Last year may have seemed to fly by, but it was pretty packed when it came to DC movies, comics, TV and (for the first time in a few years) games! We all have our own personal favorites, reflecting our unique tastes and interests, and all of them are worth highlighting. So, like we’ve done in the past, we’re saying goodbye to 2022 by letting members of the DC.com writing team share their top three DC favorites for the year.
Let’s get things started on this sophomore day of 2023 with DC.com’s very own question and answers man, Alex Jaffe!
Hello! I’m Alex Jaffe, better known to the DC Community as HubCityQuestion. Every month, it’s my privilege to research the answers to any question you may have about the breadth and depths of the DC Universe. At other times, I get to interview some of my favorite comic creators, or uncover hidden chapters in the histories of my favorite characters. But once a year, as we look back on all the adventures we’ve had together in the DC Universe, my colleagues and I get to talk about what we liked best. And boy, was 2022 a good year. Here are three of my favorite things to have emerged from DC in the past twelve months.
Netflix’s The Sandman
Adapting The Sandman should have been impossible. For over thirty years, in fact, it WAS impossible. Every attempt there’s ever been to live up to this classic tale of dark fantasy and gothic horror has withered on the vine, failing to live up to the sky-high expectations of its watchful author and devoted prospective audience. What we received this year on Netflix was an adaptation of The Sandman’s first two volumes nothing short of miraculous in its ambition and realization. The effects, the writing, the casting, the acting, the cinematography. Everything you could possibly ask for, and many things you’d never dare to, somehow manifest in The Sandman as dreams made real. And go figure, all it took was to actually include and consult with original author Neil Gaiman himself every step of the way. The success, after all these decades, of Netflix’s The Sandman may prove once and for all that no dream is unattainable.
In my 2021 highlight selections, I picked Jeremy Adams’ The Flash as my favorite ongoing comic of the year. In 2022, with Ram V’s Detective Comics, Chip Zdarsky’s Batman, Phillip K. Johnson’s Action Comics, Mark Waid’s World’s Finest and many more developing sagas in a truly stellar year, I gotta give it up—The Flash is still my favorite. With now regular series artist Fernando Pasarin, The Flash almost feels like a challenge to all the other comics around it. If you throw away the tools of angst, trauma and torture to drive your main character forward, can you still keep an audience engaged? Can you still tell a story worth telling, on a long term scale, if your protagonist is happy? Not just happy, but thriving? Can conventional narrative wisdom, that “happily ever after” is the death of a good story, ever be defied?
For the second year in a row, and continuously in every issue, The Flash tells us that the answer to all of the above is a resounding and jubilant YES. Everything in the DC Universe is coming up Wally West, and it literally could not be happening to a nicer guy. And through it all, every issue packs in awesome guest stars, inventive storylines, an irresistible close-knit family dynamic and the kind of action and adventure that can only happen at super speed. And in 2023, the “One Minute War” is only going to kick the book into an inconceivably higher gear. Do not let this run for the ages flash past you.
Galaxy: The Prettiest Star
Jadzia Axelrod and Jess Taylor’s Galaxy: The Prettiest Star is unlike any comic I’ve ever read before, and entirely unlike anything DC’s ever published. All the same, it’s not at all out of place among the greatest of Superman or Wonder Woman comics, with a message designed to bring out the best in us and bring out our courage in our darkest hours.
From the dedication on the first page, to protagonist Taylor Barzelay’s celebration—not just acceptance, but celebration—of her reclaimed identity once denied, you know this book is going to be something special. I won’t mince words: this young adult queer narrative of an alien hero forced by social pressures to hide on Earth as the wrong species and the wrong sex until she can bear the lie no longer will save lives. It already has saved lives. I’ve seen it for myself among readers of Galaxy who found themselves in its pages, in a world which can feel coldly unwelcome all too often. Galaxy: The Prettiest Star isn’t just a superhero comic. The comic is a superhero itself. No essential DC library will be complete without it ever again.
Alex Jaffe is the author of our monthly "Ask the Question" column and writes about TV, movies, comics and superhero history for DC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexJaffe and find him in the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Alex Jaffe and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.