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With the news that DC Animation will be dipping into the pool that is “The New 52” with the 2014-bound Justice League: War, it is not unreasonable to expect that this opens the floodgates for other, future, “New 52” adaptations. The thing is that the source in question is only two years or so old, and although that may seem like a short time in terms of comics – “The New 52” still has been able to build up a sizable amount of stories, both good and bad. Here we are going to separate the chaff from the wheat, so to speak, and pick out those particular story-arcs and series that deserve to be first choices in becoming animated films.
As has been said countless times, and especially by myself on this very site, the story of Shazam! as told through the Justice League ongoing is one that was pretty much made for this exact purpose. It tells the decade old origin of Billy Batson but through the filter of a simple 80’s-esque kids film. All of the scenes and character beats that one would expect to be in something like The Goonies or The Sandlot are prevalent here – and it makes for one enjoyable ride of a comic. Interesting kid character dynamics and funny set-pieces galore. So, above all else, finally making the transition into an actual film of some sort is a no-brainer. All of the work is already done. With the last three films being based on other Geoff Johns’ penned works if this does indeed happen I would not be surprised.
2. The Flash: “Rogues’ Revolution”, “Gorilla Warfare"
With The Flashpoint Paradox making some very sizable waves on some Internet communities and in general right now seems like it might be a good time to strike with more of the Scarlet Speedster. In service to that these two particular story-arcs serve as good introductions, or rather re-introductions in some cases, to both Barry Allen and to his rogues gallery. Each are simple, but thoroughly entertaining, arcs that are good frameworks for adapting and are easily expandable. Not only that but with the "New 52" in general making things more digestible for audiences, viewers can see The Flash in a new light. There are also quite a few “blockbuster” moments packed in that would be great action sequences.
3. Demon Knights: “Seven Against The Dark”
One of the new tenants of DC Animation, at least as stated by James Tucker, would be that would focus, in part, on lesser-known characters. Demon Knights is one of those titles that just so happens to fit in with that very line of thinking. The very first arc is well parsed down enough to be either a series of shorts or easily enlarged enough to be a prop DC Animated film. Concerning such DCU B-listers like Etrigan, Shining Knight, Madame Xanadu and Vandal Savage – it packs in intense action scenes and delightful character dynamics into its short space. It’s basically, at heart, The Magnificent Seven, but with magic and heroes. Now doesn't that sound like fun?
4. Justice League of America: “World’s Most Dangerous”
This is one that I am only putting on this list not because of its actual story content, but because of it’s core concept and how that could work in a film. The comic itself has a plot, but that plot doesn’t really get tied up within its own pages and only serves to lead into other titles. Yet the main conceit of the series still shines through in places and given the self-contained nature of the animated films this is one comic that would improve vastly. Simply put it’s a basic story of “ragtag team of second-tier heroes who battle the Legion of Doom”, that in itself has a lot of potential. The first pages of the comic itself would be a perfect kick-start at the beginning of an animated film – and the character interactions and attitudes that flow forth are something that bring the film into the area of “fun summer blockbuster”. It adds in all of the gags, quips, character archetyps that any could expect in one of those and plays with them very deftly.
5. Wonder Woman
Last on our list it is one that is not as much one where I think that a straight adaptation would work – given that it is one continuous storyline that would be better suited to a show – but more of a comic where the upcoming adaptations need to take point from her ongoing. Should there be any future Wonder Woman-centric animated films then the aspects of her “New 52” series are a must. Larger and varied cast, more emphasis on the mythological roots, and more intricate relationship with the gods. The series itself is able to pull this off with great skill and give it a very bold and bombastic feeling of old myth. Setting that aside it also does a great job of encapsulating both the warrior and the pacifist duality of Wonder Woman. Along with “New 52” Steve Trevor – this is a source that DC Animated films need to pull influence from.
While there are of course a lot more stories and such that people might desire to see adapted in some form this list only covers the ones that either need to be, or are the most easily to be, adapted. Others are either too similar to films already out or would work best as shorts. If there are any that you particularly feel are deserving – please comment below with your choices and thoughts.