The New 52, as Read by Non-Dorks (Part 2)

Well, DC’s month of new #1 issues is officially over, but fear not!  Here at the Sense of Right Alliance, new readers continue to dive headfirst into the blinding depths of the new DCU.  As in Part 1 of this feature, I have tasked several non-DC fans with reading one of the “New 52” issues and reporting their thoughts.

Since I first came up with this idea, but before I posted the first entry, several other websites totally bit me!  The Sense of Right Alliance version of this concept is obviously the best, but those other articles are also great and worth checking out for more perspectives.

But first, read this crap:

Read by P. Smith

I have read two comic books in my life.  The first was when I was about seven, and my dentist gave me a Spider-Man comic book in which Spider-Man was mostly concerned about kids properly brushing.  Not impressed.  The second was when Patton Oswalt wrote an issue of JLA, which I bought and didn’t understand at all.  I think it was mostly inside jokes for fans of JLA or comics in general.  I wasn’t against comics; I simply thought by now they would be too difficult to follow.

So when the idea for this project came up, I asked Chadd to recommend a book for me to try.  He suggested Mr. Terrific.  I liked the choice because the name reminded me of one of those Batman villains who has a crazily unbelievable theme, such as Calendar Man or Killer Moth.  To me, Mr. Terrific sounded like a bland 1950’s comic featuring a generic superhero.  It turns out that Mr. Terrific is anything but generic.  He is actually a billionaire playboy (Batman), who is very interested in science (Batman), and who got his start after a loved one died (Batman).  The difference was that Mr. Terrific’s loved one told him to “educate the world.”

What she might have meant by that was to “use a lot of science words to over-explain what’s going on.”  It would be similar to someone seeing Star Wars and saying, “You know what would have made that movie better?  If they held up the plot to explain the mechanics behind lightsabers.”  What made me not like this comic book was the way it suffered from both over-explanation AND under-explanation.  He’s in a comic book:  I don’t need to understand in the first issue how he came to create another vortex for his lair.  I would, however, like to know why he is called Mr. Terrific.  And actually, he was only called that once in the book.  Throughout the rest of the pages they referred to him as Michael.  I would be a lot less interested in reading a comic book titled “Michael.”

The other thing I didn’t understand was the narration.  I couldn’t tell whether the black boxes marked with a “T” logo were supposed to be Mr. Terrific’s inner monologue or a future Mr. Terrific reminiscing about his early days.  I wondered whether the writers started using the “T” logo to get away from being tied down by the crazily unbelievable name “Mr. Terrific.”  Particularly confusing was that the “T” seemed to directly address him as “Michael.”  The “T” logo boxes reminded me, at times, of the Razorcake column written by the Rhythm Chicken, with commentary of purposefully lame jokes provided by his editor.  Take this exchange, for example:

Michael:  “[This room with the giant electromagnet which helps stabilize the building during earthquakes is] the safest place to be when the big one hits.”

T Logo:  “Aside from [Mr. Terrific’s lair] the Ninth Dimension.”

Wokka wokka wokka!

In addition to the over/under-explanation, the book also suffered from terrible writing.  During a flashback, for instance, the “T” narrated, “I was supposed to meet her for dinner that night at our favorite restaurant.  The moment I saw her overturned car, I knew it was bad.”  Your girlfriend’s overturned car was all the foreshadowing it took to make you realize something bad had happened?  You really are the third smartest man in the world.

And finally, we come to the biggest mystery:  is Mr. Terrific really Mr. Terrible??  I ask because the comic ends with Michael hosting a fundraiser for Republican Senator (and presidential candidate) Gonzalez.  The senator, while grateful, was mystified as to why Michael (a staunch, down the ticket Democrat) would help out someone with whom he disagreed about almost everything.  Michael explained that it was because Senator Gonzalez stood up to his own party in defense of science.  Shortly thereafter, Michael experienced a change of heart and turned the switch on his giant electromagnetic machine from “Prevent Earthquakes” to “Cause Earthquakes.”  This not only caused Senator Gonzalez to fall to the ground and Michael to announce his intention to kill the senator, but it also ruined the very nice fundraiser that was going on upstairs at the time.

And then the book ends.  As mysteriously as it began, with only a promise that in the next issue Michael will face a villain named “Brainstorm” who probably just goes by “B.”

Chadd sez:
One of the most interesting things about this project for me has been observing the way new readers react to the little comic book quirks that I’ve come to take as a given.  Case in point: the inner monologue box, which  has slowly but surely replaced the thought balloon completely in DC Comics.  When I see one of those boxes, I understand that there might as well be a trail of cloud-like bubbles leading directly to the main character’s head, but that might not be so obvious to a new reader.  Aside from that, I more or less agree with P. Smith’s assessment of Mr. Terrific.  It’s pretty stupid.

P. Smith enjoys writing, editing, and re-writing things that are probably fine to begin with

Read by Ryan Erp
I feel I should confess right away that I’m not exactly a novice when it comes to the hard-earned skill of sub-amateur comic book criticism.  I’ve been reading and over excitedly discussing comic books for most of my life.  So I weaseled into this New 52 project on a bit of technicality: I’ve never read a Grifter comic.  I know the name Grifter.  I know what Grifter looks like.  I know he was in WildC.A.T.s.  But I don’t have the same level of familiarity with him as I do with, say, Marvel’s Dazzler.

I was just getting into superhero books in the early 90’s when my comic shop got flooded with all the new Image Comics titles.  Even at an early age, I could recognize WildC.A.T.s for what it was – a transparent X-Men wannabe.  And let’s just call Grifter what he was; Gambit with a mask and guns.  I could be wrong in these assertions.  I don’t know.  I never gave the comics a chance or really cared to.

It seems though, that with Grifter #1, DC is making a small effort to distance the character from that image (check out that pun!).  As far as I can tell, this new iteration hasn’t carried over any of the previously established history from his time at Image or WildStorm.  Good news for me since I was jumping in blind.  Well, 90% blind.

That being said, even working from a clean slate, the first issue doesn’t do a very good job of informing you who the hell this guy is.  In fact, for the entire issue he’s in civilian clothes until the very last page, so although I was pretty sure the blonde Wolverine-looking dude was the main character, it isn’t really made clear.  A secondary character does passingly refer to him as a “grifter” in one panel.  Because – get this – he IS a grifter!  So I guess I was tipped off by that point.  Regardless, it’s hard for me to feign complete ignorance since I read rags like this on a weekly basis.

The plot is hurried and what little can be learned about the character is presented in jumbled fragments.  But hey, that’s comics.  After reading through it a couple of times I was able to gather that the main character is Cole Cash (yes, really), an ex-special forces operative of some kind.  He’s been on the lam as a con man for a decade.  During the issue, he’s abruptly abducted by an unseen part in a dark, spooky alleyway.  One page later he wakes up attached to a science-fictiony containment tube inhabited by what appears to be a bio-luminescent mini-Cthulu, his reaction to which was my favorite unintentionally funny moment of the book:

He escapes and immediately, albeit inexplicably, starts hearing voices.  The voices seem the be the telepathic thoughts of humans who have been inhabited by… well I don’t know what.  Cole calls them “demons.”  At any rate, these voices are very specific about wanting to kill him.  So he does what any sane person would do in this situation, kills the infected people before they can do the same to him.  Why stop and ask questions?  Kill, kill, KILL!!!  Of course, to everyone else he just looks like a crazed loon on a frenzied kill spree and is swiftly labeled a murderer and terrorist.  In the final page of the issue, Cole sits alone in a graveyard and adorns his iconic face mask in preparation to do… something.  I guess to fight back against a poorly developed, invisible enemy.  And where’d that mask come from anyway?

As an introductory story, Grifter falls flat.  For all intents and purposes, the titular hero is absent until the very last page.  There isn’t any action at all close to resembling that which is promised on the cover, though I suppose that’s typical.  I can’t even tell if this is an origin story or not.  Or more importantly, the reasoning behind any of what happens.  Though the latter is likely to be addressed in the months to follow.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this series was already in the can prior to the reboot and the decision to fold Grifter into the New DCU was made as an afterthought.  As it stands, I would only recommend Grifter #1 to longtime fans.

You know, if they exist.  Zing!

Chadd sez:
As Ryan himself admitted, I pretty much cheated on this one, as Ryan isn’t exactly a comicz n00b.  But hey, you try finding 52 people willing to do this shit!  Like Ryan, I never read any of that WildC.A.T.s crap from the 90’s, so I am also entirely unfamiliar with Grifter.  My first impression is that he seems exactly like a superhero version of Sawyer from Lost.  I liked Sawyer, so I could theoretically get behind that, but this first issue didn’t exactly stoke my interest.

Ryan Erp sold his comic book collection to make rent.  His life hasn’t been the same since.

Read by Lucas Carscadden
Restarting the series of an iconic character like Batman is a lot different from restarting, say, O.M.A.C. or Hawk and Dove.  For those sorts of comics, you theoretically have to pay some fan service, but also draw in new readers with a story that doesn’t require too much arcane background knowledge. You have to do that with Batman too, except with the difference being that Batman actually has fans and might actually draw in some new readers.  One wrinkle is that for non-comic reader Batman fans, there’s not really a canonical story. Did the pre-Joker Jack Napier kill Batman’s parents a la Tim Burton’s Batman?  Or was it a random crime a la Chris Nolan’s?  Or did it occur in a freak accident at a high-society go-go dancing party as I assume happened on the Adam West show?  We’ve all got our own Batmans over in the non-comic world, and they’re going to be competing with this new Batman.

Batman #1: Batman in: Knife Trick begins with Batman musing over a weekly column called “Gotham is…” in the Gotham Gazette while, at the same time, punching every villain in Arkham Asylum in the face.  I recognize some of the villains here from my background Batman knowledge.  There’s the Scarecrow, Two-Face, and Killer Croc.  There’s also some B-team villains involved as well.  There’s a guy with a pink sheet wrapped around his head to give himself sort of a pig-looking aspect.  He is wearing a safety-pinned nametag reading “Prof.”  I am going to assume his supervillain name is “Professor Pork, Ph.D.”  There’s an enormous fat guy in a wifebeater who has his hair in a bun, but does not appear to be Asian.  Let’s call him “Pretending-To-Be-A-Sumo-Wrestler-As-An-Excuse-For-Letting-Yourself-Go Man”.  Batman, while being thrown through a window, ponders the question, “What is Gotham?”  Is Gotham defined by its villains, or by its heroes?  What is the soul of a city?  What is the relationship between a city and its… LOOK OUT BATMAN! THE JOKER IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU!

In a somewhat shocking turn of events, the Joker joins Batman in fighting off The Riddler, Mr. Head-on-Fire and something that appears to be made of meat.  The battle over, Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon and tells him that all of these criminals were let out by a corrupt guard, and denies that he was fighting alongside the Joker.

We go back to the Wayne Mansion, and are treated to a wide shot of the Batcave and all of the various gadgets and computer equipment, including several batmobiles, batplanes, batcopters, uniforms and a dinosaur.  Batman has a dinosaur?  I feel like I’ve missed a lot. In the Batcave, we learn that the “Joker” was actually former-Robin Dick Grayson in an electronic mask.  Bruce Wayne has a fancy dinner to attend with Dick, another former Robin, Tim Drake and the current Robin, Damian Wayne.  Batman has a son?

Bruce Wayne is presenting an urban renewal plan to Gotham’s high muckety-mucks, tying his proposals in with the story of how his father was gunned down in Crime Alley.  He is going to aggressively rehabilitate the industrial sections of town, which have been destroyed presumably by a disastrous combination of global competition from cheap overseas material and labor, the failure of Gotham to invest prudently in its infrastructure, and Mr. Freeze’s giant Ice Laser.  He also presents a plan to fully modernize Gotham’s outmoded public transit system through…Wait, did he say his father was murdered in Crime Alley?  Seriously?  Crime Alley?

The writers probably realize that rebooting Batman into a comic series focused on urban planning and zoning issues isn’t the way to go, so Bruce Wayne is called away from meeting with mayoral candidate Lincoln March to a murder scene, where a John Doe was killed, very slowly, by throwing knives.  He collects skin samples for DNA analysis and notices that there’s a lot of linseed oil on the wall next to the body.  He lights it on fire, revealing the message “Bruce Wayne will die tomorrow.”  At that point the DNA analysis is finished, and it’s revealed that the skin belongs to someone close to Batman, which I won’t spoil, even though I’ve already spoiled everything else.  Gotham is, after all, a mystery

Overall, the new Batman looks like it has a lot of potential.  I was a little worried we’d just get a rehash of Batman’s origin story, which pretty much anyone who would read the comic is certainly familiar with.  I think the concept they seem to be leading up to, where Bruce Wayne attempts to address the root causes of urban crime through economic and political action while Batman punches guys with skull makeup on in the face, could pay off huge.  On the other hand, while I think a Batman that deals with economic and political issues relating to crime could be neat, it seems like the bulk of Gotham’s crime isn’t caused by the lack of viable job opportunities for young inner-city men, but instead by psychopaths with gun umbrellas.

Although Batman is apparently one comic which is not having its continuity totally reset, this still feels like a starting off point, Batman’s son and dinosaur aside.  The characters of Gotham City are well-entrenched enough in popular culture that re-introducing all of them seems like it would drag, both for regular readers and for new readers.  I mean, we all saw The Dark Knight, right?  I would really like to get some back story on that weirdo in the makeshift pig mask, though.  One complaint is that I don’t feel like I got a real sense of who Batman is in this issue.  As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of Batmans out there, and this one didn’t have a whole lot of personality to him.  His musing over the nature of Gotham was probably the only insight into his character offered in the episode, and it was pretty boilerplate.  The writers almost seemed more engaged with Bruce Wayne.  To be fair, though, its one issue and just not enough has really happened to expect Batman to be super well-developed yet.

Will I continue to read Batman?  Possibly, but definitely not in a monthly issue format.  I may wait for a trade paperback, because I’m interested to see where it goes.  There’s just not enough content in one issue to really sink your teeth into, you know?  It would be like reading 5 pages of a book, putting it down for a month, then reading 5 more pages, then repeating.  I just don’t think I’m up for that.

Chadd sez:
Hah, Lucas came shockingly close to guessing Professor Pyg’s name!  Since he wants to know more about the character, I could recommend that he check out the excellent Grant Morrison run of Batman & Robin which first introduced the Prof… but Morrison isn’t exactly new-reader-friendly, so yeah, don’t read that nonsense.  In any case, I was delighted that Lucas enjoyed Batman, as it’s definitely in the tippy-top tier of New 52 books.  Chalk up another victory for Scott fucking Snyder!

Lucas Carscadden lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where he is a frequent crime victim.  He plays in a band called Dead Mechanical.

Read by Christian Stefos Migliorese

When I was growing up, I, like many of my friends, was pretty much obsessed with comic books.  Here and there I’d collect a few for their value, but mostly I wanted to read them for their stories and because I thought the characters were cool.  So like anyone else, I’d buy Wizard magazine, all the little comic cards and even had a couple of horrible looking Spider-Man t-shirts.  Remember the ones that had print all over?  Even on the back?  God, they were ugly.

For whatever reason the character I took to most was Savage Dragon, who according to Wikipedia is “a large, finned, green-skinned humanoid whose powers include super-strength and an advanced healing factor” but I would have just remembered him as a big green dude with a sweet fin.  I read every issue and was totally in love with the character and story even though I can’t remember a single thing about them now.  I was incredibly surprised to find out the green dude is currently still in print after all these years.  Turns out a lot of other kids must have liked absurdly disproportionate artwork, too.

So, 54 years later, my roommate Chadd has a blog idea that pairs all the new #1 issues that DC comics is doing with people who have either not read comics before, or who haven’t read comics in ages.  Fitting into the latter role, I chose Animal Man #1 because I had heard it was actually pretty good from people other than my comic book nerd roommates.  Perhaps, much like baseball, comics could be something I could reignite a childhood love for in my adult years after all?

Animal Man’s cover right off the bat was kinda funny looking.  I could see how this art would be polarizing and after checking out a few different reviews of it, it turns out that’s totally true.  A lot of people, like me, thought the drawings were too “sketchy” and messy, while others thought they were beautiful and expressive.  Reading the book, I found myself laughing out loud at least a few different times.  At first I let out a chuckle because of all the exposition was hilariously rubbed in your face, but that’s to be expected with a new #1 issue.  All the dialogue just kind of reminded me of the old 60’s Batman TV show, which as it turns out just isn’t something I can seriously follow.  I think it’s why I got out of comic books on the whole.  They were just a little too silly for me or something.  When Animal Man says things like “I will reach for the powers of a cat and take a nap!” I’m not sure how any one is supposed to not laugh at that.  It’s funny!  There’s one particular frame in the book where Animal Man is being checked out by some doctor and I swear to god he looks just like an emo Bright Wyes type kid.  I think that’s where I likely laughed the most.

There are some things I did like about the book – The dream sequence was pretty rad and It definitely “brought you somewhere else” for lack of a better phrase.  I noticed myself showing a bit of actual sympathy for the guy with the gun in the hospital who just wanted his little daughter back, and the very last frame of the book has me almost caring about what happens in #2!  Despite all that, I’m pretty sure Animal Man and I are pretty close to breaking up, but it was fun to have given a new character a try.  Maybe there’s something out there that I could get into, but finding it with my level of enthusiasm may prove super difficult after all.

Chadd sez:
Christian’s reaction is a bummer, because I loved the living fuck out of Animal Man and consider it the very best of these books, second only perhaps to Batman.  I think it’s brilliantly plotted and very well-written, that the characters already seem interesting and three-dimensional, and that the book is subtle and restrained, only getting corny when it’s trying to be corny.  So to see a reaction like Christian’s makes me wonder:  Is it me?  Am I entrenched so deeply in this genre that I am unable to see that superhero comics, even at their best, are inherently corny trash?  Yeah it’s probably me, but whatever.  Animal Man rules!

Christian Stefos Migliorese lives in New York City where he sleeps one thin wall away from the author of this blog.  He also plays bass in Candy Hearts.

Read by Nikki Hextall

I’ve actually never picked up a superhero style comic, and my only knowledge of Wonder Woman is that she has magic jewelry, an invisible plane and is super beautiful.  I guess she is a pretty big deal, being one of the first women heroes to have their own series, but she still comes across as being written for male readers to me.  If this new DC reboot thing is meant to broaden their audience, maybe some of my preconceived notions about Wonder Woman will be wrong and she may actually be interesting to female readers like myself.

The comic opens with a crazily evil-looking guy and three women who decided it would be a good idea to go home with him – already this comic is kind of making women out to be morons.  We then move on to another scene where suddenly a mystery lady creates monsters that go after another lady wearing underwear.  Underwear girl is saved by a bird-man who gives her a magic key that takes her to Wonder Woman’s bedroom, where WW is sleeping with one eye open (naked).  I am super confused.  Luckily, Wonder Woman puts some clothes on, getting dressed in front of underwear girl.

Turns out underwear girl needs protection from Wonder Woman because she is pregnant with a potential future king (which connects back to the evil guy from the first page), and some ass kicking goes on to protect her.  During the ass kicking there is a confusing conversation between Wonder Woman and some monsters, which I’m sure I may have understood if I was familiar with the storyline or characters, but as a new reader I had no idea what the hell was going on and no motivation to figure it out.

As far as captivating a new audience goes, I think it was too short and cryptic for me to commit to following the series.  I need to care a bit about the characters to want to know what happens next.  This issue is really short and we don’t learn anything at all about Wonder Woman, or why she might be an interesting character to follow.  There was no origin story, so it assumes everyone is totally familiar with her.  It almost seems like she is a side character in her own comic.  Maybe this is normal, and origin details usually appear a couple of comic books down the line?

As far as the possibility of this new series appealing to new lady readers, this still feels as though it is written for men, nakedness and half-nakedness aside.  Wonder Woman herself is pretty badass and strong, and she wasn’t made to look half as porn star as I’ve seen her in the past, but there are still plenty of helpless women to be protected in this comic.

In conclusion, I would have been pretty happy to be writing more about the story and less about how the writers and artists made the ladies appear in this comic, but unfortunately the story didn’t seem interesting enough to talk very much about with this one.

Chadd sez:
Nikki specifically asked for a book spotlighting a female character, curious to see how women are portrayed in the testosterone-laden world of superhero comics.  I thought Wonder Woman was the perfect choice, and still do, so I’m pretty disappointed with Nikki’s reaction.  While I generally agree that women often get a very sort shrift in the world of comic books (cough-Robert Kirkman-cough), I don’t really agree with Nikki’s views on this particular comic book.  I think Wonder Woman herself is portrayed wonderfully, and while Zola (aka “underwear girl”) does fill the “vulnerable victim” role in this issue, it seems like they’re clearly setting her up to become a major ass-kicker down the line.  I hope I’m right about that!  As for all the gratuitous nudey shots, well for better or for worse, adolescent sexuality just kinda goes with the territory here – remember, this is a genre in which even the men wear outfits designed to accentuate their abs and cocks.  Having said all that, I do completely agree with Nikki’s opinion that the book is confusing as hell and pretty unwelcoming to new readers, and her observation that Wonder Woman seems more like a guest star in her own title is extremely accurate  I actually enjoyed the book, but if you asked me to explain what actually happened in it, I’d throw something at the wall to distract you and then run out of the room.

Nikki Hextall lives in Vancouver, Canada. She plays drums for The Hextalls and writes psychology papers for school.

Read by Chris Grivet

Unless you’ve been living in a cave (save one filled with bats perhaps) for the last 70 or so years, you could not possibly avoid being aware of the dark, shadowy, mysterious vigilante who roams the streets of Gotham City called Batman.  Growing up in the 1980’s, this feat was twice as difficult, given the popularity of comic books, the Tim Burton movies and the re-runs of the 60’s tv show.  Nevertheless, I have to admit that outside of The Killing Joke (highly recommended to me by one Mr. Chaddolph Pizza Derkins), I don’t think I’ve ever actually read a Batman comic.  I was a Marvel man growing up and my books of choice were Spider-Man, X-Men, Punisher, and whatever else seemed interesting that week.  Later on my tastes grew more towards the artwork than the stories and I moved over to Image Comics, which in retrospect was clearly a mistake.  In any case, other than The Killing Joke (previously mentioned) and Watchmen (which I read previous to the movie’s release), this is probably the first comic I’ve read since high school.

The book starts off with a narrative similar to a movie, with the scene picturing Batman patrolling Gotham.  I pictured a voice over reading the words while dramatic theme music buzzed in the background.  A perfect opening for a new reader coming into this with no or little perspective.  It set the tone and overall theme of this title: “fear is a cannibal that feeds upon itself”.  But as the narrative moves forward, the scene reveals that Batman has changed into formal wear and the dialogue that you’ve been reading is actually a speech being delivered by Batman’s alter-ego Bruce Wayne at a charity function.  “I’m not cut out to be the parent of a cannibal.  Neither am I afraid to make decisions or go into dark places.  I am never afraid.  And I never will be.”  Batman’s words coming out of Bruce Wayne’s mouth; and both perfectly relevant.

The book goes on to introduce a couple of characters (Lieutenant Forbes and Jaina Hudson) and sets the stage for massive chaos, as somehow all

300+ prisoners of Arkham Asylum have been let loose… including the most dangerous of them all, Two-Face (who for some reason is depicted as a massively muscular monster).  There is a pretty cool foreshadowing scene with several of Batman’s villains busting out of Arkham.  I assume this is who we have to look forward to in the future of this title.  From my limited Batman knowledge, it seems to include Mad Hatter, Clayface, Mr. Freeze, possibly Bane(?), and others who are probably easily recognized by more avid Batman fans.  There is also a scene in Arkham with a scantilly-clad female dressed in a bunny outfit you’d expect to see being sold at the local Victoria’s Secret for Halloween.

Overall, the comic was a quick, enjoyable read, with excellently drawn and colored artwork.  I definitely did a double take at some of the female figures drawn in this book, but I suppose that was the intention.  Nerds.  I actually forgot how quick comic books were to read, which is, I suppose, why they are so addictive; you can’t wait to read next month’s issue.  I thought this was a good introduction to Batman for new readers as well as those of us who might be a bit more familiar with the character.  It definitely lays the groundwork for what to expect in the future and has a few references that are familiar… although I would have liked a sneak peak of The Joker or Riddler.  I was definitely impressed with the writing, which tends to be geared towards adolescents, but can still be relevant to older readers such as myself, and I found the artwork to be stellar (these are the kind of illustrations I would try to copy as a kid).  To be honest, it almost has me considering to start following comics again (pdf versions only).  The only thing I have left to figure out is the difference between Batman and Batman: The Dark Knight.

Chadd sez:
I think The Dark Knight was, by far, the worst of the four new Batman titles.  What didn’t really occur to me was that, for a new reader only familiar with the versions of Batman that have permeated mainstream media, it might just be the most accessible.  No Damian Wayne or Professor Pyg or Batman Inc. – just characters and scenarios that anyone who’s ever seen Batman: The Animated Series would be instantly familiar with.  Compare Chris’ review here with Rich Grech’s take on Batman & Robin to see how vital accessibility is to enjoyment for new readers.  It’s just a shame that the easiest book to get into is also the shittiest – I’d recommend that Chris (and Rich and, well, everyone) check out Batman.  It’s not quite as easily digestible,  but it’s way more satisfying in nearly every way, and features a much better Arkham riot scene.

Chris Grivet plays guitar in Panther Moderns, a punk rock band from NYC.  His previous efforts have included The Steinways, Slaughterhouse Four, and various other punk bands that you’ve never heard of.  He is currently unemployed and will be traveling the northwest and southwest in October. Drop him a line at

Well that’s it for this go-around.  Out of six reviewers, two gave their books thumbs up and expressed some interest in continuing to follow the story.  Not bad!  And not at all surprising that both of the books in question were Batman titles!  Stay tuned for the next entry in this series, where even more wide-eyed innocents get shoved violently into the world of supermen and space lanterns!

One response to “The New 52, as Read by Non-Dorks (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: The New 52, as Read by Non-Dorks (Part 6) | The Sense of Right Alliance

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