With the second batch of #2 releases of the DC Relaunch underway today, here are our staff picks for the top 3 titles of the New 52!
Andy Liegl (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1) Animal Man From the beginning I knew this book would be the cream of the crop, and after 2 issues, it most certainly is. The story is well developed, the dialog plays very real, and the art warps the mind. Just great stuff. I love the father/daughter team-up element taking place, and Jeff Lemire’s style gives everything life. Most of the “Vertigo-esque” titles have been my favorite of the relaunch, but Animal Man is the most unique out of them all, and the artwork puts it all together, visually.
2) Swamp Thing I wasn’t hooked until completing #2, and it’s obvious that Scott Snyder is in this for the long haul, and I like that. Don’t expect everything to get resolved in 6-12 issues, as Snyder is adding new layers to the mythos of The Green and the saga of the Swamp Thing. I’m hoping for an Animal Man/Swamp Thing crossover at some point, since The Red and The Green seem linked to each other. It only makes sense. Regardless, I’m fully invested in Snyder’s story and Yanick Paquette’s layouts are akin to what J.H. Williams is doing in Batwoman.
3) Aquaman We’re only 1 issue in, but that’s enough to see that Geoff Johns is working his magic with one of the most laughable characters in comics. He’s giving Aquaman an edge that’s necessary to make the character work, but he still drops in some humor that’s not detrimental to the story… or Aquaman’s ego. It’s an amusing balance that John’s has found, and I think he’s going to take Aquaman to new levels of awesome with his run, giving the character the reboot he’s desperately needed. Also, I think I’ve always been a closet Aquaman fan.
Honorable Mention: Batwing Going in to the relaunch, I thought this book would be in my bottom 3. I mean, come on- it’s Batwing. However, after the first two issues, this book is in my top 10. Judd Winick is playing to his environment too (Africa), as Batwing is one of the more brutal and gory books of the New 52.
Stay Away: Men of War is just terrible. Playing it safe does not work in a war comic.
Decapitated Dan (email@example.com)
1) Animal Man When the original Animal Man run was taken over by Jamie Delano and Steve Pugh, it entered into weird country. The stories got darker, the tone shifted, and it became an amazing run. With Jeff Lemire taking the helm on the book I was praying it would stick to that formula and stay away from the Morrison hero run. It did. This book is easily the best of the bunch.
2) I, Vampire I had no hopes or expectations for this book. I almost passed on it to be honest. But since it was a new #1 and horror, I checked it out and I am glad I did. Fialkov crafted a fantastic story that has me hooked. The nail in the coffin though was Sorrentino’s artwork, which easily stole the show.
3) Justice League Dark I am kind of on the fence here on JLD, because I like this cast as individuals. The way they become a team and how they all interact is something that still has to be seen. Loved the art, good intro story, but it needs to get to it in issue #2.
Honorable Mention: Swamp Thing It was okay. I’m not big on Swamp Thing, never have been. Matter of fact if it wasn’t for the monster in the issue I could have passed on it. But I do want to see how it plays out I guess. So I will be on for the first arc.
Stay Away From: Demon Knights Plain and simple… I couldn’t get past page #6 before I passed on this one. Boring!
Mike Parente (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1) Blue Beetle From top to bottom, this was a gorgeous book. The teenage angst was kept to a minimum and actually made for a great plot line. Ig Guara really outdoes himself with the art, and Tony Bedard is the man. Dripping with sci-fi, drama and a large back-story it was hard to not love this.
2) Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. One of the “Dark” titles, it was a surprisingly fun read. The heavy blacks really suit the feel of the book, and Father Time’s new “look” is pretty funny. A great looking supporting cast, and this definitely made for a fun read with great potential.
3) Green Lantern Corps Tomasi has always handled the diverse cast of Corps with ease, giving a great voice to each unique personality. Now that Fernando Pasarin is on top of his game, the two (Tomasi & Pasarin) have come to together for what will be some great space stories.
Honorable Mention: Justice League Dark With a team of relatively low status characters, Milligan actually managed to make this an intriguing read. Seeing the more high profile heroes fail where the supernatural can potentially succeed was an interesting twist. Janin’s art was a great compliment to the story.
Stay Away: Deathstroke While the first issue wasn’t terrible, it was uninspiring. Deathstroke is a fantastic character but being the lead in a solo book just didn’t suit him. It is hard to see this book sticking around for the long haul.
Arnab Pradhan (email@example.com)
1) Batman What can I say, this book was awesome. Dick as Joker, the family meeting, the myth of the owls, the cliffhanger. Scott Snyder writes an amazing book, fact, and that is clearly evident here. Greg Capullo’s art is tremendous in this issue.
2) I, Vampire Another book on vampires, you say? Yes. This book was interesting, mysterious, fantastically wonderful. I had to be convinced to read it, but I’m glad that I did. This book takes vampires in a whole new and wonderful direction.
3) Detective Comics This book was great. From the very first scene with naked Joker to the very last, the story was fast paced, hard hitting, and filled with excitement. And how can I not mention just how amazing the art was.
Honorable Mention: Batwoman This spot almost went to Nightwing, it was a close tie. But Batwoman edged out as a result of its beautiful artwork. The story is interesting enough, but the art really sells this book.
Stay Away: Batman and Robin I would never actually advocate staying away from a Batman book, however, this first issue was a train wreck. There was so much wrong with it, that what was right couldn’t be seen. Plus, next to the Batman and Robin #1 from two years ago, this was nothing.
Nick Zamora (firstname.lastname@example.org)
2) Wonder Woman This gets my second spot because Brian Azzarello has made Wonder Woman interesting for the first time. I’ve never been a fan of WW’s solo book, but now I can’t wait for the next issue.
3) The Flash I’m not going to lie, I mainly picked this one up because of Francis Manapul’s artwork, but I found the story to be interesting as well. It gets my third spot because even though Barry Allen is not my Flash of choice, it was still a fun read.
Honorable Mention: Supergirl A great new start for Supergirl. There were some great moments in this book, I can’t wait to see where it goes.
Stay Away: Too soon to say.
Mac Beauvais (email@example.com)
1) Birds of Prey This title had a good balance of the things I wanted out of the reboot. Women kicking ass, interesting characters, compelling plot, and some good intrigue. I’m impatiently awaiting the next issue.
2) Aquaman This title really snuck up on me with how good it is. It manages to acknowledge the idea that the character is a joke to a lot of people, and use it to the story’s advantage. I never thought I would be so excited for an Aquaman comic.
3) The Flash Yet another title I didn’t originally intend to read, but one that’s also stolen my heart. The story is compelling, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how fantastic the art is. A definite must-have for the new 52.
Honorable Mention: Batwoman This book is really astounding in it’s own right. It presents us with a very different sort of lead character and a story full of mystery. The art is also some of the best I’ve ever seen in comics to date.
Stay Away: Red Hood and the Outlaws Admittedly, there are quite a few titles from the reboot I won’t be buying again, but this one takes the cake and then proceeds to put it in a bikini and then infuses it with the memory of a goldfish. I didn’t think I could be so insulted by a comic.
Infinite Speech (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1) I, Vampire From the art to the story I was surprised at how much I liked this first issue. I’m one of the 2 people on the planet who didn’t read Fialkov’s Echoes so I didn’t know what to expect from this. Though I see why he was getting praised for his work on that title since he put forth a very strong opening with this one. There is nothing like being surprised by a book when the expectations were quite low.
2) Batwing As much as I enjoyed the story this was one of the better drawn titles to come out of the relaunch. Having said that, I’m very interested to see where this title is going to go. It has qualities that will help it stay fresh without it becoming a carbon copy of Batman with a black guy in the suit. If handled well this could become one of the stronger surprise titles to come out of this whole thing.
3) Batman: The Dark Knight I’m liking the fact that Bruce Wayne is getting more face time which is probably the set up for something even bigger down the line in this series. It did seem as if Bruce was Batman 24/7 before the relaunch, but here Finch and Jenkins deliver a more realistic take on the dual identity and the fact that Wayne Enterprises is “funding” Batman. A solid start and I’m very much looking forward to seeing where this goes.
Honorable Mention: Red Hood and the Outlaws The Starfire controversy aside, I’m still looking forward to this series. The beginning of the book was fantastic and Rocafort’s artwork is always on point- it begs to be looked at over and over again. There is a story here and Lobdell has been known to tell some good ones, so with that said just give me more content and less T’n’A and I’ll be happy.
Stay Away: Hawk & Dove Do I really need to go into detail about this one?
Faithful readers, what are your top 3 picks of the DC New 52?