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!
Sorry I haven’t been around as much, but I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch, and I’m rethinking how I do things on the blog. Suffice to say, things have been kinda slow on here, and I’m sorry for that, but I’m gonna try to make up for it. I’ll give an update as to what I’ve been up to shortly, but I will say right now that most of it has been fanfiction and job hunting. lol
Anyway, with that outta the way, let’s talk about the Fastest Man Alive: The Flash. A lot of people already know that Flash is gonna be in Justice League: War, and will also be getting his own tv show this year. Well, it was recently announced that Flash’s comic is also getting a whole new creative team, with co-writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen, and Brett Booth as the artist, all starting with The Flash #30. And as if that ain’t big enough news, one week later, the team will be doing The Flash Annual #3, where they will FINALLY reintroduce Wally West.
Now, given how long I’ve bitched about Wally being gone, I’m of course ecstatic. At the same time, this also leaves with with some questions, specifically what role Wally will play. The moniker of Kid Flash is already taken by Bart Allen, and I somehow doubt that Dan Didio will allow there to be two Flashes again, which I will admit was kinda confusing. So, where does that leave Wally? Well, as I said, Bart is currently Kid Flash, meaning the role of Impulse is currently unclaimed. Other than that, I suppose it’s POSSIBLE, with the current storyline involving Bart Allen dealing with his past in the future (don’t ask) that Wally might replace him.
But, let’s not take away from Barry Allen’s success as a character that has led him to what could be a landmark year for the character. As I said, he will be appearing in Justice League: War, a loose adaptation of the first Justice League story of the New 52, as portrayed by Christopher Gorham, and he’ll also be starring in a spin-off show for Arrow, as portrayed by Grant Gustin. Between all of that and the new creative team on his comic, is it possible that 2014 could be The Flash’s year? I mean, we know Batman’s gonna have a hell of a year, what with it being his 75th Anniversary, but could Flash be looking to steal some of The Dark Knight’s thunder?
Leave your comments below on what you think of all of this, and hopefully, we won’t have to wait long for answers regarding Wally’s return and the extent of how big this year’ll be for the Scarlet Speedster. Ja né!
- Wally West (en.wikipedia.org)
- New Creative Team for THE FLASH Announced plus the Return of Wally West! (comicvine.com)
- The Flash speeds into a big breakout year in 2014 (usatoday.com)
- Wally West Returns To THE FLASH Under New Creative Team (unleashthefanboy.com)
- The Flash Wiki (theflash.wikia.com)
What I Bought Today…And Last Week, lol – Batman #21, Batgirl #21, Batman and Robin #21, Nightwing #21, Li’l Gotham #3, Supergirl #21, Superman Unchained #1 (WARNING – SPOILERS)
What’s that? It’s Wednesday? Then I guess I better take a look at…
…and last week, since I kinda got caught up doing other stuff and didn’t talk about it. lol My bad. Anyway, let’s start with Batman #21, the beginning of Zero Year.
How many people thought Zero Year was gonna suck? C’mon, be honest, a lot of people thought this was gonna suck. And honestly, I don’t know why. Is it because we already had Year One and this was just a retelling of Batman’s origins while sweeping Year One away? Well, the thing is, even if that were true, which I’m not sure it is, that’s not really Scott Snyder‘s fault. The universe was rebooted, and I get why that sucks, but all Snyder wants to do is tell Batman’s origins within this rebooted universe. In other words, judge it based on its own merits. If you still wanna say that Year One was better, go ahead. That doesn’t mean this sucks by default. And frankly, I really liked this book…with the exception of Bruce telling Alfred to shut up in one scene, but otherwise, it works.
Batgirl #21…Okay, I’m gonna repeat what I said to Gail Simone after reading this book: If I didn’t already have a nightmare about gigantic mutated dinosaurs coming to life in my town, this book would’ve scared the shit outta me! O.O The new Ventriloquist is frakking terrifying. And no, we don’t get an explanation for how she controls the puppet, or her dead parents for that matter (oh, did I skip that part?) when they engage Batgirl in a VERY bloody ordeal, but frankly, I like it better that way. It adds to the horror element that there’s this terrifying force we can’t understand or reason with. So if you like being scared, by all means, feel free to pick this up. My only complaint? Commissioner Gordon continues to be an idiot. Sadly, I don’t think that’s gonna end any time soon.
Batman and Robin #21, or rather Batman and Batgirl as it’s called this issue, is the bargaining phase. However, Batman isn’t the only one bargaining here, as we see him try to convince a group of criminals to take him hostage as opposed to the civilians…which is a far more noble endeavor than we’ve seen outta him the past few issues of this book, but we then see Batgirl trying to reason with him in his current state of mind. She even tells him that if he needs a Robin with him so badly that he can’t function right without one, all he needs to do is say the word and she’ll don the costume in a heartbeat…Um, Babs? I get the sentiment and all, but I think you’re a little old and established for that. I mean, I know I said once that Huntress could do it, but looking back, I was wrong about that. Anyway, this is a better book than the last few, as Batman’s a bit nobler in the field, and even when he freaks out at Babs, it’s not really a physical confrontation and is a bit more understandable. My only complaint? No Carrie Kelly. Not necessarily a big problem, but they could definitely serve to bring in more development for her if I’m right about her role in this story in the future.
Nightwing #21 might be the best book I got last week, even including Zero Year. Why? Because dammit, I love seeing Dick Grayson be a snarky bastard. lol Seriously, there’s a scene where he’s got Prankster up on a roof, who is just waking up after he knocked him out, and Nightwing’s just sitting there with a cup of coffee and a box of donuts just chillin’. It’s hilariously awesome. Unfortunately, this was Brett Booth‘s last issue drawing Nightwing, and I know a lot of female fans will miss the beefcake. I keep hearing this rumor that a certain arch-nemesis of mine (Dan Didio) wants to kill off Dick Grayson, and that he’s actually been wanting to kill him off for years now. I hope it’s not true, because at this point, even the editors would tell him that’s stupid.
Li’l Gotham #3 continues to be hilarious, albeit I’m on the fence if I liked the Robin/Katana section simply because Damian says and does a lot of stuff he wouldn’t be caught dead saying…Y’know, when he was alive………..I’m gonna get it for this. I do think that’s one of my favourite parts of the book, that Damian is still very much active in this book. And let’s face it, plenty of people still miss the little bastard (don’t look at me like that, his parents aren’t married).
Supergirl #21 was pretty neat, as we see that Kara, who is dying from Kryptonite poisoning, comes across a planet full of people under attack by a renegade monstrosity made from their tech, which apparently allows them to craft their buildings however they see fit and auto-repair them. In fact, they even like to rebuild their city and planet and their culture into that of destroyed worlds, so Kara gets the idea to ask them to do so for Krypton. Unfortunately, not all is as it seems, as someone is actually dangling this idea to use Supergirl for their own schemes. Who is this individual?
…Nah, I’m kidding, although that’d be funny considering her pre-Flashpoint origins. No, it’s Cyborg Superman!
And I gotta admit, he actually DOES look awesome now. Hopefully, his involvement in the Supergirl stories doesn’t require me to buy the other Superman family titles, ‘cuz I ain’t doin’ it. lol
And finally, that brings me to the book I skipped out on so I could grab it this week, Superman Unchained #1. Now, on the plus side, this is a LOT better than the other Superman titles out there, one in particular. Superman feels like Superman. His first appearance is flying in and saving the day using his wits and incredible powers. We see him at his new blogging job and having genuinely friendly conversations with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, who I actually don’t feel like killing for once in this book. We see Lex Luthor being the marvelous piss stain on humanity that he is and reveling in every second of it. However, I do have two gripes with this book. First off, as awesome as it looks and will look on my wall, the four-page spread is NOT NECESSARY. It just ups the price by a buck for no reason other than to be pretty. Also, while I don’t necessarily mind that the government has a super-powered individual hidden underground, the idea that this person has been working for them since World War II and was what they actually bombed Japan with…Yeah, even ignoring the possibility of someone being offended by that, which is highly likely, it’s still silly at best. But otherwise, feels like a book I might wanna stick with…which is actually a problem, and I’ll get to that some other time.
Anyway, that’s it for this week…and last week. Check in next week when I check out what’s new with the recently undead Calvin Rose, the recently Man-Bat Batman, and the recently AWESOME X-Men. Ja né!
- Review: Nightwing #21 (hopeburnsbright.wordpress.com)
- Exclusive: ‘Batman and Batgirl’ #21 Preview (geek-news.mtv.com)
- It’s a Gotham City wedding for two Nightwing and Batgirl fans (robot6.comicbookresources.com)