Welcome back to DC Rebirth One Year Later, where we look at DC books that are part of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative one year after it began. And with this one, we’re looking at what quickly became one of the most anticipated books of the initiative after the creative team was announced: None other than the solo book of the Spirit of Truth and savior of the DC Extended Universe, Wonder Woman.
Once again, SPOILERS for anyone not caught up on the book, so turn back if you don’t wanna know what’s been going on without reading the book yourself. So, first off, I just wanna make clear that this book is SO cathartic for anyone who hated the New 52 Wonder Woman book. If you liked that book, and I know there were those who did, then I’m sorry, this book is probably not for you. But if you’ve been waiting for a return-to-form Wonder Woman, this is for you. And the decision to bring Greg Rucka back to write the book was a great choice by DC. Granted, I would’ve liked to see Gail Simone return to the book, but in hindsight, when it came to telling the opening stories of this book, Rucka was probably the better option. Hopefully, The Simone will return at a later point. Although, if you’ve been waiting for that moment as well, you might be interested to know that Gail Simone will be writing a Wonder Woman/Conan crossover book in the future, so there’s that.
So, again, this is very much return-to-form for Wonder Woman. During the events of Justice League’s Darkseid War, Diana learned that she had been deceived in regards to a great many things as it pertains to her past, which is further proven upon putting herself in the Lasso of Truth. To make a 24 (going on 25) issue story short, Diana never returned to Themyscira upon leaving it with Steve Trevor. The one we’ve seen her come back to in the New 52 is a fake, as have been the incarnations of the Greek Gods she’s encountered during that time. How and why this happened is still a little unclear, although I’m assuming this will be fully explained in #25 next week. What will also likely be explained is the true nature of Diana’s origins. The implication SEEMS to be that she was made from clay, but then how do you explain her apparent twin brother Jason (part of the revelation made in Darkseid War) being born on the same day, unless they were both made from clay? And what about the true nature of the fakes and their existence? They can’t simply be illusions, since Steve sees them too, and they created Donna Troy in the new continuity, and she’s very much real, but I’ll get into that when I talk about Titans.
Some people might see that as a cheap method of setting things back to the status quo, by implying that everything that’s happened with Wonder Woman in the New 52 no longer counts. I disagree. Other than the apparent retcon of her relationship with Superman due to events in his books (which I’ll get to when I talk about them), a lot of those stories still happened. The fact that she was interacting with people who weren’t necessarily real or genuine does not negate that fact. For better or worse, those events and how she handled them are a part of her history and contribute to her character development.
Wonder Woman, however, is not the only character being taken back to their core elements. Steve Trevor is back to his awesome-yet-constantly-needing-to-be-saved-by-Wonder-Woman self, and is reasserted as Diana’s primary love interest. Personally, I tend to prefer the idea that they USED to date, and that relationship helped better them as people before becoming just friends, but I can deal with them in a relationship far sooner than her and Superman. Etta Candy is sporting a new look wherein she’s still African-American like her New 52 self, but is also thicker and curvier. Also, she’s a hell of a lot more fun to read, which is a big point of interest for me, because I love when Etta Candy is a delight. Barbara Minerva’s backstory is made sympathetic again, and the tragedy of her transformation seems even more-so as it’s implied (if not outright stated) that she and Etta might have had feelings for each other. I DO have a bit of a nitpick in that I wish her design included the long red hair and a string bikini, perhaps similar to how she looks in Injustice 2 perhaps, but I at least get what they were doing with this look. The Amazons are also all brought back to their awesome selves, and it seems the idea of Hippolyta and Phillipus as a possible couple might be coming back, which is VERY appreciated. A lot of Diana’s rogues make returns, like Doctor Poison and Doctor Cyber, all of whom are appreciated. And then there’s Veronica Cale, and holy shit, does she work GREAT as one of the primary antagonists of this book. She’s just sympathetic enough in her character and the things that happen directly to her that you can at least understand some of the things she does, but man oh man, does she do some fucked up stuff to Diana and pretty much everyone who gets caught between them. There’s even a scene where she manages to get a leg up over Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor at an auction (long story for those who haven’t seen it), and it is glorious.
One thing that was a bit odd in terms of how this book has unfolded is that, because Wonder Woman was one of the books that would be released twice a month, Rucka was telling two different stories in the same book, with current events being told in the odd numbered issues, and past events being told in the even numbered issues. And while the end of each issue made clear which future issue would continue which story, it could prove confusing for anyone going into the book late and not knowing that. My advice? Wait for the trades to come out, since they collect the specific stories. And while it was released second, start with the Year One storyline, since it better explains everything. Plus, it’s probably my favourite arc of the book. Why? Wonder Woman’s origin story with Greg Rucka as the writer and Nicola Scott as the artist. That combination is, for a lack of a better term, wonderful.
…*sighs* But, now we gotta talk about where this book is going, and that’s where things get a bit murkier. If you haven’t read the most recent solicits from DC, it seems that James Robinson will be taking over as writer of the book in September, and that the first arc of his run will specifically be about Jason, the apparent twin brother of Wonder Woman. So, basically, we’re getting a Wonder Woman book…that is not actually ABOUT Wonder Woman, but a man. Granted, I fully expected the book would eventually get into explaining the existence of Diana’s brother, but if what we’ve heard and read about Robinson’s story is correct, then he is basically the star of this story, not Wonder Woman. This is more than a little problematic for many fans, for a few reasons. Even ignoring the fact that this is kind of a slap in the faces of the more feminist comic book fans, and Wonder Woman IS a feminist icon, so that IS a legitimate problem, I don’t care what anyone says, what the hell kind of sense does it make to have a book where the title character is not the MAIN character? I can only hope this arc doesn’t last long, because otherwise, there’s probably gonna be a SERIOUS drop in the book’s sales.
Other than that, though, where does the book go? Well, a lot of that is probably gonna depend on the outcome of next week’s issue, which will be Greg Rucka’s last on the book. Afterward, Shea Fontana will be getting a quick run on the book before Robinson takes over. After all that, though? Who knows. Hopefully, like I said, the Jason arc won’t last long, and then maybe we can eventually get Gail Simone back on the book. It just feels like it’s time, and we know she can write some awesome Wonder Woman stories. Even if it’s only for a little while, it’d still be appreciated.
Anyway, that’s pretty much all I have to say about the book so far, at least as a more general look at it. I MIGHT decide to give a more in-depth look at Wonder Woman: Year One someday down the road, though. For now, leave your own thoughts on the DC Rebirth Wonder Woman book before, and next, what say we round out the Trinity by going up, up, and away? ^_^ Ja né!
Well, let’s see. We’ve lost, in no particular order and among MANY others…
- Richard Adams
- Alan Rickman
- Alan Thicke
- Carrie Fisher
- Zsa Zsa Gabor
- Gene Wilder
- Leonard Cohen
- David Bowie
- John Glenn
- Harper Lee
- George Michael
- Muhammad Ali
- Anton Yelchin
- Kenny Baker
- Elie Wiesel
…Also, an idiot got elected President of the United States, and, on a more personal note to me, my mother had to spend close to a month in the hospital. And I’m sure a bunch of other horrible shit that’s gone down… … …Yeah, this is deserved. If I could maybe have some appropriate music, though?
Got a message for 2016 of your own, or perhaps want to share something positive that happened to you this year? Leave it in the comments below, and let’s all hope and pray with all of our souls that 2017 will be better. Ja né!
…Well, we’re finally here, folks. It’s been five years, but at last, the New 52/DC You is dead. Granted, a few of its titles are still finishing up their runs, and the new books still take place in this universe, but it’s a changed one, and, quite frankly, a VASTLY improved one in my opinion, but I’ll be going over how when I look at DC Universe Rebirth #1 (the reason I haven’t yet is because there was still some fallout from it that continues into the other Rebirth one-shots). Before that, though, I think it’s time to look back on exactly what happened with the New 52, where it went wrong, and some of the worst titles that I personally have ever read from this era. So, welcome once again to How To Drop The Ball In Comics as I, for one last time, let it all out about the New 52.
What Is It?: The New 52 was basically a way to bring in new readers who might be intimidated by 70+ years of history, likely as a means of competing more with Marvel by upping their numbers. Sound familiar? It should. It’s something that DC has tried to do a few times now. However, they never tried anything quite like this: Following the event Flashpoint, the DC Universe was rebooted to where most of the heroes of the world had only been active for about 5 years. Most of the history of the characters were either gone or changed, thus creating a blank slate to start over from scratch with new talent to tell their tales in a modern setting. Now, DC was no stranger to reboots and retcons. But, as I said, this went a bit above and beyond anything they’d ever done before. So, the question one has to ask themselves, as has been done since the beginning of this new comic universe, is the same singular word as it’s always been: Why?
How Did It Have Potential?: Really, when you get down to why DC felt the need to reboot everything, it usually leads to a common question: Are there really that many people who want to read comics but don’t because of so much continuity to go through? And the answer is…complicated. I’ve had this talk before, and as I said then, this generation is actually the luckiest when it comes to stuff like that. We have the internet, with which we can read up on all this information. Sure, we might not get EVERYTHING, but the most important details will be waiting for us. That said, there DO exist people who either don’t know where to get this information, or don’t feel obligated, for whatever reason, to read up on it, but would STILL like to get into comics. Now, personally speaking, nowadays, I’m more of a subscriber to the theory that the best way to get new readers isn’t to sweep everything under a rug, but instead to give just enough allusions to these old stories and make them sound super exciting and interesting, thus making the reader want to know more. If you wanna know where I figured THAT out, read JLA/Titans: The Technis Imperative. Or, if you can’t find it, watch Linkara’s review of it. However, I’m not blind to the views of those who would implement this strategy to get more people reading.
On top of all of that, though, there is one thing people have to consider. And I know that there are people who have forgotten this, but…there ARE some heroes who kinda got screwed over LONG before the New 52 happened, and who have since gotten a new lease on life as a result. Want an example? Okay, VIBE. Vibe was considered the worst member of the Justice League EVER. His name was practically a punch line, and he likely either would’ve remained that way or completely faded from everyone’s memory, were it not for the reboot giving Geoff Johns a chance to do something new with him. And after seeing how he worked in the New 52, I gotta say, I really like Vibe. I would gladly have him on my Justice League team. I hope he comes back again. And, likely as a result of his being brought back in the New 52, the character was also adapted into The Flash’s TV show, which has another new interpretation of him that I really like. So, yes, the reboot had potential when it came to characters like him. Also, while I’m not necessarily a fan of how Donna Troy was brought back in the New 52, I will say that I’m glad it finally gave her a definitive origin that didn’t require a road map to understand…I think, anyway. Not sure exactly how her origin works in terms of how she could’ve been a member of the Titans, but whatever. Something I’ll get into another time.
Finally, though, we have to be honest: The New 52 had good books, many of which I listed before. Also, some of the books which were of actual good quality would not or could not have worked in the old continuity. Not without their own share of heavy changes, anyway. And some of these books were so good that, when the word got out about them, they brought in new readers. You know how I know that? BECAUSE I WAS ONE OF THEM! Yeah, I was one of those people who was on the fence about actually buying comics. Sure, I was a fan of many of the characters long before that, but that was mostly via their TV shows, movies, video games, stuff I learned through Atop The Fourth Wall, and just word of mouth. But when the reboot came, I saw it as an opportunity to get into comics, starting with Scott Snyder’s Batman, and I’ve been buying comics ever since. And a few characters DID eventually get put over as new stars. Harley Quinn is one of the top characters in DC right now, and has been outed as bisexual in her own book, meaning she is one of the most high-profile LGBT characters in comics. Speaking of, Batwoman got her own monthly title. Granted, she was already the star of Detective Comics for a while, but here, she had her own self-titled story. So, yes, we have to accept the fact that, in some ways, THE NEW 52 DID SEE SUCCESS… … … … …Now for the half-to-three-quarters empty.
How Did It Drop The Ball?: Well, before I get to that, I wanna show you something. Before writing this article, I went out on Twitter and asked a few people, if they could sum up exactly what went wrong with the New 52 in about 10 words or so, what those words would be. Let’s see what they had to say, shall we?
To be fair, though, one person I asked also had THIS to say…
…And yeah, that’s a legit concern to have, one that I’ll address when I get to DC Rebirth. Regardless, I can’t help but agree with the other responses, too. So, let’s start with the obvious one: What the loss of the past continuity cost us. Well, for starters, at the beginning of the New 52 (so the first 52 books printed), there was no Wally West, Donna Troy, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, the VAST majority of the JSA, Aqualad (either of them), and several other legacy heroes. Dick Grayson was back to being Nightwing. Bart Allen was the only Kid Flash. Cassandra Sandsmark was the only Wonder Girl. Barbara Gordon was the only Batgirl, was only in a wheelchair for a couple of years (give or take), and was suggested to have never been Oracle. There was no Young Justice team. The Outsiders were forced underground and were ultimately forgotten for a time. Cyborg was never a Teen Titan, instead taking Martian Manhunter’s place as a founding member of the Justice League. Martian Manhunter was more or less made into a hero everyone had trust issues with and would freely mindwipe others at a whim. Aquaman and Mera weren’t married, although no one apparently thought to tell Geoff Johns that while he was writing. Also, the Teen Titans never existed before Tim Drake’s new team, but again, apparently no one told Scott Lobdell. Roy Harper never had Lian, nor did he ever become Red Arrow, and instead became an anti-hero working with Jason Todd. Batman never revealed his identity to Catwoman, and instead the two were just having sex on rooftops. No one knew where the frak Renée Montoya was. But probably the most damning of all, Clark Kent and Lois Lane were never married, nor in a relationship.
But even beyond stuff that no longer happened due to the loss of past continuity, there were other retcons passed around throughout the New 52 that either didn’t make sense, came outta nowhere, or just served to piss people off. I’ve already gone over stuff like what happened to Wonder Woman, Starfire, and Martian Manhunter, but it didn’t end there. The Phantom Stranger was made to be Judas Iscariot. The Question was… … …I have no idea what the hell the Question was supposed to be, honestly. Tim Drake didn’t find out Batman’s identity and become Robin out of a need to help him, but instead failed to figure out who he was and instead forced his hand by messing with Penguin and almost getting his parents killed. Supergirl’s dad became the New 52 Cyborg Superman, which apparently is still canon in Rebirth for some reason. Billy Batson was turned into a little asshole who never shuts his gob. Roy Harper got a STUPID trucker hat that he refused to take off for some reason. Jason Todd’s back-story was changed to where Joker apparently set up his life to turn out exactly as it did to where he was killed and brought back. Mr. Freeze was never married to Nora, but instead was obsessed with her because of stuff relating to the cold and his mother that just makes my skin crawl. Overall, though, most of these changes and several others served for a single purpose: To make the DC Universe darker, and the stories were more often than not reflective of this, oftentimes filled with lots of sex and violence.
More than all of that, though, where I think the New 52 fails most in terms of stories is just on a sheer conceptual level. You’ll recall that I said the reboot was meant to put everything back to a clean slate. Here’s the problem: Some events in the past continuity did still happen. Several moments in DC’s history were condensed down into a much smaller time frame that made less sense the more one thought about it. Supposedly, events like Hal Jordan becoming Parallax, Blackest Night, and Batman being sent through time and believed dead still happened, but several key people involved weren’t, and the exact details of how it happened were changed. All the male Robins still exist (though Tim Drake was apparently never Robin and instead was always Red Robin), all within the span of 5 (later changed to approximately 10) years. Barbara Gordon was still shot by the Joker. Kyle Rayner’s girlfriend was still murdered and stuffed into a fridge (which, of all things to wipe away, why did THAT have to remain canon?! o.O). And, on top of all of this, some things happened, others didn’t, and not only was DC quiet about what did and didn’t happen, but they failed to give memos to the people WRITING THE STORIES about what was and wasn’t in canon. Like I said before, guys like Geoff Johns and Scott Lobdell, who were given high-profile books, weren’t informed of certain details. The first issues of Red Hood And The Outlaws and Teen Titans clearly made reference to past Titans teams, only to later learn that, supposedly, there were no previous Titans. I honestly have NO idea if Superman being killed by Doomsday is still canon or not. Heroes like Plastic Man and Miss Martian were referenced in the first issues of Justice League International and Teen Titans, only for it to be retconned that they never existed. George Pérez had to quit after six issues of Superman after repeated failures of being informed of details about Superman’s new status quo in this new universe. And I’m sure there are other instances of stuff like this that I’m not thinking of.
If you haven’t put it together by now, a major problem with the New 52 was mismanagement, and it wasn’t just a problem with the stories, either. Ask any of the talent that have left DC within the past five years, and you’ll probably get a similar story of broken promises and last-minute changes. Many left their stories unfinished as a result. In particular, Andy Diggle left the company before the first issue of his run on Action Comics ever even hit the stands. I think probably the one that still gets me is the controversy involving Batwoman, and I’ve gone over this before, but here’s as quick a summary of what happened as I can do. In September of 2013, J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman went public with the fact that they were leaving Batwoman, starting with issue 26. Why? Well, because of last-minute changes to stuff they had planned, specifically that they were told that Batwoman and Maggie Sawyer, who had just recently gotten engaged in the book, would never be allowed to get married. According to Dan DiDio, superheroes shouldn’t be married because being happy would undermine their angst and turmoil, and would compromise their commitment to being superheroes. Now, apparently, DiDio claims this is only to do specifically with the Bat-related characters, but if you’ll recall, neither Superman nor Aquaman were married, either. In fact, the only superhero seemingly still with a family was Animal Man. So while DiDio says it was only a Bat Family thing, I think it’s more likely that he doesn’t like the idea of superheroes being married, for one reason or another. This is evidenced further by notes of his going back as far as Infinite Crisis, where it’s clear he wanted to break up Clark Kent and Lois Lane for YEARS. But hey, I’m not in charge of DC Comics. I don’t have any say in what goes on. So maybe Dan DiDio DOES know better than me. But, if that’s the case, can I ask a simple question? And it’s one I’ve asked for years now and never gotten a good answer for: If Batwoman getting married was such a problem, then why was it ever given the green light to begin with? Why were they ever allowed to get engaged? You could’ve avoided all of this and the controversy that followed if you’d simply suggested against this move to begin with in a calm and rational tone, and instead worked out something different with Williams and Blackman.
Speaking of the controversy involving Batwoman, that leads me to another issue: The women of DC. And that’s not just the characters. That said, here’s a list of just SOME of the examples of violence and fridging towards women in the New 52 (though PLEASE be aware that these are horribly graphic in many cases, so read at your own discretion): Link. Beyond that, though, there was an overall lack of female creators working for DC at the beginning. I think the official figures were that the female creators at DC had dropped from 12% to 1%. And we’ve got more now, but it’s still a rather small number. And probably the most high-profile among those at the beginning was Gail Simone. Only, guess what? There’s controversy there, too, not only because Secret Six, a best seller at DC before the reboot, was cancelled, not only because the book she’d be working on, Batgirl, had Barbara Gordon taken out of the wheelchair and claimed to have never been Oracle, a move that ticked off a LOT of people, but because she was, in December of 2012, fired from Batgirl via e-mail (which was later suggested to be inaccurate or untrue, but who knows at this point), despite the fact that she’d made the book work and be a top-seller in the face of everything working against it. Granted, she was hired back 12 days later, but I honestly feel that’s only because her firing got SO public that DC was basically becoming a lightning rod of hate. But again, guess what? She eventually left the book AGAIN, and then went on to write a rebooted Secret Six, which is, again, getting cancelled. Maybe it’ll be back in Rebirth someday down the road, I don’t know, we’ll just have to wait and see.
And lastly, I was GOING to include a list of my 5 Least Favourite Books of the New 52. However, I’ve decided not to because, at this point, you should probably have a good idea as to which books I didn’t like and which ones outright pissed me off. Maybe I’ll go back and do it later if I REALLY feel the need to, but for now, here’s just a quick rundown of the books I didn’t like, hated, or just had problems with.
Batman The Dark Knight: A horrible and nonsensical opening arc, and then later, the AWFUL killing of Batman’s love interest at the time. Even excluding those, though, it just wasn’t good.
Action Comics/Superman: The character was just not as likable or inspiring as he could be, even with the reboot, and later became crossover event after crossover event.
The Fury of Firestorm: Sorry, Gail, but every great writer’s gotta have at least one bomb, and this was just terrible.
Detective Comics: The book started off with Joker getting his face cut off just to set the stage for a story written one year later in another book…Do I even need to SAY anything else after that? Even when it was good, it always felt like it was just the other Batman book.
Teen Titans: Even if Scott WASN’T a sub-par writer, the lack of communication with editorial over what was and wasn’t canon ruined it in the beginning. The second volume started off promising, but later delved into being just bad. Overall, both volumes have kinda ruined Tim Drake as a credible leader. Still, I really like Bunker and hope he returns in Rebirth.
Wonder Woman: Massive retcons to Wonder Woman’s origins and the Amazons, and was later given to the Finches, who frankly just do not get the character.
Justice League of America: Existed solely as lead-in to Trinity War, and was later scrapped and reworked into the superior Justice League United. There’s also a JLA book going on right now that involves the seven main members of the Justice League going up against Rao, but I haven’t been following, and apparently, the book has been outright plagued with delays and cancellations.
The Movement: …I DID mention that I really like Gail Simone, right? 😀 …Okay, to be fair, I actually really liked the characters, but the overall story structure seemed problematic. Maybe it was just me, though. I’d actually be fine with this title coming back someday, or maybe the characters making comebacks, especially Vengeance Moth and Virtue.
Superman/Wonder Woman: Would’ve been fine if it was just about the two teaming up to fight bad guys, except it was far more about the two’s relationship that many were sick of already, and later existed solely to further the crossover events involving the other Superman-related books.
Birds of Prey: Started off okay, and had a new fan favourite bisexual character in Starling and put Poison Ivy on her more heroically inclined path, but it quickly fell completely apart, particularly when both aforementioned characters had heel turns and left the group.
Nightwing: While I personally enjoyed the book, it had a problem that a lot of other books frequently involved in crossover events had, in that there was rarely if ever a status quo to become invested in.
Red Hood And The Outlaws: The only reason I can fathom as to why this book is being brought back for Rebirth is as a means to keep Scott Lobdell away from anything else. That said, at least it won’t involve Starfire and Roy Harper anymore, who are returning to the Titans books.
Earth 2/World’s End/Earth 2 Society: Earth 2 started off promising, but then Dan Wilson took over, and the ship was pretty much sunk in every conceivable way. Dan Abnett’s actually trying REALLY hard to make Earth 2 Society good, and you can tell he’s a good writer, but I just don’t know how or if you can save this outside of another reboot, and that’s what got us into this mess.
Harley Quinn: If this was a book that was just about Harley, that’d be one thing, but they include Poison Ivy and just do strange and stupid things with her at times (though they DID at least make it canon that these two are bisexual), and did an amnesia arc with Power Girl where the latter was utterly humiliated and degraded in more ways than one.
Futures End: Brought Terry McGinnis into the mainstream continuity just to kill him off and replace him with an alternate future version of Tim Drake. Also, was FULL of body horror, dark twists, and ultimately proved to be pointless as the future presented never happened. Still, it DID have some good tie-ins, like the Batgirl one that I’ve brought up before.
Martian Manhunter: If anyone can tell me just what in the hell happened in this book without giving me a headache, that would be much appreciated. lol
Catwoman: I don’t even. I just don’t even. The first issue has her having sex with Batman for no reason, and has gone through multiple writers and arcs, none of which seemed to be written all that well.
Black Canary: I wouldn’t call this BAD, it’s just weird seeing Dinah in a band. But, let’s be fair, that could just be a problem with me.
There’s almost certainly more I’m either not thinking of or didn’t read, but that’s enough for now. Honestly, at this point, I’m sick of ranting about the New 52. And really, this is why I decided to do this article: Just to get this all out one last time so I can move on. Because, if you’ll look back on my blog and read my DC-related articles, it’s clear that I need to move on. I can’t live in the past, especially THIS past. I need to look to the future, and while DC Rebirth has a few things I could pick out as problematic, I will say that it still looks like a VAST improvement over the New 52. In the end, all the New 52 was was just a poorly managed era of comics history, one that even those behind it have figured out was a failure, and one that I am more than happy to leave behind for brighter horizons.
So, that’s pretty much the New 52 in a nutshell. Got any stories about this era of comics or details I might’ve left out? Lemme know in the comments below, and come back later this month when I finally take a look at DC Universe Rebirth #1, and my overall thoughts on the new era going forward. Ja né!
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, a while back, I gave my thoughts on what I’d like to see as a Poison Ivy solo book. In the comments, someone said, and I quote:
Nice statement of having Ivy getting her own series, any chance of doing more for other characters that needs/deserve for their own series?
…Well, I always aim to please, so what the hell? Here’re some more books I’d like to see done in the DC YOU.
First thing they gotta do, they gotta kick Caulder to the curb for his bullcrap. Admittedly, a lot of this is because I wanna see more of Element Woman, but I still think people would love this. Just with the various personalities involved. Also, Geoff Johns would have to be the one to write it. And frankly, I’m shocked as all hell to learn that a Doom Patrol spin-off book wasn’t in the works when he introduced them in Justice League. Another thing they could do with this book is bring back a lot of the other heroes that don’t have their own books anymore and have them be here. Skitter and Lagoon Boy would be great choices in that regard, and I’m not really sure what Bleez is up to as of late, so they could have her appear as well.
Admittedly, something akin to this could already be in the works with the next Multiversity Too, but I would love to see an ongoing starring the heroes of Justice Incarnate as they battle threats to the existence of the Multiverse. Granted, because Morrison is doing the Multiversity Too graphic novels, I dunno if he’d have time for this. However, I’m sure they could find someone ready to take on a wacky yet awesome concept like this. And because of the current state of the Multiverse following Convergence, there’re plenty more characters they could add. Think about it: Every single story and every incarnation of the DC Universe that has ever been retconned by reboots are now canon again. Y’know how Parallax/Hal Jordan went back to stop Crisis On Infinite Earths and redeem his actions? Why not have him show up here to continue that streak. And speaking of Convergence…
I know a few characters from Convergence are getting books to explain what happened to them afterward, but we could use a few more. If Darkseid War can get tie-in books explaining what happens in the aftermath of Darkseid vs the Anti-Monitor, Convergence can get a mini-series talking about what happened to the characters involved. Like, what’s pre-Flashpoint Arsenal up to now that he’s finally got Lian back? How did the continuing adventures of that universe’s Batman differ from the New 52 version’s (remember, early on in the New 52, the Batman books more-or-less progressed like they occurred just after what the books showed beforehand)? Are any of the other worlds still dealing with the repercussions of the worlds being brought together like in Justice League United? Did they find ways to possibly keep tabs afterward? These are all questions worthy of being answered. Of course, I would ask that the same people who wrote the Convergence tie-ins to write this book, because they’ve clearly all done their research.
Seriously, why isn’t this book a thing? I’ve brought it up before, and I’ll do so again: At the end of Gail Simone’s run of Batgirl, it was revealed that Babs had the resources and connections to call in nearly EVERY SUPERHEROINE ON EARTH to deal with a crisis. And now, apparently Batgirl’s gonna be called upon for a mission for the Justice League United, meaning that there are even more heroines potentially added to her list of contacts. Granted, because of the format of JLU, doing something exactly like that would be repetitive, so there’d need to be a core team. Given that Bluebird isn’t doing anything right now, although she is slated to appear in Batman and Robin Eternal, she seems like a good pick. Batwoman doesn’t have a book, and has teamed with Babs on a couple of occasions, once being super recent, so let her in. Spoiler is only appearing in Catwoman’s book to train with Eiko, let both of them in. Haven’t seen Starling in forever, find a way to redeem her actions and let her in. BAM, half a dozen members right there.
Again, how many times I have to say this? Red Robin solo book, bringing back some of the fun of Tim’s original solo book. Just have him go old-school teen detective on criminals and nab ’em like the best damned junior Batman one could ever hope to be. Above all, remember that Tim was not originally meant to be mini Bruce. He’s the detective of the Robins, yes, but his personality is different. He is not a jerk, he does not brood. He is, however, smart. Bring back THAT Tim Drake for a solo book.
Anyway, that’s all I can think of for now. Lemme know if there are any more you’d like to see, and we’ll see if DC takes notice. Ja né!
So, as I’ve advertised on a number of occasions, I am part of an online movement known as the Poison Ivy League. We’re basically trying to get Poison Ivy her own solo title in DC Comics, and to, hopefully, continue the character development as someone who, while she isn’t necessarily all that heroic in the most conventional sense, IS someone who gives a damn about people and isn’t the type to feed people to plant monsters nonchalantly. I’ll get more into this later, but suffice to say, that’s a big reason why I haven’t been buying Harley Quinn since Ivy’s introductory issue. Regardless, while I’m sure lots of other members of the league have their own ideas for an Ivy book, here’s mine. And don’t worry, unlike most of my articles wherein I tend to rattle on and on (hence the name, Jyger’s RANT), I’ll keep it short and to the point this time. lol
My personal envisioning of a Poison Ivy solo book would be written by Gail Simone, who did a GREAT take on the character in Batgirl Annual #2, and drawn by Stjepan Sejic, who did the art for her in Secret Origins #10. In a nutshell, Ivy would be going around helping people regardless of if the powers that be in the areas she ventures to want her there, or if her help is wanted or even legal. Supporting characters could include Starling, who sadly got tossed aside in Birds of Prey, a therapist from Arkham that she’d see from time to time, and I would imagine that Batgirl, Swamp Thing, and some fellow members from the Justice League United could pop in from time to time. As for possible antagonists, Mr. Freeze would be a good one, especially considering the crap that went down that led to Starling’s departure, Seeder could be resurrected from his death in Swamp Thing #40, and maybe even have a villain who more or less is what some people expect evil Ivy to be like. That way, fans of both takes on the character get what they want without dragging Ivy down or anyone from either side of the fence calling foul. Ergo, DC has its cake and eats it too. And, while that might seem odd for me to suggest, and some people might not like that idea, I DO wanna have some level of fairness toward DC Comics and give some leeway for their usual plans when stating my own. I’m not their enemy. I don’t even wanna be antagonistic to them. I want to HELP them, and sometimes that means meeting them halfway on stuff.
But anyway, that’s just my own thoughts on the matter. Leave your own ideas for an Ivy series, or perhaps things that could be done with mine, in the comments section, and we’ll see what develops. And lastly, be sure to click the image below to view more of Stjepan Sejic’s great work. Ja né!
So, you remember a while back when I mentioned that DC has these amazing digital first comics that they never seem to do anything with in terms of advertising the crap outta them to make boatloads of bucks? Well, here’s one of them, and of all the books they sell as digital first, this is the one I feel they should be backing most: Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman.
If you don’t know, Sensation Comics, while not being the first book to feature Wonder Woman, was the first one to show her on the cover, and was the primary book that told her Golden Age stories. Recently, it was decided to bring it back as a digital first comic starring Wonder Woman, and is not a part of the New 52…and thank goodness for that, because as anyone who has read practically anything in the New 52 that Diana appeared in (with a few good exceptions, not gonna lie) can tell you, this is NOT the character we know and love. As such, the various writers for Sensation Comics (because there’s a different one for each story, and usually 1-3 stories in the printed versions sold in stores for those of us who can’t buy online) are pretty much allowed to tell the tales of the Wonder Woman they love from varying perspectives and in different scenarios. For example, Gail Simone tells a story about Wonder Woman being called in by Oracle to stand in for Batman in Gotham City. Jason Bischoff wrote a story about Diana as a child. Even alternate takes that keep the primary elements of the character intact are present, like Sean E. Williams’ Wonder Woman as a rock star. It’s AWESOME.
So yeah, I HIGHLY recommend anyone who is a big Wonder Woman fan, who is sick of everything that’s been done with her in the New 52, buy Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. Seriously, as much as we joke, the heads at DC Comics are NOT completely stupid. If enough people buy, if there’s a big enough reaction to it, they’ll eventually go “Hey, you know what? This is doing way better than our New 52 Wonder Woman books. Maybe we should try to make THAT book a bit more like THIS one.”
Anyway, that’s all I have to say on the subject. Leave a comment on how you feel about the whole Wonder Woman scenario, the current books, and even her upcoming Wonder Woman ’77 book, and we’ll see how things play out. Ja né!