Here is the third and final part of my reviews of the New 52. Let the high praise and/or carnage come to an end.
And now, the other end of the spectrum. The logo of the company. The Caped Crusader. The scourge of Gotham. The originator of the rogue’s gallery. The ultimate human hero. The only super hero that can actually exist in the real world. And honestly, the only DC individual character that I actually collected for a period of 10 years. I was really looking forward to this one folks.
In my opinion, this book could have been a lot more awesome that I expected it to be. From the amazing cover on issue #1, I was expecting a Batman/Joker arc. That would have been a perfect opening story arc. Batman versus his greatest adversary. I was a little disappointed when it wasn’t him, but a new villain. (As far as I know, Dollmaker is new) Still, the story was pretty good. It was dark, and mysterious. It was a crime story with a trail of clues that Batman had to solve. It showcased Batman’s strengths as well as his weaknesses. It showed that he is not invincible and is in fact a human being who does bleed. I liked that his alter ego Bruce Wayne persona was focused on as well. We saw him act the playboy and the billionaire and the philanthropist. I liked that the rest of Batman’s supporting cast was given some face time too and that the interpersonal relationships between the characters was slowly revealed. The art was sensational. Very much like the Bat books before in it’s darkness and action filled panels. The story itself was good too. It kept you riveted from issue to issue as you followed it through it’s tension filled highs and adrenaline pumping battles. It wasn’t perfect. The lack of an origin was definitely missed. The lack of any backstory on Batman and Joker was definitely missed. The constant monologing was very schoolteacherish and kind of caused the issues to drag. Still, I enjoyed it overall.
Final Grade: B+
The second of the Caped Crusader’s solo titles. Let’s see if this one is as good if not better than Detective Comics.
In my opinion, this series was definitely much more interesting than Detective. I actually enjoyed the entire history lesson that the writer is trying to bring across. I love the fact that we do get some sort of origin of Batman and some sort of connection to his supporting cast of crime-fighting associates. I don’t like the fact that all three Robins are here. Wasn’t this supposed to be a reboot? Shouldn’t we get some sort of build up into the whole Robin situation? Why are there automatically three. To me this is just another continuation of the storyline right before the reboot. Not to the letter, but close enough. Not as bad as Green Lantern, but not really a complete reboot. The thing I really enjoyed was the actual story though. I loved the mystery and the unknown factor that the Court of Owls brings. These are new characters as far as I can tell. I’m sure as the mystery deepens and the story unfolds, there might be some familiar faces behind the masks but until then, the actual mystery is what is drawing me back to the next issue. The thing about this title and Detective, and the Dark Knight, which I will review next, is that they are all pretty much the same story template when it comes to style, art, supporting cast, and dialogue. Just like in Detective, its Batman and Alfred against the world. There is some woman that Bruce is dating/avoiding/sleeping with. His crime fighting super family is nowhere to be seen except in their human guises. The cops all dislike him except for Gordon who is his best buddy. (This seriously feels like a renumbering to me, not a reboot) Batman is inner monologuing the entire time in the same colors/boxes as in Detective. Top it off with the art being a little cheesy in the sense that everyone’s face looks alike. Take a look at the panel with Bruce, Dick, Tim and Damian. They all look like carbon copies of each other. In any case, even with all of those blatant acts of laziness, the story is still top notch and the mystery and action is riveting. I can’t wait for the big reveal and the “Court of Owls” crossover.
Final Grade: A-
The third Bat book of the new 52 solidifies the Caped Crusader as the man with the most solo titles in all of comicdom. Suck it Spider Man, Wolverine and anyone else in comics. Batman is better than you.
In my opinion, this book is a complete tool. Seriously. I started reading it and was immediately impressed. The concept was sound. The characters were classic and the action was intense. The art was incredible. Nice large panels of Bat action and morphed Arkham nutjobs. The mystery was well written as was the showcasing of Batman’s fighting and detective skills. The cameos of Batman’s crime fighting family solidified the entire closeness of the Bat books and how they will interact in the future. (AKA Court of Owls) Then came issue #6. The issue that everything completely fell apart. Bane is the villain. Bane is the mastermind. Bane set it all up. Immediately, I re-read the first five books and then read issue six. The similarities between this arc and Knightfall are too close. This is not an original idea. This is me re-reading a story I read 20 years ago. Nothing really new there. Is that what I’m paying for? I want new stories with new villains and legitimate “Holy Cow” moments. What’s next? Is Joker going to shoot Barbara Gordon but not cripple her? Will he bash Robin in the head but not blow him up? Will an army of gangs invade Gotham and Batman has to fight them all, but with the Justice League’s help? This issue ruined the entire first five by just making the reader feel like an idiot for caring. Top it all of with Bane confirming that he broke the Bat, and now this reboot becomes a continuation of the past, not a new beginning. Of course the same issues apply to this title as the other two Bat books. Hot chick. Lots of monologuing. Billionaire playboy. No supporting cast but Alfred. If someone was to ask me which book told which story, I couldn’t distinguish because too many of the premises are completely alike. Still, for the first five issues of this title, I was intrigued. I hope the next story arc is original.
Final Grade: B (F for issue #6)
As if three Bat books wasn’t enough, now we get a fourth. This time with that uber-obnoxious holier than thou brat Damian. Let’s see how long it takes for the superiority complex to emerge.
In my opinion, this is yet another repeat of the other individual Bat books, only this time with an annoying little demon spawn as a sidekick. Not that the overall story was bad. As predicted, it only took a few panels before Damian’s superiority complex came out. The title seems to focus on the Boy Wonder an awful lot. I like Nobody. He’s a fairly interesting character and his bag of tricks are a good match-up against Batman’s arsenal of weapons. I like the similar backgrounds and the whole origin story. It makes his quest for vengeance have some meaning. I liked the whole double cross aspect but there was no real surprise as to where the story was going. Unfortunately, like most comic arcs these days, this one ran a bit too long and I’ve completely stopped caring. I’m also completely over Damian’s attitude and the writers constant attempt to throw his rebelliousness into our faces. We get it. He’s a ten year old super killing machine who wants to rage and be Batman’s equal. Stop saying it over and over again. Even with Damian’s attitude and presense, this book still has very little uniqueness when compared to the other Bat books. Same writing style, same story style, same background characters. Nothing sets any of the Bat books apart from each other. My eyes felt completely glazed over after each issue. Great art, though. Hopefully, once “The Court of Owls” crossover ends, the writers will be able to add some unique individuality to these titles to make them stand out from each other. For now, I could never justify buying four books a month with the exact same general content. It just makes no sense.
Final Grade: B+
She’s back in the role that she originated almost 45 years ago. Barbara Gordon is Batgirl. Let the fan hate/love begin
In my opinion, this book was incredibly similar in style and content as all of the books in the Bat family. Everything revolves around monologuing. Barbara is back in a role she has not been in for a long time. She’s up on her feet, after a “miraculous/reboot” surgery that let her walk. She’s patrolling the streets of Gotham, protecting the innocent, and learning to adjust to her new life. She’s also questioning herself at every opportunity because of the fear she now has of getting hurt and being stuck in a wheelchair again. The word “Oracle” is not to be seen anywhere. So here’s the thing. This title brings me absolutely nothing that I can’t get in any other Batman book. This was just a bad attempt at getting a shock fan reaction. It failed. I don’t like Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. She’s a weaker version of Batman. Her supporting cast is boring. Her mom returning means nothing to me, as does her new apartment. As Oracle, Barbara Gordon served a purpose. She was unique. Now she’s just another twit in a Bat Suit. She’s not funny. She’s actually quite depressing. This makes reading the books about her depressing. I want a comic to pump my adrenaline and get me excited, not make me want to take out a tub of ice cream and drown my sorrows in sugar and rich creamy goodness. There’s nothing at all that stands out about this book, including the art. It’s just a female in a Bat suit. That’s the only difference. Its a pretty sad situation, since I hear the prior version of Batgirl was leaps and bounds better than this one. Yet there is absolutely no mention of her at all in the comic. Is she forgotten, or completely wiped out of existence? I feel DC made a major error here. Instead of destroying one successful character, they actually ruined two. R.I.P. Batgirl/Stephanie and Oracle. You are both missed.
Final Grade: D
The first Boy Wonder who finally donned the mantle of the Bat, is back in his old persona and fighting crime in his own style.
In my opinion, I found this book to be surprisingly enjoyable. When I started reading it, and saw the exact same style as all of the other bat books, I was expecting to hate it. I was expecting to be sick of the repetitiveness. This title however, actually is much more lighter in nature than the Bat books. It adds a bit of humor and light where the Bat books are completely devoid of such things. While this is technically not a reboot, but a renumbering, the title does bring a bit of freshness to the world of the bat by revisiting the origin of Dick Grayson. The action and mystery was pretty cool. Very intense and fun to follow. The love square was a nice touch. I have no idea who the main villain is but I’m sure there must be some history that I am not privy too because I am not a life long Batman reader. I do like the way you are drawn into Dick’s world and feel somewhat connected to his plight. The art is sensational as well. I really found very little to complain about this title, other than the non reboot situation. I would definitely keep collecting this one.
Final Grade: A-
Selina Kyle, burglar extraordinaire in a skin tight cat suit. What’s not to like?
In my opinion, this title is sensational. I was hooked from page one. I love a good villain story and this one was a great one to follow. I didn’t mind the narration style since I was already expecting it the second I picked up the title. It seems that DC has issued an across the board memo to their writers to keep their comic style exactly the same so the reader feels comfortable picking up any title and not getting shocked by the writing style. I definitely loved the violence and the way this book truly focused on the criminal aspect of life in Gotham. It was also fun watching Selina just dig herself deeper and deeper into a hole. At times I just wanted to scream at her to stop and think but I knew she wouldn’t. That’s the true sign of a great book if it can get you to actually interact with it. The humor was a great add as well. Surprisingly, this one felt like a partial reboot to me since Selina did not know Batman’s secret identity, while in the pre-Flashpoint DC, she did. I was upset that we didn’t get an origin, but I’m sure we can get to that later as that is a common theme among the new 52. In addition to the great thrill ride of a story, we get pretty awesome art. Selina looks incredibly hot in every panel she is in. Her facial expressions just dominate the page. Those cats are very funny too. I would say that this is my favorite of all the Bat books.
Final Grade: A
Jason Todd, Roy Harper and Whoriand’r (oops I mean princess Koriand’r) together as a team of outlaws. What can go wrong?
In my opinion, this title is a complete load of crap. I am beyond pissed at what was done here. It’s bad enough that you take three DC characters and lump them together for no reason whatsoever, but you have to completely change EVERYTHING about them on top of that. Roy Harper, who had the most amazing and traumatic changes in his life over the past five years, has all of that erased, only to be turned into a douche. Kori, one of the longest Teen Titans members ever, with one of the richest pasts and connections to the pre-Flashpoint DC world, becomes an amnesiac slut. And Jason Todd, who I honestly don’t know too much about, all of a sudden becomes this secret super ninja death clan killer who was trained by this secret society. This book fails so badly its ridiculous. To massacre three classic characters and remove anything important to ever happen to them is a crime and a travesty. Not only that, but the continuity issue is completely destroyed. This title occurs around the same time that the rest of the Bat books do, but includes a past about a group of Titans that do not exist. A history is created for Roy and Kori that no other DC Nu book can validate. Top it off with a really dumb story about some (possibly) new characters that seem too similar to Marvel’s Hand ninja characters with their incredibly dumb names and you have this title. Even the pathetic attempts at humor and sarcasm fail. The art is annoying too. Very glossy and angular on everyone’s face and background. Great art on Kori though but even all the gratuitous T&A in the world will not make this pile a winner. This title completely ruined three classic characters and for that I am just upset.
Final Grade: D
The man with the most powerful weapon in the universe gets a new beginning, a new host of enemies, and a fresh start. (Wait, what do you mean it’s about Sinestro? What do mean nothing new? Wasn’t this a reboot? Oh, hell. Geoff Johns again, right????)
In my opinion, this book, and the entire Lantern line of DC comics is a complete rip off. I was reading GL when the reboot happened. I followed this title since the Sinestro Corps War. I read the War of Lights, Blackest Night and Brightest Day. I know pretty much everything that has happened in this group of books for the past 5 years. This is not a freaking reboot. This is a renumbering. Period!! This title picks up EXACTLY where the GL books left off. There is no new origin. There is no return to the past. Everything continues 100% status quo. Is this supposed to be this way? If it is, then there is no way GL should be part of the reboot, since the Hal we see in Justice League is nothing at all like the Hal of this title. Is this supposed to be our Earth continuing its normal story while EVERY other book in the DC-Nu is happening in an alternate earth? Is this Geoff Johns being super sneaky? Whatever it is, this is bullshit. I was promised a reboot and I didn’t get one. So false advertising on this one DC. OK, rant aside, I’m actually extremely happy that this is not a reboot and just a renumbering. I have been loving the current GL story and am very happy that it is continuing. Johns actually has a firm grasp on the GL universe and all the characters within it. He does an incredible job bringing them all to life. I love Sinestro as a GL again. I love the way he acts, plans, fights, and controls the situation no matter what. I love the subplots being laid down for some future story with the GL corps fighting for their lives. I love the Guardians as an enemy. Those little bastards have always had Krona envy and now they get to turn into him. I’m drawn into the story because I not only want to know what revelation comes next, but I NEED to know. That’s how complex and rich Johns’ GL Universe is and how diverse and interesting these characters are. Great success on this story arc. Terrible failure on the reboot deception.
Final Grade: A (for the book. F on the reboot)
Guy Gardner and John Stewart headline this planetary adventure book with all of their zany corp buddies along for the ride.
In my opinion, this book just didn’t appeal to me in any way, shape, or form. In all honesty, I read it about two hours ago and I can’t even remember what the hell happened. I know it was some sort of aliens with a plan to kill the Green Lanterns and Guy and John exploded a Yellow Lantern member to defeat them in some way. I remember a group of lanterns arriving, some of them getting caught, a random lantern being killed. Then the main characters swoop in with the cavalry to save the day. This title is just too convoluted for me. The plot feels dragged. It just doesn’t get me as excited as the other GL books. It has almost no connection to the goings on in the GL universe. It feels separate. I don’t really care. Nice art, as always. I wish I had more to say about this title but I really can’t remember anything that happened or anything special at all about it.
Final Grade: D
Seven Lantern Corps. All governed by those little blue Papa Smurf looking big headed egomaniacs. No more. Time for Kyle Rainer to stage a little coup. Let the fun begin.
In my opinion, this book is an incredible ride. I love every single issue for the simple reason that the characters involved have such HUGE personality differences and each one is being captured perfectly. I also really enjoy the humor that is instilled through Larfreeze and his Orange Lanterns. The interactions between the characters is really priceless. The growing pains of a new team being formed is clearly felt as the clashing personalities go at each other. Also, as in Green Lantern, this is not a reboot but a renumbering so the story and history that any GL reader knows just keeps on going instead of forcing something new down our throat. A bit of a deception, once again, but who really cares when you get to continue reading the story you have devoted years to and crave it’s continuation. I also love Kyle’s new abilities and it’s premonitions for the future of the Green Lanterns. The new bad guy is pretty awesome too. I have a feeling he might have something to do with the White Light from Brightest Day. Speaking of which. Since this is not a reboot, whatever happened to the White Lantern? I know it was in the Swamp Thing’s forest and Swamp Thing was the Guardian of the White Light. Is there some connection to the new Swamp Thing title and the enemies he is facing there, the Rot? Maybe the Rot represents the Black Lanterns of the DC-Nu? Hopefully this will be addressed in the future. In the meantime, this series is another excellently written, perfectly drawn continuation of the pre-rebooted DC Universe. Enjoy it.
Final Grade: A (for the book. F on the reboot)
The most violent and single minded of the new Lanterns gets its own comic series. (I just can’t understand why them and not the Sinestro Corps, a much deeper and well rounded group?)
In my opinion, this book is a complete waste of time. If I have to read another page of Atrocitus whining and questioning himself and restating his mission over and over and over and over………well you get it, I will start screaming. Seriously. If you were going to test the validity of putting out another Lantern comic, is Red the way to go? There is no depth in them. Other than the red freaking cat, who is awesome, the rest of the crew are morons and even giving them intelligence isn’t improving their personalities. Bleez is not a viable lead as she is one of the New Guardians. The other ones are all too similar in their backstory to be even close to interesting. Krona is a terrible antagonist. (I really hope he’s not alive and is just stolen by the real enemy) So far I have read six issues of pure bitching. There is no real subplot. Any attempts at mystery or humor are failing miserably. Any attempts of adding inner tension are coming off as fake. I’m hoping the Red Lantern of Earth arc gives some interest to this book because so far it is dull, boring, and lacking action, plot or purpose. The art is nice, however red was always my least favorite color so seeing so much of it is driving me nuts. I really wish they would have started with Yellow. That would have been a cooler concept. Spread the Fear and cause havoc in the Universe while the Greens try to stop you. That would have been a better idea, I think. Also, for the same reasons as in the other GL family of books, this is not a reboot, only a continuation of a current storyline.
Final Grade: F