From the comments of the DC Reading Order:
Hey, I’m trying to get into DC comics and have started the new 52 just recently. Is it still a good starting point?? I know they stopped making it but should I still read it? If not what else should I do to get into the DC universe? Thank you!!
There are a couple ways of looking at this question. The first: Is the new 52 a good starting place for new readers? And the second: Is the New 52 worth reading?
I’ll tackle each one by one, as my answers are a bit different depending on what you’re looking for.
Is the New 52 a Good Starting Place For New Readers?
I feel uniquely qualified to answer this question (it’s a rare feeling, just let me have this) since the New 52 was my ongoing comics maiden voyage (but, like, manly?). I didn’t collect ongoing comics until the New 52, and was completely taken in by the marketing of the whole thing.
All new #1 issues!
Entry points for the entire DC Universe!
Basically the continuation of Grant Morrison’s already densely packed Batman Inc.! (Wait, that one might not fit…)
I picked somewhere shy of 10 titles to read, and alongside some friends and family, read a huge chunk of the New 52 as it launched.
Honestly? It was a lot of fun, and a generally solid introduction to the DC Universe. Action Comics gave me young Superman, Justice League gave me the formation of the world’s mightiest heroes (don’t cross the streams!), and Batman gave me, uh, a completely awesome Batman story that probably could have happened any time, but, uh, hey Bruce is younger!
I ravenously consumed these issues, and whether it was The Flash or All-Star Western (Jonah Hex), I was pretty thrilled to spend some time with these vaguely unfamiliar characters in new, take-it-from-the-top style stories.
I think part of why the New 52 worked as a starting place for me was that I didn’t bring DC Universe history or expectations to the table. Sure, I’d read some Superman and Batman greatest hits, but with the exception of Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern, modern DC continuity was like quantum physics to me (well understood, but for the sake of modestly, rarely discussed at parties).
The single biggest reason I like the New 52 as a starting place, though, is that I had tried other starting places, or jump-on experiences with DC. They sucked.
I picked up Identity Crisis stone cold sober and I nearly lost an eye. I read Final Crisis like it was free and almost dropped out of school. Sure, Johns’ Green Lantern offered a welcome entry point, but that was just for one character, and even that carried the baggage of Parallax and Cyborg Superman.
So for my money, the new 52 is a pretty reasonably solid starting place for the DC Universe, even with all the changes currently happening. Here are the titles I would try first:
Is It Worth Reading The New 52?
While I have generally positive things to say about the New 52’s beginnings, let’s make a couple things clear:
One – There are much better DC comics, and with the exception of Snyder and Capullo’s Batman, there are clear cut better choices for every single character in this universe.
Two – The New 52 did not age well (With the exception of Snyder and Capullo’s Batman. You can go ahead and append that parenthetical to any sweeping negative generalization moving forward).
So, I think it’s worth starting the New 52, but in terms of reading it from start to finish like some kind of obsessive? No! Run, don’t walk, away from that idea.
By the New 52’s second year, I had completely stopped collecting any single series not named Batman, Wonder Woman, or Dial H For Hero (cancelled after 10 issues, go figure). DC did a great job with the marketing at launch, and then revealed they had completely no plan moving forward.
Mysterious seeds planted for seemingly enormous events turned into wilting flowers drowning in horse urine (I’m looking at you Trinity War). Undoubtedly, worthwhile series popped up throughout the life of the New 52, with some like Batgirl stepping up in the 9th inning throwing straight flames. But as a whole, the New 52 did not age well, culminating in a Convergence event that basically attempted to undo all the restrictions of the New 52 Universe (while simultaneously delivering the single worst core event series I’ve ever read).
Given all that, I think it’s a fine idea to start the New 52 to get a good feel for the characters, and several of these books when they’re at their best. Keep reading the ones you like and drop the ones that bore you like flies.
Read all of Snyder and Capullo’s Batman. Personally, I’d also recommend all of Azarello and Chiang’s Wonder Women, but that slows considerably and isn’t for everyone.
Otherwise, the DC Universe is loaded with non New 52 books that are fantastic comics.
Just to name a few…
And that’s just the stuff this darn near DC Comics noob has read. Hope that helps!