Now that Convergence is over and the DC offices have moved, the company has decided to launch the DC You campaign. Its mission statement is to diversify their line of comics, both in terms of characters and the types of books being released. With this many books being put out at once, it can be hard to figure out what to actually check out. Here are the series worth reading.
All-Star Section Eight
Writer: Garth Ennis, Artist: John McCrea
One of the most surprising things about DC’s recent wave of books is its focus on comedy, and just how different a lot of these comedy books are. All-Star Section Eight is a gross-out comic, full of bodily fluids and just plain ugly looking people. While I can see this being off-putting to some, I love it. It is low-brow humour mixed with superhero parody that lightly hints at having a heart.
Writer: Heath Corson Artist: Gustavo Duarte
This comic about Jimmy Olsen and Bizarro on a road trip to Canada (the Bizarro America) is one of the most fun comics that I’ve read in awhile. Corson manages to make Bizarro’s dialogue clever and hilarious, while Duarte’s cute and expressive art creates the fun, lighthearted world that a buddy comedy needs. Bizarro is the funniest of DC’s comedies, and though I won’t spoil who the villain is, fans of the Adam West Batman should be happy.
Writer: Brenden Fletcher Artist: Annie Wu
Black Canary offers a strong opening issue that clearly presents the main cast, and tells you everything you need to know about Black Canary to get started. The action is kinetic and fluid, fully conveying the movement. The stakes are made personal, as we find Black Canary in a bad spot economically, her crime fighter life getting in the way of her finances. It’s a solid conceit for a superhero book, and the creative team pulls it off brilliantly.
Constantine the Hellblazer
Writers: Ming Doyle & James Tynion IV Artist: Riley Rossmo
Constantine lets you know right away what kind book it is. It’s violent, sexual, and the hero is kind of a bastard, but it never comes across as grim or tacky. The plot does suffer from predictability, which undercuts how clever we are supposed to find Constantine. The comic’s largest strength is that the creative team knows not to linger on its excess, letting the book be an adventure through the darker parts of the DC universe.
Writer: Paul Levitz Artist: Sonny Liew
Someone made the bizarre choice to have the preview for this set up some stuff that not covered in the actual first issue, so you may want to read that (it’s free on the DC website) before diving into this, because it’s worth it. The book goes for a mythological Spider-Man vibe: it manages to make the hero feel small enough, while getting across the scale of the problems he will be facing.
Green Lantern: Lost Army
Writer: Cullen Bunn Artist: Jesus Saiz
I know very little about the Green Lanterns, so I was impressed with how well Bunn was able to get me up to speed. I have a solid idea of how the everyone works, what their powers are, and even some of John Stewart’s back story. But as good as the book is with catching readers up, it offers little as to how everyone got stranded. It seemed like I was already supposed to know how everyone wound up that way, but it could all be revealed in the future.
Harley Quinn & Power Girl
Writers: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, & Justin Gray Artist: Stephane Roux
Spinning out of the immensely popular Harley Quinn, this team-up book with Power Girl is a comedic adventure on an alien planet. Truth be told, I do not find the regular Harley Quinn comic that funny, but something about this works for me. There were still a lot of jokes that did not land, but Power Girl grounds a lot of what is happening enough for most of them.
Justice League of America
Writer & Artist: Bryan Hitch
Hitch knows how to present a threat that only the JLA could defeat, and makes sure to present as many as possible in this over-sized first issue. Taking full advantage of the extra space, every member of the league is given a chance to display what it is they can do in a truly impressive fight scene.This is the kind of book that the main Justice League has needed since the reboot.
Writer: Steve Orlando Artist: Aco
Certain superpowers must be harder to draw than others, and I imagine “predicting things really well” is up there. Luckily, Aco does a great job highlighting small details that Midnighter notices while figuring how his opponents will act. Orlando also avoids a problem that I have mentioned a few times, spending the first issue letting us get to know Midnighter before getting the plot rolling.
Writer: Mark Russell Artist: Ben Caldwell
Prez is a political comedy following the first teen president, and if that doesn’t sell you, I don’t think anything will. It takes shots at everything from biased news outlets to YouTube stars, and it does it all brilliantly. In terms of laughs, it’s not the funniest book that came out this month, but it’s definitely the most interesting.
Writer: Scott Lobdell Artist: Denis Medri
The plot here is paper thin, with big conflicts solved in just a couple lines of dialogue. That being said, the action is well drawn, and it is the focal point of the issue. Red Hood and Arsenal are given distinct enough voices that I can get a good feel for their characters, even if they are not the most compelling. Honestly, if you just want to see a cool fight, you could do way worse than this.
Robin, Son of Batman
Writer & Artist: Patrick Gleason
Batman is dead, and Robin is alone. Gleason has been working with Damian for a while now, and his familiarity with the character really shows here. Robin comes across as appropriately smug and bratty, but still lovable. The writing does have a bad tendency to repeat exposition as if the reader did not pick up on it the first time, but if you can overlook some clunky parts, than this is a fine first issue.
We Are Robin
Writer: Lee Bermejo Artist: Jorge Corona
I am a sucker for stories where people are inspired to do good by superheroes, so a book about people who were saved by Batman coming together to fight crime after his death feels tailor-made for me. The first issue shows the impact that the Endgame Joker attack had on the average citizen, and focuses in on newest of the Robins. It can feel like Gotham is a little overstuffed with books right now, but even if you’re feeling the Batman burnout, you should still check this out.
Article by contributor Michael Dunphy.