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Batman Dawn of DC Reading Order

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Following the events of the 2022 crossover events Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths and Lazarus Planet, DC Comics put an end to its publishing initiative known as the Infinite Frontier to launch the Dawn of DC line. Introduced as a yearlong storytelling initiative, it became another era of the DC Universe with its relaunches and crossover events.

Like with Infinite Frontier, new creative teams had already taken over the main Batman series before the new ‘era’ began, and they continued to tell their story without much interruption. The Dark Knight continues his adventures in Batman by Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez, Detective Comics by Ram V and Rafael Albuquerque (and others), Batman/Superman: World’s Finest by Mark Waid and Dan Mora, but also in new volumes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold by Tom King, and Batman and Robin by Joshua Williamson and Simone di Meo.

The Dawn of DC era is developing an overarching narrative that focuses on Amanda Waller’s last nefarious plan. Also, the Justice League didn’t reform following the events of the Dark Crisis. Overall, Batman is not at the center of the big story but still has plenty to do.

Of course, as it is always the case, the following guide is mostly about Batman, but the Bat-Family is also featured. Nevertheless, their books are not necessarily included. Though, you can find them on their dedicated pages: Nightwing, Tim Drake, Damian Wayne, Jason Todd, Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, Barbara Gordon, Batwoman, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Terry McGinnis (The Batman Beyond).

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Who is Azrael, Batman’s Ally?

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In 1992, DC Comics published a four-part miniseries titled “The Sword of Azrael,” written by Dennis O’Neil–the editor of the Batman line–and penciled by Joe Quesada. At the time, readers thought it was just another inconsequential adventure of Batman, not knowing that the introduction of the character Azrael was part of a bigger plan that would come to fruition with the Knightfall storyline.

Azrael, Vengeful Angel of the Order of St. Dumas

When Jean-Paul Valley’s father is mortally shot by a gangster he was sent to kill, he gives his son instructions to follow before dying. This led Jean-Paul to Switzerland where he had a rendezvous in a tiny mountain village to meet his destiny. There, a small man dressed as a monk named Nomoz becomes his new teacher. His brutal training starts.

Jean-Paul Valley is to become the new Azrael, the deadly Angel working to protect the Order of St. Dumas–a secret society/religious organization with a long history, dating back to the Crusades, that was originally connected to the Knights Templar. What he doesn’t know is that he was conditioned to take on this role from birth as were his father and ancestors.

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Superman: New Krypton Saga Reading Order

Fifteen years ago, The World of Superman was shaken up by a big crossover story arc involving all the Superman titles in what is called The World of New Krypton – more often reduced to New Krypton. Following the events of Geoff Johns’ Brainiac arc and James Robinson’s Atlas arc on Superman, The Man of Steel must deal with the death of his adoptive father and the fact that 100,000 Kryptonians are now living on Earth, seeing the planet as the New Krypton!

To be more specific, as DC Comics’ official synopsis said ‘The Man of Steel learns that a piece of his home planet Krypton survived – the shrunken, bottled city of Kandor! And when the city is grown to normal size, it looks like Superman finally has the connection to his past he’s been missing all his life as thousands of Kryptonians are suddenly able to walk the Earth. But his happiness soon turns to dread as relations between the Kryptonians and humans dissolve, and the two cultures face a massive clash!’

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Absolute Power, a DC Comics Event Reading Order

Last summer, horror was invading the DC Universe in the Knight Terrors crossover event. This year, the world of DC Comics will once again be shaken by another summer blockbuster event: Absolute Power! From the creative team of Mark Waid and Dan More (Batman Superman World’s Finest), DC Comics Absolute Power pits the greatest DC Super Heroes against the “Trinity of Evil” in a major conflict that will determine the fate of all metahumans in the DC universe.

Set in the aftermath of Titans: Beast World and House of Brainiac,  DC’s Trinity of Evil—the Brainiac Queen, Failsafe, and Amanda Waller—has won. As DC explained, they “hold all the cards in their final gambit to eliminate all metahumans in the DC Universe! Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, and the rest of the World’s Greatest DC Super Heroes make their last stand in Absolute Power.”

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Alfred Pennyworth Comics to Read to learn more about Batman’s loyal butler

It takes a special man to stand next to Batman and be able to snark at him or tell him, in a very British way, that he is wrong. That man is Alfred Pennyworth, the Ultimate Supporting Character.

Introduced in Batman #16 in 1943, under the name Alfred Beagle, Pennyworth is known as Bruce Wayne’s faithful butler and trusted confidant. The world of Bruce Wayne/Batman feels a little bit incomplete when Alfred’s not here to help, guide, and reason with Bruce.

Because Alfred is more than a butler. This former British agent is the surrogate father of Bruce Wayne and other members of the Bat Family. The man doesn’t just look after the Manor and the Batcave, he also takes care of everyone, showing them love, cooking for them, making snarky remarks, and using his military medical skills when needed.

While Alfred generally stands in the shadow of Batman, we choose today to put him in the spotlight with a selection of comic book stories highlighting the greatness of the character.

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Mister Mxyzptlk, Recommended Reading for The Annoying Imp From The 5th Dimension (DC Comics)

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Some characters from the DC Comics universe are old. In the case of the infamous Mister Mxyzptlk, we are talking 80 years old. It was in the Superman daily comic strip by writer Whitney Ellsworth and artist Wayne Boring that the mischievous imp made his first official apparition.

However, like with Bizarro, the planning of publication pushed the real first issue a bit later as Mister Mxyzptlk was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Ira Yarborough in a story published in Superman #30 (fall 1944).

Mister Mxyzptlk is a magical being from the fifth dimension (like Bat-Mite) who enjoys causing mischief and playing pranks on Superman and other characters within the DC universe. In fact, where he comes from, he works as a jester, a powerful magical one. He possesses the ability to warp reality and manipulate the laws of physics, often leading to bizarre and surreal situations.

He loves challenging Superman to some sort of game or contest, and Superman can only defeat him by tricking him into saying or spelling his own name backward (“Kltpzyxm”)–a fine trick that was modified in the 1986 Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot. After that point in time, Mr. Mxyzptlk changes his condition to leave with each new apparition (even if saying his name backward eventually came back).

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Adam Strange Reading Order (DC Comics)

As the Space Race was just starting to become a reality, National Comics (aka DC Comics) went back to produce a bit more science-fiction stories. It was 1958 and Space Ranger was created, and rapidly forgotten. That was not the case of another space hero created almost at the same time, Adam Strange.

The idea for the character came from editor Julius Schwartz and the costume design was by Murphy Anderson. Strange first apparition was on the cover of Showcase #17 drawn by Gil Kane, but it was Mike Sekowsky who penciled the story written by Gardner Fox following Schwartz’s direction.

Adam Strange’s origin story is highly inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter of Mars. The character was an archaeologist working in South America who was suddenly transported to the distant planet of Rann by a beam of energy from the Zeta Beam, a device created by a scientist named Sardath. On Rann, Strange discovered that he had gained superhuman abilities due to the different gravitational pull and the planet’s radiation. He also learned that the Zeta Beam technology only allowed him to stay on Rann for a limited amount of time before transporting him back to Earth.

Adam Strange became a hero on Rann, saving the world from tyrants, monsters, and extraterrestrial invaders among other threats. In addition, he developed feelings for Alanna, a Rannian woman, with whom he finally got married.

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Bizarro: Superman’s Deranged Clone is a tragicomic anti-hero NOT!

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The 1950s were another time, especially in the pages of comics like Superboy where strange things happened regularly for our young superhero. As the decade concluded, things would not become more conventionally heroic by today’s standards. Yesterday’s standards, that’s another story. Anyways, Superboy met The Super-Creature of Steel named Bizarro in Superboy #68 (October 1958).

Often portrayed as a distorted and imperfect duplicate of Superman, Bizarro had different origin stories through the years, but he has chalky white skin and distorted features–and is often depicted with a backward “S” symbol on his chest. His actions and speech are often opposite or inverted compared to Superman’s. As a result, he became the source of humorous situations or, on the contrary, tragic ones.

Credits for the creation of the character are often given to writer Otto Binder and artist George Papp, but Bizarro came from the mind of another writer, Alvin Schwartz. He was going to introduce this distorted mirror version of the Man of Steel first in the Superman daily newspaper strip. However, editor Mort Weisinger had reviewed Schwartz’s work and passed the idea to Binder to use in Superboy. The newspaper strip ended up published later and that’s why Alvin Schwartz is not the credited creator of Bizarro.

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Power Girl Reading Order (Kara Zor-L)

 

Family Tree are quite complicated in the world of Comic Books, and Power Girl will not tell you the contrary! Created by Gerry Conway and Ric Estrada, our superheroine made her first appearance in All-Star Comics #58 (1976)  as Superman’s Kryptonian cousin. 

But wait, I hear you say, isn’t Supergirl Superman’s cousin? Yes, that is the case! Power Girl, real name Kara Zor-L (also known as Karen Starr), is the Earth-Two counterpart of Supergirl and the first cousin of Kal-L, Superman of the pre-Crisis Earth-Two. Her origins story have been revisited several times since her creation, from her introduction to Supergirl’s Earth-2 doppelganger to being reimagined as an Atlantean after Crisis on Infinite Earths, then becoming a Kryptonian again after Infinite Crisis.

Outside of the world of comics, Power Girl is maybe more famous for her costume (and cleavage), though don’t let that distract you too much. She is genuinely an interesting character, maybe one of the most flawed Kryptonians out there, doted with a rash personality, her own fighting skills and good leadership capabilities. She fought alongside many heroes of DC Comics, has been the first chairwoman of the Justice Society of America, part of Justice League Europe, the Sovereign Seven, and many more teams.

Unfortunately for Power Girl’s readers, DC Comics hasn’t well collected her past stories, and it can be quite difficult to track her appearances. She had a few solo adventures, but is more a guest star/team member character! So here’s our Power Girl Reading Guide!

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Detective Chimp, DC Comics’ Chimpanzee investigator in the occult

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All of DC Comics’s heroes don’t wear a cape, some are not even qualifiable as heroes, but they still fight crimes in their way, especially when there are occult elements involved. That is the case of Bobo T. Chimpanzee, the world’s greatest simian detective–his real name is unpronounceable, but can be translated as “Magnificent Finder of Tasty Grubs.”

Better known as Detective Chimp, Bobo first appeared in 1952 on the pages of Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #4. Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, Bobo started as an abnormally intelligent chimpanzee. When his trainer, Fred Thorpe, was killed, Bobo helped Sheriff Edward Chase to catch the murderer. Maybe he could not speak, but he always knew how to make himself understand–and how to outsmart criminals. After that, he became the lawman’s unofficial partner.

This became the career of a lifetime. You may not be too familiar with this Detective Chimp as it was the 1950s version of the characters. Decades later, Bobo’s story was retcon.

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