Thanks to DC Comics' recent "Rebirth" initiative, I've been reading a bunch of comics lately. I'm not sure if I'd say I'm back in the fold, but I'm definitely enjoying what a lot of these stories are doing and plan to stick with some of them for the foreseeable future.
For those that don't know, Rebirth was a one-shot that came out in May. It'd take a second, larger post just to sum up the story and significance of that issue, but basically the two key points are: 1) It's an apology for the New 52 initiative that strives to reincorporate the character traits that people love most, and 2) The Watchmen are involved somehow (specifically Dr. Manhattan). That right there was enough to get me to pick up that one issue.
A slew of "Rebirth" one-shots followed--Batman Rebirth, Wonder Woman Rebirth, Flash Rebirth, etc.--which were meant to allow every series to start fresh from #1. Thanks to DCBService.com , I've been able to mostly keep up with every issue without breaking the bank. While I have been disappointed that few of the books even mentioned what happened in the original Rebirth one-shot, I have been blown away by the stories and writing in a large number of these books. Seriously, I used to be a Marvel guy (except for Batman), but now I keep renewing my pull list each month and it's full of DC titles.
If any of my friends are reading this that have a vague interest in comics, I highly suggest tracking down the Rebirth one-shot (Comixology or one of the many reprints) and catching up on some of these back issues. There's still time to get in on the ground floor of some fun, engaging reading.
Not all of them have been awesome. For example, Green Lanterns and Harley Quinn are garbage. Batgirl and Aquaman have been dull. But they've been the exceptions in an otherwise compelling variety of books.
Here are the books I especially enjoy:
Holy hell, is this series great. The odd numbered issues take place in the present, while the evens take place in the past. In the past, we get an awesome origin story with a lot of "what’s going to happen next?" moments. In present day, we see Wonder Woman kicking ass while coping with the cognitive dissonance of the realization that she has two sets of memories. She's rather angry that some force messed with her life and she’s going to find that person/thing and make them pay. I have to think this will lead her to Dr. Manhattan at some point, and that's just going to be cool to see.
Superman, Action Comics
Listed these together because they both follow the 1990's era Superman, Lois (Lane) Kent, and Jon Kent as a family coming to terms with living on our Earth after the "New 52" Superman is killed. Basically, you get a solid boy and his dad tale mixed with larger-than-life battles against the Eradicator and Doomsday. Plus, Lex Luthor appears to be a good guy with a Superman-inspired Iron Man style suit. There are other "Superman family" books going, such as Supergirl and Superwoman, but they pale in comparison to what's going on with the main Superman character.
Detective Comics, Batman, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws
DC has an entire sub-line called the "Batman Family" of books, that informally includes the four listed above, along with the Batgirl titles. I think these are the best of the bunch. Each gives a different insight into Bruce Wayne/Batman as a character, while also showcasing some awesome B-List cast members. In Detective, Robin is training a whole team that appears to be primed to tackle the threat mentioned in the Rebirth one-shot. Batman follows Bruce as he solves crimes and interacts with a few new "superheroes" in Gotham City. Nightwing sees Dick Grayson return to his post-Robin role in style with a Jason Bourne style espionage plot. And Red Hood's book is just awesome for providing a look into the darker side of what a flawed hero looks like.
The Flash, Titans
Barry Allen in one book, Wally West (the original) in the other. Double the Flash! Both of these books constantly call-back to the Rebirth one shot, particularly Titans which goes to lengths to remind us that there is a force out there trying to make Wally West disappear and cause the world's heroes to forget the last decade. Both books are still in a build-up phase. The Flash introduces a slew of new speedster characters. Titans is putting together a new hero team. But what they lack in "getting to the point," they make up for in good writing and a fun time issue to issue.
This book doesn’t even care that there's a larger storyline going on, and I'm OK with that. I wasn't expecting much from a story involving human trafficking, but the portrayal of Oliver Queen as a do-gooder stuck in the midst of a bunch of badass women has proven to be compelling as all hell. The artwork has also been ridiculously good. I'd rate the artwork on most of these titles as good to great, but Juan Ferreya is really killing it in Green Arrow. Every few pages I'm floored by something that could be blown up and made into a gallery piece.
Now that I have sampled the majority of reborn DC books, I am beginning to pare down my pull list. There are still some new series coming out in the next few months, but I am pretty much sticking with the ones I listed above—with the additions of Aquaman and Justice League just because those are big brand books and I don't want to risk missing an arc-wide happening.
For someone that doesn't care about Rebirth at all but would like to enjoy some periodically awesome comic book reading, I'd suggest getting caught up with Wonder Woman and Green Arrow, and then strapping in for an awesome ride with those two.
And I'd definitely recommend dcbservice.com for ordering if you don't mind placing orders months in advance. Retail is $2.99 per issue. DCB has them for $1.79 (or less if you do bundles). The 10 titles I noted above would cost you $48 per month at retail since some are twice-monthly. At DCBS, that's $35 with shipping included. The divide is even greater when you consider you'll pay tax on the local outlay.
I know at some point I'll jump back off the train, but for the time being, I guess I'm a comic book geek again. And, oddly enough, I'm reading DC.