DC Character Recommended Reading Lists

Members of the community often ask, “Where’s the best place to start reading about a character?” and, “What are some good stories featuring this character?” This topic is dedicated to answering those questions by providing reading lists for characters based on the DC Universe comic library.

This topic is not a discussion thread. Rather, it is a resource for readers looking for guidance. As such, please do not create new replies without permission from the topic creator. All subsequent posts in this topic will be in the Wiki format to allow for community editing. Those posts are linked here alphabetically by character name, and more characters will be added periodically.

Use the following links to navigate the topic:

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Allen, Barry (Flash)

1. Where to Start

A. Origin Stories

B. Jumping-On Points

  • Flash: Rebirth by Geoff Johns
    The world reacts to Barry’s return from the dead.

  • Move Forward by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
    Barry’s first story arc in the rebooted New 52 timeline.

  • Lightning Strikes Twice by Joshua Williamson
    Barry’s first story arc after the events of DC Universe Rebirth.

2. Recommended Stories

A. Classic Stories (Pre-Crisis)

B. Modern Stories (Post-Crisis)

C. Current Stories (Post-Flashpoint)

  • The Button by Tom King and Joshua Williamson
    Batman and Flash investigate an item tied to DC Universe Rebirth.
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Curry, Arthur (Aquaman)

1. Where to Start

A. Origin Stories

B. Jumping-On Points

  • A Small World Incident by Shaun McLaughlin
    Oumland invades Atlantis in this 50th anniversary story.

  • Time and Tide by Peter David
    The sequel to Atlantis Chronicles and prologue to the author’s main run.

  • The Trench by Geoff Johns
    The start of the character’s New 52 stories.

2. Recommended Stories

A. Classic Stories (Pre-Crisis)

B. Modern Stories (Post-Crisis)

  • Thicker than Water by Neal Pozner
    Aquaman’s first miniseries after the Crisis.

  • Tide of Battle by Keith Giffen and Robert Fleming
    A jellyfish invasion coincides with tensions between Arthur and Mera.

  • Hitting Bottom by Peter David
    Aquaman reinvents himself after a terrible injury.

C. Current Stories (Post-Flashpoint)

  • Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns
    Aquaman’s brother declares war on the surface world.

  • Out of Darkness by Dan Abnett
    Prelude to Abnett’s Rebirth run. Aquaman faces the monstrous Dead Water.

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J’onzz, J’onn (Martian Manhunter)

1. Where to Start

A. Origin Stories

B. Jumping-On Points

  • The World of No Return by Gardner Fox
    The first issue of the original JLA series, featuring Martian Manhunter.

  • Purification Plague by David Michelinie
    The first story arc of Justice League Task Force.

  • New World Order by Grant Morrison
    Martians invade in the opening arc of Morrison’s JLA series.

2. Recommended Stories

A. Classic Stories (Pre-Crisis)

B. Modern Stories (Post-Crisis)

  • Justice League International by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
    As the team expands its focus, Batman appoints J’onn as its leader.

  • Valley of the Daals by Peter David
    J’onzz gender-swaps to help the Task Force negotiate a prisoner release.

  • Double Stuff by John Ostrander
    The Manhunter’s love of cookies goes one step too far.

C. Current Stories (Post-Flashpoint)

  • The Epiphany by Rob Williams
    J’onn learns a horrible truth about his repressed past.

  • Identity by Steve Orlando
    An exploration of J’onn’s two police careers: on Mars and on Earth.

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Jordan, Hal (Green Lantern)

1. Where to Start

A. Origin Stories

B. Jumping-On Points

  • Green Lantern: Rebirth by Geoff Johns
    Hal returns to life and faces the entity that had once possessed him.

  • Sinestro by Geoff Johns
    The opening arc of Hal’s New 52 adventures.

2. Recommended Stories

A. Classic Stories (Pre-Crisis)

B. Modern Stories (Post-Crisis)

  • Emerald Twilight by Ron Marz
    The tragic fate of Coast City leads Hal down a dark path.

  • Blackest Night by Geoff Johns
    The undead terrorize the living as the Black Lantern Corps.

C. Current Stories (Post-Flashpoint)

  • Sinestro’s Law by Robert Venditti
    The Sinestro Corps has seized control, and Hal plans a resistance.

  • Intergalactic Lawman by Grant Morrison
    Hal defies his suspension from the Corps and faces the Blackstars.

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Kent, Clark (Superman)

1. Where to Start

A. Origin Stories

  • Clark Kent Gets a Job by Jerry Siegel
    Reprint of Superman’s origin and earliest Action Comics adventures.

  • The Man of Steel by John Byrne
    New origin for Superman after Crisis on Infinite Earths.

  • Birthright by Mark Waid
    Modernized take on Superman’s origin from 2003.

  • Secret Origin by Geoff Johns
    Revised origin for Superman after Infinite Crisis.

B. Jumping-On Points

2. Recommended Stories

A. Classic Stories (Pre-Crisis)

B. Modern Stories (Post-Crisis)

  • Death of Superman by Various
    A monster from space proves unstoppable for everyone but Superman.

  • All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison
    Superman overcomes various trials after learning that he is dying.

  • Last Son by Geoff Johns
    Lois and Clark take in a young boy who appears to be Kryptonian.

C. Current Stories (Post-Flashpoint)

  • Convergence: Superman and Superman: Lois and Clark by Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks
    Superman and Lois are caught up in universe changing events that lead to the birth of their son.
  • Up In The Sky by Tom King and Andy Kubert
    When a little girl is abducted, Superman must travel the universe to find her.
  • The Men of Tomorrow by Geoff Johns
    Superman meets Ulysses–the last son of Earth?
  • Superman: Man of Tomorrow by Robert Venditti and various
    Superman faces Parasite and a host of other foes, old and new, in this digital first anthology series with some throughlines running in issues 1-5 and 11-15
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Prince, Diana (Wonder Woman)

1. Where to Start

A. Origin Stories

  • Introducing Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston
    Wonder Woman’s debut and the first appearance of Steve Trevor.

  • The Origin of Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston
    Further details are developed in the first issue of Diana’s solo book.

  • Gods and Mortals by George Perez
    Diana’s revised origin after Crisis on Infinite Earths.

  • Year One by Greg Rucka
    The current version of Wonder Woman’s origin.

B. Jumping-On Points

  • Wonder Woman Arrives in Man’s World by William Moulton Marston
    Diana’s second appearance begins her starring role in Sensation Comics.

  • The New Wonder Woman by Dennis O’Neil
    Diana’s entire status quo changes as she loses her powers.

  • Who is Wonder Woman by Allan Heinberg
    Diana begins working for the Department of Metahuman Affairs.

  • Blood by Brian Azzarello
    Details of Diana’s origin are brought into question in the New 52.

2. Recommended Stories

A. Classic Stories (Pre-Crisis)

B. Modern Stories (Post-Crisis)

  • Legends by John Ostrander and Len Wein
    Diana debuts as a hero for the first time in a new timeline.

  • War of the Gods by George Perez
    The finale of Perez’s run on the series.

  • Paradise Island Lost by Phil Jimenez and George Perez
    Civil war breaks out on Themyscira, resulting in major ramifications.

  • Down to Earth by Greg Rucka and Drew Johnson
    The start of Greg Rucka’s first run on the series, introducing Diana’s status quo as Themiscyran Ambassador and superhero.

  • The Cirle by Gail Simone and Terry and Rachel Dodson
    Gail Simone’s run on Wonder Woman began with this dark mystery rooted in Diana’s past.

C. Current Stories (Post-Flashpoint)

  • The Lies by Greg Rucka
    Companion piece to Year One, challenging revelations from Blood.
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Wayne, Bruce (Batman)

1. Where to Start

A. Origin Stories

  • Untold Legend of the Batman by Len Wein
    Definitive pre-Crisis origin story.

  • Year One by Frank Miller
    Lt. Gordon deals with a bat-themed vigilante in this post-Crisis origin.

  • Zero Year by Scott Snyder
    Batman’s origin for the New 52 timeline.

B. Jumping-On Points

  • The Case of the Chemical Syndicate by Bill Finger
    Batman’s first appearance, starting his leading role in Detective Comics.

  • The Joker by Bill Finger
    Batman meets his archenemy in the first issue of his self-titled series.

  • One Bullet Too Many by Frank Robbins
    Bruce moves out of the manor as Dick Grayson leaves for college.

  • Batman and Son by Grant Morrison
    Batman learns of his child at the start of Morrison’s run.

  • Court of Owls by Scott Snyder
    Batman faces a secret society in the opening arc of the New 52.

2. Recommended Stories

A. Classic Stories (Pre-Crisis)

B. Modern Stories (Post-Crisis)

  • My Beginning and My Probable End by Mike Barr
    Batman reflects on his past as Leslie Thompkins tries to save Robin’s life.

  • Son of the Demon by Mike Barr
    Batman allies himself with Ra’s Al Ghul and consummates his marriage with Talia.

  • The Cult by Jim Starlin
    Batman is captured and brainwashed by a charismatic leader.

  • Venom by Dennis O’Neil
    Batman deals with addiction in his second year on the job.

  • Knightfall by Various
    Batman faces unbeatable odds as Bane frees the Arkham inmates.

  • The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb
    Early in his career, Batman works with Gordon and Dent to solve a series of murders.

  • No Man’s Land by Various
    Gotham City is in ruins, and Batman must strive to hold it together.

  • Hush by Jeph Loeb
    A mysterious enemy orchestrates an elaborate conspiracy against Batman.

C. Current Stories (Post-Flashpoint)

  • I Am Gotham by Tom King
    New superheroes arrive in Gotham as the Rebirth era begins.
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Grayson, Richard “Dick” (Robin/Nightwing)

1. Where to Start

A. Origin Stories

B. Jumping-On Points

2. Recommended Stories

A. Classic Stories (Pre-Crisis)

B. Modern Stories (Post-Crisis)

  • Batman: Year Three by Marv Wolfman
    Dick reflects on his origin as his parents’ killer is granted parole.

  • The Gauntlet by Bruce Canwell
    Young Dick is tested to earn his place as Batman’s sidekick.

  • Robin: Year One by Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty
    The newly-minted Boy Wonder endures trials and Two-Face.

  • Nightwing: Year One by Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty
    Dick retires his Robin identity and takes on a new name.

  • The Great Leap by Peter J. Tomasi
    Nightwing faces Two-Face and deals with Batman’s death.

  • Batman Reborn by Grant Morrison
    Dick takes over as Batman and trains his own Robin.

C. Current Stories (Post-Flashpoint)

  • Night of the Owls by Kyle Higgins
    Nightwing explores his familial links to a villainous secret society.

  • The Untouchable by Sam Humphries
    Nightwing takes on the Judge.

  • The Bleeding Edge by Benjamin Percy
    State-of-the-art technology proves dangerous for Bludhaven.

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WOW! Thank you for putting this list together. Reading this should get me through for a while.

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Hey @AlexanderKnox… nice stuff. I’ve been putting together lists in notebooks of tons of reading orders for years. This will be very helpful. Appreciate it.

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If you can find it for batfamily: The novelization of No mans land. it reveal’s so much more in the inner workings of the bat family( of that timeperiod) then you get from the comics…

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Brown, Stephanie (Spoiler/Robin/Batgirl)

1. Where to Start

A. Origin Stories

  • Inquiring Minds by Chuck Dixon
    Stephanie’s first appearance, featuring her villainous father, the Cluemaster.

  • Batman Eternal by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
    The New 52 retelling of Stephanie’s origin story.

B. Jumping-On Points

  • Clueless by Chuck Dixon
    Stephanie joins the cast of Tim Drake’s solo series.

  • Batgirl Rising by Bryan Q. Miller
    Stephanie gets her own series as she takes on the role of Batgirl.

2. Recommended Stories

A. Modern Stories (Post-Crisis)

  • Looking for Clues by Chuck Dixon
    Stephanie is held hostage by a gang, and Tim must rescue her.

  • Uneven Parallels by Keri Kowalski
    An early solo adventure for the Spoiler!

  • Date Night by Chuck Dixon
    Stephanie reveals to Tim that she is pregnant!

  • War Games by Various
    Stephanie’s short tenure as Robin leads to a city-wide gangland massacre.

  • The Odds Against by Chuck Dixon
    Someone in a Spoiler costume begins appearing after Stephanie’s death.

B. Current Stories (Post-Flashpoint)

  • Gathered From All Sides by Genevieve Valentine
    Stephanie seeks training from an unexpected source: Catwoman!

  • Rise of the Batmen by James Tynion IV
    Spoiler joins the Gotham Knights, a team assembled by Batman.

  • Gang War by Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart
    Spoiler teams up with classic Batgirl Barbara Gordon.

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Do you have one for Deathstroke??? Just wondering. :stuck_out_tongue:

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For new fans of Captain Marvel, that has long been my recommended starting points.

(NOTE: I will, however, add Shazam!: The World’s Mightiest Mortal vol. 3 HC to the list when it gets released in May as I feel that is absolutely essential reading.)

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Thank you for this ! :slight_smile:

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You’re welcome!

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Ok not sure if this comment goes with the threads guidelines, but I would like to add that if you’re really itching to get into comics START NOW, meaning with current issues. If they’re close to number ones even better. And This is what I did each time I came back.
Now this isn’t for everybody. I know for someone like me I’d feel overwhelmed with so many issues.
I also don’t mean to ruin the thread and the work others put in, cuz they did a great job. Also this reply isn’t meant to say “hey don’t bother with that stuff Just Do It.” You’ll still need those lists when trying to go back and understand more about a character and even if they aren’t canon they can still be great reads for that character.

For reference here’s some useless info of how I did it.
1990-91 superhero comics was more on my radar out with Archie and Richie Rich, etc. I was lucky cuz Robin #1 just came out (Tim Drake). I went from there and back tracked some. At that time it wasn’t as easy. These days you got internet, trade paper backs, digital services etc.

2007- it’s been “iiits been” a while since I read a comic at this point. I stumbled on to a current issue of Infinite crisis #7 on a rack in Barnes and Noble, and seen something happen to one my fav characters. I bought it not caring it was issue 7. read it and was like OMG I need to go back, we need to go back Marty. So much changed since 1998. Like Hal being back and the rest of the green lanterns. Superboy wearing T-shirt and jeans and young justice was now Teen Titans. So I continued reading all of DC comics as they came out, the characters I liked as well as the weekly 52s, big issues leading to Final Crisis and then my favorite Darkest Night, then Brightest day. while also searching for paperbacks and old issues leading into Infinite Crisis, starting with identity Crisis, and then the four mini-series leading to Infinite Crisis, like Omac, Villians United, and crossover issues. Also went back to Green Lantern Reborn cuz that was a HUGE part of DC comics for the next 10 or more years. and more and eventually I even bought the 1985 Crisis. Then using wiki and dc encyclopedia to fill in some gaps.

And then we have NOW and I didn’t know where to start LOL. I dropped off half way through The New 52. But I just decided recently I had to just dive in as it goes and try to read older issues and I will use (and so should you) the list above to help. some spoilers get ruined by doing it this way. I would’ve liked to read the whole 3 crisises of the 2000s and everything leading into it but still a great experience

sorry if this was too long. I’ve could’ve left my comic history out lol. But I’m just trying to say do it your way and encourage them that there’s more ways to do it and you can always find help here. One of the best communities I ever been a part of, and that’s rare for Internet forums

6 Likes

Sage, Victor (The Question)

1. Where to Start

A. Origin Stories

  • 52 #18, “Secret Origins” by Mark Waid
    Two page brief on The Question’s beginnings, based on his early adventures in Charlton Comics.

B. Jumping-On Points

  • The Question #1-36 by Denny O’Neil
    The definitive Question series, written after DC acquired the rights to the character.

2. Recommended Stories

A. Modern Stories (Post-Crisis)

  • Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood by Greg Rucka
    Really more of a Question/Huntress story, despite the title.

  • The Question (2005) by Rick Veitch
    Psychedelic mystery taking The Question into Metropolis to expose a criminal underworld operating right under Superman’s nose.

  • 52 by Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Grant Morrison, Mark Waid.
    The weekly, year long maxiseries passing the mask from Vic Sage to Renee Montoya.

B. Current Stories (Post-Flashpoint)

  • Convergence: Blue Beetle by Scott Lobdell
    An event tie-in catching us up briefly with the original, Pre-Crisis incarnation of The Question, along with fellow Charlton alumni Blue Beetle and Captain Atom.

  • Lois Lane by Greg Rucka
    Renee Montoya returns to service as The Question, and catches up with an old friend.

  • The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage by Jeff Lemire
    A Black Label meditation reconciling the very different visions of Steve Ditko’s Question and Denny O’Neil’s reimagination.

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Very nicely done!

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