So, after new 52, DC started all over with Rebirth.
Undoubtedly, Rebirth is going strong, and I am loving it. However, once in a while we do want to take a break from the continuity and read something entirely independent and fresh. That’s when an excellent standalone storyline comes in.
Also, if someone wants to start reading comics, I believe they should start with the standalone comics; get to know the key characters and then you jump on the running train!
So, if you are looking for some of the DC’s best standalone stories, you’re in the right place. These are the 5 best standalone DC comics in my opinion that every comic book lover should read (at least once).
Superman: American Alien (Writer: Max Landis) 7 issues
It’s not a typical narrative. Also, it’s not even a Superman adventure story. It is seven short stories of Superman’s life.
All these seven stories represent crucial junctures in Superman’s development as a person; as a human being. The most exciting part is none of these seven stories can be pointed out as the main story or incident that made Superman who he is.
If you thought Zack Snyder is the only one who broke the all-too-bright-and-colorful image of Superman; then you’re wrong! Max Landis mixed a little violence, some adult content, and realism in Superman and the result was fascinating.
Batman: White Knight (Writer: Sean Murphy) 8 issues
Sean Murphy did what probably nobody even thought of!
In Batman: White Knight, Sean Murphy made the Joker hero and depicted Batman as the villain. He reversed their roles!
Sean Murphy’s take on Gotham city was realistic and put forward a point: Batman’s methods couldn’t stop crime. Joker turns to a politician and solves the crime problem in Gotham. Joker also gets Batman arrested; for the most part, Batman was in the Arkham Asylum.
However, we know how unpredictable Joker is! I guarantee you’ll be expecting a Joker-style twist till the last page.
Sean Murphy also gave Joker a real name: Jack Napier (a callback to the Tim Burton movie where Joker’s real name was Jack Napier too). Batman: White Knight has references to the 1997 Batman movie, Batman & Robin, and to the Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies.
Red Son (Writer: Mark Miller) 3 issues
Easily one of the greatest Superman stories.
The storyline has DC’s most prominent characters. There is Batman and Wonder Woman too!
But here’s the catch; Superman is not American. Superman’s space capsule from Krypton falls in the Soviet Union, and he’s raised there.
Superman grows up and serves Joseph Stalin. Superman in Red Son is the “Champion of the common worker.” He fights for socialism and Stalin.
Red Son was critically acclaimed and even was nominated for the “Eisner Award” for best-limited series (2004)
Red Son gained much popularity with time. In the year 2011, DC comics designated the Red Son or the Russian Superman to Earth-30.
The Killing Joke (Writer: Alan Moore) 1 issue
Now, The Killing Joke is a must-read for any comic book lover. Written by Alan Moore, this is easily one of the greatest Joker comics. Many critics even called The Killing Joke the best Batman story.
The Killing Joke effected the mainstream DC storyline. For example, Joker shooting Barbara Gordon and paralyzing her.
The Killing Joke won the Eisner award for Best Graphic Album (year: 1989). In 2009, The Killing Joke appeared on the list of “The New York Times Best Seller.”
The Killing Joke depicted Joker as a tragic character. Once a family man and a failed comedian, he became insane after “One bad day.”
Alan Moore successfully showed the contrasts and similarities between Batman and Joker.
Saga of the Swamp Thing: The Anatomy Lesson (Writer: Alan Moore) 1 issue
Saga of the Swamp Thing: The Anatomy Lesson is another Alan Moore masterpiece that not many people know about. Technically, it’s not a standalone storyline, but it feels like one.
Alan Moore rebuilt the whole story and presented a story that will please any comic book lover today. Like almost all his work, Alan Moore used some political theme in this story as well.
At some point, the story becomes both disturbing and beautiful as the story shows the mental breakdown of Jason Woodrue. The story beautifully and vividly shows Woodrue’s thought process as he starts transforming into the green-yellow Floronic Man.
Saga of the Swamp Thing: The Anatomy Lesson is a solid suspense and horror story that breaks the regular story-telling of superhero comics.
These are my 5 best standalone DC comics. I am sure I missed aplenty but you can always tell me what you think should have been on the list.
Share your thoughts!