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!
There are characters who can sound AMAZING on paper, and maybe even be so, but, when placed into just the absolutely wrong situation, can fail epically. Welcome to the next installment of How To Drop The Ball In Comics, where I look at what I believe to be a legitimately GOOD idea in comics, why I felt that it was, and how it failed to live up to the hype. And following in the tradition of the first one I did, let’s look back to the rebooted universe of Earth 2 as we check out at Val-Zod, AKA the new Superman of the new Earth 2.
Who Is He?: Created by Tom Taylor, Nicolla Scott, and Robson Rocha for Earth 2 #19 in 2014, Val-Zod is presumably the son of General Zod in the rebooted universe of Earth 2 in the New 52. As I mentioned before, in this version of events, Earth 2’s Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman died saving the world from Darkseid. However, after one of Darkseid’s agents, Brutaal, was revealed to be Superman back from the dead and under his control (actually, it later turned out to be a Bizarro-esque clone, and that the real one was kept locked away to have more clones created from him), the heroes of the world found themselves in a desperate struggle to save the world from its greatest hero. Luckily, as it turned out, they had a trump card hidden among them, kept under lock and key by Terry Sloan: Val-Zod, one of the last surviving Kryptonians. While he was initially agoraphobic and wished not to fight, he eventually came to grips with his fears and concerns, becoming the new Superman.
How Did He Have Potential?: Well, while he’s not the first example of this, it’s nonetheless cool to see the Man of Steel also be a man of colour. Granted, I don’t know how that works with an alien species, but then again, this a race that looks just like us anyway. If we can accept that, it’s not TOO much of a stretch to think they have different skin colours among them as well. But really, the thing that I love about Val-Zod as a character is the fact that he’s a pacifist. Growing up, he was under the belief that violence was senseless, and learning the value of mind over body, he has chosen not to fight. So, for those wondering, no, there will be no “I AM A MAN!” punches coming from him. But don’t you dare think of him as a wuss. Instead, he takes all that strength that his Kryptonian body has, all the amazing abilities of Superman, and uses them specifically for the purpose of helping and defending people. He will not fight back, but as shown through his eventual confrontation with Brutaal, he doesn’t need to. Just standing up to Brutaal when he was threatening others was enough, as the act of trying to punch Val to death instead caused the clone of Kal-El’s body to break down. As he himself put it, “I won’t kill Kal-El…but I need to fix what he has broken.” In short, he is everything that one can and should be: Strong not just in body, but in mind and conviction, unwilling to let bad things happen to good people, and able to inspire others to be better themselves. In many ways, it’s hard not to consider him the legitimate successor to Superman’s legacy… … …however…
How Did It Drop The Ball?: The problem is that, while I concede that Val-Zod is a legitimate successor to Kal-El, there is another who is every bit as legitimate as him, who has been around for much longer, and in the original Earth 2 history was Superman’s successor on the Justice Society of America. That person is Kara Zor-El, AKA Power Girl. And again, as I’ve brought up before, when Kara returned to Earth 2, she was immediately set up to be nothing more than just another member of the Super family, Val-Zod’s love interest, and most degrading of all, had a Superman logo placed on her costume. For those who don’t know, in one of her earliest appearances, Power Girl was given a logo for her costume, but crushed it because it was blatantly a Superman logo (except with a P instead of an S), and she didn’t want to be seen as just being Superman’s cousin. She wanted to be her own woman, not in any way ashamed of her heritage, but looking to carve out her own legacy as she carried on in Superman’s place. And what’s REALLY sad about that is that, with the current Earth 2 stories centering around the idea of them inhabiting a new version of Earth 2 to replace the one destroyed by Darkseid (long and AWFUL story), there’s more than enough room for both Kara and Val to co-exist as successors to Kal-El without taking away the other’s credibility, if the story was well written. The problem is, it’s NOT well written, because Daniel H. Wilson doesn’t understand how the character works and has taken away her agency. But on top of all of that, when you get down to it, Val himself isn’t really doing much of anything to be a big deal either, as most of the attention in the Earth 2 books goes to, you guessed it, BATMAN. And it’s not even a worthy nor legitimate successor to Batman, but that’s a rant for another day. The point is, whatever momentum Val had as a character seems to have completely come to a halt, and the way that he, Kara, and really everybody in the Earth 2 books have been handled just goes a long way to show why they’re just not any good, despite the mass amount of potential that they had.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say about all of this. If you wanna know more about how the Earth 2 books are continuing to fail miserably, be sure to check out Lapses In Logic over at http://www.helenawaynehuntress.com/. Ja né!
Hello, and welcome to a new spot on the blog I like to call ‘How To Drop The Ball In Comics’. This is where I take a look at what I thought was a legitimately GOOD idea in comics, why I felt that way, and how it eventually kinda fell on its ass. With that said, let’s take a look at Worlds’ Finest.
No, not that one. THIS ONE:
What Is It?: Created for The New 52 as part of a branching-out to tell stories involving characters from Earth 2, Worlds’ Finest specifically looked at Huntress (Helena Wayne), daughter of Batman and Catwoman, and Power Girl (Kara Zor-L/Karen Starr), cousin of Superman. However, the twist was that, after surviving the final battle of a war that claimed the lives of their respective families, the two found themselves accidentally exiled to Earth 0, the primary Earth of the DC Multiverse since the Multiverse’s rebirth in Infinite Crisis. As such, we had cases where, in this and other books, they’d encounter other-dimensional relatives, like Robin, Batman, and Superman, and even Power Girl’s alternate universe self, Kara Zor-El, many of which were pretty awesome. As another twist, it was revealed that, in this continuity, Power Girl and Huntress started their crime fighting careers as their world’s Supergirl and Robin (bringing the female Robin count up by one). So, let’s take a look at what I liked about it.
How Did It Have Potential?: Well, for starters, it was a book about two badass superheroines. Second, Power Girl and Huntress’ history, given certain reboots and retoolings to the DC Universe and its history, can be…confusing. For example, most people that started reading comics after Crisis On Infinite Earths, or have watched Justice League Unlimited, are probably more familiar with the Earth 0 version of Huntress, Helena Bertinelli. This was a good way to bring in Helena Wayne and distinguish her from her counterpart. Mind you, this led to some confusion as well, given that Hel apparently passed herself off as Bertinelli for five years, except that in the New 52, Helena Bertinelli is black, but whatever. This helped explain a few things about the characters for people that weren’t in the know about them. Also, as I’ve established before, the initial arc ended with them and the military fighting a giant villain in a Japanese harbour. If Godzilla and Megazord had shown up at that moment, I would’ve squeed so hard, you could’ve probably heard it IN JAPAN! lol And as much as some people got ticked about Karen’s new costume, I actually kinda liked it…until it proceeded to get torn and burnt up over and over, to where Power Girl was actually more decent in the old boob window costume, which is part of the reason why I was glad she switched back to it.
How Did It Drop The Ball?: There’s a few reasons. First…I don’t know if it was an issue with editorial, or if Paul Levitz, the man who frigging CREATED Huntress, forgot how her character worked, but the characterization for Hel and Karen feels off in this book. Hel’s a bit too much of a buzzkill, and at one point called someone a “little bitch”, and Karen is WAY too flirty, and once witnessed a bunch of kids being sucked into a Boom Tube and was pretty much like “…Huh. That was a thing”. Also, in my opinion, they spent WAY too long on Earth 0, only managing to get back to Earth 2 when things were at their darkest, lowest point, and when their place as the rightful heirs to Superman and Batman’s positions had been usurped in their absence by two men: Val-Zod (who I actually don’t mind, save for when he’s Karen’s blatant love interest), and Earth 2 Thomas Wayne (who was revealed to be alive, a frigging bum, a drug addict, and an overall horrible character altogether). And once they made it back to Earth 2, did the story become about how the two worked together as last-minute surprise reinforcements to turn the tide against Apokolips? NOPE, the book instead completely shifted gears to tell a prequel story about Earth 2 Superman and Batman, will apparently be cancelled along with the other Earth 2 books (not counting the one that’ll start post-Convergence), and Huntress and Power Girl were instead treated to World’s End, where Karen flirted with Val, lost Kal-El AGAIN, and got a Superman logo on her suit (completely missing the point of the boob window), while Huntress was subjected to body horror, torture porn, and drugs. If you are a fan of either of these characters, by all means, send your grievances about such decisions to the head-writer of Earth 2: World’s End, Daniel H. Wilson…Seriously, here’s an example of his very lame attempts to justify his decisions regarding Helena.
Anyway, that’s all I have to say about the matter. If you’d like MORE on the subject, as well as the overall mistreatment of Earth 2, women, LGBT characters… … …Really, anyone that’s not a straight white male in The New 52, be sure to check out http://helenawaynehuntress.tumblr.com/ and http://helenawayne.blogspot.ca/. Ja né!
The other day, I decided to ask several people on Tumblr the same question: “If you could build an Earth in the DC Multiverse from the ground up, who would be its heroes? Basically, who would you select to be its Justice League or JSA, and how would they be unique from their standard counterparts? (Black Superman, gay Batman, female Flash, villain turned hero, etc.)” Now, you’ll recall a while back, I wrote stories that I considered to be my own alternate universe in the DCU, but ultimately, looking back on it, it feels less like an alternate Earth and more like my ideal versions of the characters from the main one. Also, I think my Superman story was more-so a jab against Man of Steel and how terribly I felt it portrayed Superman. As such, I WILL be posting my own response to this questionnaire on this blog later on. Until then, though, here’s some of the answers that I’ve gotten so far on Tumblr and Twitter…
I would love to see Green Lantern and Sinestro switched in this universe. Also Batwoman, not Batman. female gay Green Arrow with Black Canary, Aquaman and Superman the same, and Martian Manhunter the same. Wonder Woman the same and Flash black. Hawkman, instead of Hawkgirl.
Sinestro and Green Lantern (I’m assuming she meant Hal Jordan) switched would be interesting, especially if Sinestro kept the Yellow Power Ring and used fear as a force for good.
It’d basically be a world of less known versions of heroes. Triumph, Moon Maiden and Regal would be its Triumvirate instead of the Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman Trinity..Other heroes might include the Green Lanterns Alex Dewitt and Jose Hernandez.
I am HORRIBLY embarrassed to admit that I had to Google poor Alex Dewitt to remind myself who she was. I really have no excuse for how I could’ve forgotten who she was, other than just having a brain fart.
I guess the first thing my DC Earth would contain would be a Black Female Superwoman to lead the Justice League, comprising of Barbara Gordon as Oracle, Vengeance Moth, Mera (who is married to Wonder Woman, and queen of Atlantis, as Diana is of Themyscira), Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern. Wally West (Black, but with pre-Nu52’s personality) as the Flash, Dick Grayson as Nightwing (perhaps with a bionic leg after a fight with Bane), no Batman, Equinox, Alanna Strange, Martian Manhunter, Dinah Lance as Black Canary and leader of the League, and the Movement and Birds of Prey (with Misfit, Poison Ivy, Starling and Deadman training the Movement), as the League’s stealth team! Also the JLD (co-ordinated by Zatanna, comprising of herself, Madame Xanadu, Black Orchid, Raven, Asa or Nightmare-Nurse, Mary Marvel, and Swamp Thing) working to defend the Earth from any supernatural or paranormal threats that may arise! Also Barbara Gordon would have lead the League of Batgirls (as they appeared in Batgirl: Future’s End). And Booster Gold and Blue Beetle (both Ted Kord, and his apprentice Jaime Reyes) would team up on silly adventures together! Not too different from the main continuity, mostly just featuring lesser-known characters in more prominent positions!
So apparently, he really liked that idea I had a while back where Diana and Mera were married and co-ruling Themyscira and Atlantis. 🙂
Hmmm…maybe I’m no fun, but I’m quite fond of Earth-2 Classic as is.
At best, I’d transplant the newer characters that debuted with the New 52 Earth-2 as part of the pre-Crisis Earth-2 canon, and have them function as the current generation Justice Society team alongside the second generation Earth-2 Trinity of Huntress, Power Girl, and Fury.
If there are characters I’d definitely borrow from the mainstream universe to be a part of Earth-2 canon, I’d add Barbara Gordon as Oracle (both Black Canaries are already Earth-2 characters), Tom Blake as Catman, Helena Bertinelli as an agent of Spyral, and Renee Montoya as her partner. I quite like those characters.
Honestly, I probably should’ve seen this coming, since anyone who follows helenawaynehuntress on Tumblr knows she ADORES the pre-Crisis Earth-2. 😛 That said, can’t say as I have a problem with these picks, especially the idea of Helena Bertinelli and Renee Montoya as partners in Spyral.
how about if Barbara Minerva is a Superheroine instead of Supervillain?
Ooh, that WOULD be interesting, especially if her back-story as Diana’s friend was kept intact. 😀
Here it goes.
Oracle overseeing everything
I knew the second I sent the questionnaire to her that Ivy would be on here. lol
So, those are the responses I’ve gotten so far. If you wanna add your own, by all means, post it in the comment section below, and hopefully I’ll have my own posted soon enough. Ja né!