Top Comics to Buy for November 14, 2018

By Zack Quaintance — This week could maybe be looked at as DC Strikes Back, or something...if it weren’t for Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men #1, which in spite of its $7.99 price tag is still likely to sell more copies than any other title this week. Still, the slate of new DC and indie books is strong, with the former launching Electric Warriors, concluding Mister Miracle, and re-orienting Wonder Woman with a new creative team of G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel) and Cary Nord (The Unexpected).

The real highlight of the week, meanwhile, comes from David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene, as the team launches their long-awaited familial Harlem Renaissance monster-hunting book, Bitter Root. This was on our Most Anticipated Comics of 2018 list waaaaay back last January, and now it’s finally here. Obviously, Bitter Root lands as our featured books for the Top Comics to Buy for November 14, 2018. Oh, and look for a review later this week, but for now….

Let’s get to the comics!

Top Comics to Buy for November 14, 2018

PICK OF THE WEEK
Bitter Root #1
Writers:
David F. Walker & Chuck Brown
Artist: Sanford Greene
Colorists: Rico Renzi & Sanford Greene
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
In the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance is in full swing, and only the Sangerye Family can save New York-and the world-from the supernatural forces threatening to destroy humanity. But the once-great family of monster hunters has been torn apart by tragedies and conflicting moral codes. The Sangerye Family must heal the wounds of the past and move beyond their differences... or sit back and watch a force of unimaginable evil ravage the human race.
Why It’s Cool: David F. Walker and Sanford Greene have teamed up before, specifically on a brief Power Man and Iron Fist run that if there was any justice in the corporate comics world would have run for 50+ issues. And now they’re back together! Transferring the creative alchemy they found at Marvel to the creator-owned vision described above. Simply put, this has the potential to be a MAJOR comic.

Electric Warriors #1
Writer:
Steve Orlando
Artist: Travel Foreman
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Years after the Great Disaster, the Earth has started to rebuild and rejoin the universal coalition. In order to prevent a galactic war, different worlds throughout the known cosmos have created a new system of competitive combat to give each participating planet their own voice in the intergalactic struggle. Each world has one diplomatic gladiator, chosen to possess the Electric Seed and fight for their homeland as the Electric Warrior! Each fighter forsakes their personal life in the name of peace. So what happens when Earth can't choose a single combatant and sends two instead? The bruiser War Cry represents the humans of Earth, while Deep Dweller, a shape-shifter from the Octopus Tribe, represents the animal kingdom. Can they maintain one common goal, or will they tear Earth's tenuous coexistence to shreds and destroy the rest of the universe with it? Oh, and War Cry also has a powerful relic from Earth's past: Superman's cape!
Why It’s Cool: This book features one of the wildest and most original visions we’ve seen from either of the Big 2 in sometime, especially as it pertains to Travel Foreman’s artwork. Paired with Hi-Fi’s colors, the wispy shades of neon in this book really differentiate it from any other superhero universe fare on the market. Meanwhile, writer Steve Orlando is perhaps DC’s foremost continuity explorer, fearlessly drawing from his own deep knowledge of the publisher’s history. He’s right at home here crafting a compelling narrative within Jack Kirby’s Great Disaster Era.  

Lone Ranger #2
Writer:
Mark Russell
Artist: Bob Q
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Dynamite
Price: $3.99
Tonto and the Lone Ranger go to Austin to foil a plan to cover the Texas panhandle in barbed wire. They are discovered and have to fight their way out of the city. Tonto devises a new strategy based on trick plays he learned from playing football at the Carlisle Indian School and Silver knocks a man unconscious with a wooden post.
Why It’s Cool: We’ve been heaping all kinds of praise on this book, most recently in our Best New #1 Comics of October 2017, and we’re not going to stop any time soon. This book is as smart as it is well done, and if you like great comics, you should be reading it, even if you care as little about the Lone Ranger character as I did coming into this.

Mister Miracle #12
Writer:
Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
It'll be a miracle if you can get through this mind-bending conclusion with your sanity intact! After his epic battle with Darkseid, Scott Free sees life a whole new way: he's the new Highfather of New Genesis, and he's madly in love with his wife and child. But what if it's all a lie? Did Mister Miracle really escape death way back in issue #1? No one really knows but Tom King and Mitch Gerads!
Why It’s Cool: Mister Miracle is one of the smartest and most poignant comics that DC has published in many, many years, and this issue marks its conclusion. This is, simply put, the sort of finale that not only sticks the landing but does so in a way that validates all of the creative choices that came before it, making the already-strong previous acts of this story even stronger. This was one hell of a comic.

Uncanny X-Men #1
Writers:
Ed Brisson, Kelly Thompson, & Matthew Rosenberg
Artists: Mahmud A. Asrar, Mark Bagley, & Mirko Colak
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $7.99
THE CHILDREN OF THE ATOM ARE BACK! New ongoing series kicking off with a 10-part weekly epic, the flagship X-Men series that started it all is back and better than ever! Starting with a mysterious and tragic disappearance, the X-Men are drawn into what might be...their final adventure?! X-Fan favorite writers Ed Brisson (EXTERMINATION), Matthew Rosenberg (PHOENIX RESURRECTION) and Kelly Thompson (MR. & MRS. X) and all-star artists Mahmud Asrar (X-MEN RED), R.B. Silva (X-MEN BLUE), Yildiray Cinar (WEAPON X) and Pere Pérez (ROGUE AND GAMBIT) join forces to bring you...X-MEN DISASSEMBLED?!
Why It’s Cool: In one sense, Marvel is back on its old cash grabbing bull*#$@, relaunching one of its most-popular titles of all time with a $7.99 first issue. Not only that, but this is the start of a 10-part weekly series. Marvel, simply put, knows readers will get this comic regardless, and so they’re going to take them for every last penny. Capitalism! That said, in between the cash grabbing Marvel has been providing really strong stories, and—carping about the cost aside—there’s no reason to believe this one will be any different. The X-world has been on the rise as of late (now that Marvel has its film rights back...ahem) led by a group of young writers who clearly grew up fans of the comics. Brisson, Thompson, and Rosenberg are chief among them, and we can’t wait to see what they do with this series. But also, did we mention it costs $7.99??!

Wonder Woman #58
Writer:
G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Cary Nord
Inker: Mick Gray
Artist: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Far below Themyscira, Ares, the God of War, has been imprisoned for generations, repenting his past sins. But his new cellmate Grail may have an unexpected effect on him...and the plan they've come up with will change Themyscira-and the world- forever! When Wonder Woman rushes to Eastern Europe to rescue Steve Trevor from a mission gone wrong, she'll find herself face-to-face with a very new, very different God of War!
Why It’s Cool: G. Willow Wilson is a big get for Wonder Woman, a smart and thoughtful writer, Wilson has built the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel character into one of the most exciting teen concepts in comics. This is a whole other challenge altogether—building on decades of continuity within a much-loved and venerable franchise. We very much think that Wilson and her artistic collaborator Cary Nord are up for it.  

Top New #1 Comics

  • Black Order #1

  • Bloodshot: Rising Spirit #1

  • Comics Comics Quarterly #1

  • Firefly #1

  • Infinity Wars: Infinity Wraps #1

  • Terrible Elisabeth Dumn Against The Devils in Suits One Shot

  • William Gibson’s Alien 3 #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • Amazing Spider-Man #9

  • Avengers #10 (#700)

  • Cemetery Beach #3

  • Captain America #9

  • Cosmic Ghost Rider #5

  • Euthanauts #4

  • Fantastic Four #3

  • Friendo #2

  • Gideon Falls #8

  • Hawkman #6

  • Infinite Dark #2

  • Ms. Marvel #36

  • Murder Falcon #2

  • Oblivion Song #9

  • Proxima Centauri #6

  • Quantum Age: From the World of Black Hammer #4

  • Thor #7

  • Skyward #8

  • Supergirl #24

  • Superman #5

See our past top comics to buy here, and check our our reviews archive here.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase. He also writes comics and is currently working hard to complete one.

REVIEW: Wonder Woman #55 by Steve Orlando, Raul Allen, Patricia Martin, Borja Pindado, & Saida Temofonte

Wonder Woman #55 is out 9/26.

By Zack Quaintance — Let’s just get this out of the way: Steve Orlando’s brief run on Wonder Woman, which concludes with this issue, has been an absolute delight, right up there with the work that Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott, and Liam Sharp did with the character at the start of Rebirth. He’s had an outstanding lineup of collaborators—from Laura Braga on Wonder Woman #51 to ACO to Raul Allen/Patricia Martin—and his scripts have delivered concepts that have given them all a chance to shine.

This issue, bittersweet as it is, is a fitting end, so much so that it makes me look forward both to the future of this book as well as to the work Orlando has coming with other DC characters (including Martian Manhunter, and a new concept set in a Kirby-molded corner of the DC space-time called Electric Warriors). Orlando is a writer who really excels in two primary areas: drawing sensical plot points from continuity, and swagger. You can see the latter is his villain dialogue here, when Rustam yells at our heroes, “Life? These soft-brained idiots are drunk on blind faith. I weep for them, but they must be put out of their misery...So there’s all of that.

Wonder Woman #55 as an individual comic book is itself quite good. It’s largely an issue consumed by a large-scale battle, a fitting end for a two-part story arc with a scope that has seen Diana negotiating nation boundaries for the formerly nomadic Bana-Mighdall. In this story, Diana must be equal parts forceful and diplomatic. She must show that she’s not afraid to throw down while also pushing peaceful alternatives. It is, simply put, yet another way that Orlando has found to derive a compelling narrative from this character’s core values, and I loved it. (A line that stands out as particularly superb is Diana telling Artemis: People are fighting for no honest reason. I expect help.)

Patricia Martin and Raul Allen’s artwork once again shines in Wonder Woman #55.

I also loved the artwork here from the team of Raul Allen and Patricia Martin. As I said in my Wonder Woman #54 review, they’re one of my favorites in all of comics, and it’s a real treat to see them teaming with a writer as thoughtful as Orlando. What I find most striking about their work in this issue is the sheer variety of it. The way they can make a pair of disembodied slowly-closing eyes in the darkness as compelling as kinetic combat sequences. There’s a confidence of vision and a clarity of execution here that I just find remarkable. The scenes where we go inside Diana’s prefect are crucial to the plot, and the team gives them the visual weight they demand.

Overall: A fitting end to a stellar 5-issue Wonder Woman run from writer Steve Orlando, one that has reminded me of the vast and unique potential of this character, while putting her in an excellent place for the next creators. 9.5/10

For more comic book reviews, check out our review archives.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by  night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.

REVIEW: Wonder Woman #54 by Steve Orlando, Raul Allen, Patricia Martin, Borja Pindado, & Saida Temofonte

By Zack Quaintance — I tend to keep a running list of my favorite single comics in any given year, in part because I’m compulsive but also because it helps when December rolls around and it’s time to spin some Best Of lists. One of the first books for 2018 was from Valiant. It was a one-shot comprised of vignettes about random items conjured by a guy with special powers. It was called Secret Weapons: Owen’s Story, written by screenwriter Eric Heisserer and drawn by the duo of Raul Allen and Patricia Martin. Meanwhile, one of the more recent additions to my list was Wonder Woman #51, a one shot about the depths of Diana Prince’s compassion, as drawn by Laura Braga and written by Steve Orlando.

See the connection? Now in Wonder Woman #54, the artists from that first comic and the writer from the second have united to tell a two-part Wonder Woman story, and the results in this first half are fantastic. It’s easy to see why DC tapped Allen and Martin to draw this issue. First of all, they’re super talented, and second, the plot of this book takes us to a mythology-tinged anachronistic setting, not unlike territory often covered by stories over at Valiant, where the duo typically works.

Their detailed and fully-rendered linework really grounds the world of the Bana-Mighdall, emphasizing the exotic timelessness of their culture. Orlando’s Wonder Woman writing continues to be strong, as it has for the entirety of his time on this book. Orlando just gets this character, depicting her as he does with equal parts limitless empathy and boundless swagger. It’s a delicate balance, and he nails it, giving us a Diana who knows full well how important her role is, and is also determined to have fun while doing her duty.

One of my favorite visual sequences from Wonder Woman #54

There are some sequences in this comic wherein the sensibilities of the writer and the artist come together impossibly well, thinking specifically of the page in which Borja Pindado’s yellow palette accentuates Rustam’s power as he blasts Diana out of the panel as well as of the bit where the center of the page depicts Diana deflecting bullets within the actual letters of the sound effects she’s making. There’s an old school adventure sensibility to both the writing and art here, as welcomely unstuck in time as the immortals who star in the story.

Overall: Separately, Steve Orlando and the duo of Raul Allen and Patricia Martin have fast become some of my favorite emerging creators in recent years, and so I found it an absolute treat for them to collaborate, especially with a character for which Orlando in particular possesses such an evident understanding. 9.0/10

For more comic book reviews, check out our review archives.

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.

REVIEW: Wonder Woman #53 by Steve Orlando, Aco, Hugo Petrus, David Lorenzo, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Saida Temofonte

By Zack Quaintance — Wowza.

Wonder Woman #53 is out Aug. 22, 2018.

This is maybe the least elegant opening line for any review I’ve ever written, but I just don’t think there’s a better summation of what Aco does in Wonder Woman #53 within all the massive mythological Aztec battle scenes. It’s stunning stuff, whether it be the intricate double-truck splashes or the askew panel grids filled with colorful detail that burst off the page. When you get your hands on this issue, do me a favor and linger on some of Aco’s linework. I suspect wowza will start to make a whole lot of sense to you, too.

I didn’t even really mind that Hugo Petrus (whose work is also quite good) had to come in to spell Aco for a handful of pages between the bigger set pieces. It would have been nice, of course, had Aco been able to draw this entire issue, but Petrus’ pages fit in seamlessly between the absolutely jaw-dropping bits done by Aco. It all adds up to a gorgeous comic.

The story is great, too. As I noted in my review of last issue, Steve Orlando is well aware of the two central qualities of Diana Prince’s character: her stubborn and limitless compassion, and her inherent place as a swaggery ass-kicking mythological goddess who walks among us. Orlando’s first issue on this book—the supremely beautiful Wonder Woman #51—examined her compassion, while Wonder Woman #52 setup an old school adventure romp fit for the aforementioned swaggery ass-kicking mythological goddess. Wonder Woman #53 knocks down what its predecessor setup, having Diana and her crew (Artemis and the new Aztek) deal with the antagonist they initially united to confront.

Wonder Woman is undeniably the star of the show here, but the panel time that Orlando and Aco devote to both Aztek and Artemis is used efficiently, yielding great results. There's such a mutually-beneficially vibe to this team-up, with all three characters having logical reasons to be together here.

I particularly enjoyed Aztek confronting the foe that her predecessor essentially kamakazied (ineffectually) to defeat waaaaay back in the late ‘90s when Grant Morrison was writing his Justice League saga. One of Orlando’s best strengths as a writer is his nuanced and surgical wielding of DC’s vast continuity, and it’s certainly on full display within this issue. Finally, not to spoil anything but the story does a great job of extending the adventure into next issue, which is to be drawn by Raul Allen, a favorite of mine based on his work over at Valiant.

Overall: Wonder Woman #53 is ultimately a gorgeous comic that nicely wraps up the adventure in Aztec mythos that was set into motion last issue, while simultaneously laying groundwork for more action. 9.5/10

For more comic book reviews, check out our review archives.

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.

Top Comics of July 2018

By Zack Quaintance — Maybe I’m suffering from recency bias, but I’m hard-pressed to think of a summer in my life (I’m 22 give or take...SEVERAL years) as good for comics as this. Seriously. There are top-notch stories being told at both major superhero publishers—with characters ranging from Mister Miracle to Captain America—while the creator-owned market hits unprecedented peaks for variety and quality.

Being in the midst of this wave is a blessing and challenge for writing lists like this. Obviously, I don’t lack titles, but it’s tough to narrow things down. I recently faced the same dilemma sorting the Best New #1 Comics of July. My answer is do it and spend the next month regretting choices. Act recklessly and then deal...that’s a strategy I’ve long employed.

Joking aside, I put a lot of thought into this month’s list, agonizing until I landed on the titles below. Sooooo—let’s do this!

Shout Outs

Batman #50 was a good comic with a messy release (the above variant cover is by Jae Lee).

Let’s start with a mess: Batman #50 and the spoiler fiasco. I didn’t get spoiled (thankfully), but I’m sympathetic to all who did. Regardless, this was a fine issue with a welcome twist, especially if as Tom King says, this is the run’s halfway point.

Have you all read IDW’s Black Crown imprint? You should. July saw the end of two early titles: Assassanistas and Punks Not Dead. Put simply, what a glorious wave of odd books, heavy on craft, humor, subversion. Can’t wait to see what Black Crown does next.

The darling of this year’s Eisners, Monstress, wrapped its third arc with a thundering crescendo and the most action in any single issue since the book’s debut. Perhaps most importantly, Monstress #18 also laid great track for future stories. Very well done.

Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen concluded their sci-book Descender, a beautiful watercolor epic about childhood friendship. This issue was great (like the entire series), but it was less a finale than a continuation, setting up a sequel called Ascender that launches this fall.

Al Ewing and Joe Bennett continue to make The Hulk terrifying.

In Immortal Hulk #2 and #3, Al Ewing and Joe Bennett continued to strike a horrifying tone, telling a story closer to prestige horror than standard superheroics, leading to half of comics Twitter saying I don’t usually like the Hulk but I like THIS.   

There’s a reason Incognegro by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece is taught in schools: it’s a well-done historical mystery steeped in questions about race. Its sequel wrapped this month with Incognegro Renaissance #5, a worthy successor.

Sideways #6 gives its teen hero a defining tragedy, and ho man did it sting. Speaking of The New Age of DC Heroes, The Unexpected #2 and Terrifics #5 were both great too.

Apparently Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt’s phenomenal new take on old characters, The Wild Storm, is selling well (at least online), but not enough fans are talking about it. I wish that would change. It’s so good.

Finally, Flash #50 was an emotionally-satisfying conclusion to a long-simmering plot thread, one that also featured that page with the return of that character at the end.

Top 5 Comics of July 2018

Cates & Stegman seem bent on a character-defining run.

5. Venom #4 by Donny Cates & Ryan Stegman

I don’t want to go into the plot, except to note there’s an expert connection to Jason Aaron’s all-time great run on Thor, and that superhero comic fans love that type of thing. There’s also just a feeling of excitement around everything Cates is writing; he’s like an athlete having his first MVP season, entrenching himself as a lead voice at Marvel, even extending his exclusive with the publisher.

Which is all great, as is Venom #4. It’s still relatively early in this run, but Cates and Stegman have talked about doing a prolonged and character-defining stretch on this book. Also, like Immortal Hulk, this is another book that seems to have many fans reading a character they otherwise wouldn’t. No easy feat.

 

 

4. Wasted Space #3 by Michael Moreci & Hayden Sherman

Wasted Space, the frenetic space opera about addiction and cultism and 100 other things, just keeps getting better. People who write about comics often use that line, but in this case it’s true. Wasted Space is a complex comic with so many big ideas that the experience of reading it improves as more of its scope becomes visible. That’s been my experience, anyway.

I loved Wasted Space #3 (read my review of Wasted Space #3). The ideas and plotting that made the series so engrossing is still here, but this issue also (organically) ups the humor, especially when the big all-powerful gigantic enemy guy tells some rando he’d feel better about himself if he approached work with pride—hilarious. I don’t know if I can be clearer: you should all be reading this book.

Bold design choices elevate Gideon Falls to lofty creative levels.

3. Gideon Falls #5 by Jeff Lemire & Andrea Sorrentino

Holy wow, the art in this comic is insane. I know that’s vague and non-descriptive, but if you’ve read it, you’re absolutely nodding along. The truth is it’s hard to to describe these visuals without using dude, did you see that language. The art is imaginative to the point one wonders exactly when Andrea Sorrentino disregarded conventions and straight up started doing whatever he wanted.

There are bold choices, to be sure, every one of which pays off, including red circles around details for emphasis, and arrows telling readers where to look. It could come off as proscriptive, but given how engrossing this story is, it instead feels helpful. I’ve liked this comic from the start (see my long-ago review of Gideon Falls #1), but Gideon Falls #5 somehow reaches new levels of creativity, storytelling, and absolutely bananas visual stimulation on every page. Absolutely bananas.

2. Wonder Woman #51 by Steve Orlando & Laura Braga

With Wonder Woman #51, Steve Orlando and Laura Braga tell a stand-alone story with a deep and nuanced understanding of this character, one that shows exactly why she’s been relevant all these years. It’s the type of small-scale story that plays to a hero’s essence, the type done ad nauseum with Batman and Superman but not nearly as much with Wonder Woman. This comic, however, helps to fix that.

It’s just so perfect. Aside from the adept characterization, it features an engaging and emotional narrative that speaks to Diana’s core values. It sounds cliche, but I teared up here at the drama and and smiled at the jokes. This is, to me, an issue we’ll be hearing new creators talk about on podcasts 10 years from now, citing it as an influence for the way they write/think about the character.

Read our review of Wonder Woman #51.

Just, ouch.

1. Saga #54 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Nothing will ever be the same. If you’ve read the issue, check out Why Saga #54 Hurts So Bad. If you haven’t, please read the issue and then click that link. There’s just no good way to discuss this without spoilers. Simply put, though, we’ll just note that this is the most consequential issue yet in the best series in comics.

That does it for our July list. Please check back to the site tomorrow for our new feature, Five Questions With Creators, which is being kicked off with writer Zack Kaplan, of Eclipse, Port of Earth, and Lost City Explorers!

Check out our Best New #1 Comics of July 2018 here plus more of our monthly lists here .

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, CA.

REVIEW: Wonder Woman #52 by Steve Orlando, Aco, David Lorenzo, Romulo Fajardo Jr., & Saida Temofonte

Steve Orlando and Aco get the band back together from their character-defining run on Midnighter.

By Zack Quaintance — Two weeks ago, writer Steve Orlando and artist Laura Braga put out Wonder Woman #51, a stand-alone story about the depths of Diana Prince’s compassionate stubbornness to not give up on even her most dangerous enemies. That issue was—to me—the best standalone Wonder Woman story in years, a perfect comic that had me tearing up at the depths of our hero’s desire to help. As I wrote in my Wonder Woman #51 review, I loved it.

Wonder Woman #52 sees Orlando returning for a four-part adventure story with the character, this time joined by artist Aco, his collaborator on the 2015 Midnighter run that remains my favorite story about that character. In the intermittent time, both creators have progressed in their craft, and I'm happy to say that it very much shows.

There's just so much to like about this comic. It's confident, bold, and well-paced, but let’s look first at this issue’s plot. Whereas Wonder Woman #51 dove into the qualities and values that make Diana arguably DC’s most admirable hero, Wonder Woman #52 is a fast-paced adventure that makes fantastic use of the actual mythology inherent to the character. What results is, put simply, another great comic.

This is a tight story that expertly plays to Wonder Woman’s status as a figure within mythology to drive its narrative. Diana obviously knows this sector of the DCU well, and the book does a great job conveying this early, so that when something threatening or out of the ordinary comes later on, her reaction is telling and meaningful (and also badass).

The other thing this issue does especially well is incorporate additional characters, specifically Artemis and the new Aztek (fresh from Orlando’s run on Justice League of America, btw). Although Wonder Woman is undeniably the star, these other characters have separate priorities and desires that pull them into danger alongside her. Each having their own agency goes a long way toward engaging the reader in the holistic success of our erstwhile team, which ups the stakes.

In the end, Wonder Woman #52 is a real page-turner, a great start to a different type of Diana Prince Story. It's a confident and entertaining read that seems to set up some massive twists and fireworks to come. For a first issue from a new team, it's also remarkably polished, likely because Orlando and Aco had such a productive relationship in the past. The ultimate success of this arc, of course, remains to be seen, but Orlando once again displays a deep understanding of Diana. As such, it seems safe to assume this entire arc will be as rewarding as the standalone story that preceded it.

Overall: Whereas Wonder Woman #51 examined Diana Prince’s deep and stubborn capacity for compassion, Wonder Woman #52 utilizes her role as a living piece of mythology to launch a multi-part adventure. Orlando and Aco have clearly worked together in the past, and the result is a polished and fully-formed start. Fans of great superhero comics, take note. 9.5/10

For more comic book and movie reviews, check out our review archives here.

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.

REVIEW: Wonder Woman #51 by Steve Orlando, Laura Braga, & Romulo Fajardo, Jr.

This epic panel from Wonder Woman #28 is recreated this issue to great effect.

By Zack Quaintance — Steve Orlando and Laura Braga open their standalone story in Wonder Woman #51 by diving back into a past issue, one in which Diana faced grave danger. They open with a panel recreated from Wonder Woman #28 by Shea Fontana & David Messina, wherein the villainous speedster Mayfly has stuck a gun into Diana’s abdomen and begun to taunt her, asking rhetorically if she’s fast enough to stop a bullet fired at point blank range before it tears through her skin.

Borrowing an opening like this is a bold choice, but it’s a choice that pays off wonderfully, given the panel is not only an interesting visual but also a tremendous starting point from which to unpack Diana’s otherworldly empathy and compassion, as this story goes on to do. The opening reminds us how dangerous and hardened Mayfly is, how if ever there was a foe for Diana to dispose of forever and write off as lost, it would be this one. I know I certainly would with anyone who posed such a threat to me. Diana, however, is a hero, and this story is relentless in its determination to explore the qualities and beliefs that govern her altruism.

I’m really hesitant to spoil anything at all about this issue, even a little bit—I think this is a comic everyone should experience fresh. I will say only that at the center of this story is Diana essentially playing a game of chicken with her own beliefs, not so much risking her physical form (although that does come into jeopardy, because, you know, this is still a superhero comic) but risking her world view, which as many of us have learned over the past two years or so is a painful thing to have shaken.

It’s a great concept for a Wonder Woman story, and the execution that follows is nigh-flawless. Again, not to give too much away, but simply put, this is one of the best issues of Wonder Woman I’ve ever read, ever, from the characterization, to the poetry of the exchanges between Diana and Mayfly, to the way visuals are used throughout.

And let’s talk about those visuals: in addition to how well Diana and her central beliefs are handled and explored, this comic succeeds on the power of the graphic storytelling techniques used by Orlando and Braga. I still don’t want to tip anything, so I’ll just say vaguely that there’s an excellent scene that juxtaposes the heroine's and villain's disparate backgrounds. Also, the form of this issue leans into a core strength of comics—the ability to make fitful yet sensical leaps through time.

Finally, I also want to point out that this book has an ending that was so poignant it nearly brought me to tears. It’s that good.

Overall: This is one of the best standalone issues of Wonder Woman I’ve ever read, ever, and it tells a compelling story that speaks directly to the core of a classic and long-tenured character yet is also strikingly-relevant for 2018. This comic is 100 percent a must-buy. 10/10

Click here to read more of our recent reviews!

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.

Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia…A Greek Tragedy Told in Comics

The physical battle between Batman and Wonder Woman in this story is  less meaningful than the ideological conflict.

By Taylor Pechter — “…But all tragedies end the same way…”

This is the theme that permeates the 2002 original graphic novel Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, scripted by Greg Rucka, illustrated by J.G. Jones & Wade Von Grawbadger, and colored by industry veteran Dave Stewart. It’s a story told in comic form, yet it possesses many of the essential elements of a modern Greek tragedy, including impossible situations and a heartbreaking downfall.

This story follows Wonder Woman/Diana Prince as she becomes honor-bound to a woman named Danielle Weelys through the ritual of Hiketeia, an ancient tradition from Greece in which a poor or destitute individual supplicates oneself to a wealthy benefactor who must then protect them. If either the supplicant of supplicated disobeys the commitment, the Furies come to inflict punishment. From here, we enter Diana’s story.

Our narrative starts at its end. Diana is Themyscira’s ambassador to Man’s World. As she stares out her window at the Erynies or Furies, she recalls all that transpired to lead her to this moment, as well as how it could have been different. We transition then to three weeks ago in Gotham City, where for the first time we see the character Danielle. We know little about her at the start, save that she hunts down and ultimately murders a man. She is then confronted by Batman, who for all intents and purposes is the villain of this tale. A chase ensues, and Danielle throws herself into Gotham Harbor. She then supplicates herself to Diana using Hiketeia, thereby setting into motion our central ideological conflict.

Again, Batman is unofficially the villain of the story. What Rucka does more than anything in this story is contrast Diana’s sense of duty and honor with Batman’s sense of justice and righteousness. This ideological conflict drives the story as Danielle eventually becomes caught between her loyalty to Diana and her own sense of justice.

In a very emotional scene, we watch as Danielle explains her story to Diana, who uses the Lasso of Truth to extract it. We learn about Danielle’s younger sister, Melody, who moved to Gotham City from Webster Groves, Mo. to try and make it big. Insidious Gotham, however, swallowed her: she was taken advantage of, raped, and later murdered. It is here Rucka deconstructs modern day American society: we see police finding a needle that was used to drug Melody during her assault and making immediate presumptions, ultimately labeling her just another junkie whore…all of which Danielle describes.

Batman's hard-line stance against murder puts him into conflict with Wonder Woman, who is honor-bound to protect a woman who kills to get justice for her lost sister.

Danielle subsequently sets out to get justice for her baby sister by killing the men who hurt her. This revelation does not hasten Diana’s resolve to protect Danielle—it doesn’t need to, as they are still bound by the ritual. Soon a second confrontation with Batman occurs, wherein Danielle defends her actions to the Caped Crusader. Danielle’s predicament is much like the old paradox of a poor man breaking into a pharmacy to get medicine for his sickly family…is he wrong because his actions are against the law, or is he right because he is doing what is best for him and his family? Is Danielle right for murdering those men because they did the same to her sister, or is she motivated by selfish vengeance? This is the paradox. While Wonder Woman is forgiving of Danielle’s situation, Batman is not. As we all know, Batman’s views on killing—even when killing seems more than justified—are quite staunch.

We now reach the climax of the story, as the ideological tension between Diana and Bruce finally builds into a fight. This fight is a footnote, however, with Diana making quick work of her mortal foe. Batman tries to appeal by supplicating himself, but Diana denies the request. In the commotion, however, Danielle runs. With the Erynies whispering in her ears, she leaps off a balcony onto the rocks below. As the book draws to close, we see Diana in contemplation again—much as we did at the start—wondering: Why is Man’s World so cold…It was never this cold on Themyscira.  

With Hiketeia, Greg Rucka weaves a quintessential Wonder Woman tale. We see Diana struggle with Man’s World and her obligations, as well as with her own sense of duty and honor. It creates a poignant contrast with Batman’s own sense of justice, which has been explored time and again in comics, leading to a central conflict that is engaging and emotional. J.G. Jones pencils and Wade Von Grawbadger’s inks infuse this story with both bleakness and hope, while Dave Stewart’s hues give it added weight.

Following Hiketeia, Rucka went on to write two critically-acclaimed Wonder Woman runs (one that began in 2003 and lasted for three years, and another that started with DC Rebirth and ran for 25 issues), solidifying himself as a preeminent voice for not only Diana, but for female superheroes in comics.

Taylor Pechter is a passionate comic book fan and nerd. Find him on Twitter @TheInspecter.

52: The Importance of DC’s Missing Year

By Taylor Pechter — It is often asked what would the DC Universe be like without Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman? With the year-long weekly series 52, launched in May of 2006, DC answered that question.

52 is a rare glimpse into a DCU without The Trinity.

After the universe-shattering events of Infinite Crisis, which reinstated the multiverse after it was consolidated 20 years earlier in Crisis on Infinite Earth, DC’s continuity jumped to One Year Later. This was a way for DC to continue publishing while also keeping the events of the latest Crisis fresh in readers’ minds. Many fans, however, asked: What happened in the missing year? Enter 52.

52 was an editorial gamble for DC, a weekly series that spanned an entire year, following C and D-list characters dealing with the fallout of an event in real time. To keep the book on schedule, DC needed more than one writer. So, they turned to an all-star foursome of Geoff Johns (Infinite Crisis, former co-President and CCO of DC Comics), Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, seminal DC writer), Greg Rucka (critically-acclaimed writer of Wonder Woman), and Grant Morrison (multiverse nut, another seminal DC writer), along with breakdown artist Keith Giffen, to craft different intertwining stories that formed a 52-week epic.

Today we’re entering that missing year to take a look at how the DC Universe was and still is so much larger than just Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, as well as the various meanings beneath these epic stories.

Booster Gold and Supernova: Who is the Real Hero of Metropolis?

Hey Metropolis! You want a big shiny star to light your skies? Well, here I am.

Booster Gold and his robotic hype man, Skeets.

We start our journey into the missing year with the main through line of 52’s plot: Michael Jon Carter, a.k.a. Booster Gold, a time-traveling hero who came back to the 21st century because he wasn’t welcome in the 25th century, where he was originally from. We first meet him at the beginning of the story, when he is at his most selfish, a pin-cushion for sponsors who is trying to gain popularity among the people of Metropolis.

Due to information provided by his robotic companion Skeets, however, he knows something is amiss. It does not help that a new unnamed hero shows up in Metropolis to steal his spotlight, a hero dubbed Supernova by the press who is largely the opposite of Booster in every way, willing to risk himself for others, not just for fame. This selflessness is his undoing. When a giant tentacle monster attacks Metropolis, Supernova risks his life—and the Metropolis power grid—to defeat it. It is in this moment Booster’s values change. He is not seen throughout most 52, not until the end, when it is revealed Supernova was actually Booster all along.

Meaning: The final reveal hits home, completing Booster’s arc about how real heroism isn’t the sponsor on your chest, but rather the pureness of your heart. In the end, Booster accepts his place in the multiverse, comes to terms with his arrogance, and becomes a beacon to the superhero community.

Renee Montoya: Questions and Answers

Some questions can only be answered by wearing a mask. But you have to know the question to find the answer.

Renee Montoya as The Question.

We all know Renee Montoya, tough-as-nails detective in the Gotham City Police Department. However, she is a far more complex character than her depiction in Batman: The Animated Series. During the mid-2000s, writers Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka wrote a comic called Gotham Central, which followed members of the GCPD as they solved crimes in the shadow of the Bat. This story focused on many officers during its three-year stint, but none as important than Montoya and her partner, Crispus Allen.

In the series, Rucka deconstructs Montoya, revealing she is a lesbian, which was significant during the time of don’t ask, don’t tell. She is also disowned by her overly conservative Dominican parents. Near the end of the series, Crispus is shot and killed by corrupt police coroner Jim Corrigan, subsequently ascending to become the host of the cosmic being, The Spectre. As guilt rocks Renee, she decides to give up her badge. When we see her again in 52, she is wasting away in a bar. With no direction and no job, she gets drunk every night.

It’s at this low point she is confronted by a random passerby, a man later revealed to be Charlie Szasz, a.k.a. Vic Sage, The Question. After a few run-ins on the street, Montoya decides to join him and track down members of Intergang and the Religion of Crime. Intergang is an international crime organization run by Boss Bruno “Ugly” Manheim, who frequently collaborates with Darkseid. However, they have been following a new modus operandi: scriptures from the so-called Crime Bible, which prophesizes the fall of Gotham City, the death of the twice-named, and the rise of a new Question.

The twice-named is a former flame of Renee’s and heiress to the Kane fortune, Kate Kane. As they get closer to tracking down Intergang, Renee also notices something off about Charlie—he has an uncontrollable cough, later revealed to be cancer. He slowly deteriorates and becomes delirious. Renee decides to go to Nanda Parbat to save him. As they get to the temple of Rama Kushna, the God of Nanda Parbat, Vic dies and passes his wisdom to her, It’s a trick question Renee…Not who you are…But who you are going to become?...Time to change…Like a butterfly. Renee decides to train under Richard Dragon, who also trained Charlie.

Meaning: Through her training, Renee learns that life is full of questions and it’s just a matter of how you answer them. Ultimately, she embraces her destiny as the new Question, taking over where Charlie left off.

The Rise and Fall of Black Adam

The people say these are her tears. They say the queen weeps not for her herself, nor for her brother, nor even for me, but rather for Kahndaq and her people.

Black Adam.

Black Adam is many things: the corrupted champion of the Wizard Shazam, the ruthless leader of Kahndaq, and a husband and a brother. As we join his story, the context of the previous tale helps. Renee and Charlie at one point visited Kahndaq, where we first saw Black Adam as he ripped a low-level villain named Terra-Man in half on live television. Later, he is confronted by two members on Intergang who offer him a slave, an Egyptian woman named Adrianna Tomaz, as a prize if he so chooses to join Intergang’s crusade.

He denies the request, however, and Adrianna is taken prisoner. Black Adam, along with Russia and other foreign powers, devise a treaty that bars American superheroes from their soil. As Adam grows closer to his prisoner, though, he soon falls in love. Gifting her a portion of his power, she becomes Isis. Trouble strikes again when Adrianna’s brother, Amon, is held by Intergang. As they inch closer to the wedding, Adam promises Adrianna that they will find her brother. Then comes the wedding.

Captain Marvel is the minister, Captain Marvel Jr. is the best man, and Mary Marvel is the maid of honor. When the couple locks lips, lightning crashes in the sky. However, Intergang puts a suicide bomber in the crowd. They know it won’t harm Adam, but their actual target is the crowd. The attack is diverted by Renee, who makes a difficult decision to shoot the kid, killing her. As the search for Amon continues, they happen upon a base belonging to Intergang. It is there they find Amon, whose legs are shattered. Like Adrianna, Adam gifts him his power, turning him into Osiris.

Now Adam has a family, one soon taken away from him. As time continues, Osiris befriends an anthropomorphic crocodile, which he names Sobek. Sobek is later revealed to be Yurrd the Unknown, one of the four horsemen of Apokalypse, and he tricks Osiris into turning back into his human form, killing him the process. Isis is later met with the horseman Death. She then dies in Adam’s arms, infected by disease. With his family dead, Adam is filled with rage and decides to decimate the entire country of Bilaya. It is then that he instigates World War III, where every superhero faces him. He is eventually defeated but at a cost.

Meaning: Black Adam is not a villain, but rather a man who just wants what’s best for his people. With Isis and Osiris, he finds the best within himself; with them gone, however, he is nothing.

Ralph Dibny: Resurrection and the Meaning of Life

You don’t get it! You had no chance, because I was not caught in your spell! You were caught in mine!

Ralph Dibney battles Felix Faust.

Like Renee, Ralph Dibny, a.ka. Elongated Man had been through the wringer before 52. During Identity Crisis, his wife Sue was murdered by Jean Loring and revealed to have been raped by the villain Doctor Light. When we first see him here, he is about to commit suicide. But, he gets a call saying his wife’s gravestone was vandalized and goes to the cemetery to find a Superman S-shield sprayed on the gravestone, an S-shield that is upside down.

We all know the shield stands for hope, but when inverted it means something else—resurrection. During the first leg of his arc, Ralph tracks down the Cult of Conner, a band of zealots who believe the resurrection of Superboy (Conner Kent, killed at the end of Infinite Crisis) is at hand (later revealed to be a scam, of course). Ralph is called forward by the Shadowpact, a group of magic-based superheroes, to investigate the death of Timothy Trench. Trench is trying on the Helm of Fate, which subsequently melts him.

During his investigation, the helm clings to Dibny, and Ralph is taken on a journey retracing the steps of his life and coming to grips with his wife’s death. As the story nears its conclusion, Ralph figures out that the helm itself is possessed by the nefarious sorcerer Felix Faust. Faust underestimates Dibny though, and Ralph casts a binding spell to keep Faust with him always.

Meaning: In the end, Ralph is confronted by the demon Neron, who kills Ralph with his wedding band, ultimately giving him what he most desires—a reunion with his wife Sue.

The Everyman Project: What Really Makes a Hero?

Look! Up in the sky!

What really makes a hero? Is it the powers or the morals? These are the heavy questions answered in this story.

Steel in his altered state confronts the Everyman Project.

We start with Steel’s daughter, Natasha Irons, who is feeling like she is being neglected as a hero by her uncle. To prove to him she deserves respect, she decides to apply for the Everyman Project, an an idea hatched by Lex Luthor to give normal citizens of Metropolis superpowers. Natasha is first picked, given then alias of Starlight, and appointed leader of the new Luthor-sponsored superhero team, Infinity Inc. As time continues, Steel notices something is off.

His skin starts turning to steel, which he suspects is a sick joke put on by Luthor. One fateful night for Infinity Inc., one of their youngest members, Eliza Harmon (alias: Trajectory) is killed by Blockbuster during a battle. After the death, John Henry confronts Natasha, asking, How did a slug like Blockbuster kill someone going that fast? The answer is right in front of her. Yes, Luthor gave people powers, but he also has the power to turn them off.

As New Year’s Eve arrives, and the stroke of Midnight, Luthor pushes the button and his Everymen start falling from the skies, an event dubbed the Rain of the Supermen. Natasha and Steel finally confront Luthor.

Meaning: As Natasha’s arc ends, she accepts that she is wrong, that it is the man or woman behind the mask that makes the difference, and that no one should have absolute power because it corrupts absolutely.

Starfire, Adam Strange, and Animal Man: Lost in Space

Believe in Her

Much like Black Adam’s arc, this one heavily emphasizes the importance of family. We start with Starfire, Adam Strange, and Animal Man stranded on a deserted planet. With their ship on the fritz, they have no way home and must work together to survive. On their journey, they encounter Lobo, who has sworn off violence and is harboring the Emerald Eye of Ekron.

Not only that, they are also being hunted by an omnipotent named Lady Styx. As the story continues, we see our threesome grow closer together. However, back home Buddy Baker’s wife wonders when he will return. Buddy ponders the same, and as the story winds to a close we see an unconscious Buddy left on the planet while Adam and Starfire return home.

Meaning: Buddy’s sacrifice is noted to his wife, Ellen, by Starfire. Buddy, as a spirit, then says one final goodbye to his wife, his family, and his planet, making for one of the sadder tales in 52.    

The Science Squad and Oolong Island

If I say it then no one else will… Feel free to cackle hysterically, gentlemen!

How does obsession shape who you are? That is the driving theme for the story of Doctor Will Magnus. Will Magnus was the creator of the Metal Men, cybernetic superheroes brought to life by responsometer technology. However, after their deactivation, he took up anti-psychotic pills, which lessens his manic episodes but also makes him a hermit. His only solace comes in weekly visits to Belle Reve to meet with his mentor, Thomas Oscar “T.O.” Morrow.

The Metal Men go into...action? Probably.

Morrow is another infamous DC mad scientist who has tried to create sentient robots for years, both succeeding and failing, most notably with Justice League member Red Tornado. When Morrow goes missing, Magnus takes the case and is dragged into a plot to create superhero deterrents on the top-secret Oolong Island. Along with fellow mad scientists Doctor Thaddeus Sivana, Doctor Tyme, and more, led by Chag Tzu alias Egg Fu, they are out to show that science can trump superpowers. Their work pays off at the expense of Magnus’s sanity, leading to the creation of the Four Horsemen of Apokolips, two of which you’ll remember are responsible for the death of Isis and Osiris, wife and brother-in-law of Black Adam.

Meaning: This eventually leads to World War III, and it all speaks to the dichotomy of Will Magnus, who services his obsession at the expense of his own sanity and of another man’s family, too.

As you can see, many corners of the DC Universe are explored 52. Without the Trinity, different heroes rise up to fill the void. Through all of it, there is a main theme of self-discovery. Booster Gold figures out his role in the multiverse, Renee Montoya embraces her destiny as the new Question, Natasha Irons finds the meaning of a true hero, Black Adam sees that family can change even the coldest of hearts, and so on. This is what makes 52 one of DC’s most seminal stories.

Taylor Pechter is a passionate comic book fan and nerd. Find him on Twitter @TheInspecter.

Old Justice: The Best Justice League Lineups of All Time

By Alex Wedderien The Justice League is perhaps the most iconic super-team in all of comics. With lineups that consistently feature Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and the Flash, the various Justice League iterations have long been some of the most-beloved and highest-selling comics in any given era.

One of the things that makes the League unique, though, is DC's willingness to expand the  roster and feature heroes from outside of the best-sellers list. With big rosters, bigger stakes, and interconnections to the larger shared universe, the Justice League offers an unparalleled take on heroism and humanity.

Nowhere are those things more apparent than in the current Justice League book by Scott Snyder (the second issue of which came out this week), and presumably in the upcoming Justice League Odyssey and Justice League Dark books, too. All three of these comics, under the header of New Justice, expand the league in such a way that it hearkens back to fan favorite eras like the animated Justice League Unlimited or even Super Friends, going so far as to restore the Hall of Justice into modern continuity. It remains to be seen how successful this new run will be, but if these first issues are any indication, there’s a very good chance the current lineups could make this list in the future.

Justice League Dark  by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin was one of the highlights of the  New 52.

Justice League Dark by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin was one of the highlights of the New 52.

5. Justice League Dark Vol. 1 (2012)

Justice League Dark was one of the first wave of titles launched after DC’s New 52 reboot, focusing on a team supernatural characters. After the Justice League’s defeat at the hands of Enchantress, the League realizes they need a supernatural team to help tackle the more mysterious elements of the DCU.

Originally featuring John Constantine, Deadman, Shade, the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu, and Zatanna, Justice League Dark also featured a rotation of heroes, including Frankenstein, Swamp Thing, The Phantom Stranger and many others at various points in its forty-issue run.

JLA Year One  re-imagined the League's early days without  DC's  Trinity.

JLA Year One re-imagined the League's early days without DC's Trinity.

4. JLA Year One (1998)

A retelling of the Justice League’s early days without the Trinity, JLA: Year One expands on the origins of the post-Crisis JLA team that hadn’t been touched on for roughly a decade, since 1988’s Secret Origins. This lineup consisted of Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and the Silver Age Black Canary, which tied the book to the original Justice Society.

The Year One team eventually added both Batman and Hawkman to their ranks, but the original incarnation of the team remains the most iconic lineup of that era.

3. Justice League International (1987)

Spinning out of Legends in 1987, which was the first major DC event after Crisis on Infinite Earths a few years prior, Justice League International had the unenviable task of creating a team of heroes at a time when most of DC’s most popular characters were off-limits due to reboots. The result was a hodgepodge of classic yet underutilized characters, recent DC acquisitions newly brought into the fold...and Batman.       

The genius of JLI’s roster, which consisted of Green Lantern Guy Gardner, Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, the aforementioned Dark Knight, Doctor Fate, Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, Captain Marvel, Mister Miracle, and many many others. The significance of this was two fold.

First, it added a comedic balance to superhero action, bringing levity to a team that at times took itself to seriously. Second, and most importantly, it gave many characters new personalities that readers could relate to or even take inspiration from, the most notable of which was Black Canary. Now written as a strong feminist character, Black Canary often took issue with Guy Gardner, whose personality was that of a boorish misogynist prone to temper tantrums.

Grant Morrison's all-time great  JLA  run in the late '90s envisioned the League as a pantheon of gods.

Grant Morrison's all-time great JLA run in the late '90s envisioned the League as a pantheon of gods.

2. Grant Morrison's Pantheon (1997)

By the mid '90s the Justice League was long past its best years. It had a focus on newer characters and rotating rosters, and at times it encompassed three separate monthly books. Essentially, the Justice League had lost both its name recognition and focus.

DC, however, renewed that focus by making the League its flagship title with 1997’s JLA by Grant Morrison, with art by Howard Porter. JLA was a real back-to-basics approach to the league - led by five of its original members (Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Martian Manhunter) along with successors of original members Flash and Green Lantern in Wally West and Kyle Ranyer respectively.

Along with the A-list core, characters such as Huntress, Oracle, Big Barda, Orion, and newcomers Zauriel and Aztek rounded out the team, creating a League Grant Morrison envisioned as a pantheon of gods fit for taking on the universe’s most dangerous threats.

1. Satellite Era (1970)

The Satellite Era of the Justice League, named after the team’s relocation to a geosynchronous satellite following the Joker’s discovery of the team’s headquarters, is simply one of the best and most influential lineups in League history. This is the lineup that has influenced an untold number of comics and the entire DC Animated Universe. This is a team that remains to this day the most iconic lineup in many fans' hearts, myself included.

The nearly 200-issue run during the League's Satellite Era is the defining  Justice League  iteration.

The nearly 200-issue run during the League's Satellite Era is the defining Justice League iteration.

In addition to DC’s “Big 7” this massive roster includes The Atom, Elongated Man, Hawkman,  Hawkwoman, Red Tornado, Zatanna, Firestorm, Black Canary, and Green Arrow. The talent on display during this time is a veritable who’s who of '70s-era comics with creators like Gerry Conway, George Perez, Len Wein, and Dick Dillin whose 12-year run on Justice League from 1968 to 1980 remains one of the all-time great superhero runs by a creator on any book.

Lasting nearly 200 issues before breaking up and relocating to Detroit and ushering in yet another new age for the ever-changing League, the Satellite Era remains the most consistent and most beloved incarnation of the team to date.

Alex Wedderien is a writer and pop culture journalist. Find him on Twitter @criticismandwit.