This article was originally published at ComicBook.Com on July 2, 2015.
Almost four years after DC Comics’ New 52 reboot, the publisher has crafted another relaunch. But this time, they’ve gone in a very different direction. Rather than starting practically from scratch in a single universe, the books of Divergence represent a wide variety of stories and styles. Many have almost nothing to do with the main DC universe, resulting in the best lineup of DC Comics since the New 52’s opening months. Indeed, there’s a little something for everyone. And now that DC has released every title from their new slate (minus this month’s Cyborg), we can recommend the line-up’s surest bets.
1. If You Hated Jim Gordon’s Moustache…*
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo and Danny Miki
Colors by FCO Plascencia
It’s the beginning of a new era after the death of Batman in Batman #40. Jim Gordon (minus his iconic moustache) has donned a mechanized Bat-suit and is working with the police to protect Gotham. Snyder, Capullo, and company have managed to once again bring a fresh take to the Dark Knight. The hero, the villains, and all of Gotham City reflect a new status quo, one that completely reinvigorates the series. Whatever comes next is bound to be as big and crazy as what we’ve all come to expect from this great creative team.
Written by Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher
Art by Babs Tarr and Joel Gomez
Colors by Serge Lapointe
Batgirl is retaining most of its creative team as well, minus Maris Wicks on color. It maintains all of the incredible momentum of the last six issues while moving into its next phase though. The Batgirl of Burnside is now an established identity, and she’s got a buttload of new problems to face. The most prominent of which is that her dad is now Batman and he wants to put Batgirl in prison. It’s an electric new dynamic that, combined with Babs Tarr’s great re-design of Livewire, is leading to even better Batgirl stories.
2. If Your Favorite Phrase in Monty Python is “And Now For Something Completely Different”…
Written by Mark Russell
Art by Ben Caldwell and Mark Morales
Colors by Jeremy Lawson
This series is without a doubt the strangest thing to come out of Divergence and it may be the best too. The teenager as President premise has been bouncing around since the 1970’s, but it’s never been as smartly presented as this. Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell are lampooning U.S. politics with bold, bubbly cartooning. It’s so much fun to read that you don’t realize just how sick some of these burns are until the issue is over. Smarts, laughs, and looks will make you want to vote for Prez with your dollars.
Written by Heath Corson
Art by Gustavo Duarte
Colors by Peter Pantazis
Two guys on a cross-country road trip getting into shenanigans: it’s a familiar story, well, until you add that the two guys are Bizarro and Jimmy Olsen. The resulting dynamic is something that has much more in common with Mad Magazine thanAction Comics. It’s madcap, rampant silliness pouring off every page and smacking you right on the funny bone. If you’re looking for some laughs at DC Comics, then Bizarro is where it’s at.
3. If You Wish That Superheroes Dressed Like You on a Saturday…
Action Comics #41
Written by Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder
Art by Aaron Kuder
Colors by Tomeu Morey and Wil Quintana
When it hasn’t been distracted by massive crossovers like “Doomed”, Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder’s run on Action Comics has given us the best Superman stories of the New 52. Their part of the “Trust” storyline is keeping up that quality with a depowered Superman wearing a t-shirt and riding a motorcycle. It may be a different look, but it’s definitely still the Man of Steel. He’s hard working, honest, and downright inspiring. After only one issue, this feels like what could be an iconic take on the most iconic of all superheroes.
Written by Gene Luen Yang
Art by John Romita, Jr., Klaus Janson, and Scott Hanna
Colors by Dean White
Gene Luen Yang’s addition to Superman brings an interesting spin to the title. Yang has defined himself in his creator-owned comics focused on issues of race, religion, and history. He’s a writer with a lot to say, and it’ll be fascinating to see what he does with Superman. At the start of his run with the legendary John Romita, Jr. and Klaus Janson though, it’s all about the classic Super-tropes. Big battles, secret scoops, and mysterious masterminds are all present in this story of how Big Blue swapped his cape for a t-shirt.
4. If You’re in The Mood for a Little Bit of Strange…
Constantine: The Hellblazer #1
Written by Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV
Art by Riley Rossmo
Colors by Ivan Plascencia
Honestly, it’s generous to call the previous Constantine series at DC Comics a flop. It was lifeless, but that may have just been some black magic performed to give this one an extra spark. Riley Rossmo’s presentation of everyone’s favorite magical con man is stunning. He tells the story with style and panache where almost no words are needed. Meanwhile, Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV have a solid grasp on their leading man, making him plenty mean with just enough charm to prevent you from hating him.
Dr. Fate #1
Written by Paul Levitz
Art by Sonny Liew
Colors by Lee Loughridge
Paul Levitz may be an old hand when it comes to superhero comics, but he’s giving a new spin to the ancient Dr. Fate. One of the most mysterious men in DC Comics is now a young teen just learning the magical ropes from the golden helmet on his head. It feels like Dr. Strange filtered through the life of Spider-Man, and that’s definitely a compliment (it features two classic Ditko creations!). We don’t know a whole lot about the new Dr. Fate yet, but his debut promises lots of wild adventures to come.
5. If You Don’t Mind Some Good Ol’ Fashioned Ultra Violence…
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by ACO and Hugo Petrus
Colors by Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Midnighter is like Batman if he didn’t have that whole tragic backstory thing going on. He beats criminals, travels the globes, lives the high life, and loves every moment of it. If that sounds like fun, it absolutely is. Every page of Midnighter #1 is a blast to read, whether he’s knocking out teeth or hooking up with new boyfriends. Midnighter is good at everything he does, and it is an absolute pleasure to see him in action.
The Omega Men #1
Written by Tom King
Art by Barnaby Bagenda and Jose Marzan, Jr.
Colors by Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
It’s really hard to believe that Tom King wrote his first comic book just last year. He and Tim Seeley have turned Grayson from a series that probably shouldn’t have worked into one of the best titles at DC Comics. Here he’s applying his real-world experience as a spy again to create a wartime drama set in outer space. Despite the copious number of aliens, strange religious constructs, and references to Green Lantern mythology, it reads like a modern drama steeped in guerilla warfare. This sci-fi spin is shockingly complex with action that will slap you around like an enormous tiger-alien with a grudge.
*If you actually hate Jim Gordon’s moustache, you are a monster.
So what are your favorite new and returning titles from the Divergence relaunch? Share your thoughts in the comments below.