DC Rebirth has been an unequivocal success for DC Comics, transitioning the publisher out of the New 52’s PR quagmire (even when the comics were good, there was a malaise around the line) into the premier Big 2 superhero lineup.
Keep in mind that I’m including every issue of the recommended essential series below, from the first two years of DC Rebirth. This will give you a whole lot of comics to read, but as always, it’s not necessarily essential to read each and every piece. If you’re not feeling Batman (*audible gasp!*), move on to Superman, and so on.
Related: Complete DC Rebirth reading order
DC Rebirth Comics Fast Track
Superman: Road to Rebirth
Sets up Superman’s essential role in the foundation of DC Rebirth with two New 52 era collections.
Superman’s “Road to Rebirth” is a good set-up for the new era of DC as a whole, both as a primer for the direction of the Superman corner, and as a clear indicator that what’s past is prologue.
Although Rebirth gets all the accolades of moving on from the New 52, the comics continually reference and build off continuity established during the maligned DC relaunch. The saving grace is that Rebirth blends that New 52 continuity with the complete history of DC.
Lois and Clark is a true test of this approach, bringing in the pre-New 52 Superman mythos via the throwaway 2015 DC event Convergence. It’s almost the antithesis of new reader friendly, but somehow it works.
So long story short, if you feel confused by the world-building, dont’ worry, that’s inevitable. Keep calm and carry on and you’ll enter Rebirth safely soon enough!
Collects: Superman: Lois and Clark #1 to #8
Actions Comics #51
Superman/Wonder Woman #28
Action Comics #52
Superman/Wonder Woman #29
The Rebirth omnibus collects all the one-shot Rebirth specials for the major characters of the DC Universe. Note that a number of these Rebirth specials are also collected in the first volume of each respective character’s collected comics.
The biggest exception is of course DC Universe: Rebirth #1, which is absolutely essential reading to understand our progression from the New 52 to DC Rebirth. Don’t worry, if that’s all you’re after, the issue is $2.99.
Do you need to read every DC Rebirth one-shot to understand the upcoming comics? No, of course not! At the end of the day, you only need the one-shots for the series you plan to read.
Collects: Aquaman: Rebirth #1, Batgirl & The Birds Of Prey: Rebirth #1, Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1, Batman: Rebirth #1, Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1, Cyborg: Rebirth #1, Deathstroke: Rebirth #1, DC Universe: Rebirth #1, Green Arrow: Rebirth #1, Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1, Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1, Hellblazer: Rebirth #1, Justice League: Rebirth #1, Nightwing: Rebirth #1, Red Hood And The Outlaws: Rebirth #1, Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1, Supergirl: Rebirth #1, Superman: Rebirth #1, Teen Titans: Rebirth #1, The Flash: Rebirth #1, Titans: Rebirth #1, Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1
Superman by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
If nothing else, DC Rebirth re-establishes Superman (and the below Action Comics) as core, essential, and delightfully good DC comics.
Tomasi and Gleason (coming off an excellent ride on the New 52’s Batman & Robin) are particularly well-suited for Superman, breathing new life into the man of steel through family adventure and quiet moments of being a parent.
Collects: Superman: Rebirth #1, Superman #1 to #6
Collects: Superman #7 to #13
This is where Superman becomes one of Rebirth’s best comics, with a family adventure comic on the level of good Fantastic Four or The Incredibles.
Collects: Superman #14 to #17, Superman Annual #1
Hot dog I love this comic, riding high on the coattails of Grant Morrison’s Multiversity.
Collects: Superman #20 to #26
Collects: Superman #27 to #32
Collects: Superman #33-36 And #39-41
Action Comics by Dan Jurgens
Whereas Superman gets to (primarily) play ball in Smallville, Action Comics spends more time in the traditional Metropolis setting. Dan Jurgens work as writer on the series also builds towards most of the huge, big picture storylines that impact DC continuity as a whole, including Superman: Reborn and “The Oz Effect.”
If you’re looking to start a quarterback controversy, I definitely prefer Superman to Action Comics, but as always, everyone’s mileage may vary.
Collects: Action Comics #957 to #962
Collects: Justice League #52, Action Comics #963 to #966
Collects: Actions Comics #967 to #972
Collects: Action Comics #977 to #984
Crossover reading order should go as follows (thanks to Matt and Sean in the comments below!):
Suicide Squad #17: Earthlings on Fire: Part 2: Page 1-17
Action Comics #979: Revenge: Part 1
Suicide Squad #17: Earthlings on Fire: Part 2: Page 18-end
Suicide Squad #18: Earthlings on Fire: Part 3: Page 1-12
Action Comics #980: Revenge: Part 2
Suicide Squad #18: Earthlings on Fire: Part 3: Page 13-end
Suicide Squad #19: Earthlings on Fire: Part 4
Action Comics #981-984: Revenge: Part 3-6
Note that Action Comics continues in additional volumes, but I call out the next story arc, “The Oz Effect” on its own below.
Tom King’s Batman
While there are many, many talented creators working in comics, Tom King has steadily cemented a place as my favorite comic book writer during the time since Rebirth launched.
Oddly, King’s takeover on Batman (following the excellent run by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo) was his rockiest start. The early Batman issues oscillate between interesting and merely fine, until the series grows into something truly special through “The War of Jokes and Riddle” and “Terms of Engagement.”
Now (at the start of 2018), Batman is a can’t miss read every other week, as King writes alongside the incredible creative talents of Mikel Janin, Lee Weeks, Clay Mann, and Joelle Jones (among many others).
Collects: Batman: Rebirth #1, Batman #1 to #6
There is some overlap with the first Bat-family crossover and the subsequent collections, but this will give you the crossover in its intended order.
Do not read if monster designs straight out of Bloodborne and Dark Souls keep you up at night!
Collects: Batman #7, Nightwing #5, Detective Comics #941, Batman #8, Nightwing #6, Detective Comics #942
Collects: Batman #9 to #15
Collects: Batman #16 to #20, #23 to #24, Batman Annual #1
Collects: Batman #25 to #32
Much of “The War of Jokes and Riddles” takes place in Batman’s early years, about a year after Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s New 52 “Zero Year.” Since the narrative is told as a series of flashbacks from Batman in the present day, I’d still recommend reading the “War of Jokes and Riddles” at this point in the Rebirth timeline.
Collects: Batman #33 to #37, Batman Annual #2
If you like the King run on Batman to this point, you have to check out the Batman/Elmur Fudd one-shot.
Collects: Batman #38 to #43
James Tynion IV’s Detective Comics
Detective Comics is a risk at DC to fall victim to second-tier Bat-Universe status. That such a drop hasn’t happened is a testament to the plotting and output of James Tynion IV and artistic teams.
Detective finds a unique niche in Batman lore with a never-before-seen team of Batman, Batwoman, Red Robin (Tim Drake), Spoiler (Stephanie Brown), and former villain Clayface.
Collects: Detective Comics #934 to #940
Absolutely one of my favorite DC Rebirth titles, with a great Bat-family team.
Collects: Detective Comics #943 to #949
Collects: Detective Comics #950 to #956
Collects: Detective Comics #957 to #961
Much like Action Comics, the next arc of Detective Comics, “A Lonely Place of Living,” is called out separately below as part of the road to Doomsday Clock.
All-Star Batman by Scott Snyder
All-Star Batman is less consistent than the “core” DC Universe Bat-titles (Batman and Detective Comics), but remains extremely compelling. Scott Snyder’s New 52 and DC Metal track record writing Batman is irrefutable, and while All-Star isn’t his best work, it retains a notably high level of quality.
Most relevant, All-Star Batman is the best source for the developments of Duke Thomas, Gotham City’s newest Bat-family hero.
Collects: All-Star Batman #1 to #5
Collects: All-Star Batman #6 to #9
Collects: All-Star Batman #10 to #14
Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka
Wonder Woman’s launch into DC Rebirth coincides with Diana’s long awaited big screen debut. Fortunately, perennial 2000’s comic book storytelling great Greg Rucka was there to guide Wonder Woman through the best visibility the character’s ever had.
Note that the first two volumes of Wonder Woman oscillate between odd and even numbered issues. The odd numbered issues form “The Lies,” while the even numbered issues offer a “Year One” story from Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott.
Collects: Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1, Wonder Woman #1, #3, #5, #7, #9
Collects: Wonder Woman #2, #4, #6, #8, #10
Collects: Wonder Woman #13, #15, #17, #19, #21, #23, #25
Collects: Wonder Woman #16, #18, #20, #22, #24, Wonder Woman Annual #1
“Godwatch” brings the Greg Rucka run on Wonder Woman to a close.
Collects: Wonder Woman #26 to #30, Steve Trevor Annual #1
Green Arrow by Benjamin Percy
The surprise DC fan favorite of the 2010’s (thanks the CW’s Arrow!) gets a quality comic series to match his surging profile.
Collects: Green Arrow: Rebirth #1, Green Arrow #1 to #5
Collects: Green Arrow #7 to #12
Collects: Green Arrow #12 to #17
Collects: Green Arrow #18 to #25
Collects: Green Arrow #26 to #31
Collects: Green Arrow #33-39
Deathstroke by Christopher Priest
DC Rebirth’s Deathstroke is a critical favorite, and (alongside the mind blowing success of the MCU’s Black Panther) has revived acknowledgements of Christopher Priest’s immense talent as a comic book writer.
Deathstroke miraculously feels at times like an Image comics series and a big picture superhero comic, with humor, action, and family drama to spare.
Collects: Deathstroke: Rebirth #1. Deathstroke #1 to #6
Collects: Deathstroke #7 to #12
Collects: Deathstroke #13 to #18
Teen Titans #8
Teen Titans Annual: Lazarus Contract #1
Collects: Deathstroke #21 to #25
Collects: Deathstroke #26 to #29, Annual #1
Aquaman by Dan Abnett
One of the great secrets of DC (at least among people who don’t actually read a lot of DC Comics) is that Aquaman’s starred in some of DC’s most consistent books since 2011!
Collects: Aquaman: Rebirth #1, Aquaman #1 to #6
Collects: Aquaman #7 to #12
Aquaman Vol. 3 — Aquaman Vol. 3: Crown of Atlantis
Collects: Aquaman #13 to #18
Collects: Aquaman #23 to #28
Collects: Aquaman #29-34 And Crownspire Annual #1
Justice League vs. Suicide Squad
The first DC Rebirth event (a respectfully limited crossover event named after a 1980’s Justice League International and Suicide Squad mini crossover) is honestly underrated in its economy of storytelling and indebtedness to DC lore.
New Super-Man is one of the purest superhero inventions of Rebirth, with the preposterously excellent Gene Luen-Yang crafting Kenen Kong into China’s man (child) of steel.
Collects: New Superman #1 to #6
Collects: New Super-Man #7 to #12
Collects: New Super-Man #13-19
The dynamics between the cheery, well-behaved Jonathan Kent and brooding, devilish Damian Wayne were such a captivating force in Superman that the duo were destined for their own adventures.
Collects: Super Sons #1 to #5
Collects: Super Sons #6 to #10
Super Sons #11
Teen Titans #15
Super Sons #12
Reborn is essentially the answer to all the weird timey-wimey continuity conundrums raised during the transition from New 52 to DC Rebirth. That the Supreman storytelling teams are able to actually craft an entertaining, and at times tearjerking saga out of the potential quagmire is nothing short of remarkable.
Action Comics #973 to #974
Action Comics #975
Action Comics #976
Superman #20 (Reborn Aftermath)
Trinity #8 (Reborn Aftermath)
Action Comics #977 (Reborn Aftermath)
Supergirl #8 (Reborn Aftermath)
Superwoman #9 (Reborn Aftermath)
Superman #21 (Reborn Aftermath)
Action Comics #978 (Reborn Aftermath)
New Super-Man #9 to #10 (Reborn & Aftermath)
Superwoman #10 (Reborn & Aftermath)
Batman/The Flash: The Button
The short “Road to Doomsday Clock” crossover between Flash and Batman delivers appropriately high stakes, and an all-time great Batman vs. Reverse-Flash fist fight in the Batcave.
Dark Nights: Metal
DC Metal (with core event issues by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo) is my favorite comic book event since 2015’s Secret Wars, and likely my second favorite event of the 2010’s.
Comic Book Herald’s complete Dark Nights: Metal reading order!
Superman: The Oz Effect
Superman finally meets the shadowy “Oz” figure lingering in the background of Action Comics since the New 52. No, he’s not who you expect him to be.
Collects: Action Comics #985 to #992
Detective Comics: A Lonely Place of Living
Batman’s Detective Comics unit uncovers secrets that have been building since the first Rebirth story arc, with a build toward Doomsday Clock.
Collects: Detective Comics #963 to #968, Detective Comics Annual #1
Every big picture development since DC Universe Rebirth #1 leads up to the controversial, highly anticipated follow-up to Watchmen, DC’s Doomsday Clock.
Doomsday Clock begins five years after the events of Watchmen and brings the characters of the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons classic into the DC Universe for the first time.
Comic Book Herald’s complete Doomsday Clock reading order!