DC New 52 round-up Volume 3

Well, this is it. After two years of monthly blog entries, I'm hanging up my hat with this last round-up. Please remember that all "awards" below are based solely on my personal opinions, but I would love to hear yours as well!

Note: The issues considered for awards varies for each series. Please refer to the "Series Ranking" section of this article to see a full list of included issues by series.

Group/Series Awards

Best Group/Family

Favorite Group Overall - Green Lantern

It was a close race, but Green Lantern took the win because it did not have any weak links in the chain. There were other categories that had books that I liked more than some GL books, but those categories would also have some awful books as well. The Green Lantern group performed solidly all around and delivered a couple interesting crossover events and the end of Geoff John's epic run. So far, Larfleeze is shaping up to be another solid entry in this family of books.

Least Favorite Group Overall - Young Justice

With only three books at the beginning of this rotation, two of which have now been canceled, this hardly counts as a group. In fact, DC is not even announcing solicits by group anymore (possibly because they have become so unbalanced?) At any rate, all of the books in this group were below average. I recognize the need for books featuring young heroes and I hope DC is soon able to recreate the success it had in the past with Tim Drake's Robin series. I just don't think its going to happen with the current Teen Titans book.

Best Writing

Gold Medal - Geoff Johns (Green Lantern + Aquaman, Justice League, JLA)

Silver Medal - Scott Snyder (Batman + Swamp Thing)

Bronze Medal - Keith Giffen (Threshold)

Best Interior Art

Gold Medal - Mikel Janin (Justice League Dark)

Silver Medal - Jason Fabok (Detective Comics)

Bronze Medal - Ivan Reis (Justice League)

Best Cover Art

Gold Medal - Greg Capullo (Batman)

Silver Medal - Mico Suayan (Red Hood and the Outlaws)

Bronze Medal - Aaron Kuder (Green Lantern: New Guardians)

Best Writing Team Changes

Gold Medal - Detective Comics 13 (Tony Daniel to John Layman)

Silver Medal - Green Arrow 17 (Ann Nocenti to Jeff Lemire)

Bronze Medal - Deathstroke 15 (Rob Liefeld to Justin Jordan)

Honorable Mention - Firestorm 13 (Joe Harris to Dan Jurgens)

Best Limited Series

Favorite Limited Series - Human Bomb

Least Favorite Limited Series - JSA Liberty Files: Whistling Skull

Character Awards

Existing characters benefiting from New 52:

  • Orion (Wonder Woman)
  • Ocean Master (Aquaman)
  • Vibe (Vibe, JLA)
  • Shazam (Justice League)

Existing characters hurt by New 52:

  • Power Girl (Worlds' Finest)
  • Talia al Ghul (Batman Incorporated)
  • Sun Boy (Legion of Super-Heroes)
  • Eclipso (lots of books)

Existing characters I'm waiting to see:

  • Metamorpho
  • Red Tornado

Most interesting new characters:

  • Simon Baz (Green Lantern)
  • Calvin Rose (Talon)
  • Exoristos (Demon Knights)
  • B'dg (Green Lantern)
  • Emperor Penguin (Detective Comics)

Least interesting new characters:

  • Volthoom (Green Lantern)
  • Shay Veritas (Superman)

Series Ranking within group (top=best, bottom=worst)

Justice League Group

  1. Justice League (13-21)
  2. Aquaman (14-17,0)
  3. Justice League of America (1-5)
  4. Vibe (1-6)
  5. Earth 2 (7-12, Annual 1)
  6. Green Arrow (17-21)
  7. Flash (13-19)
  8. Wonder Woman (13-18,0)
  9. Fury of Firestorm (13-20)
  10. DC Universe Presents (13-19)
  11. Savage Hawkman (17-20)
  12. Worlds' Finest (6-11)
  13. Katana (1-6)

Batman Group

  1. Batman (13-20,0)
  2. Detective Comics (13-20,0)
  3. Batman: Dark Knight (16-21, Annual 1)
  4. Talon (0-7)
  5. Nightwing (13-18,0)
  6. Batgirl (14-19,0)
  7. Batwing (13-19,0)
  8. Batman and Robin (15-18, Annual 1)
  9. Red Hood and the Outlaws (15-18,0)
  10. Birds of Prey (13-17)
  11. Batman Incorporated (7-13, Special)
  12. Batwoman (12-17,0)
  13. Catwoman (13-18,0)

Superman Group

  1. Superman (13-17,0)
  2. Supergirl (14-19)
  3. Superboy (14-19, Annual 1)
  4. Action Comics (13-18)

Green Lantern Group

  1. Green Lantern (13-20,0)
  2. Green Lantern Corps (13-20,0, Annual 1)
  3. Red Lanterns (13-20,0)
  4. Green Lantern: New Guardians (13-20,0, Annual 1)

The Dark Group

  1. Demon Knights (13-23)
  2. Animal Man (13-18,0)
  3. Swamp Thing (13-18,0, Annual 1)
  4. Sword of Sorcery (0-8)
  5. Constantine (1-6)
  6. Justice League Dark (14-21)
  7. Dial H (7-15)
  8. Phantom Stranger (0-5)
  9. I Vampire (13-19,0)

The Edge Group

  1. Threshold (1-8)
  2. Deathstroke (15-20)
  3. All Star Western (13-18,0)
  4. Suicide Squad (14-19,0)
  5. Team 7 (0-8)
  6. Stormwatch (13-18,0)

Young Justice Group

  1. Legion of Super-Heroes (15-23)
  2. Teen Titans (11-16,0)
  3. Ravagers (8-12)

Closing Thoughts on Canceled Series

Threshold

I enjoyed this book a lot. The reimagining of old sci-fi space heroes, the oh-so-subtle commentary on reality television, great stuff all. The twist ending was unexpected and hilarious. It's obvious that Giffen had some long-term plans that had to be scrapped when the book got canceled, but I think he played it off well with his usual humor.

Deathstroke

Deathstroke has been a good book all along, but Justin Jordan was making it a great book. With short, action-packed missions like killing the unkillable man and fighting an army of ninjas, I think this book could have continued for a while without getting stale. I'm filing this one under "canceled too soon"

Demon Knights

I think it is good for the New 52 to have books that don't follow the superhero formula. I've always enjoyed Demon Knights to some degree, but didn't read it regularly because I don't really like fantasy books. However, the book really picked up at the end and I wouldn't mind reading it every week despite its genre. In particular, I liked that some of the other characters like Exoristos and Horsewoman got fleshed out, and their mysterious connection to Stormwatch was explained.

Sword of Sorcery

Solid genre book. It's not my favorite genre, but I could see that all three of the stories had potential. Not much else to say about this one...

DC Universe Presents

I think that this book had the right idea, but was not living up to its potential. The New 52 needs a showcase book that explores other areas of the DCU in short, contained stories. Sometimes it works really well like the Vandal Savage story. Sometimes, it doesn't work as well... I hope to see another showcase book in the future, or at least some minis on minor characters.

Dial H

I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I like the idea that there is a larger mystery behind the heroes that the Dial creates. I like the idea that Nelson is losing himself to the identities while Roxie maintains hers with the mask. I like the relationship between Nelson and Roxie. My major issue is that sometimes the book can get confusing and convoluted. By the time they finally revealed what the dials were, I had no idea what was going on... Otherwise, it was usually a good read.

I Vampire

I originally didn't like this book because I thought it was too slow and boring. Then I really liked it because of all the craziness that happened in the Stormwatch crossover. At this point, I'm a little underwhelmed. There's too many crazy twists and turnovers. The balance of power shifts so often that you stop caring after a while. This book had its moments, but I'm okay with it being over.

Fury of Firestorm

I really disliked this book when it first started. A lot of things bothered me, but mostly the fact that there were two Firestorms. The most recent issues have brought back the classic dynamic of two minds in one body. Dan Jurgens did a good job bringing back the classic Firestorm and making the concept work with these characters. It still wasn't one of my favorites, but it was fun and engaging and I'm sorry to see it cancelled.

Ravagers

This book wasn't so bad, which is surprising to me considering my feelings on the current Teen Titans book. I liked the idea of pulling in some unused characters like Fairchild and Beast Boy. Ultimately though, I'm not sorry to see this book go because it could never really get out of the shadow of the Culling, which I disliked immensely.

Team 7

The concept behind this book was good, but it was executed terribly. The relationships between the characters felt awkward and unnatural. The plot was nearly incomprehensible. It's weird because they sum it up quite nicely in the end of Deathstroke's book, which is written by the same guy... Overall, I wish they could have done more with it, but I'm not sorry to see it go.

Batman Incorporated

I think I would have enjoyed this book more if it focused on the Batmen of other nations. The focus was almost entirely on Batman and Robin and made it feel like just another weekly Bat-book, or Morrison's conclusion to his Batman and Robin run. SPOILER AHEAD: I also think it was a little wasteful to kill off Damian so soon. He's one of the few breakout new characters that has been working for them and killing him leaves the looming question of adding to the ever-growing list of Robins. Overall, I'm sorry to see this book go because I'm curious what someone else would have done with it.

Legion of Super-Heroes

The Legion of Super-Heroes is one of my favorite concepts, but I did not enjoy this book for most of its run. A lot of the classic characters had left the team or fallen out of focus. Other favorites of mine were sucked away to Legion Lost, never to be seen in this book again. Too much focus was given to the new Legionnaires, who I cared nothing about. That being said, I do think the Fatal Five story arc was significantly better than the earlier issues. The threat felt more legitimate and the whole Legion came into play. I hope the Legion doesn't stay down for long.

Savage Hawkman

I usually don't care for this character, and this book did nothing to change my mind. One of the annoying things about Hawkman is the many different interpretations of the character. On this book alone, we've seen at least three different creative teams, and none of them could make the character appealing to me. I think Hawkman is much better off in the JLA book, so I'm not sorry to see his solo book go.

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DC New 52 - Month 22

Week 1

Great - best of the week: Detective Comics, Phantom Stranger, Swamp Thing

Good - solid issue: Action Comics, Earth 2, Green Arrow, Green Lantern

Okay - some complaints: Pandora

Top Pick: Swamp Thing

Bottom Pick: Pandora

Week 2

Great - best of the week: Batman, Green Lantern Corps, Justice League

Good - solid issue: Superman Unchained

Okay - some complaints: Nightwing

Top Pick: Justice League

Bottom Pick: Nightwing

Week 3

Great - best of the week: Justice League of America

Good - solid issue: Animal Man, Wonder Woman

Okay - some complaints: Batman and Catwoman, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Vibe

Top Pick: Justice League of America

Bottom Pick: Batman and Catwoman

Week 4

Great - best of the week: Aquaman, Batman: Dark Knight

Good - solid issue: Flash, Larfleeze, Superman, Talon

Dropping from list: Batman/Superman

Top Pick: Aquaman

Bottom Pick: Batman/Superman

Week 5

Great - best of the week: Animal Man Annual, Red Lanterns

Good - solid issue: Batman Annual, Detective Comics Annual, Flash Annual, Superman Annual

Okay - some complaints: Pandora

Top Pick: Animal Man Annual

Bottom Pick: Pandora

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DC New 52 - Month 21

Week 1

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Earth 2, Green Arrow, Swamp Thing

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Detective Comics, Green Lantern, Phantom Stranger

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next month: Action Comics

Top Pick: Green Arrow

Finally get a little more information about 'The Outsiders', Komodo, Green Arrow's father and Ollie's time on the island.

Bottom Pick: Action Comics

Not bad, just not a terribly powerful finish to the arc. I expected more from the so-called "Superman month"

Week 2

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Batman, Green Lantern Corps, Superman Unchained

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Nightwing

Top Pick: Superman Unchained

A good intro issue to lots of mysteries to come. I like that Superman's classic supporting cast (Lois, Jimmy, Perry, Lex) all get a little screen time this issue.

Bottom Pick: Nightwing

No real complaints. Solid issue.

Week 3

Great - best of the week: Animal Man, Vibe

Good - solid issue: Green Lantern: New Guardians, Wonder Woman

Okay - some complaints: Batman and Batgirl

Dropping from list: Supergirl

Top Pick: Animal Man

The addition of the Twitter-esque comments throughout pushed this issue to the top!

Bottom Pick: Supergirl

I don't care for the new writer as much. It's still an okay book, but not one I feel I need to read on a weekly basis.

Week 4

Great - best of the week: Aquaman, Justice League, Larfleeze

Good - solid issue: Batman: The Dark Knight, Flash, Justice League of America, Red Lanterns, Superman, Talon

Okay - some complaints: Batman/Superman, Justice League Dark

Top Pick: Justice League

An all-Shazam issue that ties up the back-up stories quite nicely. I'll be interested to see Shazam interact with the rest of the DCnU now. Also.. does this mean we're getting another back-up feature soon?

Bottom Pick: Batman/Superman

I didn't really understand what was going on or when this issue took place in relation to Justice League #1. Also didn't care for the art. I'm willing to give it another try next week though.

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DC New 52 - Month 20

Week 1

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Animal Man, Detective Comics, Swamp Thing

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Action Comics, Aquaman, Earth 2, Green Arrow, Phantom Stranger

Not Interested - Won't read it next month: Batwing, The Movement

Top Pick: Swamp Thing

After getting gassed by Scarecrow last issue, this issue takes us inside Swamp Thing's nightmares as he gets a look at what his life might have been. Superman plays a pivotal role in the story, but his inclusion doesn't seem intrusive or unnatural. This two issue arc has sold me on Soule as the new Swamp Thing writer.

Bottom Pick: Batwing

If this was a number one issue, I might have enjoyed it more. However, I can't help but compare it to the previous run. The first 19 issues got us invested in an African citizen bringing the Bat symbol to Africa and dealing with his country's own unique issues (child soldiers, warlords, rampant police corruption, etc). Now this character has been taken away and replaced by yet another Gothamite and the first issue feels just like any other superhero slugfest. I'll probably check this one out again after an appropriate mourning period for the old Batwing.

Week 2

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Batman, Batman and Red Hood, Deathstroke, Justice League of America

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Green Lantern Corps, Ravagers

Not Interested - Won't read it next month: Suicide Squad, Superboy

Top Pick: Batman

An excellent Clayface story that makes the classic villain more intelligent and threatening than ever before. Throw in some more Damian mourning and a Batman Beyond reference and you've got a fun ride.

Bottom Pick: Suicide Squad

For the same reason Batwing was on the bottom last week, this week saw major changes to the book that removed a lot of the appeal. In the first 19 issues, members that had died were cleverly revealed to be alive (Yo-Yo) or were brought back as mindless zombies (Voltaic). In this issue it is revealed that any member can be brought back at any time with no consequences... So where's the risk? What's the point of using supervillains instead of just regular soldiers? And what is the incentive for the villains to participate and complete these missions?

Week 3

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Nightwing, Vibe, Wonder Woman

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next month: Supergirl

Top Pick: Vibe

Not anything amazing this week, but Vibe was a solid read. I like the re-imagined Gypsy and the fact she's teaming up with Vibe. I also like Vibe questioning ARGUS and its morals, but I'm wondering what effect this is going to have on his relationship with the JLA. Dale Gunn's marriage seemed a little contrived, an arbitrary change just to get more LGBT characters into the mix.

Bottom Pick: Supergirl

The shift in writing tone from the previous writer is very noticeable, even though the story is continuing directly from the events last month. The dialogue of the sanctuary, intended to be humorous, was downright annoying. I'll keep it around to see where it goes from here.

Weeks 4 and 5

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Batman the Dark Knight Annual, Flash, Green Lantern, Justice League, Talon

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Aquaman, Batman the Dark Knight, Earth 2 Annual, Green Lantern New Guardians, Justice League of America, Justice League Dark, Superman

Not Interested - Won't read it next month: Green Team

Top Pick: Justice League

Geoff Johns' final Green Lantern was emotional at times to be sure, but I found Justice League the most entertaining this week. I'm enjoying the focus on the new team members, and the conversations between Batman and Superman are interesting as well. I'm curious to know more about the joint past of Martian Manhunter and Despero, so hopefully details are coming soon. Finally, the backup reveals the twist in Black Adam's past that everyone should have guessed last issue, but is cool when it happens anyway.

Bottom Pick: Green Team

Not really interested in the concept

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DC New 52 - Month 19

Week 1

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Action Comics, Detective Comics, Swamp Thing

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Animal Man, Batwing, Earth 2, Green Arrow, Green Lantern

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next month: Phantom Stranger

Top Pick: Detective Comics and Swamp Thing

This month's detective comics is the 900th issue special. Like most anniversary issues its much longer and MUCH more expensive, but contains multiple stories and art. Unlike most anniversary issues I've read, it doesn't have 50 different people writing stories and trying to encompass the entire history of the character. I actually liked that most of the stories were written by the current series writer and focused on a central theme, an underused Bat-villain.

Swamp Thing also gets a top pick because I thought it was going to see a severe drop in quality after Snyder's departure, but it didn't. Swamp Thing's internal narration, his conflicts between helping people and humans, and the fact the bad guy is someone other than the Rot all contribute to me liking this issue.

Bottom Pick: Phantom Stranger

I'm not digging Question as a bad guy. I'm sure that's mostly Geoff Johns' doing since it ties into the Trinity War, but this is where we first get to see the Question in a major way in the New 52 and I'm not a fan. Also, Phantom Stranger is responsible for bringing yet another DC character into existence which is cool, but it's going to get old real fast if they all end up being bad guys...

Week 2

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Batman

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Batman and Red Robin, Deathstroke

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next month: Green Lantern Corps, Ravagers, Suicide Squad

Not Interested - Won't read it next month: Threshold

Top Pick: Batman

The only contender for the top spot this week. Snyder takes a break from his long stories to bring us a villain we've seen a hundred times before, but still manages to make it feel fresh and interesting.

Bottom Pick: Threshold

This book showed a lot of potential, so I'm sad to hear its getting cancelled. I'm taking it off my monthly rotation so I can read the entire run at once.

Week 3

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Justice League, Wonder Woman

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Green Lantern: New Guardians, Vibe, Nightwing, Supergirl

Top Pick: Justice League

Honestly, all of the books are on even footing this week. They are entertaining issues, but not a whole lot happens. This issue gets the top pick because of the conversations are slightly more interesting than the other issues. Batman confronts Superman and Wonder Woman about their relationship. Firestorm and Atom pal around up in the Watchtower. Someone steals one of Batman's contingencies against the League (really? again?). Billy starts to learn Black Adam's origin and then runs off like a fool in the middle of it.. good times!

Bottom Pick: Green Lantern: New Guardians

As I said, all of the books are on pretty much even footing. I picked this as the bottom pick because I'm getting bored by the Green Lantern stories and I'm ready for them to wrap up. All of the other series this week feel like they are building up to something exciting happening in the future, whereas the Green Lantern books seem like they're just stalling for time until the finale hits.

Week 4

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Batman: The Dark Knight, Flash, Superman

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Justice League Dark, Talon

Top Pick: Batman: The Dark Knight

Mad Hatter takes it to the next level this issue, with disastrous consequences for the city...

Bottom Pick: none

no major complaints this week

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DC New 52 - Month 18

Week 1

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Detective Comics, Phantom Stranger, Swamp Thing

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Animal Man, Batwing, Earth 2, Green Arrow, Green Lantern

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next month: Superman

Top Pick: Swamp Thing

Bottom Pick: Superman

Week 2

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Batman, Batman and Robin, Deathstroke

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Ravagers, Threshold

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next month: Green Lantern Corps, Suicide Squad

Not Interested - Won't read it next month: Team 7

Top Pick: Batman and Robin

Bottom Pick: Team 7

Week 3

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Justice League, Justice League of America, Vibe

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Green Lantern: New Guardians, Nightwing, Wonder Woman

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next month: Action Comics, Supergirl

Not Interested - Won't read it next month: Birds of Prey, Constantine

Top Pick: Vibe

Bottom Pick: Constantine

Week 4

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Batman: The Dark Knight, Flash, Talon

Good - Solid book, want to read next month: Aquaman, Superman

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next month: Justice League Dark

Not Interested - Won't read it next month: Fury of Firestorm, I Vampire

Top Pick: Batman: The Dark Knight

Bottom Pick: Fury of Firestorm

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My Top Ten - Cartoon Theme Songs

First off, i know this topic has likely been beaten to death. I searched the site and found several similar topics, but they were all at least a year old, so it didn't make sense to post this there. I'm just throwing this out there as an accompaniment to my Top Ten Lists and if other people want to join in on the nostalgia, that's cool!

For this list, I'm looking solely at animated shows - no live-action TV, no animated films, etc. Also, I'm not judging the overall quality of the show itself or even how much I enjoyed that particular show, just the intro and theme song. That means shows without a real intro are out of the running (that means you Young Justice and Green Lantern :-( ). Factors in my decisions will include but are not limited to: how well it serves as an introduction to the show, how catchy it is, how well you remember it after 10 years or so and overall how entertaining it is to watch or listen to. Since one of the factors is how memorable it is, I'm not including any videos so I can do it entirely from memory, so cut me some slack if I get a few details wrong. Finally, it was really hard to narrow this to ten shows, so under each entry I've included an "honorable mention" of another sometimes related, sometimes random show which didn't make the list, but still has a cool opening. Without further ado, let's get this countdown started!

12. Sonic the Hedgehog (1993)

Starting with a couple that would have made the list, had I not run out of slots. Sonic has some pretty upbeat music and entertaining visuals, check it out!

Honorable Mention: Mega Man (1994) - "Super fighting robot... MEGAMAN!"

11. Dexter's Laboratory (1996)

Dee Dee, get out of my lab-or-a-tory!

Honorable Mention: CatDog (1998) - "No blue bunny, no three-eyed frog..."

10. Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983)

Okay, now that we got the preliminaries out of the way, let's get down to business. For a show based on the premise of world famous singing chipmunks with annoyingly high voices, these guys can really sing :-) This intro gets points for introducing the basic concept of the show and hooking you with a catchy (and pretty memorable) tune.

Honorable Mention: Inspector Gadget (1983) - Get outta here Matthew Broderick!

9. DuckTales (1987)

Another golden oldie. I don't remember ever actually watching this show, but for some reason I still remember the opening. The song is catchy as hell and leads you to believe this is possibly the most exciting show on the planet, where they "might solve a mystery... or rewrite history!"

Honorable Mention: Darkwing Duck (1991) - "Let's get dangerous"

8. The Boondocks (2005)

Now let's fast-forward and give a newer show some credit. This hip hop theme instantly sets the mood for the show and the animation gives viewers some idea who the characters are and how they are all bad-ass in very different ways.

Honorable Mention: Samurai Jack (2001) - nuff said

7. Futurama (1999)

From the captions at the beginning (e.g. "Condemned by the Space Pope") to the weird black and white cartoons at the end, this intro sets the tone for the show and lets you know what kind of weird world you're entering. It doesn't really explain the concept of the show like some of the other entries on the list, but from the name of the show, the people transport tubes and the spaceships, you can probably figure out its set in the future. Ultimately the catchy tune puts this on the list.

Honorable Mention: Simpsons (1989) - Possibly one of the most instantly recognizable TV themes

6. Teen Titans (2003)

Introduces all the characters, the concept and still manages to have a catchy song and cool style choices in the visuals. SO much better than the stupid CGI shadow people in the Justice League intro... no disrespect :-)

Honorable Mention: X-Men (1992) - Possibly the most epic intro that didn't make the list. Introduces all the characters and their powers while ramping you up with the music.

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)

This theme song is guaranteed to make kids of a certain age go hyper. It ramps up your excitement until you're bouncing off the walls. It also manages to introduce the entire concept of the show and at least 6 characters without getting bogged down.

Honorable Mention: Captain Planet and the Planeteers (1990) - "The Power is Yours!"

4. Tiny Toon Adventures (1990) & Animaniacs (1993)

I couldn't choose between these two, so I decided to include them as one item since their themes are pretty similar. Catchy songs, an introduction to the concept of the show and then a quick run through of the major characters. Also, compare these lines...

Tiny Toons: "The scripts were rejected, expect the unexpected!"

Animaniacs: "The writers flipped, we have no script, why bother to rehearse?"

Honorable Mention: Pinky and the Brain (1995) - "The same thing we do every night, Pinky... Try to take over the world!"

3. Pokemon (1998)

On to the final three. The bronze medal goes to the English version of the original Pokemon theme. I still well up inside every time I see this, it's so emotional! Kudos to the dubbing company which pretty much came up with their own lyrics since the Japanese version doesn't make any sense.

Honorable Mention: Dragonball Z (1996) - The lyrics didn't make any sense, but look at those epic fights, which is really what we care about!

2. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969)

While other Hanna-Barbera shows like the Flintstones and the Jetsons certainly have classic themes, I think the original Scooby-Doo theme holds up the best over time. The song is catchy and you pretty much have to sing along if you've seen the show at least once. Plus the concept and mood of the show are introduced well.

Honorable Mention: A Pup Named Scooby Doo (1988) - Praised as the show that finally got rid of Scrappy Doo! But also had a pretty cool intro/theme.

1. Batman: The Animated Series (1992)

Obviously, being a comic book fan I have to pick a superhero cartoon for the top spot! The opening is dark, its serious and it lets you know shit is about to get real. The music is a modified version of the theme from the Batman movies of the time, giving it an instantly recognizable Batman feel. Also, any show that doesn't have to actually tell you its title must be pretty bad-ass!

Honorable Mention: Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008) - One word... JUSTICE!

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DC New 52 - Month 17

Week 1

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Batwing, Detective Comics, Earth 2

Good - Solid book, want to read next week: Animal Man, Green Arrow, Phantom Stranger, Swamp Thing

Top Pick: Detective Comics

Bottom Pick: Swamp Thing

It's okay, but I was hoping for something a little more epic for the conclusion of the "Rotworld" storyline...

Week 2

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Batman, Batman and Robin

Good - Solid book, want to read next week: Deathstroke, Ravagers, Suicide Squad, Threshold

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next week: Team 7

Not Interested - Won't read it next week: Katana

Top Pick: Batman

Bottom Pick: Katana

Week 3

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Justice League, Justice League of America, Nightwing, Supergirl, Vibe

Good - Solid book, want to read next week: Birds of Prey, Green Lantern, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Wonder Woman

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next week: Action Comics, DC Universe Presents, Green Lantern Corps

Top Pick: Justice League

Bottom Pick: Green Lantern Corps

Week 4

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Aquaman, Batman: The Dark Knight

Good - Solid book, want to read next week: Flash, I Vampire, Talon

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next week: Fury of Firestorm, Justice League Dark

Top Pick: Aquaman

Bottom Pick: Justice League Dark

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DC New 52 round-up Volume 2

About 9 months ago, I posted a "First Wave" round-up in which I gave "awards" to various New 52 titles that I had enjoyed since the relaunch. Once again, the time has come to stop and reflect on what we've seen so far. The purpose of this is to recognize the hard work of the folks who keep us entertained week-to-week and to promote discussion among those still aboard the New 52 train. Please keep in mind these "awards" are based solely on my personal opinions, but I would love to hear yours as well!

Note: The issues considered for awards varies for each series. Please refer to the "Series Ranking" section of this article to see a full list of included issues by series.

Group/Series Awards

Best Group/Family

Favorite Group Overall - Batman

A well executed crossover event, two entries in the "Best Writing" category and two solid final arcs by Judd Winick earn the Bat-Family the top spot this year. The Night of Owls story did a good job of involving the entire Bat-Family without feeling unnatural or like an interruption in any of the books. Each of the tie-in issues had a similar feel but were unique enough to remain interesting, and it was easy to read any of the books in the event without feeling obligated to track all the others down. You didn't get any "Will Batman live or die? Find out in [Book that you don't really like or care about] #9". To top it off, the anchor of the event, Scott Snyder's Batman was quite excellent. And other books starring Batman like Dark Knight and Incorporated gave us solid stories not related to Owls, although you have to wonder how Batman has enough time to handle THIS many simultaneous menaces...

Least Favorite Group Overall - Young Justice

If Night of Owls was an example of a really good New 52 crossover, The Culling would have to be its complete opposite. For two months, three books were taken over by a sprawling, disjointed and ultimately unsatisfying story about a mysterious villain who needs an army of teenage superheroes for some reason. The inclusion of these issues in previously good series like Superboy and Legion Lost felt like an unwelcome interruption. Ironically, the book to come out of the Culling, The Ravagers, was actually pretty good. Good enough to keep Young Justice from getting the bottom spot next year? Only time will tell... It will pretty much have to support the group by itself since Legion Lost and Blue Beetle (the only book from this group I actually enjoyed) were just canceled.

Best Writing

Gold Medal - Scott Snyder (Batman)

Silver Medal - Tony Bedard (Blue Beetle)

Bronze Medal - Gregg Hurwitz (Batman: The Dark Knight)

Best Interior Art

Gold Medal - Mikel Janin (Justice League Dark)

Silver Medal - Sami Basri (Voodoo)

Bronze Medal - David Finch (Batman: The Dark Knight)

Best Cover Art

Gold Medal - Ryan Sook (Justice League Dark,DC Universe Presents)

Silver Medal - Eddy Barrows (Nightwing)

Bronze Medal - Paul Renaud (Blue Beetle)

Best Writing Team Changes

Gold Medal - Batman: The Dark Knight #10 (Paul Jenkins to Gregg Hurwitz)

Silver Medal - Justice League Dark #9 (Peter Milligan to Jeff Lemire)

Bronze Medal - Superman #7 (George Perez to Keith Giffen & Dan Jurgens)

After reading these 52 series, Humanfly...

Was most pleasantly surprised by - Ravagers, Earth 2

Was most disappointed by - Legion Lost, Red Lanterns

Character/Continuity Awards

Existing characters benefiting from New 52:

  • Al Pratt & Terry Sloan (Earth 2)
  • Vandal Savage (DC Universe Presents)
  • Amadeus Arkham (All Star Western)
  • Steve Trevor (Justice League)
  • Heat Wave (Flash)

Existing characters hurt by New 52:

  • Green Arrow (Green Arrow)
  • Captain Comet (Action Comics)
  • Power Girl (Worlds Finest)
  • Omen (Teen Titans)
  • Lobo (Deathstroke)
  • Ganthet (Green Lantern, New Guardians)

Existing characters I'm waiting to see:

  • Red Tornado - Hinted at in Earth 2
  • Spartan - Hinted at in a couple books
  • Geo-Force - Possibly in an upcoming Ravagers?
  • Aqualad - Aqualad 1 has been hinted at in Aquaman, but no sign of Aqualad 2
  • Miss Martian - Seen on a computer screen in Teen Titans #1

Most interesting new characters:

  • Kassidy Sage (DC Universe Presents)
  • The Others (Aquaman)
  • Darwin Elias (Flash)
  • Lincoln March (Batman)
  • Bat-Cow (Batman Incorporated)
  • Invictus (Green Lantern: New Guardians)
  • Yo-Yo (Suicide Squad)
  • Vyndktvx (Action Comics)

Least interesting new characters:

  • Harvest (Teen Titans)
  • David Graves (Justice League)
  • Essence (Red Hood and the Outlaws)
  • Rankorr (Red Lanterns)

Continuity changes

Best: Aquaman was on a team before the Justice League

Worst: Tim Drake was never "Robin"

Series Ranking within group (top=best, bottom=worst)

Justice League Group

  1. Earth 2 (1-6,0)
  2. Wonder Woman (7-12)
  3. Flash (9-12,0,Annual)
  4. Aquaman (7-13)
  5. DC Universe Presents (9-12,0)
  6. Justice League International (7-12,Annual)
  7. Justice League (7-12)
  8. Savage Hawkman (9-16,0)
  9. Captain Atom (7-12,0)
  10. Worlds' Finest (1-5,0)
  11. Fury of Firestorm (7-12,0)
  12. Green Arrow (7-14)

Batman Group

  1. Batman: The Dark Knight (10-15,0)
  2. Batman (8-12,Annual)
  3. Batwing (7-12)
  4. Catwoman (7-12)
  5. Batman Incorporated (1-6,0)
  6. Nightwing (8-12)
  7. Birds of Prey (8-12,0)
  8. Batman and Robin (9-14,0)
  9. Batgirl (7-13,Annual)
  10. Red Hood and the Outlaws (8-14)
  11. Batwoman (6-11)
  12. Detective Comics (8-12,Annual)

Superman Group

  1. Supergirl (8-13,0)
  2. Superman (7-12,Annual)
  3. Action Comics (9-12,0,Annual)
  4. Superboy (8-13,0)

Green Lantern Group

  1. Green Lantern (7-12,Annual)
  2. Green Lantern: New Guardians (8-12)
  3. Green Lantern Corps (8-12)
  4. Red Lanterns (8-12)

The Dark Group

  1. Justice League Dark (7-13,0,Annual)
  2. Resurrection Man (8-12,0)
  3. Animal Man (7-12,Annual)
  4. I Vampire (7-12)
  5. Swamp Thing (8-12)
  6. Demon Knights (8-12,0)
  7. Dial H (1-6,0)
  8. Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE (8-12)

The Edge Group

  1. Suicide Squad (8-13)
  2. All-Star Western (7-12)
  3. Grifter (9-16,0)
  4. Voodoo (7-12,0)
  5. Deathstroke (9-14,0)
  6. Stormwatch (7-12)
  7. GI Combat (1-7,0)

Young Justice Group

  1. Blue Beetle (7-12)
  2. Ravagers (1-7,0)
  3. Legion of Super-Heroes (8-14,0)
  4. Teen Titans (8-12,Annual)
  5. Legion Lost (8-16,0)

Closing Thoughts on Canceled Series

Blue Beetle

At a convention, somebody (maybe Dan Didio) said that it was always hard to cancel a book because 'every book is somebody's favorite'. Blue Beetle might not be my favorite book, but I'm definitely upset its getting canceled. It had a lighter tone than most in the New 52, which made it refreshing to read. There was a lot of humor, but also a lot of realism. Jaime is just a regular kid who now has the ultimate WMD fused to his body and has no idea what to do. Sometimes he'll try to get advice from other superheroes like Kyle Rayner or Booster Gold and end up in a big mess. Sometimes he'll try to do what he thinks is right and ends up on the hero-bashing website "Superfail". Sometimes he'll argue with the AI of his scarab and end up saying something out loud that confuses or angers people (e.g. shouting "I am NOT aroused" when fighting Red Lantern Bleez). Whatever the situation, it was an entertaining read the whole way through and I'm sorry to see it go. Hopefully the character will be treated well in his new home: Threshold.

Resurrection Man

This book holds the distinction of being the first comic I was still buying on a monthly basis when it got canceled. I liked the first series and thought the returning writers did a good job making the new series similar but different. The fight between heaven and hell for Mitch's soul as well as his mysterious past at the "Lab" were interesting themes, and managed to keep me engaged through the last page of the final issue. Unlike many books that get canceled, this one did a good job resolving its plot points and tying up its loose ends without seeming like it was changing the direction of the book or rushing to reach the conclusion before cancelation. Farewell Mitch, hopefully you'll rise again soon!

Justice League International

Although this book did not meet my initial expectations, it grew on me. I thought it was a good way of showcasing not-so-heavy hitters of the DCU. That being said, this book did have its problems. The government bureaucracy and nagging got tiresome pretty quickly. I was also not a fan of the rather abrupt roster change only 6 issues in which took 4 of the minor international heroes and the 2 supporting characters out of play and replaced them with characters who already had their own books. There were also a few inconsistencies with other books. A minor example: in JLI Batman is very supportive of Booster and his team, but in Justice League he tells Trevor they are an embarrassment and he wants them shut down. Ultimately, it seems like this book was canceled to make room for Justice League of America, so hopefully it will be worth it!

Grifter

I had fairly lukewarm feelings about this book in the beginning, and actually enjoyed it better when Liefeld and Tieri took over. I think Tieri's humorous script fit the character well. However, I don't think this book did as good of a job at wrapping up once it knew it was getting canceled. There's a pretty abrupt story shift and the plots made less sense (possibly because of Liefeld's departure?), making it fairly obvious they had to scramble to think of some conclusion for the book that was different than the original plan. I guess I'll have to get my Wildstorm fix from Team 7 now...

Voodoo

I loved the first couple issues of this series (written by Ron Marz). They were edgy, sexy, filled with spy drama and managed to make me want to follow a character that I previously didn't care about. This was all thrown out the window after the creative team change. Suddenly, the character we had gotten to know was relegated to stereotypical "bad guy" while a new character was brought in to act as the hero. Within a couple more issues, the supporting staff Marz had introduced was killed off and replaced with a character from possibly the worst New 52 title (sorry Blackhawks...). It took a while for me to wash the bad taste out of my mouth and give this title another shot, and by that time it had been canceled. Looking back on it, the new writer did not do such a bad job. The book was still interesting and the artwork remained superb. Ultimately, I believe the blame for the demise of this series lies with the editors who wanted to take the title in "a new direction" from what had been a promising beginning.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.

I have to say, I'm not terribly disappointed to see this one go. When it first came out, I saw it as a weak link in an otherwise stellar Dark Group, despite the fact I greatly enjoyed the other books written by Lemire. When I returned to the series for this round-up, I found that I enjoyed Lemire's last couple issues, but did not enjoy the book as much after the creative team change. I am glad that Lemire has brought Frankenstein over to Justice League Dark so the character does not languish in limbo after cancelation. I actually think its a better fit for the character, to be in a loosely affiliated group of supernatural allies rather than beholden to Father Time and the government.

Captain Atom

I was a fan of the old Captain Atom series written by Cary Bates, but have noticed that he has lacked a consistent characterization since then. One week, he'd be a hard-nosed no-nonsense soldier, the next week he'd be the next big supervillain, then he'd be a regular superhero again. The New 52 series gave a completely new feel to the character: basically his powers are at god-like levels and he spends much of the time trying to figure out what he is, how much humanity he has left and how much he should do with his powers. He reminded me a little too much of Dr. Manhattan, even though they are related I think its best if they remain distinct characters. I liked some of the concepts in this series (like Cap trying to cure cancer, and the repercussions of this), but I was not a fan of the artwork. The artwork, along with the slow and sometimes repetitive nature of this comic caused me to drop it.

G.I. Combat

Not too much to say on this one. I enjoyed the 'War that Time Forgot' stories, but did not care for the Unknown Soldier or Haunted Tank. I am not generally a fan of war titles, but this seemed like a good attempt by DC to give them another shot. Since this is the second war title in a row to be canceled in less than ten issues, I have to imagine it will be a while before we see another one in the DCU.

Legion Lost

I enjoyed the first several issues of this series and was worried when I heard a new writer was coming on. To my relief, the first issue by DeFalco was really good, and I was happy to see the new direction the book was taking: essentially the Legionnaires trapped in the past trying to figure out how they're going to live in this world now that they've completed their mission. Unfortunately, that new direction only lasted one issue before the entire focus of the book shifted over to Harvest and stuff going on in Teen Titans. I would have been fine with Legion's inclusion in the "Culling" if it was just another bunch of teen heroes Harvest was trying to pick up and their association with him ended after those two issues. Instead, they made Harvest an integral part of the book and claimed that he was somehow responsible for all of them coming to the past and getting trapped there. If this book had focused more on the culture shock of being stuck 1000 years in the past, and less on love triangles, secrets and unfulfilled prophecies, I might have been sadder to see it go.

2 Comments

DC New 52 - Month 16

Week 1

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Batwing, Detective Comics, Earth 2

Good - Solid book, want to read next week: Animal Man, Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual, Swamp Thing

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next week: Action Comics, Phantom Stranger

Top Pick: Batwing

Bottom Pick: Action Comics

Week 2

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: none...

Good - Solid book, want to read next week: Batman, Batman and Robin, Deathstroke, Ravagers, Threshold

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next week: Suicide Squad, Team 7

Top Pick: Batman

Bottom Pick: Team 7

Week 3

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Green Lantern, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Nightwing

Good - Solid book, want to read next week: Birds of Prey, DC Universe Presents, Green Lantern Corps, Justice League, Supergirl, Wonder Woman

Top Pick: Green Lantern

Bottom Pick: Supergirl

Week 4

Great - Awesome, top picks of the week: Aquaman, Batman and Robin Annual, Flash

Good - Solid book, want to read next week: Batman: The Dark Knight, Fury of Firestorm, Green Lantern Corps Annual, Justice League Dark, Superman, Talon

Okay - Not the best, but will give another shot next week: I Vampire

Top Pick: Batman and Robin Annual

Bottom Pick: I Vampire

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