Last month, I took a lot at the top ten characters of DC Relaunch. With two months of Relaunch in the bag, I decided this month to give my thoughts on the top ten books of Relaunch.
Before I start, a quick disclaimer. A lot of relaunch books I have only read one issue of so far. I am a digital reader on a budget, and in a lot of cases I am waiting a month for the price drop.
There are several titles like Static Shock, Catwoman, Birds of Prey, All Star Western, and Batwing that might have been on this list, but I didn’t think it was fair to judge them with only one issue. And, Detective Comics, Stormwatch and Green Arrow just missed this list. I enjoy all of those books quite a bit. All right, enough qualifications. On with the list!
10. Legion Lost
Quite often, I read a lot of comics that I am surprised to see how different my opinion is from the general public. I have seen so few people have anything positive to say about Legion Lost, and it bewilders me. This book has been called confusing and boring, and I disagree entirely. I think this has been a terrific Legion book.
The story seems straight forward to me. Guy from the future is pissed about his sister being killed, and decides to punish humanity by infecting them with a disease in the early 20th Century. A small team of Legion members comes back to stop him, fails, and is now doing everything they can to stop the infection.
Sure, it’s not quite Thanos or Batman level planning by the villain. but it sets up a compelling story with a lot of potential twists and turns. Granted, I’ve been a Niceiza fan for years, but I really think this book has gotten a bad rap that it doesn’t deserve.
While I did think there was a bit of a fall off from the first to second issue (way too many pages devoted to the Trench looking creepy), I still love what Johns and Reis have been doing with Aquaman. They have managed to make Aquaman into a fun character again, without resorting to making him a joke. It’s also nice to see that Aquaman has moved away from all the angst writers have piled on him over the last several years.
I really hope that the new Aqualad shows up in some capacity. I know he’s far different from the version from the Young Justice cartoon, but I still very curious about the character.
This actually is the only book on the list I have only read one issue of. I was surprised to see it on my list too, especially over Stormwatch, but every time I tried to reconsider this list, Nightwing found its way right back on. Kyle Higgins really seems to have a handle on how to tell a great Nightwing story. It never felt like Batman Light, and at the same time, it seemed to respect that Dick Grayson had recently served as Batman. The Haley Circus story really has some potential to tell the type of Dick Grayson story I’ve always wanted to read.
7. Justice League
While Justice League is great as a flagship title for DC Relaunch, it isn’t even in my top five. I still enjoy the book quite a bit, but the slow pacing really makes me want to see it move more. Two issues in, and we only have four Justice Leaguers on board. It just seems like dragging the story out. I can’t help but think of how Grant Morrison set up his Big Seven JLA in one issue. I also think that this book would be the ideal place to show how different this Relaunch reality is, but we’ve only seen bits and pieces.
Wow, I really didn’t mean to sound like I was criticizing Justice League. I do actually enjoy this book a lot. Geoff Johns really has the characterizations perfect (I especially liked Barry and Hal in issue 2), and Jim Lee’s art looks terrific here.
6. Teen Titans
Lobdell has been just brilliant on Teen Titans. It should be a hard sell for me. Robin, Superboy, Impulse, and Wonder Girl were among my favorite DC characters (especially back in Young Justice). Even if some of these characters have been drastically changed here, it still makes for a very good teen hero book.
Each character has a very distinctive feel, and I think Lobdell has shown exactly how these characters have changed in Relaunch. I’ve really enjoyed watching this team come together, and Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. is setting itself up to be a really cool threat.
I made this comment in my Mini-Reviews column last week and it deserves to be repeated. As much as I like Detective Comics, Batman has been a million times better. Scott Snyder really has taken every aspect that a good Batman book should have, and puts them together to tell some amazing stories. I especially loved the interactions with Dick Grayson throughout the first two issues.
I also love his perspective of what Gotham City means to the characters. It reminds me of how James Robinson made Opal City into a “character” in Starman.
4. Animal Man
Animal Man is just an awesome book. Completely creepy and not at all what I was expecting. Each issue so far has amped things way up to the next level, and I can’t wait to see where this series goes from here.
On top of everything else, Maxine Baker is by far my favorite new character to come out of Relaunch. If I learned anything from my years of reading Stephen King, kids are really scary, and Maxine might just be the scariest kid I’ve ever seen, without even trying.
Travel Foreman’s art really makes this book stand out. Take the most horrific images from your worst nightmare, and Foreman brings them to life on the page.
George Perez has always been one of my favorite artists, and it’s great to see that his writing is just as sharp. In two issues of Superman, Perez has really made me rethink a lot of what I always thought about Superman. He’s even managed to create some really cool new villains for Superman to deal with. We’ve really seen Superman pushed to his limits in these two issues.
I also love how “alien” this version of Superman seems. Morrison has done a good job with that in Action as well, but I really think Superman works all in all much better.
My biggest gripe here is that Perez won’t be on Superman all that long, but with Jurgens and Giffen coming on this book next, it’s really hard to complain. Superman should be in good hands for the foreseeable future.
2. Green Lantern: The New Guardians
I have really loved Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps the last few years. In a lot of ways, it really is what got me back into reading DC comics again. While Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps have continued to be very good during relaunch, I am not quite sure they have stepped up their game as much as the rest of the DC Universe.
New Guardians, on the other hand, has really taken full advantage of Relaunch. We’ve already seen some great status quo changes for Kyle and a hell of an action packed first two issues. More than any other book, I feel an incredible sense of urgency in New Guardians. Everything is happening fast and big, and it makes for a real fun comic read.
1. Demon Knights
From the first issue, I have been completed hooked. The characterizations on this book are just great. I never thought I could like Vandal Savage this much! Same with Xanadu, a character I just never cared one way or the other about. Etrigan and Jason Blood are also really well done in this book, even if they don’t rhyme. And it’s got Mordru in it!! For a Legion fan, that is always a selling point.
I have heard some people say the pacing on Demon Knights is a little slow, but I think it’s actually just right for this kind of quest book. Paul Cornell and Diogenes Neves are really creating some brilliant comics here, and if you don’t read Demon Knights you are definitely missing out on the best book of DC Relaunch.
Tags: Animal Man, Aquaman, Batman, DC Comics Relaunch, Demon Knights, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Justice League, Legion Lost, Nightwing, Superman, Teen Titans