Best DC Stories for New DC Readers. A Personal Opinion

Also see

You probably have Eras or heroes you like but this is my complete list for New DC Readers.

It is by Year and Title and decribes each arc.

Two lists

Older single Issue Classic titles including O’Neil and Adams

Then Silver Age and Later List

Julie Schwartz said to Denny O Neil once, “Every Comic Book is the first issue for some reader.”

Back in.the 1960s, a comic book story that went beyond one issue was rare and many comic books contained more than one story. Yet these comic books were relatively easy to understand in standalone issues.

Nowadays stories routinely take more than one issue. And routinely some understanding of what happened before to this character is required to understand the issue.

We now have more than 23,000 comic book, how can a reader new to DC navigate through the library to find the best story arcs and coverage of most major characters?

This guide may help.

First is a listing of 13 historic comic book.issues that are still readable today and give a reader of what comic books were like in the beginning.

You can safely skip all these issues if you want and go to the next list.

13 Historical Golden Silver and Bronze Age Comic Book Issues.

00 1938 Action.Comic 1 Reprinted in Superman 1 below. First Appearance of Superman

01 1939 Detective Comics 27 First Appearance of Batman. See 1979 Detective Comics 471 to 476 by Steve Engleheart and Marshall Rogers and 1987 Batman Year One by Frank Miller on next list below

02 1939 Superman 1. Reprint the earliest Actipn Comics Issues containing Superman. See 1986 Man of Steel by John Byrne and 2015 Superman Lois and Clark

03 1940 Detective Comics 38 First Appearance of Robin with Batman.

04 1940 Batman 1 First Appearance of Joker and Catwoman Also Two page Origin of Banan and last time Batman kills someone

05 1941 All Star Comics 8. First Appearance of Wonder Woman. Skip the dated Justice Society stories and go to the back of the issue for the first Wonder Woman Story. See 1987 Wonder Woman by Perez and 2016 Wonder Woman Year One by Rucka Scott

06 1941 Sensation Comic 1 continues story from All.Star 8.

07 1942 Wonder Woman 1

08 1956 Showcase 4 First Appearance of Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash. See Flash 123 for Short Origin

09 1958 Adventure Comics 247 First Appearance of the three founders of the Legion of Super Heroes, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, with Superboy. See 1994 Zero issues in Legion of Super Heroes and Legionaires for Origin without Superboy

10 1959 Action Comics 252 First Appearance of Supergirl. See 1996 Supergirl 75 to 80 by Peter David

11 1970 Comic Book Green Lantern Green Arrow 76 O’Neill Adams

12 1971 Comic Book Batman 232 “Daughter of the Demon” writer Denny O’ Neil and atist Neal Adams redefined the Batman from the campy figure in the 1966 Batman TV series into a dread avenger of the night. This story is one of the high points of their legendary run.

The next list is Recommendations for Best DC Stories

Comics must be in DC Library

Tge only exception is a Vertigo Title with Death as the main character.

Stories are relatively short arcs of consecutive issues, which means leaving out any ‘Done in One’ stories including Batman stories by O Neil and Adams. Exception is Anatomy Lesson by Alan Moore.

Very few Year One and Oriigin stories, which csn be found elsewhere easily

Recommendations for Best DC Stories

01 1960 Brave and the Bold 30 Best of the early Justice League of America stories and Last tryout of the JLA before receiving their own book. Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman Cameos by Superman and Batman. First comic book I ever read. By Gardner Fox

02 1961 Brave and the Bold 34 36 42 43 44 Hawkman by Schwartz Fox Kubert. Hawkman and Hawkgirl are married police officers from the planet Thanagar

03 1961 Flash 123, 129, 137 and Justice League of America 21 22
Introduced Earth 2 where the original 1940s Golden Age Flash and the Justice Society of America live.
Introduced the concept of parallel worlds and the Multiverse which existed until Crisis of infinite Earths in 1985.

04 1972 Swamp Thing by Wein and Wrightson

05 1974 Adventure Comics 431 to 440 The Spectre. Superhero as horror comic.Writer/Artist Mike Fleisher/Jim Aparo. Editor Joe Orlando, Read 1992 Spectre by Ostrander and Mandrake for a more nuanced viewpoint

06 1976 All Star Comics 58 on revival of Justice Society of America on Earth 2 Introduces Power Girl. By Conway Wood.

07 1979 Detective Comics 471 to 476 Batman by Steve Engleheart and Marshall Rogers

08 1980 New Teen Titans By Wolfman and Petez. New characters Cyborg, Raven, Starfire. plus Dick Grayson,. Donma Troy, Wally West and Beast Boy from Doom Patrol.

09 1984 All Star Squadron. Set in World War II on Earth 2 By Roy Thomas

10 1984 Saga of Swamp Thing 21 The Anatomy Lesson by Alan Moore

11 1986 Legends by John Byrne Shows the world after Crisis on Infinite Earths, where Dr Fate, Captain Marvel and Blue Beetle have always existed in the same world as Superman and Batman. FIrst time Darkseid is introduced as a major villain in the DC Universe, outside of Jack Kirby’s New Gods. Wally West in action as the new Flash and the new Suicide Squad has its first mission. Justice League is present as Justice League Detroit, including members Vixen, Vibe, Steel, Gypsy and Firestorm. Dr. Fate organizes The new Superman, Batman, The new Wonder Woman (first appearance), Captain Marvel, Guy Gardner, Black Canary, Beast Boy, Wally West Flash and the Blue Beetle to fight the forces ot Darkseid. Later Martian Manhunter is included. Most of these super heroes become the next Justice League.

12 1986 Man of Steel by John Byrne. Superman now sole survivor of Krypton. Gained powers after decades on Earth. So Supergirl and Superboy never existsed . Nowhere near as powerful.as previous version.

13 1987 Wonder Woman by Perez. This Diana is new to Man’s world. Not an experiencef super hero at all.

14 1987 Batman 404 to 407 Batman Year One by Miller and Mazzucchelli

15 1987 Justice League then Justice League International (JLI) with issue 7 by DeMatteis Griffen Inital members: Batman, Black Canary, Blue Beetle (Charlton), Captain Marvel (Fawcette), Doctor Fate (Earth 2), a female Dr. Light, Guy Gardner, Martian Manhunter, Mister Miracle. The comedic tone was Giffen’s idea, Booster Gold added. Guy Gardner was now a loutish hothead, Booster Gold was greedier and more inept than before, and Captain Marvel displayed a childlike personality… Captain Atom and Rocket Red #7 are added to the team by the United States and Russia respectively. Captain Marvel and Doctor Fate quit the team for personal reasons; Batman steps down as leader, appointing Martian Manhunter to replace him.

16 1987 Suicide Squad from issue 17 on. Villians forcrd by Amanda Waller to take on risky missions. Issue 23 has First Appeatance of Barbara Gordon as Oracle, disabled Computer Whiz. Skip Janus Dirrctive.

17 1993 Death High Cost of Living The Trade includes Death’s First Appearance in Sandman 8, 1991, Sound of Her Wings Neil Gaiman
(Not in library, available at Comixology or try Library or buy Graphic Novel trade)

18 1994 in the Zero Hour Crisis issue 61 of Legion of Super Heroes (1989) , two sets of Legionaires gradually fade from existence For LSH ifans, issue 61 is both sad and triumphant.
The Legion storyline starts again in a clear entertaining way, with the origin of the LSH by its three founders in two books Legion of Super Heroes and Legionaires. Both titles start with a 0 issues, then alternate LSH 62 then Legionaires 19 then 63, 20, 64 21, 65, 22 etc.

19 1994 Aquaman in issue 2, Arthur loses a hand, which is replaced with a harpoon. His Long Hair and attitude influenced the Justice League and Aquaman movies decades later. This is the Start of Aquaman as a Bad Ass, No Longer a Joke Hero who could only last an hour outside water, and whose only power was to talk to fish. By Peter David.

20 1996 Supergirl 75 to 80 by Peter David Linda Danvers Matrix Supergirl meets Silver Age Kara Zor el Supergirl

21 1997 JLA the Original Big Seven return (Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern and Wally West as Flash) with epic plots. Grant Morrison.

22 1998 Young Justice Tim.Drske Robin, Conner Kent Superboy, Impulse And later Secret, Cassie Sandmark as Wonder Girl, Arrowette. By Peter David

23 2000 Planetary Warren Ellis John Cassidy The book’s primary concern is unearthing the confluence of influences that led to the idea of The Superhero as our modern culture now knows it. From Doc Savage to James Bond; the Lone Ranger, Green Hornet and The Shadow; Tarzan, noir Private Eyes and Fu Man Chu; 1950’s Sci-Fi B-Movies, Godzilla and Hong Kong action flicks; Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern; early Marvel comics, and more predominately, the work of Jack Kirby; the re-inventive, post-modern 1980’s DC comics work from English writers like Moore, Grant Morrision, Peter Milligan and company; all the way back to 19th century superhero precursors like Sherlock Holmes, Dracula and Frankenstein. Ellis and Cassaday leave no stone unturned when it comes to excavating the heart of the superhuman myth as it existed in the 20th Century and continues to exist to this day.

24 2002 Global Frequency For Mature Adults. Mission Impossible type stories with mostly new characters each issue Warren Ellis

25 2002 Hawkman Hawkman and Hawkgirl now have their original 1940s origin of being reincarnated lovers through out all of history. This Hawkgirl is in her 20s and has no memory of their past lives together. By Geoff.Johns

26 2003 Teen Titans Young Justice mentored by New Teen Titans Geoff Johns

27 2004 DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke. Set in late 50s and early 60s. Golden Age Superman Batman and Wonder Woman and Origins of Silver Age Age Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter plus Flash at stsrt of his career. Restart with second issue if can’t get into first issue. Also there is an extra one shot issue which is very good.

28 2004 Birds of Prey issue 56 on. Black Canary and Barbara Gordon as Oracle work as a team . Later Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) and Lady Blackhawk, displaced from the 1940s, are added to team

29 2005 Villains United Limited Series by Gail Simone. Later Secret Six series, starring Catman and Deadshot

30 2006 A new Blue Beetle starts as Jamie Rayes, a teenage Hispanic character has an intelligent Scarab involuntarily inserted into his back, which gives him incomplete control of his new super powers.

31 2006 Shadowpact by Bill Willingham Nightmaster, Ragman, Nightshade, Blue Devil, Enchantress and Detective Chimp.

32 2007 Justice Society. The New Age. Green Lantern Alan Scott, Flash Jay Garrick and Wildcat Ted Grant rebuild with New Members Stargirl, Cyclone, Liberty Belle, Hourman Damage Starman and more. Later Kingdom Come Superman appears.

33 2008 Superman The World of New Krypton by Geoff Johns James Robinson and Sterling Gates
The city of Kandor now resides near the Fortress of Solitude in the North Pole, populated by 100,000 Kryptonians. Superman attempts to aid the Kryptonians in their assimilation with the rest of the Earth, something very few Kryptonians seem interested in, including the city’s leaders.

34 2009 Batgirl is Stephanie Brown by Byran Miller. Set in time when Bruce Wayme is presumed dead, Dick Grayson is Batman, Damien Wayne is Robin and Barbara Gordon is Oracle. The best of all Batgirl Books

35 2009 Power Girl by Amanda Conner

36 2009 Detective Comics 854 to 860 Batwoman Elegy by Rucka and Williams

37 2010 Zatanna by Paul Dini

38 2011 Aquaman by Geoff Johns Movie has some ideas taken from this first arc.

39 2011 Demon Knights. A Magnificent Seven defend village in Medieval Times. Members Etrigan the Demon, Madame Xanadu, Vandal Savage, a trans Shining Knight Amazon Outcast, a Horse Woman and an Arab Inventor By Paul Cornell

40 2011 Frankenstein Agent of
S.H.A.D.E, plus the Creature Commandos, the Bride of Frankenstein and Ray Palmer by Jeff Lemire.

41 2011 Huntress mini series followed in 2012 by series Worlds Finest with Huntress and Power Girl on main Earth Paul Levitz

42 2013 Earth 2 17 on. New Super heroes from a world ravaged by Darkseid fight back including Thomas Wayne, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Aquawoman and a Zod, by Tom Taylor

43 2015 Superman Lois and Clark Introduction of Jon Kent, their son. Dan Jurgens followed by Superman Rebirth in 2016, by Tomasi followed by Super Sons.

44 2015 Titans Hunt 1960s Original Teen Titans by Dan Abnett followed by DC Universe Rebirth 1 then Titans Rebirth 2016

45 2016 DC Universe Rebirth 1 Geoff Johns Reboot of Universe to restablish old relatioships and revive legacy characters like Wally West, the Flash for several decades and Kid Flash before that.

46 2016 Wonder Woman Year One. Issues 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 Rucka Scott

47 2016 Detective Comics Rebirth Tynion IV. Batman Batwoman Tim Drake Cassandra Caiin Stephanine Brown Clayface.

48 2016 Green Lanterns Rebrth Sam Humpries Jessica Cruz Simon Baz are rookie Green Lanterns.

49 2016 Flintstones Satire Mark Russell

50 2017 Doomsday Clock by Geoff Johns Dr Manhattan of Watchmen has interfered with the History of the DC Universe, changing events. 1986 Watchmen is available as a Motion Comic in Vdeos. Main problem is thar one narrator does all voices, including females.

51 2018 T.he Terrifics Mr Terrific Metatmorpo Plastic Man Phantom Girl by Jeff Lemire

52 2018 Justice League Dark. Wonder Woman Zatanna Swamp Thing Man Bat Detective Chimp By Tynion

53 2018 Hawkman by Robert Venditti Hawkman reincarnates in Space and Time

54 2018 Justice League Odyssey Jessica Cruz From Issue 6 on .By Dan Abnett

Summary
Coverage Spread of Titles

Aquaman 2
Batman 3
Blue Beetle Jamie 1
‘Dark’ Solo characters 4
‘Dark’ Teams 3
Earth 2 2
Flash JLA First Earth 2 1
Gail Simone 2
Hawkman 3
Jessica Cruz 2
Justce League 3
Justice Society 3
Legion of Super Heroes 1
Solo Female Super Heroes 5
Suicide Squad 1
Superman 2
Titans/ Young Justice 4
Vertigo Sandman Death 1
Wonder Woman 2
Warren Ellls 2

Other Titles

Legends by John Bryne
DC New Frontier
DC Universe Rebirth
Flintstones
Doomsday Clock

7 Likes

I will one up you on your list.

  1. Batman New 52
  2. The Long Halloween
  3. All Star Superman
  4. Kingdom Come
  5. The Sandman
  6. Swamp Thing by Alan Moore
  7. Black Orchid
  8. The Black Mirror
  9. Arkham Asylum A Serious House on Serious Earth
  10. Mister Miracle
  11. Doom Patrol by Grant Morrison
  12. The Dark Knight Returns
  13. Vampire Batman
  14. Batman: War on Crime
  15. Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth
  16. Superman: For All Seasons
  17. Batman: The Cult
  18. The Killing Joke
  19. Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying
  20. Batman: Venom
  21. Flex Mentallo
  22. Watchmen
  23. Superman by Peter J Tomasi
  24. V for Vendetta
  25. Batman Noel
  26. Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow
  27. Green Lantern by Geoff Johns
  28. Aquaman by Geoff Johns
  29. Batman: Strange Apperations
  30. Gotham by Gaslight
  31. Green Arrow by Mike Grell
  32. Zatanna by Paul Dini
  33. The Books of Magic Miniseries
  34. DC The New Frountier
  35. The New Teen Titans
  36. Planetary
  37. Suicide Squad by John Ostrander
  38. Gotham Central
  39. Wonder Woman by George Perz
  40. Wonder Woman by Brian Azzerello
  41. Birds of Prey by Chuck Dixon
  42. Batgirl New 52
  43. Batman Year One
  44. Swamp Thing by Lein Wein
  45. Flashpoint
  46. Starman by James Robinson
  47. Animal Man by Grant Morrison
  48. Green Lantern/Green Arrow Hard Travelin Heroes
  49. JLA: Tower of Babel
  50. Batman: Under The Red Hood
  51. Crisis on Infinite earths
  52. Green Arrow: Quiver
  53. Green Arrow Rebirth
  54. Multiversity
  55. Batman: Shaman
  56. Doomsday Clock
  57. Batgirl Year One
  58. Superman: Red Son
  59. Batman: No Man’s Land
  60. Sandman Mystery Theater
  61. Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil
  62. Nightwing by Chuck Dixon
  63. Birds of Prey by Gail Simon
  64. Sweet Tooth
  65. The Question by Dennis O’Neal
  66. Animal Man by Jeff Lemire
  67. The Invisibles
  68. Hellblazer (all of it)
  69. Preacher
  70. Batwoman by J.H. Williams and Haden Blackmen
9 Likes

Anybody else?

I omitted everything Not in Library and almost all one shots. So Graphic Novel s and Vertigo are out (except for the Death Vertigo which I couldn’t resist) .

That explains a lot of the variations.

Maybe 13 are full or partial hits. Which is a start for ten best series.

There are books like Gotham Central that I have heard great things about but never read.

Also I deliberately omitted most Batman and Superman titles. And probably overstressed Earth 2 titles.

There are Start Reading List
In Get to Know
Part of comic books
For

Batman
Dick Grayson
Supergirl
Superman
The Flash
The Teen Titans
Wonder woman
Which members should look at.

Also this for reader unfamiliar with any DC character and who want to read one or two short but great arcs on.a character.

And these are personal opinions and we have 23000 issues to choose from.

So all is good.

5 Likes

As usual, @TurokSonOfStone1950 your lists and recommendations are varied, valid and voluminous. Good stuff!

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Great stuff!
I hope I’m doing this right, so my favorite DC story is:

Superman: American Alien
https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/-/0319a3ce-2305-4606-8127-a52878445f12

This is a 7 issue series. Each issue is stand alone, written and drawn by different people. The series takes the Superman origin story and puts a different twist on it. Each issue tells a different Superman story increasing in age from baby to adult, showing him as he grows and matures.

They are excellent stories and the series is in the DC library.

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I think the award kinda has to go to All-Star Superman. It encapsulates everything there is to love about the DCU.

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@Batwing52

I had an interesting reaction to yoir listing All Star Superman.

At first I rejected it because, like Datk Knight Returns, and What ever happened to the Man of Tomorrow , they are essentially Elseworld stories.

Then I realized these stories are very interesting takes on who Superman and Batman are, in their core.

I think now that All Star Superman reminds me too much of what I rrad as a child under editor Mort Weisenger and I ultimately rejected that, as I went to the early 1960s Julie Schwartz and Marvel Stan Lee Stories. I thought them to be childish.

All Star Superman help me understand the chatm of those old comics.

I realize now that I was looking for one or two Superman titles for new readers, so they would become quickly comfortable with the Modern version of Superman, which is why I picked Man of Steel and the Superman Lois and Clark / Superman 2016 / Super Ssons trilogy of titles.

Again a personal opinion.

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I would recommend the original Golden Age Two-Face trilogy:

  1. Detective Comics #66
  2. Detective Comics #68
  3. Detective Comics #80
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Black Mirror
Teen Titans (Wolfman & Pere’z but all really).
Madame Xanadu.
JLD.
Suicide Squad.
LOSH.
Supergirl (Peter David).
Superman Red Son & All Star.
Doom Patrol (Grant Morrison).
Elseworlds Amazonia, The Nail & Another Nail.
Gen-13.
Hard to miss on all Batman & Supes for me.
JLA Tower of Babel.
Power of Shazam.
John’s GL & The Flash runs.
Birds of Prey.
Secret Six.
Camelot 3000.
Infinity Inc. 84’
Harleen.
Zatanna (Paul Dini)
Death of the Family.
Batman R.I.P.
Stormwatch.
Dark Knights Metal
New Frontier
Throne of Atlantis
Forever Evil Blight.
52.
Flashpoint.
Blackest Night/Brightest Day.
Rotworld.
Godhead.
Any & all Jack Kirby.
WW all.
Batgirl all.

2 Likes

I changed the Title a little to reflect what I am trying to do.

It is now

Best DC Stories for New DC Readers. A Personal Opinion.

Even if my (now) 52 Titles only had 6 issues arcs (and several entries has multiple titles) that would be more than 300 issues, too much to start with.

Hopefully the new DC reader would pick a small number of issues initially or slowly go.through the list. Stopping a title when it was not interesting to them.

For the list to be useful, the specific titles and issues have to be rather limited and specific.

1 Like

Revised lists

Added two ONeil Adams Titles to Historical list

Now are 52 entries in Recommended Titles because 52 is a DC convention.

First Arcs of Titles were selected because Great Stories

Emphsis was for coverage of most major characters and teams, while giving enough on these characters so could understand their basics.

The idea was that there are probably more than ten great Superman Origin.Tites, so pick one.

Coverage of Titles

Aquaman 2
Batman 3
Blue Beetle Jamie 1
‘Dark’ Solo characters 4
‘Dark’ Teams 3
Earth 2 2
Flash JLA Earth 2 Beginnings 1
Gail Simone 2
Hawkman 3
Jessica Cruz 2
Justce League 3
Justice Society 3
Legion of Super Heroes 1
Solo Female Super Heroes 5
Suicide Squad 1
Superman 2
Titans/ Young Justice 4
Vertigo Sandman Death 1
Wonder Woman 2
Warren Ellls 2

Other Titles

Legends by John Bryne
DC New Frontier
DC Universe Rebirth
Flintstones
Doomsday Clock

1 Like

I think the lists that @TurokSonOfStone1950 has supplied are great, and I hope people get good use out of them, but I’d just like to give some advice to new readers: don’t worry about whether the story is “new reader friendly” or not. Just read something that catches your interest and if there’s something that doesn’t make sense or you don’t know a character or something, just accept that you don’t know them and move on. Worst case scenario, look it up on the internet. Just keep reading, and eventually you’ll know everything you have to.

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@Batwing52

I know I go over overboard in my topics and replies but

Many many lists?

There are two list here, one of which I say skip.

Then there is a second list and a summary tof he characters covered in the list.

The point was to use this list either as a possible guide or just for the characters you want to read about Read an issue or two, the first arc or the whole title as you wish.

Perhaps you are referring to another topic which I linked tthis topic o today?

The Little whelmed Topic

I list the
Secret Origins video
Get to Know Start Reading
Storylines
Encylopedia
Link to join Book.Club
Link to Best Batman stories
None of which are mine.

And Thenr i link to all my lists

This one
The Super Hero Gene History

So two lists
Each very long
Maybe irrelevant

But many many?

2 Likes

I was just being hyperbolic. We all love your lists, Turok. Sorry if it seemed like I was trying to be demeaning of your efforts. That wasn’t my intent.

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Thank you

I have not seen any of my friends or family for a year so I get sensitive.

Even very shy, introverted, old, fat, , disabled people like me need a hug now and then.

It’s all good.

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With Superman and Batman in particular, it’s not too hard to find the major places to jump in, since they occur about every 5-7 years.

  1. The Man of Steel and Batman: Year One
  2. The #0 issues after Zero Hour
  3. The first issues entering the year 2000
  4. The One Year Later stories after Infinite Crisis
  5. The New 52 launch issues
  6. The Rebirth launch issues
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Not making a list, just here to recommend Green Lanterns (2016) and Wonder Woman Rebirth: Year One/The Lies

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Green Lanterns and Year One are on my List.

I agree with your choices.

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Added 2008 Superman World of New Krypton to list of now 54 Arcs in Recommended Comic Books

Before that added The Terrifics

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The original Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, or Blue Devil.

1 Like