The 2010s was a huge decade for DC Comics. This decade was marked by three big directions for the entire company. It started with the New 52 reboot in 2011 that gave the entire DC Universe a full reboot. Then there was DC Rebirth that was a relaunch of every comic book that integrated both the pre-Flashpoint and New 52 continuity. Finally their is the current post-Dark Nights: Metal era that has brought back the Multiverse in a big way. During all this there were a lot of stand out runs from DC Comics. We went through all of them and broke down the must-read DC Comics’ runs that took place between 2010 to 2019.
CAMERON STEWART & BRENDEN FLETCHER’S BATGIRL
Issues: Batgirl (2011 – 2016) #35 – #52; Batgirl Annual (2011 – 2016) #3
Writers: Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher
Artists: Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart, Joel Gomez, Jake Wyatt, Michel Lacombe, Bengal, David Lafuente, Ming Doyle, Mingjue Helen Chen, Rob Haynes, Eleonora Carlini, Moritat, Horacio Domingues, Roger Robinson, James Harvey, John Timms
Inkers: Juan Castro
Colorists: Maris Wicks, Serge Lapointe, Bengal, Ivan Plascencia, Mingjue Helen Chen, James Harvey, Lee Loughridge
When the New 52 began one character that became DC Comics pillars was Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl. Her return to the cape and cowl was very important for the company. We see how that has helped elevate Barbara even now as she is someone that is very involved in the recent Heroes In Crisis and Event Leviathan events. And the run that help define Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl was Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr’s “Batgirl Of Burnside” run. This run help break Barbara’s Batgirl out from the pack as she was given her own corner Gotham City like Dick Grayson has had with Bludhaven.
What made this run so much fun was the supporting cast that Fletcher, Stewart and Tarr surrounded Barbara with. Each character brought something different to the table as Barbara was able to have a support system that was her own. Every friend she got in Burnside helped her grow and discover herself more in and out of the Batgirl cape and cowl. Having that strength in her supporting cast allowed the Burnside area feel like its own world that was alive.
All of that was further elevated by the excellent design from Babs Tarr created that the other artists who also worked on Batgirl during this period followed extremely well. There is just no other comic book from DC that looks like Tarr’s “Batgirl Of Burnside.” The entire run is filled with a style that has a kinetic energy that is always moving forward. It is very reminiscent of what you would see from mangas and anime but still even more unique. This added to the world building that Tarr along with Fletcher and Stewart did throughout their run together. – Kevin Lainez
SCOTT SNYDER’S BATMAN
Issues: Batman (2011 – 2016) #0 – #51; Batman: Last Knight On Earth #1 – #3
Writer: Scott Snyder and James Tynion
Artist: Greg Capullo, Rafael Albuquerque, Jason Fabok, Andy Clarke, Becky Cloonan, Jock, Andy Kubert, Alex Maleev, Dustin, Nguyen, Kelley Jones, Graham Nolan, Sam Kieth and Yanick Paquette
Inker: Jonathan Glapion, Rafael Albuquerque, Andy Clarke, Becky Cloonan, Sandu Florea, Jock, Sandra Hope, Alex Maleev, Danny Miki, Kelley Jones, Graham Nolan, Sam Kieth and Derek Fridolfs
Colorist: FCO Plascencia, Peter Steigerwald, Dave McCaig, David Baron, Brad Anderson, Nathan Fairbairn, Francisco Perez and Lee Loughridge
Of all the notable comic book runs that DC Comics had from a ton of great talent there is none that are better than Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman run in the 2010s. This is the run that defined this decade for DC Comics as Snyder and Capullo took on the company’s biggest franchise and defined what it is moving forward. The run was also filled with other great artists that include Jock, Rafael Albuquerque, Becky Cloonan, Andy Kubert and many others. Each artist brought their style to further the overall tone for this period in Batman.
What made the run so magical was how Snyder and Capullo wasted no time in creating a big epic story. Right out of the gate they started with the “Court of the Owls” storyline that has now become one of the defining stories in the Batman franchise’s history. That story challenged Batman in ways that haven’t been before as Snyder and Capullo dove further into Gotham City’s. Taking that challenge further Snyder and Capullo were able to examine what the name of Batman means to the city as they had Commissioner Gordon take on the mantle. That was a risk that paid off which further highlighted what made Bruce Wayne the Batman.
Those chance did not just stay to their work on the main Batman series. Snyder and Capullo expanded their runs on the Batman franchise to include Dark Nights: Metal event and the recent Batman: Last Knight On Earth. With both comics Snyder and Capullo expanded on various concepts they used throughout their run on Batman. In doing so they were able to develop stories that had a big event feel while keeping the stories centered around Batman’s impact on what was going on. – Kevin Lainez
Issues: DCeased #1 – #6 and; DCeased: A Good Day To Die #1
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artists: Trevor Hairsine, Stefano Gaudiano, James Harren Laura Braga and Darick Robertson
Inkers: Stefano Gaudiano, Richard Friend, Trevor Scott and Darick Robertson
Colorists: Rain Beredo
DC Comics’ history filled with a lot of great Elseworld stories throughout their history. One of the best additions to the Multiverse of Elseworld tales is DCeased. Even though it does not have Crisis as part of its name there are a lot of elements from that type of DC Comics event in the story. The biggest being how the Anti-Life Equation plays a large role in what caused the end of the world scenario that spread throughout DCeased version of the DC Universe.
Where DCeased differs from the majority of DC Comics events is that it largely deals with the aftermath of the Crisis that has hit the world. Tom Taylor created a deep connection between all our favorite DC Comics heroes and the Crisis-level threat they were faced with. That connection led to no one including the Trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman being safe. There was a constant feeling that anyone could be taken out at any moment because of the Crisis. This led to some incredibly touching moments between characters that DC Comics fans will feel for a long time after reading this comic book.
Along with Taylor’s masterful storytelling Trevor Hairsine delivered great artwork throughout DCeased that help bring the Anti-Life Equation Crisis to life. Hairsine highlighted how this event’s focus was on the connection between the reader and the DC Universe. He brought to life the emotion Taylor was going for when characters were faced with the toughest choices of their lives. Stefano Gaudiano, James Harren, Laura Braga and Darick Robertson also provide some great work in the issues they drew along with Hairsine. They all kept the look of DCeased consistent throughout the event. – Kevin Lainez
JOSHUA WILLIAMSON’S THE FLASH
Issues: The Flash: Rebirth #1; The Flash (2016-Present) #1 – #84
Writer: Joshua Williamson and Michael Moreci
Artists: Carmine Di Giandomenico, Neil Googe, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Felipe Watanabe, David Gianfelice, Jesus Merino, Howard Porter, Paul Pelletier, Christian Duce, Pop Mhan, Scott McDaniel, Scott Kolins, Dan Panosian, Rafa Sandoval and Minkyu Jung
Inkers: Carmine Di Giandomenico, Neil Googe, Andrew Currie, Jorge Corona, Oclair Albert, David Gianfelice, Andy Owens, Andrew Hennessy, Christian Duce, Pop Mhan, Mick Gray, Scott Kolins, Dan Panosian, Scott Hanna and Mikyu Jung
Colorists: Ivan Plascencia, Chris Sotomayor, Hi-Fi, Luis Guerrero and Tomeu Morey
There are fewer franchises that would be tougher to take over than the Flash. First, there was the classic Mark Waid run on the Flash from 1991-2000. Waid put Wally West on the map. Waid also engaged in some of the most impressive work creating and expanding upon the Flash mythos. After all, Waid gave us iconic aspects to the Flash mythos like the Speed Force.
After Waid left the Flash, we then got the impossible and were treated to a run even greater than what Waid had given us. Geoff Johns. A name synonymous with the Flash. Johns helmed the Flash franchise from 2000-2010 including Flash vol. 2 #167-237, Flash: Rebirth, and Flash vol. 3 $1-12.
The Flash franchise then took a nosedive during the New 52 during Flash vol. 4. However, Johns brought Rebirth to the DCU and with that we got a new Flash title. Then Joshua Williams was given keys to the Flash franchise with Flash vol. 5 #1 in 2016. Talk about trying to fill some huge shoes. I cannot image the pressure that Williamson must have been under when he took over the Flash. Trying to follow epic runs like Mark Waid’s run and Geoff Johns’ run is a daunting task that many writers would not relish.
Williamson seemed unfazed, grabbed the Flash franchise by the horns and proceeded to deliver Flash stories that rivaled anything delivered by Waid or Johns. What makes Williamson’s so impressive and enjoyable is that Williamson did not simply look to rely on what Waid and Johns had given him. Williamson actually rolled up his sleeves and decided to add to the Flash mythos. A lot.
Williamson’s run on the Flash has been marked by excellent character work as well as impressive continuity work. Williamson’s Flash offers incredible action and excitement on a rather large scale. Williamson is leaving his indelible mark upon the Flash franchise. Williamson is sure to have earned his place right up with there Waid and Johns. – Rokk
HAL JORDAN & THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS
Issues: Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1; Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps #1 – #50
Writers: Robert Venditti
Artists: Ethan Van Sciver, Rafa Sandoval, Ed Benes, V. Kenneth Marion, Patch Zircher, Jack Herbert, Jose Luis, Brandon Peterson and Sergio Fernandez Davila
Inkers: Ethan Van Sciver, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Ed Benes, Paul Neary, Dexter Vines, Patch Zircher, Jack Herbert, Mick Gray and Brandon Peterson
Colorists: Jason Wright, Tomeu Morey and Alex Sollazzo
It’s never easy following up an incredibly memorable and franchise defining comic book run like the one that Geoff Johns had on Green Lantern. Thankfully Robert Venditti was more than up for that challenge by taking over the main Green Lantern series in the form of Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps. Venditti took everything that Johns built around the Green Lantern franchise and moved it forward to the next logical place. The artwork from the incredible talents led by Rafa Sandoval further elevated how incredible the Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern series was.
The most impressive part of Venditti’s run is the relationship between the Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps. These two Lantern Corps have been at war with each other for a long time. Venditti took all of their history to the next level as we saw an alliance grow between the two thanks to John Stewart and Soranik Natu being the leaders of the Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps, respectively. Venditti crafted a lot of fascinating character dynamics thanks to the alliance John and Soranik were able to forge between their respective Lantern Corps. How that led to an even bigger storyline that could still be picked up on by future Green Lantern franchise writers speaks to the strength of Venditti’s writing for this story.
Along the story between the Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps, Venditti ventured further into the cosmic side of the DC Universe throughout his run. Venditti used every cosmic character you could think of. From the New Gods to General Zod to Space Cabbie, Venditti ventured into the deeper pool of cosmic characters to expand on the Green Lantern Corps status within the DC Universe. – Kevin Lainez
Issues: Injustice 2 (2017-2018) #1-36
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artists: Bruno Redondo, Juan Albarran, Daniel Sampera, Mike Miller, and Xemanico.
If DC publishes a title that focuses on the Multiverse or an alternate reality then I am sure to buy that title. However, that does not mean that you are guaranteed a well written story. Tom Taylor’s Injustice 2 definitely falls into the well written story category. Taylor’s Injustice 2 follows the next chapter for a Batman-led insurgency that has defeated a Superman-led totalitarian regime.
There is no doubt that Taylor’s Injustice 2 has action and excitement. And the setting is immersive and fascinating. But, what really makes Taylor’s Injustice 2 so special is the incredible character work. The chemistry between the characters and the relationship with each other is what makes Injustice 2 such a riveting read.
Injustice 2 is a good looking series, too. The art brings Taylor’s story to life in vivid fashion. All in all, Injustice 2 is a well plotted self contained story that offers a satisfying reading experience. Readers who love alternate reality stories won’t go wrong with Taylor’s Injustice 2. – Rokk
GEOFF JOHNS’ JUSTICE LEAGUE
Issues: Justice League (2011 – 2016) #0 – #50
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Jim Lee, Gene Ha, Gary Frank, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, David Finch, Tony Daniel, Doug Mahnke and Jason Fabok
Inkers: Scott Williams, Brad Anderson, Oclair Albert and Keith Champagne
Colorists: Alex Sinclair and Rod Reis
The New 52 was largely a disaster for DC Comics. After a momentary sales bump DC saw sales numbers crater. Fan pushback to the New 52 was massive. Most of the New 52 titles were poorly done and read like bad 1990s Image titles. However, not all was bad. Geoff Johns’ Justice League was a diamond nestled in a pile that was the New 52.
Geoff Johns teamed up with some spectacular artists like Jim Lee, Gary Frank, Ivan Reis, Doug Mahnke, and Jason Fabok to deliver DC’s best title outside of Batman during the New 52. Johns managed to make the most of the New 52 and try his best to deliver brilliant five year run on Justice League. The result was an epic superhero tale that clearly demonstrated Geoff Johns’ unabashed love for the DCU and the superhero genre.
Johns’ Justice League was an epic tale with a massive scale and scope to the story. Johns delivered his usual phenomenal world building in constructing and fleshing out DC’s New 52 universe. The reader was treated to strong world building, excellent character growth, and incredible action. Johns’ run on the Justice League is a must read for any fan of the superhero genre. It is certainly one of the most exciting and unique runs on the Justice League of all time. – Rokk
SCOTT SNYDER & JAMES TYNION’S JUSTICE LEAGUE
Issues: Dark Nights: Metal #1 – #6; Justice League: No Justice #1 – #4; Justice League (2018 – Present) #1 – #38
Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion and Joshua Williamson
Artists: Greg Capullo, Jim Cheung, Jorge Jimenez, Doug Mahnke, Mikel Janin, Francis Manapul, Frazer Irving, Guillem March, Stephen Segovia, Daniel Sampere, Pasqual Ferry, Javier Fernandez, Bruno Redondo, Howard Porter, Marcus To and Riley Rossmo
Inkers: Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, Jorge Jimenez, Jaime Mendoza, Walden Wong, Mikel Janin, Francis Manapul, Frazer Irving, Bruno Redondo, Guillem March, Stephen Segovia, Juan Albarran, Pasqual Ferry, Javier Fernandez, Riley Rossmo and Jonathan Glapion
Colorists: Sunny Gho, Marcelo Maiolo, Tomeu Morey, Alejandro Sanchez, Wil Quintana, Jeromy Cox, Francis Manapul, Frazer Irving, Ari Prianto, Hi-Fi and Alejandro Sanchez and FCO Plascencia
DC’s premier super-team used to be the epicenter of the universe, featuring all the biggest heroes, the biggest villains, and of course the biggest, wildest conflicts. The Silver Age in particular found the League with some of its most dire moments while never forgetting to be fun, the way the best titles from the Big Two are. Following Waid’s departure from the book those times were few and far between, but thanks to DC rising stars Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV as the writers and Jorge Jimenez on art, those Silver Age times are back! And not a moment too soon, as the company still recovering from the New 52 needed their greatest heroes to shine more than ever. Thankfully, Snyder and company were more than up to the task, and succeeded beyond my wildest expectations.
Right from the beginning, where a strange doorknob with the secrets to the universe is taken by Lex Luthor’s new Legion of Doom, you know you’re in for a wild ride. And with a threat as large as the Legion, the Justice League is back and better than ever, with a positively fantastic roster built for action. With this rather simplistic set-up, Snyder and Tynion weave a tale of multiversal peril, tying in the Crisis events, Snyder’s own Dark Nights: Metal, obscure characters like the Will Payton Starman (Google him, kids!) and gasp, new concepts in for a truly mesmerizing adventure that’s somehow equal parts dire and bonkers. And for the first time, the League manages to somehow create more problems than they fix, giving the title a gnawing sense of dread as the heroes fight to their limits for even slight victories. It also makes time for the villains, exploring their own fractured, fascinating dynamics, and little side stories that may seem like time wasters at first, but tie back into the story in big ways.
While the spectacle is what draws you in, it’s the beating heart of this story that keeps you reading. Every character is treated with care and respect, given the time to develop a bit, and the universe-building is second to none. The story may be about high flying spectacle, punching gods in the face and all that on paper, but it’s really about so much more. It’s about the ties of family that bond the League, the trust they have both in Justice and in each other, and in their undying faith that goodness and light will one day triumph over evil. Action, heart, humor (shout out Jarro!), tension, and so much more radiate off of this book, and you are doing yourself a massive disservice if you’re not reading it. Snyder, Tynion and Jimenez have put on the ultimate clinic for how to write a team title, and I doubt it will be topped anytime soon. – Steven Glover
PETER TOMASI & PATRICK GLEASON’S SUPERMAN
Issues: Superman: Rebirth #1; Superman (2016 – 2018) #1 – #45
Writers: Peter J. Tomasi
Artists: Doug Mahnke, Patrick Gleason, Jorge Jimenez, Ivan Reis, Ed Benes, Clay Mann, Ryan Sook, Tony Daniel, Sebastian Fiumara, Scott Godlewski, Philip Tan, Tyler Kirkman, Travis Moore and Jack Herbert, Barry Kitson
Inkers: Jaime Mendoza, Mick Gray, Jorge Jimenez, John Trevor Scott, Keith Champagne, Christian Alamy, Ed Benes, Clay Mann, Ryan Sook, Sandu Florea, Seth Mann, Sebastian Fiumara, Scott Godlewski, Philip Tan, Tyler Kirkman, Travis Moore, Art Thibert, Jack Herbert, Scott Hanna and Barry Kitson
Colorists: Doug Mahnke, John Kalisz, Alejandro Sanchez, Wil Quintana, Dave Stewart, Gabe Eltaeb, Dinei Ribeiro, Arif Prianto and Dinei Ribeiro
Of all the heroes affected by the New 52, Superman probably got hit the worst. Gone was the big blue Boy Scout, the paragon of hope and the American ideals that defined the world’s greatest hero. In his stead was a jeans wearing, crew cut punk with a bad attitude and a potty mouth, a pretender to the very ideals of Superman. Thankfully, as DC saw the light, they drafted their A-plus creative team of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason to usher the Man of Steel into the Rebirth era. The title may begin with Superman at the grave of his New 52 counterpart, but this is no funeral of a title, it’s a resurrection.
Tomasi and Gleason’s work has all the hallmarks of what makes a comic work: pulse-pounding action, well-written stories, good humor, amazing artwork, and the works. But what makes it uniquely Superman is the inspiring and humble nature of it all. Superman is a father now, trying to teach a young, rambunctious Jonathan Kent how to control his powers, while still being a good husband to Lois and run his family farm. The character has finally reached that ever-elusive evolution that we’ve always wanted to see, tackling new challenges both superhuman (the Eradicator, a time lost island, the Bizarro-world Legion of FUN) and the painfully human (fatherhood, fitting in, finding true fulfillment in life), and it all just clicks together. This is everything we wanted from a Superman title, and plenty that we didn’t know we wanted but truly always needed, and it is simply pitch perfect.
I have never hidden my love for Superman, but I’ll admit I was disappointed in what DC was giving me for quite some time. With this title, Tomasi and Gleason supercharged my affection for the Man of Steel and reminded me of why I’ve revered him since I was a little kid. Yes he has the power and the flying and he punches things real good, but it’s the humanity of this godlike alien that has and always will appeal to me and millions of others. To see him in this new story, tackling real life problems and growing as a character is truly wonderful to behold, and I loved every single second of it. This is what Rebirth promised us, and it delivered on all levels. Tomasi and Gleason may be off the title, but they have left what is, in my opinion, the defining Superman run of my generation. No hyperbole here, folks, it’s just that great. – Steven Glover
BRIAN AZZARRELLO & CLIFF CHIANG’S WONDER WOMAN
Issues: Wonder Woman (2011 – 2016) #1 – #35
Writers: Brian Azzarello
Artists: Cliff Chiang, Tony Akins and Goran Sudzuka
Inkers: Tony Akins, Dan Green, Jose Marzan, Goran Sudzuka and Rick Burchett
Colorists: Matthew Wilson and Sonia Oback
Though they aren’t as well known as runs had by Batman and Superman creative teams there have been quite a number of notable periods in Wonder Woman’s publishing history. That includes runs from creators like Gail Simone and Greg Rucka. During the New 52 Brian Azzarello added his name to that list of great Wonder Woman runs. What makes Azzarello’s run stand out even more now is the how it almost reads like something that takes place in an Elseworld Universe. Azzarello reshapes the world Wonder Woman has inhabited for so long.
What particularly stood out is how Azzarello developed the various Greek Gods and Amazons around Wonder Woman. He gave many iconic characters from Greek mythology new looks. It added to how Wonder Woman shared a different relationship with each Greek God she interacted with. Adding in how she was now a daughter of Zeus placed Wonder Woman in an even more unique position compared to before with both her Greek and Amazonian lineage. How Azzarello explored where Wonder Woman stood with both made for an even more intriguing tale as things continued to escalate for what was at risk.
The New 52 Wonder Woman also featured some of the best artwork from an ongoing series at the time from Cliff Chiang. Characters like Ares and Hades were given new life thanks to Chiang’s redesigns that kept classic elements of the characters while coming across as versions we haven’t seen before. Chiang’s Wonder Woman also always look strong no matter the situation. Even when she was faced with constant obstacles Wonder Woman never lost confidence in the powerful hero she is. That is thanks to Chiang’s drawing of the Diana’s character throughout this run. – Kevin Lainez
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