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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 this has been the best crossover event of the new DCNu, but also of the past five to ten years

Damning with faint praise, for sure. 10 years is a lot of time, but I wonder what the second-best crossover in that time would be, ie, the one this one beats out. Do readers get excited about crossovers? Or do most of them see them as a cross to bear and hope they come out the other side, after spending all that money, at least thinking some of it was enjoyable?

.A-SW is the only DCU book I'm reading, mostly because it's not part of the DCU, for the most part. But I'm also reading Batman '66, Smallville, Astro City, Sandman and, at least for the moment, Beware the Batman. So DC is still the publisher I'm reading the most titles from. That's mostly because I intrinsically like the characters best. But it's possible to read a lot from DC and not go near the DCU.

Is anyone reading Superman Adventures? I just recently saw it solicited, and it looks interesting and non-DCU (ie, Superman had underwear), with multiple creators that implies it's standalone stories. But I never hear anything about it, and I don't get to a store often to check out these things.

-- MSA

I personally gave up on crossovers a number of years back. I've been burned too many times.

I believe Randy Jackson reads Superman Adventures regularly, and he always recommends it.

Mr. Silver Age said:

 this has been the best crossover event of the new DCNu, but also of the past five to ten years

Damning with faint praise, for sure. 10 years is a lot of time, but I wonder what the second-best crossover in that time would be, ie, the one this one beats out. Do readers get excited about crossovers? Or do most of them see them as a cross to bear and hope they come out the other side, after spending all that money, at least thinking some of it was enjoyable?

.A-SW is the only DCU book I'm reading, mostly because it's not part of the DCU, for the most part. But I'm also reading Batman '66, Smallville, Astro City, Sandman and, at least for the moment, Beware the Batman. So DC is still the publisher I'm reading the most titles from. That's mostly because I intrinsically like the characters best. But it's possible to read a lot from DC and not go near the DCU.

Is anyone reading Superman Adventures? I just recently saw it solicited, and it looks interesting and non-DCU (ie, Superman had underwear), with multiple creators that implies it's standalone stories. But I never hear anything about it, and I don't get to a store often to check out these things.

-- MSA

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

I personally gave up on crossovers a number of years back. I've been burned too many times.

 

Likewise. Plus, I'm not so invested in The New 52 and its characters that a crossover would be an enticement; I'd take it as a signal to stay away until it's over. 

All of the stuff I had been reading (before Action and the very recent Forever Evil) had been non-DCNu.* Batman Black & White, Legends of the Dark Knight, and Superman Adventures.

I read LotDK and Superman Adventures digitally. I base my purchases on how interested I am in the creators. Superman has had some awesome creators on it (Jeff Parker, Chris Samnee, Jeff Lemire, Riley Rossmo, Joelle Jones, Guiseppe Camuncoli, J.M. DeMatties, Michael Avon Oeming, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Pete Woods, Chris Weston, Nathan Edmundson, Pia Guerra, David Lapham, Tim Seeley, Mike Norton, Marc Guggenheim, Sean Galloway...).

So does LotDK: Jeff Lemire, Damon Lindelof, J.G. Jones, Nicola Scott, Ben Templesmith, Steve Niles, Trevor Hairsine, Christopher Mitten, Tan Eng Huat, Jeff Parker, Gabriel Hardman, Michael Avon Oeming, Chris Sprouse (and Karl Story), Rafael Albuquerque, Peter Milligan, Wes Craig, Tom Mandrake, Freddie E. Williams, Declan Shalvey, Charles Soule... And those are just the creators that got me to buy the books. These are great little stories that can slide right into your "three years ago" DCU.

Mr. Silver Age said:

Is anyone reading Superman Adventures? I just recently saw it solicited, and it looks interesting and non-DCU (ie, Superman had underwear), with multiple creators that implies it's standalone stories. But I never hear anything about it, and I don't get to a store often to check out these things.

-- MSA

MSA, I think I'm reading many of the DC comics you are, including Batman '66, Astro City and All-Star Western.

Yes, for the most part Adventures of Superman has been an absolute joy, a breath of fresh air. Characterization has been strong, the stories have been mostly fun--not goofy, but fun to read. By and large, good stories, and stand alone stories. However, I'm not enjoying the current storyline by Peter Milligan with Superman apparently adopting a "darker, grittier alter-ego". For me, it's sort of like when Arkham was brought into Batman '66--sure it's part of the Bat-Mythos, but it doesn't really belong with this iteration of the character. I don't mind an exploration of a more pro-active Superman, but I'd prefer it was left out of this particular title. There's more than enough stories to tell about Superman that don't involve darkening the character.

That being said, the good thing is that it's only a 3 issue story arc, so it'll be over soon.

Something I was thinking about recently as well: back in the Silver Age, the Bronze Age, etc., it seems that most people writing Superman stories understood that the best way to craft an interesting challenge was to give Superman a problem he couldn't punch his way out of. Now it seems that everything is just "bigger and badder physical threat". I think the stories are less interesting for it; we know Superman is going to win, it's how he gets there that makes it worth reading, and if all he does is punch other beings, it loses interest quickly.

I think you've nailed it, Randy. That was one reason I was really bored with "The Death of Superman." Doomsday was basically the Hulk, and it was issue after issue of Superman and the Hulk slugging it out. Boring. And when they both died simultaneously while punching the other guy in the chin, it was not only risible, it was about the least imaginative thing the writers could have done.

Randy Jackson said:

Something I was thinking about recently as well: back in the Silver Age, the Bronze Age, etc., it seems that most people writing Superman stories understood that the best way to craft an interesting challenge was to give Superman a problem he couldn't punch his way out of. Now it seems that everything is just "bigger and badder physical threat". I think the stories are less interesting for it; we know Superman is going to win, it's how he gets there that makes it worth reading, and if all he does is punch other beings, it loses interest quickly.

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I had a similar thought way back when, when I was reading the Raver miniseries. In one issue he had Superman level powers, but like you said he just couldn't beat up the problem to get to a solution. He actually has to use his head. In this case Raver, and in a broader sense Superman.

Which is also a problem with a lot of crossovers. The solution most of the times is for the heroes to "pour it on" to defeat whoever the big bad is.

I remember laughing in Crisis on Infinite Earths when Monitor (or somebody) said that the Anti-Monitor wasn't a villain you could beat with a punch. But in the end, he was beaten ... when Superman punched him.

That was true for all of the JLA, but especially Superman, as it wasn't necessarily the way to go. But he was SO powerful that the stories had to deal with something else--if they didn't rob him of his powers so he was normal. Lex was his arch-foe because he was brilliant and Supes was powerful, but Superman often out-thought Lex, too.

At times, the stories got a bit too domestic--Superman would use his telescopic vision to spy Lois on the street and swoop down to catch her bag of groceries before it hit the ground. That really brings that mammoth amount of power down to Earth. It led to way too many hoaxes and such, but with so many stories to jumpstart per issue, making those covers and splash pages come true wasn't easy.

Julie's heroes were always thinking a lot, and that of course was Batman's thing. I remember thinking often that the heroes seemed to get kinda dumb when they got into the JLA--but they still worked to resolve puzzles a lot.

-- MSA

I'm enjoying the new creative team on Action Comics.  Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder started out in November with #25.  For that matter, I'm also a fan of Greg Pak's work on Batman/Superman with Jae Lee.

Greg Pak really impressed me with "Planet Hulk," and I've followed him ever since. So I echo your recommendations, John!

I haven't yet picked up Batman/Superman, but I have now read the last two issues of Action Comics. I am loving that one. I might pick up the trade of Batman/Superman--in about three years when it will come out (curse your practices, DC!).

How are people liking Superman/Wonder Woman? I'm a big fan of that series' writer Charles Soule on Marvel's Thunderbolts.

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