Well, the New 52 is just about at its end, with DC Rebirth coming up next week and the last of the New 52 books ending over the course of the next few months. And while the New 52 has become something of a punchline for many fans, let’s not forget the good times that came with it. Let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that there WERE good books, as well as the bad. So, with that in mind, I’ve decided that, before I seriously rag on the New 52 one last time, I should really take a look at some of my favourite comics from this era. Now, keep in mind, these are JUST the ones that I read. I’m well aware of the fact that there were other good comics that came out during the past five years under the DC banner that won’t be on this list. As such, if your favourites aren’t on the list, by all means, feel free to place your own in the comments. Also, keep in mind that there are books that, while good, just weren’t the overall greats of this list. So, books like Justice League, while having arcs I liked, also had a bunch of arcs I DIDN’T like, so they just missed the cut…though I DO have a bonus round for them. lol And, of course, books that are not a part of the main line, like Sensation Comics feat. Wonder Woman don’t count. Why we couldn’t have more books like it and Legends of Wonder Woman in the main line, I dunno, but for now, let’s start with one that’s probably kinda obvious to anyone who’s read my blog for a while…
Yeah, not shocking anyone with this pick, I’m sure. Most definitely my favourite of the books starring the New 52 Superman, and it’s one of the reasons I’m actually sad to learn that he’s dying. Yes, he is arguably the most inherently flawed of the mainstream Supermen, but when you have a good writer with a good story writing him, those flaws are used in good ways. We see how this Superman is still an inspirational figure in spite of these flaws by never giving up and continuously trying to do the best he can for the world. So yeah, while I’m obviously overjoyed to see the pre-Flashpoint Superman return to active duty, along with his wife and son, there will always be a little part of me that gets nostalgic for the Superman who didn’t always get it right, but nonetheless kept trying his best, for truth and justice.
I actually feel bad because I initially was unwilling to give this book a try. Why? Because they’d seemingly undone Babs’ past as Oracle as a means to make her Batgirl again, thus taking the position away from Stephanie Brown, who was nowhere to be seen for a long time. But while all that is true, I can’t deny that this book has had some great moments. Granted, I HATED the Batgirl Wanted arc, and Black Canary’s characterization in the beginning of the Stewart/Fletcher era rubbed me the wrong way, but the rest of it has been highly enjoyable. Some of my favourite moments are probably Alysia’s wedding, the end of the Simone era when Babs called in damned near EVERY superheroine on Earth, ALL of her annuals, the tie-in to Future’s End, that time she and Strix took on vampires, it’s just been a hell of a ride, and I hope that the next volume is just as fun.
For those that never read this book, I’ll keep the recap brief: Shortly after the collapse of the government sanctioned JLA, which was secretly meant as a fail-safe against the Justice League, three of its members, Stargirl, Martian Manhunter, and Green Arrow, found themselves teaming with Supergirl, Adam and Alanna Strange, Animal Man, and newcomer Equinox, to form a new Justice League: the Justice League United, set up in Canada, and meant to protect the world from extraterrestrial and paranormal threats. Of course, right off the bat, I was excited, since…well, do you know how long I waited for my country to get their own Justice League? Was awesome. But beyond that, getting to see some of the character interactions without the dread present in the JLA book that came before it was great too (Green Arrow and Animal Man playing off each other made for some decent comedy), and there was a lot of more traditional superheroing. In the later stages of the book’s existence, the team began rotating members in and out in order to deal with different situations, regardless of which side of the law they were on. Anyone from Batgirl to Poison Ivy, Swamp Thing to Vandal Savage, and so on could be brought in depending on what the situation called for. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long before the book’s cancellation, but the JLU has since appeared during the Truth story-arc in the Superman books, giving me hope that they’ll one day return to action.
I should probably note that, when I say Convergence is a favourite of mine, I’m not talking about the main series. This is primarily because…well, I didn’t read it, and from what I’ve read, there’s not really much of anything that good, other than the restoration of the Multiverse. Oh, there’s some stuff involving the New 52 version of Earth 2, but unfortunately, that’s been a SERIOUSLY mixed bag. You wanna know more about that, go check out the blog Helena Wayne Huntress for more details. But no, what I’m referring to as one of my favourites of the New 52 is all the tie-in stuff. Granted, that could be seen as cheating for one simple reason: IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE NEW 52. The Convergence tie-ins are about giving resolution to stories that happened before the New 52, letting the heroes of ages past get one last hurrah, and even setting up for maybe a few of them to return later on. And they’re all awesome! Nightwing and Oracle get married and kick ass (not necessarily in that order, lol), Lian is brought back to life, Stephanie Brown suits up as Batgirl again, Lois and Clark have a child, the JSA return, it’s all amazing! Hell, even Scott freaking Lobdell turns in a good Blue Beetle book! I didn’t even think it was possible for him to put out anything of quality, but I guess mathematically speaking, it had to happen EVENTUALLY.
…Yyyeeeaaaahh, suppose this isn’t much of a surprise to anyone. lol While I wasn’t a fan of the story where Jim Gordon was Batman, and I found Joker to be WAY over the top in terms of unstoppable villainy is concerned, it’s really hard to not consider this book one the best of the past five years. Snyder and Capullo have simply been on fire for this era, and it’s sad to know that, at least for a while, that team of theirs is over. Although as hard as it is for me and other readers, I gotta imagine it’s even harder for them. But yeah, you guys should all know all of my favourite moments from this book, and if you don’t, I made a list of them just before the Superheavy story-arc. Point is, if you’re a Batman fan and you’ve been avoiding this book for the New 52 branding, don’t. It’s at least worth your time to check out.
So those are my favourite books of the New 52 in terms of overall quality. And now, the bonus round for all the arcs of books that I liked.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Huntress and Power Girl fighting a giant Irradiated Man in a Japanese harbour! All it needed was for Godzilla and Dragonzord to show up to make it the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen! XD
…Not to self: Review Darkseid War once the entire storyline is finished. It is easily my favourite story of the New 52 Justice League. Also, I thought Origin worked as an introduction to this new timeline, and the Amazo Virus was pretty awesome, too, and marked the point in which Geoff Johns finally found his groove with writing Wonder Woman’s character.
Cross World was great, and presented one of my all-time favourite images of Wonder Woman, and the stuff with Mongol and Toymaster is admittedly dumb fun that resolved in an awesome team-up involving Supergirl, Batgirl, Steel, Red Hood, and Krypto.
Y’know, DC, right after the engagement, I was totally gonna stick with this book. Then you called it off, the creative team left as a result, and then you did the stupid vampire thing. Just saying, you had a great thing gift-wrapped for you. I sincerely hope, though, that since Rebirth is apparently nixing the whole heroes-can’t-be-married thing, with the old Superman who is married to Lois Lane being back and Aquaman and Mera being engaged, that Batwoman finally is allowed to get married in Detective Comics.
Ultimately proved to be hit and miss, but I liked it for the most part. Could’ve done without Casey being damned near torn apart, but watching her make her badass comeback with a cybernetic arm-cannon was awesome. I mean, yeah, it’s another case of extreme violence against women in a comic, but it’s hard not to watch her in the hospital bed right after losing her arm and eye and not grin ear-to-ear when she’s still being like “Aw, fuck it, just put a giant arm-cannon on me, and I’ll fuck these guys up! And Calvin, you better make sure you haven’t completely screwed things up by the time I show up, or your ass is grass!” XD
I unfortunately can’t really justify putting Nightwing on the top 5, but that’s less to do with the quality of the stories told in it and more to do with the constantly changing status quo that was really only a thing strictly because of stuff happening in the other Bat Family books before ending due to events in Forever Evil. Oh, and as a side-note, SO glad to see that Nightwing is in blue again, but not sure where this is going with him as a member of the Court (or Parliament, I guess) of Owls.
I can’t say enough how much I adored the team-up with Power Girl. Was just great.
I feel like I MIGHT’VE put this on the list if I’d read through the entire thing and it didn’t delve into the cheesecake quite as much as it did, soooo…Eh, call it sixth, I guess. lol
Again, DC, you had me right up until Evil Superman working for Darkseid, and Thomas Wayne as Batman. Then you completely lost me. And THEN you pissed me off with World’s End and the first arc of Earth 2: Society. Seriously, like I said before, go read Helena Wayne Huntress’ blog for more details, but suffice to say, it’s been a MESS, one that I hope gets cleaned up soon. I DO recommend the Tower of Fate arc, though.
Problematic for me personally at times, but still enjoying it, and glad it’s here. 🙂
And that’s all my favourite stuff of the New 52. Like I said before, if you’ve got a book that you really liked from this era that wasn’t on here, by all means, leave your own list in the comments, and be sure to check back in the future when I go over the worst of this era. Ja né!
Thank goodness Mom and Dad decided to go out tonight, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to tell you all about…
‘Cuz it was a freaking snow storm out today, the second one we’ve gotten in the past few days. Nonetheless, let’s talk about the three books I got this week (X-Men wasn’t there due to a mail order error of some sort), starting with Red Sonja #6.
The finale to Gail Simone‘s first arc on the book, this issue managed to wrap up all the plot points of the previous five issues pretty well. I don’t wanna spoil too much, since there’s one or two major twists. Suffice to say, Annisia won’t be a threat anymore, and I think the kingdom is left in decent hands. And when all was said and done, when the comic ended, and one of Red Sonja’s bodyguards asked if there was anything they could do to repay her, all that Sonja could say in response was “Re-open your taverns, dear one, because I’m going to get drunk in legendary fashion.”
Seriously, if you haven’t read this book yet, go and find it. If you can’t find all six issues of the initial run, it’s going to be collected in trade paperback in February as “Queen of Plagues”. Gail Simone and Walter Geovani more than earn your money with this one.
Harley Quinn #1 sadly did not have any fourth wall breaking, but it DID have a ton of dark humour and insanity from Harley, over-the-top violence and mayhem, roller derby (thus explaining the costume), a little stuffed beaver buddy that talks to Harley in her own mind (I’m so not kidding), and tons more. It’s still not quite Harley Quinn as I remember her, and it does go a bit too over-the-top at times, but it’s still a ton of fun. I will say this, though: If yer not a fan of dark comedy, this probably isn’t for you. Fortunately, I DO have a sick sense of humour, so I’m able to enjoy it thoroughly. ^_^ I will say that, for those complaining about the lack of plot in #0, you can relax. The plot here mostly revolves around Harley getting a new place in Coney Island, but learning that, to keep it, she needs to collect pay from the tenants in all of the other apartments, and get a job. To further complicate matters, it seems that someone has put a bounty on her head, meaning there’s gonna be assassins looking to take her out. And yet, for all her psychotic faults, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Chad Hardin manage to capture Harley’s more vulnerable and loveable side, so you kinda want her to make it through all of this. A good read, and I think will probably stay on my pull list from here on out.
Batman and Two-Face (really Batman and Robin #26) was great, and I love how they’re telling the tale of Erin McKillen, her sister, and their history with Harvey Dent in reverse order, where they tell what happened, and then discuss WHY it happened. My one complaint, however, is that, as great as this arc has been, this entire book has suffered a lot from changes occurring in other books, tie-ins, crossovers, etc. Here, it’s clear that the book was originally gonna lead into a story where Carrie Kelley was gonna become Robin while also telling a story about Two-Face and Erin. I’m fairly certain of that, especially considering that, since the hints started popping up that Damian was coming back, Carrie just kinda faded into the background and hasn’t been seen since. Maybe she still will become Robin and the hints are just a fake-out, but even if that is the case, it’s clear this was supposed to happen earlier and it got forced back. Still, this IS a good story that Peter Tomasi is writing. However, I really hope this book gets back to being about Batman and Robin, fast.
Anyway, that’s all for this week. Next week, I get to tell you all about What I Got For Christmas, though I may wait until I can use whatever gift cards I obtain first. Ja né!
- Village Comics in Bedford, NH Reviews Harley Quinn #1 (villagecomics.net)
- Red Sonja #6 Brings the Queen of Plagues to a Close (whatchareading.com)
- New Comics Day: Our December 18 Pull List (theimprobablechuck.wordpress.com)
- 15/12/13 Batman (toddalevel3media.wordpress.com)
- Batman, Harley Quinn top November comics chart (digitalspy.co.uk)
- Controversial ‘suicide’ scene doesn’t appear in ‘Harley Quinn’ #0 (robot6.comicbookresources.com)
- Harley Quinn #1 (comicvine.com)
- Gail Simone Continues Red Sonja’s Rollicking Rampage [Interview] (comicsbeat.com)
- Preview: Red Sonja #6 (graphicpolicy.com)
- THE BAT SIGNAL: Palmiotti Talks “Harley Quinn,” Gothopia & Jonah Hex in the Modern DCU (comicbookresources.com)
So, I’ve thought about doing a Christmas themed one-shot for my Infinite DC fanfiction line for a while now, but I wasn’t sure who to choose as the main protagonist. Today, I made the official decision, and have started writing what I plan to release for everybody sometime on the week of the 25th, so allow me to reveal said protagonist. Her name is…
Nah, but I probably should someday, just for the lolz. No, it’s actually…
Inspired by the recent Harley Quinn #0, written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, which debuted at #2 on the charts for November (beaten only by Scott Snyder‘s Batman, which is pretty amazing considering that book regularly sells around the 120k range), this one-shot fanfic on FanFiction.net will feature a fourth wall breaking Harley as she’s got the Christmas blues. Why? Well, let’s find out by reading this short preview to the story, ‘Have A Holly, Harley Christmas’…
Harley sighed, sitting alone in her apartment, feeling unusually depressed for someone as bubbly as herself. It was doubly unusual considering that Christmas Eve was tomorrow. However, try as she might, the blonde ex-psychiatrist just couldn’t seem to bring herself to get out of her current funk. She just sat in the dark and dank apartment, wearing a black and red hoodie with matching yoga pants, listening to the sounds of Gotham City‘s night life, the carollers down the street, the-
“Would you knock it off, already?!” Harley yelled, looking seemingly at no one. “I’m bummed out enough, I don’t need someone narratin’ my misery to me!”
Harleen’s shoulders slumped. Of course, she hadn’t wanted to snap at the narrator, but-
“Yes I did!” Harley cried incredulously, springing to her feet. “How am I supposed to feel happy, anyway? I’m on the run from the law, hidin’ out in this stinkin’ hole of an apartment, I barely have enough for a halfway decent dinner tomorrow, and everybody I know is either outta town or behind bars…especially the one person I wanted to spend Christmas with the most.”
The one Harley wanted to spend Christmas with the most? And just who could that be? Perhaps a secret lover? Maybe Poison Ivy?
Harley’s eyes narrowed in irritation toward the narrator. “…Mistah J, ya doofus. You haven’t even introduced Ivy to your continuity yet, remember? That’s like saying I’m gonna run into Stephanie Bro-“
Of course it was The Joker. It was ALWAYS The Joker. The one man she wanted to spend Christmas, nay, her entire life with. Sadly for Miss Quinn, though, the Clown Prince of Crime was locked away in Arkham Asylum, far out of her reach.
“Tell me about it,” Harley muttered. “I was gonna have the perfect Christmas with my puddin’. We were gonna have presents and cake, canoodle under the mistletoe, maybe even shoot up a couple o’ bums down the street that were mean to me the other day.”
Harleen groaned, turning to a corner of the room with strips of measuring tape stuck to the walls and floor. “I even measured out the perfect little space to put a Christmas tree. And I don’t even have that, ‘cuz God forbid, I piss off you-know-who…”
Suddenly, as these words passed through her lips, it was as if someone lit a firecracker in the former Dr. Harleen Quinzel’s brain. As she stared at the vacant spot for her Christmas tree, the idea in her head was finally enough to bring a smile to her face. A smile devoid of sanity, mind you, but a smile nonetheless, and perhaps if Harley Quinn could just be happy for the holidays, then all would be right in the world.
“That’s it!” Harley cheered. “I’m gonna swipe me an artificial tree!”
…So, as you can tell, I take more than one pot-shot at myself with this one. lol But yeah, decided Harley should be breaking the fourth wall with this story, because honestly, I think it works REALLY well for her as being similar to Deadpool in that regard. She’ll have a lot of the zaniness that she’s known for, and will be wearing a costume that pays homage to various versions and interpretations of the character throughout the years. And don’t be surprised if one or two other Gotham rogues show up for some of the fun, thought probably not the ones you’re thinking of.
So, what do you think of this? Lemme know in the comments below, and we shall see what becomes of this fic around Christmas. Ja né!
- Harley Hits The Road In Harley Quinn #1 (comicsrefueled.wordpress.com)
- THE BAT SIGNAL: Palmiotti Talks “Harley Quinn,” Gothopia & Jonah Hex in the Modern DCU (comicbookresources.com)
- Harley Quinn #0 (comicvine.com)
- Controversial ‘suicide’ scene doesn’t appear in ‘Harley Quinn’ #0 (robot6.comicbookresources.com)
- Harley Quinn #0 by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (Comics Review) (sonsofcorax.wordpress.com)
- Harley Quinn 0- Why, DC? Why? (venusfrommars.wordpress.com)
- What fanfic is and isn’t (observationdeck.io9.com)
- Comic Book Road Show Jimmy Palmiotti (thetaylornetworkofpodcasts.com)
- Comic Review – ‘Harley Quinn – #0′ (adventureamigos.net)
- Morning Article Link: Examining Harley Quinn (bwspotlight.com)
What I Bought This Past Week – The DC Books (Batman #25, Batman/Superman #5, Batman and Robin #25, Harley Quinn #0) (WARNING – SPOILERS)
So, I’ve been to Heroes’ Beacon the past couple of Wednesdays, so I guess it’s time to talk about…
…And since I bought a LOT the past couple of weeks, I thought I’d split it up between DC and Marvel/Dynamite. So, let’s start the DC books with Batman #25.
Well first off, the Zero Year Batmobile is a frakking hot rod. AWESOME! 😀 Second, before we get to Riddler, apparently we got a Doctor Death/Poison Ivy arc, which is pretty cool. I like the fact that Zero Year has three phases, the first being the Red Hood Gang, second being Death and Ivy, third being Riddler. Also, apparently there’s something the military digs up in Nigeria that’s supposed to be important to all of this. Got a little bit of a problem with Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon being antagonistic towards each other because of something that happened over the murder of Bruce’s parents. Just feels unnecessary. Also, Lucius Fox does a heel turn at the end, I’m going to assume he’s being brainwashed or it isn’t really him, considering how trusted an ally he is to Batman later on. And finally, nice little back-up involving Harper Row and her brother, talking about everyone that’s helping in the blackout (Batman, Superman, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Barbara Gordon, John Stewart, Barry Allen, and the rest). Overall, a great issue, albeit one that kinda feels a bit disconnected from all these tie-ins, considering we only hear about the storm coming in the main story, while the tie-ins and the Harper back-up are about the different characters surviving it.
Oh, Snapple…Sorry, guys. Hang on a sec…
…There we go. Yeah, as you can tell, Batman/Superman #5 was a little weird to read, because it was utilizing a different style where you have to turn the comic on its side for the entire book. In other words, Linkara‘s nightmare taken form. XD There was a moment where Superman is able to tell that, and I quote, “In Metropolis, New York City, all up and down the eastern seaboard, the average human heart rate just increased by about three percent”. And I was like “…He can hear that???” and then I had to slap myself and go “Of course he can, you idiot, he’s Superman”. I was a tiny bit offended (not a lot, just a little) by the gamers playing Toymaster’s game not being able to tell that something wasn’t normal, and how when it’s revealed to them that they’ve been actually interacting with the real world, they think it’s just some meta story-within-a-story. C’mon, I know Jimmy Olsen is one of the players, but even HE isn’t THAT stupid. But I will give it a pass for the freaking horrifying reveal at the end: Mongul hacked the game so he can turn online gamers into his own personal army, since they spend billions of hours playing first person shooters and war simulators. THAT is actually kinda scary, and the fact that Mongul is doing it makes it all the more horrifying.
Batman and Robin #25…Okay, before I get to the review, I gotta address something. Remember how it was becoming ever-so-clear that Carrie Kelley would become Robin? Well, guess what? No sign of her for a few issues now. The apparent connection that was suggested in the solicit for this issue to what’s going on with Two-Face and Erin McKillen? Not here. And now there seems to be a lot of hints and suggestions that Damian might actually be coming back. So…what the crap is going on? Was Carrie Kelley just dropped in favour of bringing Damian back? Is this maybe just misdirection to just throw us off? And when is this book gonna go back to being titled Batman and Robin instead of Batman and Whoever-The-Frig-Else-Is-In-This-Book?
But yeah, getting back to Batman and Two-Face, it’s fine. The new revised origins for Two-Face are given a bit more development, and I do like the symbolism involved, that Harvey took away Erin’s better half, so she did the same to him. I also really like the return of Matches Malone. There is one panel in the book I have to just shake my head and laugh at, though. Not for being bad, because it isn’t, but because…well, you’ll see.
Wow. Subtle, guys. Really. lol
Harley Quinn #0…Y’know what, I don’t know if I’ll be picking up the series to follow it or not, but I will say this: This one issue is worth every penny you pay for it. In fact, for what I paid for it, I almost feel like I was ripping THEM off. This is the funniest comic I have ever read. And before you ask, no, I haven’t read Deadpool. Considered it a couple of times, may end up doing it in the future, but not as of this moment in time. If you don’t know, and I don’t know why you wouldn’t if you’re into comics, this issue is all about Harley Quinn wanting her own comic, and she’s breaking the fourth wall and talking to Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti as they write the book, talking about the different artists and basically judging which ones she likes best. They even make jabs at themselves and the different artists, so you know they were fully embracing the silliness and not taking themselves too seriously. Favourite moment was probably seeing Harley in her classic costume and drawn by Bruce Timm. The point where I had to put the book down for a second because I was laughing too hard was when they made the remark about Jim Lee’s quarterly royalty payments. XD Seriously, if you like Harley Quinn, or you just like comics that are funny and random as all hell, PICK THIS BOOK UP. I cannot recommend it any further, you guys.
Anyway, that’s it for the DC books I bought lately. Check back in later to learn all about the Marvel and Dynamite books I got in the past couple of Wednesdays. Ja né!
- 23 Absurdly Lame Things That Happened To Superman, Batman, And Robin (buzzfeed.com)
- Here’s a Preview of Harley Quinn #0 (slyparadox.org)
- Review: Batman Black and White #3 (readrant.wordpress.com)
- LOST’s Terry O’Quinn up for Lex Luthor in BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN? (geektyrant.com)
- Are You Ready For Batman to Come to Fox? (cabletv.com)
- DC Comic fans watch out, Harley Quinn is getting here own comic book (fandemonium365.wordpress.com)
- Exclusive Q&A with Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (kindlepost.com)
- Geek Out (jmelby74.wordpress.com)
- Comic Book Question of the Week Results: Favorite Batman Story (comicvine.com)
- Adam Driver may play Robin in Batman vs. Superman (dnaindia.com)