Check Out DC Comics’ Recent Must-Read Books

The heroes of DC Comics were born in a Golden Age, a time when they personified society’s dreams and ideals. They still do that today just … differently.

Within the past few years, DC Comics has published many notable examples of excellent modern comic books. The Other History of DC is an insightful window into marginalized heroes and their perspective. Tom Taylor and John Timms’ Superman: Son of Kal-El and Joëlle Jones’ Future State: Wonder Woman both brought new life to beloved heroic legacies.

In modern storytelling, we seek to upend expectation, to twist characters and plots from something old into something new. The following five DC books do just that — and every page is more exciting than the last.

Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons

Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick

Artists: Phil Jimenez (Vol.1 ), Gene Ha (Vol. 2), Nicola Scott (Vol. 3)

Many have wondered where Diana Prince and her people, the Amazons, came from. Mythology gives many answers but none are certain. This most recent take offers a brutal, beautiful, heartbreaking version of the Amazonian Historia.

Jimenez’s art in the first volume is impossibly lush. Each page is filled with infinite detail that you could stare at as if you’re in an art museum. And DeConnick’s story is unflinching in its portrayal of a cruel world that’s not built for everyone. Even under those hardships, the Goddesses of Olympus find a way to unite and create their own answer to man’s cruelty: the Amazons. Forged in fire and molded from divine gifts, long before Wonder Woman, the birth of the Amazons is only the beginning of their wondrous ascent.

Dark Knights of Steel

Writer: Tom Taylor

Artists: Yasmine Putri & Bengal

Setting can make all the difference in a story, even with characters who readers have known for decades. In Dark Knights of Steel, familiar DC heroes undergo a medieval transformation. What makes these books so intriguing, underneath all the armor and bravado, are the changes and the constants among these heroes and villains. Whose core remains the same and whose corruption will shatter entire kingdoms?

Batman and Superman’s origins are twisted just enough to add new layers of depth to their mythos. Jefferson Pierce’s family is given a spotlight next to Amazonians and Kryptonians while normally upstanding heroes have treacherous dualities. Dark Knights of Steel grips its reader with fast-paced action, but the slow burn of political intrigue keeps the pages turning.

Catwoman: Lonely City

Writer & Artist: Cliff Chiang

The death of Batman is a common catalyst for DC stories. After all these years of Bruce meeting an untimely end, Catwoman: Lonely City brings back the impact this tragedy is meant to have.

Following his death, Catwoman is blamed and put in jail. Nightwing, Commissioner Gordon, and The Joker also perish with Batman. Gotham moves on, as some villains change their tune and others leave the scene altogether. When Selina Kyle is finally released, she seeks answers.

Cliff Chiang’s style is both sleek and retro, using bold lines and brightly muted colors to paint a picture of a city reborn. His story reminds us that even the darkest shadows are surrounded by light.

DC vs. Vampires

Writer: James Tynion IV & Matthew Rosenberg

Artists: Otto Schmidt with Simone Di Meo and Daniele Di Nicuolo

Super hero team ups are at their best when strengths are highlighted and weaknesses are exploited. Especially with a powerhouse lineup like the Justice League, it takes a particularly impressive threat to bring them to their knees … or should we say necks?

A vampire plague creeps its way into the DC universe and suddenly everyone is a suspect. Sharp teeth can be hidden behind a trusted smiled. Teammates turn on each other as this paranormal blight sweeps through heroes and villains alike. DC vs. Vampires challenges our trust in familiar institutions. Many take it for granted they’ll always be there when we need them. But when they fall, true horror sets in. Nothing stains a legacy faster than long-buried secrets.

Batman ’89

Writer: Sam Hamm

Artist: Joe Quinones

Throughout the years, Batman lore has been given many faces. From Christopher Nolan’s gritty Dark Knight Trilogy to Matt Reeves’ recent noir film, Gotham City and its nocturnal vigilante are constantly being reimagined. But perhaps one of the most iconic versions was Tim Burton’s Batman.

Burton’s Gotham blended the director’s signature gothic aesthetic with pops of comic book color. Batman ’89 brings this world back and picks up right where Batman Returns left off. As always, the overlooked parts of Gotham are exploited until the tension snaps. Harvey Dent, Barbara Gordon, and a young would-be vigilante named Winston Drake are all introduced in this clever continuation of a beloved Batman era. Fans of the films and those interested in social commentary won’t want to miss Hamm and Quinones’ fresh take on a nostalgic favorite.

Which of these recent DC books will you be adding to your pile? Compare lists with other DC Comics fans in our Local Comics Society Facebook Group, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!