DC was initially regarded as National Allied Publications in 1934. Over the years, the publication has grown in popularity and performance. It is now one of the two most giant corporations in America producing comic books. They’re the home to some of the most iconic characters celebrated in the industry, such as Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. Their popularity has also grown at high heights, with T-shirts branded with their icons so common and widespread.
Which is the best DC book? The answer to this question may be challenging since, for as long as DC has been releasing comics, they have never disappointed their readers. However, we came up with a list, mostly inspired by the fans’ votes, to tell us what ranks best according to their experiences. Here are the comic books that received the highest votes.
1. The Man of Steel
After Crisis on Infinite Earth hit on the DC Universe in the 1980s, the corporation chose to reboot all its characters in the event’s wake. The Man of Steel was part of updating the decades’ old characters to fit a more cynical and sophisticated audience.
Written and drawn by John Byrne— Uncanny X-Men’s veteran, The Man of Steel, picked a more modernized approach to the character. For instance, it limited Superman’s powers into more believable levels, turned Lex Luthor into a corrupt businessman, Made Kent Clara more mild-mannered, and a full-fledged character. At the same time, it did away with the Superboy concept.
Although there are changes, the new look still retains the features that make the Superman great while making it easy for casual fans to understand some of its extraordinary aspects. It may look polarizing at the moment, but The Man of Steel remains to be the most straightforward and fun Superman read of all time.
2. Swamp Thing: The Anatomy Lesson
The Wes Caven movie and The Swamp Thing failed to catch on. Afterward, DC decided to place Alan Moore on the budding title, with less hope on the title since they thought it wouldn’t last even a whole year. Surprisingly, the book recorded a ground-breaking run that altered the characters. With sophisticated talents and abilities, Alan Moore twisted the Swamp Thing into nature’s physical personification. He opened the door for more socially conscious stories.
3. Superman: Red Son
Although it’s a “what if?” story, Millar’s slanted take on the Superman mythology is so much fun that surpasses most of the in-continuity Superman tales of the previous decades. Red Son features warped versions of other DC heroes like Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Batman, who spot Ushanka’s comic style.
4. Kingdom Come
This book brings about the scary and frightful side of the DC Universe. Here, you’ll see how new vigilantes use extreme measures to fight crime. All this saga leaves the human population scared and stuck in the middle of bloody wars, with Superman as their last hope of getting all these done. Still, he’s self-exiled to the Fortress Solitude. Luckily, he comes out after retirement and shows the new heroes how to be an icon.
The book features an incredibly pallid plot by Mark Waid. He crafts the universal heroes as noticeably iconic while still retaining his storytelling prowess. One outstanding feature in the whole story is the gorgeously painted artwork done by Alex Ross. He uses art that brings out a jazzy feel while skillfully complementing Waid’s plot.
5. The Killing Joke
This book is something big for special gore-lovers. It’s sadistically brilliant, comes with some sharp dialogues, and full of genuinely uncomfortable instants that will surely make you squirm in your seat.
The author, Alan Moore, looks at the Batman and Joker relationship as something more than just a man clad as a bat punching a demented clown. This work is a perfect blend of a comic book and above-the-top-violence but grounds the whole thing into a fascinating plot.
6. Whatever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow
Before Crisis on Infinite Earths rebooting the Man of Steel, author Alan Moore and veteran Superman artist Curt Swan decided to award the Silver Age version of the character a fitting sendoff. This story was authored as a homage to the shaky tales of the Mort Weisinger-era and appealed to the more nostalgic feelings of comic fans.
The title doesn’t seem to follow a strict continuity, neither has it ever been referenced again, but from Moore’s perspective, it marked the end of Superman stories. It’s in this title that you’ll witness the death of Lex Luthor, Krypto, Jimmy Olsen, Lana Lang, and many others. It’s a pompous curtain call for Superman that’s both adrenaline pounding and emotional.
7. Batman: Year One
Get the captivating DC comics story depicting Commissioner Gordon’s first year in Gotham and Bruce Wayne’s return after spending years in exile. In this book, the DC entrusts Frank Miller to recap the Caped Crusader’s origin in a stripped-down style, packed with a veritable supporting crew of pimps and hookers, and a group of corrupt cops.
The book portrays Gordon as a truthful cop who watches his personal life spin out of control once he’s led to the sleazy underbelly of Gotham. Simultaneously, Wayne returns after spending years in training overseas to battle the violence and corruption that have taken root in his city. Together they form the most powerful duo ever seen in comic history, mostly ignoring each other’s weaknesses and focusing on each other’s strengths.
The story is incredible, and the art Miller uses to pass the message will keep you captive in the comics. Over the years, Year One remains the best Batman story and the best ever in the comic books’ history.
8. The Dark Knight Returns
The Dark Knight Returns is a common title in the comic book space, and almost all comic fans know something about it. In a world where superheroes are familiar, and companies focus more on maintaining the status quo rather than creating art, this title still stands out as the rare gem. It solidifies DC as a more daring and creative company than most of its competitors.
In the book, Miller takes you through a political commentary accompanied by social criticisms while portraying Batman as an elderly vigilante with a demeanor, making Dirty Harry resemble Pat Boone.
At the beginning of the story, you’ll witness Bruce Wayne return to being a Batman and his confrontation with the classic villains like the Joker and Two-Face. As if that’s not enough, he continues to face new threats from the dangerous Man of Steel and the murderous Mutant gang.
Alongside other Caped Crusader tales by Steve Englehart and Denny O’Neil, The Dark Knight Returns is one of the comics that transforms him into a brassy foul-mouthed bully who doesn’t go easy on criminals.
9. Batman: The Long Halloween
The writer of the title is Jeph Loeb, with the assistance of Tim Sale, who did the art. It features a complex murder mystery and events that follow Batman: Year One. Together, the authors create an intricate story full of dynamic actions and excellent character development.
The story rotates around a serial killer who commits murder every holiday. You scantly see the killer, but you’ll feel his enormous impact evident in the plot as the bodies start to heap up, and the stakes begin to rise. With the city full of mobsters and supervillains, Loeb takes you into the mind of the Dark Knight and exposes his thoughts on the piling psychotic maniacs inhabiting Gotham city.
With a perfect blend of some intimate character relationships and big screen, The Long Halloween portrays an ideal ratio of a plot to character to action. It’s a book you’ll willingly give out your right arm to read if you’re a Batman fan, and even the most boring comic fan will still feel the urge to grab a copy and find out more about the story.