Skitch’s Top Ten New 52 Characters of DC Comics Relaunch

The Nexus editorial staff reached out to the writers to do a few Top Ten lists to summarize our thoughts about the New 52’s first month. As a digital reader, I am waiting for the price drop next month to read a lot of the titles, but I still wanted to talk about some of my favorite characters so far.

Note: The only books I have read so far are Action Comics, Animal Man, Aquaman, Birds of Prey, Blackhawks, Blue Beetle, Demon Knights, Detective Comics, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Green Lantern: the New Guardians, Justice League, Legion Lost, Legion of Superheroes, Men of War, Mister Terrific, Stormwatch, Superboy, Superman, and Teen Titans. I plan to revisit this list a month from now as I read more issue 1’s, and check out the October issues.

10. Maxine Baker (Animal Man):

Maxine definitely gets the creepy kid vote. Animal Man started out as a pretty non-descript story about the suburban life of a C-List superhero. Very quickly the book turns into a disturbing horror movie, with Animal Man having nightmares about his young daughter killing the entire family. The issue ends with Maxine bringing a bunch of dead animals back to life…all this because her parents wouldn’t buy her a puppy. Stephen King would be proud!

9. Tim Drake (Teen Titans):

I’ve had a soft spot for Tim Drake for years. Much more than Dick or Jason, when Tim was Robin, he always seemed to have so much more going on for him than just being Bruce’s sidekick. DC has expanded this role nicely in Teen Titans as a former hero who still keeps an eye out to help other young heroes in trouble. This is a great role for Tim!

8. Mister Terrific:

How do you take an already good character and make him better? Apperantly, tweak his origin, give him some crazy tattoos, and have him sex up Power Girl. Michael Holt might be the third smartest guy in the DC Universe, but he’s eighth on this list.

7. Green Arrow:

JT Krul has gotten a lot of criticism for his work on Green Arrow, but I actually really have enjoyed this version of Green Arrow. He’s got a little bit “movie Iron Man” to him and a fun supporting cast. These changes were much needed to get Green Arrow back to basics, and to create a great modern version of an old favorite.

6. Starling (Birds of Prey):

Definitely my pick for “Rookie of the Year.” I know so little about this character, but I really liked her anyway.  I wasn’t even sure what her powers were after reading Birds of Prey #1!  Starling seems like a great balance to Dinah and a very fun character.  A great addition to the Birds of Prey roster!

5. Jaime Reyes (Blue Beetle):

While we didn’t get to see much of Jaime in costume, Jaime had a lot of personality and huge potential as a solid teen hero. They did a great job building up his role in the high school dymanic, and I definitely can’t wait to see how his story plays out, especially now that he has control of one of the universe’s most dangerous and evil weapons.

4. Superman:

When I was talking about Relaunch with friends, one of my biggest concerns was about how big a role Superman and Batman seem to have. After all these years, I often wonder is there anything left to say about these characters. But Morrison and Perez did a great job of presenting a new take on Superman here. He’s still heroic, but seems to have a much more alien edge to him. He seems to owe a lot of his characterization to The Doctor (Doctor Who), and this worked perfectly. This made me more excited about Superman than I’ve been in a long time.

3. Aquaman:

It’s funny, Geoff Johns really didn’t seem to tweak Aquaman all that much, but instead, he changed the way the DC universe looked at him, it really helped invigorate the character. This Aquaman is thought of as a joke among the DC public, and this perspective helped us find a really good version of Aquaman. And having Aquaman be much less angsty than he’s been in years is a great change too.

2. Sinestro (Green Lantern):

Over the years, I have been down on Geoff Johns a lot, but since he’s responsible for two of my top three, I really should back down a little. Johns has done great work on Green Lantern the last few years, and he’s done more for Sinestro than any writer in DC history. I love the whole “Why do I need redemption?” angle with this character. I do think eventually this book will end up with Hal as the title character, but for now, I am really enjoying the ride.

1. Demon Knights:

Going to completely cheat here and give the top spot to all the cast of Demon Knights.  Demon Knights was one of the best books of Relaunch, and it was mostly because of the great cast:

– Madame Xanadu – What kind of world are we living in when Xanadu is the star of two of DC’s books.  I haven’t read Justice League Dark yet, but I loved her here.

-Demon/Jason Blood – Two characters have always loved, and Cornell really seems to have a great knack for these characters and how to make them each separate and important to the story.

-Vandal Savage – Who ever would have thought Vandal Savage could be an entertaining, funny character?  This version of Vandal really reminded me of Conan!

– Shining Knight – I loved this character since Seven Soldiers, and it seems like they are giving her a great edge here too.  Really looking forward to seeing more of her.

– Exoristos (The Amazonian?) – A total bitch, but she really jumped off the page!

– Al Jaer – Didn’t get enough page time, but his intro panels really made me curious to see more of him.


Honorary Mention: Mystery Woman? Mystery Women? Mystery League?

I had to throw a quick mention to the mystery woman who’s been popping up in the Relaunch titles. When I started collecting her appearances, I was certain it was just one character, but we’ve seen so many variations, that just doesn’t seem likely. At this point, I’m not even sure she’s always a woman.

Here is her first appearance in Flashpoint:

Here’s her in a white cloak, which really helps play up the Raven look to me.

Here she is flying

And here she is in a button up cloak.

So who is she/they? Operatives of the monitor? Raven? DC’s reset button if New 52 doesn’t work out? No clue, but it definitely is fun to find her and speculate.

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