On The Cheap: DC’s Back To School Sale Has The Best Of Batman, Superman And More
Okay, seriously: Unless you're performing life-saving surgery or flying an airplane, then stop whatever you're doing and head over to Comixology right now. There's a massive Back-To-School themed sale going on until next Tuesday, focused on DC's all-ages titles like Batman Adventures, Superman Adventures and Impulse --- and if you know anything about those books, then you probably already know that they're some of the best comics the company has ever put out.
I mean, really, I'm not even close to kidding when I say that right now, you can get the single best Lex Luthor story, the single best Riddler story, one of the best Joker stories of the '90s, and the book that I'm on record as calling the best single issue story of all time, for around four bucks total.
The big "problem" with this sale, if you want to call it that, is that it's really, really easy to spend about a hundred bucks on some truly fantastic comics. It seems like there's not a week that goes by that I don't talk about how Batman Adventures was consistently the best Batman title of the '90s and a perfect compliment to the show --- it's actually where recurring villain Rupert Thorne is actually brought down for good --- but it's true. Every single issue of that book is worth picking up, and the same goes for Superman Adventures, Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos's 26-issue run on Impulse, and more besides.
If, however, you want the absolute highlights, here are the must-haves:
- Batman Adventures #3: One of the best Joker stories ever, and --- probably because I was ten years old when I read it --- the first time I was ever truly terrified of him, thanks to a scene that still holds up 23 years later. It's a new twist on the idea of Joker taking over a TV station for a broadcast that spreads chaos through Gotham City, kidnapping Commissioner Gordon to force Batman into action. Of course, if you're going to get this one, you might as well get the first two issues as well, since a) they're great, and b) they actually form a three-issue arc with the Joker manipulating villains to set up his plan.
- Batman Adventures #10: My pick for the best Riddler story of all time, or at least the best one that does not involve Thomas Jefferson worshipping Satan. Frustrated by Batman's ability to solve all of his riddles, the Riddler vows after getting out his latest stint in prison to give up crime forever if his next one fails to stump the Dark Knight. Also includes the first appearance of a trio of villains based on Mike Carlin, Denny O'Neil and Archie Goodwin who are always fantastic when they show up (in, for instance, the highly enjoyable Batman Adventures #20, also on sale).
- Superman Adventures #27: Arguably the single best story of Mark Millar's career and the best Lex Luthor story of the decade. Millar and artist Aluir Amancio cram a long and complicated plot into 22 pages, focusing on Lex Luthor creating a rival hero for Superman and then diving into one of the most succinct and brutal examinations of just why he does it. It's a character-defining story that a lot of people missed out on, and if you get one title from this sale, this one should probably be it.
- Superman Adventures #41: Speaking of cramming things into a single issue, this is the one where Millar and a roster of artists that includes Ty Templeton, Cameron Stewart, Darwyn Cooke, and more tell a complete story on every single page, ending up with 22 tales about Superman, his villains and his supporting cast. It's gimmicky as all get-out, of course, but they're also really great --- the Darkseid page, for instance, is another one of those razor-sharp stories that get right to the heart of what a character's all about.
- Impulse #3: I have previously referred to this as the best single-issue story ever printed, and while that might be a little bit of hyperbole, I'll stand by it being one of the perfect teen superhero comics. The basic idea is that it's Impulse's first day of school --- ever --- and over the course of his day, the perpetually distracted speedster somehow manages to get into a fight with the entire school. At the same time. It's so great.
Those will get you started, but again: That's just scratching the surface, and you're probably going to want more.
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