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!
Time to see how the JLU survive their encounter with the Breaker. It’s the preview for Justice League United #12!
- A mission to save our world from cosmic calamity has separated Swamp Thing from the Green, threatening to destroy him forever. Only an improbable team of heroes and villains, led by Poison Ivy, can traverse conflicting realities and save Earth’s plant elemental from non-existence.
So, it’s been a while since I did a full review of a comic, and since this is the book that grants the wish of so many within the Poison Ivy League, seeing her operating as a hero again (kinda), I figured I should give it a shot. Before I go too in-depth on my thoughts, though, let’s run down the plot first.
The comic starts with a monologue by Adam Strange, who is apparently trapped within the Zeta Beams, as he watches Animal Man, Stargirl, Alanna Strange, and Equinox recruiting a group of people for a mission. Specifically, they recruit Mera, Swamp Thing, Poison Ivy, and Etrigan to deal with something called a Breaker. More or less, in the aftermath of Convergence, anomalies in space and time have emerged on Earth 0 that are tearing up the fabric of reality (or something like that, anyway), and the JLU are recruiting both heroes and villains to deal with each Breaker as they appear. Where are the rest of the team? Well, apparently, Supergirl, Green Arrow, and Martian Manhunter all left the team without so much as a warning or an explanation. As such, Adam Strange is picking out people based on how they’d perform in each specific mission, although Ivy jokes that, with her and Mera on the same team, that he just has a redhead fetish…No comment. lol Anyway, Equinox is sent as the League representative for the mission with the four individuals selected, and they go to deal with the Breaker. Specifically, a massive red blob of some sort, neither animal nor plant-life but having elements of both, has appeared in the middle of the ocean. Unfortunately, as they arrive, Poison Ivy and Swamp Thing realize that they’ve been cut off from The Green, just as the Breaker begins its assault on the team, leaving Adam Strange to watch as he determines that they’re about to see if he selected wisely.
So, let’s talk for a sec about…well, I suppose the big thing for me: Poison Ivy. First off, not a fan of the fact that she’s introduced in this comic as pushing drugs, although it at least makes more sense than Superman pushing super pills in Injustice. 😛 Otherwise, while it initially bugged me how much she seemed to be complaining throughout the issue, specifically as it pertained to why she was there, I have to admit that, once I put myself in her shoes, it made a bit more sense. If I was drafted for a mission in the middle of nowhere, with no idea of what I was supposed to do or why I was even there, especially given that Swamp Thing was also on the team, I’d probably be less than completely okay with everything going on. Hopefully, this is leading somewhere that’ll resolve that issue.
The other major thing that bugs me is the idea that half of the original team just left without so much as a word. I get that Martian Manhunter is supposed to be this big question mark of a character nowadays, but his connection with his team-mates should’ve at least given him enough of a conscience to come up with an excuse. As for Supergirl and Green Arrow, I seriously find that to be complete horse-crap. In fact, given that there seems to be a lot that went on between issues 10 and 11, and the massive overhaul of the team and its dynamics, it feels like this either should’ve been a completely different team altogether, or a new volume of the book, either way providing an issue 0 to explain what the hell happened in the gap. To be honest, given the nature of what they’re dealing with, it feels more like a Justice League Dark mission… … …What happened to them, anyway?
The last thing I wanna address has to deal with Mera. I have no idea what’s going on in the Aquaman book, but I do not like the idea of Mera basically on a manhunt for her husba-Oh wait, forgot, Dan Didio said no to married heroes, and only Animal Man seemed to slip through the cracks and keep his intact (and thank God he did, btw). I dunno, she just comes off as way too angry and one-track minded about hunting Arthur down. As a side-note, though, I DID love the line from Animal Man talking about how he’s been mistaken for Aquaman on occasion. Now, as a MASSIVE comic geek, I can honestly say that I’ve never once mistaken the two, but I HAVE seen it happen, and I seem to recall even in-universe, other heroes have mistaken how his powers work for how Aquaman’s do (that he talks to animals like how Aquaman can communicate with aquatic life).
With that out of the way, lemme talk about what I DO like. For starters, I like that the members that DID stick around did so and are therefore still relevant. Not one of them have their own books currently, and I don’t think that’s exactly in the cards for any of them at this time. I also love that these are basically B, C, and quite possibly even D-list heroes, and yet they’re having to take on a mission that could have serious repercussions if left unchecked, AND having to be the ones taking charge of the situation. It’s a huge undertaking for them, and it’s one that’s not always going to have an easy solution, but we see them trying their best to do what they can. And dammit, we needed a book about heroes that aren’t at the top of the food chain that can save the world too.
Secondly, I like that the events of Convergence are having consequences. As far as I can tell, at this time, none of the other books are addressing Convergence and what went down there. You just can’t do something like Convergence, which honestly forces me to try and learn what the plural of the word Multiverse is, without having some long-lasting fall-out. Here, we see that, when you take worlds that existed in a seemingly infinitely stretching Multiverse, all kept divided on different vibrational frequencies, some of which didn’t even physically exist anymore, and then pluck parts of them off and put them on the same planet, it kinda sorta BREAKS SPACE. Granted, I wish the fall-out from Convergence included seeing some of these alternate worlds, but dammit, at this point, I’ll take what I can get.
Lastly, I like the idea that this is a team book where, at any given time, seemingly ANYONE could show up for a mission. Heroes, villains, neutrals, doesn’t matter. You wanna see Poison Ivy save the world with Swamp Thing? We’re seeing it here and now. You wanna see Hawk and Dove chilling with Fire and Ice? Based on the preview we got during Convergence, could very well see just that. Anyone could appear for a team-up, and as you know, I’m a huge sucker for stories that have tons of heroes working together.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on the book. Will I continue to pick it up after Poison Ivy leaves? Maybe, if it can make up for the stuff I disliked and continue to do what I DO like. Lemme know what you all think of this book, and hey, if you’re a Poison Ivy fan, be sure to let DC know you wanna see more of her…which, FYI? Apparently we’re getting a mini-series for Poison Ivy next year written by Amy Chu, which I’m gonna NEED to check out when it comes out. Ja né!
… … …Before we start, just gonna say this: VERY upset that the logo lost the maple leaf. I waited FOREVER for my country to get its own Justice League. Now, with that outta the way, here’s the preview for Justice League United #11!
- The Convergence is over! Now, Alanna Strange, Stargirl and Equinox must assemble brand-new and wildly untraditional teams of heroes and villains to work together and stop another cosmic catastrophe before it happens. In this issue: Mera, Poison Ivy, Swamp Thing and Etrigan!
… … …So, it’s been an interesting start of the DC YOU movement. I haven’t read the new Robin book, but it’s supposed to be alright. Starfire looks promising, although I’m a little leery considering the creative team on it are the same people that think that Poison Ivy still nonchalantly feeds people to plants, has her very blatantly engage in double entendres with Harley, and is pretty obviously meant to be her sidekick…although, at least they’ve confirmed that Harleen and Pam are LGBT, and you know how much I love seeing more comic book characters that are. Dunno how I feel about the Cyborg book, but at least he’s got one, and is getting a slightly more…traditional look. I’m looking forward to the new direction for Justice League United, so long as they continue to be stationed in Canada, because you know how long I waited for my country to have its own Justice League? lol Earth 2: Society, while having an interesting premise, is held down by bad writing, specifically focusing too much on Batman and the apparent intent to turn Helena Wayne heel in a way that makes no sense. I still have no desire to read the current Batman book, even with the confirmation that Bruce Wayne is alive, at least until Jim Gordon is no longer having to stand-in as Batman. While I’m not reading Justice League, I feel deeply encouraged to do so for just how frigging epic it is. And I continue to find myself HEAVILY irritated by the Superman books, although at least now, my anger is less about Lois being the one who revealed his identity (as it seems she may have been coerced somehow) and is more-so directed at the notion that, upon learning that Clark Kent is the Man of Steel, the government has COMPLETELY turned on him and are going after him and his loved ones. Ahem…
However, what’s actually managed to baffle me even more is what was recently revealed to be true about Martian Manhunter in this universe. It’s not a worse thing, mind you, just more baffling in my mind. Because, as much as all of that infuriates me regarding Superman, I can honestly say that it’s not the first time they’ve done something so epically stupid with him, and have actually explored the possibility of him being an enemy of the government before. And even the current Batman story isn’t completely new ground, as Bruce Wayne has had to stand aside for other people to take over for him as the Dark Knight. However, while I admit to not reading many of Martian Manhunter’s solo books in the past, I honestly can’t recall a time where it was revealed that he was a WEAPON designed to, you guessed it, take over the world.
Now, while I didn’t read the Justice League United tie-in to Future’s End, I did read ABOUT it, and know that, in that timeline, Martian Manhunter eventually led a Martian invasion of Earth. However, you’ll forgive me if I go on record as saying that 99.9% of what happened in Future’s End ended up meaning precisely DICK. The only real ramifications it had was the introduction of Telos for Convergence, and to set up the new Batman Beyond book. Other than that, none of what we saw meant ANYTHING, other than to give DC an excuse to tell a dark and grim story about a future where humanity gets epically screwed and show a lot of body horror scenes. So, naturally, I assumed that Martian Manhunter’s heel turn was never going to happen… … …and, oddly enough, from what I can tell, it still might not, depending on where they’re going with this in his solo book.
Okay, so long story short, we find out that Martian Manhunter has basically been lying to people for the past how many years he’s been on Earth in this continuity, and that, while he IS a Martian, he’s also a weapon designed to eventually bring about the enslavement of humanity. More-so, he’s NOT the last Martian, and they are planning to continue on with their plan. However, it also appears as though he wants to die, suggesting that he’s not actually all that okay with what he’s been made to do. In fact, it seems to suggest he’s being forced into this role by powers that are beyond him. What kinda higher power could make J’onn fucking J’onzz do as they say is kinda head tilting, but regardless, that’s how it seems to me. Now, I will be fair to this twist: The seeds of this revelation can be traced back quite a ways. If you look at this all in hindsight, the clues were all there. The fact that he was ejected from the Justice League for reasons never explained, the flashbacks we got when him and Catwoman had their little mind meld, the fact that he gets uneasy letting Stargirl get so close to him. When you look at it all together as a single picture, it DOES suggest there was something dark and devious about him behind the scenes. So yes, I will admit that this isn’t a twist that comes out of nowhere and makes no sense.
With that out of the way, though, I have to ask a question: Was it REALLY necessary to make another of the big name superheroes’ lives as we originally knew them a lie in this continuity? Was it necessary to paint the Martians as evil conquerors, just like how the Amazons were painted as vile rapists and the traders of children for weapons? Was it necessary to take yet another of DC’s top heroes, a character with a great following and fanbase, and totally change everything they thought they knew about him for the sake of being edgy? For me, the answer to all of those questions is a resounding no.
Now, some might say, “Well, that’s easy for you to say, you’re not the one who has to make these calls”. To which I respond…well, yeah, it IS easy for me to say. Everything’s easy for me to say, since I’m just a blogger on the internet. But regarding the latter, you’re correct. I’m not the one making these calls. If it were up to me, Superman would be wearing a costume more akin to his old tights, Batman and his supporting characters wouldn’t be the only people DC markets anymore, Wonder Woman would lose those wrist blades on her new costume (seriously, I actually kinda like the new costume, but those are so 90’s, and not in the good way), Huntress would have her own book written by someone who actually gets the character, we wouldn’t NEED a Poison Ivy League because Poison Ivy would have her own title where she’s not killing people willy nilly and engaging in sexual innuendo 24/7 with Harley Quinn, and more importantly, we’d have more of heroes being HEROES. But that’s just me… … …Well, actually, it’s a LOT of people I talk to online, and a lot of bloggers, forum followers, and so on, but regardless, none of us run the company, have any say in what goes on, or have any clue as to what the direction they want to go in is.
Having said that, may I again ask what may seem like an obvious question to some, but clearly went over the heads of others, that being “Will somebody please explain to me what possible reason did DC Comics have for naming their new line-up ‘DC YOU’, implying we have ANY influence in this?“. Do you think the average comic book fan would suggest the idea of Superman having his powers in flux, the world knowing who he is, and the military openly showing resentment and hostility toward him, even going so far as to leave him to fight a battle on his own while they go to torch a street full of Superman supporters? A guy on Twitter by the name of Anthony Dean had some things to say about such a direction, and I love this so much that I’m going to transcribe it for you…
But he’s relatable now! No glasses, dudebro haircut/clothes, a stupid destructive new power, no secret identity or dorky reporter job, *and* a hot super-babe! Way more relatable now! And all they had to do was, um, get rid of everything vaguely recognizable to the general public? (Showed someone at work this Supes; they said: “not *my* Superman/arms looked like the Hulk’s”)
…DC, do you see the problem? Now, the obvious counter to all of this is “Well, that’s just aging hipster comic fans wanting THEIR heroes back”. Here’s my counter to that argument: What makes these new versions of the characters superior to the old ones in any way, shape, or form? Why do you think Convergence did so well, and why digital-first comics like Sensation Comics feat. Wonder Woman are doing so well? You wanna know what was the moment when I knew, unquestionably, that the Convergence Superman book was superior in every way to the FOUR Superman titles you have going right now is? It’s right here.
THAT is Superman. He finds out that the various cities that have been plucked from their worlds are going to be forced to fight, and his immediate is response is “No. I will not let this happen. I am not going to stand by and let this person get away with this. I am going to save as many people as I possibly can, and I don’t care who they are or where they come from.” And the people that are distrusting of him in this book have valid reasons to be, instead of “He’s an alien!” He even opts to name his son Jonathan as opposed to Jor, seeing Earth as his true home, not Krypton. That’s the difference: My Superman is a man of Earth who encompasses everything we could hope to be and what our values are or should be and saves everyone he can, even when the universe tells him it’s impossible. Now, does that make the current Superman a bad character in concept? No. I’ve already gone to great length talking about a story that features that character and how great it was: Superman Unchained, where we see this flawed Superman doing everything he can to try and save us. But when that is one book out of five to star the character, not counting the Justice League books, and it’s the only one I know of that tells a story I want to read about Superman, and it was only 9 issues long…well, you see where the problem is.
But back to Martian Manhunter. Like I said, stories like Superman being hunted down, exposed, and whatnot have been experimented with before. I imagine that’s likely because he’s such an iconic character that it gets people’s attention when they do. Mind you, I don’t know of many stories when they’ve done this with Batman, and in fact have had him be antagonistic towards Superman when they’ve done such stories before. But why do this to J’onn? Some people say that Superman’s story is that of an immigrant from outer space having to live among us and accept both sides of his life, while at the same time helping to show humanity how we can be better. While I wouldn’t necessarily argue that point, I daresay that if there’s a DC character who represents the immigrant part of that story better, it’s Martian Manhunter. J’onn wasn’t raised on this planet. He wasn’t taught our value system from a young age. He wasn’t brought up to be like us. But, in spending time here, in learning how we are, both the good and the bad, we become a world he genuinely wants to spend his life protecting. Now, there ARE still aspects of that left in him. Like I said, his apparent willingness to die in spite of what he’s been sent here to do suggests he doesn’t want to do us harm. But the darkening of his character, his back-story, and making him someone who apparently got into a fight with the Justice League over all of this, as well as his apparent willingness to casually mind wipe people when he used to be against that sort of action take away a lot of what used to make him a heroic figure to fans, and therefore makes me want to read the old Martian Manhunter FAR more. And frankly, putting this back-story next to what they’ve done with Superman and Wonder Woman paints a somewhat xenophobic picture of modern DC, which is a TERRIBLE stance to have, especially if they’re supposedly trying to branch out and get more readers in the same way Marvel’s done as of late. The last thing you want ANYONE to even suggest you could be in such a situation is afraid of stuff and/or people that are different.
In the aftermath of Convergence, DC seems to suggest that the door is now open for creative teams to tell stories about previous incarnations of the characters seen from the timelines presented in that story, and presumably others. If I may be so bold as to call them out on that, though, can I ask why all four of the Superman titles they currently have going right now focus on the current version of Superman and this new, darker phase of his career? And, on top of that, for those that have long suggested that DC is basically trying to make Clark Kent into Peter Parker, I think the fact that we now have four Superman books running and all telling the same story pretty much proves your point beyond any doubt, they’re openly making Superman into Spider-Man. If you’re a modern fan of comics, I’ll explain: Marvel used to do this thing where they had a different Spider-Man book running practically every week by different writers and artists, and all telling the same continuous story…which could get very confusing, monotonous, and downright AWFUL at times (see the Clone Wars for hardcore proof of that). But even if they wanna do that, why can’t we have just ONE of those books be about the pre-Flashpoint Superman? Hell, before the renumbering of all the books that came with the New 52, Action Comics was only about, what, less than ten years away from hitting a legitimate #1000? Go back to the old numbering and tell stories about THAT book’s Superman. And hey, for all I know, maybe that IS in the works for after the Truth story arc is over. And if not, feel free to take this idea and ride off into the sunset with it. I will gladly give it up and take zero credit for it. The same goes for a lot of characters, like Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, and Batman (if they can finally figure out what all did and didn’t happen with him in this new continuity). And you can do all of this and still have your darker continuity, too. Obviously, there’s an audience for it, or else you wouldn’t still be doing it.
So, that’s my take on the DC YOU product thus far. It’s not God awful, there are some things about it that show promise, but it could stand to have a TON of improvement, specifically distancing from what made the New 52 as bad as it was, and bringing back what made the classic continuities what they were. Have your own thoughts? Feel free to leave them in the comments, and we’ll see how things develop over time. Ja né!
Previews For Next Week’s Comics: Justice League United #10, Spider-Gwen #2, Ms. Marvel #13, and Captain Marvel #13
…Fuck it. I’m getting four comics next week, all of whom have previews out, so I’m just gonna post the links to them all at once. Let’s start with JLU #1o.
“The Infinitus Saga” reaches its stunning conclusion! The combined might of the JLU, the Legion of Super-Heroes, the Rannian War Fleet and the Thanagarians learn the true meaning of sacrifice as events unfold that will change the DC Universe forever!
WHO IS THE VULTURE?!
• Gwen finds herself between a rock (this vulture) and a hard place (the entire NYPD)!
• Don’t miss this second issue of the Spider-Character who set the world on fire!
• A mysterious stranger arrives in Jersey City!
• Is it possible Kamala Khan is about to develop… a CRUSH?! Yes. It is.
• DRAMA! INTRIGUE! ROMANCE! SUSPENSE! PUNCHING THINGS!
• Look out, Mighty Marvelites! In this issue, Captain Marvel faces against space swashbucklers!
• Who would you put your bets on — Captain Marvel or a group of bloodthirsty Space Pirates?
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!