Ever wanted to read a comic but didn't know where to start? Interested in superheroes, manga, romance, webcomics and more? Look no further! We have all the recommendations you'll ever need.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Best of 2013: DC

This is the last in my Best of 2013 posts,  As such I decided to focus it on my beloved DC Comics  Anyone who listens to the Radio Bamf podcast or who follows me on twitter would be forgiven for thinking that DC's output for 2013 was all utter rot.  This is not the case.  I am susceptible for going off on a tangent and declaring the company's current direction rubbish, but that's not fair to them, as they have put some excellent series.  So let's look at them!
Hopefully you've heard of the Green Lanterns (if not, check out these reviews  specifically Blackest Night, No Fear and Green Lantern/Green Arrow).  The Green Lanterns are one part of a rainbow corps, the others being Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Indigo and Violet.  Larfleeze is the Orange Lantern and where the Greens are powered by Willpower the Oranges are powered by avarice - greed.  This series is about Larfleeze quest to own everything in the universe, his servant and his battles with mythic God like beings - the Tuatha De Dannan, who want his servant.  There's no big reason why they want his servant, they just do, but Larfleeze doesn't give his posessions up easily.

Keith Giffen writes and he brings his sense of humour to the series.  Larfleeze is a dog like creature and his whole predicament is pretty ridiculous.  He is possessed by the orange power and he cannot consider others.  Along come these Gods with even less human sympathy (and sense) than him, but far more power, and, well, he's just not having it.  The tone of the plot and dialogue contrast nicely with Scott Kolins scratchy art (as seen in this book) and together they made one of the funniest series of last year.

The first trade, Revolt of the Orange Lanterns, is scheduled for publication in mid 2014.  Alternatively you can buy the individual issues on a monthly basis, from your local comic book shop or digitally from Comixology.  It's suitable for ages 15 and up.

Wonder Woman

DC's most well known female superhero.  When DC relaunched their entire universe back in 2011 Wonder Woman also got a new origin story but unlike most other series, she also got a very different creative team who have produced the most arresting and mature Wonder Woman series that's ever been published.

Apart from a couple of bad decisions relating to the treatment of Princess Diana's family and Amazon sisterhood, I have adored this series.  Brian Azzarello writes and Cliff Chiang draws.  Together they have created a dark, serious and above all mythic world for Diana to inhabit.  We have never seen the Greek Gods look like this before, for example, this is Poseidon:
For once, the art on the covers is what you get inside the book.  The first 12 issues or so felt less like a Wonder Woman book and more like a Greek Gods team book, but by 2013 Diana had come into her own and she felt like a leader in her series.  This isn't something you'd give to a child, but it is an excellent mature readers series.  To date, it revolves around the Gods and their actions on earth.  This may change soon as the creative team is changing, but if you like ancient mythology I urge you to pick this series up.

The trades appear to be out of print or not yet published on Amazon, but you'll be able to pick them up from a comic shop or from ebay.  Expect to pay about £12 for each one.

Justice League of America's Vibe
This was my surprise hit of 2013.  Vibe was first introduced in the 1980s and was a pretty awful character, just embarrassing really (see the picture on his wikipedia entry).  When DC's New 52 was launched Vibe was re-created, modernised and became, wonder of wonders, a cool character.  Not that I knew this.  I'd heard a lot of good reviews but couldn't get the 1980s version out of my mind.  Eventually I bought issue 1 because to test it out.  I loved it.  The first 2 issues are written by Geoff Johns then Sterling Gates takes over.  Gates wrote a phenomenally good Supergirl run and this series is nearly as good as that.

Vibe gets recruited by ARGUS to fight interdimensional beings, but things are not what they seem.  Who is really in charge? What dot hey want Vibe for?  It sounds like a fairly standard superhero story, on the surface it is, but it is executed wonderfully.  Gates brings life to the character and turns what could be an average story into something compelling.  There's a strong theme of familial duty and brotherly ties running through the book, so if that's your thing you have another reason to check it out.

Vibe is Latino and this book is suitable for teenagers.  There are a two supporting characters who are gay (always important).  The series ran for 12 issues and the first trade collection was released a month ago.  It should cost about £11.

Batwoman: World's Finest
I'm cheating a bit with this one as the issues that make up this trade came out over 2012 and 2013, but dagnabit, if they aren't the most beautiful, mesmerising comic pages of the last 18 months I'll eat my hat.

This collection teams Batwoman with Wonder Woman as they go in hunt of Medusa and some missing children.  It's the only other title in DC's range that matches the feel of Wonder Woman's solo series - it's for adults, for people who love deep, detailed literature, intelligent storytelling and rich artwork.

The interplay between the characters is simply wonderful (pardon the pun) and this book deserves to be read over and over and over.  It is something you can read just for the artwork, because the artwork tells the story as much as the script.  The inventive layouts, the rich colours, the contrast between the characters as told by the art is simply magical.  If you enjoyed Batwoman: Elegy you'll like this.
Lastly, Batwoman is one of the few out gay characters in DC's current universe.  If you want LGBT heroes, this is as good a place as any to start.

Batwoman: World's Finest sells for about £10.99, according to this Amazon listing.  Buy it, you won't regret it.

That brings us to the end of our 2013 roundup.  I hope you've enjoyed it and I apologies for the late posting!

No comments:

Post a Comment