Lucien’s Pull List pt 2: What Might Have Been

In the classic comic Sandman, the Lord of Dreams has a librarian named Lucien. In Lucien’s library are all of the books that only existed in the minds of writers. From the book of poetry you never wrote to the Complete Dulouz Legend by Jack Kerouac. All of the works that can only exist in dreams. What you might not know is that Lucien also has a comic collection.

NewUniversal vol 2 by Warren Ellis

I am a huge fan of the New Universe, as seen in my previous posts in 4 for a Dollar. When I heard that my favourite writer would take on my favourite failed universe, I was beyond thrilled. It was made even better by it being good! An entirely new take with New U characters such as Justice, Star Brand, Nightmask and Spitfire re-imagined in a cosmic tale of multiple realities and decades-long conspiracies.

The first 6 issue arc, Everything Went White, is collected in hard and softcover. Then a couple of specials and volume two, NewUniversal Shockfront! Or two issues of volume two before a faulty backup drive and an even more faulty hard-drive destroyed all of Ellis’ working files. For a while he talked of returning to the series, but the clock has moved and the moment passed.

Shaman’s Tears / Turok: Ghost Dance by Mike Grell

Grell was doing one of his great creator-owned works, Shaman’s Tears, at Image when work began on the three-issue mini-series crossing over Shaman’s Tears with Valiant’s Turok. The house ad said the series would be story and art by Grell and would be published in April 1995 through Valiant. But 1995 was a tough year in comics and things were getting strained at Valiant.

The storyline would have included Bar Sinister, a team Grell had created under the Windjammer imprint. The books made it as far as solicits with three different inkers slated to work on the series. It must have been tumbling quickly because the few pages that have surfaced are from #2 by B C Kong.

Swamp Thing #88-91 by Rick Veitch

Veitch had a tough act to follow, picking up the series from Alan Moore. With Swamp Thing travelling through time to some of the great moments of DC history, it was planned to have Swampy travel back just about 2000 years to meet a certain carpenter’s son. How this story ever made it as far as being written is its own story, but suffice to say that it still has not seen the light of day. Veitch quit the book in protest and the arc was completed by Doug Wheeler.

Avengers West Coast, the conclusion of Darker than Scarlet by John Byrne

Byrne was on a roll with Avengers West Coast, having reintroduced the original Human Torch, developed Hank Pym, retconned Vision and made Scarlet Witch one of the scariest characters in the Marvel universe. Avengers villain Immortus was amassing great power by destroying alternate time lines and had his sights set on Wanda. At the time there was a push in comics to remove the “it just works” factor from characters’ powers and come up with logical though unlikely ways their powers would function. Byrne, who had already given us Superman’s indestructible aura that protect his skin-tight suit but not his cape, decided the the only way Wanda’s hex power could work is if she was retroactively altering time to increase the probability of an event.Darker Than Scarlet

On his website, Byrne Robotics, John Byrne explained that the plan was to have Wanda alter the past to make Kang the victor in his first battle with the Avengers, thus creating a Flashpoint type reality where most of Marvel’s heroes had their origins removed. Ultimately things would be fixed by the Black Knight. Editorial interference led him to walk away from the book and the story was rather unsatisfactorily wrapped up by Roy Thomas.

Squadron Supreme #8 by J Michael Straczynski and Gary Frank

I love JMS’ run on Supreme Power / Squadron Supreme. I’ve collected up all of the trades and it’s disappointing that there are 2 loose issues left. After creating this entirely new concept of the Squadron Supreme, JMS spread out an entire world of complex characters that both celebrated their origins as JLA analogues and gave them new voices and a darker world. In the last volume, The Squad were put into battle against the super-powered sociopath Redstone and issue #7 ends with an epic battle about to begin. The 2006 “to be continued” will wait for good, with both JMS and Frank working busily at DC these days.

Marvel would later jump ahead in time for Ultimate Power, a mini-series that retconned the whole JMS run of Squadron Supreme as the Ultimate Universe’s version of the Squadron. Nick Fury went over to their universe for the subsequent 12-issue run by Howard Chaykin which brings the series to a reasonably satisfactory close but doesn’t resolve the thread of Redstone.

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