In case you are unaware with the current state of both DC Comics and Marvel Comics right now, both have undergone a sort of “relaunch” phase with DC YOU and “All-New All Different” respectively. While neither were completely reboots of their respective universes, both did bring about some significant changes to the companies. I’m sure you can find a ton of articles about whether or not these initiatives were successful or not, but that’s not the purpose of this article. The purpose of this article is to celebrate the new books and new directions that have come out from both companies. Change is a big thing in comics and it’s not always accepted easily by fans for understandable reasons. So here we’ll break it up into two sections, one to talk about the better DC books that I’ve enjoyed and another for Marvel to make it easier. Now, these are books that I’ve enjoyed from these two relaunches and you are more than welcome to agree or disagree. In fact I encourage you to let us know which titles you enjoyed. So to start us off, we’ll get going with the DC You relaunch by DC Comics.
DC YOU- DC Comics
In April of 2015, DC Comics launched their new event “Convergence” that replaced all current titles with tie-ins while the company relocated from New York to Burbank. In the aftermath of the event, the new initiative “DC You” was born. It was a movement to emphasize that there would be a book for every reader. It emphasized a more diverse line up of books and creators, and really gave lesser known heroes time to shine. DC You also saw a change in the main Justice League books, giving the characters different costumes while also putting them through dramatic changes in their solo books. Bruce Wayne was replaced by Jim Gordon as Batman, Superman had lost his powers and his identity was exposed by Lois Lane, and Aquaman was hunted by Atlantis and Mera. It all sounded great in concept but did it take with fans? The sad truth is that it didn’t do as well as DC Comics had hoped and many of the more popular books suffered from lackluster storytelling, while the arguably better books like Midnighter, Martian Manhunter, and Omega Men failed to attract many readers. Unfortunately, it’s led to Marvel dominating the sales since June, and it’s led to DC Comics new initiative “Rebirth” set to drop in the summer. Geoff Johns recently talked about Rebirth about a week ago or so, letting readers know that it is not a reboot, nor would it be shaped to look like the film or television properties. The emphasis is on legacy and getting back to the core of the beloved characters. It all sounds fantastic to a big DC Comics fan like myself, and I’m anxious to hear about the new creative teams next month. So, we’ve kind of hit the painful points here but let’s talk about the DC You books that were genuine hits, at least for me. Again, I’d love to hear what you think as well.
BATMAN- Scott Snyder/ Greg Capullo
In my opinion, Batman was the only “Justice Leaguer” solo book to really remain consistently good through the DC You revamp. At the end of “Endgame” we saw Batman and Joker fight to the death in the caverns beneath Gotham. Spoilers here for anyone who didn’t read the story arc: Bruce Wayne did indeed die from the fight but his brain had been reformed by the dionesium pits underneath Gotham. But the recovery came with a price. He had forgotten everything about his past life: His life as Batman, the death of his parents, Alfred, etc. In his place Jim Gordon took up the mantle of Batman in his very own “Robo-Batman” suit as he tackled a new and terrifying villain called Mr. Bloom. It was very interesting to see a Bruce Wayne we’ve never seen before. He was free of the torment he experienced as Batman, he fell in love with Julie Madison, and seemed to live a perfect life. It was a big change but a very refreshing one. Snyder and Capullo definitely continued to go all out with a new and crazy story arc that will be remembered for years to come.
CATWOMAN- Frank Tieri/ Inaki Miranda
Selina Kyle had one of the most refreshing takes on the character in years with Genevieve Valentine. Selina had taken her role as the kingpin of Gotham and her story dealt with her fight with Black Mask and the gang war in Gotham following Carmine Falcone’s departure. It was a breath of fresh air and a beautiful run. Recently however, Selina abandoned that life to return to her ways as Catwoman, leaving Gotham City behind her to move to New York. While many would be quick to call this run generic, it has been a heck of a ride since Tieri and Miranda took over. I don’t think I’ve seen a more gorgeous looking book, and the way Tieri writes Selina is perfect. If you like a good thriller filled with intrigue and betrayal, or if you just want to see Selina return to her role as Catwoman, this book is for you. I loved Valentine’s run as a mob boss, but I was ready to see Selina return as the leather clad anti-hero. So far, this book has been one of my favorites.
STARFIRE- Jimmy Palmiotti/Amanda Connor/ Emanuela Luppachino
For the first time ever, Starfire gets her own series by the creative team behind the Harley Quinn series. I was a bit skeptical of the book at first because of my distaste for the Harley Quinn book, but luckily the book turned out to be a delight. It was very different from your typical superhero book by relying more on fantastic character interactions rather than in-your-face action. It was easily one of the most fun books I was reading. Having said that, I did find myself a little disappointed with how Kori was portrayed at times. I’ve always been a big fan of the Teen Titans and Titans series and especially how Starfire was a part of those teams. She was smart, loving, and a great leader. In this run however, I felt like she was portrayed as being so naïve (which I’ll admit was very cute at first) that it made her seem stupid. If you are looking for a light-hearted, fun read, then look no further and try Starfire before the series ends before Rebirth.
MIDNIGHTER- Steve Orlando/ ACO
I had always known about the character of Midnighter but I never read anything with him, so I was eager to see why it was gaining such praise from those who read the book. Almost immediately, I could see why it was so popular. Imagine a more brutal Batman, who could adapt to any fighting style. He has a computer in his brain that tells him exactly how to take down a threat. It’s a series I fell in love with almost immediately by its breath-taking art and fantastic story and action. The defining fact about the series is that it features a LGBT lead, and I commend DC Comics and making that decision. It pains me to think we won’t have both a Midnighter and Batwoman series on the shelf at the same time together anywhere in the near future. Hopefully with Rebirth we can see both series eventually come back out again. Unfortunately, this book hasn’t sold very well and isn’t making it into Rebirth. Now’s a good time to try out this series before it ends. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
JUSTICE LEAGUE- Geoff Johns/ Jason Fabok
The highly anticipated Darkseid War story event finally kicked off with DC You, and boy has it been one heck of a ride so far. It’s a story arc that has been built up ever since Justice League: Origins, where Darkseid returns to Earth to face those who beat him before. But is he there for the Justice League? Oh no, he’s there to fight the Anti-Monitor! What could be more epic than seeing two of the most destructive forces in the DC Universes slugging it out? We also see many of the Justice League members gain new powers such as Batman “God of Knowledge” Shazam “God of Gods” and Green Lantern “God of Light.” It’s been a fantastic series so far and enjoy it while you can because next month is the last month both Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok are on the book before moving onto new projects.
DC You also saw the inclusion of new miniseries that spun out of Convergence. The point of Convergence was to restore the DC Multiverse especially the fan favorite Pre-Flashpoint era. The arguably most popular miniseries is Superman: Lois and Clark which focuses on Pre-Flashpoint Superman and Lois Lane as they learn to live in the same world as the current Superman. Hiding under different names, they live normal lives with their son Kon. Other books include Titans Hunt, Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death, and Swamp Thing. All of these have been great series so far, but unfortunately haven’t been selling as well as DC Comics hoped, which is a real shame. These books are better than most of the ongoing books in my opinion.
ALL-NEW ALL DIFFERENT MARVEL
This past summer, Marvel began one of their biggest events ever: Secret Wars. While the main event started off really strong, it may have overstayed its welcome, especially with the various delays and the All-New All Different Marvel series beginning even before Secret Wars had ended. Many readers, including myself, felt like Secret Wars became kind of pointless towards the end, especially since we had a pretty clear idea of what the new Marvel universe looked like. For myself, I thought a lot of things were going to be changed and I was bracing myself for it but ultimately…not much looks that different. This was both a relief to me and a disappointment. After so much build up and so much teasing, this universe looks a lot like the one we saw pre-Secret Wars only minus the Ultimate Universe. When I first found out which series they would be releasing with ANAD Marvel, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be reading much but ended up reading more than I did before Secret Wars! Granted, I don’t read any Avenger books anymore but there were a lot of great changes Marvel brought in with ANAD Marvel that we’ll go over. So, let’s take a look at some great series that were released with “All-New All Different Marvel.”
ALL-NEW WOLVERINE- Tom Taylor/ David Lopez
The big question many Marvel and X-Men fans asked with Secret Wars was “will this bring back Wolverine?” Well…yes and no. Technically there still is a Wolverine (Old Man Logan) but the main, younger Wolverine many are accustomed too is still dead, and it doesn’t look like he’s coming back anytime soon. So who is there to fill in his shoes? His clone X-23/Laura Kinney. Now, I’ve seen a lot of complaining about it already and it does follow the female counterpart replacing male hero, routine Marvel has been doing recently but I’ve got to say…I’m LOVING Laura Kinney as Wolverine. Laura’s struggle with trying to live up to his legacy has been fun to see and it’s hard to not love her. She’s fun, she’s snarky, but ultimately she’s determined. Not only to stand up to the task but to prove that she’s her own Wolverine, she’s not Logan. All New Wolverine, both the title and character, has been the best thing to come from All New All Different Marvel for me, and I know hardcore X-Men fans might hate me, but I want to see Laura stay as Wolverine for a long time. I’m honestly fine with not seeing Logan back for the foreseeable future.
DAREDEVIL- Charles Soule/ Ron Garney
It’s hard to follow such an iconic run as Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s run on Daredevil. But that team will be moving onto Black Widow starting up next week, and Marvel brought on the team of prolific writer Charles Soule and artist Ron Garney. Matt Murdock has a new black suit and is back in New York City after his time in San Francisco with Waid and Samnee. It’s a great return to the grittier take on the character like we saw with Frank Miller and Brian Michael Bendis. It’s hard not to notice some of the similarities to the newly introduced MCU-Daredevil and we’ll even be getting a Daredevil/Punisher book coming this spring, as well as Elektra returning to Matt’s life.
SPIDER-MAN- Brian Michael Bendis/ Sara Pichelli
The Ultimate Universe is gone but not all of the characters from it perished. Fan favorite, Miles Morales, takes over the flagship Spider-Man book as he makes his mark on the new Marvel universe. I’m ecstatic to see Miles becoming a bigger character in the Marvel universe and giving him the flagship Spider-Man book was a smart move by Marvel. I’ll admit that I’m very new to the character, so I was eager to jump onto this book and see what makes him such a fan favorite character. The first issue was a great starting issue and I’m looking forward to see more of this web-slinger. I haven’t been able to like a Peter Parker book in a long time so maybe I’ve found a new Spider-Man book with Miles Morales.
ALL-NEW X-MEN- Dennis Hopeless/ Mark Bagley
With all of the new books Marvel released as a part of All New All Different Marvel, the X-Men books have been my favorite. I’m rather new to the X-Men books and with all the books going back to new #1’s I found it to be a perfect time to jump on the titles. So far, I’ve been loving the teams and the titles on these X-Men books. I’ll even through in Cullen Bunn’s Uncanny X-Men, another title I’m really liking. All-New X-Men sees the younger versions of Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, Wolverine (Laura Kinney), and Angel. One of my favorite parts of this book is how well Hopeless writes these teenagers and their interactions with one another. Scott Summers’ struggle with dealing with people’s perception of him (his older self) is another plot point that is very intriguing. Ultimately, it’s a very fun adventure with great characters and character moments. All-New X-Men is my favorite X-Men book out right now so I’d highly recommend this series for anyone interested in trying a Marvel book.
UNCANNY INHUMANS- Charles Soule/Steve McNiven
Over the last few years, Marvel has really been giving the Inhumans a push to become better known. While many fans, especially X-Men fans, have seen the Inhumans as the new replacement for the X-Men, considering the infamous Marvel/Fox rivalry. With All New All Different Marvel, Marvel has put out a few Inhuman books with Uncanny Inhumans being the flagship title of the Inhuman books. This series deals more with the Royal Family (Black Bolt, Medusa, Triton, etc.) rather than the Nuhumans we saw featured in Charles Soule’s previous run Inhuman. The series has both beautiful art and great storytelling. It’s a good starting spot for new readers as well, and while I’m not a fan of the Medusa/Johnny Storm pairing at all, the book is a very good read so far. For those who have wanted to see what the Inhumans are all about, I suggest picking up this series. Though, I would suggest picking up All-New Inhumans as well as some of the plot points carry over.
Both Marvel and DC Comics had some fantastic series to come out with their latest initiatives so I would highly recommend you to try them out. I know with DC Comics, it’s easy to say “Oh well I’ll just wait until Rebirth.” While it makes sense, I think you’d be missing out on some great series right now. Like I said, there are treasures to be found with both companies and I highly recommend checking some books out. Let me know what series you enjoy or are looking forward to!