Friday, September 24, 2010

What Comic Books to Read (DC)

Here is the DC edition of my post regarding what comic books to read.  To start off, some of the specific reasons to read DC:

First, DC is full of established characters.  No, I'm not going to say that the characters in the other comic book company (Marvel) are not established but DC's characters are more established.  Little has changed for Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman.  If there has been any, it does not show.  Fans from the past can easily relate to what's in our present now.  What I'm driving at is there's not much catching up to do especially in the aspect of jumping in to the universe of the top characters in DC.  For me, this is one reason why there are (still) a lot of DC Comics fans.

Second, DC uses fictional cities.  While there's a wonder towards using real cities, there is also a creative strategy towards using fictional cities.  For one, the reader doesn't have to get worried that such a city like Gotham really exists.  The DC cities can be as violent or as peaceful as they want to be.  It's up to the story writer.

Third, DC has this manner of explaining everything just because it needs to be explained.  Hal Jordan's hair becoming gray?  There's an explanation to that.  How did the Justice League of America beat the crap out of a newly formed team of super-villains?  There's a complete description of how it happened.  This is not X-Files where you are left hanging.  Somehow, the editors of DC must insist that explanations must be given regarding "trivial" matters.  If this is your thing, DC will provide it for you.

Probably the last reason to put here is the Elseworlds universe of DC.  I don't know if they're still using the Elseworlds wording but I do know that the universes being used in Elseworlds are in the 52 remaining parallel universes.  DC explained (again with the explanation) it in the 52 series.

What to read in DC?  I'm reading only a few right now.  I want to get on started with Brightest Day, Vol. 1 but I still have to read up on Blackest Night.  With that said, I start off with:

1. Green Lantern

If Marvel has Deadpool as a superhero with a cult following, DC has Green Lantern.  Hal Jordan has just recently returned as Green Lantern.  There are now 4 Earth humans wearing the Green Lantern ring.  The best way to start reading on GL is to go with Green Lantern: Rebirth.  After that, you can work your way to Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War, Vol. 1 and Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War, Vol. 2.  Slowly but surely, there's Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns, Green Lantern Corps: Sins of the Star Sapphire, Green Lantern: Agent Orange, until you get into Blackest Night.  You might have noticed that there's a certain pattern as to color and yes, there are other colored rings in the DC universe.  It's fun to read and as I said previously, DC loves to explain things and it's all explained well.  Credit goes to Geoff Johns for getting deep into GL lore.

2. Batman and Robin

No, it's not the movie with the same title.  That Joel Schumacher disaster is way lamer than the comic book.  In Batman and Robin, Vol. 1: Batman Reborn, the new Batman (Dick Grayson) teams up with Bruce Wayne's son, who dons the mantle of Robin (the 4th Robin, if you didn't know).  They are not very good friends actually.  Robin wants to kill Batman and Batman would be happy to just be rid of Robin.  Their adventure is different from the usual Batman stories as Grayson tries to deal with the realization that he is now Batman.

I would want to read the other Batman titles but considering how I got lost over the numbering, I decided to just pick up on a new title.  See the death of Batman in Final Crisis.  Go over what's happening after his death with Batman R.I.P. and Batman: Battle for the Cowl.  And if you're not over exhausted over his death, read the Return of Bruce Wayne.  And yes, everything would be explained.

For the record, Batman is my second favorite character.  And why not?  Here is a character who shouldn't be considered a superhero because he's only human.  He does have a great mind and it's because of his great mind that his limited series comic books are always a good read.  More on that later.

3. Flash

I think I'm stuck to only 3 DC titles.  Flash is the last.  Just like Green Lantern, Flash has undergone sort of a rebirth as the original, Barry Allen, has returned to don the mantle.  Speedsters are always fun to read and it's unfortunate that Marvel has never had a cool speedster aside from Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff).  Flash is currently just starting out so you can just easily pick it up.

Just like what I did with Marvel, I'll put in some titles that are good reads (just in case you don't want to get into the whole universe thing).

1. Batman books (limited series)

There are quite a lot.  Where to start?  Batman: The Long Halloween is a great work by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.  Then, there's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller.  Batman: Hush showcases art by Jim Lee.  The list goes on and on.

2. Identity Crisis

I was blown away by the story of Identity Crisis (DC Comics).  It's got one of the best stories that I've read from DC.  And ever since I encountered the name Brad Meltzer, I've been keeping up with the novels that he's written.

I think these would be the books that I'd recommend out of recent memory.  I'd like to include Watchmen and Kingdom Come but I think I'd include it in another post.

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