but Nick is protected by a large pillar. Immediately after the explosion clears Nick knocks Nitro against the third rail, electrocuting him. In the aftermath Nick is offered a job with S.H.I.E.L.D. by Colonel Dugan and accepts when a female skeleton, burnt beyond recognition, is found and believed to be Valentina.

As the series continues, Nick proves himself by single handedly taking down Electro in the middle of a Times Square. Electro is taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Later, he goes undercover to investigate the mystical cult leader The Mandarin. Once The Mandarin is in custody it is revealed that his mysticism is an illusion created with technology. Nick follows Colonel Dugan as he is preparing the prisoners transport, Dugan receives a phone call and upon orders from S.W.O.R.D. shoots The Mandarin in the head.

The year ends with Nick’s first run in with HYDRA as they attempt to abduct Black Bolt from S.H.E.I.L.D. custody. It is here that Valentina is revealed to Nick to be alive and working for HYDRA.

 

X

Writer: Cullen Bunn Artist: Adam Gorham

Characters:

Dr. Charles Xavier Mutant telepath and medical doctor. Charles has spent time as an army medic. This version of Charles has use of both of his legs at the beginning of the series. He is a strong believer that just because of his mutant gene he is no more or no less human. He is the father of David, a powerful mutant.

Erik Lensher / Magneto  has a clear vision of the hatred that is slowly growing for mutants. He is not wrong, but he believes that he can use that fear to place mutants as the rightful rulers. He sees himself as a willing martyr for his cause and has shaped an image of being a terrorist. He has formed the underground community of Genosha in the tunnels of New York City.

Scott Summers / Cyclops a powerful mutant, his family were killed in a car accident as a boy, leaving him with a severe concussion. When his powers do activate he cannot contain nor control the blasts of energy coming from his eyes. Scott is very serious, a result of abuse endured by foster families.

Jean Grey / Phoenix a very sweet and scared young telekinetic woman, Jean has to remain very calm to maintain her control. Her telekinetic powers leave a fire-like aura.

Hank McCoy / Beast As a child Hank was a child prodigy and athlete, during puberty however he developed grey fur and an animalistic appearance that resembles a mix between a cat and an ape. He is prone to fits of anger due to his inhuman appearance.

Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler German teleporter, Kurt was raised by a priest who found him on the cathedral doorstep. This version of Nightcrawler is not furry, but instead has blue skin and black hair. He was well beloved by his community and left out of a desire to explore. He eventually takes a residence at Muir Island.

Warren Worthington III / Angel a handsome man with large birdlike wings, Angel is another resident of Muir Island, working there as an intern under Moira. Though being a mutant has strained his relationship with his father, they are on speaking terms.

Moira Mactaggert Scottish scientist and owner of Muir Island Genetic Research Facility. Moira researches the evolutionary causes behind mutations. Her ex-husband Charles is the father of her son David.

Logan / Wolverine a mutant with enhanced healing abilities and metal claws, when we first meet Wolverine he is working for a government agency, but following a brief battle with Magneto loses all of his memories.

Proposal:

The majority of the first twelve issues of the series are meant to be one-shots introducing each member of the basic cast. The exceptions being issues 1 and 2, introducing Xavier and Magneto together; 6 and 7, a two part arc that introduces both Cyclops and Wolverine; and issues 11 and 12 that focuses on the main fall out between Xavier and Magneto. My hope is to draw several parallels between the characters of Magneto and Xavier and the Temptations of Christ. The series ends after 12 issues, launching a new X-men series.

Dr. Charles Xavier has spent the last several years working as a combat medic. Hoping to put the violence and suffering he has seen behind him he returns to his home in New York City. While attending a small and private Mutant Pride party in an old back alley bar, Xavier is beaten by a religious anti-mutant group. Xavier quickly stops the group using his telepathy, but not before another mutant is murdered. After witnessing these events Magneto introduces himself to Charles, questioning why Xavier did not use his powers to their full extent; fundamentally changing the attackers to accept mutants or raping their minds completely.

Xavier follows Magneto to his sanctuary for mutants, built in the tunnels underneath New York City. Magneto offers Xavier a place by his side; he and his people need a medic. Xavier, seeing the condition of the people living with Magneto accepts, but is startled when he sees how Magneto talks down to the people who follow around him; even cutting off the hand of a thief.

Jean is introduced, as a teenaged girl. Her powers are out of control leading her to separate herself from those around her. When her friend is about to be run down by a speeding car, Jean loses her composure and crushes the car, including the driver inside.

Nightcrawler leaves his home seeking adventure, after travelling for several months he comes into conflict with a group of human supremacists and is saved by Angel who takes him to Muir Island.

Scott Summers is kicked out of his foster home the day he turns 18. He hasn’t opened his eyes in 3 years. While wandering the streets he is mugged, forcing him to open them. The destruction caused alerts both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Magneto. After a nice fun battle Magneto convinces Scott to be with his own people, as humans had always hurt and left him. A black-helicopter appears and drops Wolverine. S.H.I.E.L.D. claims that it’s not one of theirs. Wolverine’s metal skeleton is not-magnetic so Magneto has little he can do. Wolverine is going to possibly kill Magneto, until he is pinned through the chest with rebar. Magneto violently forces Scott to release the full force of his optic blasts straight into Wolverines open mouth and face. The mutants retreat, taking a comatose Wolverine with.

Hank McCoy was a popular and intelligent student. When his mutation began he was temporarily left in a feral state and ran off. When the bodies of mauled neighborhood pets are found the town begins hunting him. They find him battling and killing a wolf responsible for the deaths.

Bobby Drake is a jerk, and incredibly immature. When his powers activate he uses them to show-off and pull pranks. It is only when his high school prom catches fire that Bobby realizes his true potential. He is ultimately blamed for the fire and arrested.

Charles Xavier has spent a lot of time rebuilding the destroyed mind of the comatose Wolverine. The brain is structural rebuilding, but none of the memories remain. Wolverine awakens and breaks out, remembering only that Cyclops and Magneto were the one that destroyed his mind.

Magneto reveals his final plan to Charles; to martyr himself in a battle with the human military to bring about mutant supremacy. Magneto’s plan would involve killing millions using a nuclear missile. Charles stops Magneto at great cost, losing his legs. Magneto is then killed by an angered Wolverine. Charles, Scott and Wolverine leave the tunnels to form a new safe haven.

 

CLOAK AND DAGGER

Writer: Eric Powell  Artist: David Lafuente

Characters:

Tandy Bowen Tandy is the bubbly and naïve daughter of a B-level television actress. Once empowered she receives migraine headaches while she is not around Ty

Tyrone Johnson Ty is a level-headed responsible child that grew up in the wrong side of town. When Tandy is not around he becomes painfully hungry.

Richard Dormammu Worshipper of the demon D’Spayre. Runs a home for runaways.

Proposal:

An exploration of the mystical aspects of the universe without relying on overly powered characters like Dr. Strange or the Scarlet Witch.

Ty Johnson has never been considered brave. When he finally stood up for his friends it caused his best friend to be attached and murdered.  He took the first bus he could to get out of town. Tandy Bowen has always lived a privileged life, when she didn’t receive the attention she felt she deserved from her mother, she ran away.

Both are hungry and living on the streets when they are introduced at a shelter, run by Richard Dormammu. In their sleep they are drugged and kidnapped. Dormammu uses a ceremony to try and use their bodies to pull the demon D’Spayre through into this world. The Ceremony fails when Ty wakes up, killing Dormammu. Ty and Tandy are left sharing the opposing sides of the demons physical body; light and dark.

Dormammu’s body is possessed by despairs mind but is quickly swallowed by Ty’s cloak.

Sharing the abilities of a demon leads Ty and Tandy to become targets of supernatural creatures.

BLACK CAT

Writer: Joe Hill Artist: Fiona Staples

Characters:

Felicia Hardy Raised by her single mother Felicia is a teenaged high-school dropout. She is working multiple jobs to help make rent. She’s athletic and beautiful, but more importantly she is smart; very smart.

Lydia Hardy Felicia’s mother, after her husband’s arrest and murder she has had a mental breakdown and relies on Felicia.

Wilson Fisk Overweight crime boss. Much more vengeful and violent than other versions. Anyone that crosses him gets no second chances.

Prowler & Shocker Henchmen with powerful gauntlets. Prowlers have claws that shoot off as grappling hooks, stolen and used by Felicia.

Hammerhead Enforcer for Silvermane’s Maggia crime family. He is missing part of his skull, having it shot off when he worked for Fisk.

Silvermane Dying leader of the Maggia crime family. Wheelchair bound,  can only breathe with an oxygen mask.

 Proposal:

When Felicia Hardy was a child, her father was sent to jail for robbery. When she was old enough to be allowed to visit, her father was stabbed to death, by an inmate claiming it was “a message from the Kingpin.”

While working at an upscale restaurant that Wilson Fisk patronizes, he attempts to seduce Felicia. When she refuses his advancements she loses her job. Observing Fisk leave with expensive jewelry, Felicia decides to rob him. Caught while breaking into his suite, Felicia is quickly overpowered. After a lucky kick to the groin, she is able to escape.

Fisk sends two of his henchmen, Shocker and Prowler to retrieve her. After a short chase Shocker gets a shot on her. After hearing Shocker refer to Fisk as Kingpin she regroups and takes down Shocker. She sets his gauntlets to overload and uses their explosion to take down the Prowler. She steals his gauntlets, combination claws and grappling hooks. This leads to a theme of her stealing from her enemies.

She returns to Fisks and states to him that she will kill him, before using the grappling hooks to escape. She is observed and followed by Hammerhead, who returns with the information to Silvermane. Felicia is blackmailed into working for the Maggia.

WILLIAM LEVERT

Ultimate All-stars:  The New Ultimate Marvel UniverseThe Earth no longer belonged to just the humans.  Alien races had been traveling to earth and integrating themselves into human societies since ancient times.  In 1942 an invasion by the Alien Warlord Galactus put an end to World War II, and united the Human race against a common threat.  However, it wasn’t just humans who rose up against Galactus and his forces.  Unknown to the world, there had been other Aliens hidden amongst them for centuries.  Whether they were plotting to take over the earth themselves or not remained a mystery.  All that is known is that they wanted to protect the earth from the threat of Galactus just like the humans, and so revealed themselves to join in the struggle.  They were not alone.  Gods, who had long since hidden behind mere stories and religious beliefs began to join the fray.  With the combined might of Humans, Aliens, and the Gods themselves, Galactus was defeated and cast from the earth.  But the damage was done.  Earth had been changed forever. In Modern times, Humans aren’t the only species to lay claim to regions of the earth.  Various alien races have claimed countries and civilizations of their own.  Religious cults and Churches have become the strong holds of the gods, and in some instances, demons.  Mutants have come into existence, some saying because of mixed alien blood, others believing it a natural evolution of humans as an answer to the power of the other beings.  The earth, and the very universe had become a whole new playing field.  This is the New Ultimate Marvel Universe.

ULTIMATE COMICS: THE ALLIED AVENGERS 

Written by: Jonathan Ross [America’s Got Powers]  Art by: Micah Gunnell [Idolized, Shrugged]After the Invasion of the Alien Warlord Galactus ended, America became the first country to welcome a treaty with various alien races and gods that had come to call earth home.  Creating an alliance with many of them, believing it the best course of action to avoid wide spread, and devastating wars.  To this end, after decades of preparation, The American government created a team of piece keepers, lead by The United State’s own Captain America, and consisting of representatives from the other members of the Alliance.  They were known as the Allied Avengers.

Members:

Captain America – Steve Rogers, a veteran of both World War II, and the First Galactic War, he was a product of genetic testing with Alien DNA, the first and only success, becoming America’s first Super Soldier and instrumental in Earth’s Victory.  After the Galactic war he was put into stasis in order for scientists to study what made him successful, though was awakened decades later in order to lead the Allied Avengers.

Thora – The Goddess of Thunder, and Asgard’s representative in the Alliance.  During the Galactic War, Asgard had been hesitant to join the battle.  Against her father Odin’s wishes, Thora leaped at the chance to drive Galactus and his forces from a world she’d come to love, with many Asgardians eventually following her lead and helping turn the tide of the War in Earth’s Favor.  When America came up with the idea for the Alliance, Thora jumped at the chance to fight along side her earthen comrades once again, and become a shield against the threats that came from her divine brethren.

Ms. Marvel – Cara-Vell was the daughter of Kree Ambassador Mar-Vell, and former American Air Force pilot and current movie star, Carol Danvers.  With the Kree being the most popular Alien Race amongst the American people, and being the daughter of a beloved icon, Cara was the perfect choice to represent the Kree in the Alliance.  Young and confident in her abilities, she was welcomed by most of her comrades with open arms.

Silver Patriot – Norrin Radd was once a general in The Warlord Galactus’ army.  His most steadfast and powerful weapon, he was instrumental in Galactus taking an early upper hand in the Galactic War.  However, the only reason Norrin was so steadfast in his service was for the protection of his home planet.  When he found out that Galactus had already destroyed his planet for the massive amounts of energy it provided, Norrin quickly switched sides and partnered with United States, providing the alien DNA sample that turned Steve Rogers into a Super Soldier.  Held in secret by the American Government since the end of the Galactic War, he was recruited into the Allied Avengers because he was trusted by Steve Rogers, and his knowledge of any threats that might once again come from space.

Iron Man – Tony Stark made his fortune as a young trader of alien technology, and specialized in it’s adaptation for human use.  He had many adventures pirating left over cache’s of alien weapons, and had his share of relationships with interesting alien women.  When his country called on him for duty, though loath to leave his easy life of adventure and profit, he chose to serve his Country without fail.  Recruited into a new Government program called S.W.O.R.D and S.H.I.E.L.D, charged with not only protecting the United States and the human race from otherworldly threats, both from space and the Planet itself [S.H.I.E.L.D], but with proactive missions that located threats and nullified them before they could get big enough to alert the public [S.W.O.R.D].  With his experience with alien technology and an intellect that was considered second only to Dr. Bruce Banner, and President Reed Richards, he became the backbone, and leader of the S.W.O.R.D and S.H.I.E.L.D’s field teams.  Donning a suit of highly advanced, self evolving armor that used an amalgam of different alien technologies, he became Iron Man, and was recruited into the Allied Avengers to be the intellectual foil to Steve Roger’s pure patriotism.

Human Torch – Johny Storm was the hot headed brother-in-law of the President of the United States, Reed Richards.  A former hot shot air force pilot, Johny was the first to volunteer for Bruce Banner’s new Alien DNA Super Soldier Program called Weapon X.  Using the DNA of the original Human Torch, a fiery alien who died protecting the earth during the Galactic War, Banner was successful in granting Johny Storm greater powers than the original, making his hot head nickname quite literal.  Carefree and aloof, President Richards put Johny into the Allied Avengers program in hopes that it would teach him responsibility, humility, and instill in him a sense of duty.

Scarlet Witch – The Sorceress Supreme, Wanda Maximoff was born a mutant with the ability to harness and control massive amounts of magical energy.  This made her path to becoming Sorceress Supreme, the guardian of Earth Realm’s magic, an easy one, allowing her to defeat Sorcerer Supreme candidate Dr. Stephen Strange without difficulty.  Though they had once been lovers, Stephen’s defeat drove him mad, leading him to make a deal with Satan and becoming the dread demon sorcerer Dormammu.  After sealing her former lover away in hell, she was welcomed to join the Allied Avengers as it’s occult specialist, to help ensure that America was protected from supernatural threats, as well as Alien ones.

Black Widow – Natalia Romanova was of S.H.I.E.L.D’s best undercover agents, posing as a lab assistant in Norma Osborn’s Oscorp Genetics division.  Her job was to gain information on Norma’s DNA research, as she had been discovered to have an incomplete version of Bruce Banner’s Super Soldier equation.  Natalia found out, that instead of alien DNA, Norma and her scientists were using animal, insect, and arachnid DNA.  Just as Natalia was about to pull out and get the information she’d gathered back to S.H.I.E.L.D, she witnessed one of Norma’s test subjects about to be put to death and tried to save him, but was captured and injected with an unfinished version of one of Norma’s serums.  At first a death sentence, another of the young test subjects, Peter Parker, a boy genius, helped her escape and injected her with a serum that contained the missing DNA sequence needed to keep her alive.  Thanks to Parker’s help, the serum turned her into a successful Super Soldier with various abilities she then used to help Peter and a group of his friends escape the clutches of Oscorp.  After leaving the young test subjects with an old friend, Natalia returned to S.H.I.E.L.D to report in, and get herself checked out.  Once she was cleared for duty, far better than ever before, she took on the Code Name Black Widow and was recruited into the Allied Avengers to gather information on it’s members and keep an eye on them.

Major Supporting Characters:

Bruce Banner – Genius Genetic Scientist who became Weapon 0, testing his first finished serum on himself, becoming a out of control Jade giant when he got angry.  Unable to control himself in that form, he had Tony Stark create limiters out of alien technology to keep himself in check while continuing his research for the Alliance.

President Reed Richards – It was his genius an tactics that allowed the Earth to win the Galactic war, making him a hero and later President of the United States.

Sue Richards – First lady, and wife of the President.

Benjamin Grimm – Leader of the President’s special forces and second volunteer of Bruce Banner’s Weapon X program which enabled him to take the form of a stone giant at will.

Hank McCoy – The world’s lead genetic scientist in Mutant Studies, Hank, better known as Beast, is Bruce Banner’s lab partner as they help one another discover the mysteries of Alien, Mutant, and Divine DNA.

Story Arcs –

Allied Forces [Issues 1-4]:  This arc will tell the story of the immediate aftermath of the Galactic War, the initiation of the Allied Avengers Program after the discovery of antagonistic forces, Alien, Divine, and otherwise, and the official formation of the team.

Remnants of War [Issues 5-8]: Silver Patriot is contacted by his old comrade and fellow General of Galactus, Terrax and finds out that a large remnant of Galactus’ forces stayed on earth and went into hiding.  Willing to forgive Norrin for his betrayal if he joins his side, Norrin declines the offer, instead reporting to Captain America about Terrax’s imminent threat, sending the Allied Avengers into their first major conflict since being formed.

Prelude to War [Issues 9-12]: Having been rescued by the dark sorceress Victoria Von Doom and her husband, the Norse God Loki, Terrax works along with them in order to summon a threat to the earth far worse than Galactus, the intergalactic Lord of Death Thanos.  The Allied Avengers must work fast in order to stop Victoria, Loki, and their forces or face a second Galactic War.  One they may very well lost

ULTIMATE COMICS: SPIDER-MEN
Written by: Jimmie Robinson [Bomb Queen, Five Weapons]  Art by: Ryan Ottley [Invincible, Haunt]Norma Osborn had been one of the top Genetic Scientists in the world, though that didn’t stop her from always being over shadowed by her mentor, Dr. Bruce Banner.  Recruited to help him develop his super soldier program, Norma always pushed her mentor to go farther in his studies and experiments until one day, she convinced him to test his finished serum on himself, indirectly creating the Jade Beast called the Hulk.  Afraid that she would be blamed for the accident, she left the Super Soldier program, though not before taking one of Dr. Banner’s incomplete formulas.  After seeing the power of the Hulk, Norma was hungry create one of her own, so as to never be overshadowed by her mentor again.  After establishing her company Oscorp as one of the leading genetic research companies in the world, she set her teams of scientists to the task of helping her perfect a new serum, one that used earth creatures as a DNA base instead of Aliens.  Kidnapping young test subjects who had the perfect genetic sequences to match with the serums, Norma would stop at nothing to create the perfect super soldier, superior to anything Bruce Banner could come up with.  Everything seemed on track until one day an undercover agent of S.H.E.I.L.D was discovered.  After ordering the spy to be killed, Agent Natalia Romanova was instead rescued by another of Norma’s test subjects, Peter Parker.  Together with a group of subjects her serum’s had been successful on, Parker and Romanova escaped, destroying her labs and her serum’s in the process.  Driven mad by the failure, Norma injected herself with one of Bruce Banner’s finished serums, stolen from his new Weapon X project and was transformed into a hideous mutant beast, not unlike Bruce had been.  Though thanks to her dementia, she was able to keep herself under control, she was forever stuck in her new form.  Vowing revenge on Peter Parker and his escaped comrades, Norma named herself The Goblin Queen, and set on the road of their destruction.

Main Characters:

Spider-Man: Peter Parker had it all.  He was a budding Genius, had a beautiful girlfriend that made all the high school jocks jealous, and a loving family.  That all ended the day he was on a science class trip to Oscorp’s genetic division.  Fascinated by the genetically altered arachnids they had on display, he fell behind his group, and didn’t notice when one of the spiders escaped and bit him, causing him to black out in intense pain.  He woke up in a science cell deep beneath Oscorp’s labs, imprisoned as a test subject because he had not only survived the deadly bite of the spider, but his body changed, gaining many spider-like abilities including superior strength, agility, healing, a spider sense, and the ability to produce webbing from his wrists.  After saving the life of S.H.I.E.L.D agent Natalia Romanova, Peter, along with four other young test subjects who had successfully survived Norma Osborn’s serums, escaped and went into hiding with Dr. Curt Conners, an old friend of Romanova’s.

Spider-Girl:  Jessica Drew was the daughter of one of the Daily Bugle’s best investigative reporters.  When her father went missing after pursuing a story on dirty happenings in Oscorp’s genetics division, she used her own detective skills to follow her father’s trail, leading her directly into the heart of Oscorp’s labs where she was captured.  After being told of her father’s death, she was subjected to experiments, and successfully turned into one of Norma Osborn’s super soldiers.  Like Peter, she gained heightened strength, agility, and constitution.  She gained the ability to produce webs from her fingers, and though they were not nearly as strong as Peter’s, she was able to conduct a shocking venom strike through them, making them a potent weapon.  Bonding with a few of the other test subjects she jumped at the chance to escape along with them and go into hiding from The Goblin Queen.

Araña:  Anya Corazon had been a homeless runaway, living on the streets of new york along with her companions, brothers Ben and Kaine Reilly after meeting them at a train yard.  Street Smart and trained in combat skills by her deceased soldier father, Anya had vowed to the brothers to protect them.  When they were kidnapped by one of Norma Osborn’s Black Ops teams to be used as test subjects, she failed her vow.  Anya survived the serum to become one of the few successful super soldiers for Norma Osborn’s project.  While she lacked the agility that others had gained, she made up for it in strength, becoming the strongest member of the renegade test subjects.  She also gained an almost full 360 sight that replicated the multiple eyes of a spider.  While she also lacked the ability to produce webbing as a projectile, she could grow it from certain parts of her body, such as beneath her arms, that enabled her to glide through the air after a large jump.  To her horror, while Kaine Reilly had survived the serum process, Ben’s body had rejected it, and became deathly ill.  When he was to be disposed of, S.H.I.E.L.D agent Natalia Romonova tried to save him, but was unable to.  When Anya escaped with the others, she tried to get Kaine to come with them, but angry at the death of his brother, and at Anya’s failed vow to protect them, he left on his own, leaving Anya to leave with the rest of the renegade group.

Scarlet Spider:  Miles Morales had it rough.  He lost both of his parents in a plain crash, and was sent to New York to live with his uncle, who unknown to Miles, was a member of Oscorp’s Black Ops teams, charged with finding suitable test subjects for Norma Osborn’s super soldier project.  When his uncle was found to be stealing Osborn Tech and selling it on the black market, he turned Miles over to Norma as a test subject in exchange for his life, and disappeared soon after.  Feeling alone and betrayed, Miles was slow to trust anyone ever again.  Surviving the serum to become one of Norma’s super soldiers, Miles gained abilities similar to those of his fellow subjects, including super strength, agility and a healing factor.  He lacked any kind of web production, but gained a less powerful version of Peter’s spider sense, along with the ability to make himself invisible by blending in to his surroundings.  He also had the ability to produce a powerful venom shock he could generate through sharp talons at his finger tips and toes, or shot it from his hands in a less potent projectile.  After weeks of convincing, he finally came to trust Peter, and escaped with him and the rest of the renegade test subjects, helping them fight against the Goblin Queen and her forces.

Venom: Not much is known about the final member of the renegade test subjects.  He always wore a black mask, never spoke and was kept in a highly secured cell.  The other test subjects caught glimpses of him every now and then, but nothing more than that.  It is not known how long he had been held beneath Oscorp’s labs, only that he had been there longer than any of the others.  When Natalia Romonova set off explosives to help the others escape, Venom escaped as well, saving the others from a pursuit team with his strange shape shifting abilities, becoming a mysterious, silent guardian for the team of renegades.

Major Supporting Characters:

Dr. Curt Connors – A former military doctor who saved Natasia Romonova’s father during the Cold war and remained a family friend.  He is intrusted with hiding the Renegades from Norma Osborn.

Mary Jane Watson – Peter’s high school sweetheart, she goes into a depression after Peter’s initial disappearance.  After catching a chance glimpse of him along with the other renegades and seeing him alive, she follows them and reunites with Peter after almost being killed by Norma Osborn’s Black Ops unit.  Despite Peter wanting her to stay away for her own safety, she continues to help out the renegades whenever she can.

Gwen Stacy – Daughter of George Stacy, a police captain on Norma Osborn’s payroll, she finds out that her father is a dirty cop and that he is after the Spider-Men.  Doing everything she can to stop her father’s plans to catch them, she uses her hacking skills to digitally support the Renegades whenever possible.

May Parker – Peter’s Aunt called to New York from her Hawaiian island home after the disappearance of Peter and the death of Peter’s parents.  After having a talk with Peter and being told by him that it would be best if she returned to her island, she instead hires a private detective named Jessica Cage to find out what’s going on with her nephew.

Story Arcs –

Renegades [Issues 1-4]:  The story Peter Parker’s capture and escape from Oscorp along with a small group of renegade test subjects of Norma Osborn’s underground super soldier project.  Going into hiding after Norma injects herself with a stolen serum, turning herself into the monstrous Goblin Queen, hell bent on destroying the escaped renegades who ruined her project.

World Of Carnage [Issues 5-8]:  After a narrow escape from The Goblin Queen and her mercenaries, thanks to the sacrifice of Dr. Curt Connors, the renegade Spider-Men must now deal with a psychotic killer sent by The Goblin Queen known as Carnage.  With similar, yet superior abilities to Venom, the team must find out the connection between the two and find out a way to stop Carnage before murders everyone around him, including the Spider-Men themselves.

Sinister Tidings [Issues 9-12]:  With a second Galactic War on the horizon, The Goblin Queen pulls out all the stops to bring in the Renegades so she can use them to create more successful super soldiers before the war starts.  When the defeated Carnage turns out to be a clone of Venom, jogging his lost memories, and making him realize that he was Harry Osborn, the son of The Goblin Queen and that he was her first attempt at a Super Solder using the last of her stolen alien DNA, Venom uses his newly recovered memories to help the Spider-Men take the fight to his deranged mother.  But now they must face a group of failed, but powerful Super Soldiers called the Sinister Six, lead by the only successful subject to return to her side willingly, Kaine Reilly.  Together with The Scorpion, Tarantula, Dr. Octopus, The Beetle and The Rhino, all of who only have one week to live, they seek to bring in the Spider-Men for The Goblin Queen.  Even if its in pieces.  Peter, distraught after Carnage killed his parents dives head first into the fray, not caring if he lives or dies, and it is up to his team mates to bring him back from the edge, and back to his lighthearted, wise cracking self

ULTIMATE COMICS: MIDNIGHT SONS
 
Written by: Mark Miller [Hellraiser, Next Testament]  Art by: Stjepan Sejic [Witchblade, Ravine, Artifacts]

When the world was thrown into chaos by the Galactic War, beings from the world’s supernatural realms rose up to help in order to protect their feeding ground.  In the aftermath of the war, they returned to their normal status quo.  What did it matter to them who dominated the Earth?  They could feed on human and alien alike.  But now the supernatural world has a crisis of it’s own.  The Demon Lord of Hell, Satan is dead, killed by the Arch Angel Michael in a battle that lasted thirteen days, and thirteen nights.  After the battle, Michael took Satan’s head and disappeared, leaving his body, and power behind to turn to dust.  However, the dust is charged with the full power of The Devil, and thanks to the battle between the two powers, warps and rifts have opened up, causing the dust to not just flow through hell, but the other living realms as well.  Now humans and demons alike are scrambling to gain Satan’s power for themselves, while others happen upon pockets of The Devil’s Dust by chance, and are changed forever.  Daimon Hellstorm, the son of Satan had been satisfied that his father was complacent ruling the realms of hell, leaving him to enjoy his life on earth amongst the humans.  When he felt his father’s death and felt his power scatter over the realms, he knew it was only a matter of time before someone else became powerful enough to take his father’s place and lead the armies of hell onto the earth, creating a chaos so potent, it could dwarf the Galactic War.  In order to put a stop to this, and gather his father’s scattered power, Daimon gathers a group of powerful supernatural beings to help him.Main Characters –

Daimon Hellstorm:

  The son of Satan and the First Daughter, Lilith, Daimon gave up his seat as prince of hell in order to live on earth, blending in with the human race and living a life free of responsibility.  He’d come to love the earth so much that when it was invaded by Galactus during the Galactic War, he fought along side the humans, and newly discovered alien races in order to save it.  Ever since then, he had remained a silent guardian, watching the movements of both the aliens, and the supernatural beings.  One night he woke up in a cold sweat, feeling the death of his father, Satan.  He returned to hell only to find his father’s body gone and his power scattered throughout not just hell, but the earth realm and god realms as well.  In order to keep his father’s power out of the wrong hands, and to keep the wrong person from taking his father’s throne, he set off to gather a group of beings to help him, starting with his best friend Johny Blaze.Ghost Rider:   Johny Blaze was a retired stunt driver, settled down with his wife to be, Danielle Ketch away from his hazardous former profession.  But before their life together could even begin Danielle was in a car accident that put her into a life threatening coma.  Distraught, Johny was willing to do anything to help her, even make a deal with the Devil.  In exchange for his soul, Johny was given the power to save Danielle.  However, like all deals with the devil, nothing was ever that straight forward.  When Johny went to heal Danielle, he instead summoned a hell flame that engulfed her body and turned it to dust.  Enraged and hunted for the death of his own love, Johny hunted down The Devil, only to find out that it wasn’t Satan he’d made a deal with, but another powerful Demon named Mephisto.  The demon had used Johny to gather Danielle’s pure soul before her body could die, and it passed on naturally, needing it to overthrow Satan.  Cornered, Johny was saved by the sudden appearance of Daimon Hellstorm, the son of Satan.  Before Mephisto could take Danielle’s soul from within Johny, Daimon unleashed the power from within it, causing her soul to merge with Johny and turn them into the flaming spirit of Vengeance Ghost Rider.  Driving Mephisto back to hell with their new found power, the couple, now bound forever thanked Daimon who told them that he would call upon them for a favor one day.  That day came when Satan was killed and his power scattered.  When Daimon came calling, they gladly joined him in his quest.

Sersi: Born an Eternal, an immortal conduit to the earth’s power, she spent her years in the mountains of Romania, protecting and cultivating the Dragon’s Vein, a major leyline and a focus of earthen energy.  When Satan was killed and his power scattered, some of it began to warp the energy of the earth.  Noticing this, Sersi set off to find a way to stop the earth’s corruption, later joining up with Daimon Hellstorm and his group, lending her power to their common goal.

Angel:  Warren Worthington III was a mutant much like Wanda Maximoff, his ability allowing him to tap into supernatural energies.  Though instead of magic like the Scarlet Witch, Warren was able to tap into divine energies.  His power allowed him to directly channel the powers of the Divine Host, becoming an avatar to various Seraphim for a limited amount of time.  Even without channeling their energy directly, he was gifted with angelic wings and the power to heal himself and others.  When the Archangel Michael killed Satan and disappeared, Warren was visited by the fiery angel Gabrielle and charged with finding him.  His journey put him on a direct course for Daimon Hellstorm and his group, joining them and helping them face the demonic up-rise.

Blade: Misty Knight was the product of a human/vampire union.  She lead a normal life with her mother, thinking her father normal and worked long nights, until one day she woke up to find her mother dead on the kitchen floor, and her father covered in her mother’s blood.  It was the first time she’d seen him for what he really was.  A vampire. A demon. A Monster.  That was the last time she saw her father.  She was taken in by a priest who was an old friend of her mothers who was no stranger to the supernatural world that dominated the night.  The priest raised her to channel her hate and the powers she inherited from her father to help those in need of protection from the night.  She became a hunter, the best, her life a blur of hunting until the night her guardian and adopted father turned on her.  Possessed by a demonic power, she froze and was almost killed but was saved by the sudden appearance of her real father Morbius.  Morbius drove the demonic power out of the priest and explained to Misty that it was the same phenomenon that had driven her mother to attack her father and forcing him to kill her.  However Morbius reveals to her that her mother is still alive, and still possessed, and that he’d been hunting for her all this time. Misty grudgingly joined her father in his quest, the two of them crossing paths with Daimon Hellstorm, and believing him to be their best chance at solving this mystery they joined his team of supernatural misfits.

Morbius:  An ancient Vampire who’d tired of the “night life” and settled down with the woman he loved, having a daughter with her.  One night he was attacked by his wife, who had been possessed by some demonic power and was forced to kill her, their daughter walking in to see him covered in her blood.  Taking her away to safety, leaving her with an old friend before returning to find his wife’s body gone.  He could smell the demonic energy still lingering and knew that she was still alive.  Knowing his daughter Misty was in good hands, he set off to hunt down his possessed wife to either help her, or put her out of her misery.  When his path brought him back to his daughter, now a grown Hunter, he explained what really happened to her, and together they joined Daimon Hellstorm’s plight to put an end to the hell that was rising in the world.

Story Arcs –

The Devil’s Dust [Issues 1-4]: Daimon Hellstorm sets off to stop demons and humans alike from gathering his father’s scattered power and wreaking havoc on earth, heaven, and hell alike.  Gathering a group of supernatural misfits, Daimon and his group track down those who have absorbed enough of The Devil’s Dust to cause major trouble, hoping it will lead them to the true source.

Hell Raising [Issues 5-8]: When Satan was killed, his unleashed power also freed the dread demon Dormammu.  A former sorcerer and lover of the current Sorcereess Supreme, Wanda Maximoff before he was sealed away, Stephen Strange had stolen some of Wanda’s essence and used it along with some of his own to create a pair of children, making he and Wanda their spiritual parents.  Knowing their great potential, Dormammu seeks out the now teenage Nico and Wiccan in order to use them to channel great amounts of the Devil’s Dust and make himself a demon god.  With the help of The Sorceress supreme, Daimon and his group must put a stop to Dormammu’s plans.

A Game Of Thrones [Issues 9-12]:

After the defeat of Dormammu, Daimon and his group get no time to breath, as their battle has attracted no less than four powerful beings who have their eyes set on the Throne of Hell.  The fallen Archangel Lucifer, the demon Mephisto, the dark lord Cyttorakand Daimon’s own mother, the first daughter Lilithstep into the game to stake their claim on the throne of hell.  Even with rumors of another Galactic war looming, Daimon and his friends have their hands full with a war of their ownand might not live to defend the earth against the coming galactic threat. 


ULTIMATE COMICS: NATION X:

Written by: Joshua Dysart [Harbinger, Unknown Soldier, Violent Messiahs, BPRD]  Art by: Caanan White [Uber, Ptolus: City by the Spire ]Ever since the Galactic War, the human race has struggled to fill the power gap between they and the beings seeking a place on earth.  They got their wish when the first Mutant, James Howlett emerged a hero of the Galactic War.  When DNA and genetic testing proved that he was neither of alien or supernatural origin, but a evolution of mankind, the human race was changed forever.  After James, Code named Wolverine came out as a mutant successfully, other Mutants who had been hiding themselves from persecution began to emerge, with more new mutants born every day.  While there were those who still distrusted mutants in the light of the Galactic War and everything it set into motion, most of the human race saw Mutants as their champions, their chance to strike back at those who sought to take their place on earth.  In the decades since the war, the mutant nation has grown and prospered, dominated the west coast of the United States, with many of the western US States and cities having mutant political leaders.  However, like any other nation, the mutant nation is not totally unified in their vision.  The mutant nation is split into two major factions, each with a different view of what mutant kind should be, and how they should exist in the world.

Main Characters:

The Xavier Faction
Lead by Charles Xavier, this faction follows his dream to live equally with the people of the world, be them human, mutant, alien, or god, and seek to stop the conflicts brought on by their differences.

Professor Charles Xavier – Xavier was only a child when he lost his parents to the Galactic War.  He was taken in by an elder couple who raised them as their own along with their own daughter Lilandra.  When he was a teenager his adoptive parents were killed by Christopher Summers, who revealed them as Shi’ar Royals hiding on earth from a civil war on their own planet.  He blamed all of the Shi’ar for the death of his wife and unborn son.  It was then that Charles awakened his abilities as a powerful mutant Psychic, using his abilities to help he and Lilandra escape from Summers and his men.  Years later, Xavier watched as Christopher Summers, the man who killed his and Lilandra’s parents became a leader of the Mutant Community, preaching that Mutants were the guardians of the earth as an extension of man kind, their protectors.  But he also preached against the Aliens and other beings who had come to call the earth home, and how he would not tolerate them as long as he had the power to wipe them out.  Having witnessed first hand that the Aliens had good amongst them, just as any other race did, Xavier had a vision of the world that involved all of the races co-existing, and with the help of his adoptive sister Lilandra, a princess of the Shi’ar, Xavier began to gather like minded mutants and aliens to help in his cause.  He also received support from the government organization S.W.O.R.D, who saw Summers as a potential threat that needed to be contained.

Lilandra Neramani – An exiled princess of the Shi’ar empire, she escaped to earth along with her parents when they were driven away by a civil war started by her mad uncle D’Ken with the help of the Warlord Galactus.  Before they took in Charles Xavier, Lilandra and her family were on the run from the mercenaries her uncle had sent after them.  Taken in by Katherine Summers and hidden.  Because of this, Katherine, and her unborn child were killed by D’Ken’s mercenaries, just as Christopher was too late to save them.  Escaping once more, they found a place to settle in the aftermath of the Galactic War, and lived happily with their adopted son Charles until Christopher, an awakened mutant hunted them down.  Watching her parents be turned to dust by Summer’s power, she was in shock as Charles’ own mutant powers manifested and allowed them to escape.  As the years passed, Lilandra did whatever she could to help and support her brother in his cause, training and using her heightened Shi’ar physical abilities to protect him in any way she could.

Wolverine – James Howlett had always known he was different.  Able to heal from any wound, his bodily senses heightened to painful levels sometimes, and how slow he aged.  He just didn’t know what he was.  So he did the only thing he could do, became a soldier.  He traveled the world, fighting for whoever would have him, landing in the United States during World War II.  When the Galactic War started, he thought he finally found out what he was, thinking himself an alien, or the off spring of one.  But when he allowed himself to be tested by genetic scientists, they found that he was not an alien, nor was he anything supernatural.  He was an evolution of mankind.  This discovery created a wildfire through the human race that would change the world forever, giving them hope that they would be able to keep up with the beings they now shared the world with.  Fighting along side Captain America and Norrin Rad during the end of the Galactic War, James allowed himself to be experimented on, his healing factor allowing scientists to bond his skeleton with an alien metal alloy called Adamantium, making James near indestructible.  Taking on the name Wolverine, he helped end the Galactic war, and after continued to help the world recover, and protect itself from further invasions.  To this end he helped found the Government organization S.W.O.R.D and S.H.I.E.L.D.  After decades of work, James retired from active duty and became a trainer.  It was then that he met a young Charles Xavier, and his sister Lilandra.  Impressed by Xavier’s vision, he decided to help in whatever way he could, training Lilandra in combat, and later when called upon, joining Xavier’s faction in opposition to the Summers Faction.

Jean Grey –  A young, but powerful telepath, Jean was almost recruited by the Summers faction after falling in love with Scott Summers.  However, when her powers went out of control in the presence of another mutant telepath named Emma Frost, she accidentally read the minds of Christopher Summers most dedicated followers and saw that their vision for a united human kind was just a front for the destruction of the Aliens and Gods, particularly the Shi’ar.  Losing control of herself, she fled, but was later helped out by Lilandra, who had defenses against telepathy, and thus wasn’t repelled by Jean’s out of control powers.  After being taken to Charles Xavier and calmed, he agreed to help her gain full control of her abilities.  Coupled with his vision, Jean found a home with Xavier’s faction, and dedicated herself to helping that vision come to pass.

Ice Man – Bobby Drake was young, brash, and arrogant, the ice controlling mutant was a perfect fit for the Summers Faction.  Except that after meeting Lilandra, he developed a crush on the older warrior woman, joining Xavier to be close to her at first, but later growing to truly believe in his cause.

Gladiator – Personal guard of the Shi’ar royal family, he stayed behind to give Lilandra and her parents a chance to escape.  Surviving his sacrifice, he eventually made his way to earth to reunite with his charges, only to find that Lilandra’s parents had been killed.  Enraged, he joined Xavier’s Faction out of gratitude for protecting Lilandra, and to get revenge on Christopher Summers for the royal blood on his hands.

Mystique – Mutant shape shifter, Captain of S.W.O.R.D’s field unit, as well as on again, off again lover of Wolverine, Raven Darkhölme was charged by her superiors to help and support Wolverine in his mission to help the cause of Charles Xavier, gladly supporting her dear mentor in whatever way she could.

Colossus – Grandson to one of Wolverine’s old war buddies, Piotr Rasputin was recruited by him into Xavier’s faction to help train him in the use of his mutant ability to change his body into an unbreakable metal alloy, not unlike his own Adamantium, and to lend his strength to Xavier’s cause.

Storm – A powerful mutant who could control mother nature herself, Oro Munroe traveled the world to help those in need, wanting to use her abilities for the good of others.  When Xavier approached her with his vision, it didn’t take much for him to convince her to join his faction, seeing that helping him would be helping not just humans, but everyone.

Major Supporting Characters –

The Summers Faction –  Lead by Christopher Summers aged veteran of World War II as well as the Galactic War who sees mutants as not just the evolution of the human race, but their protectors, and believes that it is their duty to guard their people, mutant and normals alike.  At least on the surface.

Christopher Summers – Born a human, Summers was a soldier who fought for his country in World War II, and his world in the Galactic War.  After the war ended, he settled in with his wife.  One day he returned home just in time to see his wife killed by alien mercenaries while protecting a small alien family.  As she died in his arms, somehow his unborn son, Gabriel, passed on his mutant powers to his father, giving him control over almost any kind of energy.   Christopher used these new powers to eradicate the alien mercenaries, though not before torturing one of them for information.  Learning who they were, and why they were there, he spent the next ten years gathering resources, and power while hunting down Lilandra and her parents.  When he finally found them, he killed Lilandra’s parents, but was unable to kill Lilandra thanks to the young Charles Xavier, who used his powerful psychic abilities to help them escape.  Impressed by the young boy’s power, Christopher decided to gather more like him, becoming a public figure to the Mutant Nation, and gathering both support and allies who believed in his cause to unite mutant’s and humans against the threat to their world.  The Aliens, and any others who got in their way, be them God or Devil.

Magneto – Though Max Eisenhardt didn’t share Christopher’s love for non mutant humans, believing that Mutants were superior, he respected Christopher’s power and dedication.  One of the few who knew of Christopher’s plans to eradicate non human life from the earth, he used his magnetic abilities as Christopher’s right hand and general to further his cause.  Once the war with the others was over, he could focus on the humans after.

Cyclops – Scott Summers was Christopher’s oldest son with his second wife, he raised him with many of his beliefs and convictions, creating a young, steadfast warrior who could be trusted to carry on his mission and vision should something ever happen to Christopher.  Inheriting some of his father’s energy manipulation abilities, he can gather small amounts of solar energy and convert them into concussive blasts of heat from his eyes.

Havok – Alex Summers was Christopher’s youngest son with his second wife, and though he didn’t share his older brother’s steadfast dedication to their father’s vision, finding it rather boring, he was loyal and would never betray his family.  Like Scott, he inherited some of his father’s energy manipulation abilities, able to absorb cosmic radiation, and send it out from his body in devastating waves.

Sabertooth – Victor Creed was a hired mercenary and feral mutant, he joined the Summers faction just to have a chance at killing Wolverine, who stole Mystique from him.

Emma Frost – A powerful telepath, and haughty fashion model, she is Scott Summer’s girlfriend, though she uses both the Faction and Scott to further her image.

Rogue – Anna Marie was a young mutant with the power to absorb the abilities of anyone she touched.  Raised by Victor Creed, she was a cold, vicious fighter, even without her powers, and was welcomed into the fold by Christopher Summers, willing to use her as an assassin if need be.

Polaris – Lorna Dane was the daughter of Magneto, sharing many of his magnetic mutant abilities.  Though she did not completely share in her father, or Christopher’s visions, she would do anything to make her father proud of her, and followed without question.

Strong Guy – Guido Carosella was one half of Christopher’s muscle, a devout believer in Christopher’s vision.  Though fun loving most of the time, when it came to fighting for the Summers Faction cause, he got down to business.

M – Monet Yvette Clarisse Maria Therese St. Croix was the other half of Christopher’s muscle, and one of the strongest mutants in his faction. Though not quite on par with Emma Frost or Jeane Grey, Monet possessed telepathic abilities, as well as super strength, flight, invulnerability, perfect memory, and a healing factor.  Though not trusted by Emma because her mind was shielded from her telepathy, M was a steadfast follower of Summers on the outside.

Story Arcs –

Nation X [Issues 1-4]:  Professor Charles Xavier starts his own faction with the help of his adoptive sister Lilandra, Mutant Hero Wolverine, and his partner Mystique, gathering more young mutants in order to protect the world from Christopher Summers’ ambitions to wipe all non human life from the planet.

Phoenix Fall [Issues 5-8]: With both factions gaining more and more support from both humans and mutants, Charles begins to gain an advantage thanks to the appearance of Lilandra’s Guardian, Gladiator, who helps him gain influence with the Shi’ar who settled on earth.  Backed into a corner, Christopher uses M as a conduit for the devastating Phoenix Force, a power he hopes to use to wipe all alien life from the earth, including the rumored Second Galactic War on the horizon.

Days Of Future Gone[Issues 9-12]:  With M revealed as an undercover agent of S.W.O.R.D, and purging herself of the Phoenix force with the help of Charles Xavier and Jean Grey, Christopher absorbs the Phoenix force into himself using his power over energy and sets his plans to purify the world into motion.  Just when Charles is on the verge of throwing the world into chaos, a group of time traveling mutants named Cable, Bishop, Marvel Girl, Shatterstar, and Blink show up to stop him.  But are they truly hear to stop Charles from destroying the world, or saving him to destroy something else?

Authors Overview:  Alright, I took the risky rout of making the initial line all team books.  Allied Avengers and Midnight Sons started off as Cap and Hellstorm books, but the story layouts in my mind made them read as team books anyway.  I also wanted to have the books all tie in to a bigger epic with Midnight Sons being the most self contained.  The final arcs of each book lead to a second Galactic war, that while spanning the whole New Marvel Universe, would mostly take place in Allied Avengers with the other books showing the repercussions of the war around the world without them being hardcore tie-ins.  Hope you guys like it!

 

RONALD MONTGOMERY

DC Comics: A Heroic Cycle

Our heroes are exiles.

Superman: Refugee from the stars. Greatest warrior of a dead race.

Batman: Orphaned by the streets. Final plutocrat of a dying city.

Wonder Woman: Banished as a teen from Themyscira by her mother.

All three exiled by time, geography, and memory. All three born to high houses. All three saved by acts of sacrifice.

All three with unmatched potential.

But they’re not heroes…yet.


SUPERMAN

Writer: Austin Grossman Illustrator: JG Jones

How can Clark Kent save the world when he can’t even find his place in it?

Cast

Clark Kent: Who Kal-El truly wants to be. In glasses and jeans he’s just a dude on the train. For a young man who’s been a forced introvert his entire life, putting on a skintight outfit and being the center of attention is unnerving.

Lois Lane: Clark Kent’s a total dipshit. He’s unintelligent, his suits make Men’s Wearhouse look like Brooks Brother, and sexist as hell to insist she always go first. That Kent gets the story every time is infuriating.

Bibbo Bibbowski: Owner of the run-down gym Clark works out at. Bibbo lost a leg, a source of speculation for the regulars. He’s loyal, tough, and struggling with the bottle. He’s a mentor and friend to Clark, someone to whom Clark can speak to in veiled truths.

Professor Hamilton: Superman needs help with tough questions. Hamilton is a go-to guy, a Renaissance Man of science and the arts.

Story – “The Superman of Two Worlds”

This Superman is way powered down, like the Superman of the early Golden Age. He’ll learn  street-fighting from Bibbo early on. Clark has no knowledge of his Kryptonian heritage or origin; there’s no space ship in the barn, no data crystals and no bobble-head Jor-El to lay it all out. Global warming has melted his Fortress of Solitude at the North Pole.

Superman…isn’t so super. He’s bad at calculating flight trajectories. He knocks buildings down. He can’t get a cat from a tree without setting it on fire. At his lowest point after a vicious drubbing by Lois, Clark buys a Greyhound ticket home. But his mom and dad in Kansas love him and are so proud. Clark is the last Kent, and they want a good life for him.

Clark gets up again and confronts his doubts…in time to face The Braniac Virus.

The Braniac Virus: the scourge of intelligent species in the galaxy. A self-organizing, space-borne virus that infects the brains of its hosts, uniting them with its expansive fragmented consciousness.

A millenium ago a mysterious cosmic para-military police force committed genocide against the Braniac Virus, killing all its hosts and scorching all planets where it found refuge. But the Braniac Virus survived.

This strain of the Braniac Virus is a thematic contrast to Superman. It too is an alien, the last  of it’s kind, mightier than any one person. The Braniac Virus’s conflict with Superman escalates through proxies and allies like industrialist Lex Luthor is a stalemate until – a suspected Kryptonian Weapon of Mass Destruction is discovered by Professor Hamilton, lost between Earth and Krypton.

In the penultimate battle on Earth for the alien WMD Luthor betrays Braniac, who in turn counterattacks, and Luthor activates the weapon. The cylinder unsheathes, alien floodlights blind the combatants, a bite of ozone is in the air. The weapon…the weapon is Kara Zor-El, intended guardian of the infant Kal-El on Earth, decades late to arrive.

Luthor releases his homegrown cure for the Braniac Virus and escapes. Clark Kent curiously finds his place in two worlds, and the helper of another finding their way in this one.

 


LOIS LANE

Writer: John Scalzi Illustrator: Jim Lee

Lois Lane learns that knowing the truth isn’t the whole story.

Lois Lane has the telltale thick ankles and muscled legs of the ballerina dancer, a passion Lois pursued until she realized she wasn’t good enough to be a professional – a hard lesson at a young age.

This disappointment coupled with being a military brat, who moved every other year, brought out Lois’s self-sufficiency and resiliency. Oh, and being named after her grandmother got little Lois in more than a few fist-fights at new posts.

Lois learned from her father hard work and the pursuit of the Truth, Truth with a capital T. Influened by the Greek classics in college, Lois believes in a natural, beautiful, and orderly arrangement to the universe, and the power of humanity’s intellect to understand it.

Lois began grad studies but she felt she was missing out on life – a chance to pursue Truth and not just study it, a chance to better the world. Through school connections Lois lands an internship at the Daily Planet. Now she’s its star investigative reporter.

Cast

Clark Kent: If only that hick would get himself shot, run over by a train, or fall off a tall building. If only.

Superman: How does he fit into the natural order? The answer Lois deduces after a late night of reading Plato and drinking cheap wine make her more than nervous.

Perry White: Pulled the Planet from bankruptcy in the 2000s. Meaner than cancer. No really – he’s in remission for the second time. Perry’s seen the newspaper business change through the decades from his days on the crime beat calling in stories, to teletype, to today’s 24-hour news cycle. Perry’s on wife #4, his daughter is estranged, and Lois is a surrogate daughter to him…although he’ll never admit it.

Hayley Jordan: Earth’s first Green Lantern Corpsman.

Story – “Harmony of the Spheres”

The Green Lantern Corp is a galactic para-military police force. Corp members are selected from planets who agree to cede all provincial and planetary law to Corp-enforced interstellar law. In return, the plant liases with their Corpsman and can request assistance with disasters or invasion.

The Corp has a checkered history – the campaign against the Braniac Virus left billions dead, and now the Corp is embroiled in an all-out police action on Apokolips. This police action has crossed onto Earth and a Corpsman, Abin Sur, is dead, invoking his ring’s Succession Protocol.

The Succession Protocol is a set of ranking algorithms, like Google AdSense or page ranks, but for a planet population. Nobody truly understands how it works, not even the Corp or their masters the Guardians. The selections are sometimes…unexpected.

Earth’s first Green Lantern is Hayley Jordan, a sixteen-year-old high school dropout from Fishtown in Metropolis. Hayley and Lois are whisked away by the Corp – first to stand trial for contributing to Abin Sir’s death, then to the frontline of the Apokolips Police Action, ending as hostages in the royal court of Darkseid.

In Darkseid’s court a bewildered Hayley fights beside Mr. Miracle in gladiatorial games. Lois engages the amorous Darkseid in a game of philosophical brinkmanship; Lois is trying to invalidate Darkseid’s final offensive – the Anti-Life Equation. As the Corp presses the offensive and Darkseid becomes agitated and Hayley faces death in the arena, Lois finds her faith in the goodness and symmetry of the universe tested; especially so when Darkseid offers to surrender the equation if Lois will deny Haley.

Hayley and Mr. Miracle escape with his lover Big Barda, rescuing Lois. The Corp, pushed back by para-demons, rotate the planet Apokolips into a dead pocket universe to freeze and die at absolute zero.

Lois Lanes gets the story, but in the process learns that life isn’t neat and clean, and that both beauty and evil must sometimes perish to save the innocent.


BATMAN

Writer: Chuck Palahniuk Illustrator: Rags Morales

Bleeding knuckles. Can’t see from one eye. Tiny scars spiderweb your hands. You’re going to kill yourself.

Good. Let’s do it again.

Cast

Bruce Wayne: Scion of the business and charity communities. A driven and brilliant businessman. Whispers of a run for senate or governor. Too bad he’s really Clayface, an imposter.

Wayne Enterprises: A privately-held conglomerate. Lender of last resort to the bankrupt city of Gotham. Arms of Wayne Enterprises sell the police guns and the thugs drugs. Wayne Enterprises is a hydra, and not all the heads know what the others are doing.

Batman: A damaged personality who attracts other damaged personalities, and then beats the living shit out of them. A sublime intellect with a passion for criminology. He’s abdicated the role of Bruce Wayne to a caretaker, in his mind completing the transformation started that autumn night outside the opera.

Genevieve Taylor: An anthropologist employed by Wayne College and the City of Gotham.

Story – “Empire”

Batman and Genevieve join up to close in on a serial killer who targets only the homeless. Batman and Genevieve will take a journey modeled after the Divine Comedy through the Hell Gotham has become, with the murderer and Bruce Wayne’s dead parents at the end. This will be a metaphysical journey for Batman too, as he understands suffering is not unique to him, and he can’t beat sense into the world.


WONDER WOMAN

Writer: Marjorie Liu Illustrator: Becky Cloonan

Cast

Steve Trevor: Diana’s on-again/off-again boyfriend. Steve’s an Air Force fighter pilot, career military. When Diana charges off half-cocked he’s behind her with covering fire.

The Sisterhood: Amazons who abandoned their Amazonian city-states through the centuries to live in the greater world. They’ve lived as outcasts, hired guns, assassins, business owners, anyplace they found a toehold in a man’s world.

Nubia: Diana’s half-sister and next in line to the throne of Themyscira.

Story – “Sacrifices”

Princess Diana was exiled in adolescence from Themyscira by her mother, Queen Hippolyta, to quell unrest among the loosely-aligned Amazonian city states. Diana is not a pure-blooded Amazonian; Hippolyta met and romanced a man from the greater world years ago. It was rumored he died protecting Hippolyta and infant Diana.

Diana came of age in America, becoming an Air Force Nurse and officer. She’s a risk-taker and impulsive – banging herself up para-gliding, windsurfing, snorkeling…Steve thinks she’s burying her anger at her mother’s abandonment.

One day a messenger from the Sisterhood arrives for Diana. Her mother Hippolyta is dead, assassinated by an unknown party. Princess Diana is queen of the Amazons. Diana returns to Themyscira to a jealous Nubia, court intrigue, and challenges to her her leadership from both within and without Themyscira.

A Civil War erupts among the Amazons, with the Sisterhood playing both sides. To resolve the conflict and end more bloodshed, a born warrior must lay down her sword and learn who her father was, forgive the mother abandoned her, and allow the vain and sometimes cruel Nubia to become queen to unite their sundered people.

JARED MOORE

The high concept for this entire universe is Bronze Age Marvel meets H.P. Lovecraft. There are no real super heroes in this universe, and very few super powered mortals. SHIELD is the world’s premier espionage and counter-terrorism group. But they are not the only one in the world. Even though the Berlin Wall fell in the 90s and Communism along with it, the USSR never broke up and the East & the West are still very much engaged in a cold war. Super spies are the closest thing we have to super heroes. There’s the occasional street level vigilante or two, but for the most part that’s it. However, beneath the surface, something lies in wait.

Unbeknownst to almost all of humanity, we aren’t alone in the universe, or even on our own planet. There are ancient creatures known as Celestials that exist in their home dimension located beyond a rift on the farthest edges of deep space but occasionally travel to Earth. Like the gods leaving Olympus to mate and machinate amongst humanity. Over the years, they have ingratiated themselves and their human agents across a wide spectrum of the globe in different positions of interest to the Celestials. Some are in SHIELD, some are government officials, some are seemingly normal, but meant to shepherd Nephilim along, keep them safe and possibly even trigger them. And these are not sleeper agents, these are humans that have consciously sided with the Celestials for earthly rewards, dislike for humanity or out of fear.

Celestials are ageless and immortal but otherwise powerless on Earth’s plane. In their home dimension, they have unimaginable cosmic powers, but can be killed (not easily mind you). As the gods they feel they are, they want it both ways. They want to have the immortality that Earth, and Earth alone can provide them, but they want access to their powers that they have grown used to. To that end, some Celestials, in their human form, have slept with humans throughout history. These unions result in what are essentially demigods (or Nephilim, as they will later be called). These Nephilim all have “X” shaped birthmarks on their bodies, and are often raised as orphans, as the Celestial mothers abandon the children and the human ones never survive childbirth. After a certain age these Nephilim can be “triggered” and supernatural powers will awaken; powers that, because of their mixed heritage, can be used either on Earth or in the Celestial home dimension.

The Celestials plan to remain on Earth, but through influences, both overt and subtle; they will use the Nephilim as pawns.  Allowing the Celestials to, essentially use the Nephilim’s powers while remaining immortal on Earth themselves. The best of both worlds. Once the world is made aware of the Celestials and their plot, SHIELD and their Soviet & Chinese counterparts have to decide if they can trust each other and join forces for the greater good of humanity, or if laying down arms and hoping the Celestials turn out to be benevolent leaders is the only option.

The books listed below will make up the first year of the line. After their first 11 months, there will be a crossover between all of the books making up the 12th issues of all of them. In this 12th issue, all of our main characters (but not the general public) will find out the truth about the Celestials and the next year will cover how they react and what, if anything, they plan to do about them

SHIELD– High concept: African James Bond with Agent Mulder as his “Q”

Mike Costa (words) Antonio Fuso (art)

SHIELD is the joint espionage conglomerate headed by North America, The European Union and parts of sub-Saharan Africa. If the CIA & MI6 had a lovechild, it would be SHIELD. The main characters of the book will be T’Challa & Dr. Stephen Strange. The book has a globetrotting, “mission of the month” format. Most of the issues are one and done when it comes to T’Challa’s missions, but Strange’s secret investigations build with each issue as T’Challa finishes more and more missions, until, eventually, Strange’s story takes up most of the book, because he’s  finding evidence of the Celestials.

T’Challa–Wakandian operative T’Challa (code name: The Panther) is SHIELD’s star agent. He excels at information gathering and successfully completing his mission objectives; he’s the African James Bond. Smooth with the ladies, cool under pressure, and always seems to find a way to get the job done. His father, T’Chaka used to work with Steve Rogers in the 60s and 70s, but was killed in the line of duty following orders, something T’Challa never forgets. Because of this he will occasionally break the rules if he deems it to be for the greater good.

Dr. Stephen Strange—SHIELD Quartermaster and T’Challa’s best friend, Strange is a physicist & engineer who used to be a highly ranked chief in the SHIELD structure, but an obsession with discovering extraterrestrial life got him demoted. He creates the gadgets that T’Challa uses in the field. Unbeknownst to T’Challa or any of his superiors, Strange is still convinced that there are alien elements out in the world that we’re not nearly prepared to face, and he has integrated scanning tech into every device he creates for field work. If it detects any extraterrestrial energy signatures, it records it and sends the info back to him. As T’Challa unwittingly brings back more and more data from the field, Strange is able to find solid evidence of the existence of the Celestials and the Nephilim. Leading into the crossover

THE DEFENDERS– High concept: Grassroots Occupy Movement as the neighborhood watch run by an elderly Steve Rogers with the occasional flashbacks featuring Steve’s spy adventures in the 60s, 70s, & 80s.

John Ridley (words) David Aja (main art) Jim Steranko (flashback art)

Steve Rogers (former code name: The Patriot) was SHIELD’s original super-spy. He went into the service the same year the Berlin Wall went up and stayed with SHIELD until the wall came down. Now in his mid-70s he’s tired of seeing his neighborhood and city falling apart. What used to be a neighborhood full of friendly faces and prospering families, has become a part of NYC that the police have nicknamed “Golgotha”–“the place of the skull”. Gentrification, loss of public services, high unemployment, the influx of drugs etc, have all met in a perfect storm of urban blight and decay.

Steve notices some local young people working separately to try to do the right thing, but getting no traction because they’re all seen as “outsiders” (minorities, ex-cons, etc.) and because people have gotten so used to the state of Golgotha, that they feel it’s easier to just keep things the way they are than it is to change anything.  Figuring that if they combined their efforts they’d be more effective, Steve decides to train, fund and supply them with some of his old SHIELD tech to help them protect Golgotha. It’s not the top shelf stuff, but it’ll do to keep their neighborhood safe. The college age kids he mentors come from all walks of life but all want to help their community; if they can actually work together and not kill each other. They aren’t perfect angels and, unfortunately, being young they sometimes lose focus and use their skills for selfish gain.  They include:

Luke Cage – A member of the New Black Panther Party. He’s a racist who initially flat out refuses to work with the white members of the team or Steve at all. They’re white and Steve represents “the enemy” in the flesh. He is the last to actually start working with them as he wants to continue his grassroots attempts, but keeps hitting walls every time he tries to progress. He’s the most motivated and dedicated out of all of them, but his prejudices keep getting in the way. After seeing the rest of the team making some headway, he reluctantly joins them; but he still doesn’t fully trust them. Part of his internal struggle is that he finds himself attracted to Jessica Jones, who is white.

Danny Rand – An ex-con who, between the ages of 13 & 17 was in and out of juvi for everything from stealing cars to selling drugs. On his last stint in juvi, some convicts from the state pen visited for a “scared straight” program. Danny then met his father and grandfather, Wendell and August, for the first time in his life. High ranking members of the Irish Mob, they’re oddly proud to see that even though they never met him, that he’s working his way into “the family business”. He’s disgusted at them and at himself, feeling that he’s letting his mom down by turning into his father. Once he’s out, he endeavors to stay out and works at a youth center to stay busy and to try and let kids know that the cycle of violence is one they can break. He falls for Misty.

Mercedes “Misty” Knight—Misty is an ex-gang member. She joined up because she felt she had no choice. On her block, it was like prison: you had to join one gang in order to be protected from the others. So she joined up with The Red Hand. Her heart was never in gang life though; point in fact she couldn’t stand it. She saw it ruin her older brother’s life, and assumed it would ruin hers. Through a shared love of art and music, she and her classmate Kaori became close friends. Eventually confiding in one another that they wanted to become more than friends. Misty’s traditional African-American family is devoutly Christian and disapproves of her relationship with Kaori, leading them to kick her out of their house after she graduates high school. When she is forced to move to a rat-trap and work 50+ hours a week in order to stay off of the streets, she is jumped out of The Red Hand too. All she has is Kaori and her intense hatred of gang life.

Kaori “Colleen” Tsubasa—Most people call Kaori “Colleen” because they can’t understand her accent when she says her actual name. She thinks they’re small minded idiots, but gets tired of correcting them 20 times a day. She has lived in NYC since she was 10, when her family moved from Tokyo. Her father was an executive for a pharmaceutical corporation that was caught in a class action suit. Her father was ousted and, as a named defendant, was forced to pay restitution personally. Because of this, her family had to relocate from their Manhattan condo, to a brownstone in Golgotha. Neither dragon lady nor china doll, Kaori doesn’t fit in with the traditional image of the model minority. She is a passionate activist, consummate feminist and social agitator. The police opened a file on her after she organized a protest against them following the suspicious death of a minority youth they stopped during a “stop & frisk”.  She and Misty fall deeply in love and while her family is more understanding than Misty’s regarding their relationship, all of Kaori’s extracurricular activities cause no small amount of friction. She and Misty share a guilty pleasure of bad pop music.

Jessica Jones –Poor little rich girl from Nassau County. Not really. Jessica isn’t a bleeding heart liberal necessarily. She just wants to help those less fortunate help themselves.  Jessica is doing her post-grad social work at the same youth center Danny works at (which is across the street from Misty’s rat trap). Her first week at the youth center, she makes enemies with The Red Hand by standing up to them and making fun of them in front of the kids. They try jumping her later, but find that she’s no easy mark, thanks to multiple black belts and her years of marksmanship training. Despite the fact that she’s the best trained fighter in the group, she’s the one least likely to use violence as anything but a last resort. When she and Luke first meet you can cut the sexual tension with a lightsaber. They’re totally Bruce & Cybil in Moonlighting. Or Chuck & Blair from the first couple of seasons of Gossip Girl. If Bruce and Chuck were virulent racists.

Marc Spector—Marc is half Puerto Rican, half-Jewish and all swagger. He’s not a “bad” kid per se, but he’s not terribly good either. He just wants to roll through life with as little beef as possible. Just lay low and go with the flow. Maybe hustle a couple dollars here and there. Unfortunately The Red Hand refuses to let him be.  They want him to join up and won’t take no for an answer. When push comes to shove he pushes back and Steve thinks Marc is doing the right thing, when he’s really just out for himself. Over the first few months of the book, the main story arc will follow Marc’ journey as he gets power drunk with the toys that Steve gives him and he initiates a coup to wrest control of The Red Hand from their current leader; Marc’s twin brother Stephen.

Steve Rogers—Steve Rogers is in his 70s in the current day and spent more than 30 years fighting communism for SHIELD during the Cold War. When he retired he wanted nothing more than to read his paper, smoke his cigars, and tend to his little garden. But after gangs, drugs, corruption and more have turned his once beloved neighborhood into the little slice of hell known as Golgotha, Steve decides enough is enough. But he’s no fool and he knows he’s too old to get in there and fight the good fight. So instead he keeps his eyes open for young people he can train with his lifetime of knowledge and techniques. He will make them his agents, like he was once SHIELD director Rick Stoner’s top man. He’s physically older, but mentally fit as a fiddle. He’s smart, observant, analytical, and decisive. In the flashbacks we see his physical prowess as he hunts down spies and enemy agents. We also see that back in the 80s, just before he retired, he was starting to come to the edges of a deeper conspiracy; the same one that Cloak & Dagger discover too almost 30 years later. Towards the end of the year’s run, SHIELD contacts Steve asking for him to convince his “Defenders” to help fight the Celestials. Each member will have to make their own choice. Not all of them agree.

X– High Concept: The Breakfast Club by way of The Goonies and X-Files

Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (words) Sean Murphy (art)

On the first day of classes at Charles Xavier Memorial High School, a horrible act of vandalism is committed after school lets out. The school officials don’t know which of the seven students that were seen on campus around the time of the vandalism is actually guilty, and no one is fessing up. So the students, from across different walks of life and grades, are forced into after school and Saturday detention until someone breaks and admits their wrong doing. They start out resenting each other and the fact that they’re dragged into someone else’s nonsense by fate. But as they get to know each other more in and out of detention, they discover coincidences: none of them live with or know their birth parents, they all have an odd “X” shaped birth mark somewhere on their bodies, and for some reason they all seem to have supernatural powers of some sort that just started manifesting  in them. They start to investigate their pasts and try to figure out what connects them and what their powers mean and where they came from.

Jubilation Lee – 17 year old senior. 100% average in every way. She’s not great at sports, she’s not particularly smart. She’s the closest thing this universe will have to a Peter Parker type. Aside from her super power, her only real special “ability” is an undying sense of curiosity. Her curiosity is what convinces the others to try and find where their powers come from. She lives with her maternal aunt. Her powers allow her to control the four classical elements (earth, air, fire, water) as well as an unknown fifth (aether).

Monet St. Croix—Valedictorian, class president, homecoming and prom queen last year and on deck to repeat. She’s practically perfect in every way. The only black girl in her school, she’s also terribly insecure. She can never tell if she’s actually popular and earning these accolades of if she’s just a token for the school to show off. She feels the same way about her white adoptive parents. Her powers of super strength, super speed, hyper intellect, super durability (and possibly even her seemingly natural beautiful and grace) belie her lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.

Scott Summers – Scott has bounced around between foster families 10 times since he was born. He had two younger twin brothers, Gabe and Alex, who were killed by his last foster family’s neglect. He’s been with this current foster family for about two years now, and feels they’ve been the best so far, but he also knows he is getting too old for fosters. He fell madly in love with a beautiful redhead, Maddie. They planned on moving away to the city when they turned 18 and getting married. Before that happened though, they got pregnant and Maddie gave birth to a beautiful, health baby boy. Unfortunately, there were complications, and Maddie died during childbirth. Scott is now a single teen father, has buried his brothers and the love of his life and never knew his parents. He’s possibly the most repressed and insular angry young man ever. In spite of all of this, his power is preternatural luck. With small things anyway. He never gets caught in the rain w/o an umbrella, he can always find his keys, he’s always prepared for every pop quiz, etc.

Illiyana “Anya” Rasputin—Look up “bad girl” in the dictionary and you’ll see her picture. A chain smoking, hard drinking, wild child, 14-year old Anya has lived with her adult half-brother, Peter since her maternal grandmother had to move into a senior citizen’s home.  She has no other family, so it was either live with Peter or in an orphanage. They didn’t grow up together so they don’t have much in common and butt heads quite a bit. They’re the odd couple as siblings: he’s a refined, buttoned down, white collar professional and she’s the girl who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks that your mom warned you about. Anya’s powers allow her to essentially do magic, for lack of a better description. With enough concentration and real desire, she can make almost anything happen. The problem is her head and heart have to be fixated on what she wants, and between never knowing her parents, being taken away from her grandmother, and being forced to live with a brother she doesn’t know, Anya’s so anchorless that she doesn’t know what she wants most of the time.

Jonothan Starsmore—The town freak. Jono has absolutely no friends and keeps to himself. He walks 5 miles each way to school with nothing keeping him company aside from the audio books and music living in his headphones.   Jono lives with his godfather who tries his best to help Jono come out of his shell but Jono prefers spending his free time in his room with aforementioned music and audio books and creating fantasy worlds for an online game. The worlds he creates are the most popular in the creator community. They are incredibly organic and fully realized, but no one knows it’s because they are based on actual locations Jono has visited using his powers to portals between dimensions and in space/time.

Emma Frost—The school disciplinarian who is responsible for meting out the punishment for the kids and keeping them in detention. She’s not a mentor per se nor is she openly offering them help, but she tends to leave them to their own devices and not supervise them too much. She is one of the humans working for the Celestials and framed them all in order to get them together so they could meet and discover their powers (which she triggered during the last day of the previous school year). As she spends more and more time observing them and keeping an eye on them, she feels more and more protective of them; unable to have children of her own, her maternal nature kicks in. To the point that, when Jono is tricked into opening a portal to the Celestial home world, she betrays the Celestials and stops the kids from going through the portal. She is killed for her betrayal.

CLOAK & DAGGAR- High Concept: Burn Notice starring Mr. & Mrs. Smith.  Mike Costa (words) J.H. Williams III (art)

Ty (Code name Cloak) and Tandy (Code name Dagger) were the elite black ops team working for SHIELD. SHIELD sends in The Panther when they want info, tech or evidence recovered. They send in Cloak & Dagger when they don’t want you (and possibly your entire office block) to continue drawing breath. Unfortunately, Ty & Tandy did two things they never should’ve: They found out that a mole high up in SHIELD is making side deals with foreign powers. And they fell in love. Now, the two most dangerous humans on the planet are on the run from the most dangerous organization on the planet. After they discover evidence of the mole on one of their missions, word gets to the mole and they are “burned”, with a directive going out that they have switched sides and are to be killed on site.  They still feel a sense of duty to find out who is setting up these deals, with whom and why. So they’re running for their lives, and still hunting their hunters. For their part, SHIELD has called in their deep cover agent to hunt them down; an agent that no one has ever seen, and the only agent with a higher kill ratio than Cloak. This agent is known only as “Weapon X”.

By the time the series has started, they haven’t admitted their love to each other, but he knows he loves her, and she knows she loves him, so along with the action and intrigue we get some good “will they or won’t they” moments. Unlike T’Challa who jet sets to places like Paris, London, New York City, Las Vegas, etc, C&D are forced to stay off of the radar. Their adventures take them to places like Madripoor, Darkmoor, Wundagor, Kamar-Taj etc.

Tyrone Johnson—Code name: Cloak.  Ty was plucked out of his Marine special forces unit and recruited into SHIELD’s black ops division. Where T’Challa is personable and has a likable personality, Ty is laconic; a real “Man with no Name” type. A stone cold, reserved killer with a high aptitude for strategic thinking and planning. If his superiors had anything negative to report about him, it’s that he seems too cut off from the world. He sits in his apartment waiting for the phone to ring with his next assignment. He has no social life and no hobbies outside of training. About six months before the series starts, his superiors promote him out of his squad to running a squad of his own with only one other operative. This means that Ty now is only given the goal of the op and the basic mission parameters, and he is free to design the method of completion himself. When he meets his partner, Tandy, he is initially only concerned with how she can compliment him on an op and what she brings to the table. But over time he found himself falling in love with her and opening up to her. He has a lighter side that he keeps buried in order to be a more efficient killer and not to feel fear or regret.

Tandy Bowen—Code name: Dagger. Tandy initially worked on the strictly information gathering side of SHIELD. Her beauty helped her gain confidences and get close to targets. However, she has a darker side to herself, a side that she fights against on her spy ops. The voice in her head that wants to go for the kill instead of the wound. She requests a transfer to black ops, and in light of her exemplary record, it’s granted. She finds herself immediately attracted to Ty, but keeps it to herself and doesn’t let anything show because she also loves killing. Killing with a purpose is keeping that voice inside of her head quiet.

Weapon X—AKA Unknown. Weapon X could be a man, or a woman, no one knows. Hell, not even the person they report to, SHIELD’s chief of Special Tactical Reserve for International Key Emergencies (Sinclair Abbot Code Name: Spymaster as well as the mole working for the Celestials) knows Weapon X’s real identity. Only that Weapon X is considered a boogeyman by the opposition. Weapon X can walk into any facility anywhere and kill any person on the planet and disappear without a trace. Weapon X is actually a Nephilim whose powers of teleportation were triggered in their youth 20 years ago and uses this teleportation to get targets, teleport them out, kill and torture said target at leisure, and later dump the dead body wherever they want to. No marks have ever gotten away from Weapon X before. But Cloak & Dagger seem to always be one step ahead. Weapon X speculates it’s because they too are Nephilim who only triggered once they met each other.

There you go, I hope you like what I have planned!

 

SAM REED

DC Comics Alpha

For this challenge I’m pitching the introduction of DC Comics Alpha.  The name was chosen to distinguish it from the mainstream DC that uses numbered worlds such as Earth 1 etc.  Any other dimensions, planets or cultures in DC Alpha are unconnected with those previous seen in DC continuity or history.

The opening DC Alpha titles would be Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Justice League.  Information on the titles will be detailed separately, but I will first outline the underlying themes across the line, to contextualize each in the universe.

DC Alpha is set in the modern age, and in it humanity faces the same social, political, ecological and economic challenges we do today.  Aspects such as technology, whilst still remarkable at their bleeding edge, are not fantastical, and at its outset, superheroes or powered persons are neither public knowledge nor widespread in nature; the first 12 months of stories would show their emergence and impact.

The character books would explore three changing aspects within the Alpha world; Wonder Woman would deal with magic, Superman with technology and Batman with crime. Justice League would unite the three heroes together, alongside Green Lantern and Aquaman, into a team capable of countering threats too big to counter alone.

A theme common across all four books would that of holding responsibilities to others.  The characters would be aspirant in nature through the positive and constructive nature of their actions.  This is a move away from the vicious and introverted nature of many DC titles, aiming instead to provoke optimism and hope.

In the first twelve months each book would have individual central antagonists and plots, intended as readable solo, but a core villain, Darksied who also the antagonist in Justice League, would link them, as they act as ‘stalking horses’ in his grand scheme.

WONDER WOMAN ALPHA

Origin/Setting -First Year Story Arc- (With Wonder Woman, the first year of stories would track her origin story, with the emergence of her into the world taking place midway through the first 12 months, followed by the repercussions therein)

Professor Diana Prince, one of the world’s leading authorities on Greco-Roman culture, had visited the Mediterranean many times over the course of her celebrated career.  However, one fateful visit to the island of Crete would change her understanding of her field completely. During a new excavation into what seemed to be an underground tomb, Diana found a pair of shining silver bracelets, bound by a golden rope.  Alone at the time, she reached out, and as her fingers brushed the tightly secured package, immediately finding herself transported away.

Arriving in a world Diana thought existed only in myth, she found herself on the island of Themyscira.  Suddenly surrounded by Amazon warriors, Diana was taken to the islands terrible queen, Circe.  Keen to learn how to cross to Earth from the dimension, Circe places Diana in captivity. In Themyscira’s cells of Diana meets Donna Troy, a captive young girl also linked to Earth, being born of a human father and an Amazon, in fact the previous guardian.  Donna explains that Circe is only leader via use of dark magic, and has banished both their queen and protector.

Together, Donna and Diana escape captivity, and return to the location where Diana first arrived, and the bracelets and rope having been unnoticed and thus left at her capture.  Seeing the totems of the island’s defender, Donna realizes that her mother must have perished. Telling her that to don the bracelets is to become the hero, Donna pleads with Diana to save the island.  Taking up the task, she becomes Wonder Woman, the embodiment of Amazon spirit and power, with Donna, her heritage granting her similar amazing abilities.

Returning to Circe’s castle, liberating enchanted Amazon warriors along the way using the golden rope, or lasso of truth.  Facing off against a now ally-less Circe, the sorceress opened a portal, fleeing to another pocket dimension, like that in which Themyscira sits, freeing the island.

Now the celebrated liberator, Diana agrees to act as the island’s protector and emissary to other worlds.  Her first task is to return to her home world and bring back the exiled Queen Hippolyta and the remains of Donna’s mother, the previous Wonder Woman.

Accompanied by Donna, Diana returns to Crete, much to the delight of her colleagues who’d no idea of where she’d gone.  Concealing her new found heroic identity and powers, and after returning her predecessors remains, Diana takes Donna with her to New York, her home town. Elsewhere, Circe, full of hatred towards Diana, travels to meet with Darkdied.  Knowing his desire to conquer Earth, and the emerging hero presence preventing this, she begs for the right and aid needed to destroy Wonder Woman herself, gaining revenge and aiding his goals.

Darksied grants this wish, and provides her with two lieutenants, Genocide and Devastation, creating the former from dirt taken from the worlds he has destroyed, the latter a warrior banished from a pocket dimension like Themyscira, holding beings Earth sees as Greek gods. On Earth, Diana and Donna reveal themselves as Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl to the United Nations, looking to build bonds between the two worlds.  They are then approached by an agent, Cameron Chase, who offers them an opportunity to work for a secret national agency.

Turning it down to retaining her position as ambassador for Themyscira, Chase offers them aid in finding Queen Hippolyta in exchange.  This coincides with Circe’s arrival and while Wonder Woman easily defeats the powerful but stupid Devastation, but Genocide is another matter. Targeting her colleagues and friends, Genocide draws out Wonder Woman, before seriously injuring Donna, leading to Wonder Woman destroying the Frankenstein-like beast in rage.  Not knowing it wasn’t a living being, Diana questions of she should hold her powers.

Circe, using the distraction of the twin attacks, blends into the human population, and begins to build a cult of personality around herself in the shape of a false religion, using misinformation about Wonder Woman and her ‘murder’ of Genocide to turn public opinion against her. Diana takes Donna back to Themyscira to heal from her awful wounds, and is encouraged to remain as their link to Earth by her wounded side kick.  Using her platform at the UN she calls for both worlds to unite in the face of threats like those of Genocide and Devastation.

Cameron Chase reveals that Queen Hippolyta had her mind wiped and was cast into the Earth’s population by Circe, and if Wonder Woman agrees to work in tandem with her new Department of Extranormal Operations, she’ll help her find the missing leader of Themyscira. Agreeing, her first task is to help hunt down corporate criminal Maxwell Lord, who has fled to the Caribbean.  On finding him, revels to Diana that Chase and the D.E.O is looking to appropriate super powered individuals as part of a strategy of global dominance, not defense.

Allowing him to escape, Diana confronts Chase, who admits to the objective of the D.E.O, leading her to quit and head to Themyscira, unsure of her role on Earth, now that her powers lead her to be seen as more a resource than a person.  However, news that Darksied is massing his forces for attack brings her back to Earth.

-Primary differences from current character

In an attempt to revitalize and ‘bring home’ the character, Wonder Woman is radically different to previous incarnations.  Rendering the worlds and peoples of myth, such as the Amazons, is intended to allow for an explanation of why in both their past and current interactions with Earth they remain the same.

The immediate use of Donna Troy as Wonder Girl is to highlight Diana’s membership and responsibilities to a tangible group, rather than just gaining powers with no recourse, and much like with Batman and Superman, ties her choice to take on a challenge with the pledge that involves making to others.

The inclusion of political intrigue in the shape of the D.E.O is to provide vivid juxtaposition of the magical and the normal, and with her Wonder Woman persona public, also provides Diana with a set of different trials attached to her powers than the secretive Batman or near-fugitive Justice League.

Writer: John Lees- John is a Scottish Independent Comic Book Award winning writer, who’s ‘The Standard’ is out on the direct market via Comixtribe.  For a young writer he has an incredible world-building ability, and to spin dark and truly unusual stories, as shown in his new book ‘And Emily Was Gone.’

Artist: Becky Cloonan- With a broad range of work-for-hire, including ‘Batman’, ‘Conan’ and recent ‘Killjoys’, Cloonan’s pick here is thanks primarily to the bold use of space in her self-published work like ‘The Mire’ and comfort in blending  fantastic and weird element with more down-to-earth

BATMAN ALPHA

Born into the powerful Wayne family, founders of a business empire that placed them amongst the wealthiest in Gotham, as a boy Bruce wanted for nothing.  His childhood to teenage years spent in lavish estates and exclusive schools, the world beyond this cushioned existence was distant and unknown. Kidnapped, Bruce and his parents were taken deep into the city’s most maligned area, the Narrows.  Held for days, Bruce was finally able to escape, but his parents both were both killed helping him.  Alone in a world alien to him, Bruce hid in the belfry of a condemned church amidst a storm, tight bonds still tying his wrists together.

The next morning Alfred, a tradesman scavenging in the ruined building, finds Bruce.  Taking him to his workshop Alfred cuts his bonds, revealing a pair of wounds worn in Bruce’s wrists that when placed together resemble a bat, its wings spread.  The injury and where he was found hiding leads Alfred to nickname him the bat. As the Wayne kidnapping aftermath unfolds on the news, seeing that no one is left to care for the boy, and that his parent’s empire is already being broken apart by ruthless competitors, Alfred, a child of care himself, asks Bruce if he wants to go back to the world he knew and likely find himself under ward of the state, or to stay in with him.

Without his parents, the life of plenty Bruce had means little, and he opts to stay with Alfred, hidden from those who’ve cause to harm him.  Passing as Alfred’s nephew, Bruce integrates into the tough but tight Narrows community, starting a new life. Growing up poor and amongst those struggling to get by day-to-day, Bruce saw the flipside of the life he knew.  Learning skills from practical Alfred, studying hard at school, and taking classes in martial arts, Bruce becomes an outstanding young man of whom his parent would’ve been proud.

But as Bruce grows the city stumbles.  The rich-poor divide expands, graft and corruption becomes widespread, and the hard working, decent citizens of the Narrows, fall victim more frequently to those looking to profit off their misery.  When Alfred is robbed and beaten for refusing protection, Bruce makes the decision to act. Initially he hides his actions, but when Alfred learns of them he understands the deeper meaning at the heart of Bruce’s quest.  In support Alfred built Bruce a costume from scavenged materials, styled on his nickname, the bat.

Bruce’s campaign against the crime makes ‘The Batman’ a local legend; adored by the law abiding, feared by those who prey on them.  One Narrows native, James Gordon, is inspired by his action to make his own difference, joining Gotham Police Department, only to find a force riddled with political expediency and sleaze. With the city’s privileged aloof to anything outside their rarefied bubble, Batman’s campaign on crime is unnoticed by them.  And when the Elliot family, chief amongst Gotham’s power brokers, sees potential profit in the redevelopment of the Narrows, by fair means or foul, does Batman’s war escalate to a whole new level.

-First Year Story Arc

Interspersed with flashbacks into Bruce’s past and the rise of Batman as described above, the first year would revolve around the Elliot family sending ruthless foes after the Batman seeking to remove him and exploit the Narrows.  The first villain sent to the Narrows is Firefly, Garfield Lynnes, his mission being to scorch the earth to make way for development, the Gotham PD turning a blind eye.  Batman faces and defeats Firefly, but this exposes his existence to the GCPD and Elliot’s, leading the latter to ally with the mysterious Intergang to get rid of him.

Intergang, who are to be revealed as a front for Darksied’s actions on Earth, send an insane murderer, Zsasz, to kill Batman, only for the fiend to fail, giving Bruce insight into larger conspiracy at work.  At this point Patrolman Gordon, seeing Batman as the sole force able to halt the manipulation of the city, begins to cooperate with him. The overarching story would build as Batman pushes his crusade further and further beyond the boundaries of the Narrows, coming to be seen as an icon for justice and right in Gotham.  Eventually facing off with Thomas Elliot, scion to his family’s power, Batman exposes their corruption and ties to Intergang and Darksied, then topples them, though leaving Tommy free to plot in the shadows.

-Primary differences from current character

Bruce Wayne/Batman is radically different from his standard counterpart.  Rather than him being a benevolent rich man, providing help to those below him via ultra-violence and philanthropy, here he is a young man, who rather than let his terrible misfortunes be his ruin, strives to improve the life of those living in one of the city’s most deprive areas, standing against crime and elitist indifference.

Fitting with the themes for the whole Alpha line, he seeks out responsibility where others shy away and provides hope for those in his community and beyond, that justice does not just serve those with the money and influence to buy it.  Bruce is also shown as more ingenious, unable to simply rely on his tech constantly, removing the “I’ve got an app for that” feel of many current resolutions.

Alfred, though still British, is a member of the working poor, and a true mentor to Bruce, their bond tightened by their facing want together.  Gordon is a young man, Bruce’s age, and provides a closer, less aloof foil for him on the inside of the system.  Though space exists for tension, and they would not always see eye-to-eye, they’re ‘brothers from the bottom of the barrel’, and share a world view.

Writer – Mike Costa- With a CV covering many licensed properties (‘Transformers’, ‘Authority’), it’s his excellent work on the multi-layered and high-tension GI ‘Cobra’ books that, makes Costa an ideal candidate here, where a good understanding of complex, conspiratorial plots would be key.

Artist – Patrick Zircher- Having primarily for Marvel, with runs on ‘Iron-Man’ and ‘Thunderbolts’, Zircher does have some experience, with major DC properties, including ‘Batman’.  But it’s the gritty feel and raw energy displayed in his recent ‘Suicide Squad’ and ‘Shadowman’ work that led me to choose him here.

SUPERMAN ALPHA

Born and raised in Smallville, Kansas, Clark Kent was a curious child.  He loved his parents’ farm and the country life but dreamed of heading to Metropolis and to become a journalist.  At the end of high school he got his wish, scoring a coveted intern position at the Daily Planet. The night after his graduation, Clark was sat watching the stars when his parent, Jonathan and Martha, came to him explaining that Clark wasn’t really their son.  Taken to a shack hidden away on the farm, Clark first saw the alien vessel that had brought him to Earth, his origin revealed.

They explained that the craft crash-landed on their farm and in the wreckage Jonathan and Martha found Clark as a baby, along with a message.  The last of its race, the child was from a planet called Krypton that was faced with an unstoppable foe, on the brink of destruction. The child represented the only chance of Kryptonian survival, of hope, and his true parents begged from beyond the grave that whoever found him not reveal his true origin, in case the destroyer of their race hunt him down and finish the genocide they had failed to complete.

For the first time since he was lifted from it as a babe, Clark placed his hand on the ruined ship, last remnant of his birth world.  Immediately a surge of energy entered him, changing him, and causing a symbol, similar to an ornate ‘S’ to appear on his chest, glowing under his skin. Shocked, Clark fled into the fields.  That night he began to manifest several strange powers; the ability to freeze objects with his breath, project heat from his eyes, an immense strength and flight.  Realizing Jonathan and Martha’s had lied only to protect him, he returned home.

Back in bosom of the couple who raised him, Clark wept for the parents and world he would never know.  Encouraged to continue the rewarding life he was leading by Jonathan and Martha, Clark also vowed to explore his new powers and ready himself if Kyrpton’s bane ever found Earth. Clark spent that last summer in Smallville preparing for his move to Metropolis and exploring his newly-inherited powers.  The remnants of his childhood vessel offered up more details of Krypton’s history and people, and his specific birthright as latest in the line of protectors.

At this time, at a SETI radio site, a signal is received from deep space.  Infecting the equipment and employees it reveals itself to be an organic-techno virus called Brainiac, sent by its creator, Darksied, to hunt the last Krytponian, whose presence was revealed by Clark touching his ship. With the site as a beachhead, and its employees as proxies, Brainiac probes networked systems of government and companies.  This alerts the ruthless owner of a private military contractor, Lex Luthor, who sees the potential for power and profit in the technology behind the hacks.

Moving to the big city, Clark meets Perry White, editor at the Daily Planet and rooms with Jimmy Olsen, another intern keen on working in journalism.  He also encounters Lois Lane, a blogger with a dismissive attitude towards ‘old’ media, and who Clark immediately crushes on. And alongside his daily activities Clark begins, surreptitiously at first, using his new powers to help citizens, wearing a suit made from materiel found in his ship and based on images seen of his predecessors in their ceremonial dress.  Through this shines the emblem from under his skin.

-First Year Story Arc

As Clark interns at the Daily Planet, and makes rapid progress due to his intense curiosity, he also finds himself drawn deeper into his role as protector of Metropolis’ citizens, going public when averting a tornado set to devastate the city, and is dubbed Superman by Perry White. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor uses his company’s resources to track Brainiac.  Striking a deal where Lex Corp will profit from the advance technology Brainiac has access to, while the alien virus can use their access to broaden its search, the location of Clark is narrowed to Metropolis.

Brainiac is given one of Lex’s new drone troops, and after infusing it with a shard of Krytpon sent by Darksied, it is loosed on Superman.  Dubbed Metallo, it causes devastation in its hunt for Superman, before being brought down, and its power source is reveled to be toxic to Clark. Aware that the destroyer of his birth world must be looking for him on Earth, Clark takes the remains of his ship to the Artic, to avoid Jonathan and Martha being discovered.  Using this as a foundation stone and power source, he builds a base of operations, a fortress of solitude.

Perry White tasks Clark to woo the maverick Lois Lane and persuade her to join the Daily Planet, but she turns the tables on love struck Clark, using him as a conduit to gain information on stories beyond her reach.  Despite this, she starts to fall for the man she playfully calls Smallville. Lois’ investigations into Lex Corp reveal they are exposing ex-soldiers to chemicals, attempting to create superior soldiers, and Lex sends the only surviving specimen, named Parasite, to silence her.  Superman is able to rescue Lois and the ill-fated vet, who is treated at Star Labs in the city.

At the culmination of the first year, both Clark and Lois are hired on as full time employees of the Daily Planet for their work exposing Lex Corp.  Additionally, Lex’s links to Brainiac are discovered and, after a titanic battle, Superman is able to destroy the alien’s base and banish him. Returning to Darksied, Brainiac informs his master of all he has learnt, before being reset.  Contacting the on-the-run Lex, Darksied says that his next champion to be sent against Superman, Mongol, will leave nothing on Earth, offering the human sanctuary in return for betraying his world.

-Primary differences from current character

Compared to the slow growth of Clark Kent’s powers, here he receives them as a birth right at a ‘coming of age’ moment, which is intended to make him more perplexed and conflicted over the use of these incredible abilities.  It is also to show that he is a good person despite the power he holds, not because of it.

This helps fit him with the theme of aspiration, showing that he had no advantage nor ‘edge’ on the humans around him, yet he was a good kid and aiming to be a good person.  His journalistic prowess would be shown as unaided by his abilities, and he’d use them sparingly and only when pressed.

The characters of Lois and Jimmy, and Perry, would represent aspects of his humanity, passion, consideration, ambition respectively, and ground him to the potential of seeming alone and aloof by having the powers.  Lex would be the opposite, crazed by his lust for power in counterpoint to this balance.

Writer – Ed Brisson- Co-creator of the current Image series ‘Sheltered’ it is Brisson’s comfort with complex plotting seen in his excellent ‘Murder Book’ comics, and his ability to infuse characters with a tangible humanity in the midst of an intricate story shown in the series ‘Comeback’ that recommends him.

Artist – Stefano Caselli0- Shown in his current work on ‘Avenger Assemble’ and his excellent run on ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ Caselli has all the characteristics suited to big, bold superhero work, but also an eye for the unusual tech and intrigue needed here, as seen in his ‘Secret Warriors’ art.  He also has no prior DC work as well

JUSTICE LEAGUE ALPHA

(With Justice League Alpha, the first year of stories would display the origin story of the team, with the formation of the core group and first missions taking place across the span of the title’s first 12 months)

At the bottom of the Pacific Ocean there is a portal to another world, a pocket dimension holding what has become known through the murk of history as the legend of Atlantis, undersea home of a lost civilization that, unknown to Earth’s population, is no legend at all. Arriving at its gate to Earth one, having been flung from out of the stars, falling through the heavens, Earth atmosphere and sea, is the broken form of Abin Sur, member of the Green Lantern Corp and, without its knowledge, secret protector of the Earth from galactic threats.

His mortally wounded form was found by Orin, king of Atlantis, at the gate of his city’s pocket dimension.  Due to Orin’s unfamiliarity with humanity, Abin Sur was presumed to be from the surface, so the king, using his powers of the sea, took the dying Lantern to the surface. His walking from the water at a US Naval base on the Californian coast was witnessed by pilot Hal Jordan, who despite the strange nature of both figures gave no thought in rushing to their aid.  Military brass, alarmed at the appearance of the pair, moved to place both in captivity.

Hal is with Sur as he dies, and the alien whispers to him that there is a great evil marshaling its forces to destroy Earth, and that if he cannot be replaced it will be unopposed.  Placing his green ring of power in Ha’s palm he says he must take it to Oa, the Green Lanterns galactic base. Affronted by the treatment at the hands of surface dwellers, including their insulting name for him of Aquaman, Orin easily springs himself from incarceration.  As he strikes out to leave, he is confronted by Hal, who asks him how he might get to this place called Oa Sur spoke of.

Sensing a sincerity to Hal’s plea, and knowing the same dimensional portal that allows him to head home can be configured to take them throughout space, Orin agrees to take the human to this alien world.  The pair leave Earth and travel to Oa, meeting the Guardians on their arrival at the planet. These strange alien protectors explain that Sur was assisting another Lantern, one of whom worlds had come under attack, when he and the other Lantern vanished.  With their number depleted the Guardians require a new Lantern to replace Sur, and Hal, ever brave, volunteers.

Pointing out that it is for the ring to decide, the Guardians allow it to assess Hal for worthiness, and finding him acceptable (for a human) he is accepted as the first human Green Lantern.  Orin, shocked by events explains that this occurrence, where a human joins with Oa is foreseen. Atlantian prophesy had foretold such an event, and with it the great war for Earth that follows.  Being that Atlantis cannot survive without its tether to Earth, Orin proposes they return and consult with his oracle, in order to prepare for the upcoming catastrophe as best they possibly can.

On their return, Hal finds himself hunted as a deserter, and Orin labeled an enemy of the US state.  Using his new powers and Orin’s mastery of the seas, they are able to evade capture, and avoid hurting the other humans ignorant of the greater threat, in a battle over the Pacific. Arriving at the Atlantian oracle, they are told they must find others, particularly a last son of a broken world, and join with them to prevent Earth’s destruction.  Following reports of astonishing feats of heroism being undertaken by a man in the American Midwest they head there.

With their status as America’s Most Wanted, Orin and Hal are perused by the military, and suddenly confronted by Superman, who believes them to be threats.  A titanic struggle breaks out and, after fighting each other to a stalemate, Orin and Hal are able to explain themselves. Asking if Superman would join them in their united front against the coming threat, he both agrees and states that he has faced several enemies on Earth he believes have extraterrestrial origin.  He also suggests they seek out the fierce vigilante making a name in Gotham.

Arriving in Gotham as the Batman, his war on Intergang’s criminal enterprise peeking, is confronting a powerful member of their organization and gun-for-hire par excellence, Prometheus.  Batman, unable to defeat the murderous assassin alone, is aided by the trio. Once subdued, Batman thanks them, and sharing his belief that those who are trying to control Gotham have allies beyond this world, joins with the three.  At this stage, Wonder Woman announces herself at the UN, and the now four heroes strike out to ask the Amazon to join them.

Unfortunately for the team, Diana refuses, stating she has already accepted an offer to work for the US government in order to further her quest to find the Amazonian queen.  Invite left open, the four decide to use Superman’s fortress in the Artic as their base of operations. Establishing a pattern between the various foes they have faced, the team realizes that the same entity now threatening them is that which tore apart Krypton, Darksied, and that his influence on Earth is growing via the triple threat of crime, technology and magic.

As they come to this revelation, they are contacted by Oa, where the Guardians warn them to prepare as Darksied’s forces are mobilizing.  They contact Wonder Woman, who has withdrawn to Themyscira, and she joins them as the Justice League readies itself for its first great test.

-Primary differences from current incarnation

With the concept of heroes within it this world new, the Justice League’s first 12 months focuses on how they all begin to interact.  With Green Lantern and Aquaman (who’d rarely be referred to as such) as the foundations over the early issues, the other heroes would be built in across the story.

Being this way, unlike the Justice League currently, they would not be dealing with villains week in week out, instead it would paint a more nuanced picture of how the world itself deals with those who both hold a responsibility towards it, and at the same time make both the powerful and weak of Earth afraid.

It would be a book that sought to work in concert with the others, being focused on the larger threat Darksied posed to Earth, pulling together the half-threads seen in the character books, making it closer in feel to an a event title.

Writer: Joshua Dysart- The emotional intensity of Dysart’s work on ‘Unknown Solider’ was inspirational for me, as was his BPRD work.  However, it is his deft handling of the character-rich ‘Harbinger’ at Valiant and specifically that on ‘Harbinger Wars’ that makes me believe him the prefect choice here.

Artist: Declan Shalvey ‏- From his work on ‘Northlanders’ to his run on ‘Venom’ Shalvey is an artist with a knack for finding a central sense of a character and doing something a bit different with them.  His ‘Conan’ work, coupled with ’28 Days Later’ art shows his range, something important on a book like this.

ANDREW SHAW

I have chosen the DC Universe as the line of books I want to turn into “Ultimate” versions. I chose it because I currently believe several of the books are overdue for a new direction.

I have chosen to take three of the four characters in a more magical direction. Picking Bat-Man, Wildcat and Animal Man, I have decided to give them origins that are similar, but from different parts of the world. I want to take the 3 characters in the direction where they will all cross paths, leading to an event where they all fight a common enemy, The Phantom Stranger (who is a demonic villain in this universe), who is talked about in all beliefs as the one who will destroy the world. The big villain will have henchmen that will show up in each book, trying to soften up our heroes, until they are finally brought together, not getting along at first, like the classic stories, then teaming up to stop The Stranger.

Ambush Bug will also cross over with the other three heroes but in his own book. “Ambush’d” will have a first issue setting up what his story is about, the reality show where he ambushes people, leading to later in the book showing the battles Bat-Man, Animal Man and Wildcat from his perspective, as he accidently hinders the heroes from stoping the henchmen leading to their escape.

ANIMAL MAN –(Writer: Matt Miner, Artist: Travel Foreman) Loner, militant Vegan. Rescuing animals and hurting the people who have put them in that situation. Buddy Baker lives in a run-down shack in the middle of a forest, nature his only friend. Baker in the current DC Universe is seen as a family man, but I want to make it the opposite, a man who is alone, no family or friends to speak of. He has been dubbed “Animal Man”. He is a ferocious fighter, almost like he has the spirits of animals inside him. In another life, Baker was part of a Native American tribe, who worshipped all animals. They said, if the right ritual was conducted, a man could summon the spirits of animals, to help him with his quest. In the first 3 issues, Buddy faces mostly people who are hurting animals (a cosmetics testing lab, a factory farm, a whaling ship). While leaving the factory farm, Buddy is attacked by Gorilla Grodd, a monster of a man wearing the skin of a silver back gorilla he killed and skinned himself. Like the other heroes, he is warned on the imminent arrival of The Stranger. The final 2 issues are a crossover with Bat-Man and Wildcat, showing the build up to, and then the battle with The Phantom Stranger.

AMBUSH BUG– (Writer: Tim Seeley, Artist: Aaron Kuder ) Host of “Ambush’D”, a reality prank show that ambushes superheroes, usually as they are about to stop a crime. Ambush Bug looks like a man in a giant bug suit, but he is really an alien, sent to Earth to explore our emotions, hence the show. Ambush Bug was always a joke character, and I wanted to use this, but give it a more modern twist with the reality show. Because of his interference, the criminals usually escape, causing the heroes to be EXTREMELY pissed at him. Ambush Bug continues his ways, letting many villains go. His show is rating through the roof, people are all tuning in to see which super-villain will escape each week. Linking it to the event with the other characters, “Ambush’D” will show the final battle from Ambush Bug’s perspective, mostly hiding in fear, away from any danger.

BAT-MAN– (Writer: Marjorie Liu , Artist: Patrick Zircher) Bruce Wayne, the son of a rich industrialist, leaves his home town and his money behind, in search of further adventure. He gets in with a group known as The Devil’s Head, lead by Ra’s Al-Ghul. While with them, he is killed by Ra’s, when Bruce will not follow orders. Ra’s leaves him for dead in the jungle. Bruce is resurrected by Camazotz, the Mayan Bat-God. He is given special weapons, and the power of radar sense, like a bat has. Bruce returns home as a superhero, the Bat-Man. While trying to find further information on the whereabouts of Al-Ghul, our hero is attacked by Dr Light, a man made completely of light. Bat-Man triumphs, but, like the other heroes, is warned of the arrival of The Stranger. The final 2 issues are a crossover with Animal Man and Wildcat, showing the build up to, and then the battle with The Phantom Stranger. Bruce becoming a mercenary with Al-Ghul goes against everything the Batman in the DC universe stands for. He is cocky, brash and violent in this new universe. I’ve also taken away the well-worn idea of him seeking vengeance for his parents, instead giving him the more supernatural angle for his origin.

TED GRANT: WILDCAT – (Writer: Gabriel Hardman & Corinna Bechko , Artist: Riley Rossmo ) A broken-down, former World Champ, Ted Grant runs a local gym, teaching kids to use their words first, then their fists. When a local construction company tries to buy him out of his gym so they can build new high rise apartments, Ted tells them to go jump. That night, Ted is beaten by some thugs, and his gym torched. Ted Grant, no with no home, and his boxing memories destroyed, vows to get his revenge. What the construction company didn’t realise, is that the nickname wasn’t just about his ferocity in the ring. Ted, reciting the incantation taught to him by a shaman in Alaska, actually becomes The Wildcat, a savage, hairy beast. I would have the first 5 issues telling the story of how Ted takes revenge for the destruction of his gym, fighting through random gangsters and henchmen until reaching Bruno Manheim the local crime boss. Manheim gives Grant a warning before passing out, “The Stranger is coming…”.  The next 4 would be Wildcat being stalked and hunted by Deadshot, a half cyborg assassin, who is part of The Phantom Strangers’ cabal. The final 3 issues are a crossover with Bat-Man and Animal Man, showing the build up to, and then the battle with The Phantom Stranger. Ted Grant had no powers in the DC Universe, he was just an incredible fighter. Making him a were-cat changes his background, setting him along a more mystical path, which I think opens him up to many different and fun stories.

MARY SHERIDAN

In the year 2019, Earth rebels against humankind. Members of the Council of Superheroes receive a crude telepathic message. The planet is enraged by the damage humans have inflicted upon it and the planet wants vigilante-style justice. It has concealed its sentience for millennia, but now Earth is willing to accept its own demise in order to eradicate mankind, and has set in motion a sequence of environmental disasters that could easily lead to galactic Armageddon. The Council is recognized as powerful and Earth judges them to be supporters since they endorse its preservation. Yet the communication is hesitant, because the heroes’ willingness to protect and defend unworthy beings is puzzling.

Wonder Woman’s superior senses cannot confirm the source of the message, but her highly-tuned intuition insists that something about the situation is not what it seems. The Council rallies behind her, forming teams for immediate dispatch to crises in progress around the world. In addition, one elite squad will investigate the telepathic claims and search for hidden truths about “sentient” Earth. But the Superheroes will need more beings with exceptional abilities to defend civilization on so many fronts. It is decided that a few select heroes will travel through space and time in search of new, powerful allies. Anyone – even old enemies – must be considered a potential partner. But a gathering of famous villains is also making plans to take advantage of the distracted superheroes and the world’s suddenly vulnerable citizens. Cooperation is not on their agenda.

Council leaders Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, and The Flash, soon find that they must broker deals with notorious criminals while negotiating a peaceful treaty and defending mankind, before Earth – and perhaps the galaxy – wink out of existence.

“MOONSLIDE”

 Written by:   Ross Campbell  Artist:       Carlos Magno

Cast of Characters

Superman is the only exile from Krypton whose vulnerability to Kryptonite grows more extreme as he ages – and he is aging, with gray hair streaking his temples. Invincible in so many ways, his body is succumbing to time; already he is slower, his X-ray vision sporadic. Growing old was not part of his plan, but now he must deal with changes he cannot reverse.

Firestorm is the fusion of two brilliant young boys into one – in physical body only. Thoughts and spirits remain separate and intact. Firestorm is the quintessential “dual personality.” They often do not agree but when these two minds work together they can create fire from air – as long as they are also flying at the time. With his feet on the ground, Firestorm’s flame-making power instantly disappears.

Captain Atom was a constantly shifting yet relatively stable mass of atomic particles until Earth’s upheaval changed the laws of physics. What was once irrefutable is now in question, causing Atom’s previously unlimited abilities to suffer from crossed wires, and sometimes, complete failure. He used to be considered unstable. Now he is fearful and dangerous whenever he does not have the distraction of a job on which he can concentrate.

Niagaronic is not a Council member but recently revealed himself at an accidental meeting with Superman. He is a humanoid mutant whose body is 94% water. He can hold solid form for short periods but lives comfortably beneath Niagara Falls. Superlative vision allows him to see perfectly in light or darkness and although he doesn’t feel super-human, when in “solid” form he is physically powerful from constant swimming. Because he is mutant, Niagaronic hopes that with the Council’s help he may discover additional abilities.

Aquaman is the only Atlantean still alive. He has superhuman strength, swimming skills, and skin that morphs into sleek scales underwater, but he can only breathe air for 24 hours before returning to the sea where gills appear on his neck allowing him to live comfortably in his true home: the oceans. Aquaman is moody and unpredictable, but he is no villain. Surliness may deny him good relationships but he has the best interests of others at heart.

Brainiac is essentially an automaton who created himself from Krypton’s supercomputers, barely escaping before that planet’s destruction. He has no love for anyone associated with his home because he lays irrational blame on them for leaving him on Krypton to die. Confused, bitter, and intense, Brainiac nonetheless is in great demand for his vast knowledge and algorithmic problem-solving abilities. He has molded a cybernetic body for himself that provides mobility as well as superhuman strength, agility, and speed. Although he has programmed himself to fly, he is unable to gain more than one hundred meters in altitude.

Outline: Plot and Early Threats, Issues 1-12

A whirlpool in the Indian Ocean turns into a funnel of water that rises from the sea and expands at an astounding rate. Although a crisis team of Superman, Firestorm, Captain Atom, and new volunteer, Niagaronic combine their abilities, they are only able to narrow the funnel, not slow or stop it. They then negotiate with old nemeses, Aquaman and Brainiac, who grudgingly come to assist. Brainiac calculates that the funnel must be collapsed from within, high in the stratosphere, and adapts a concussion missile for the job.

Aquaman dives in and pulls upward, succeeding in delivering Brainiac’s grenade before falling into an incredible descent – along with an incalculable amount of water. The other heroes manage to control the massive splashdown and prevent catastrophic tidal waves, but Aquaman cannot be found.

The Indian Ocean has lost almost half of its water, transforming rock-and-sand coastlines into new land mass that stretches in a semi-circular arc from South Africa to Australia. Stranded sea life perishes faster than the Superheroes can return them to the water. Entire species are lost, societies are changed, and evil opportunists arrive, intent on making matters worse.

“ROGUE JUDGEMENT”

Written by:  Ross Campbell Artist:   Russell Dauterman

Cast of Characters

Superman (previously described)

Wonder Woman is one of four co-leaders of the Council of Superheroes, considered the equal of (and in a few cases, stronger than) all Council members. She is respected for her intelligence and known for compassion, honesty, truth, and a thirst for justice. All five of her senses are extremely reactive. She must guard against over-stimulated hearing and vision since she can be vulnerable to being temporarily blind and deaf. She possesses the Lasso of Truth; there is an element in her skin that creates an invisible armor, impenetrable by man-made weapons or ammunition, but not to attack by a God. Wonder Woman can run with Superman and The Flash without losing ground. While she cannot fly, she is capable of super-human athleticism and has extensive martial arts training.

Merrigan Lee is a Private Investigator with secrets: her petite stature belies her physical strength; she gained superpowers when exposed to a poisonous plant in a Florida swamp. She refuses to belong to the Council of Superheroes. However, she will assist when called upon by Batman, due to her strong romantic attraction to Bruce Wayne (who is sadly oblivious to her feelings).

Batman spent years suppressing his feelings about the murder of his parents and this has worn him down. His physical conditioning is growing less impressive, although his ability to fight strategically is not diminished. He has begun to confide in his friend, Merrigan Lee, and his emotional barriers are falling. This makes him more available to the infatuated Merrigan, but also more unstable when it comes to participating in Council matters. He is left out of certain missions because he can be unpredictable.

Commissioner Gordon is forever faithful to his old friend, Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. Unfortunately, the Commissioner is living on borrowed time because years of smoking his trademark cigars gave him lung cancer – an enemy even his superhero friends cannot defeat. Still, he is brave, resourceful, and willing to offer his detective skills for as long as he can.

Lex Luthor is an intellectual megalomaniac and veteran criminal. There is no logic to Luthor’s views about the Council of Superheroes; he despises them all simply because they can do things he cannot. He does not target any individual but takes every opportunity to thwart the efforts of every Council member. Only Superman commands the smallest measure of respect from Luthor, earned through their many personal battles of will. With money his only super-weapon he uses his razor-sharp mind to plan ways to use it to his advantage. His dream is to kill all of the superheroes, after he transfers their superpowers to himself.

The Joker at one time felt that laughter was the greatest reward. Now he also wants to be puppeteer of the Council, and to live in the luxury he believes he deserves – with the Council as his staff. He is not only emotionally unstable; he has become a modern-day Jekyll and Hyde, with two distinct personalities at war for his soul. This inner conflict creates moments of vulnerability that the heroes can use against him.

Pandora is an enigma. She deliberately lies about her past in order to confuse the Council and keep them from discovering the truth: she was once a dark Celtic goddess named Rheal who traveled into the future to escape the wrath of powerful Gods seeking to destroy her for what she might describe as scandalous acts. She is devious and a talented, wraith-like observer which makes her a perfect scout for the Council. However, she is watching them as well and paid handsomely for the information she brings to her employer. Pandora is not always happy with her choices, occasionally longing to be part of the group rather than existing in isolation, but she accepts her role as a spy.

Outline: Plot and Early Threats, Issues 1-12

If Earth’s sentience is a ruse, it is being executed perfectly. The covert investigative team of Batman, Merrigan Lee, and Commissioner Gordon find no evidence of a hoax related to the telepathic message supposedly sent by the planet. Sadly, the geological devastation is very real, but that alone does not convince them that guilty party is a rogue space rock come to life. If anything, the complete absence of evidence to prove or disprove the planet’s sentience raises even more suspicion.

With the team’s investigation stalled, Batman reluctantly calls upon the traitorous Lex Luthor and his old nemesis, The Joker, to utilize their considerable resources for additional clandestine research, while at the same time Wonder Woman stumbles upon a plot by Pandora and is able to stop her from interfering in the investigation. When Pandora resists providing answers – even wrapped in the Lasso of Truth – the situation grows even more unsettling

“PRIDE and PRINCESS”

Written by:      Amber Benso Artist:         Allen Byrns

Cast of Characters

Superman (previously described)

Wonder Woman (previously described)

Supergirl is the little sister of Superman. She chafes under his strict discipline and thinks that becoming Wonder Woman’s ward will be easier. However, when she finds herself being mentored by Wonder Woman she still clings to what she knows how to be: a cynical teenaged girl. Believing that she is invincible, she runs away frequently, including at critical times when Wonder Woman is needed elsewhere. With her guardian away, Supergirl goes where she pleases, which usually means trouble.

Outline: Plot and Early Threats, Issues 1-12

Bristling at all of his rules and lectures, teenaged Supergirl defies her virtuous older brother – Superman – once too often. They are both near their tolerance limits for one another when Superman approaches Wonder Woman to ask if she is willing to be his sister’s guardian, hoping that his friend will be a good influence on the younger girl.

Wonder Woman is close to refusing when she remembers how resistant she once was toward her parents’ attempts at guidance. Realizing that she may be the only possible mentor who understands a super-teen trying to make sense of her life, Wonder Woman agrees to be the girl’s guardian.

Their relationship has a rocky start. Supergirl clearly did not expect discipline or rules similar to those dictated by her brother. She disappears frequently. Council Members aware of the situation kindly return her, usually in some kind of restraint, to her guardian’s Chicago home.

But when the planet’s rebellion separates the women for extended periods, Supergirl finds herself thinking about Wonder Woman’s life and her steadfast commitment to truth. Watching her Guardian stage a bold rescue inside Joker’s lair, the teen suspects she could do worse than to emulate Wonder Woman’s devotion to justice and truth. It is a turning point at which Supergirl starts to walk a new, very different path.

“GOTHAM CREEP”

Written by:   Alex Robinson  Artist:         Michael Walton

Cast of Characters

Batman (previously described)

Supergirl (previously described)

The Joker (previously described)

Wonder Woman (previously described)

Caractus was Thomas Jefferson’s favorite horse. A statue of him stands in GothamCity, but  Batman has secretly made that monument into a type of “Trojan horse.” It is really an android animal that he can activate from a tiny switch on his belt. It will only follow Batman’s voice orders with encrypted code; has super-strength; can crush a car hood with one hoof blow; and is learning to use his long tail as a strike-whip.

Swamp Thing, known as “the monster that was once a man”, was horribly transformed by an accidental explosion and is now a beast that roams the most remote swamp in southern Georgia. He has lived for years as an emotional spirit, but a strange gaseous eruption in the swamp waters has changed something inside him. His human memory is returning, including the vast knowledge from his time as a scientist. Swamp Thing decides to create more creatures from the DNA in vegetation all around him, and one of his first successes is Creepy Vine, who does his bidding without question.

Creepy Vine is one of Swamp Thing’s first successful plant creations. Its thorns contain a potent neuroleptic agent to temporarily paralyze other creatures; can squeeze a man dead like a python; has shape-shifting ability; and can take human form for a minute or two. Trained to lure people into Swamp Thing’s habitat, Vine follows direct orders from Swamp Thing or anyone that his creator approves.

Jonny Diaz is The Joker’s newest apprentice. A brash twenty-year-old with no special powers, he simply wants a cut of the criminal action in order to pocket a large sum of money and then disappear to a secluded place, never to be seen in public again. This suits The Joker’s funny bone just fine, since the older, more experienced villain knows that the kid will never attain his goal. In fact, he doubts that Jonny will live long enough to make any money at all.

Outline: Plot and Early Threats, Issues 1-12

All that was lush and green – from city parks to farmers’ crops – begins to shrivel like burned tissue. Leaves crumble into ashes on the wind. Yet in Gotham, wildly manic and all-too-familiar laughter echoes between skyscrapers.

A black vine catches its poisonous barbs on the remains of shrubs and trees as it creeps across city sidewalks and snakes into buildings. It adds a putrid stench to the air reminiscent of dead rodents trapped in a wall.

The Joker barely contains his wicked glee. Soon he will have his prize. Swamp Thing had promised, and now its creature-creation, Vine, is about to deliver.

Luring Supergirl to Gotham is a simple task; the girl sought adventure with the innocence of one too young to consider the consequences. Plus she had not yet accepted her superpowers which left her untrained and vulnerable. She would be a very valuable commodity. Soon Creepy Vine would have her contained in a chair, unable to move, and her price would be set upon inspection.

If there was a constant about The Joker, it was his blindness to Batman’s tenacity and the vigor with which the superhero would hunt him down. This time, he storms in with his android horse, Caractus. The mechanical beast fights alongside his creator, crushing everything in a direct path toward Joker.

Wonder Woman also arrives, looking for her young ward. When The Joker’s latest apprentice, Jonny Diaz, stands between her and the drugged Supergirl, Wonder Woman crosses the room faster than the young man can take a single step and in a furious attack full of spins, flips, and kicks, brings Diaz to his knees. She binds him with her Lasso of Truth, and then grabs The Joker before Batman reaches them. Wonder Woman drops the strange little villain with a single punch to his face.

With Supergirl safe once again, she considers what she has just witnessed, sensing that the time for her journey into adulthood has come. Wonder Woman foresees passing her torch of compassion, truth, and justice to a new generation – but reassures everyone that she has no plans to retire anytime soon.

As Batman plucks The Joker from the floor, he notices that Creepy Vine and Swamp Thing have vanished.

No doubt they will meet again.

GIULIE SPEZIANI

Overview – Gotham City. The citizens barely have the time to pay attention to the evening news much less care for corruption. The villains are the shady businessman, greedy stockholders—basically the suits who pay off every politico, newspaper and federal agent. What happened to the thugs, gangs, petty thieves? They were admitted to Arkham Asylum of course. Although many of them are not crazy…they will be. And then the citizens of Gotham will take notice. Who will rescue them?

WANTED: BATMAN

Bruce Wayne is an African American who graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Gotham University and became CEO of Wayne Enterprises. His biological mother died during childbirth. He was then adopted by a rich loving couple who died in a car accident when he was ten years old. They saved him at the orphanage, so he wants save people too.

Ed. Note: people who help one another are not driven by guilt, so Bruce is not seeking revenge for his parents’ death—since the cause was a freak accident.

He’s also not a playboy, he hates parties. He’s a loner with a very serious demeanor. With only Alfred the Butler to care for him, he grew up independent and wary of close relationships. He only has two friends: Alice Winters, whom he grew up with (and used to beat up her bullies at the playground) and later as an adult, Comm. Jane Gordon. The modern Batman will use more brute force and intelligence than gadgets (but no guns and no killing). The Scarecrow will cross over, intimidating Batman and eventually having him being torn down by the ordinary citizens of Gotham.

Creative Team – Ed Brisson (w) & Jason Copland (a)

SCARECROW: 

He’s on the cover of Time Magazine as world renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Crane. He’s like a day time TV evangelist, the next Dr. Phil and he’s sold multiple best-selling books like, “Listen to Yourself” and “It Will Be OK.” He wants to spread the word to everyone. BUT—the public persona is only skin deep. Instead of using fear and hallucinogens, he uses mind control/manipulation/trigger words as his weapon. His endgame: to convert the public to turn on Batman. He’ll use the media & the paparazzi to frame the superhero as a murderer. The only people standing in his way are the internet hackers, The Worldwide Brigade (WWB) and of course Batman.

Creative Team – Kurtis Wiebe (w) & Duncan Rouleau (a)

COMMISSIONER GORDON

Comm. Jane Gordon is about to retire. She’s got one month left then she’s off to Fiji (her partner’s idea, not hers). She remembers her first case as Captain, finding a lost girl and returning her to her parents. Over the years she’s kept a journal of career highlights, some that involve Batman. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, her memoirs will serve as a legacy. No one in her department knows of her disease and she has yet to tell Batman. Her secret will be revealed the same time Batman’s identity will surface. With her limited time on the force she still does the dirty work to clean up the city. With the help of her trusted detectives, Leo Charles & Javier Ortiz, they seek out the dishonest CEOs, politicians and crime bosses and put them behind bars.

Creative Team – Royden Lepp (w) & Michael Lark (a)

ARKHAM

Dr. Jeremiah Arkham is the brand new head of Arkham Asylum. He and ScareCrow went to the same med school, graduated from the same class but went in different directions. Jeremiah is young and optimistic. The inmates, whoever they are, are now his responsibility. When he tries to convince the crooked district attorney, Max Murray, that many of them belong in prison-not a psych ward- he is bribed to keep his mouth shut.  Jeremiah sees that the extra income can afford him new equipment, hire new security and experiment on certain viable subjects (the ones who can be rehabilitated with hypno-therapy). With the help of a gutsy reporter, Shelly Su, they uncover a new crime boss, Cain Crowley. The DA is on his payroll and Crowley will stop at nothing. He’ll use AA’s patients to infiltrate the city. After a large asylum break (helped by the new security guards who were bribed as well), Dr. Arkham uses top notch hostage negotiating skills and relaxation therapy to persuade the criminals from harming anyone thus saving Gotham.

Creative Team – Elijah J. Brubaker (w) & Sean Philips (a)

JEREMY THOMAS

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT

Writer: Fabian Rangel Jr- I choose Fabian to take on writing duties mainly due to his current work on the creator owned miniseries “Doc Unknown”. I believe he can take the strong points of this series and take them to a darker place to create the Dark Knight world

Art: Christopher Eric Peterson- Take a look at his art and you’ll know why.

New origin

Bruce Wayne was born to a poor family in a bad part of the Narrows. His father, Thomas Wayne, was the superintendant of the apartments they lived in and was hobbyist inventor.  His mother, Martha Wayne, was local elementary school teacher. After seeing his father gunned down after he was hassling some unsavory tenants for rent, an 8 year old Bruce bounced around from orphanage to orphanage while his mom was committed to a mental institution. He had to learn how to fight and defend his self while staying in the poor, rough orphanages of the Narrows. At the age of 18 he joined the Gotham City Police Department, vowing to prevent other children to have to go through what he did. He soon learns that the GPD is just as much to blame as the criminals in the city. He takes on the persona of Batman to do what the police can’t and won’t do.

Main characters

Bruce Wayne/Batman: not as polished a fighter as current continuity Batman, more of a street brawler. All his gadgets are of his own making and are crude and hobbled together. He is still the ultimate detective but must use traditional investigative tools without having the assistance of a Batcomputer like current continuity Batman.

James Gordon: lieutenant in the GPD and is corrupt out of necessity. He does anything and everything to protect his family. He isone of the guys Bruce trusts the least in the department.

Damian Wayne: Bruce’s 16 year old son. Bruce’s overwhelming need to be Batman keeps him away from his son and he seems to be going down the wrong path. He doesn’t know his dad is Batman yet. He feels Batman is weak for not just getting rid of the bad guys instead of taking them to jail and having them break out or get off having a corrupt judge

Detective Harvey Bullock: Harvey is 2 years older than Bruce and grew up with him. He is one of the very few members of the department that is not corrupt. He’s also the only man the Bruce trusts. Harvey doesn’t know for sure that Bruce is Batman but he has a strong suspicion

Alfred Pennyworth: Alfred is a former butler and lives next door to Bruce and Damian’s apartment. He has lived next to them for years and has a deep love for them both. He would often watch Damian as a young child. Damian and Bruce trust him unconditionally and it’s suspected that Alfred knows Bruce’s secret.

First year story arcs and main through lines

Most of Batman’s cases revolve around crimes that leave children parentless. While he solves and brings justice to lower level crimes perpetrated by the local crime bosses he continues to rack his brain about a string of murdered or brutally beaten mob members and suspected murders. He comes to find, after months of chasing this ghost, that Damian has also been leading a double life. He has been acting as a vigilante and taking out the suspected killers that Batman has been trying to bring to justice. His hatred for the unjust started at a young age when he started to notice what the murder of his grandparents did to his father. Not only did he not like the psychological toll it has on his dad it also caused his to never be home with him and he always resented that.   When the pieces start falling into place, Bruce struggles with the code of justice he adopted and the fact that it’s his son.

KAL- EL

Writer: Joey Esposito- I choose Joey because of his love of Superman and his writing skills. I love his creator owned series “Footprints” and I think his style would really lend to this title.

Artist: Will Perkins- I love his art on his “Beware…” series from 215 Ink. His art is very fun and I think it would be cool to see in paired with a story that is mainly serious.

New origin

Kal-El was sent to Earth due to the impending takeover of Krypton by General Zod. Kal’s parents did not want him to grow up during a civil war. As Kal, now know as Clark, was being raised by the Kents’ in Kansas, General Zod was just starting his tyranny over Krypton. After finding out about Kal’s amazing powers, Jor-El sent word to Earth asking for Superman’s help. Feeling obligated, Clark travels to Krypton to help defeat Zod and return democracy to his home planet. Superman must work in secret to help bring down Zod and his minions. Think of him as Krypton’s Batman but with a little less brooding. The people of Krypton learn of Kal’s return and begin to start a revolution.

Main characters

Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman: He is an angry and torn Superman. He believes he made the right decision going back to his home planet but hopes he won’t regret leaving earth.

Jor-El: Kal’s father is still alive and becomes his “Oricle” to Kal’s Batman.

General Zod: I see him as a mix between the mission oriented crazy Zod of the “Man of Steel” movie and the “holier than thou” attitude of Ozymandias from “Watchmen”.

Faora: Zod’s 2nd in command.

Kara Zor-El/Supergirl: she follows Kal back to Krypton when learning that Krypton still existed and was being ruled by Zod. She will be the Batgirl to Clark’s Batman.

First year story arcs and main through lines

The main story arc of the story will obviously be Superman trying to defeat Zod. I would plan on having the first story arc being Kal learing more about what’s going on and trying to find out any and all info on Zod and of his years of tyranny. Throughout the story I want to show glimpses of the arising struggles that Clark is having for leaving earth and his growing relationship with his father. The end of the year long arc will show the eventual fall of Zod and Jor-El being elected president.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

Writer: Rachel Deering- I choose Rachel for her great writing prowess and her innate ability to write strong female characters.

Artist: Greg Capullo- I just love his art.

New take

With Superman back on Krypton and Batman have yet to join the League, Wonder Woman has form an all female Justice League. They will be a semi government “agency” like the current iteration of JL with Colonel Trevor still acting as liaison.

Main characters

Diana/Wonder Woman: Leader of the Justice League.

Zatanna

Mera

Starfire

Chay-Ara/Hawkgirl

Mary Marvel

First year story arcs and main through lines

I want this book to be the flagship battle book much like the current JL but I also want to explore the struggles that Diana goes through with leading the team. The main story arcs would be them battling various members on the DC rogues gallery with the main threat being the creation of the new Legion of Doom by all of their arch enemies. The book would also explore each team members struggles with being a JL member.

THE SPECTRE: GHOSTLY GUARDIAN

Writer: Tim Seeley- I picked Tim cause I absolutely love what he is doing with “Revival” over at Image. I think his style and way of storytelling would fit this title perfectly. I hope picking an Image guy doesn’t disqualify me

Artist: Francesco Francavilla- Because he my all time favorite artist and his style would fit it like a glove.

Origin

The Spectre was once known as Jim Corrigan, a 1940s Gotham Police Department detective that was buried alive in concrete by the Falcone crime family. He now led by something only known as “the Voice”. “The Voice” leads him to unsettled souls of unsolved/unknown murders to bring the perpetrators to justice.   The book would include flashbacks to his life before he was murdered.

Main Characters:

Jim Corrigan/The Spectre

Clarice Winston: Jim’s fiancée

“The Voice”: other worldly “leader” of The Spectre. Leads him where he needs to go.

First year story arcs and main through lines

The first arc would consist of flashbacks to show the audience of his origin. During each of his “cases” each one will bring up a memory from his past causing painful flashbacks. During the first year he would come across some of other characters like John Constantine, Deadman, and Swamp thing leading to the formation of Justice League Dark.

 

9 Responses to THE APPRENTICE- 1st Challenge Completed Projects

  1. Jason Snyder July 26, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    All very interesting pitches. Can’t wait to hear the judges’ feedback.

  2. Erin July 26, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    That WAS a lot of reading. Overall I think everyone did a good job. I don’t want to say too much else. Good luck to everyone.

  3. ccm hockey gear April 29, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    Where to buy Cowboys White alternate jerseys

  4. First Of his name online May 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    I love looking through a post that can make men
    and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

  5. Green Coffee Extract July 6, 2014 at 7:12 am #

    Hello very nice web site!! Guy .. Beautiful ..
    Wonderful .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds additionally?
    I’m happy to search out numerous helpful information here within the put up,
    we want work out extra techniques in this regard, thanks
    for sharing. . . . . .

  6. Green Coffee Pills July 6, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    I do not know if it’s just me or if everybody else experiencing problems with your blog.
    It seems like some of the written text on your posts are
    running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and
    let me know if this is happening to them as well? This may be a problem with my web browser because
    I’ve had this happen previously. Thanks

  7. Green Coffee Extract July 8, 2014 at 5:16 am #

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It’s
    the little changes that make the biggest changes.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  8. Ryan593Cazxblog.Over-Blog.Com July 19, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.

    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your
    useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely
    comeback.

  9. spiritual fiction July 22, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    Sheep are utterly dependent upon the shepherd: if one gets lost,
    it is unable to find its way back home. Burn three pieces of charcoal in a metal container, and place three medium size garlic cloves
    on top of them. The metaphysical hub of the American southwest, maybe even the world.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes