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12 Essential DC Titles That Must Be Part Of Every Line-Up/Reboot/Etc.

Y’know, in comics, when you’re setting up line-ups of different titles to try and sell to your customers, say as part of a reboot or relaunch or whatever, it’s a good idea to keep it varied. After all, you never know when something different might stick with someone. But, at the same time, there are certain books that have a certain name value to them that need to be kept in, no matter what you’re doing. DC Comics, in particular, seems to have several of these high name value books. But which ones are the ones that I feel are the ones that MUST be kept in, regardless of what they’re doing? What books, no matter what kind of universal reboot or retooling or new direction, do I feel are the titles that should be kept around? Well, strap yourselves in, because I’m about to go over them now. These are the 12 essential DC titles I feel should be a part of every line-up. So, let’s start with an obvious one…

#1 – Action Comics

If for no other reason, Action Comics needs to be kept around for DC’s entire life-span because it’s the book that started this whole incredible ride. And because it’s been around for so long, it can provide for great anniversary moments. Hell, at this moment in time, we are coming up super close to a legitimate Action Comics #1000, and it’s frigging awesome. I would keep Action Comics running from now until the end of time if I could, and I would NEVER attempt to renumber it ever again.

#2 – Detective Comics

Same deal as Action Comics. Detective Comics has been a major staple of DC (right down to the frigging name), and is likewise creeping up on 1000 issues. This needs to keep running for as long as DC Comics does. Maybe even longer, if say someone like Marvel or whoever bought out DC and kept their characters and stories going.

#3 – Batman, #4 – Superman, and #5 – Wonder Woman

They are the three pillars of DC Comics. Let’s just be clear about that. No matter how big anyone else gets, and there are plenty of big freaking names, these are the ones that best define DC: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. You do not have DC Comics if you don’t have these three characters, and they MUST have their own solo titles. Admittedly, though, Action Comics and Detective Comics of the modern day are pretty much just Superman and Batman books respectively, but at least said books also feature plenty of their supporting casts. Hell, for a time, Detective Comics primarily starred Batwoman. But yeah, these three HAVE to be around.

#6 – The Flash

Okay, I know what I just said about the Trinity, but if there was anyone else in DC that I can’t imagine the books existing without, it’s The Flash. This is probably because of the fact that he’s been central to so many major events that revolve around the Multiverse and the central continuity of the stories. Think about that: Any time there has ever been a major shake up, Barry or another Flash was in the middle of it. As such, Flash is very much a central part of DC’s legacy, and needs to continue to be as much moving forward.

#7 – Justice League

It’s the A-List group of superheroes within this universe. There is no shared universe of any sort without the Justice League. And I don’t care what you call them, be it the Justice League, Justice League of America, JLA, Justice League International, or Justice League United, there MUST be a Justice League of some sort no matter what is going on. That said, there are maybe two other teams that need just as much focus…

#8 – Birds of Prey

With so many great superheroines in the DC Universe, it’s hard to imagine there ever being a time when the Birds of Prey didn’t exist. I mean, I know there was, but I can’t imagine how or why. It’s bizarre. That said, one thing that the Birds of Prey books need to stop doing is introducing whole new male characters that no one cares about. Specifically, Condor from the New 52 version and the new Oracle in the Rebirth version. It’s infuriating. lol I would also probably use this book as a means of getting the Gotham City Sirens (Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy) involved in major storylines if they didn’t have their own books. I mean, I would probably make sure they did have their own book, but again, I’m going specifically for the bare essentials here.

#9 – Teen Titans

Again, with so many younger heroes, there simply MUST be a Teen Titans (or just Titans) book at all times. Even if you rebooted back to square one, to where Dick Grayson is Robin and so on, there are still plenty of options to go with. You still have Kid Flash, Aqualad, Raven, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire, so many younger heroes that would be welcome in a Titans book.

#10 – Green Lantern

Granted, this hasn’t always been the case, but Green Lantern, more than any other hero, helps to unite the events on Earth with the events throughout the universe in DC. So many cosmic heroes and villains that are brought into what goes on with Earth via connections to the Green Lantern Corps. I don’t even care which one you use (I personally prefer John Stewart, but whatever), but there MUST be a Green Lantern with their own book at some point. Hell, there are so many, each with their own unique stories, you could give the vast majority their own books.

#11 – Aquaman

Of all of the characters who have rotated in and out of the Justice League, Aquaman is one of the few that has stuck around the longest. For all the jokes people STILL sling at this guy, none of which are warranted, he remains one of DC Comics’ signature characters. And dammit, he needs to remain as such forever. He’s earned it.

So, that leaves us with #12. And, I’ll admit, this is the hardest one to decide, because whoever gets in, that means everyone else is left out as being one of the essentials, which I feel is a slight against all of them. No matter how I spin it, I’m purposely leaving out each one of the above characters who aren’t chosen as #12 as being one of the most important characters with the most important stories. And it doesn’t help that my own personal bias affects this, too. And yes, my personal bias makes me want to say Gotham City Sirens or a Stephanie Brown book. But, in the end, I have to choose what I feel would be the most important to DC’s line-up and its legacy. So, with that in mind, and I KNOW I’m gonna piss someone off with this, here is my pick for #12…

#12 – Earth 2/Justice Society

I think that one thing that’s been universally agreed upon in terms of what was lost with the New 52 was the DC Universe’s legacy. Not just where it’s headed, but where it came from as well. Both the legacy heroes who came before and are yet to come. No matter what kind of reboot or reset that happens, it’s important, for the sake of those that continue to keep up with DC, to have something that speaks to its legacy. And no team better represents DC’s legacy, where it’s been, and where it’s going, than the Justice Society. And it can be either a book set on an alternate Earth, or a book about a team that existed back in the days of the Golden Age of comics, but there MUST be a Justice Society. Ironically, at this time, Earth 2: Society has finished its run, and a Justice Society book is still in the works. Hopefully, though, DC doesn’t leave us waiting for too much longer with the latter.

And, just to be clear, if I was running DC Comics, I would of COURSE have books like Poison Ivy, Batgirl, Martian Manhunter, Gotham City Sirens, Green Arrow, Supergirl, and Secret Six going at the same time as the other twelve I’ve mentioned. They’re all important characters and stories to me. But this isn’t just about me. And besides, with the choices I gave, there’s still plenty of room to involve all of those characters and more. And, like I said at the beginning, it’s good to throw other, varied options around for the reader to pick up and see if they like it. Give different heroes and stories a chance to shine. But, at the end of the day, these are the twelve that I think NEED to survive above all others from now until whenever this crazy age of comic books comes to an end.

… … …BUT, I’m sure you all have your own picks and selections, so feel free to leave them in the comments below. Ja né!

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Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #4 Review #PoisonIvyLeague (WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD)

Well, I’m sure, after last time I reviewed Poison Ivy, that everyone was wondering what I’d think of this issue. Would I like it, would I hate it, would it further the problems of the last one or recover from them? Well, let’s not waste any time and dive into Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #4 to find out.

So, right off the top, I do need to make mention of the fact that, yes, Poison Ivy apparently kills someone. However, this issue, it didn’t bother me NEARLY as much. In fact, I actually thought it worked perfectly within her personality. The details are kinda spoiler heavy, though, so I’m gonna write this in white within brackets. If you don’t wanna know what happened, don’t read it, but if you do, highlight the whole thing to find out. [Okay, so long story short, Pam finds out that Victor in the lab was the one who stole her notes, was the murderer all along, and used Pam’s research to try and create his own human/plant hybrids. The thing is, there was only ONE successful test subject, who was able to call out through the Green to Ivy for help. All of the others, who numbered in the dozens, maybe HUNDREDS, of fetuses? Not so lucky. Between that and the fact that Victor was going to threaten her and her children, Pam lost it, destroyed the lab, and damned near took herself, Catwoman, Darshan, and the girl with it in a rage, though it’s implied she killed Victor as the lab was brought down around him.] Suffice to say, after that? I don’t blame Pam for killing him. It’s something I wouldn’t expect Batman or Superman to do, but that’s strictly because they’re the people that don’t cross that line except in the most extreme of circumstances, because they’re the ones who HAVE to maintain that line between justice and vengeance, to show we don’t have to go down that road. To see Pam cross the line because someone did something so horrific? Not that big a big deal to me. Hell, I might’ve killed that guy, and I’m someone who values all life!

Other than that, the issue is relatively solid. I will say that, while I feel like Catwoman could’ve been used a bit better, seeing her and Darshan play off each other and show one another up back and forth was kinda fun. One minor nitpick: Because Clay Mann is doing Trinity for DC Rebirth, he had to take off early, and while those that replaced him are all good (or even great in the case of Ethan Van Sciver), they didn’t necessarily gel together that great at points in this issue. I guess the only other problem is that the murder mystery is over, but we’ve still got two issues left, so other than an insane amount of just throwing everything at us, I’m not sure where we go from here. I’m kinda hoping for/expecting a Gotham City Sirens reunion by the end, and the giant plant monster that’s been teased, but how it all ties together? I don’t know. But in terms of this issue on its own and judged by its own merits? Can’t complain too much.

 

Anyway, that’s all I had to say about this one. Big improvement in my eyes over last issue. Let’s hope it keeps up for the last two issues. Until then, lemme know what you think in the comments, and I’ll see you back here for issue 5. Ja né!

My 12 Favourite Bat Villains

So at the beginning of the month, I listed my 10 Favourite DC Villains. However, since I knew it would otherwise be a Batman/Batgirl bonanza of baddies, I limited them to two. And since I wanna cover 10 villains who I haven’t already covered in my previous list, and two of my favourites are characters I’ve yet to shut up about, let’s just say that they’re #1 and #2…

#1 – Poison Ivy, and #2 – The Joker

…and let’s look at #3 – #12 of my 12 Favourite Bat Villains!…Also, just FYI, be prepared for more than one of these choices to be as a result of Batman: The Animated Series. Just FYI.

#3 – Harleen Quinzel, AKA Harley Quinn

What’s funny about this one is that she’s worked VERY closely with both my #1 and #2 picks, being the on-again/off-again sidekick/one-way lover of The Joker, and the on-again/off-again partner/BFF of Poison Ivy. Originally, she was just The Joker’s henchman from Batman: The Animated Series. Once a psychiatrist, she was drawn in by Joker and became part of his criminal lifestyle. Since then, while she still regularly finds herself suckered back into working for The Joker, she’s also branched out on her own on occasion, teaming with Poison Ivy and Catwoman to become the Gotham City Sirens, being made to join the Suicide Squad, and even leading Joker’s army of crooks in an alternate universe in Injustice: Gods Among Us. Like The Joker, she tends to enter combat against Batman and other superheroes with an array of more comedic looking weapons, though they are generally quite lethal. Also, due to injections from Poison Ivy, she’s immune to most known forms of poisons and toxins.

#4 – Clayface

There’s been a few villains who have answered to the name Clayface, though arguably the most well-known is Basil Karlo. An insane Hollywood actor, he was originally just a villain in a mask, but later injected himself with samples of the others to become Clayface, gaining their shape-shifting abilities. Not only has he battled Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, but he’s also gone up against Wonder Woman and Donna Troy, and has had less than stellar relations with Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy. Recently, his shape-shifting powers have evolved to the point where he can assume the DNA of anyone he comes in contact with. However, this has come with a heavy price, as his own DNA has all but rotted away.

#5 – Victor Fries, AKA Mr. Freeze

Originally just a minor villain by the name of Mr. Zero, Paul Dini reinvented Mr. Freeze as quite possibly one of the most sympathetic villains in DC history. Voiced by the late great Michael Ansara, we learn that Victor Fries was a scientist whose wife, Nora, had to be cryogenically frozen to keep her alive after she’d been plagued with disease. At some point, Doctor Fries was involved in an incident with cryogenic substances that left him mutated. Now, he requires a cryo-suit that keeps his body at sub-zero temperatures to keep himself alive. Turning to a life of crime, his goal is to eventually obtain the resources required to find a cure for his wife, even if he has to kill to get it. He’s typically armed with a freeze ray of varying design and overall power, while his cryo-suit increases his physical strength to levels where he might actually be able to duke it out with the next guy on my list…

#6 – Bane

The man who broke the Bat, Bane is a criminal whose genius and physical prowess make him one of Batman’s most dangerous foes. However, I feel like something writers tend to forget, even when they know he has a genius level IQ, is that it was because of THAT that he beat Batman initially, NOT his brute strength. Bane knew that Batman could take him in a straight out fight. So, rather than attempt that, he opted to release the inmates at Arkham Asylum and let Batman go about bringing them all back in, all the while Bane deduced Batman’s alter ego and prepared to face the highly exhausted Bruce Wayne in his own home, when and where he was least expecting attack. This is what makes him so dangerous: It’s not his impressive strength that might actually be enough to inflict small amounts of damage to Superman, but rather, it’s his mind that makes him a near-unstoppable monster.

#7 – Roxanne Sutton, AKA Roxy Rocket

…I just like this one, okay? Although I find it interesting that she chose to be a villain. Given her back-story, she could’ve just as easily decided to become a crime fighter. Roxanne Sutton was a stunt double for big action movies, but was blacklisted when she began making the stunts too dangerous, clearly getting off on the thrill. Frankly, if she wants a thrill, she shoulda helped the Justice League against Darkseid. Now THERE’S a life-or-death scenario for ya. Then again, she’s also tussled with Batman, Batgirl, and even Superman on occasion, so make of that what you will. She’s never seen in action without her trademark rocket, which she has spares of hidden away for emergencies, and she generally likes to be armed with flare guns and other explosives. She’s not really cruel to the people she robs, though. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her intentionally try to outright kill anyone, save for the end of her début, when she almost crashed herself and Batman into a cliff, and we got to see just how far her obsession with thrills (and pushing the limits of the censors) went…

…Yeah, don’t pretend you weren’t thinking it. lol

#8 – Edward Nygma, AKA The Riddler

Riddle me this, riddle me that…he really SHOULD be afraid of the big bad Bat. Nevertheless, Edward Nygma has proven again and again that he has no fear of Batman. While he’s by no means a match for Batman on a physical level, he lives to test him on a mental level. In fact, his obsession with proving to be Batman’s intellectual superior is usually what leads him to leave riddles for his enemy, to see if he can actually keep up. However, Batman more often than not is more than capable, which has led to more than one humiliating defeat for The Riddler. Still, he should never be underestimated, as he has at times gone to Joker levels of manipulation and cruelty.

#9 – The Court of Owls

Kinda cheating, I know, but it’s hard to pin down a specific individual within the group that makes a better antagonist for Batman than the others, other than Lincoln March/Thomas Wayne Jr., whereas the group as a whole has proven to be a MASSIVE threat to Batman more than once in the past couple of years. They’re deeply entrenched in Gotham’s past, their soldiers are undead and near-unstoppable, and they have near-infinite amounts of time and resources with which to make their plans. Eliminating them for good may yet prove to be impossible, but their plans can be stopped, even if only long enough to force them back into hiding.

#10 – Shauna Belzer, AKA The Ventriloquist

If you thought the original Ventriloquist was creepy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! This woman is a freaking horror movie monster! Like the others, she’s a psychotic killer with impeccable voice-throwing and impersonation skills. Where she differs is her general attitude, her sickly appearance, and the fact that she may or may not be a metahuman of some sort, able to control dead or otherwise inanimate objects. For example, her doll, ‘Ferdie’, and even her dead parents. This hasn’t been confirmed, however, as it could simply be some sort of trick, but there’s no way to know so far…which is just how I like it, to be honest. Of course, as her appearance might suggest, she’s not exactly very adept at defending herself otherwise, and is taken down rather easily. Still, that requires one to get past Ferdie and the rest of her unwilling accomplices.

#11 – Harvey Dent, AKA Two-Face

You know how I said Mr. Freeze is one of the most sympathetic villains ever? Well, if there was ever another DC villain to dispute that title, it’s these next two, starting with Two-Face. Once Harvey Dent, a district attorney who, together with Batman and Commissioner Gordon, sought to put the worst of Gotham behind bars, he faced horrid tragedy when the left side of his face was horribly burned. With that act, a lifetime spent keeping a lid on his anger, bipolar disorder, and paranoia were undone, creating the split personality of Two-Face. His obsession over the number two has led him to enact crimes centered around it, and he’s obsessive-compulsive toward his coin, which he uses to settle most of his decisions. And if that doesn’t seem terrifying to you, just imagine a man holding a gun to your head, flipping a coin, and then trying not to piss yourself in fear over the results.

#12 – Mary Dahl, AKA Baby Doll

Yeah, it was a tough call deciding on the last pick. Granted, guys like Penguin, Hush, Professor Pyg, Ra’s al Ghul, and Scarecrow are great villains, but for me, this is a villain who, despite appearances, should NEVER be taken lightly in terms of overall threat level, and is really hard to hate, given her circumstances. Mary Dahl, an actress born with a condition that kept her from growing past the physical stature of a little girl, she became the sitcom character Baby Doll, until the show was cancelled and she eventually was set on a life of crime due to general reactions to her appearance. She came very close to murdering her castmates in an explosion, but was stopped by Batman. And I’m not gonna lie here, people: This episode of Batman: The Animated Series might possibly have the saddest ending to a DCAU production EVER. Don’t believe me? Well…you’ve been warned, people.

…I warned ya. And frankly, I’m not really sure why she was never used in the comics. Despite her obvious flaws, she’s inventive, creative, manipulative, and has a mean streak longer than…Yeah, I’m not using the short jokes. That’s a good way to get smacked. I’d kinda like to see her tussle with Babs one of these days in the comics. But, if not, I can always look back on this episode with fond, albeit sad, memories.

Anyway, those were my Top 12 Bat Villains. Got a favourite who’s not on here? Leave a comment below, and I will see you guys next time. Ja né!