As some of you know, I fell off the DC comp list with The New 52, and decided that was a sign from Zeus to start trade-waiting. And with the April solicits, I see decision time has arrived.

That is to say: Which trades or HCs will I buy? I'm certainly not going to pop for all 52, so I have to pick and choose. So let me ask you, Legionnaires:

  • Which titles are so intrinsic to New 52 continuity that they are musts?
  • Which titles are just so flaming good that they are musts?
  • Which titles lend themselves to collections the best?
  • Which titles can be "safely" skipped?
  • Which titles are YOU buying?

And so forth. Sound off, folks! Which New 52 titles would you choose for the Captain Comics bookshelf?

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Captain Comics said:

Blue Beetle: UNKNOWN. Need info, please!

This was one of the new DC books I was the most looking forward to — I adored the Jaime Reyes character and that take on Blue Beetle that Giffen and Rogers launched. After issue one of the relaunch, I was underwhelmed, and by issue two I was disappointed enough that I dropped it. If you liked the Giffen/Rogers/Hamner/Albuquerque series, you should respect its memory by not giving this book the time of day. Tony Bedard has taken the unique sense of fun the old book had, and transformed it into uninspired angst-y superhero drama that you can find in 50 other books, and don't really need in much of any of them.

These are the ones I’m reading and my plans for the future:

ACTION COMICS: This is the only one I consider a “must.” If it ever “catches up” to current continuity, I’ll probably drop it.

SUPERMAN: I’m disappointed that George Perez will soon be leaving. It was a “must” under his aegis, but I’ll probably drop it after he leaves. House ads advertise Giffen and Jurgens will be taking his place, but it doesn’t say who’s doing what. Since both men are both writers and artists, it might be worth looking into. I plan to give it a one-issue trial.

OMAC: I would have kept reading this one, but…

SWAMP THING: Undecided.

BATGIRL: Plan to drop after next issue (Joker).

DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS is not one of my usual titles, by I bought last week’s because it featured Jerry Ordway on Challengers of the Unknown. Dan Didio’s story put a new twist on why this particular group was together in the first place, and adds Nanda Parbat into the origin mix. I’ll take this opportunity to disagree with Jason’s assessment, but Jerry Ordway is one of those artists I’ll follow from assignment to assignment. He’s well-suited to the Challs.

I appreciate your thorough listing, Cap! That's exactly what I want to look at to see if I think I could be missing something. Like you, I started with Flash and found it pretty forgettable, so I stopped. I haven't heard anyone saying it's gotten a lot better since, really.

DCUP: Logically, this book will vary widely in quality.

This would especially seem to be one to buy in TPB. I assume that each story will handily fit into a collection, or each TPB will include several complete stories. I figure I can follow the reviews and decide which full stories to pick up once they're completed based on the character, creators and reviews. Since they're not ongoing, I wouldn't have to worry about having the first story in TPB and then the rest as periodicals, as sometimes happens when I learn of a comics that's many issues in.

I tried Superman but I thought the first issues were overwritten to the point that having Perez art on tiny little bits of art wasn't necessary. The characters I know well didn't seem that appealing, and the costume--meh. It's not enough like Superman to be appealing, but it's too much like Superman to be anything else.

I will definitely check out the Aquaman TPB. I'm skeptical they actually make him interesting, but that Mera factor can be huge.

-- MSA

I'm down to two books that I'm following: All-Star Western and Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.

Of some of your Unknowns and Maybes (and even a couple Nos):

Batgirl: I'm not much help here. I like the book (the story in issues 5-6 is strong and short) but Batgirl -- any Batgirl -- isn't a compelling character for me. I'll be checking in from time to time, but this is off my pull list for now. Strangely enough, if issue 7 is a done-in-one, I might be picking up the first issue after it dropped off my list, since it's a look at what happened during the Killing Joke and I'm curious about her recovery. If it deals with that, finally, I'm there.

Batwing: Certainly peripheral, but that's why I like it. Disappointed that he's coming to Gotham for a few issues, though Marcus To's upcoming art is a plus!

Demon Knights: I'm really digging it, but having read the first 6 parts of the seven part opener, I think you're fine waiting for the trades. 

I, Vampire: I'm calling it a day after the second part of the Batman team-up. It's got a great mood to it, and has been telling shorter stories so far: I think it has a long game-plan. But as moody as the artwork is, it's hard to follow, and it's not quite my cup of tea. Looks to be a slow-build for an event down the road, though.

Legion/Legion Lost. I think this change (essentially from four or five years ago, now) will stick. (Well, to the Legion, overall, anyway; I expect the Lost title has no more than two years in it.) I can't put up a compelling argument that it's saying anything new, though. 

Red Hood: Despite the brouhaha over Kori's introduction in the first issue, I eventually picked up several issues of this at a discount. And discovered that the story is a lot more fun than I'd expected, and that Kori is, indeed, presented as more layered than that initial glimpse (well, eyeful) revealed. The stories are high-action fun, and the Rocafort's art is spectacular, the layouts in particular. In short, I think this book is much better than what it's been dismissed as.

Resurrection Man: I'm reading it, Cap, and liking every issue. And then forgetting it as soon as I close the cover. It's a candidate for dropping for me, though IIRC, Jesus Sais will be taking on the art soon and he's a fave. (Nothing wrong with the art on it now, either!)

And buy the trade for OMAC. Or, probably even better, a bunch of the singles off of eBay. Unlike most comics, it's meant to be read in single-issue form. Every story's a done-in one!

Red Lanterns - I agree with Chris. It is easily skippable, and I think we bailed on ther series at about the same time.

Resurrection Man - With this series they are finally going back to show what happened to Mitch Shelley, and the Body Doubles. I've been enjoying it.

Grifter - I have been enjoying this one as well, but with the announcement of Liefeld comin on board I'm certainly not going to try and convince you to pick it up. I'm bailing before he even takes over, I figure why bother at this point?

Men of War - The first series I dropped from the new 52. Not surprising to me at all it got cancelled. Definitely not what I was looking for.

I know fully that DC thought they were doing their best with this book, but in actuality they've really dropped the ball. I'm disappointed. Under Joe Casey's pen, this was by far one of my favorite characters. I'm also a fan of Nathan Edmondson, but based on his work on Image books, it looks as though maybe editorial got in the way of his storytelling a bit too much.

Travis Herrick said:

Grifter - I have been enjoying this one as well, but with the announcement of Liefeld comin on board I'm certainly not going to try and convince you to pick it up. I'm bailing before he even takes over, I figure why bother at this point?

Okay Cap. Using your format, here are my opinions on the new 52 thus far.

  • Action Comics: READING, but I do so before Justice League only because the current story line takes place before the formation of the team.
  • All Star Western: READING because it's nice to see the western format and Jonah Hex continue, even if they do have to tie it into the Batman mythos. But so far the back ups have nothing (apparent) to do with the main story.
  • Animal Man: NOt reading. Just couldn't get into it myself.
  • Aquaman: READING and I do agree with you on both Geoff Johns and Mera.
  • Batgirl: READING. Even with Gail Simone writing, I had concerns about Barbara Gordon miraculously not being in the wheel chair any more and losing her Oracle status. But while the miracle still hasn't been fully explained at the end of issue 5, it is still Babs.
  • Batman: READING. All this title and Detective did was switch creative teams. And the Court of Owls story line is heating up nicely.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight
  • Batman & Robin
  • Batwing: PASSED. Like you said, there are too many Bat-books as it is, so I'm skipping these three.
  • Batwoman: READING. Not sure what the long term plans for the character are, but it is a great series.
  • Blackhawks: PASSED. While an interesting concept, not a big fan of the war genre. Flipped through the first issue at my local comic book store and passed.
  • Birds of Prey: READING, but it's taking a while for it to grow on me. A hopefully reformed Poison Ivy and a new character named Starling I can accept. But a Black Canary wanted for murder and a possibly insane Katana (because of how she is depicted talking to her dead husband via her sword) leave me not fully onboard but interested.
  • Blue Beetle: READING. This is Jamie Reyes from day one, alien scarab and all. But the aliens are playing a more active role so far.
  • Captain Atom: READING, but not uncertain of its future. The stories are okay and the art is great, but I have yet to make heads or tails out of the numbers that appear every once in a while.
  • Catwoman: READING. I'm surprised how Winick is presenting the character so far. This is a little more mature and hard edged Selina than what we've seen in a while.
  • DC Universe Presents: READING. As I've said elsewhere on this website, the title is serving as the defacto Secret Origins of the new DC Universe. Deadman was pretty good and  the Challengers of the Unknown should be interesting. But Vandal Savage?
  • Deathstroke: PASSED. Not my cup of tea.
  • Demon Knights: READING. Originally a skip, all the positive fan reviews got me curious enough to look at the first issue and have been with the title since. Think Dungeons and Dragons in the new DC Universe, with past versions of The Demon, Madame Xanadu, the Shining Knight from Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers, and a more friendly version of Vandal Savage with a couple of new characters against Mordru and company.
  • Detective: READING. Like I said, all this title and Batman did was switch creative teams
  • Flash: READING. Totally hate the fact that Barry Allen and Iris West aren't even a couple, let alone married, but otherwise...
  • Frankenstein: PASSED. No interest.
  • Fury of Firestorms: PASSED. Tried the first issue, but couldn't get into the new take on the concept even with Gail Simone's involvement.
  • Green Arrow: READING. They took the Smallville version of the character and put him in a comic book with a technical support group that needs to have more background details revealed. I can deal with Oliver being at least a decade younger and not sporting the famous chin whiskers, but his connection to Black Canary (if any) in the new 52 has yet to be revealed.
  • Green Lantern:
  • Green Lantern Corps: READING both, although all the titles did was just pick up where they left off before Flashpoint.
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians: PASSED. Tried the first few issues, but even being a Kyle Rayner fan, couldn't get into it.
  • Grifter: PASSED. Didn't like him as a Wildstorm character. Not reading him now.
  • Hawk and Dove: NOt reading. Tried the first issue. Couldn't get into it even with Deadman being Dove's "boyfriend."
  • I, Vampire: PASSED. Flipped through first issue. Okay if you like horror, but I'm already reading Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a couple of DC's other "dark" titles.
  • Justice League of America: READING. Chronologically, this title is after Action because of the current story line as the team comes together in the new DC U.
  • Justice League Dark: READING, for now. Hoping the current versions of Madame Xanadu and Zatanna start getting treated better. Will give the new writer a chance before I drop it.
  • Justice League International: READING, and this isn't a new take on the "Bwa-ha-ha" version. A lot more serious even with Booster Gold involved, but no physical sign of Skeets yet.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes/Legion Lost: READING both. I feel like I came in late on some of the events because I have the suspicion that these two just continued where they left off before Flashpoint. (For the record, because of my professional writing/editing commitments, I hadn't even gotten to the Brightest Day story line yet when the New DC U loomed on the horizon.) Paul Levitz on LSH is definitely a hit with me and you know Lost has a built in ending. They get found.
  • Men of War: PASSED. Like I said, not a big war book fan.
  • Mister Terrific: READING. Started only because I was curious if they would mention/bring back the Justice Society. But we all know how that's gonna turn out now.
  • Nightwing: READING. I was a little miffed that Dick Grayson stepped down from being Batman, but while he needs to be his own man, going back to the Nightwing identity seems backtracking to me despite how well it's been handled so far.
  • OMAC: READING. The first issue got me interested in the new take. Dido and Griffen capture Jack Kirby's spirit, although some may consider it copying the King's past work. A shame it's being canceled.
  • Red Hood: PASSED after reading the first issue. I totally hate how they portrayed Starfire. Koriand'r deserves better!
  • Red Lanterns: PASSED. They work as "villains", but couldn't get into the first issue.
  • Resurrection Man: PASSED. Didn't like it in the 1990s. Not reading it today.
  • Savage Hawkman: READING. So far, so good, but I am concerned about Leifield's arrival too.
  • Static Shock: PASSED. Read the first issue, didn't like how they were handling the character.
  • Stormwatch: PASSED. Didn't like the first issue and no matter how they handle Cyborg, the Martian Manhunter should be with the Justice League.
  • Suicide Squad: NOt reading, for both the Harley Quinn reason and the fact that this one seems a lot more violent than the John Ostander version. His was more espionage, drama, and suspense,
  • Superboy: PASSED. Tried the first issue, couldn't get into the new take.
  • Supergirl: READING. This is taking Supergirl from Day One on Earth, but not how she was previously presented in any retelling. Don't know how many times you can have the character start from square one like this, but so far, so good.
  • Superman: READING. Like Barry and Iris, hate the fact Lois and Clark aren't together, but otherwise this take harkens back to the "new" Superman of the 1970s. Like Lois' new job position and the fact that Jimmy is Clark's friend instead of Superman's pal.
  • Swamp Thing:  READING. Like the new take on the character.
  • Teen Titans: NO. Tried the first issue, but these are not "my" Titans.
  • Voodoo: NO. Despite Ron Marz's work, never liked the character.
  • Wonder Woman: READING. But in all honesty, if DC had put this creative team on the book from the beginning, I don't see where restarting the series would have been necessary.

Out of the forthcoming releases, I plan on picking up Batman Beyond Unlimited, Earth 2, and World's Finest.

But please note that while I am an "older" reader like yourself (and stress the R word more than the age factor), I prefer the monthly issues compared to the trades.

Hope the above helps.

Oh, Cap -- I meant to also say that Birds of Prey is one of the biggest surprises of the New 52 for me. I miss Oracle, and don't know why Batgirl is there, to be honest -- but am really enjoying the new character Starling, and even like what they're doing with Ivy (a character I normally prefer as pure villain). Some great action and suspense from Swiericzsky, plus gorgeous art by Saiz. You might be better off with a trade than individual issues, but it reads great in short bursts, too.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: I just realized I forgot Justice League in the run-down of titles I’m reading above. I plan to drop it after the origin story is complete, but the fact that I forgot I am reading it is indicative of why.

The books I read first are:

  • All Star Western---I'm glad that DC is continuing Hex and his Odd Couple pairing with Doctor Arkham livens up the dialogue. Combined with corruption, intrigue and splashes of Bat-mythos, it's a great read.
  • Aquaman---there are several mysteries and untold chapters waiting to be told. His past, his trident, who is Mera now and his place in the DCnU. But when Johns leaves....
  • Flash---I thought this wouldn't work but I'm enjoying it. Barry has never seemed so real.
  • Justice League---still a lot of questions but I'm liking the interaction between the heroes and the menace is growing!
  • Legion Of Super Heroes/Legion Lost/ Legion: Secret Origin---top notch books all but either way, I stand by the Legion!

Now the other books that I'm getting are good too like the various Batman and Superman titles. But I'll probably reread the first 6 issues together and see if my opinion changes.

But buy the HCs? At $23 to $25 dollars EACH? No thank you!

But buy the HCs? At $23 to $25 dollars EACH? No thank you!

But JLA and some of the others are $3.99 per issue, and I'm betting the first HC will be the first six issues. If it's $25, that seems like a pretty good deal for what will be a nice package (that no doubt can be sold much easier than the six issues), and it will probably have additional background and sketches.

It's also likely that a TPB will later follow, although it's hard to know what their plan will be yet. With individual comics getting so pricey, the HCs are actually a reasonably low-cost option.

-- MSA

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