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, since it’s been a really long time since I was blogging regularly, there’s been some obvious changes to my comic book pull list. New books came out, old books got cancelled or changed in ways I didn’t like, and so on. So, with that in mind, here’s my entire pull list as it is now. Keep in mind, this is always subject to change, and is going to pretty soon…but I’ll get to that when I talk about it. For now, let’s talk about…
Yeah, what a shocker, huh? Scott Snyder’s Batman has remained solidly good since the beginning of the New 52 to now. Granted, there have been dipping points at times. On reflection, Death of the Family could’ve been a lot better, and Zero Year lost a little bit of steam by the end. However, the title is nonetheless a great one, and Court of Owls remains one of the best stories of the New 52 even to this day. There’s just not much else I can say about it, other than that, in terms of writing consistency, it might just be the best of the New 52’s First Wave books still going today. What other book would I put in contention? Well…
Since day one of this book, it’s been an interesting ride, full of fun and controversy. First, Steph’s existence in the New 52 is retconned and Babs is made Batgirl again, immediately earning my anger. However, Gail Simone nonetheless wrote a great title, to the point where I just couldn’t turn away from how good it was. Then Gail Simone was fired, thus earning the anger of EVERYBODY. Then she was rehired in the wake of the massive fan-rage, though there were some changes made to the overall gameplan of what was in mind for the book’s future, which may or may not have resulted in Batgirl: Wanted. Either way, I opted to skip that arc because I hated it, even while written by Gail, but upon returning to the book when it was over, I found myself enjoying it again just fine. Then Deadline happened, and it immediately felt odd, at first seeming too dire, then seeming like a departure arc. Sure enough, right after I was done reviewing Batgirl #33, it was announced that Gail was leaving the book…and yet, this time, I don’t mind, because she’s giving resolution to Babs’ journey for the past three years, and the next phase of the Batgirl title actually looks like it’ll be fun and interesting. I honestly can’t think of another title that could go through that much shit and still be as good as it is, with the exception of Nightwing, although that book has since been cancelled. But yeah, happy to report that I’m still buying and enjoying Batgirl. And I’m not TOO bummed about the loss of Gail Simone, as this is not the only title of hers on my list…
Yeah, there’s one other Bat related book, but I thought I’d space it out a bit so as not to create the illusion that I only like Bat related books. Granted, this book DOES have a member of Batman Incorporated on it, but it nonetheless isn’t really a Bat book. So, why am I buying this book? For starters, because it’s a shit-ton better than Scott Lobdell’s Teen Titans, and I apologize if you like his work and get offended by my constantly calling him out, but I can’t lie: I REALLY don’t like his work. If you do, that’s fine. The team feels a bit more solid, the colour scheme works a lot better, and the fact that the pre-Flashpoint characters feel a bit more akin to those characters. Really, the only complaints I have is how much more edgy Bunker is, Raven’s costume not being as good as her old one, Wonder Girl’s features being given a bit too much attention for a teenager, and Beast Boy is green again for no reason other than to stop the bitching. And granted, I appreciate him being green again, but I would’ve liked an actual reason for it. Otherwise, though, not much to complain about, and it’s still early in the new book’s life, so they may make up for some of these things as time goes by. And on the subject of team books…
Call them the Justice League Canada or Justice League United. Either way, they’re still awesome. Why? Well, because of what Martian Manhunter says in the most recent issue: They’re a group meant to be a superhero team, PERIOD. No hidden motives or agendas, and all kinds of heroes from all walks of life and possessing different skills or powers, all willing to make the ultimate sacrifice play if necessary to protect the innocent. And what a team it is, with Martian Manhunter, Stargirl, Green Arrow, Adam and Alanna Strange, newcomer Equinox, Animal Man, Supergirl, and possibly Hawkman (who is supposedly dead, but they’re all but writing out in a message in the sky that he’s either not dead or gonna be brought back to life right away). Are they the most powerful team in the DC Universe? No, but I don’t think they’re supposed to be. They just FEEL like heroes that I’d be safe around. That said, one thing I’ve found bizarre is how the colour scheme of the team is simultaneously varied and yet repeated. There’s lots of colour to the team, like red, green, yellow, blue, and white. The thing is, each member has 2-3 of these colours on their person. The only other problems I have are that if you didn’t read Justice League of America, primarily the stuff involving Trinity War and Forever Evil (and I don’t blame you one bit if you didn’t read that stuff), you might be slightly lost as to what’s going on in the first arc of this story, and they’re only now going to do serious build-up and explanation on Equinox…after the first arc has already wrapped up with out her for the most part. Otherwise, still enjoying the book, which is more than I could say for the other Justice League books.
This book…is a bit of a mixed bag at times. Granted, I enjoy it for the most part, but it feels odd at times, and there’s whole issues I’ve skipped. The first arc was a prequel of sorts to most of the New 52, with Superman and Batman in their early days meeting up for a mission they’re ultimate destined to forget, and yet it’s still well written and hints at events that have occurred since and will occur later on from now. Then we got a story about the two fighting Mongul in this weird horizontal framing where you had to read the issues on their side…and again, it was still a fairly enjoyable read, as was the follow-up Annual. From there, it had a crossover with Worlds’ Finest, basically as lead-up to Huntress and Power Girl finally leaving Prime Earth for Earth 2, and Superman and Batman remembering what happened in the first arc…only to forget it all again a few issues later, which I ultimately skipped since I wasn’t buying Worlds’ Finest, but I hear it’s…okay? And as of late, there’s been a few stand-alone issues, crossover issues with other stories, and several issues that have had their dates pushed back. In fact, it wouldn’t shock me if EVERY issue that’s been solicited to this point will be pushed back. So, why do I keep coming back? Well, basically, Greg Pak’s writing. I really like his stuff. Granted, I’m not reading Action Comics right now, but that’s mostly because I REALLY dislike the Superman Doomed storyline. We’ll get back to Pak later, but for now, let’s talk about the last DC book I’m currently reading…
Yeah, another one of those books I never shut up about. lol I’m sorry, I just love this book, and I’m so upset that it’s only 9 issues long…which hasn’t ended its run in over a year. Yeah, another of those books that have suffered set-backs, which is especially distracting considering current events in other Superman related books and Justice League. Nonetheless, this remains a good book, and easily my favourite of the Superman books. Superman actually FEELS like the character, as do his supporting cast. And it’s nice to see a book that Superman stars in that has Wonder Woman cameo and NOT get hung up on their relationship. Yeah, that STILL bugs me. But yeah, the final issue is in October, so won’t be on my pull list for long. But with that, let’s take a look at the Marvel books I’m reading, starting with…
Despite some problems I’ve had with elements of the plot progressing a bit too slowly, I’m finding myself liking this book a lot. But more importantly, I like Miles Morales. As I said in my review of #3, the awkward teen geek angle works for Miles in a way that’s both similar to and unique from Peter Parker (both mainstream and Ultimate) and therefore feels appropriate for someone taking on the identity of Spider-Man. And frankly, while he’s still prone to screwing up and making poor decisions, I’m FAR more forgiving of him than, say, 616 Peter Parker, the man-child who traded a life with his wife and future daughter for life with his constantly dying aunt to the devil. Why? Because unlike Peter, who is an adult who acts like a teenager, Miles actually IS a teenager. Hell, he was actually younger than Peter was when he first became Spidey, AND he’s still learning the ropes, ergo being more sympathetic with more room to grow. Otherwise, while the story is a bit slow developing, I’m still a bit intrigued by what’s going on. While the most obvious resolution to the story seems to be the one that’ll wind up happening, it’s told pretty well, with some pretty awesome moments thrown in (most specifically in #4). Good book, easily the best of the Ultimate Universe.
Oh my God, this is so awesome! And much like Ultimate Spider-Man, the reason why mostly centres around the main character. Kamala, as I’ve gone on record of saying, is both unique in her heritage and incredibly relatable in who she is. We’ve ALL been Kamala at some point in our lives. We all were a huge fan of something, or felt like an outsider, or felt disconnected to our parents, or wished to the stars for something amazing to come along and shake us out of our mundane lives. Also, she writes Avengers/MLP fanfiction. You don’t even need another reason as an online comic book fan to love this girl. And the story can be downright hilarious, in particular the last two issues where she teamed up with Wolverine. Just think about that for a second: A hyperactive fangirl and rookie superhero with odd shapeshifting powers teamed with the veteran, grouchy, and currently in the middle of a story arc that’s going to resolve in his death Wolverine. I nearly died laughing several times during reading the past couple of issues. G. Willow Wilson, just keep doing what you’re doing. You have easily the best new comic of 2014.
Why does Black Widow not have her own movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet? Even ignoring how she stole the show in Iron Man 2, Avengers, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, just READ THIS BOOK. It reads like a really good James Bond movie, only with Natasha instead of 007. The plot’s dragging a tiny bit as of late to have other characters cameo and crossover with Black Widow, but otherwise, it’s doing pretty damned good. Also, the art is GORGEOUS. Can’t really say much else other than, if you love a good superhero and/or spy story, go check it out.
Yeah, I think it’s safe to say I’m becoming a big fan of Greg Pak’s work. I rated Storm #1 five stars on the very simple grounds that, after re-reading it a couple of times with the intent to nitpick, just to see if I could find anything to pick on, I came up with NOTHING wrong with the book. It was PERFECT. Didn’t like #2 as much, but that’s only because it revolved around the Morlocks, and I’m not exactly a big fan of them, and I was a little surprised by the stuff with Wolverine (seriously, how long have those two been a thing???). Otherwise, this is a great book with a lot of potential, and actually managed to sell me on the mohawk (up until now, I was more a fan of the longer, flowing hair). If you love X-Men, and Storm in particular, you owe it to yourself to at least check out #1.
This is another character that had better be getting a solo movie someday. And I don’t care if she’s Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Binary, Warbird, whatever the frak you wanna call her, the fact remains: Carol Danvers is AWESOME! And now she’s in space with her flerken cat (just read the book if you want the reference, it’s hilarious, lol), hanging with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and kicking all kinds of intergalactic bad guy ass. So yeah, if you wanna read space-based superhero stories, this is the one for you. But yeah, that wraps up my Marvel books, with leads to the final title on my pull list…
This is another must-read. Red Sonja is just awesome in every issue, kicking ass and upholding her own style of justice and honour, all while taking time out to enjoy a pint and get some tender loving care…whenever possible, that is. Let’s just say, a running side-plot in the book as of late is just how irritable she’s been getting without sex. Right there with ya, sister. lol But yeah, Gail Simone’s Red Sonja has been a huge delight, and hopefully it lasts for a long time to come. ^_^
So yeah, that’s my pull list. Feel free to let me know what your own comic book pull lists are, and what you think of the books on mine. Ja né!
So USA Today just confirmed something that, from what I’ve heard, Rob Liefeld spoiled months ago: A new Batman/Superman team-up book is on its way this summer. The comic is to be written by Greg Pak, who is yet another long-time Marvel writer that DC is snatching up, and illustrated by Jae Lee, who also did a ton of Marvel work, but has also admittedly done a little work with DC and also some work with Image. This book is slated to take place during the past of the New 52, when Bruce Wayne was new to being Batman, and Clark Kent was the Superman of the working class, and the two have their first interactions.
Okay, so as a guy who gets bothered by continuity hiccups, I have a slight issue here. In Justice League #1, Batman told Hal Jordan that he’d never met Superman, only researched him, and in Justice League #2, it was rather clear that Superman and Batman were having their first interaction right there. The only way this makes any sense is if one of the following occurs…
- An event occurs in this book that Superman and Batman decide to keep to themselves.
- The two get mind-wiped or otherwise have something happen to them to make them forget the events of this comic book, which would ultimately make this book rather pointless unless they manage to remember them later on.
- They only very briefly catch sight of each other prior to Justice League’s events, and the rest of this comic involves them teaming up during the five year gap between the first and second arcs of Justice League.
Otherwise, I will say that I am interested in reading this book. Not quite as much as Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s upcoming Superman title, though. Speaking of which, the Snyder/Lee Superman book still hasn’t been publicly named yet, but I’ve heard it’s likely going to be coming out around the same time as Batman/Superman. I will say that I wanna melt my brain after hearing people refer to this as ‘Batsoup’…though not quite as much as I do after seeing that in the latest Wonder Woman comic, Orion apparently slapped Diana’s ass and got away with it with little more than a scowl….Yeah, I think I’m getting why this is a Batman/Superman comic and not a Trinity comic, but I’ll have to get to that later. Ja né!
- ‘Batman/Superman’ showcases meeting of DC Comics icons (usatoday.com)
- DC Announces Batman/Superman for June (gothamspoilers.com)