DC Comics Previews Art From New Justice League of America Titles

Earlier today, MTV announced that not only would Green Arrow be changing hands yet again, this time ending up with writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino, but also that it would be one of four titles relating to the upcoming Justice League of America launch from Geoff Johns and David Finch.

Those titles--Green Arrow, Justice League of America, Vibe and Katana--all got previewed today at MTV Geek, along with essays from the creators detailing a bit of their philosophy behind the title.

"Green Arrow is a character that always has the potential to be a major player in the DCU," wrote Lemire. "When I took on Animal Man, I immediately saw it as a chance to do my version of the classic Vertigo horror/superhero books I loved as a teenager. And, similarly, the first thing I thought of with Green Arrow was a chance to do a really hard hitting, crime/superhero book in the tradition of Mike Grell’s classic run on the character or Denny O’Neil’s The Question comics from the late 80’s early 90’s. Quite simply, I wanted to make Green Arrow a hunter again. A street level hero of the gutters caught up in a world of violence, betrayal and conspiracy."

That's in keeping with the way the character is being portrayed on TV's Arrow, of course, and it seems as though all of these approaches are in keeping with the film and TV side of things.

"Anyone can be A-list," Geoff Johns told MTV, stating an editorial philosophy that sounds awful lot like a business plan for a company whose major assets are intellectual property. "I want to push this book and these characters in a direction that doesn’t only focus on upping their abilities or re-defining their powers, but opens them each up to find out what’s holding them back. What’s keeping them from becoming the world’s greatest heroes? Is it the world’s problem or is it theirs? Some of them have nothing to lose, some of them have everything, some of them already lost it all, and some of them are burying their past and their problems so deep, confronting them could end up threatening everything the Justice League of America has helped them grow to become."

On Katana, outgoing Green Arrow writer Ann Nocenti finds a new home for herself away from the embattled Emerald Archer. "I have a fascination for extra-judicial societies and underground cultures, and in situations where justice can only be found outside the law, and how these societies have evolved over the centuries," Nocenti wrote. "The spirit of Katana lies in the true Samurai of long ago; both those trained to protect nobility and the clans that rose in the countryside to protect villages. They were ruled by codes of honor, bravery and selflessness, but over the years many devolved into assassins for hire. Katana will encounter and battle modern day versions of ancient clans, the Sword Clan and Dagger Clan, and her antagonists will include Sickle, Coil and Shackle, men who have mastered their preferred weapons."

The longtime writer and editor added, "Katana herself is searching for redemption even as she does the dirty work of an assassin. The sword is her purgatory. The thing about killing is that eventually it either makes you sick, or you get to like it. Katana knows this. The trick is to balance on that highwire so that you avoid both fates. That is the core of her struggle."

Justice League of America's Vibe, a title that seems to acknowledge the uphill battle that DC will have in marketing a character who has been dead, a joke, or both for most of his lifespan, will test the notion that with a good enough creative team, any character can sell. Andrew Kreisberg seems very much like the TV version of Geoff Johns, working on pilots for a number of DC characters and serving as one of the head writers on Arrow. Both of them have an affection for Booster Gold and for characters who, in general, aren't necessarily part of the mainstream.

Kreisberg, though, says that he and Booster Gold "owe Vibe one."

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Wrote Kreisberg of the fan-favorite Justice League Unlimited episode in which Booster Gold becomes "the greatest hero you've never heard of,"

A few years ago, I wrote an episode of the animated series, “Justice League Unlimited”. It was the one with Booster Gold, a childhood favorite of mine. In the story, the Justice League takes on the Dark Lord, Mordru, with the fate of the world at stake while at the same time, Booster faces an out of control black hole with the fate of the Universe at stake. Booster manages to save the day, but per usual, no one knows what he did. They are too busy praising the league member who defeated Mordru, the lesser victory that day, even if no one else realizes but Skeets.

As I was writing the script, I knew it shouldn’t be Green Lantern or Wonder Woman who stopped Mordru. No fun in that. I needed someone that would drive Booster crazy. Booster should think, “I saved the Universe and they’re all cheering for that guy?!” I asked the producers who was the least-respected super hero in the DC Universe. They were both unequivocal and unanimous. It should be Vibe, the early 1980s hero who, if he was remembered at all, was the world’s first break-dancing super hero.

So when Geoff Johns approached me with the idea of rebooting Vibe for a modern audience, I saw it both as penance… and an amazing opportunity to do something fresh and exciting. Anyone and everyone will turn out to read a new Superman or Batman title. But to get people to not only buy a Vibe comic but have them think he was cool… that would be a victory on par with Vibe’s in my episode of JLU!

All of these titles will kick off in February from DC Comics.