The key word in the announcement that writer Brian Michael Bendis was leaving Marvel Entertainment and coming over to DC Comics was “multi-faceted.”
Bendis, one of the biggest names in comics, is going to be everywhere.
On the comic book side, Bendis comes to DC at a time when its brand is hot, fresh and the industry standard for superhero reinvention. The irony is, if Bendis were arriving at DC just a few years ago, during the days of the much-criticized “New 52” relaunch, it would have been seen as a savior move aimed at fixing something that’s broken. Instead, their comic books are the most popular they’ve been in years. This move makes it look like DC is not just satisfied with being a “Big 2” major player in mainstream superhero comics with Marvel — it wants to be the player.
DC’s “rebirth” era relaunch has given their classic superhero characters new life. A few standout series are Tom King’s “Batman” and “Mister Miracle”; Dan Abnett and Stjepan Sejic’s “Aquaman”; the fun, dark look into an unknown future featuring former Robin Tim Drake as a lethal Batman currently taking place in “Detective Comics,” written by James Tynion IV; and Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s “Dark Nights: Metal.”
Snyder, perhaps DC’s biggest star, could take a break from DC after “Metal” to focus on more of his creator-owned comics. If that’s the case, DC’s Bendis acquisition means it doesn’t have to skip a beat. DC may not be in New York anymore (it moved to Burbank, Calif., in 2015), but it’s a very New York Yankee-like mentality to replace stars with more stars.
The guessing games have already begun as far as which DC superheroes Bendis will dive into first. But just as important as any future Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or Justice League tale Bendis can pen is his experience in mature comic book content (“Powers,” “Jessica Jones”). That makes him the ideal candidate to create new series at DC imprint Vertigo Comics, which typically publishes creator-owned, adult-aimed stories.
A Bendis series at Vertigo would be a hot sell and would give him the Warner Bros. movie-making machine at his disposal for his future creator-owned works if such a series were to be developed for film (Warner Bros. owns DC and Vertigo).
Speaking of movies, Bendis could also be a part of DC Entertainment’s future slate. Bendis frequently consulted with Marvel Studios in their early days on many of their films. That end-credit scene in “Iron Man” where Samuel L. Jackson debuts as Nick Fury? Bendis wrote that.
Before Sony began sharing Spider-Man with Marvel Studios, it reached out to Bendis when execs realized they had to reboot the series post-Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire and asked him an important question: Should Spider-Man have organic webs or web shooters? Bendis thought the only answer was web shooters. And that’s how Spider-Man has appeared on film since. Bendis could be the guy to tell WB/DC that in the next Superman movie Clark Kent shouldn’t be going from covering hard news to sports in a Daily Planet budget meeting (as was the case in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”). Just a thought.
Bendis could also use his experience developing “Powers” into a television show for Sony’s PlayStation Network to assist DC as they look to create their own streaming app with original content.
That’s a plethora of options for a newly signed talent entering a universe of heroes he’s yet to play with. The most obvious reason for Bendis to make this move is that there really wasn’t much else for him to do over at Marvel, where for almost two decades he was a part of one of the greatest Spider-Man runs (“Ultimate Spider-Man”) with artist Mark Bagley and becoming a champion for inclusion with co-creations like Miles Morales/Spider-Man and Riri Williams/Iron Heart.
DC gives Bendis a fresh start, and Bendis gives DC one more thing to be excited about.