DC Comics continues comic book industry domination

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DC Comics hasn’t had the best of luck lately, let’s be honest. “Suicide Squad” was critically panned, and “Batman v Superman” has gotten bad press, even among fans. Nevertheless, the field it continues to dominate, as it has for many years, is the comic book industry.

In May, DC reset all of their major solo titles to number one in an initiative called “Rebirth.” It was officially meant to restore the DC Universe to its preNew 52 standing, while still maintaining elements of the New 52’s continuity. Rebirth has prompted a huge spike in summer comic sales as a whole, and will likely continue to do so through fall and the holidays.

The starting point, the one-shot issue Rebirth, features the original Wally West (Kid Flash) attempting to return to the time stream. It is ultimately the Flash, West’s mentor, who brings West back at the last second when his memory is literally sparked. To many readers, it was one of the most touching scenes in comics. In the end, it is revealed that Dr. Manhattan, the leader of the Watchmen, removed ten years from many characters minds, including pivotal memories. Now to get up to speed (get it?) about some of the new stories–

Batman finds himself questioning his role as his city’s protector when super-powered siblings Gotham and Gotham Girl emerge. Batman also leads the first crossover of “Rebirth: Night of the Monster Men.” Green Arrow finds out that his alter ego, billionaire Oliver Queen, has been killed by a new group of villains: the Ninth Circle. Picture Fort Knox for super villains and that’s them. I would love to see them come to The CW show “Arrow.” The new Green Lanterns of Earth, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, are forced to work together when Hal Jordan fuses their power batteries. They must battle a Red Lantern invasion force as well as their animosity towards each other. The series deals remarkably well with Jessica’s anxiety and Simon’s struggles with being Muslim in America.

A man named Mr. Oz tells Superman that he is not who he thinks he is. After defeating the Eradicator, a foe bent on completing the destruction of Krypton, Superman contemplates the merits of his actions. This series definitely feels like Superman—exploring dark and heavy issues, yet keeping a light tone.

Black Manta, Aquaman’s nemesis, has destroyed the Atlantean embassy and taken over the criminal group NEMO, while Aquaman is on the run for a crime that he didn’t commit. Aquaman is of mixed human and Atlantean heritage, and the writers weave this dynamic into the series very well.

Two different stories feature Wonder Woman: “The Lies,” exploring her present disillusionment, and “Year One,” covering her past. Both of these stories are well written and drawn and explore gender issues with cuttingedge precision.

Wally West is at the center of “Titans,” which sees him reunite with the original Teen Titans. Along the way, Abra Kadabra, a 34thcentury magician who threw Wally West out of time, returns with a vengeance. This entertaining and thrilling series seems key to explaining Rebirth itself. In Hal Jordan’s absence, his arch-enemy Sinestro has declared himself ruler of the universe. Hal is captured by the Sinestro Corps, but a confrontation looms. The suspense and mystery run high every issue as the Green Lantern Corps prepares to return.

Nightwing is pushed to his limits as he accepts a new mentor, the morally dubious Raptor, in his quest to eradicate the Parliament of Owls. The humor balanced with serious ethical issues makes this series worth the read.

Jaime Reyes just wants to be normal, preferably by getting rid of the scarab that has fused itself to his back. The sorcerer Doctor Fate, meanwhile, drops a truth bomb: the Blue Beetle is not alien, but magical. It’s yet another teenage superhero struggle bus-ride, but the humor alone makes it promising. The fan-favorite assassin Deathstroke faces new challenges as he tries to navigate a deadly African civil war and rescue his daughter from an assassination attempt. This series delves deeper into the mystery that is Slade Wilson. The divide between man and machine becomes increasingly blurred for Cyborg as he begins wondering what he is—a man who feels like a machine, or a machine who feels like a man. I feel this series has great potential to shed more light on a severely underrated member of the Justice League.