The Final New 52 Power Ranking

This is it. It’s officially been one year since the launch of the New 52, which means it’s time for me to fully examine the initiative. Over the year I’ve rated each book I’ve read and compiled a top 10 list of my favorite books. I’ll be discussing the list, what I liked, and what I didn’t like. There’s a lot to be said, so let’s jump right in!

Top 10 Books

Ranking

Title

Average Score (Out of 10)

Original New 52 Ranking

1

Green Lantern

9.10

Batman

2

Swamp Thing

9.07

 I, Vampire

3

I, Vampire

9.04

 Animal Man

4

Batman

9.00

 Wonder Woman

5

Animal Man

8.80

 The Flash

6

Justice League

8.72

Green Lantern

7

Action Comics

8.52

Aquaman

8

Wonder Woman

8.45

 Green Lantern: New Guardians

9

Aquaman

8.40

 Action Comics

10

OMAC

8.26

 Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.

When the New 52 launched, I read every single first issue and reviewed all of them. Of course, it was impossible to keep up that level of commitment, so after the first month I only read the books I truly enjoyed. As the months went on my list became more refined as I dropped some titles, some of which I later came back to. I began reading about 20 titles a month, with that number now closer to around 13. Of the titles in my original top 10 list, I am still following 7.

Green Lantern was the book that really got me into monthly comics. It’s the book I always look forward to the most month in and out and that has only become more true with a major upswing in quality post New 52. Unfortunately the other Green Lantern books have not fared as well.  Green Lantern: New Guardians had a sense of youthful wonder to it when it launched, but dragged on over the course of its year-long story arc. Year 2 of the title looks extremely promising with a new artist, new team mates, and a new mission for Kyle. The relaunch of Green Lantern Corps saw the return of Peter Tomasi to the title. Tomasi’s run on GLC from Sinestro Corps War through Blackest Night was absolutely spectacular. Unfortunately, Tomasi has failed to catch that same lighting, with two meandering story arcs that failed to give much of the character development the title was known for under his pen. Red Lanterns was the major newcomer to the GL family and it is also the worst book of the bunch. It’s a complete shame, as Atrocitus is a great character under creator Geoff Johns, and Peter Milligan is a very capable writer. The book is scatterbrained and decompressed to the extreme, with pitiful dialogue to boot. It’s just not an enjoyable read, as much as I wish it was. I must admit however that I enjoy Rankorr, a newly created Red Lantern from earth, and hope that he will play a greater role in the ongoing Green Lantern narrative.

Swamp Thing and Animal Man were two of the consistently best books on the stands. While Animal Man had the stronger characters and plot, Swamp Thing had better action and art. It’s really incredible the cord that Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire have struck in crafting these two titles.

I, Vampire is a book that I was extremely surprised by. It is a book that is not afraid to do extremely unconventional things with its characters and defies a lot of the tropes you would expect to find in a vampire book. Definitely the most under appreciated gem at DC right now.

Scott Snyder won my heart with his run on Detective Comics pre-New 52, and came out of the gate strong with the first few issues of Batman. However, the Court of Owls story line ran a little long in the tooth and was greatly marred by a lackluster final issue. While overall it is one of the best books at DC, my disappointment in the Court of Owls arc and the $3.99 price tag have greatly hindered my interest in Snyder’s Batman.

The New 52’s flagship title had a rocky run in its first year. The opening arc was beautiful to look at, but a little lacking in character development. The loss of Jim Lee on art in the middle of the year hurt the book a bit, but better characterization and the addition of the Shazam back up feature bolstered the quality. The final four issue arc saw the return of Jim Lee and set up some extremely intriguing plot threads for the coming year.

Let’s get it out of the way, Grant Morrison’s Action Comics is no All Star Superman. However, the book has had some great moments. The first issue of the book was fantastic, showing an everyman Superman that many have clamored for. The tw0-issue interlude featuring the Legion and art by Andy Kubert was rife with classic Morrison creativity and love for silver age ideas not commonly found in the New 52. The one-off issue featuring the President Superman of Earth 23 was the best issue of the run so far. All in all this title has had a solid run that will wrap up in the not too distant future.

Wonder Woman was a book that I had several ups and downs with. I absolutely adored the first issue (it was my 4th favorite out of 52 books), but I found following issues to be slightly confusing and haphazardly plotted. Furthermore, the addition of Tony Akins as a fill-in artist on the title really hurt the book’s overall appear. I eventually dropped the book about 8 issues in.  However, the final cliffhanger of issue 12 caught my attention, causing me to return and catch up on what I had missed, and boy am I glad I did.

Aquaman is one of the best looking books at DC, but it is not Geoff John’s best work. The opening arc with the Trench was refreshingly short and hinted at a typical Johnsian, slow burning epic. The Other story-arc, which as still yet to wrap, was decompressed to the point where I literally could not remember what had happened in the previous issue. The Others themselves have hardly been developed to the point where they can be appreciated as individual characters. This was an amazing book in the first half of the year, but the second half was not so kind.

Finally, I want to mention O.M.A.C., a book that I enjoyed very much and was sad to see canceled. I’ve said all I want to say in earlier post, so let’s just have a moment of silence for the book……

And with that, I give you my final New 52 Power Ranking. If I do continue to do power rankings they will be inclusive of all publishers. Check back this week when I’ll be posting my New 52 Year One Cheers and Jeers!

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