Picking Only Three Comics: New 52/New Year Edition

A while back I examined my comic book buying patterns by deciding which books I would buy if I could only buy three comics. It’s one thing to name books you’re ready to drop, or to name your favorites. Looking at it in terms of what you’d keep if that was all you could get really forces you to evaluate. It’s also helpful for ranking if, after you pick your top three, you expand it to four, then five, then six, etc.

I asked the question again last year, and found that things had changed a bit (though that was partly because two of my top three comics had been canceled). With the new year, and with the first round of New 52 stories reaching their conclusions, I thought this was a good time to pick up the question again.

So if I could only buy three comics, they would be…

  • The Unwritten – Consistently one of my favorite titles over the last few years, and I wrote about why I like this series for the “Read This Too!” event. It’s been in my top 3 every time.
  • The Flash – It’s been a bumpy road. Last year, “The Road to Flashpoint” squandered all the enthusiasm I’d built up with “The Dastardly Death of the Rogues,” and Flashpoint came close to killing what was left, but the new Francis Manapul/Brian Buccellato series feels like it’s finally getting the book back on track.
  • Lady Mechanika – This steampunk action/adventure mystery was one of my favorites to come out of 2010.

What DC books missed the cut?

I’ve got a few other indies I’m reading, but since this is a DC-focused blog, I’ll just run down the other DC books I’m reading right now.

  • Demon Knights – My favorite of the “New 52” books featuring characters that I wasn’t following before Flashpoint. If Lady Mechanika had wrapped up last year, this would take its place on the list. Arguably, it can anyway, since LM comes out so rarely that it might as well not count against the three-comic limit.
  • The Shade – This would be the next one on my list. I was a bit uncertain after the first issue, but #2 and #3 have really pulled this to the top. Fortunately, I don’t really have to limit myself to three comics, so I can keep reading this one.
  • Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. – I’m really not sure about this one. I want to like it more than I do. I should like it. It’s got crazy ideas, a poetry-spouting Frankenstein Monster, a microscopic headquarters that can fly anywhere, an immortal leader who’s regenerated into the form of a child, complete with a change in attitude, alternate dimensions, space travel…but I can’t seem to get into it. I’ll give it another issue or two, but I’m on the fence.
  • Justice League Dark – I liked the concept of putting all these magic-oriented heroes on a team, but the book has just been…not for me. The story hasn’t been compelling, I don’t like the characterization of Madame Xanadu as a junkie, and the dialogue all just feels off. I’m sticking through to the end of the first arc out of sheer stubbornness, but I was ready to drop it after #3.
  • Resurrection Man – The first issue told an interesting story, but the last three have basically been a giant slugfest. Even the main character’s power has been little more than a MacGuffin explaining why everyone’s after him. I’m willing to give it a little more time, but like Frankenstein, I’m really not sure.

I’m definitely keeping Demon Knights and The Shade for now, and I’m giving the others one more issue to change my mind. Though in the case of Justice League Dark, I don’t really expect anything. I’m just determined to finish the first story.

Now it’s your turn. If you could only buy three comics, which ones would you pick?


16 thoughts on “Picking Only Three Comics: New 52/New Year Edition

  1. Greg Elias

    right now, only Flash would qualify as essential for me…I pick up Action and will definitely pick up Batman Inc., and have been reading the main Justice League for cheap thrills/upcoming Curse of Shazam!…waiting for trades on Animal Man and Snyder’s Batman…DC actually made it easy for me to jump off of certain titles with the New 52, I was buying more new stuff week-to-week before Flashpoint.

  2. Touch of Grey

    The first two are easy. The Flash and Batwoman, no questions there. The current run on the Flash is probably my favorite since…geez. Since Waid’s run on Wally’s series, maybe. And between the fantastic storytelling, the dynamic art, and the pure /love/ I feel for Kate Kane, I can easily call Batwoman my second-favorite ongoing from the new 52.

    But the third is tricky.

    See, I have books that I read, and review, but don’t buy. I had been buying them in the past, but as quality dropped over the course of the last couple of months, even as recently as the last issue, I’ve decided to preserve my pocketbook and just read without buying. My LCS allows me to do that because I buy WAY more books than I pass on. So what would my third book be? I could say The Walking Dead or Avengers: Children’s Crusade, because those are both fantastic books. But…I don’t actually buy TWD in single-issue format. I read the issues, then buy the trades. Children’s Crusade is an issue from over, and also a mini-series to begin with. The Shade is another book that I just love, but it’s still not one of my favorites. I guess I’ll just have to say…Teen Titans. Teen Titans is like an emotionally abusive boyfriend. Even when it’s bad to me, I always go back, hoping like we can be like we were in the early days. Brett Booth is a fantastic artist, and Scott Lobdell is trying REALLY HARD not to suck, so I’m just going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    So yeah, Flash, Batwoman, Teen Titans. I’ll retreat to my island, now.

    1. Kelson Post author

      I know what you mean with Teen Titans. Somewhere during the Geoff Johns run, I realized that the last time I’d consistently enjoyed the book was 1990. Even then, it took me about a year to stop reading it.

  3. Jesse

    If I had to pick only 3, it would be


    Followed by Flash, Daredevil, and Fables.

    There are about 10-12 titles I’m still collecting in single issues; before the new52 and recent Marvel changes, it was 30-40.

  4. Jason West

    This is actually probably going to become a reality seeing as how there is a very real possibility that I might drop my other handful of New 52 titles in the next few months…but my list is as follows:

    Resurrection Man (love both series)
    Aquaman (brilliant story/art month after month)
    Justice League (do I even have to explain this one?)

    And Kelson? RM is more about the concepts & the journey & the things that are thrown at Mitch Shelly on his quest to discover just what exactly is going on in his life. I highly recommend reading the previous series (28 issues). It’s not necessary but I do recommend it. ^_^

    1. Kelson Post author

      Hmm, maybe I would like Resurrection Man more if I’d read the earlier series. I mainly picked this one up because I’d been planning to and never got around to it, and the New 52 was being billed as a starting point for new readers.

      1. papa zero

        I had never read Resurrection Man previous to DCnU and was intrigued by the concept but seen anything that really hooks me thus far.

  5. xBarryxAllenx

    My top three? The Flash, Action and Justice League. I’m still collecting other titles, mostly New 52 books, but also catching up on the one-shots related to The Guild (big fan of Felicia Day and company) and just got a copy of Foster #1 and plan on continuing with that title too.

  6. Lia

    Have to admit I’m not especially enjoying Flash these days (though it is well done), and am mostly picking it up out of loyalty.

    The three comics I’m most enjoying right now are:
    Demon Knights
    Wonder Woman

    I wouldn’t have expected the latter two either, as they aren’t typically my thing. And yet here we are.

  7. papa zero

    Flash, Irredeemable (the bomb!), Daredevil

    If I had to pick only DC It would be Flash, OMAC, and strangely enough Nightwing.

  8. Kyer

    (first non-browser computer crash since getting Windows pc for Thanksgiving. between that & end the endless updating security,tempted to go back to Mac. Ugh.)

    If circumstances were different:

    1. Flash (more out of loyalty to the familiar names, really.)
    2. GL: Guardians (strictly because of Kyle)

    After that I don’t know. I’d have to really do some test reading as haven’t been able to keep up with Previews. Probably the characters Wally introduced me to…Dick/Nightwing, Superman (not Superboy Clark), possibly JLI if its anywhere as fun as the old version used to be. God, just something *fun*…adventure that’s not demonic or bug ridden or otherwise gross and *humor*. I need more laughter in my life.

    Eh..until Wally is returned its all basically moot to me anyhow.

  9. married guy

    My three books would be:

    The Boys – I’ve been there since #1 and I HAVE to see how it ends. That and Ennis is just a sick puppy. 🙂

    The Flash – Not blown away, but I’m enjoying this book WAY more than I was before the relaunch.

    Action Comics – I’m enjoyinjg Grant Morrison’s take on the new Superman. Hopefully it remains as enjoyable once we skip forward 5 years to the present DCnU.

  10. headrush71

    I literally bought all of the New 52 #1s. I dropped a handful before I even finished the 1st issue. My top 3 would have to be Batman, Flash and Shade. Batwoman, Animal Man & Swamp Thing are all tied for 4th. I am trying really hard to like JLDark, Frankenstein, Firestorm, I,Vampire, Resurrection Man, Demon Knights and Justice League. I certainly expected to like them all, but so far, meh. I trying to wait for the end of the 1st arc, but some aren’t making it easy. But, Angel & Faith easily covers any disappointment I have with the DC NuMess.


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