For the first time since I started following comics, I decided, for the sake of organization and for the love of my ever shrinking bank account, to actually stop, look and the comics on my pull list, and just go over what brings me in to them every month over other titles and, in the spirit of using the blog function on ANY site in what it's truly meant to be for (which is to tell total strangers you're opinions in what is nothing more than blatant ego-stroking, and don't pretend otherwise, you know it's true, there's nothing wrong with it), I will share why i feel these titles deserve my 2.99$-3.99$ every month, no matter what my bills say. Seeing how the new 52 is just the focal of EVERYTHING nowadays, comic-wise, I'll start with the DC titles that I can't help plunk my hard earned money on every week (In no particular order).
1. Captain Atom
I'll start off with one that probably hasn't been given much attention, and for reasons I kinda understand. There's nothing really earth-shatteringly amazing about this take on a 2nd-tier character, but it's still a solid series. What keep me coming back I feel is because unlike most titles in the new DCU is that it actually has a theme, a message, a PURPOSE in it's narrative, if you will, something that other titles that are also solid just don't have, other than the standard "We're good guys, we stop bad guys" motivation that most superhero books fall back on. Each issue opens with Captain Atom waxing philosophically over his situation, mulling over a different aspect of his position in life ever since he became, for a lack of a better term, a god (or the closest a human could become to one). Rather than focus on that by endlessly going over these thoughts pretentiously the entire time, the issue pulls back to let the story play out normally, and often said story will reflect what theme he's been exploring this month, then towards the end he sums up his opinions on this topic, using the events as a means of rationalizing it. You could say that as a result each issue is a self contained story tied in with the bigger narrative, because of this. Besides the story, I also am a huge fan of the art, namely, Captain Atom's design, or, more specifically, how he looks in contrast to the rest of the cast. His inking really makes him stand out, shows you visually how different he is from normal people, and really sells the book. Sure there's been flaws and mis-steps, but I still find this book is almost criminally under-appreciated, and deserves to be checked out.
2. Demon Knights
This comic makes much more sense than Captain Atom for deserving a spot in my pull. Etrigan has always been one of my favorite characters, even though I've only really loved the idea of the character rather than how he's actually been written. Paul Cornell scripts him wonderfully, writing a Demon that is fun, angry, selfish, blatantly evil, and just overall a great character. The supporting cast is also incredible, bring up some characters and concepts from throughout not only the DCU, but history (such as the Saracen, aka the Islamic man, who has received a very realistic, un-stereotypical manner, which is refreshing) which adds a nice feel to the story. While it's been advancing rather slowly plot-wise, It has incredibly engrossing protagonists, and I'm definitely hooked.
I just love this series. For one that could have gone horrible considering how poorly some of the changes to the new U have been, Gaile Simone instead directly address this in a way that actually adds drama, and guilt, and emotion to both the story and to the relationships between characters. But you don't need me to say it, this is apparently selling like crazy, you probably already know why i love it, you wise stranger reading this blog.
Why do I have to say anything. It's the Goddamn Batman. He can breathe in space. And Scott Snyder, being a phenomenal writer of lots of dark, gritty, brutal horror and action stories, really captures what I feel Batman should be, tone wise. Just go and read Issue 5, and be sure to wear some baggy pants, because you will be rock hard the whole time. Then read Severed, Snyder's other series. Just because.
5. Animal Man
Animal Man normally have been something i would have passed on, but fortunately I read many glowing reviews and decide to pick this bad boy up... and boy was I shocked. It seems withSsuperman losing Lois and the whole One More Day bullshit and the just general decline in lasting relationships in comics, it's nice to see a superhero who's family actually serves as the primary motivation for the story. Buddy is, in my opinion, far more noble than Superman, not necessarily because of some moral flaw supes might have but because you really feel what his doing, what he's risking, what he's trying to protect, something Superman never really gets across to me. This title is gruesome and heavy and just fucking enjoyable in it's sick way. Plus it served as a gateway to Lemire's other work on Sweet Tooth and Superboy, as well was the original Grant Morrison Animal Man series from the 80's. And a title that encourages you to dig deeper into a character is a success in my mind.
6. Green Lantern
Immediately this series aimed to do something new, and it delivered in spades. Sinestro is now our protagonist, and Geoff Johns made me care more about this character in 3 issues than any other writer has ever done with a former villain-turned-..."good". The interaction between him and Jordan is incredible, reminiscent of a buddy movie, with Sinestro being the Bruce Willis to Hal Jordan's Samuel L. Jackson. This most recent arc suggests big things for the Lantern Corps, Hal Jordan's reconciliation with Carol felt more natural than any other I've read in comics, and Geoff John's pulls though with another great run.
7. Wonder Woman
Mostly, I'm loving how the series is digging into her roots in Greek Mythology, something I always felt was lacking in previous stories. The idea that people start dying because Zeus keeps putting his dick in things is timeless, and seeing the gods personified in this way, especially in relation to Wonder Woman, is enticing to say the least. Diana is given a very laid back, yet some-how almost energetic attitude, and the possibilities in this series keep me coming back for more.
8. Swamp Thing
Another largely horror-based series, as a fan of the Alan Moore run, I love how Snyder writes the story in a way that builds and expands on the mythos surrounding the Green, rather than changing what he felt like in the reboot. the rot is a great concept to go against the Red and Green, and the approaching inter-connectivity between this title and Animal Man is promising. Swamp Thing is a fascinating character, and I'll glad put all my green on this fantastic title (yes, tremble at my horrible puns).
Unlike most, I never treated Aquaman as a joke. And why should I have? Sure, the Super Friends made him (and every other hero for that matter) ridiculous, he's still, at his core, a pretty interesting and powerful hero, and DC has over the years been constantly trying to show just how strong a character he could be, though admittedly they mostly just tried to make him grittier and grittier by endlessly hacking off his limbs. Geoff Johns is the first writer I've seen in a while that has finally managed to capture Aquaman both in what he is, on a base level, and what he could be. This Aquaman is proud and serious, but a likable character, someone who's more than another man in tights: He's a goddamn KING, and he has a sense of duty and morality to him that really make him stand out. I love his relationship with Mera, which is one of the best in comics, and in this series I enjoy how self-aware it is. Johns plays off the expectation that he's supposed to be weak and that we can't take him seriously, and uses that to make a fun and exciting story about DC's favorite whipping boy. And I adore every panel of it.
10. All Star Western
Like Animal Man, this is a series I picked up solely due to an interesting review I read online, and actually decided to buy it after seeing artist Moritat's name on the cover (big fan of his, especially his Elephentmen work). Ironically, the art to me was a bit underwhelming: instead, it was the story that got me picking up the next issue. All Star-Western is dark and brutal, with some nice action scenes and some interesting characters. It explores the history of Gotham City, who even in the 19th century has been plagued with all manners of evils, and helps explore the history of the DCU. While It's not the best title out there that I could be picking up every week, it still has my attention, despite some admittedly weak back-up stories, so I'll be sticking around for now.
Well those are the 10 New 52 titles i pick up each. and. every. month (my money clip just sobbed), and that doesn't even cover half. This isn't nearly all the titles I WISH i was following, but that's a story for another time. I'll write up my Marvel pull next, then move on to the many indie titles I can't help but blow my money on.