Monday, March 8, 2010

J. Michael Straczynski to write Wonder Woman and Superman.

Comic Book Resources (and every other comics news site) released a report earlier today relaying the information that Eisner-winning writer J. Michael Straczynski will be taking over both Superman and Wonder Woman in July. Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5 and man responsible for fan favorite runs of Amazing Spider-Man and Thor will be joining both titles after the release of milestone issues: #600 for Diana and #700 for Kal-El.

There hasn't been much time to react to the announcement, but I assume most fan reaction will be positive. I'm not certain how I feel yet. Straczynski has always been hit or miss with me. I was a fan of his Image series, Rising Stars, but it frustrated me that he just let it peter out. I've often thought of him as a strong creator with lack of focus, a guy who has great ideas but rarely has the interest or the will to see them through to their end. As I've learned more about the various situations he's found himself involved in over the years, I learn that I was perhaps wrong about him. While I thought he abandoned Amazing Spider-Man and Thor, it appears that he made the decision to leave those books due to editorial shifting in a direction that he didn't completely agree with. Rather than stay on a book that he felt he couldn't give his all, he moved on, and that's commendable.

That said, his Thor run, while feeling again that it died before its time, was one of the best runs on a character I've ever read. And as I see it, if you can write a character like Thor well, then Superman and Wonder Woman really shouldn't be that difficult. They all share a great deal of similarity that I believe will make writing Kal and Diana feel a lot like coming home for JMS.

I hope I'm right, because the more I think about this the more excited I become. Superman deserves the best possible creators DC can give him, and considering he's been written most recently by James Robinson and Greg Rucka, you'd think that was the case. But Robinson has come a long way from his glory days as the steward of Jack Knight and Opal City and Rucka, while a great storyteller, always seems a lot more at home in Gotham than in Metropolis. JMS has proven time and again that he gets superheroes and that he enjoys them. Add to that the fact that Superman is his dream project and you create the possibility for something truly great.

DC has yet to announce who his collaborators will be on the projects (may I suggest his Brave and the Bold collaborator Jesus Saiz for at least one of the books) but I'm hopeful its someone truly worthy of these larger than life characters and the stories JMS will no doubt bring to their world. Does JMS's Thor collaborator, Olivier Coipel, have an exclusive contract with Marvel? Can we steal him and put him on Superman please?

If DC is serious about Brightest Day restoring the kind of hope and heroism we've come to expect from their characters, then I could think of far worse creators to shepherd us in that new direction than J. Michael Straczynski. So here's to hope.

Up, Up and Away!

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