We can all agree that 2021 had plenty of great stuff for DC fans. From the growth of DC on HBO Max, the emergence of spectacular new characters and a sophomore DC FanDome that was even more spectacular than the first, the DC Multiverse is now bigger than ever. But with so many great comics, movies and TV series in 2021, what we won’t all agree on is what we liked best.
We all have our own unique tastes as fans, even here at DCComics.com, so we asked members of our writing team to share their personal three favorites. Look for a different top three every day this week! For our final list, we hear from DCTV fan and Gotham Gazette writer Joshua Lapin-Bertone.
How do you measure a year? Some of my friends look back on quarterly reports, or how their favorite sports teams have done. Good for them, but over here at DCComics.com we’re nerdy and proud, so I’m not afraid to say that when I look back at the year, I think about all the cool DC releases I enjoyed along the way. Don’t ask me what the weather was, or what was in the news, but I can give you total recall when it comes to Superman and Batman. DC absolutely crushed it in 2021, and I’ve had a blast every step of the way! Here are my three favorite DC releases from 2021…
Stargirl: Summer School
When Stargirl returned for a second spectacular season, it felt like reuniting with old friends you haven’t seen in a while. The moment that Courtney, Yolanda, Rick and Beth came on screen in the season premiere, I couldn’t help but smile—I had so fallen in love with these characters during season one. The new Justice Society had their work cut out for them when Eclipso set his sights on Blue Valley, bringing a true sense of horror to the show’s sophomore season. The season also introduced new allies, like Jade, Jakeem Williams, the Thunderbolt and the Shade. Old enemies like Solomon Grundy, Sportsmaster and Tigress also returned. This year was especially fun for me personally because not only did I get to watch Stargirl: Summer School, I also got to talk to many of the cast members for this very site.
Stargirl season two (subtitled “Summer School”) proved that the series hadn’t lost any of the high quality from season one. Eclipso psychologically tore the Justice Society apart, striking at them through their deepest fears and insecurities. One of the biggest surprises was Milo Stein, the child actor who played Eclipso’s young form. When you watch Milo taunt the JSA, you find yourself believing that this little boy poses a real threat to these powerful heroes. The final battle from the season finale had everything I ever wanted, as all the heroes (and some villains) came together to stop Eclipso. When the dust settled, the show presented us with a bunch of interesting cliffhangers to whet our appetite for season three. Something tells me this series will be back on my top three list for 2022!
Young Justice: Phantoms
Ever since the fourth season of Young Justice was announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, fans like myself have eagerly been waiting for news about when the new episodes would drop. All eyes were on DC FanDome in October 2021, which promised news about the critically acclaimed animated series. Fans were expecting a premiere date or a new trailer, but they got more than that. During the DC FanDome presentation, it was announced that Young Justice: Phantoms was here—as in right now! The first two episodes had been dropped on HBO Max as a FanDome surprise, and man did the show hit the ground running.
Young Justice is a show that never stops growing and maturing. This new season has dealt with trauma, religious-identity, sacrifice, addiction and depression in thought-provoking ways. Just look at the conversation Perdita had with Beast Boy about his pill addiction in the episode “Kaerb Ym Traeh!” (though prepare to be heartbroken). If you know me, then you also know that I’m crazy for Easter eggs, and Young Justice always goes hard with them. This season used Penny Randall, a girl who only appeared once in 1966’s Teen Titans #2. Talk about obscure! This entire series is a love letter to fans of the DC Universe, and as one of those fans, I can tell you that the romance is alive and well.
Batman: Wayne Family Adventures
Batman: Wayne Family Adventures was a surprise that none of us saw coming! This charming little webcomic was released on the Webtoon platform this fall, and I instantly fell in love. This heartwarming series spotlights the Bat-Family during those moments between their battles. What happens when Gotham’s greatest heroes have to decide who gets the last cookie? What kind of rituals do they have after they take down the Joker or Penguin?
As a longtime Bat-fan, I live for this stuff. I’ve always loved the moments where Batman and his partners unwind and enjoy each other’s company. This webcomic feels like a Tumblr blog, and that’s a good thing. If you haven’t checked this out yet, do yourself a favor and take a look. I guarantee it will have you smiling ear to ear.
Wasn’t 2021 a great year for DC? There were so many good comics, movies and television shows that it was hard for me to narrow it down to three. I can’t wait to see what kind of fun stuff is waiting for us in 2022.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.