For Your Consideration: The DC Universe by Brian K. Vaughan

Robert Greenberger

Robert Greenberger


by Robert Greenberger

Today, Brian K. Vaughan is the celebrated writer of the award-winning Saga and a digital comics pioneer. He’s also riding high with the acclaim Runaways, which he created for Marvel, is earning on Hulu. Few may recall that he got his start as a writer for DC Comics, taken under Devin Grayson’s wing, and was a pretty good superhero writer, learning the tricks of the trade before finding his voice.

The DC Universe by Brian K Vaughan

The DC Universe by Brian K Vaughan


DC is now collecting those works in The DC Universe by Brian K Vaughan, collecting Titans #14, Sins of Youth: Wonder Girls, JLA Annual #4, Green Lantern: Circle of Fire, Green Lantern/Adam Strange, Green Lantern/The Atom, and a story from Young Justice #22.

No surprise that Vaughan began to write in the Titans universe since Grayson was writing Titans and here he shows up co-writing issue #14, with art by Cully Hamner and Wade Von Grawbadger. He then begins to shine with his solo effort in the Sins of Youth tie-in. For those who forgot the event, Klarion the Witch Boy turned the adult heroes into teens and wackiness ensued.

Sins of Youth: Wonder Girls

Sins of Youth: Wonder Girls


Sins of Youth: Wonder Girls was illustrated by Scott Kolins and Chris Ivy, pairing Wonder Girl with a Diana Prince looking more like her sibling than mentor. A prayer to Zeus for help is answered, instead, by Apollo who demands a quest before granting their desire. The one-shot is fairly self-contained although they hear news from a story not here and it sort of ends with a cliffhanger, sending you to the back issue bins for closure. More satisfying is the Wonder Girl short story from Young Justice with nice art from Kolins and Dan Panosian. It would have been interesting to see what he did with the character over time.

JLA Annual #4

JLA Annual #4


For the 2000 summer annual stunt, Editorial came up with Planet DC which was designed to populate the world with international heroes. Vaughan, Steven Scott, and Hector Collazo introduced us to Selma Tolon, who finds Sultan Suleiman’s scimitar, which had been enchanted by Merlin. Much like Excalibur, only someone worthy could pull the scimitar from the sand and so the Janissary was born. The powerful Muslim role model aided the Justice League in taking out a power-hungry general and it reminds us she’s around and worthy of revival given today’s readership.

The bulk of this volume, though, is taken up with Green Lantern: Circle of Fire which was a crossover event with two bookends and a bunch of one-shots. Norm Breyfogle, Keith Aiken, Steve Bird, John Lowe, Ray Kryssing, and John Nyberg illustrated book one with Robert Teranishi and Claude St. Aubin handling the ending.

Green Lantern: Circle of Fire #2

Green Lantern: Circle of Fire #2


A cosmic entity known as Oblivion has driven the residents of the planet Rann into madness; a mystery not even its champion, Adam Strange, could solve. When he winds up on Earth, he alerts the JLA of the impending threat. Interestingly, Oblivion matches someone Kyle Rayner had created in his childhood and is convinced there had to be a connection.

Things take an odd turn when a sextet of Green Lanterns arrive, all seemingly plucked from alternate realities, including Rayner’s dead fiancée, Alexandra DeWitt. With the JLA seemingly outmatched, Rayner pairs these GLs with other heroes to prepare to defend Earth from Oblivion’s arrival.

Green Lantern/Adam Strange

Green Lantern/Adam Strange


We then get the Green Lantern/Adam Strange one-shot, with art by Cary Nord and Mark Lipka, where Adam is paired with Ali Rayner-West, called Green Lightning, a descendant of both Rayner and Wally West, making her the fastest Lantern alive. They return to Rann, now in ruins from the madness, with a power battery generating the signal that triggered the insanity.

Green Lantern/The Atom

Green Lantern/The Atom


Green Lantern/The Atom sees Ray Palmer partnered with Hunter and Forest Rayner, members of the Teen Lantern Corps, who are also Rayner’s descendants, sharing his power ring. They try to figure out who created Oblivion and believe it might be the Scarecrow, Doctor Psycho, Professor Ivo, or Doctor Light. This one has nice art from Trevor McCarthy and Tyson McAdoo.

The threads come back together for the second bookend as heroes new and old gather the clues and determine who created Oblivion, why, and how to defeat the threat before Earth resembles Rann.

Unfortunately, these various crossover events had minimal impact on the DCU before Rebirth and are largely forgotten. Vaughan’s writing is clear and you can watch him grow as a storyteller before he cut loose over at Vertigo. This volume conjures up interesting images of what might have been. It’s an interesting hodge podge of stories and events, characters, and styles, and never dull.

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