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!
Not gonna lie, kinda bummed these guys aren’t the new Birds of Prey, but whatever, should still be a good book, as should this. Here’s the preview for Batgirl #50.
- It’s the explosive conclusion of the epic that changed Barbara Gordon forever! The enemy lurking at the edges of Batgirl’s life has been revealed, as have the gang of heroes assembled to help her! From this point on, Batgirl doesn’t walk alone! It’s an extra-sized celebration of the greatest hero Burnside has ever known, from Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr!
Hoo boy, this could get very, VERY bad if even one little slip-up occurs. Anyway, here are the preview pages for Batgirl #49.
- To unravel the secret of Batgirl’s bizarre new nemesis, her friends must travel to strange and uncharted territory: the inside of Barbara Gordon’s spectacular mind!
Batgirl! Black Canary! Batwing!…Erm, criminals with a video game motif… … …Meh, I’ve seen weirder. lol Here’s the preview for Batgirl #48!
- When Batgirl is down, it’s Black Canary to the rescue! Dinah and Barbara reteam to try to discover the identity of the malevolent mastermind making their presence felt in Burnside!
Okay, this isn’t a complaint, more-so just something that’s kinda bugging me: Why doesn’t Babs just TELL her dad the truth now? Not only is there little to nothing he can say about it, given the situation, but it would benefit both of them, as she’d have someone on the inside at GCPD and Powers, and HE’D have someone in the Bat Family who firmly recognizes him as an ally. I just don’t get why she can’t be honest with him, and the only reason I can think of is because Bruce is coming back and the status quo will be returning to normal, and having that revelation now would off-set that. Yay, status quo. -_-
*sighs* Whatever, tangent over. Here’s the preview for Batgirl #47.
- Batgirl’s about to lose the greatest weapon in her arsenal…her mind is failing her! Is her ragtag group of allies enough to pick up the slack?
I’ve DEFINITELY been looking forward to this one. 😀 It’s the preview for Batgirl #46!
- In her civilian life, Barbara Gordon may be sitting on tech research that could be a gold mine…and in her life as Batgirl, she’s cracked the code that might enable her to take down massive police corruption in Burnside! It’s time for Batgirl to level up—but she’s going to need allies on both fronts. Enter the Spoiler!
Okay, I like the art, but…seriously, how old does Bengal think Barbara is? 14? lol Whatever, here’s the preview for Batgirl #44!
- Velvet Tiger’s got her claws around Luke Fox’s throat—and only Batgirl can save him!
… … …Okay, I’m beginning to notice a pattern with the Batgirl book as of late: One issue, they’ll tease something horrible that I absolutely hate happening, and then the next issue, everything turns out to be fine. I swear to God, though, if they reveal that Jo is actually Velvet Tiger right after the announcement that her and Alysia are getting married… …the only way that they can recover from that is if it pushes Alysia closer to Babs and THEY get together, because clearly Alysia has a thing for redheads. lol Anyway, enough gun-jumping, here’s the preview for Batgirl #43!
- Tech genius Luke Fox has brought his startup to Burnside, and he seems to be hiring all of Barbara’s friends…but not her! Unfortunately, someone else is setting up shop in Burnside as well…the mysterious Velvet Tiger!
Double the Batgirl, double the fun! Here are the previews for Batgirl #42 and Batgirl Annual #3!
- Batgirl can barely hold her own in combat against the new Batman… so what happens when Livewire joins the fight with the intention of taking them both out?
- On her latest mission, Batgirl finds herself mixing it up with Helena Bertinelli of Spyral…but who is the mysterious Spyral agent who seems to be one step ahead of her at every turn without ever showing his face? She’s determined to crack this mystery – but Grayson is just as determined not to get caught! Plus: Batgirl visits Gotham Academy – and there are plenty of surprises in store for her!
Yeah, it’s been a while since I did a full review of a comic, but as I mentioned beforehand, Wednesday night is D&D night at Heroes’ Beacon, so I haven’t had much in the way of time. However, because I’m kinda down right now with what I’m assuming is a cold, and had to have my comics delivered to me (thanks, Mom), I had time today. So, let’s look at the end of Stewart and Fletcher’s first arc with Barbara Gordon in Batgirl #40 – Ghost In The Cowl (and yes, that’s most definitely a reference to Ghost In The Shell, complete with similar logo, lol).
So, as we learned last issue, and had further light shed on it in Batgirl’s part of Secret Origins #10, it seems the algorithm Babs made while she was wheelchair bound was designed to identify and predict criminal activity and alert operatives to deal with the situation as a sort of information broker. Babs also included a brain scan of herself to give the program a personality. So basically, a digital Oracle. However, it’s gotten a bit…confused. Seeing Batgirl no longer scaring criminals, being a force of fear, and instead becoming a bit more public, the program instead sees herself as the real Barbara Gordon and Babs as the corrupted version. Worse, using the hooq servers, she’s determined that pretty much everyone going to Black Canary’s concert (yeah, I still can’t get over that, but let’s move on) is a potential target, whether directly involved in criminal behaviour or not, and has decided to take them all out WITH A MILITARY SATELLITE! Of course, Babs ain’t taking that shit, and with help from Dinah and Frankie (her room-mate who just learned of Babs’ secret identity), as well as the GCPD keeping everyone calm, they manage to stop evil data twin Barbara from firing and shut her down. The next morning, Frankie reveals that she managed to save the algorithm and fix it so it won’t kill anyone. She also teases that she gave it a name, and makes it clear that she wants to join team Batgirl. Afterward, we get a quick goodbye from Dinah, who has been signed to a label and might be going on tour, and declares that she no longer has any hard feelings towards Babs, as none of this would’ve happened without her. So, all’s good with the team again………THANK GOD. lol
Now, let’s discuss a couple of things. First, there’s how the Barbara/Dinah situation resolved. Frankly, at this point, I’m just glad they managed to resolve this at all with at least some of either character’s dignity intact and their friendship rekindled. I still think that Di took it way too far at times, but she at least came back for Babs when she most needed her. Also, I’m still on the fence about the direction of the new Black Canary book coming out in June. However, I do take comfort that she actually HAS a solo book now for the first time since 2007, and that it’s at least something different that’ll take us down a new road with the character. So, I’m at least more open to the idea than I was when it was first announced.
As for Frankie becoming the new Oracle, or at least the new Oracle-like character……..I love it. lol Yeah, I’ve been a little disappointed that Alysia got pushed into the background to make room for Frankie, but I’ve come around and learned to like this character as well. And honestly, if we’re going with the idea of someone other than Babs being Oracle, maybe this is exactly who we needed: Someone who is smart, adaptive, and wants to help clean up the streets, but not out of any desire for vengeance or being motivated by a troubled life, but just because she wants to help. And I love the idea that we’re going back to someone who is physically handicapped, but with the twist that she wasn’t put in the wheelchair by a criminal. Hell, she’s not even in the chair yet, it’s just a condition she has that’ll eventually lead to that. And while I don’t really feel her race ever really impacts her character at all, it still adds to the roster of DC characters of varying skins and nationalities. Overall, it’s a good call.
So, my thoughts on this issue? Great. Not perfect, mind you. It DOES feel like a bit of a mega-happy ending, which could rub people the wrong way, but sometimes, we need those. I no longer have any kind of ill will for this book and its narrative. I know that there are still some that do, though, and that’s fine. Nothing is for everybody, but this book is definitely for me.