A lot of this – fair. They do have lots of problems with their direction. They also have problems with their editorial policy, which has driven many talented writers away. But one thing I do see aimed at them is that they don’t have any quality titles, whilst Marvel have Hawkeye, Daredevil, Young Avengers and so on. Is that true? Probably, yes. Daredevil is a masterpiece, after all.
I do think these books are all very good, however. If you want to try DC, these are the ones I’d suggest:
This is the top of DC’s pile. This is the book they should be putting everything behind. Jeff Lemire’s build an impressive mythos into Green Arrow’s world, and he’s aided by some absolutely sensational artwork from Andrea Sorrentino. It’s phenomenal work.
Although it upset a lot of Wonder Woman fans because it ignored dead continuity and went in its own direction, Azzarello and Chiang’s Wonder Woman has been the strongest run the character has enjoyed in years and years. A complaint is that Wondy herself doesn’t get enough focus in the storyline, but over time it’s become clear that Azzarello has a very determined route for her, and his choices for the character will hopefully be set in stone as ‘the’ approach everybody else should use.
The best selling comic, Batman has had a steady creative team since the start – Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and Jonathan Glapion. I’ve felt that some arcs were better than others, and the horror vibe hasn’t worked as well as the straight drama and action sequences. Death of the Family didn’t really work, for example. But Zero Year has been an interesting mix of the past and present versions of the Batman myth, and it’s headed down some unexpected and fun paths.
I quite liked the Geoff Johns run, but Jeff Parker’s run has taken on the character and pushed him further. I was too young to know about the “Aquaman is rubbish” idea which most people seem to have set in stone, so I’ve enjoyed most of the stuff I’ve read with the character. It helps that the current run has kept Mera – a better character than Aquaman – in the spotlight, stealing every scene she’s in. It’s been good fun, the last two issues in particular.
Grant Morrison’s run was a mess, if you ask me. It was incoherent, strained credulity, and suffered from some bad artwork. Greg Pak is on the title now, though, and he immediately set the new direction for Superman. His run so far has seen the character be far more compassionate, honest, and genuine than the mess that was Morrison’s Clark Kent; and the introduction of Lana Lang has been a great success.
Jeff Lemire again. The run has been slowly paced, and Rotworld was a languorous, fairly dull storyline. Since moving away from it, however, Lemire has hit Buddy Baker with a massive tragedy and written stories which feel horribly personal, intimate, and involving. Animal Man has been on the rise over the last few months, and the recent Annual was an incredibly moving piece of work. That was a stunning issue.
Those are just the comics in the mainstream DC superhero universe – not looking at Vertigo, or Injustice, or any of their other books. There *are* good comics coming out from DC. And, well, they all seem to be solo titles. Interesting, that.
If those were the only comics DC put out, they’d be on the same level as Valiant (whom I believe are the current gold standard for superhero publishing). It’s disappointing that the most individualistic books are the one which have done so well, and yet DC seem so determined to establish company rules for the majority of their other titles – which range from decent to awful.
Tell you what, though – when was the last time DC had a good Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman title? Flash, Green Lantern, and Aquaman are all decent as well. Time to bring on a Cyborg book, perhaps?