For however pessimistic I may seem towards DC at times (and lord knows, they deserve it sometimes), I'm a huge fan of the company and their universe, and the last week has been pretty exciting simply due to the fact that they've been making it rain announcements, and I've gone without using my favorite "God damn it DC, do something" image. Best part is, we're not done! The next Batman arc is going to be announced sometime this week, there are Annuals to be announced, and who knows what else. We've already gotten a lot of news for Gotham, be it the new titles with Gotham Academy and Arkham Manor or the new (and much needed) creative team for Catwoman... But outside of the next Batman arc, I think there might be at least one more announcement that might take us for surprise... SO LET'S SPOIL IT, AND FIGURE IT OUT! Or at the very least, wildly, and irresponsibly speculate about it.
So what am I talking about specifically? Well, going back to this... then moving on to this, the question remains, what is Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart's book that they're co-writing?
First question we need to ask, do we even know their book is for DC? The answer is: Yes.
SO excited for the announcement of my 2nd DC project! Co-writing w/ @cameronMstewart, art by an AMAZING illustrator! Big reveal on Thurs! XD
— brendenfletcher (@brendenfletcher) July 7, 2014
So, we got that out of the way. Fletcher and Stewart are writing a book for DC. BOOM. Nailed it. What's next? Well, the DCU is a big universe, so where can we place their project? I'm going to guess Gotham based on this:
@brendenfletcher wait til @markedoyle rips it to shreds!
— Will Dennis (@VertigoWillD) July 7, 2014
Mark Doyle! aka BATMAN...'s editor. And so we're clear, the Fletcher tweet Will Dennis was responding to came directly following the first tweet I embedded, so it's in reference to the secret project in question. Now, that doesn't mean Mark Doyle is necessarily the editor of the mystery book, Dennis could just have been generally saying something about Doyle because they're both editors at the same company/vertigo, and blah blah blah, editor humor? But given Mark Doyle opening the gates to Gotham and us seeing an influx of new talent in the line, I'd be pretty confident in guessing that he'd be working with Fletcher again, especially since outside of Wednesday Comics, this is his first major writing gig at DC, and I can't see another group editor already snatching him up for something else. Who knows, though? That's always a possibility.
So where are we at? Right now we know it's a DC book, and prooooobably edited by Mark Doyle, which would mean Gotham. So is there anything else we can figure out? To Cameron Stewart's twitter we go!
Earlier last week, David Finch was announced to be illustrating Wonder Woman, and given that there are some with strong feelings towards how he illustrates women, the topic became quite the discussion on the internet. In responding to some tweets about DC's representation of women, Stewart had this to say:
@aaronabcp @dcwomenkicknass @andykhouri If I may - GOTHAM ACADEMY & my book w/ unnamed artist (soon to be announced) are pretty different.
— Cameron Stewart (@cameronMstewart) June 30, 2014
So, given the topic of discussion (DC and their artistic representation of women), I think it's a safe guess that whatever Fletcher and Stewart are co-writing could be starring a female character, or perhaps an all/mostly female cast. This kind of narrows things down to a handful of potential characters, given that a majority of DC's notable Bat-related women (who exist in present continuity) have been claimed by other books, and I'd be surprised if we get another entirely new concept like Gotham Academy. Nevertheless, let's go down the list.
Cassandra Cain: I said above "in present continuity," but someone is going to fucking say her name regardless, so might as well address it. Not gonna happen. Sorry. If it does, I'll just admit I got Didiowned.
Stephanie Brown: Seems like her story is going to be contained to Eternal for the time being. Slight chance, but doubtful.
Harper Row: Like Steph, her story seems to be contained to Eternal and under Snyder's direction, specifically. Snyder did mention the possibility of Harper getting something of her own, bigger than a one-shot or mini-series, but I'm going to be realistic and guess that if that happens, it's a post-Eternal thing. But, all that said, I'll come back to Harper and Steph in a bit.
Batwoman: Can't see her getting a new creative team already.
Catwoman: Already taken care of.
Now we're down to two other properties, the cancelled Birds of Prey and Batgirl, which if you asked me last week, I'd say would be anywhere from long-shot to downright impossible for any changes coming to their current state of being... but then things went crazy, and now I'm questioning myself.
Let's tackle Birds of Prey first. It's cancelled. I haven't read or covered it in awhile, because as I've made abundantly clear, I feel like it's been directionless without a reason to exist for quite sometime, outside of DC wanting to simply publish a book with the name "Birds of Prey" on it. Outside of the Justice League, DC's had a hard time with their team books, many of which struggle with sales, fall short of promises and get turned into something else, or just flat out aren't very good. That said, this month sees the launch of New Suicide Squad which replaces the "What a great change of direc--oh god damn, Forever Evil happened" Suicide Squad, and Teen Titans which replaces the "What is Lobdell even doing anymore?" Teen Titans... Both of these titles had fairly quick turnarounds from cancellation to relaunches, and while I hard originally thought that Birds of Prey just needed a rest, at this point, anything is possible... like adding Spoiler or Bluebird to the roster. Baseless speculation, but I said I'd get back to those two, and I did, and I said that... DEAL WITH IT, BRAH.
Then there's Batgirl. Remember the last time there was a creative change on Batgirl? Boy, that didn't go over well. Tumblr did not like that one bit. To be fair, there was a not to like, thanks to some general editorial fuck-uppery, but then that editor conveniently moved out of any book with "Bat" in the title, and Gail Simone was back on as the writer. I'd say that after the outcry following that event, that Simone would be pretty untouchable, but given something I was pointed towards earlier in the day and my current giving a shit about the legitimacy of some comic fans and their various outcries (#FireRickRemender is hot and steamy bullshit), I'm questioning that untouchable status.
In the Catwoman story I ran earlier today, commentator Hellion pointed out that as a follower of Gail Simone on tumblr, they haven't noticed her teasing anything past the current arc, which as even I recall, she'd usually do by just saying the standard vague "I'm using a character I'm excited about soon" comic writer working on a company book and can't say much sort of thing or stuff like that when referring to the future of the book. While it's hardly anything solid to go on, given the fact that the arc is ending in August, and it's about Batgirl confronting her nemesis in Knightfall once and for all, it does seem like some things are coming full circle with some potential closure waiting to be had. Hellion goes as far to point out the quasi-Birds of Prey reunion between Batgirl, Black Canary and the wrong Huntress, which I think is nonsense pandering, could very well just be that, as a bone to throw fans if Simeone is indeed leaving the title. Again, all of this is just pure speculation... but I can't say that I would instantly dismiss it anymore.
Anyways, let's get back to the point... Fletcher/Stewart written book, probably in Gotham, potentially female stare/cast. Let's get back to analyzing tweets with this one from Stewart:
Having a lot of fun doing layouts on Secret Project #2, and excited about changing this book's whole tone and aesthetic.
— Cameron Stewart (@cameronMstewart) June 15, 2014
Now, it should be noted that Cameron Stewart is working on two projects at the moment, so it's hard to say if this tweet is in reference to the DC project he's on, but if I had to guess, "changing this book's whole tone and aesthetic" certainly lends itself to a company book that is already in publication. Also, if this tweet does refer to the DC project, I'd say that rules out a completely new book such as Gotham Academy. Now, back to DC/Gotham/Female, guess which two books, that in my opinion, could really use a change to their tone/aesthetic...
You guess yet?
BIRDS OF PREY AND BATGIRL!
Catwoman would have been on that list, but we got that fix already, but I digress. Birds of Prey could obviously use a change in tone/aesthetic, because it done goofed up, had no raison d'être and got itself cancelled. That's an easy target. Batgirl on the other hand... well, it's all a matter of perspective. I don't think the book is very good. After spending close to three years trying to like it, I just admitted to myself that it wasn't working for me, and the problems I was trying to ignore were too much for me. But if you go around the internet and read other Batgirl reviews, they all seem generally positive... I did that, but I also came to figure out when reading those, that I couldn't figure out why anyone thought it was good, past the fact they were fans of Gail Simone, and were just going "Helena Wayne Huntress being here is like the old Birds of Prey and I liked that so I like this." Hardly a compelling argument to convince me why the book is good. While I've come to find that Barbara Gordon is a hard character to care about (as Batgirl) to begin with, I do think a change in aesthetic/tone would be beneficial, as on top of that core issue, I felt the title was running around in circles and straight up was never all that fun. Again, this is my opinion, which is shared by others, but not all.
And here we come to the end of my speculation. Let's review:
- Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart are co-writing a book for DC,
- This book is most likely edited by Mark Doyle, which means it's a Bat related book,
- The book probably has a female lead or cast
- The book is most likely changing the tone/aesthetic of a previously established title.
- Maybe Batgirl or Birds of Prey?
Feel free to speculate with me, but you don't have much time, as we'll learn the answer to this mystery in less than 48 hours.