Moving along from Geoff Johns-related news for a minute, DC also announced two major initiatives to broaden the DC Universe by bringing in characters from other companies.
In the first case, upcoming issues of Teen Titans and Justice League Of America will see the introduction of characters from the fondly remembered Milestone Comics imprint of the ’90s. The Milestone characters were created by Dwayne McDuffie and other African American creators to provide a welcome bit of ethnic diversity to the comic book marketplace. While none of the series lasted more than a few years, one character — Static — was popular enough to spawn an award-winning cartoon that ran for several seasons. While Milestone was its own entity and existed as its own continuity, the series were published by DC, and for years fans have been begging DC to work out some sort of deal whereby the characters could be brought into the DC Universe itself.
Now, that has happened. Fortunately, McDuffie is currently the writer of JLA, and as such is in the perfect position to introduce DC readers to Icon, the “big gun” of the Milestone universe. At the same time, Static will apparently be showing up in Sean McKeever’s upcoming Terror Titans miniseries before joining the Teen Titans soon thereafter. This is great news not just for African American comics fans looking for more characters that they can identify with, but for all DC readers that enjoy cool characters.
Independently, DC also announced that the classic Archie Comics superheroes have been licensed by DC, and will appear in the DC Universe proper by way of upcoming issues of Brave And The Bold. Despite what may pop into your head when you hear the term “Archie superheroes”, these characters are not the Riverdale gang dressed up in tights and capes, but rather actual superhero characters that first appeared in the 1940’s. In fact, one of the most prominent heroes, The Shield, might look like another Captain America rip-off, but actually pre-dates Cap by a full year. I don’t have much knowledge of these characters, but they look cool. My only misgiving is that this deal doesn’t seem to have the permanence of the Milestone announcement, in that this is a licensing deal, not a full acquisition of the characters on DC’s part. As a result, there’s always the possibility that Archie could decide to take the characters back as soon as they become popular. While we’d still have (hopefully) gotten some good stories out of it, this would make the whole endeavour seem kind of pointless in retrospect…
Still, excited! More later.