Curated: Uncommitted DC

This list is meant to appeal to casual fans, curious fans, or fans who just want a good tale, but do not want to get bogged down in continuity or have to wait for the next collection to see what happens. This is stuff you could easily gift for new fans, or use as an introduction to a new character for yourself.

Batman: White Knight

What you need to know: You do not have been reading any of the current titles. This is an alternate take on the Batman, one that often feels a bit like a video game in its pacing. There are sequels to this that are currently ongoing, but Batman: White Knight stands incredibly well on its own. This series feels familiar and fresh in equal measure.

Collects: Batman: White Knight 1-8

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands

The first of a few year one/origin style tales on this list. This one is a bit unique in that the original creator has come back to do a modern retelling of his creation’s origin. It is fresh, both in story and in visuals as we follow the adventures of Jefferson Pierce, who is not exactly seen as a hero in the vein of Superman, Wonder Woman or others. Extremely satisfying storytelling.

Collects: Black Lightning Cold Dead Hands 1-6

JLA/JSA: Virtue & Vice Graphic Novel

Throughout the Silver Age and early Bronze Age, there was a tradition of yearly crossovers featuring the JLA/JSA. Now that both teams reside on the same earth, that tradition has largely been dropped. JLA/JSA Virtue & Vice takes a modern approach, giving us a big graphic novel with some fantastic storytelling. And then there are quiet moments featuring Superman and Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern that bookend this tale; comic book perfection.

Martian Manhunter: Identity TPB

Like Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, this a modern retelling of a classic character. This time the Martian Manhunter’s takes the spotlight with an origin tale possessing incredible depth and nuance, both narratively and visually. Truly one of the best stories DC has put out in recent readers, and it certainly leaves the reader wanting more, and wondering why they do not get more of these self-contained stories.

Collects: Martian Manhunter (Vol. 4) 1-12

Mister Miracle TPB

This one has been raved about by all corners of the internet, so if you are one of the few that has not read this recent epic, you should really just bow to peer pressure. In many ways, this series comes the closest to the original heart Jack Kirby’s, with some incredible modern flourishes.

Collects: Mister Miracle (Vol. 4)

Robin: Year One

Often referred to in other reviews and even on another Curated List (Dick Grayson by Chuck Dixon), but that is the instantly accessibility of this four issue Year One tale. Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty ad Javier Pulido have easily created on the best Dick Grayson as Robin stories you will ever read. When reviewers refer to art pieces that are love letters to previous interpretations, this easily fits that mould.

Collects: Robin: Year One 1-4

Superman Unchained

Scott Snyder’s take on the Man of Steel, with Jim Lee along for the pictures. This blockbuster is surprisingly contained to just nine issues, including back up features. Even people who are not fans of Superman need to check this one out; it is well worth the read. Action packed, big storytelling and high-octane adventure.

Collects: Superman Unchained 1-9

Mr Miracle Review

The critically acclaimed limited series is collected, giving readers a complete look at, including alternate covers, of this modern day classic. If that sounded like hyperbole, it would befitting imitation of a series that truly blew things up, out and sometimes even out of proportion during its original twelve issue run. A long standing character within the DC Universe, this Jack Kirby New Gods creation has had several attempts at a series under various creative teams, with limited success. It is perhaps a twist of fate that the character hits a new high with a purposeful limited series such as this one by Tom King and Mitch Gerads.

No square inch of space is wasted in any of the issues. Brilliantly illustrated by Mitch Gerads, he is classic in his depictions of Mister Miracle, Big Barda and even Darkseid, but also pushes the series and its stories into compelling and sometimes confounding visuals. It is not just Gerads pencils that need to be highlighted, but the fact it was also inked and coloured by him hits home his brilliance as an artist, and that of his artistic vision.

Thematically and narratively the series is just as rich, layered and nuanced as the artwork that visually tells this tale. Many reviewers have already expounded on the various theories on the opening moments of the book, whether or not this was Scott Free’s status throughout the series, or even what it all means in the end. Those have all been brilliant analyses, and one that this reviewer does not wish to expound on. There are a wide variety of views on how to interpret the series, and even if you take writer Tom King at face value, there is still a lot of material to diverge from and speculate with.

This is most definitely a story about life, death and rebirth, but it is also when you dig a little deeper, a man having a mid life crisis. However, when you are a literal god, what does an existential crisis look like exactly? Is it the perpetual nature of existence where Scott and Barda will possibly never die, but be locked in perpetual war against Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips, or is the crushing banality of mundane earthly existences and impending parenthood? Between wars, Scott and Barda kick back in their condo, discussing the state of their lives, and argue over whether or not they even need a kitchen as large as theirs, when all they do is order take-out. It is this sort of scripting that leads to such an entertaining tale. Jack Kirby laid the original groundwork with the New Gods saga fifty years ago. We know that the struggle between New Genesis and Apokolips is eternal; King and Gerads make it almost window dressing, a necessary inclusion to the plot, but not necessarily the plot thread we should be focussing all of our attention on.

This is perhaps the best highlighted when Darkseid comes to “visit’ Scott and Barda on Earth. While most would laugh at the comedy of Darkseid eating a carrot stick, there is more going on in that scene. The war is waged on many fronts, and often diplomacy is a better weapon than brutal force. We could have been given yet another fight scene, instead we are given something a little different, with a bit of good absurdist fun thrown in for good measure.

It perhaps comes as no surprise that this limited series nabbed three Eisner Awards; one for each of its creative team members, and one for Best Limited Series. And even if you don’t believe the hype or hyperbole, take it back to its core; an extremely well written, incredibly illustrated, self-contained story featuring a classic hero in a timeless struggle between good and evil. It truly does not get much better than this, and deserves every single accolade it receives.

Collects: Mister Miracle (Vol. 4) 1-12

Earth-9 Podcast – Ep26 – Traps & Trapezes

This week its Jim and Mike talking comics!! Jim is up to date with Nightwing so delves into the current rebirth run, Mike talks about some books he’s read recently including Superman: Smashes the Klan and we take some time to chat about Mr Miracle. Also we need your suggestions for some books to read, so message us on Twitter or Instagram with your recommendations.