New 52 Power Rankings: May 2012

Last month I mentioned that my top 10 list was becoming a bit stagnant with the same titles appearing over and over at similar rankings. However, with DC’s second wave and a few interesting creative changes, things got shaken up a bit in the month of May. As usual, here are my 10 favorite books from DC’s New 52 last month.

Top 10 Books

Ranking

Title

Last Month

Total Months in Top 10

1

Batman Incorporated

N/A

 2

2

Action Comics

N/A

 6

3

Animal Man

8

 8

4

Earth 2

N/A

 1

5

Green Lantern

5

 9

6

Swamp Thing

4

 8

7

Justice League

6

 8

8

Dial H N/A

 1

9

Justice League Dark

N/A

 1

10

Green Lantern: New Guardians

 N/A

 5

I already spoke about Batman Incorporated, Earth 2, and Dial H, which took the 1st, 4th, and 8th spots, respectively, at great length in my reviews for those books earlier this month (sorry for all those commas). All three books are extremely refreshing additions to DC’s monthly comic line and I really look forward to seeing what they bring in the future. Check out my reviews for the books to read more about what I thought about them.

Grant Morrison was on a roll in May, writing my two favorite books of the month. Action Comics #9 was a strange beast of an issue. The issue features a one and done story of President Superman, the Superman of Earth 23 previously written by Morrison in the last issue of Final Crisis. The issue starts out as a standard battle between Superman and Lex Luthor, until parallel versions of Clark, Lois, and Jimmy come through a multiversal portal (comics, everybody). This Lois tells the tale of how the three of them came up with a way to create their ideal Superman and how corporate greed turned him into a monster. Morrison is doing some pretty great meta-commentary on creator rights, an extremely relevant topic in almost any industry today but especially the comic book industry. Morrison makes some pretty clear jabs against the industry and DC Comics itself. Meta-Morrison aside, this was the single greatest issue of his run yet. I really would love for Morrison to revisit the characters of Earth 23, or possibly even other realities.

Jeff Lemire hit readers with a one-two punch of Animal Man in May in the form of Animal Man #9 and Animal Man Annual #1. Animal Man proper continued the ongoing story of Buddy Baker’s battle against the rot. There are some terrific scenes here and I really feel that artist Steve Pugh is really coming into his own after the departure of Travel Foreman, whose distinctive art became one of the major draws of Animal Man in my opinion. Of the two books, I enjoyed Animal Man Annual a lot more. The issue featured Socks the cat (man I love that character) telling a story of the last time the Red and the Green battled against the Rot to Maxine. We’re taken to late 19th century Canada (this is a Lemire book) where we meet a family that parallel’s the Baker family. There are some interesting revelations in this issue with implications for the upcoming Rotworld crossover. Artist Timothy Green II was a very inspired pick for this issue and I honestly wouldn’t mind if he was Animal Man’s regular artist.

Geoff John’s Green Lantern saga continues to twist and turn. This month’s issue finally delivered the origin of the mysterious Indigo Tribe, first introduced nearly 50 issues ago. This Indigo Tribe arc has me excited about the GL books in a way I haven’t been since Blackest Night. The tone and themes of this issue make me feel that John’s is building towards something extremely big, possibly even the conclusion of his years-long opus. Whatever he has up his sleeve, I can’t wait to see what happens.

Snyder’s Swamp Thing finally reached the end of its first arc this month. I feel like the fight between Alec and Abby ended a little abruptly with a sort of Deus Ex Machina Swamp Thing power, but the emotional resonance of the scene where the two embrace, which harkens back to Alan Moore’s run, was great pay off. Snyder is known for crafting extremely long story arcs but I feel like this one could’ve been an issue or two shorter. Nevertheless, the issue’s end has me all kinds of excited.

The Justice League family of books are better than ever with the latest issue of Justice League and Justice League Dark. Justice League saw the return of fan favorite artist Jim Lee and kicks off a new story arc titled “The Villains Journey.” After a rough opening arc and a few interesting but filler-ish issues, Johns finally starts telling the character driven stories he’s known for. There are some great moments between the members of the League, but the spotlight of this issue is still on the League’s handler, Steve Trevor. I didn’t expect to care much for this character at first, but he is quickly becoming DC’s answer to Marvel’s Agent Coulson (R.I.P.). Jeff Lemire took the reigns of JL Dark this month and treats the issue almost like a new #1, with a new direction and a reshuffled team. John Constantine is the star here and I think Lemire captures the character well. The issue also brings in Steve Trevor and touches on some of the events of DC’s Free Comic Book Day issue, giving this book a much need tie to the core DCU. It’s nice to see DC bringing its major team books in line, especially with the Trinity War looming on the horizon.

Finally, Green Lantern: New Guardians makes the jump back onto the chart after a string of lackluster issues. This issue puts the spotlight on the Blue Lantern Corps for the first time since Blackest Night. The corps has grown since then and Tony Bedard and Tyler Kirkham introduce a lot of visually interesting new characters. It’s kind of sad that the members of the other corps haven’t gotten much fleshing out, and I’d love to see these characters get a chance to shine. The conflict for this issue comes from an invasion of the Reach, an alien race of conquerors from the Blue Beetle mythos, on the Blue Lantern homeworld. This is the first time we’ve ever got to see the Blue Lanterns act in an offensive capacity on a large scale and it does a great job to dispel the notion that they are the weakest of the corps. Also, while it has been building for a while, this issue calls attention to the various attacks on the corps, even making mention of the recent War of the Green Lanterns. I think Bedard is giving us a peak at Geoff Johns’ endgame for his upcoming GL stories. We knew that the Guardians were attempting to eradicate the Green Lantern Corps, so it makes since they would try to eradicate all the corps. I’m nerding out a little bit, but this is the best the GL books have been in a while, so color (hehe) me excited. (Sidenote: New Guardians had a semi-crossover with the aforementioned Blue Beetle this month. It’s definitely worth checking out as it fills in a bit of story between New Guardians #8 and #9. Plus it features some hilarious moments with Bleez).

And there they are, my 10 favorite books for the month of May, check back next month as always and you can bet your bottom I’ll talk about June’s books too.

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