Last week, we looked at the best Marvel books on the stands for those wanting to get a jump back into comics post-Iron Man 3. If the trailers for Man of Steel have you tingly in the same way, but you’re more of a DC person…we need to sit down and have a more thorough talk, but there’s still good stuff. It’s just not, as of this moment, Superman….or really most of their super hero line.
Two years ago, DC caused comic fanboys all sorts of nervous disorders by rebooting their entire line. Sort of. Essentially they took their entire line and set it back to #1. This was supposedly going to be a whole new DCU with all new rules, all new costumes, all new creative teams and a whole new direction. It started out promisingly, but the ALL new beginning quickly was abandoned in favor of a COMPLETELY UNDEFINED past. Characters were dramatically de-aged, but narratives weren’t changed to accommodate that shift. For example, Batman still has had four, going on five Robins. References are still being made to things like Superman dying (which happened back in the 1990s) and there seems to be no spine to the universe any more. Behind-the-scenes, rumors of editorial meddling and mandates have led to a steady exodus of veteran writers and artists to the point where the entire super hero line has really only three writers of any quality: Scott Snyder, Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire.
The character that would have most benefitted from the reboot would have been Superman, but now his books are unreadable. I read hundreds of comics a month and you could give them to me to free and I wouldn’t read them. Scott Snyder is launching a new Superman book that will coincide with the launch of Man of Steel, but now of the top 5 books at the company, only two are from the New 52: Batman and Animal Man. Batman is just fantastic. I’m a biased bat-fan, but this is the best continuous run (Snyder wrote Detective Comics before the reboot) by any writer in the 20 years I’ve been reading. Animal Man is a D-List super hero that Lemire has taken and raised into one of the most consistently compelling books on the stands. Fables, American Vampire and The Unwritten all come from DC’s Vertigo line of mature reader books and have been consistently fantastic for years. DC is in trouble, if I’m not being clear, and is being out performed (though not outsold overall) by Image Comics, which we’ll look at next week.