There has always been a different “feel” between Marvel & DC comics to me. Somewhat hard to put your finger on, but Marvel was grittier & more down to earth. Heroes were more human and had human flaws/foibles. DC was nobler with their heroes a bit more larger than life and representing a more ideal state that could be aspired to.
This difference has blurred over the last few years, definitely since the New52. I certainly don’t think DC represents a more noble ideal any more. Maybe losing to Marvel in sales for so long caused them to shift their focus.
I’m not sure about other people, but for my own part, I’ve moved from following characters to following creators. I won’t blindly buy every issue of Batman (for instance), only those that I’m actually enjoying. This has been assisted by the fairly regular reboots & renumbering of series. It has helped my “inner collector”. I don’t have the need to have every issue of a series that I’ve been getting for 500+ issues. I have a complete set of that series, they ended it. I have no similar collection to the series that started over with a new #1 some time in the past year or 2.
Where I preferred Marvel to DC for many many years this has been reversing itself slowly since the New52 to the point where I was originally considering titling this Blog entry with something along the line of “Bob takes a break from DC”, but after catching up on my reading I realized there are still a couple of New52 books that I’m enjoying.
I went through my fairly large “to read” pile this weekend and caught up on ALL my outstanding DC books. I have ZERO unread right now (until my DCBS box comes Tuesday). I had multiple issues stacked up in some cases. I also had a bunch of comics that I had stopped buying as new issues but that I have managed to pick up for $1 an issue on-line. There seems to be no shortage of New52 bucks available for $1 each on the back issue market.
I’m going to evaluate my current DC reading and talk about trimming my DC pre-ordering habits. Please note that I am leaving Vertigo out of this conversation, after I finished this up, I realized I’m getting more Vertigo books than New52 books.
Comics I really enjoyed:
- Constantine – Unfortunately this is getting sucked into the “Trinity War” crossover with a bunch of books I am not enjoying. This means I’m dropping this even though I like it as a standalone quite a bit. Maybe I’ll gravitate back to it after the crossover.
- Detective Comics – John Layman is doing an EXCELLENT job writing this. My absolute favorite Batman book right now.
- Earth 2 Annual – I thoroughly enjoyed this comic I picked up for $1. I’ve not been collecting this series but will now be going back & picking up issues I skipped. Unfortunately, writer James Robinson has stated he is “done with DC” so this one will likely not be on my “to read” after he leave.
- Superman Unchained – This issue had some flaws: a needless 4-page fold-out & too high cover price ($4.99) but the best Superman book currently on the stands, IMO
- Sword of Sorcery – I really enjoyed the Amethyst stories, the backups left me cold. This series was cancelled, so the decision to drop this was made for me.
- World’s Finest – I’ve loved this since the 1st issue, my favorite DC book bar none.
That leaves me with only 3 New52 books for my pull list moving out into the future (taking into account that Constantine got dropped for the crossover, Earth 2 will be losing Robinson, and Sword of Sorcery is cancelled).
Comics that were OK, but not anything I was extremely excited about:
- Batman – A lot of people are really loving Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo’s take on Batman, it’s been OK, but I’ve not been much of a fan of “face ripped off Joker” and the Court of Owls. I have a subscription to this that I got on-line for $1 an issue, so I’ll be sticking with this for a while, but I would not be if I had to pay $3.99 an issue. Year Zero may turn me around on this title.
- Batman & ??? – Since the death of Damian we’ve gotten guest shots by Red Robin, Red Hood, and Batgirl. When the new Robin is chosen, this may get interesting. I’d really be on board if Batman took on the girl that has been helping him in the pages of Snyder’s Batman, Harper Row, who is probably my favorite new character at DC in the past few years.
- Batman, Incorporated – This is OK, but it’s ending soon (or at least Grant Morrison will be done with his story). I see no need to stick around on this after Morrison leaves.
- Demon Knights – I loved this at first, then it lost some steam. It got a bit of a revitalization when Robert Venditti came on as writer, but the Cain/vampire storyline was not ringing my bell and this is cancelled anyway.
- Justice League – DC’s big guns but the stories have felt fairly mediocre to me. I’m liking the Atom & Firestorm in this more than the big guys. Another title getting dragged into “Trinity War”.
- Justice League Dark – Some stories resonate with me more than others. Another “Trinity War” casualty for me.
- Talon – I liked this character more than the Court of Owls from which he was spawned, but I think it’s more of a “mini series” kind of like than ongoing series. I’ve had enough of Calvin’s story at this point.
Stuff that I did not particularly care for:
All these thoughts & feeling are highly subjective, YMMV. Just based on where I’m personally coming from and what I think “feels right” for a character, or at least what I want to read about.
- Action Comics – This lost me after about the 1st year. I had a subscription toi this for $1 an issue and will be letting that lapse.
- Aquaman – Throne of Atlantis crossover pretty much soured me on this title.
- Batgirl – Batgirl hunted as a criminal? No thanks.
- Batman: The Dark Knight – One too many Batman titles. I picked up a few issues for the Ethan Van Sciver art, but the story by Hurwitz was not really resonating with me.
- Batwoman – I think JH Williams III is one of the greatest artists/designers of the past 10o years. As a writer? Not so much.
- Batman/Superman – meh.
- Flash – I loved the first few issues, but it lost me somewhere in the 1st year. I pick up an issue every now & again from the $1 bin and just can’t get into it for some reason.
- Green Arrow – Not a fan of “TV style” Green Arrow in comics, not even when written by Jeff Lemire.
- Green Lantern – Geoff Johns wrapped up his run with mixed emotions from me. The last couple of story arcs fell flat for me but Johns wrapped his run up with a bow showing how Hal, John, Guy, and Kyle would end up in the future. I’m good, I can stop here (issue #20). I read #21 to give it a chance and Venditti did nothing for me (Hal & Carol having a spat really put me off). I’m done with this entire franchise for a few years. I’m sure I’ll be back one day.
- Green Lantern Corps – Weak.
- Green Lantern New Guardians – Weaker.
- Red Lanterns – Weakest.
- Green Team – I loved the 1st issue but they totally lost me on #2.
- Justice League of America – Second stringers.
- Justice League of America’s Vibe – Starting the title with “Justice League of America” does not remove the fact that this comic is about…..Vibe.
- Katana – Not resonating with me.
- Larfleeze – Yours. Yours. Yours. (Don’t want this in MY collection).
- Legion of Super-Heroes – One of my least favorite takes on the LSH of all time. I believe this is cancelled. Maybe the next go-round with these guys will be more to my liking.
- The Movement – Does not move me.
- Phantom Stranger – Keep him more mysterious. I cannot get beyond his secret identity as a suburban Dad who has a wife & kid who plays soccer. Not for me.
- Superboy – Not liking this take of Superboy at all.
- Supergirl – Not liking this take of Supergirl at all.
- Superman – Can’t get into this. Superman Unchained concentrates on the Super, this has more of the man, and the New52 backstory for Clark Kent is really not my cup of tea.
- Swamp Thing – Gave this another chance after the overly long Rotworld crossover, but this really is doing nothing for me.
- Threshold – Nope.
- Wonder Woman – I recognize the quality here, but this take on Wonder Woman is really not grabbing me. I can understand why people are loving it, but it’s not for me.
So, there you have it. I read through 39 different titles, probably 120 total comics. I really enjoyed about 10% of the total issues read and there are 4 that will have an actual spot on my ongoing pull list, maybe 5 depending on where they go with Batman & Robin.
Next up: Marvel NOW!
Bob Bretall: firstname.lastname@example.org
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