10 Best DC Comics Storylines till 2021

DC comics has been the home of some of the most amazing storylines in history. From the greatest detectives to the earth-crumbling aliens, what’s not to love? Since 1939, DC has been presenting us with some of the amazing stories of our favorite characters. And today we are going to rank 10 of the best DC comics storylines that you should read to be considered as a fan!

10 Best DC Comics Storyline of All-Time!

Obviously, this is a very difficult list to narrow down because over the past 80+ years DC has created many of the most iconic storylines in all comics. So, trying to reduce it down to the best 10 is not a joke.

To help narrow it down, we have removed all the cross-over events such as Crisis of Infinite Earths or Flash Point Paradox and tried to stick with stories that were concentrated on a single title. Just like we did with our 10 best marvel comics list. With that out of the way, let’s get this party started. 

10. New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

Leading off at number 10 is the epic 1984 Teen Titans story The Judas Contract. This story is both amazing and essential for several reasons.

New Teen Titans The Judas Contract

Starting with the patient and brilliant storytelling by Marv Wolfman and George Perez who slowly set the stage for this tale of betrayal for over many the Judas Contract series even began. 

The story focuses on a new addition to the Titans named Terra Markov, who was eventually revealed to be working as a spy for Deathstroke.

By the time Titans discovered Terra’s betrayal, she has already given Deathstroke all the information he needs to take them apart, one by one. 

In The Judas Contract, we see the Teen Titans at one of their lowest points as the members of the team are exposed to some of the darkest realities of the crime-fighting for the first time.

The story was so incredible that it was turned into a DC animated film and was released in 2017. In addition to the incredible storytelling, The Judas Contract bright us Dick Grayson’s transmission into Nightwing and solidified Deathstroke’s role as one of the greatest DC villains of all time.

9. JLA: Tower of Babel

At number nine we have the JLA: Tower of Babel, written by Mark Waid in 2000. This incredibly popular story was written for the JLA issue 43 through 46 and also adapted into an animated film called Justice League: Doom.

JLA Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel is basically a Batman Story within the Justice League title that explores the depth of Batman’s paranoia, along with the negative potential of his methods.

In short, the trust between Batman and the rest of the Justice League is destroyed when Ra’s al Ghul manages to steal Batman’s files. It revealed that Batman has been keeping secret files on every other member of the Justice League. A file that detailed each of their strengths, weaknesses, as well as contingency plans for how to defeat each member, should they ever turn dark. 

The consequences for this apparent betrayal came quickly as Ra’s al Ghul used Batman’s plans to systematically take down every member of the Justice League including The Man of Steel.

With Superman out of the way, Ra’s constructed a tower with a technology that is designed to disrupt the languages of every person on the planet. Creating total chaos. 

In the end, with the help of Talia al Ghul, the Justice League managed to stop Ra’s al Ghul before it’s too late. But the trust between Batman and his team members was heavily damaged, and he was voted out of the league.

This story is just a great character study of Batman and his relationships to the Justice League. If you haven’t read it already, get on that Now!

8. All-Star Superman

Landing at number eight is one of the best superhero stories that came out in the 21st century. That is Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman. This 12 issue mini-series ran from 2005 to 2008 celebrates the characteristics that define Superman as a hero.

All-Star Superman

celebrates the characteristics that define Superman as a hero.

The story starts with Man of Steel dealing with his own mortality after a lethal dose of solar radiation which leaves him only one year to live. It then follows Clerk as he taps into the best version of himself as he prepares his loved ones and the rest of the world for life without Superman.

All-Star Superman is amazingly well-written and has tons of heart. But more than that it managed to take a fresh look at one of the oldest characters in all comics, simultaneously reminding fans about everything that they loved about Superman.

Not surprisingly, DC animation gave All-Star Superman its own movie in 2011. If you read and loved that storyline, it’s worth a watch.

7. The Sinestro Corps War 

The Sinestro Corps was written by Geoff Johns and Dave Gibbons. This epic Green Lantern storyline ran from August 2007 to February 2008. It introduced the fear-powered Sinestro Corps leading to a massive expansion of the Green Lantern universe as a whole.

The Sinestro Corps War

In this story we found Sinestro reinventing himself as a dictator, modeled after some of history’s worst tyrants. We also found his masterplan to take over the Green Lantern Corps which led to a massive space opera that reintroduced the cosmic actions of the DC universe. 

The battle between two of the most powerful lantern corps was so huge that it even had to throw some of the most dangerous villains on the teams such as Superboy-Prime, Parallax, and even the freaking Anti-Monitor.

Overall The Sinestro Corps Was is considered by many comic book fans to be the definitive Green Lantern story. Not to mention the amazing artwork for heavy-hitter artists like Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, and Patric Gleason which was some of the best that we have seen in the DC comic book pages.

6. Watchmen

Watchmen is the only story to make its way to the list that doesn’t feature any of the DC iconic heroes. Written by Iconic Moore, Watchmen is a 12 issue mini-series published between 1986 and 1987.

Watchmen Cover

This story revolves around alternate versions of a group of powerful characters that DC acquired from Charlton Comics in 1985.

Watchmen is a deep multi-layered story based in the Cold War era of the 80s that explores some of the darker nature of human nature through the lens of the deeply flawed heroes. 

Since its publication, it is considered a masterpiece and was brought to the silver screen in 2009 with the same name. Later it was continued in 2020’s Watchmen TV series that focused on a darker version of humanity.

I can’t forget to mention that Watchmen has now become more relevant than ever as it is stated that Dr. Manhattan is single-handedly caused DC’s New 52. Which is just mad.

5. Superman: Red Son

Rounding up at number five we have Superman: Red Son, which is in my opinion is one of the coolest Superman concepts that has ever written.

Superman Red Son

Rounding up at number five we have Superman: Red Son, which is in my opinion is one of the coolest Superman concepts that has ever written.

This awesome DC comics storyline answers the simple but serious question, what if Kal-El had landed on the former Soviet Union instead of a cornfield in Kansas. Instead of fighting for truth, justice in the American way, he would be working as a champion of the communist regime. Which would have very different consequences for the world.

In 2003, Mark Miller played out the scenario in this amazing three-part mini-series which shook the very existence of your most favorite superhero.

In addition to this very different version of Man of Steel, we see a president Lex Luthor, other altered DC heroes like Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and even Jimmy Olsen as a CIA agent.

It’s an incredibly well-written what-if story, that you surely wouldn’t want to miss. This story is so cool that WB Animations decided to bring to the animated world on DC in February of 2020. If you haven’t watched it already, get on with it now.

4. Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come has to be one of the coolest visual comics ever, once again written by Mark Waid, with art by incredible Alex Ross.

Kingdom Come

One look at the pages of this four-issue mini-series is more than enough to lock you in. Then you get the incredible story by Waid.

In short, we see a future DC universe where the members of the original Justice League are much older and retired. But the new generation of heroes has adapted more reckless and brutal methods of crime, which literally blurs the line between heroes and villains. 

To protect the world and the human race, Superman leads a group of old guards into one last battle in order to set things right. This doesn’t just make up for an epic action-packed story it’s also a reminder of what a real superhero should be.

It’s a beautiful story and you should really pick it up if you haven’t already.

3. The Batman Who Laughs

If you have been in the DC universe for some time, you have to love the Batman Who Laughs. Created by writer Scott Snyder and illustrated by the great Ben Oliver, The Batman Who Laughs is a seven-issue masterpiece that ran from 2018 to 2019.

The Batman Who Laughs

Now right off the bat, I have to admit that I am a little biased about this storyline, but this story is just freaking awesome. The Batman Who Laughs took place on the Negative Earth-22 where your favorite Crude Crusader finally killed the Joker. But upon killing The Joker released the Joker toxin and created an evil combination of Batman and Joker.

Just imagine a character with all the skill and strength of Batman and the corruption & madness of the Joker. The concept itself and the amazing story is just to good not to be recognized as one of the best story ever that has been told in the DC comics. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you doing man?

2. Batman: The Killing Joke

At the runner-up spot is another classic from writer Alan Moore, and that is Batman the Killing Joke. It’s a dark and incredibly well-written story that takes a hard look at the thin line that separates the good guys from the bad. And does that by exploring the relationship between Batman and the Joker.

Batman The Killing Joke

The story perfectly mixes the violent and gruesome action with thought-provoking themes as the Joker sets out to prove to Batman that all it takes to turn a normal person to turn into madness, is one really bad day.

The Joker sets out to make his point by committing disturbingly grisly acts of violence against Barbara Gordon and Jim Gordon who were like Batman’s family members. This story showed the Joker in a maniacal light that has never been seen before, intertwined with flashbacks of the Joker’s origin and possible events that pushed him over the edge.

Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland used these pieces to dissect both The Joker and Batman as Individual characters and then display the differences between them as well as their shocking similarities.

In the end, we are left with one of the greatest DC comics stories ever and the thought that Alan Moore might not be one of the best Batman writers ever, he might be the most important writers in the history of comics.

1. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Finally, we have the classic, none other than Frank Miller’s 1986 four-part series, The Dark Knight Returns. Not to sound cliche, but even after 30 years, this story pretty much universally considered a masterpiece.

Batman The Dark Knight Returns

It’s a gritty dystopian Batman saga that revolves around an aging and tormented Bruce Wayne who returns to the cape and cowl to clean up the crime-ridden streets of Gotham. Only to find a city that is no longer friendly to his vigilant methods. 

Since this book’s release, we’ve had many edgy Batman stories. But the Dark Knight Returns was the first time Batman was seen as such a rough vicious brute. It didn’t just change the character of Batman forever, it also had a placement effect on the comic book industry as a whole.

In Just four issues, Miller managed to demonstrate how powerful comic book storytelling can be, by giving it a real-world tone and anchoring it in social and political critiques that are shockingly relevant even today.

The story also generated a DC animated movie as well as being used heavily as inspiration for the 2016 Batman Vs Superman movie and Ben Afflick’s version of Batman going forward.

Bottom line is, whether you are a comic fan or just someone who loves great storytelling, The Dark Knight Returns is a must-read that I can not recommend enough.

With that, we are going to wrap up this to an end. I know this is going to be a hugely controversial list for several DC fans, but that’s what makes us unique. So, what do you think is the best DC comics storylines ever? Let’s find out.

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