Like many, I've considered different ideas for my own takes on the DC Universe characters and concepts. With several conflicting versions I'm rather quite proud of, I always find myself doing new versions with different twists. One such version actually goes back to the beginning, if you will, and I thought it'd be good to start there with a couple of my ideas. It's called...
THE DC UNIVERSE: EARTH ZERO
Essentially, the concept is that the DC Universe exists as though the original appearances for each character were still intact, but in a contemporary setting. It could be considered an alternative Ultimate DC Universe, in that regard, but my main priority in coming up with these is that it adheres to some of the concepts that were abandoned whenever the characters gradually evolved into what they are today and allowing them room to breathe in a modern DCU. There are a couple of them that also act as channels to literal concepts inherent to their characters. Because of that, some of them end up pretty wildly different, such as...
Unlike the character we all know, this Superman is much more distanced from humanity. Any sense of idealism comes from an outsider's perspective of the world we live in, and his heroism comes from a desire to do better. He's much more of a God who looks down on humanity rather than seeing them as equals, and even distrusts them on some level due to their capacity for evil and destruction. The result of this adds a sense of mysteriousness, where he shows up when needed and disappears just as quickly. And whenever he's not working as Clark Kent, he's a man of few words. His powers are also quite limited in comparison to his modern incarnations. He's invulnerable, but his strength really only extends to being able to bend metal with his bare hands. He's incredibly fast and can leap great distances, but he can't fly. In alot of ways, it's a much more grounded Superman - he's a Man of Steel you could believe functioning in a world without high-concept science fiction.
With careful emphasis on it being a matter of growth, this Batman is much more ruthless than his current counterpart. He has no qualms with taking lives or utilizing firearms, and though he's not quite The Punisher in terms of going out with the intent to kill, he holds no remorse for his actions. The death of his parents left Bruce a shell of a man, so much so that he's practically running on auto-pilot whenever he's in the public eye. His training has made being Batman more of an instinctual habit than one he meticulously controls, almost like he's constantly stuck in a Jason Bourne-mode. There's no Alfred to guide him away from the abyss, and his status as a vigilante puts him at odds with the police, particularly Commissioner Gordon. Where it gets to be a character arc is Batman's slow realization that, over time, his lethality isn't going to provide a clear enough solution. Gotham treats him like public enemy number one, and he starts to want to change that. Particularly with the introduction of Robin, whose prescence helps mold Bruce into a hero.
Given she was raised on an isolated island, this Wonder Woman is far different in the fact that Amazonian customs differ from society in every way. Their sense of right and wrong, their sense of justice and order, their sense of evil and it's lengths, certainly their religious beliefs, and even the most simplistic aspects like everyday mannerisms and modesty would be enough to make the outside world turn it's head. As a result, Diana is much more of an aloof warrior woman than an ambassador of peace, because the simple truth is? Amazonian peace isn't the same thing. She has to be told not to behead a common mugger, or not to demand a ceremonial place in line at a restaurant. She has a kind heart, a hero's will, but the mentality of a survivor and the stubbornness of a spoiled princess. Think of Earthbound Thor in the movie dialed up to eleven and you have this version of her down.
In-keeping with the idea of original incarnations made contemporary, this Flash is Jay Garrick - but with a twist. A 25th century star-athlete turned guinea pig for a rogue corporation, Jay actually comes to the past to prevent a grim future that befalls his loved ones. But since his leap into our time can't sustain a vessel that doesn't exist yet, Jay is actually transported into the body of another man - that of Barry Allen, a forensic analyst working for the Central City PD, Jay's ancestor by a thousand years. The problem is that whenever he makes the jump, something goes horribly wrong as lightning hits the temporal portal that Jay travels through, resulting in superhuman speed. Given the random circumstance of time-travel, Jay soon realizes he's stuck in not only a different time, but in another man's life, as he finds himself in a relationship with a woman named Iris and raising a troubled youth named Wally. Haunted by the guilt of this, and determined to make it up to Barry, who's now lost somewhere beyond Jay's reach, Jay decides to use his powers for good and become The Flash, one of Barry's comic strip idols.
To tie the mythos together, this Green Lantern is Alan Scott, and is the first human member of the Corps - but the catch is that he doesn't know it. The Guardians of Oa have always hesitated to promote an Earthling to their ranks of prestigious soldiers, so whenever they're made desperate, they fashion a specialized ring and Lantern to serve as a "prototype" to test humanity's worthiness. The beacon they've chosen is Alan, who at first is so stricken with his immense power that he uses it only for personal gain. He uses it to upgrade his modest monorail company into a multi-billion dollar household name, intimidate his competitors, and eventually become the world's first public superhero. As Scott's initial perversion of the ring cause The Guardians to lose faith in humanity's capacity for incorruptibly with such power, they start to manipulate certain events to test their chosen one's worthiness - such as sending a yellow ring to the weaponers of Qward or using a black ring to raise a corpse named Solomon Grundy from the grave.
In a complete 180 from his comic book counterpart, Arthur is actually a freelance assassin for rivals to the Atlantean throne. Made an outcast of Atlantis long ago for his accursed bloodline, the self-titled Aquaman gratefully accepts an assignment to exterminate an outsider from the above world who had bore witness to the secretive Atlanteans' existence, a man that had won the heart of the Queen and was therefore allowed to live. What Arthur doesn't know, and discovers too late, is that the Queen is his birth mother - or that the man he's been sent to assassinate is actually his father, Thomas Curry, whom the Queen had been involved in an affair with for years. When he aborts the mission after discovering this, a fellow assassin from the guild known as The Black Manta is sent to kill Curry himself, and succeeds, resulting in Arthur vengefully hunting the seas for The Black Manta's agents and the killer of his father. Out of a sign of respect, he also vows to protect Curry's homeland, claiming his birthright as a man born of two worlds - Atlantean and human.
A religious extremist and a violent criminal outcast from Mars, J'onn makes his home on Earth in the early 1800's and quickly absorbs the culture through his psychic membrane, assuming the role of a recently deceased soldier in the American Civil War named Jonathan Jones. An immortal Martian, he carries on his role as Jones throughout the decades that follow him, faking his own death and turning up with a new John Jones every 40 years in a new part of the world. Cut to the present, and he's working as CIA, specifically apart of the CADMUS unit that allows him to specialize in manhunting. Once the formation of the J.L.A. occurs, John is sent to integrate himself into their ranks as a spy, fashioning himself as a costumed crimefighter through his shapeshifting abilities - that of The Martian Manhunter. Through joining the team, he gains a newfound perspective, and gradually shifts from a coldhearted brute into something more humanistic, with a soul to accompany his tempered mentality.