Top 10 Best DC Comics For Beginners

DC comics for beginners
The worst possible jumping-on point for DC, right here.

Nearly everyone could recognize Superman or Batman on sight, but that doesn’t mean they would be comfortable jumping right into the comics for those heroes. Despite popular opinion, comic books are often more than overly simple kid’s stories. Many comic books will have plot lines that have built up for years and can bring up villains that have been created and changed over the decades.

This is especially true for DC, who has been in the superhero comic book game since the 1930s. There’s a lot of deep and complex history there, with grand events that can baffle even a long-time reader.

That shouldn’t deter anyone from reading DC comics, though! While jumping in on a random story might be ill-advised, and the original comics from the 1930s are mostly uninteresting by today’s standards, there are plenty of great places for beginners to start their DC comic book journey.

Which stories are those? Well, I’m glad you asked.

10. Secret Origins

Sorry, spoilers, Batman's parents get murdered

Released near the beginning of The New 52 relaunch, this graphic novel collects the origin stories of several characters in DC Comics together, making it a great entry point for new readers. There may not be as much story here, as it’s basically like five unconnected comic book issues thrown together, but it’s both engaging and informative.

So, if you want to see the origins of Batman, Batwoman, Superman, Harley Quinn, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, and several others, this book will be right up your alley. It’s a great way to get a lot of different information in a single sitting and really get comfortable with the basics of modern DC.

You should pick this up if you:

  • Want to quickly build a wide range of knowledge
  • Are looking for something that you can read for a few minutes at a time
  • Would like to see which DC hero may best resonate with you
  • Are indecisive

9. Justice League: Origin

It's like DC knew people would want to know about these characters specifically

After discovering a threat that’s too much to handle alone, Batman decides to unite the most powerful heroes in the DC universe to form the Justice League!

However, working together may not be easy. Egos clash as heroes fight one another (including a great moment where Green Lantern attacks Superman under the assumption that he’ll be a pushover). But, if they’re to have any hope of overcoming the shadowy, alien threat, they’ll need to overcome their egos and differences.

Despite so many heroes being together, this comic is fantastic for new readers, as short descriptions and explanations are provided for each character in conversation.  With this being a Justice League comic, the story is going to have a pretty grand enemy as well, but this comic excels at guiding the reader through the more complex parts.

You should pick up this comic if you:

  • Like team-ups
  • Would like a story that features all of DC’s biggest heroes
  • Want to see Green Lantern get perpetually shown up

8. Suicide Squad: Kicked in the Teeth

This is much more entertaining than the movie, trust me

Sure, DC has some great, iconic heroes, but have you seen their villains? The roster of antagonists in this universe is insane! When the higher-ups of the world aren’t sure about what to do with some of them, they’re forced to join a government-run super-team: The Suicide Squad.

This iteration of the squad features some rotating members, but the core group includes Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, El Diablo, and King Shark. With DC government powerhouse Amanda Waller at the helm and commander of nepotism Rick Flag leading in a more hands-on kind of way, there’s a hint of authority and order. However, keeping order in this group is temporary at best.

The members of the squad are sent out to complete assignments that are basically, well, suicide. Each member of the team has a bomb in their neck that can be detonated remotely, ensuring their cooperation throughout the various missions. But, being pro criminals, they push how much they can get away with before Waller decides that they’re no longer worth the trouble.

This series is particularly great for new readers because of how much the characters’ stories are laid out for the audience. New readers can be fully introduced to a variety of DC villains in this series, with only brief flashbacks to their origin stories.

You should pick up this comic if you:

  • Enjoy stories that focus on villains
  • Like team-ups
  • Want a graphic novel with a fair amount of humor included.
  • Want to see Amanda Waller be the absolute worst

7. Aquaman: The Drowning

Before you ask, no, Aquaman isn't going to be drowning a bunch of people in this comic

Aquaman is a hero with a great weight on his shoulders. Not only does he rule the seven seas as the King of Atlantis and protect the land as a member of the Justice League, he often has to protect them from each other. This leaves Aquaman with few friends on either side of the shore, yet he continues to push forward as a vigilant protector.

Despite the tensions and difficulties, Aquaman dreams of a day where Atlantis and the surface world no longer fear each other. It’s not something that can happen overnight, especially when villains like Black Manta are trying so desperately to undermine Aquaman’s work.

This story may sound intricate and political, but it’s a far cry from being too much for a new DC reader. Backgrounds are explained, motivations are laid out, and the plot is broken up into easily digestible chunks. There’s a fair amount of humor, some great action, and a whole lot of fish.

You should pick this comic up if you:

  • Want to see a powerful hero show an insane amount of self-control
  • Enjoy stories that involve secret organizations
  • Would like to see Aquaman in a better light than normal

6. DC: The New Frontier

Yeah, it's all smiles now, but just wait until dinosaur island shows up.

This comic takes place in the mid-20th century and tells the story of a DC universe where most of the heroes of the universe started popping up around the 1950s. It’s a world where being a vigilante superhero is illegal, so the heroes are either de-masked, became government agents, or have to work even harder to stay in the shadows.

However, with the world striving forward in the space race and with nations using nuclear devices, the Earth itself decides to strike back against its inhabitants. This strike comes in the form of a gigantic floating monster island that’s covered in dinosaurs (rad, I know). Now cooperation between those who wear masks and those who don’t is more necessary than ever.

This is a very well-written story that has a mostly accurate animated film adaptation as well. It’s perfect for new DC readers, as it introduces each character enough to give an idea of who they are and even shows some of their origins.

You should pick this comic up if you:

  • Enjoy the Golden Age of comics
  • Don’t feel like you’ve seen enough of Martian Manhunter
  • Enjoy stories that play off of people’s fear of the unknown
  • Think dinosaurs are really cool

5. Mister Miracle

The real miracle is how any of them get into those costumes so easily. 

One of the most complicated subjects in the DC universe to take on is the topic of the gods. There’s the Old Gods, the New Gods, and Darkseid all involved, and it’s a story that spans millions, if not billions, of years. Fortunately, this comic takes a difficult subject and makes it a bit easier to digest, all through a unique and remarkable style of storytelling.

Mister Miracle is a New God named Scott Free, and he can escape from anything. After leaving the hellish planet Apokolips, Scott settles down on Earth and enjoys fame as both a world-renowned escape artist as well as a superhero. However, Scott is brought on board with the New Gods when a war breaks out between New Genesis and Apokolips, and Scott must escape the most chellenging trap of all: death itself.

New readers may feel a little overwhelmed by this story, but it isn’t as inaccessible as it may seem at first. It’s a great comic with outstanding art and character development, as well as some genuinely funny moments, and it should be on every comic book fan’s list to read.

You should pick this up if you:

  • Enjoy darker stories that include some humor as well
  • Like stories that make it hard to tell what’s real
  • Want a comic with a loving relationship at its core
  • Want to know the face of God

4.Green Lantern: Earth One

It would actually be pretty cool looking if, despite having the ring, he still had to wear that space suit all the time. 

The Earth One series of comics takes place in an alternate universe where things are a bit different than the mainline universe. In this universe, the Green Lantern Corps died a long time ago and is considered a legend more than anything. There are still rings out in the universe, but they’re severely depowered.

None of that would have mattered to Hal Jordan of Earth, since Earth has no connection to any other planets. However, after finding a Green Lantern ring on a destroyed ship and defeating a machine called a manhunter, the human is quickly introduced to a whole universe.

While there are a lot of callbacks and references to the main Green Lantern stories, everything is explained to Hal and, therefore, the reader. New readers may need to pick up some context clues, but it’s a pretty well-explained story overall. Plus, it’s a great new way of telling the origin of a classic DC hero.

You should pick this comic up if you:

  • Like cosmic stories
  • Enjoy underdog tales
  • Like fish out of water stories
  • Want a comic with a ton of near-death experiences

3.The Flash: Move Forward

He always moves forward because running backwards at the speed of light would be ridiculous

The Flash is the fastest man alive, and in this comic, he’s speeding up even more, though in a slightly different way. In order to protect the city and those he cares about, The Flash is working on using his incredible powers of speed to increase how quickly he thinks, which allows him to essentially predict the immediate future. What could go wrong there, right?

Well, for good or ill, the Flash will need all the edge he can get. With his Rogue’s Gallery running amok along with a legion of evil clones of one of his oldest friends, the Flash has his plate full in this book.

This story is a great place to start for anyone looking to get into the world of the Flash. The comic doesn't go too much into The Flash's origin, but it does give a brief synopsis that allows even new readers to enjoy this story. He's a speedster, his powers come from something called the Speed Force, and that's all you really need to know to dive right into this one.

You should pick up this comic if you:

  • Are new to the Flash
  • Enjoy action/drama stories
  • Gotta go fast

2. Teen Titans: A Kid’s Game

I know there's an argument about the potential of a regular human, but honestly, Robin is really outclassed here. 

The Teen Titans are an exciting team of heroes, and they often have some of the best comics on the market. One of the best written and most accessible runs was penned by Geoff Johns, and it starts here with A Kid’s Game.

After the disbanding of the Young Justice team, a few remaining members of the original Teen Titans decide to start a new group. Cyborg, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Raven take the role of mentors to the new heroes, Superboy, Wonder Girl, Impulse, and Robin (Tim Drake). It’s not long before they face their first real threat, and it’s none other than the world’s greatest assassin himself, Deathstroke!

Okay, to be fair, I’m sure that sounds like too much to take on if you’re unfamiliar with DC comics. However, this comic does an admirable job of breaking down the story and characters to the point where even new readers can effortlessly get an idea of what’s happening. I wouldn’t say it’s the easiest on the list, but it’s not too difficult either.

You should pick up this comic if you:

  • Are looking for a story with younger protagonists
  • Enjoy team-up stories
  • Want a book that may require a bit more attention to get the context clues
  • Love teen angst

1. Batman: Year One

Yeah, Batman, it's a really nice cape. You don't have to keep showing it off. 

While this comic book run is from the late 1980s, it remains the quintessential origin story for Batman. Written by comic book legend Frank Miller, this story follows Bruce Wayne and James Gordon in Bruce’s first year back in Gotham. The cops and elected officials of the city hate him, and he’s inexperienced enough to need to survive off of luck alone.

It’s a dark comic with complex and emotional themes, but it’s also a great introduction to the character and setting. Many of the ideas about Batman’s origin and personality that people hold today have their roots in this graphic novel.  

You should pick this comic up if you:

  • Want to read a great Batman story
  • Enjoy stories that heavily feature corrupt officials
  • Are okay with some more adult content
  • Want to see Batman get shot way more times than usual

Whether managing a city or managing to stay alive in a radioactive wasteland, Jason plays the games and gets the stories straight.
Gamer Since: 1991
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Civilization VI
Top 3 Favorite Games:XCOM 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Mass Effect 2

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cartuneslover's picture

cartuneslover 3 years 10 months ago

Comics like these are soooo complicated.

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