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3.44 stars 3.44/5 Stars Average score of 216 user reviews

World's Most Obvious 0

Someday, the intelligent among you must explain Geoff Johns's popularity. In the New 52's concerted effort to play foully with our affections and intellect, this ball of confusion exists. True, it would be nice if we knew what issues we were reading, where they occur in connection to other series, who these characters are, and other mundane trivia, but that would make too much sense. Why be helpful when you can be inscrutable? This started out with such promise, but it doesn't take too long to d...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

And Back to Sub-Par Work 0

A bit of a letdown after the decent first volume - seems almost like the basic idea was fully played out in the first series and now they were getting a bit desperate. Zombies? That's the best we could come up, zombies? Did I miss the "teenage vampires in love" crossover? As potentially great as the final moment of this collection could be, it comes out of nowhere and seems forced and majickally convenient. Also, the story just stops. Batman and Robin go home and we are left wondering, "wait, wh...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

This should be the Flagship of the Batman Universe 0

As with most of the New 52, this volume has a lot wrong with it, but it is better than most of the other Batman titles I've been reading lately, so by sheer novelty (or its rehashed version of novelty, at least) it deserves a slightly higher rating. Unlike the dialogue-sparse Geoff Johns volumes, the absence of dialogue in parts of this collection is aided by quality artwork and better dialogue when it occurs. True, some of it is stilted and obvious, but by the end it gets better. Even with the ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Substituting for Quality Writing, Clever Plotting, and Sensible Characterization... 0

As with the previous TPB, most of these 2 stars are for the atypical issue, the annual. At least, I assume it is the annual at the close of the volume, since we are still not allowed to know what issue is which throughout the TPB, given instead an exciting repetition of cover issues two pages in a row (sadly, it's not nearly as thrilling as I've just made it out to be). Hurwitz's relaunching of the relaunch continues, with the second new version of the Mad Hatter in this storyline. Again Hurwitz...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

This is not why Batman exists. 0

Most of these 2 stars (which I feel even now is too many) are for moments of what is I suppose issue #0. In DC's TPB commitment to hiding from you what issue you are actually reading at the time, I can only guess that the final origin-like story at the close of this volume is issue #0. While that issue doesn't tell us much we don't know, as the continuing uncertainty over reason for The New 52's existence provides an "origin" for Bruce Wayne - not Batman - we already knew. It's nice to see the o...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

By "New" we mean "Here are things we've done already!" 0

This really should be 2.5 stars, but I've rounded up just because it was better (sort of) than most of those not-that-great Justice League collections. The artwork is both impressive and nauseous together: the impressive parts remind us of Neal Adams's way of revitalizing series with real movement, fine detail, and believable action. The nauseous parts are the over-abundance of blood and gore. That truly is not that impressive. The depiction of the female characters is also insulting to every hu...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Now we know what "DC" stands for. 0

Should we give the audience a complete story? DC.Should we include all the issues so they get their money's worth? DC.Should we tell people what they are missing from the skipped-over issues? DC.Should we introduce the "bonus" material so the audience knows why it's there? DC.Should we explain the differences between the old and New 52 versions of the characters, especially the ones who are different genders? DC.Should we charge less for this trade since it has fewer issues? DC.Should we use Gre...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

That's okay, we don't know what's going on, either. 0

Just when you think a cohesive story is about to occur, we are given a crossover without all the pieces, a villain that's 12 years younger than he looks with his villain mask on, a surprise twist that gets ruined by the rest of the story, and further mistreatment of poor Steve Trevor. Once again we are expected to have read every other single New 52 issue along with this so we can understand the missing pieces and the rest of the new characters and who the mysterious villain behind other things ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The part of Guy Gardner tonight will be played by Hal Jordan. 0

2.5 stars, how's that? We finally have the beginnings of a story, and Mr. Johns finally beginning to attempt to earn his paycheck. Yet, the main premise for this villain and his motivation is rather disgraceful: having given us a reason to care about these heroes from the regular guy perspective, instead of developing that line or character it is immediately shattered with a puff (or sniff, rather) of magic smoke. Johns attempts to prove he knows as much mythology as Joseph Campbell, but he cert...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

What say the feminists about this artwork, I wonder? 0

Volume 2 is noticeably better than volume 1, despite the "artists"'s attempts to ruin the story, the characters, and the dialogue. The great JMS suffers from some bombastic tendencies early on, but he re-acclimates to proper dialogue soon enough, and we are generally more satisfied than the chaotic inscrutability of volume 1. While this is another in the increasing line of "let's abuse the classical device of 'in medias res'" narrations, JMS proves his trustworthiness quite well by the end. The...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Fans of Nonsensically-tight Pants Hearken To My Tale! 0

It pains me to give anything by the great JMS anything below a perfect 5-star rating, but at least I can say two of these stars are solely because of him. Not that this is his best writing (and it would be unfair to judge everything the man does by the best work of television of all time, Babylon 5), for a fair amount of the dialogue is stilted, obvious, and unnecessary. The moments of humor, such as the gum scene with the Oracle, are tepid at best - there is too much wandering about for us to f...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Poor Jon Kent. What is he, the Duncan Idaho of the Superman Universe? 0

Picking up this volume and reading it as if it is some accessible story is somewhat misleading, since we are at once given the impression this is a new introductory story to Superman and his friends and family, yet it also contains enough self-universe-references to confuse the careful reader who has unsuspectingly checked this out from the library (combined with the notion this was apparently in the continuity of Action Comics ... if there is such a thing anymore). This story gives us a lot to ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Round Two: Different Author, Same Dullness 0

I like the Death of Superman story (not that Superman died, just the whole story, all three parts). I read it fairly regularly. I even like the Hunter/Prey followup. Zero Hour ... meh. So I'm not anti-Jurgens. See, this is what I'm not quite getting about this New 52 thing. Why are we bringing back guys from 20-some years ago to contribute to something supposedly new and fresh for this present generation that thinks conversation is done with thumbs? I'm not saying Perez and Jurgens don't have i...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Dullsville Train departing on Track Redundant for Snoresville, Lametown, and Bore-a-munga 0

Fun - excitement - interesting - fresh - engaging - and other words that don't apply to this volume. No offense intended to the great George Perez and his lifetime of fine work, but this was just dull. We've seen this in most every science fiction show already, and if it was dull on Babylon 5, it was dull in the "New" 52. I guess the point of this relaunch was to shake it all up, make it all different, and by that they meant break up all the good relationships that took 60-some years to develop...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Short On Content, Short on Respect 0

Under the "we didn't have much time for respect or caring much" category appears this rather embarrassing thing that has happened. Perhaps Mr. Pratchett is happy with this, and if he is, I salute him I salute him and his genius. I suspect, though, he is not pleased with this adaptation. I acknowledge some limitations and elisions must be made for a 4-volume comic adaptation of a mildly lengthy novel: I wasn't hoping for a word-for-word adaptation. And while I haven't read the originals for about...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Directionless and Flashy without Substance 0

Somewhere along the way, "Batman" became an excuse for "excessive violence," perhaps because DC was jealous of Punisher MAX or something. I do not deny Batman (as an idea/world) has a dark side - as much as I enjoy the Adam West Batman, the "Dark Knight" aspect to the character is just as true. But that does not mean we need this much blood: removed faces, blown-out brains (Night of the Owls), etc. As Daniel even proves himself by the end of this collection, he can tell decent Batman stories wi...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Flight "Deus Ex Machina" Landing on Runway 11 0

Well, that was easy. Taking a lesson from "Best of Both Worlds, pt. 2," Scott Snyder decides the best way to conquer a centuries'-old unstoppable secret force is to have it self-destruct, giving our hero nothing to do but wonder (and doubt), really. I suppose there wasn't any other way to stop this threat, given the head-scratching notion of Batman being able to discover, rout, and extirpate a 200-year-old secret cabal in 36 hours, but be prepared to be a bit disappointed. That's the trouble wit...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

How to Lose Gotham (And Get it Back Again in a Couple of Hours) 0

As the whole "Owls ruling Gotham" thing starts to wear thin, we are presented with one slam-bang night of bloody action as the almighty Owls let loose their centuries'-old Talons against all the powerful people of Gotham ... only to fall to the inevitable, more or less. Apparently, the Owls want to secretly rule a city that is populated mostly by the world's craziest psychopaths, corrupt politicians and police officers, and eliminating all the decent, hardworking policy and decision makers who b...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The World's Canon (since the "world" is mostly the UK and USA) 0

This volume was better than volume 1, but one has to say that with the same tone as one says "having a temperature of 104 is better than having a temperature of 106." Some of the artwork is great - this is a fine showcase of a number of up-and-coming artists who may make it big for all the right reasons. Some of the "artwork," though, is just sloppy mediocre pseudo-art pretentiously demanding we call it "art" just because it says so (even though Mrs. Wilson's 3rd-grade class could draw better th...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Scaryish but Satisfying 0

I'm not usually a fan of dark and mysterious and spooky (if "not usually" means "never"), but this was a surprisingly fine read. Tepid praise, perhaps, but I prefer to consider it more effusive than tepid, considering my aforementioned distaste for dark and mysterious. Despite this, as contradictory as it may be, I usually make exceptions for Neil Gaiman, who rarely disappoints (only a smidge of what I've read of Sandman was disappointing, and Murder Mysteries fell a bit flat), and while I can't...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

"Mystery" is not "Ambiguity" 0

Not Mr. Gaiman's best work, that's for sure, but Murder Mysteries does have some interesting points. His imagining (though this may also be more the brilliance of P. Craig Russell) of the angels' home was a high point, so to speak, and the mysterious nature/history of the narrator of the story-within-the-story was mildly intriguing. Other than that, though, these stories fell somewhat flat. "Mystery" is not "ambiguity." Some stories/authors can generate ambiguity that adds to the overall effect ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Wein to the Rescue (Almost) 0

One of the persistent failings of the Before Watchmen series is the lack of unity among them, in the sense of no apparent guiding principle or conceit (other than the contemporary conceit of DC to grab quick bucks at the expense of integrity and one of their most valuable "possessions" that shouldn't be their property anyway). I am referring to the absence of a guiding principle along the lines of purpose or identity, as in "the purpose of the Before Watchmen series is ..." is what? to fill in t...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Nothing New, Nothing Important 0

This was not good. Again we have the ubiquitous "knowing winks" to the "real fans" of Watchmen, with the bloody smiley faces, the Rorschach blots, and on and on - but none of them are clever or meaningful or trenchant. They just irritate and magnify how inferior this tripe is compared to the original. Apparently we are supposed to revel in the violence, gore, grotesque, and obscenity. Watchmen has its share of violence and language (and nudity), but it is not an endless litany of vulgarities and...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

It's All About Sol 0

This was a fine story, but I'm not sure why it received all the acclaim and accolades it did (especially an Eisner for continuing series, knowing it was only going to last 12 issues) - maybe there wasn't much competition at the time. It's a fine touch that Morrison adds semi-classical narrative devices to the overall story, with Superman's little Bizarro catabasis and all, but it wasn't really a mind-blowing experience. This is no Odyssey. Superman gets through most of his challenges by lucky co...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Pacing, pacing. 0

This is a pretty good yarn. Alex Ross's painting is a real highlight, as it usually is. The "story" is admittedly thin: the super-villains get the super-heroes out of the way and pretend to be humanity's saviors, but then the super-heroes regroup and save the day for real (I hope that didn't spoil anything, saying "the good guys win in the end"). Thus it's not a complicated story with layers on layers, but after reading a couple of collections that tried to hard to be multilayered and failed (Be...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

MAD Magazine Presents...Batman, Stand-up Comic 1

What was that? Can anyone tell me what just happened here? I would like to start with some positive comments: ... give me a minute. Oh, yes: it is a rollicking adventure, and Neal Adams certainly knows how to draw motion and action. Now, for some frustrations. As you know, most of Adams's male characters look basically alike - that's his style. Fine. Why does Bruce Wayne look 23 years old? I know this is supposedly early in Batman's career, since Dick Grayson is Robin, but too many other things...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Filling In Gaps (That Don't Need Filling) 0

Um...no. Few things in recent memory of the Comic Multiverse caused as much of a stir as the whole "Before Watchmen" brouhaha. Personally, I'm usually against reboots and prequels and the like, but there are worthwhile exceptions (such as Battlestar Galactica), so when I saw this on the library shelf I checked it out. I admit I was initially against the idea of Watchmen prequels, even with the great J. Michael Strazcynski on board: the story was told by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. We know enoug...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Kingdom is Within You 0

I give the whole thing a tepid 3 stars but 1 bonus star for the Aftermath alone. In stark contrast to the overly effusive introduction by Elliot S! Maggin (apparently it is really an exclamation mark, not a period, in his name), this is not the Iliad. It does not teach us any new life lessons or expose groundbreaking, introspective arcana about the human experience. Nor should we be in awe of its 20-year-oldness: let's not be surprised in 2014 that comics before the turn of the century had some ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Oh, What Could Have Been... 0

I understand this comes at a very strange time in Marvel history, when the X-Men are moribund and not the powerhouse of today, and while the focus on Hank McCoy in his own title is wholly deserved, the creative team does no justice to his character or his story. I grew up with Hank McCoy already in his furry form, so I was originally surprised when I learned he wasn't always like that. Now that I have finally read through the issues up to this point, I was disappointed in the actual transformati...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Age of Apocalypse 2: Magneto Boogaloo 0

This is better than The Ultimates, but that is rather faint praise, I admit. Having left the Marvel Universe for a time shortly before this era (just a little before Disassembled and this and all the after-effects that dominated the 2000s), I missed this the first time around. Clearly this was a major time of change for the Marvel Universe, and while I can't comment too much about that (other than the ubiquitous restarts of the late '90s and early '00s was the main reason I left), this fast-pace...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

What If Tony Stark and Clint Barton switched personalities? 0

Meh. More like "Ultimate Jerks." I understand that this generation of comic book writers has a deep-seated need to do "what if" stories or reboots instead of working in the universe that already exists, but the point of the Ultimate Universe never made much sense to me. Marvel had been doing just fine pretending its superheroes didn't age very fast, ignoring the datedness of itself over the years without the need to relaunch, reboot, or retcon (well, sort of) every four years. Perhaps I am overr...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The point of this is ...? 0

Part of my disappointment with this is the almost total absence of Batman. The title of this mini-collection is completely misleading: the only time Batman and Bane are in the same panel is the brief confrontation at the end of "Vengeance of Bane," which leads into the Knightfall saga. Even the "Vengeance of Bane" story is a misleading title, since we're not sure upon whom or what Bane is taking vengeance, or why he is taking it out on Batman other than his desire to own Gotham (which never see...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

A Story of a Return (but not of an ending) 0

I really don't want to sound negatively critical - this is, after all, someone's life story, someone whose life was more difficult than mine certainly has been - but this wasn't all that enjoyable to read. Not to say that stories have to be "enjoyable" to be good, especially autobiographical works, but for me this second part of the (her) story was more of a chore than the first installment. Perhaps that's because this installment covers mainly her own personal journey more so than the overarch...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Don't say "it's like Maus," please. 0

I'm certain everyone compares this to Maus, but that's not helpful (or fair or accurate). Maus is partly about its author, but it's mainly about the author's father and experiences. Persepolis is mainly about the author's experiences with some context about the author's family (as part of her understanding her self and her experiences). One can't win with comparisons like that: if I say I "liked" this one more than Maus, or if I say I "liked" Maus more than this, thousands will revolt and burn ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Smile: You're on Cowled Camera 0

I thought I wouldn't get a chance to read this until I found it on the shelf at a local library. Unfortunately, this library doesn't like to get volumes after 1, so this may be my only experience with the New(est) 52 Batman. Snyder impressed me fairly well with The Black Mirror, so I suspected going in this would be fairly good, but I'm glad I read this second, since I would have gone into TBM without as much enthusiasm. Not that this was bad, it just leaves you wanting more, since it's not the ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Gotham Moments 0

I'd definitely give this 4.5 stars like under the older system, if I could - I'm not quite at the point of rounding it up to 5, though. This is a pretty impressive story, don't get me wrong. Snyder did a fine job crafting this dark and intimidating story. His fine attention to detail was quite impressive, especially in an age of somewhat less-than-impressive comic writing (perhaps more in that other company), such as the black pins on the Graysons' map and the black pin-like pupils of James,...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

"Nobody's normal." 0

And so it goes. As much of a fan of Umberto Eco as I am, I doubted his fly-leaf quotation until the last page. Eco says once the story is over we would be sorry to leave the characters and their world: "how could we possibly be sorry to leave this world?" I wondered throughout parts 1 and 2. And then came the final page. "Too soon!" we think, despite our early doubts. But it isn't. Spiegelman did exactly what he needed to do (perhaps all he could do). As with part 1, Spiegelman asks all the que...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

When Literature Is Not Just Literature 0

Well. This is certainly what they said it was. It works on many levels, this. The use of cats, pigs, and mice help the mediation, but soon enough it doesn't matter, since the reader is caught up in the characters and the conflict immediately. The pacing is remarkable, as Spiegelman somehow balances the pace of a story with historical recollections and his own psychological experiences of his relationship with his father. Before the end, Spiegelman asks all the questions you are asking, and no o...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Not All Victims are Innocent 0

It has been a while since I was back in that '90s place of the X-Men, when Wolverine did not have adamantium and Comicraft's lettering dominated (it has a nice nostalgic appeal, now), so returning to it on a whim from the library was a nice experience, even though this brief story is rather dark. I'm sure many would like to comment how comics in the intervening 20 years have become far more dark, gritty, violent, intense, bloody, graphic, and "realistic," but none of that refutes the fact Wolve...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Who Is that Cowled Man? 0

This middle volume is a little bit of a letdown, though that isn't too surprising, considering where it falls in the spectrum of the whole major arc. The good news of this volume is it collects for the first time a lot of the issues involved in this period. Fans of The Search may be disappointed, since it does not have any of those issues (and probably should), but by this point no one should be surprised this collection is missing them, and those who are interested in this storyline will find ...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.