So you can expect a mad rush of blogs in the immediate future.
Yeah, thanks to my goal to make this the 300th post, I have kept all my video reviews on tv shows and such on my YouTube page (subscribe there if you'd like to follow).
In any case, thanks to the many, many people who have read my blog over the last 300 posts. With all that said, let's talk DC!
There really was no other subject I feel would be appropriate to cover given this blog's main topic (comic reviews), so today I wanted to focus on DC's three biggest characters: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
These three characters are probably the two most recognizable superheroes and most recognizable superheroine in the business, and that comes from their longevity. Superman celebrated his 75th anniversary in 2013, Batman is celebrating it this year, and Wonder Woman celebrates hers next year.
With these three soon to be in theaters in the same film (if DC in fact gets this film off the ground for 2016) let's see how they are doing in the comic world. I'll go character by character:
This one is easily the longest since books on the fringe on the Bat-verse comprise a colossal portion of DC's New 52.
That said, let's go title by title to see where the Batman universe stands:
Batman - The self-titled series has easily been the most stable of any title in not only the Batman stable, but in the whole DCU. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have been in control since the reboot and have produced three long-term stories to critical acclaim: Court of Owls/City of Owls, Death of the Family and Zero Year. They are currently starting Endgame, which featured the Justice League in its opening issue.
Batman & Robin - This title has been under the supervision of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason for some time now. I gave this title a lot of credit early in its run for working on Bruce's relationship with Damian Wayne, saying that the opening arc and the first Annual issue were incredible. However, after the death of Damian, the title spun its wheels for quite some time. The current arc appears to be setting a new Robin in place, so I'm interested to see what becomes of this book.
Batgirl - Batgirl is in a state of transition at the moment. The title started out trying to re-establish Barbara Gordon as Batgirl while keeping "The Killing Joke" as canon. This led to a lot of emotional stuff in the early arcs, which was then replaced by some of the darkest material in the New 52. I dropped the title around that point, but I know many people who enjoyed the entirety of the run. A new creative team just started, so we'll see how the title shifts.
Catwoman - Ann Nocenti is off the title! After a lot of nonsense that I thankfully only endured during crossovers, the title is being handed off this month. Time will only tell if this finally makes the book good or not. I really can't believe this title is still going.
Red Hood and the Outlaws - I followed this book through Scott Lobdell's first run and thought it was decent. I was not happy with Starfire's initial direction, but they began to right the ship. Sadly, the James Tynion IV run didn't help the book, causing me to drop it and I've yet to regain interest in the book despite Lobdell's return.
Harley Quinn - People freaking love this book and I kind of get it. DC wants to make her their version of Deadpool and she is a much-loved character. I've been ambivalent on her in the New 52, so I really can't comment, having never read any of her title.
Gotham Academy - I really liked this. It focuses on the citizens of Gotham, something that isn't often explored in the books. Once again, I don't know if I'll be fitting this in anywhere, but I like that this book exists and that it appears to be in good hands with its creative team.
Batman Eternal - The weekly series is past the halfway mark and it appears to largely be setting itself up for the big build to the climax, so if you want to get in, it's a good time as long as you're aware that very little is currently happening. Scott Snyder and crew have definitely got a plan in store for the finish, but it's hard to tell what just yet. Either way, I'm looking forward to finding out what it is.
Batman '66 - I'm including the Green Hornet crossover here. I love how we are actually allowed to have some levity in Batman, even if it is a different universe. I really enjoy seeing the Adam West characters back and the title has been really strong this year.
Other Digital Series: Legends of the Dark Knight and Arkham Origins have received widespread acclaim over the last few years. I have too much in-canon stuff to go through to grab these, but I wish both the best.
Some new titles like "Arkham Manor" and "Gotham by Midnight" will be starting soon as well, but I can't really give my thoughts on either besides that they're in parts of the Batman universe that I don't take a lot of interest in. As such, don't expect any reviews of them in the near future.
Overall: Batman remains the cash cow for DC, and not surprisingly. People love what Batman represents and the title has produced more than enough characters to carry their own title. There's something for everyone here, and I'd highly recommend quite a few books here.
Superman - You want a title that has seen confusion in its direction, look no further than the self-titled Supes book. George Perez had taken the book, but kept getting hit with editorial issues (specifically Grant Morrison refusing to say what was canon during his origin story). This led to Dan Jurgens taking over to much critique. He was replaced with Scott Lobdell, whose run added elements that were immensely difficult to add into other titles. Geoff Johns has finally come in to add some stability back to the title, so we'll see how it goes.
Action Comics - Grant Morrison's run to start the title post-reboot received a mixed reception, and the length of it left other writers confused about what they could use or not in their own titles. He definitely left the Super-verse in confusion. Tony Daniel took over briefly but decided to leave, allowing Greg Pak to join the title. He's received much acclaim and I've certainly enjoyed his work.
Supergirl - I enjoyed the initial Mike Johnson/Mike Green run, but the events of H'el on Earth left the title in a state of disarray. (Thanks Lobdell!) She became a Red Lantern and now has to deal with Superman: Doomed aftermath. It's like editorial mandates are the sworn enemy of this title.
Batman/Superman - I'll talk about this title here since Supes has very few titles (and even fewer with Superboy being canceled). I've heard good things. I've heard bad things. Given what little I've seen of the book, it appears to be in good enough hands, but it's not a title with a direction that interests me.
Supeman/Wonder Woman - Supes and Wondy teaming up is consistenly marred by the idiotic decision to make them a couple. It doesn't kill the book, but it does keep breaking up narratives with weak, shoehorned conversations. It's a shame because the title doesn't seem that bad apart from the relationship stuff and the craziness that took place in Superman: Doomed.
Smallville - This is a continuation of the Smallville series. If you liked the show, I assume you'll like the book. I didn't watch it, so I can't say for certain how well it ties in.
Overall: I've often wondered why it seems like the number of great modern Superman stories seems to be more infrequent than Batman. Why are there so many bad Supes runs? I think the reason comes down to the fact that people really like the underdog. They prefer to identify with a character like Batman who is human and has to overcome obstacles because that's how they see themselves.
Superman represents an ideal of what to do when you have the ability to do good, and nowadays people rarely see themselves as being empowered and in control. People are more used to rebelling against authority, not acknowledging that in many cases, they have authority, either over their own lives or others'. Very few writers are able to get into the mindset to write a Superman story and wind up telling either ultra-complex stories or very action-heavy stories.
There are definitely writers who get the character, and great stories come from them. But there really need to be more.
Wonder Woman - The self-titled Wondy book has seen major critical acclaim behind the team of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. Well, not from me. I personally dislike the use of Amazons Attack elements in her origin and the level of violence, but that's just me.
A wife-husband team of Meredith and David Finch will be taking over next month, so we'll see what direction the story goes in.
Sensation Comics - Basically, this is another Legends type of book. It's been really good so far and the talent has produced some great stories. It's not my top book, but I'm glad to be reading it.
Wonder Woman '77 - Lynda Carter's character returns in this revival of yet another classic show. This is starting soon, so I'm hoping it succeeds like Batman '66 has.
Overall: Where is all the Wondy merch?! Hopefully her 75th anniversary will lead to some widespread excitement on the world's greatest superheroine.
Of all of DC's main characters, Wonder Woman is the one who is most under-utilized. Why George Perez or Gail Simone weren't immediately placed on the title during the reboot is beyond me, but these next few years are key for making the character a major pop culture focus.
If done right, I think we may finally see the character making the mad dollars Batman and Superman make.
Thanks for bearing with my rants and maybe I'll talk about how things have gone with regards to my hopes for the characters in my 400th post. Until then!