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!
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!
So a lot of people know how I’ve been complaining A LOT about Power Girl‘s representation in World’s Finest. Specifically, how her character is an overzealous and shameless flirt (think Brock from Pokémon), she isn’t all that nice a person, and her new costume continuously gets burned, blasted, or ripped to shreds in damned near every issue. It pretty much made it near impossible to enjoy the book the further it went on, not helped by the fact that nothing in the story seemed to be getting resolved, and frankly I feel as though there is a much better potential for stories with her and Huntress (Helena Wayne) if they were on Earth 2 instead of Prime Earth.
And then Supergirl #19 happened!
THIS is the Power Girl a lot of people have waited for since World’s Finest began. Now granted, she was in last month’s issue as well, where we saw a bit more of her life with her corporation, but this issue is where we get the one true Power Girl back. After rescuing her alternate reality younger counterpart, Power Girl and Supergirl began to sync, experiencing each other’s memories and curing each other (temporarily) of their recent Kryptonite poisoning. After the two take out a brute of a flunky who’s working for Lex Luthor, and Power Girl gets her costume torn for the billionth time, Supergirl collapses from the poisoning taking affect again. Karen takes Kara down to Sanctuary at the bottom of the sea (does Aquaman know about this?), and Karen remarks how she’s become under-dressed AGAIN, leading to the computer offering her new clothes that she immediately gravitates to: Her pre-reboot costume.
But it’s not just the costume that is back for this: Her personality is far more reminiscent of her pre-New 52 character in this comic. She’s compassionate, protective, confident, and legitimately witty for the first frakking time that I have seen in the New 52. And I couldn’t be happier for it. In fact, I will make a promise right here to DC: Clearly, Paul Levitz has failed to properly represent this character in World’s Finest. If Power Girl’s better personality is more accurately represented (and by the way, her old costume does return to that book next month), more specifically, if Supergirl writer Mike Johnson takes over the book, I will buy the book again. HAPPILY.
So that’s my two cents on the matter. Leave your comments below, and I will see y’all next time. Ja né!