The Gold Standard: Top Five Surprise Books Of The DC Comics Relaunch

Expect a lot of lists in the coming weeks from us here at the Nexus as we give our thoughts on the debut of DC’s New 52. Pulse Glazer opened up the floodgates over the weekend, and now it’s my turn.

 

Here’s my top five books that completely surprised me with how much I enjoyed them.

 

5. Mr. Terrific

Eric Wallace writing a book about Michael Holt, in a world that seemingly has no JSA, is not something I wanted to see. I mean, this guy wrote Villains for Hire, and Mr. Terrific hasn’t been cool in years. There was no chance. Hell, this book was going to have Karen Starr who may or may not be Power Girl, instead of just giving us Power Girl. I was ready to hate and hate hard on this book…and then I read it and loved it. Fun characters, entertaining plots, and Wallace sold me on the first arc with just one issue. Just a fun book.

 

4. Catwoman

I knew going in that I’d be checking Catwoman out when I saw the creative team. Judd Winick earned a lot of good will from me with his work on Generation Lost, and I was happy to let him wow me or shoo me away. Now, for all the controversy this book has drawn with the cheesecake art and graphic “Batman and Catwoman totally have sex” depiction, I think a lot of people have skimmed a key detail. That Catwoman is a strong female lead who is more than her sexuality. Sure, sex sells a lot in this issue, but the highlights are the character herself and the things she does. She doesn’t suffer from Starfire syndrome, and in one issue it’s very clear why Selina deserves her own book. Very glad I bought it.

 

3. Justice League Dark

Almost didn’t buy this book, to be honest. But the Dark titles have been surprising me pretty steadily, and Peter Milligan really did wind up doing a good job with Secret Seven by the time it wrapped up. I figured best case scenario I’d wind up with a book I’d really enjoy, and worst case scenario at least it was just three bucks. Red Lanterns, while I enjoyed it, left me a bit cooled on what to expect here, but it only took a few pages here to hook me. Enchantress stuck as June Moone, hundreds of her dieing at once, Shade literally creating someone to love him, Zatanna not being good enough for the Justice League? This book is a group of misfit Vertigo characters who have no right (save for Z) to be on anything resembling a Justice League, and that’s half the fun after one issue. Who knew that the Dark line would be so awesome?

 

2. Animal Man

This is the book that sold the Dark line on me, and it did so after I was almost done getting rung up at my comic shop and it was still on the shelf. A friend of mine behind the counter recommended it, I gave her the benefit of the doubt, and I was completely blown away. I knew to expect some weird goings on, but I honestly was thinking about what Grant Morrison had done all of those years ago with the character and was expecting Jeff Lemire to try and emulate that. I didn’t expect a book with more horror elements dropped into the book by the end of the first issue that I had to remind myself this is a superhero that exists in the world with the rest of them. His daughter can raise dead animals, and this book becomes incredibly creepy and awesome.

 

 

1. The Flash

I expected to hate this book. I don’t like Barry Allen, I’m not big on all the writer-artists that DC is putting on high profile books, and I figured this would be no different than Tony Daniel’s Batman run…mediocre at best. I was planning to start complaining as soon as I read it that it wasn’t Wally, that this was stupid, that a book can’t just look pretty in this day and age. I was prepared for this book to suck for so many reasons that I was completely knocked on my ass when it wound up being one of my favorite books. Barry Allen is more interesting than I thought possible, the loss of the Barry/Iris marriage doesn’t bother me, Patty Spivot doesn’t offend me simply by existing, and the book is GORGEOUS! This was an amazing single issue, and I can’t wait to get the next one. The Flash is must read again for the first time in a long time.

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