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, 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)
So, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m planning to pick up the new Black Widow, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk books when they come out. In addition, I’m honestly kind of enticed into at least checking out an arc of Iron Man‘s coming up soon where Malekith, the main villain from Thor: The Dark World, plans to find the Mandarin’s rings to gain even more power. However, since money’s gonna be a little on the tight side for reasons I don’t wanna get into, that means dropping some titles to make room for the new ones. So, let’s go through the books I regularly buy these days to get a better idea as to which stays and which goes.
Hell no, I ain’t dropping this book! This is the best frigging book DC puts out every month! Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have been putting out one of the best runs of Batman in years, and I’ve been loving the crap outta this book since day one that I’ve been buying it, and I honestly don’t see that changing any time soon. Batman STAYS.
Again, the best Superman book of the New 52, though largely because it still feels like the pre-Flashpoint Superman. Y’know, the far better one. lol Not planning to drop this one, but depending on how long it winds up lasting, I may not have a choice. For now, however, Superman Unchained STAYS.
Nightwing has been great, especially since the move to Chicago (although I still don’t understand why there and not a New 52 Blüdhaven, but whatever). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Nightwing has kinda been reminding me of Spider-man before Marvel ruined Spider-man. Now, depending on the ending and fall-out of Forever Evil, I MIGHT be dropping this book, or it might even be getting cancelled. We’ll just have to see what happens.
As great as Supergirl’s been, I’m thinking I might have to drop it, on account of a change coming up where Supergirl is going to be joining the Red Lanterns. Mind you, that all depends on whether or not this decision turns out to be permanent. If so, dropping. If not, we’ll see. Either way, though, I think I’m gonna skip the next arc involving Lobo, just because it doesn’t look terribly interesting and it’ll free up some cash.
Yep, I am coming back to Gail Simone‘s Batgirl, as was always my intent once Batgirl: Wanted was over. I won’t be picking up the next issue, since it’s a tie-in to an event I’m not gonna be following, but after that, apparently Batgirl’s gonna be teaming up with Strix, so that should prove interesting. So yeah, gonna say with some confidence that Batgirl STAYS.
Batman/Superman has been a lot of fun, albeit pretty different, and I do plan to get the trade for issues 1-4 when it comes out, perhaps for my birthday, but I don’t really plan to follow the crossover with Worlds’ Finest, so I guess whether I continue to pick it up after that will depend on what comes afterwards. Still, I give props where props is due to Greg Pak for making this a fun series, which is what a team-up book for Superman and Batman should be. Now if you could talk DC into bringing back the old Superman/Batman logo for it, that’d be great. I don’t care which hero gets top billing, just bring back the logo. lol
James Tynion’s Talon’s been AMAZING, but it’s also changing writers and gonna be going in a new direction, so I gotta wait to see how that goes before making a decision. If it remains as great as it’s been, and we get to see Calvin Rose and Casey Washington continue to be awesome, definitely gonna continue to pick Talon up.
Brian Wood’s X-Men continues to be fun and engaging, which is good since it’s the only mainstream all-women team right now with Fearless Defenders being cancelled and Birds of Prey having Condor, AKA That Guy No One Cares About. And I know, the Birds have had a dude on the team before in the form of Hawk, but that was only ‘cuz Dove was on the team and it’s always best to keep Hawk and Dove together. Sadly, it had a little bit of a shake-up with its roster due to Remender deciding to kill off Rogue in Uncanny Avengers and Kitty deciding to go hang out with Cyclops of all people, but the current line-up works too, so I’m probably gonna keep with it.
The Movement…Yeah, I’m sadly done with this one. Not Gail Simone’s best work, as I feel the overall storytelling and character arcs are kinda messed up, but the characters themselves are alright, and I hope that the book improves and gets new readers. Maybe I’ll pick it back up someday if that happens.
On the other hand, Gail Simone’s Red Sonja is definitely sticking around on my pull list. This is Gail at her best, when the people above her basically just let her do whatever she wants, and it’s FANTASTIC. XD So yeah, Red Sonja STAYS.
And finally, Batman and Robin, or rather, Batman and Whoever these days. Look, I’m gonna be honest, I like Peter Tomasi‘s writing a lot, but at this point, if we don’t get a new Robin soon, this book is going to suffer a LOT. Why? Three words: Lack of direction. It feels like Tomasi is having to stall for the moment that either Damian comes back or someone takes his place. Batman and Two-Face has been alright, but if this continues for much longer, I may need to seriously consider dropping this book.
So, of the books I just listed, four are staying for certain and one is getting dropped. That leaves Nightwing, Batman/Superman, Supergirl, X-Men, Batman and _____, and Talon. Which of these books do you think deserve to stick around, and which do you think should be banished from What I Bought Today? Lemme know in the comments, and/or vote below which of the six you think is the best, and we’ll see what happens in the new year. Ja né!
- Bullet Reviews #137 (comicbooked.com)
- EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK: Jae Lee Returns to “Batman/Superman” for “First Contact” (comicbookresources.com)
- Time For A Little (More) Gail Simone Appreciation (venusfrommars.wordpress.com)
- Lobo, Fear, and the God of Death: Marguerite Bennett on Comics and Writing (hopeburnsbright.wordpress.com)
- Batgirl #26 Review (comicsrefueled.wordpress.com)
- Bedard Returns To The Lantern Corps With “Supergirl” (comicbookresources.com)
- Revealed: DC Comics Was to Have Featured Rape and Torture of Batgirl (breitbart.com)
- Batman/Superman #6 (comicvine.com)
- Willow Writes the New Ms. Marvel, a Teenage Muslim Shape-Shifter (comicbookresources.com)
- DC Comics Jumps Forrward 5 Years With Weekly “The New 52: Futures End” (comicbookresources.com)
- Malekith Seeks the “Rings of the Mandarin” in Gillen’s “Iron Man” (comicbookresources.com)
So, I went to Heroes’ Beacon today, and you know what that means. It’s time to look at…
Only one comic this week, so let’s get right to it. Here is Talon #12.
So, remember how last issue ended with both Casey Washington and Sebastian Clark seemingly dead? Well, guess what? Both alive and…well, not quite well, but doing alright. Following the assault from Felix Harmon, Casey has lost an eye and had to have her right arm amputated. However, she’s good friends with Morgan Freeman, I-I mean Lucius Fox, who vouches for her to Bruce Wayne and Batman (remember, in the comics, he doesn’t know they’re one and the same…even though he REALLY should) and lets her hide out in the lab for as long as she needs. And while I feel like I should be giving James Tynion a hard time for doing this to the female lead in this comic, I really can’t since, as we see in this issue, she’s still being awesome and witty despite her losses, talking about having to practise being a lefty and trading snarky comments with Fox as they get to work designing a prosthetic for her. Her only concern is the well-being of her daughter, and possibly getting some punches in on Harmon when they find him. Seriously, Casey NEEDS to become either the new Oracle, or a new heroine version of Cyborgirl. She’s just too damned awesome.
In the meantime, however, there’s a bit of a problem, which Calvin Rose and Batman learn upon investigating the Court’s hideout and sending Robats to Bane’s island: The Court of Owls has gone back into hiding, Harmon has officially gone rogue, and Bane and his entire island have disappeared, though readers of Forever Evil: Arkham War can learn what he’s up to. However, Batman and the currently beating himself up Calvin Rose have to get their priorities straight: They need to find Sarah and rescue her from the Court of Owls. Batman hands over what information he has on the Court to Calvin, to fill in any blanks he might have and give him some clues on where to find them, since his experience with them probably trumps his own. However, Batman isn’t completely sold on a good Talon, and makes it clear he has a cryo-tube in Blackgate ready for after Calvin has located Felix Harmon. Granted, kinda untrusting and paranoid of Batman, but to be fair, look at what happened to him a year ago at the hands of the Court of Owls and their Talons. Plus, while I love Calvin, he hasn’t done much to prove himself a good ally to Batman to keep loose.
Throughout the comic, we learn more about where Felix Harmon comes from, how he was brought into the Court of Owls, and how he earned the name ‘The Gotham Butcher’. By the end of the comic, we see that his great atrocity was that he murdered 17 people in one night and set an orphanage on fire. In the present, he returns there to hide out while planning his next move, only to find someone there waiting for him: Sebastian Clark. I kinda have to tilt my head at this, since we last saw him on the boat with Bane getting the frak punched outta his face, but regardless, he’s done some reading from The Secret History of the Court of Owls on Harmon. It seems that Clark, having had all of his plans torn apart and any sense left in his brain punched out by Bane, has come up with a much more simple plan of revenge against the Court, Calvin Rose, Casey Washington, Batman, and everyone else that’s crossed both him and Harmon: They’re going to kill Gotham City!
This issue was pretty good, setting the stage for the next couple of issues as Clark and Harmon get ready for the killing spree to end all killing sprees. If I have a complaint against it, it’s that it feels like it skipped a few details. Why is Batman instantly willing to work with Calvin Rose, even for the short-term? How did Clark get back to Gotham, seemingly so fast? How did the Court of Owls relocate so quickly? How did Casey go from being in danger of dying to just losing an arm and an eye? I feel like there’s an entire issue worth of stuff that was glossed over to get us to this point. Still, I guess we can attribute Casey’s survival to the money and resources available to Batman and Lucius Fox, and the Court disappearing because…well, because they’re the Court. The only remaining thing I feel the need to point out is that, even IF Calvin is put in cryo-stasis, it won’t be permanent, since we clearly see him on the cover of Batman: Detective Comics #27. Still, a good issue nonetheless, and I suspect the next couple to bring conclusion to the current arc in a powerful way.
- COMICS: The Caped Crusader Teams With Calvin Rose In First Look At TALON #12 (comicbookmovie.com)
- Batman: The Retrospective (nerdswole.wordpress.com)
- Forever Evil Event: Batman 23.4 (Bane) (comicbooked.com)
- Batman and Robin 23.2: Court of Owls (retcon-punch.com)
- COMICS: Stephanie Brown To Return As ‘Spoiler’ In BATMAN: ETERNAL (comicbookmovie.com)
- Batman villians (scifisicko.wordpress.com)
- DC announces new comic book for Batman’s 75th anniversary (2andahalfnerds.com)
- Forever Evil: Arkham War #1 Review (rtgomer.com)
- Stephanie Brown is Back in Business! (spandexandcapes.wordpress.com)
- NYCC 2013: Scott Snyder details ‘Batman: Zero Year,’ ‘Eternal’ (herocomplex.latimes.com)