I have a lot of favorite comic book writers since what’s important to me in any piece of fiction is character–art styles can change, but the core of the character should not (at least not without a good reason told in a compelling way). I have loved the work of Marv Wolfman, Neil Gaiman, Brian Michael Bendis, Warren Ellis, Mike Carey, Paul Levitz, Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, and more recently Bryan Q. Miller, but for now, this day, I will go with Geoff Johns.
While I read his work first on JSA (1999), it wasn’t until 2003’s Teen Titans relaunch that I became aware of his work. In Johns, I found a worthy successor to Wolfman and Pérez regarding my beloved Titans. He just seemed to get it–the characters and their relationships and where they fit in to the DCU.
Then came the title that I think launched Johns’ career at DC: Green Lantern: Rebirth. Johns was able to explain and fix all of the problems that DC created in turning Hal Jordan into a crazed villain and, later, avenging spirit, all while laying the groundwork which would become one of DC’s best event stories four years later: Blackest Night. In between that, he would relaunch Green Lantern and try to build up Hal to be one of the Big 4. I don’t know how successful that was (although, a major motion picture was made featuring Hal, regardless of what you may think about the film), but I can certainly see the effort.
I should also mention Johns’ efforts in fixing Hawkman’s convoluted history and creating an interesting character in Carter Hall in the pages of JSA and later in Hawkman. It is this ability to rethink the past in new ways and tie all that history together that cemented to me John’s skills as a comic book writer. DC has recognized that talent as well, making him its Chief Creative Officer and most recently as the writer on its flagship book, Justice League (2011), which is currently my favorite book of the new 52.
On a personal note, I really appreciated Johns as a guy who respects and is just nice to his fans. During his visit to the 2010 Emerald City Comicon, he was signing some comics for me while my wife stood back taking pictures (she was chronicling some of my brief conversations with creators, often times unbeknownst to me), and when he noticed, Johns asked if I wanted a photo with him, despite the long line behind me. So, not only is he a very good writer, but he’s a nice guy to boot.