10 DC Comics Perfect for New Readers

These days, you don't have to be a comic book reader to be obsessed with superheroes. But no matter how many big-budget superhero movies and engrossing TV dramas we see, there's nothing quite like settling down with a good comic and doing some actual reading.

The real challenge these days is figuring out where to start. With 75 years of comics and still growing, the DC Universe can be an intimidating place for new readers. But fear not. We've selected 10 DC graphic novels that are perfect for newbies, whether you've never read a comic in your life or are simply looking to familiarize yourself with the DCU. 

Just a note - we avoided including any Batman or Superman-specific books on this list. Both characters are worthy of top 10 lists of their own, and you can find all you need to know about both characters on our dedicated Batman channel and Superman channel. Also, we're only focusing on books here that are actually set within the DC Universe, rather than standalone fare like Fables or Y: The Last Man. 

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Justice League: Origin

Justice League #1 cover by Jim Lee
DC Comics

When DC rebooted their entire superhero universe with the New 52, this Justice League storyline was billed as the ideal jumping-on point for new readers. Origin features two superstar creators (writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee) chronicling the very first Justice League team-up as these seven heroes (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and Cyborg) unite to battle Darkseid and his Parademons. This book pretty much set the tone for the entire DCU as it exists today.

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Green Lantern: Rebirth

Geoff Johns kicked off his long tenure on Green Lantern by doing what seemed unthinkable at the time - bringing back Hal Jordan. Rebirth somehow manages to be both a fresh jumping-on point for the Green Lantern mythos and a celebration of the franchise's complex continuity and many ring-slinging heroes. It also paved the way for all sorts of classic GL stories to come, including The Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night. Even more than a decade later, this is the place to start if you're at all interested in the Green Lanterns.

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The Sandman Omnibus Vol. 1

Though ostensibly set in the DCU, Neil Gaiman's Sandman saga is far bigger and grander than a simple tale of good punching evil. This series follows the exploits of Morpheus, Lord of Dreams, as he returns to his kingdom after a long absence and works to set things aright and atone for his past mistakes. Part dark horror and part epic fantasy, Sandman showed the heights to which the comic book medium can aspire.

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Kingdom Come

What would the DCU look like several decades in the future? That's the question writer Mark Waid and artist Alex Ross set out to answer in this classic mini-series. Kingdom Come unfolds in a twisted future where heroes like Superman and Batman have been phased out in favor of a younger generation of heroes with great power and no sense of responsibility. In order to prevent a prophecy of apocalyptic doom from coming to pass, Superman must rally his fellow heroes and remind the world of what they represent.

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Saga of the Swamp Thing Book 1

Years before Neil Gaiman's Sandman saga began, writer Alan Moore showed readers that the DCU could be home to intelligent, literary-minded comics. Moore revamped the classic man-turned-swamp-monster with his run on the series, adding a rich mythology and taking great pains to flesh out the characters in the process. Short of Watchmen, readers will be hard-pressed to find a better Alan Moore comic in DC's catalog.

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DC Solo

DC has explored the anthology format in many ways over the years, but never quite so successfully as with DC Solo. Each of the 12 issues features a variety of stories drawn by one artist (including everyone from Darwyn Cooke, Paul Pope and Mike Allred. Some of these tales feature familiar DC icons, while others are completely original fare. But all serve as a testament to what's possible when talented creators are given free reign to tell great stories.

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DC: The New Frontier

If Justice League: origin is the definitive modern origin of the team, then The New Frontier is the ultimate homage to the team's Silver Age roots. Writer/artist Darwyn Cooke created a wonderful throwback to a more innocent time with this mini-series, exploring a world where heroes like Hal Jordan and Barry Allen lead humanity out of the troubled 1950's and into a new age of wonder and excitement. 

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Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood

The goal with the New 52 was to offer bold but accessible new takes on familiar heroes. Not every new series succeeded in that goal, but Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang's Wonder Woman certainly did. This book kicked off their three-year run on the series, offering a dramatically different take on Diana Prince and her relationship with the Greek gods. 

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Injustice: Gods Among Us - Year One

Injustice: Gods Among Us is a prequel to the video game of the same name. Regardless of your familiarity with that game, the comic is a must-read. This long-running saga explores a world where Superman loses his humanity, becomes a tyrant and begins a long war with Batman. Think of it like DC's answer to Civil War. As grim as the book can be at times, it also manages to be one of the best Justice League stories in recent memory.

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The Multiversity

Map of the DC multiverse
The DC multiverse as established by 'The Multiversity'. DC Comics

DC's multiverse has evolved quite a bit over the years. With The Multiversity, writer Grant Morrison set out to chart the 52 worlds of the multiverse and showcase the many colorful heroes who inhabit each one. Each issue of this mini-series is set on a different world and features a different superstar artist. And while each issue stands alone, it also contributes to an ambitious, overarching narrative that serves as a love letter to the DC Universe. And unlike some of Morrison's more complex tales, The Multiversity is very easy to dive into.