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!
So, it’s been a while since I did a full review of a comic, and since this is the book that grants the wish of so many within the Poison Ivy League, seeing her operating as a hero again (kinda), I figured I should give it a shot. Before I go too in-depth on my thoughts, though, let’s run down the plot first.
The comic starts with a monologue by Adam Strange, who is apparently trapped within the Zeta Beams, as he watches Animal Man, Stargirl, Alanna Strange, and Equinox recruiting a group of people for a mission. Specifically, they recruit Mera, Swamp Thing, Poison Ivy, and Etrigan to deal with something called a Breaker. More or less, in the aftermath of Convergence, anomalies in space and time have emerged on Earth 0 that are tearing up the fabric of reality (or something like that, anyway), and the JLU are recruiting both heroes and villains to deal with each Breaker as they appear. Where are the rest of the team? Well, apparently, Supergirl, Green Arrow, and Martian Manhunter all left the team without so much as a warning or an explanation. As such, Adam Strange is picking out people based on how they’d perform in each specific mission, although Ivy jokes that, with her and Mera on the same team, that he just has a redhead fetish…No comment. lol Anyway, Equinox is sent as the League representative for the mission with the four individuals selected, and they go to deal with the Breaker. Specifically, a massive red blob of some sort, neither animal nor plant-life but having elements of both, has appeared in the middle of the ocean. Unfortunately, as they arrive, Poison Ivy and Swamp Thing realize that they’ve been cut off from The Green, just as the Breaker begins its assault on the team, leaving Adam Strange to watch as he determines that they’re about to see if he selected wisely.
So, let’s talk for a sec about…well, I suppose the big thing for me: Poison Ivy. First off, not a fan of the fact that she’s introduced in this comic as pushing drugs, although it at least makes more sense than Superman pushing super pills in Injustice. 😛 Otherwise, while it initially bugged me how much she seemed to be complaining throughout the issue, specifically as it pertained to why she was there, I have to admit that, once I put myself in her shoes, it made a bit more sense. If I was drafted for a mission in the middle of nowhere, with no idea of what I was supposed to do or why I was even there, especially given that Swamp Thing was also on the team, I’d probably be less than completely okay with everything going on. Hopefully, this is leading somewhere that’ll resolve that issue.
The other major thing that bugs me is the idea that half of the original team just left without so much as a word. I get that Martian Manhunter is supposed to be this big question mark of a character nowadays, but his connection with his team-mates should’ve at least given him enough of a conscience to come up with an excuse. As for Supergirl and Green Arrow, I seriously find that to be complete horse-crap. In fact, given that there seems to be a lot that went on between issues 10 and 11, and the massive overhaul of the team and its dynamics, it feels like this either should’ve been a completely different team altogether, or a new volume of the book, either way providing an issue 0 to explain what the hell happened in the gap. To be honest, given the nature of what they’re dealing with, it feels more like a Justice League Dark mission… … …What happened to them, anyway?
The last thing I wanna address has to deal with Mera. I have no idea what’s going on in the Aquaman book, but I do not like the idea of Mera basically on a manhunt for her husba-Oh wait, forgot, Dan Didio said no to married heroes, and only Animal Man seemed to slip through the cracks and keep his intact (and thank God he did, btw). I dunno, she just comes off as way too angry and one-track minded about hunting Arthur down. As a side-note, though, I DID love the line from Animal Man talking about how he’s been mistaken for Aquaman on occasion. Now, as a MASSIVE comic geek, I can honestly say that I’ve never once mistaken the two, but I HAVE seen it happen, and I seem to recall even in-universe, other heroes have mistaken how his powers work for how Aquaman’s do (that he talks to animals like how Aquaman can communicate with aquatic life).
With that out of the way, lemme talk about what I DO like. For starters, I like that the members that DID stick around did so and are therefore still relevant. Not one of them have their own books currently, and I don’t think that’s exactly in the cards for any of them at this time. I also love that these are basically B, C, and quite possibly even D-list heroes, and yet they’re having to take on a mission that could have serious repercussions if left unchecked, AND having to be the ones taking charge of the situation. It’s a huge undertaking for them, and it’s one that’s not always going to have an easy solution, but we see them trying their best to do what they can. And dammit, we needed a book about heroes that aren’t at the top of the food chain that can save the world too.
Secondly, I like that the events of Convergence are having consequences. As far as I can tell, at this time, none of the other books are addressing Convergence and what went down there. You just can’t do something like Convergence, which honestly forces me to try and learn what the plural of the word Multiverse is, without having some long-lasting fall-out. Here, we see that, when you take worlds that existed in a seemingly infinitely stretching Multiverse, all kept divided on different vibrational frequencies, some of which didn’t even physically exist anymore, and then pluck parts of them off and put them on the same planet, it kinda sorta BREAKS SPACE. Granted, I wish the fall-out from Convergence included seeing some of these alternate worlds, but dammit, at this point, I’ll take what I can get.
Lastly, I like the idea that this is a team book where, at any given time, seemingly ANYONE could show up for a mission. Heroes, villains, neutrals, doesn’t matter. You wanna see Poison Ivy save the world with Swamp Thing? We’re seeing it here and now. You wanna see Hawk and Dove chilling with Fire and Ice? Based on the preview we got during Convergence, could very well see just that. Anyone could appear for a team-up, and as you know, I’m a huge sucker for stories that have tons of heroes working together.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on the book. Will I continue to pick it up after Poison Ivy leaves? Maybe, if it can make up for the stuff I disliked and continue to do what I DO like. Lemme know what you all think of this book, and hey, if you’re a Poison Ivy fan, be sure to let DC know you wanna see more of her…which, FYI? Apparently we’re getting a mini-series for Poison Ivy next year written by Amy Chu, which I’m gonna NEED to check out when it comes out. Ja né!
… … …Before we start, just gonna say this: VERY upset that the logo lost the maple leaf. I waited FOREVER for my country to get its own Justice League. Now, with that outta the way, here’s the preview for Justice League United #11!
- The Convergence is over! Now, Alanna Strange, Stargirl and Equinox must assemble brand-new and wildly untraditional teams of heroes and villains to work together and stop another cosmic catastrophe before it happens. In this issue: Mera, Poison Ivy, Swamp Thing and Etrigan!
So, with the solicitations for DC in March out for all to see, a few cancellations have been made official, one of which I already talked about, one I knew about and didn’t mention on here, and one I just found out about and is making me rather sad. So, let’s go through all three and what my thoughts are on them.
Not TOO depressed about this one. Why? Well, for starters, I never read it, but I have seen bits and pieces, and I can say that while Animal Man isn’t my own personal cup of tea, I can see how a LOT of people would love the crap outta it. The other reason is that the writer, Jeff Lemire, is gonna be writing adding Animal Man to the roster of one of the Justice Leagues, likely either Justice League Dark or Justice League of Canada. Either one works, honestly. My only concern the ending of the Animal Man book, the status of the Baker family by the end of it, and if they will be appearing in the League book he’ll be in.
THANK FRAKKING GOODNESS, this book is getting cancelled! If I may be allowed to adapt a quote of Roger Ebert‘s, when he was talking about the movie North, I hated Batman: The Dark Knight. Hated, hated, hated, HATED that book. HATED it. Hated every single stupid, intelligence-insulting moment of it. And it’s gonna survive until #29, not counting the #0 issue or the Villains Month issues. The ONLY reason this book made it this far, and I know this, because I WAS one of the people who bought it for a while, is the title (because The Dark Knight was still hot), and the fact that Batman was the main protagonist. If you put anyone else in these scenarios and storylines, wouldn’t have ever made it past the first arc. And the fact that writers are very generously trying to make something out of the random, idiotic stuff that happened in it, I don’t know why they bother trying, but kudos to them. In fact, memo to me, come March or April, do something that carefully analyses the idiocy of this book.
Sadly, this book, not okay with it being cancelled. Going into Talon, I was initially concerned that this was gonna be a waste of time, and on the very first issue, I knew this was gonna be awesome, and it has been. Calvin Rose has been awesome, Casey Washington has been quite possibly one of the best new characters of the New 52, the story has been a great follow-up to the Court of Owls/Night of the Owls arcs of the main Batman series by Scott Snyder, and my only hope is that these characters continue to hang around. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they become regulars in the upcoming Batman Eternal weekly series. I’d LOVE it if Casey became the next Oracle type of character.
So, guess that’s one book I’ll be forced to drop. However, I’ve decided to stick with Talon until the last issue. Regardless of what happens, how it ends, and who stays or goes, I’ve stuck with it since the beginning, so I feel the need to stay with it until the end. I owe it to these characters, and I owe it to James Tynion and Scott Snyder. Still, I guess that helps me with my decision regarding what to drop for the new books in the new year, which you can still vote on, btw.
So, what are your thoughts on all of this? Comment below, and we’ll see how these books conclude in March. Ja né!
- Nature Calls; Animal Man Answers. An Introduction to Animal Man (comicbookheretic.wordpress.com)
- Lemire’s Animal Man series to end in March 2014 (comicsrefueled.wordpress.com)
- Seeley & Lucas Conclude “Talon” in March (comicbookresources.com)
- Batman: The Dark Knight cancelled (digitalspy.co.uk)
- “Animal Man” and “Talon” to End in March (outrightgeekery.wordpress.com)
- DC readies weekly series, ‘Futures End’ for spring (thenewstribune.com)
- The New 52 and Why It Has Failed (ericmikols.com)
- DC Cancelled Stormwatch in April (goodkindofgeek.com)
- Rumor: DC Is Working On Low-Budget Superhero Movies (capesonfilm.com)
- ‘Talon’ added to list of titles ending in March (comicsrefueled.wordpress.com)
I’m back again, and here to talk about the next 13 issues of what I would have planned for the New 52 if I were in charge of it. And for people wondering why the first 13 issues were so similar to what was actually done, basically I wanted to get them out of the way first. Also, just as a note, for The Flash, probably what I’d do if Barry and Wally were both in it is have Barry wear a modified version of his Blue Lantern Flash outfit, just to keep them unique in style and also to make the red on the Justice League a little lessened with Barry on there. So with that said, let’s kick this off with…
Sorry to fans of Suicide Squad, but I just feel that keeping the Secret Six around under the penning of Gail Simone would make a much better villain’s book, so I’d replace Suicide Squad with this. Would probably involve most of the previous team getting out of jail, though I’d likely sub out Bane for Harley Quinn or Giganta or somebody like that and make Scandal the leader. Maybe not right away, but pretty soon to give way for what happens later on in Talon. But speaking of Gail Simone, let’s talk about a couple other books she’s helmed…
Pretty much the same as Batgirl was originally (dammit, still need to review The Darkest Reflection), save for a few things. Yeah, what a shocker, I’d want Stephanie Brown in once or twice as a recurring character. Sorry, I just love Steph as a character so much, and her team with Barbara was amazing, and seeing the two working together would be incredible. Maybe even get Black Bat in on the fun. The other thing (again, what a shock), I WOULDN’T FIRE HER. lol
Okay, clearly I can’t have her writing 4 books at once, but I would definitely want whoever was writing Birds of Prey to have her input and whatnot. With Birds of Prey, there’s a couple of things I’d want changed. First off, put Huntress back on. There is no reason she can’t at least be a loosely affiliated member of the team. Second, PUSH THE F’ING BUTTON ON THE KURT LANCE SIDEPLOT! We are now 19 issues in, and they’re still doing this! Third, I’d probably want Goldrush on there at some point so we at least know something about her before she appears in Justice League.
Okay, once again, I need to stress that I’m not saying that the Justice League Dark we got sucked. I would never say that, This is just what I would do with the team, and what I would do can be summed up in one word: Raven. Basically, Madame Xanadu senses that Trigon is back and causing all kinds of paranormal havoc while trying to reach through dimensions, so she calls Raven, Constantine, Zatanna, Deadman, and a few others, possibly even Elongated Man since he’s a ghost detective. And speaking of Justice Leagues…
Really, the only thing I’d change with Justice League International is that I probably wouldn’t have as much of a rotating door roster on the group. That really bugged me how at the halfway point, half the team either died, got de-powered, or otherwise left the group.
Frak no, I ain’t changing anything with Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.! And if you need to know why, look no further than Issue 3, where Frankenstein jumps into a giant spider monster’s mouth and does THIS!
‘Nuff said, moving on…
Again, wouldn’t change much about Animal Man, except I wouldn’t kill the kid and thus possibly separating the family, I would’ve likely wanted to involve Beast Boy at some point, and I would’ve wasted a lot less time getting to the crossover with Swamp Thing.
…Leave me alone, that was the best logo for Spoiler I could find. lol Anyway, I’d naturally want Bryan Q. Miller on this book, and basically have it continue from where his Batgirl run left off, with Steph becoming Spoiler again and continuing her operations along with Proxy. I imagine her attire would be similar to the Nightwing attire we saw in the last issue, except with her usual hair instead of the buzzcut. As for what I’d replace, probably Batman: The Dark Knight.
Well, this is where fans of David Zavimbe and the original arc of Batwing are gonna kill me, but I think I’d want to start off with the Luke Fox arc. Sorry guys, I just like what they’re doing here more, and I’ll hopefully be able to explain why tomorrow after Free Comic Book Day.
Not really anything I’d change plot wise with Supergirl, but…Well, I guess I’d just wanna change the costume. Maybe something akin to this…
…except that the pants would have to blend in better with the costume.
…Yes, believe it or not, I WOULD have Red Hood and the Outlaws be around. I would do a few changes, though: I’d have Lian be brought back, I’d have Chesire on the team, I would have Starfire NOT be a skank and instead just be an amnesiac, and I think I’d add Scarlet (because I otherwise have no idea what happened to her with the reboot) and a couple of anti-heroes and/or d-list villains to balance the team out.
Again, like with Batwing, I’d want to start Green Arrow off with the current arc by Jeff Lemire. While I don’t buy it since I’m not a big Green Arrow fan, I have read it in the stands, and trust me, it’s a LOT better.
Believe it or not, I would want Worlds’ Finest writer Paul Levitz to write Catwoman, pretty much as she acted in Worlds’ Finest #0. Why? Because she actually ACTED like Catwoman! I am so SICK of how Catwoman’s been in her book. I know I said that since they changed writers that it got better, but since then, it got WORSE. Want a good example of it? Check out Catwoman #18. That ONE issue is the best example I can give on what’s wrong with the book.
And that’s half the books down already. Next time, I’ll talk books 27 – 39, but tomorrow, I attend Free Comic Book Day at GameZilla! See y’all there!