Speculating about what Brian Michael Bendis will do at DC is tough, because — and this is absolutely true — there is a part of the comic fan’s brain that prevents them from imagining Bendis writing anything that’s not Marvel. The scientific community is baffled by this, and, sadly, will likely stay baffled because funding has dried up for comic fan brain dissections (thanks Trump).
I, however, recently braved migraines and seizures to force my own brain to conceive of this, all so I could take a few wild guesses at one of the biggest questions in superhero comics: what DC characters will Brian Michael Bendis write? Guess, I should admit, that I have backed up by combing through every one of the questions he’s answer on Tumblr going back to 2012 (so many people want to know how to be a writer, so many people want to know about why he had to kill Spider-man).
Bendis himself has directly offered precious little in the way of hints or clues, using comic book hype speak, like “I can’t wait to talk about this!” or “I’ll be writing all five of my favorite DC characters in my first year, or “two words being used to describe it ‘crazy ambitious.’”
The usual. Meanwhile, Bleeding Cool reports Bendis will take over Action Comics after it hits its the 1000 issue milestone in April, and BC has a solid record of nailing DC news. Bendis has also said he will not create brand new characters, doing so via a Bill Hader gif on his Tumblr.
I did, however, find some clues in my own search, clues I will cite when relevant. With this in mind, let’s get to the guessing!
Knowing Bendis will be writing established characters makes this akin to a multiple choice quiz, and a good multiple choice quiz taker knows you start by nixing wrong answers. So...
DC Characters Brian Michael Bendis Will NOT be Writing
Batman: Given DC’s Batman line is currently home to some of the best creators in superhero fiction (Scott Snyder, Tom King, Greg Capullo, James Tynion IV, etc.), it’s almost certain they won’t rock that boat with Bendis. King has said he has a 100-issue run planned, so maybe the Bat family will go to Bendis at some point, but that point isn’t now.
Justice League: Months ago, this would have been a natural fit. Bryan Hitch’s run was sputtering, clearly destined to be short-lived. Now, however, DC has brought in PRIEST, and, although we’re only two issues in, it’s been an immediate fit. PRIEST, who is also doing outstanding work on Deathstroke, is too valuable a creator for DC to bump. This may be wishful thinking (huge PRIEST fan here), but I don’t see it. I mean, DC supposedly offered PRIEST the Batman editor gig, which he, supposedly, turned down. They like him.
Green Arrow: Green Arrow, with its street-level grittiness, is thematically similar to Bendis’ best work at Marvel, namely his runs on Daredevil, Jessica Jones / Alias and Spider-Man. This book, however, isn’t a fit, given its history of heavy and overt political commentary, something Bendis has never done, not directly. Not to say he can’t, but it’d be an odd way to start at DC, which as of late has avoided heavy commentary (if I recall, some issues of Justice League were tweaked because of this).
Wild Storm: See, they already have Warren Ellis executing an ambitious long-term plan, and Bendis has called Ellis his favorite writer.
DC Characters Brian Michael Bendis Will Most Likely Not be Writing
Cyborg and Blue Beetle: Since Rebirth, DC has actively worked to established itself as an alternative to cancel/relaunch happy Marvel, and with both these books skidding to an end, it seems unlikely they’d revive either one just for Bendis.
Aquaman and Titans: My same argument for PRIEST (that he’s too valuable of a creator for DC to so publicly displace in favor of Bendis) holds true for Dan Abnett, who was signed DC exclusive around the same time as Tom King, although to a bit less fan fair.
Doctor Fate, Hellblazer, Zatana: Has Bendis ever done magic? Can Bendis do magic? Will Bendis do magic? Does he at least know a card trick? I don’t know. I’m sure he could and would, he’s a pro, but it does seem like there’s not much of a precedent.
DC Characters Brian Michael Bendis Is Most Likely Writing
Superman: Never mind that Bleeding Cool reported the Action Comics thing, this just makes sense. Batman and Superman are virtually even in terms of globally recognizable they are. These are iconic heroes, THE first and longest-lasting superheroes. Yet, Batman books seem to always trump Superman books in terms of both sales and recognition, although this has changed a bit lately. Anyway, Bendis on Action Comics could be the shot in the arm needed. And, DC also has a history of putting bigger names on this series, with Grant Morrison writing it during the New 52 relaunch, and Gene Leun Yang (DC’s last major get, Tom King notwithstanding) doing some time with the Superman family as well. Dan Jurgens has been great, I feel obligated to point out. Also, I put Superman up here, rather than Action Comics, because Bendis has a tendency to start with a character and expand his storytelling into secondary titles (see most recently Iron Mans both Infamous and International). Oh yeah, and he’s also on record saying literally that he has a VERY STRONG IDEA of what he would do with Superman. Get excited. This is happening.
Trinity: This book has been rotating creative teams for a while now, varying somewhat drastically in quality between arcs. Giving it to Bendis would be a quick way to get a major name on all of DC’s major characters. It could also be a built in a compliment to work on Action Comics, allowing Bendis to tackle a larger, universe-spanning narrative without launching a new book.
Plastic Man. Dark. Noir: Why? Well, because the man himself told us so on his Tumblr way back in 2012. I saved this for the end-ish, because it's maybe the most direct Bendis gets about what he'd like to do at the Distinguished Competition. (And this one better happen, or else I combed through 6 years on Tumblr of aspiring writers asking Bendis variations of how they can do what he does!)
The Return of Amalgam Comics: Bendis Tumblr has steady and repeated mentions of him wanting to write a Daredevil / Batman crossover, but apparently there has been resistance at DC. Well, now that he’s over there, maybe he could change their minds?
Lobo, Booster Gold, Legion of Superheroes, Shazam, The Question: These are all just characters I’d like to see doing more in the current DCU, although I guess now that I write this, Lobo is being utilized well enough by the JLA book, and, hey, The Question seems particularly well-suited for Bendis, based on some of his most successful work in the past.
Finally, I don’t feel strongly one way or the other about Bendis’ chances of writing Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lanterns, Teen Titans, Hellblazer or anyone else I forgot. Oh! And I should have probably lead with this (sorry), but Bendis Tumblr has, in fact, told us exactly what his future is at DC. Dude is going all the way to the top.