Biggest Disappointment: Detective Comics
Detective Comics has probably been the most disheartening series in the entire New 52. As the flagship Bat-book commanding a premium $3.99 cover price, there’s a certain level of quality that simply isn’t being met.
Tony S. Daniel isn’t a bad writer, and his art is usually quite good. But for the relaunch, he was put on double duty, and unfortunately he seems to be over his head. Detective Comics has consistently been the most poorly received Batman book month in and month out, which is a damn shame.
Chew writer John Layman and artist Jason Fabok will be taking over with October’s issue 13, which will hopefully breathe new life into the book. Hopefully Daniel pops up somewhere where he isn’t overworked, because he is talented.
“Honorable” Mention: Action Comics
Best Series: Batman
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Batman, written by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. The Court of Owls arc that wrapped up in issue 11 is not only the best of the New 52, but also one of the best Batman stories of the past decade.
Scott Snyder’s run on Detective Comics before the New 52 relaunch was brilliant as well, and he’s on the fast track to establishing himself as one of the great Batman scribes by the time he’s done. The Court of Owls made Bruce Wayne unsure whether Gotham was truly his city, taking a heavy mental and physical toll on The Caped Crusader. And as Ed Brubaker did with Bucky Barnes, Snyder brought back a long-lost character and made it work when it could have gone very wrong.
All of that brilliant writing would be for naught, however, if not for the equally excellent pencils of Greg Capullo. Everyone was unsure of how the former Spawn and Haunt artist would handle Batman, but he’s done so with great aplomb. His action sequences are always a treat, and we’re hard-pressed to think of someone who puts more detail into his work. The brilliant idea to rotate the pages in issue 5 to mirror Batman’s descent into madness was also his, which obviously panned out very well.
Looking forward, there’s the upcoming Joker arc starting with issue 13 that we mentioned earlier. Strap in, because the second year is looking as great as the first.
Honorable Mentions: Batwoman, Wonder Woman, All-Star Western
Phew! So that’s our look at the first twelve months of DC Comics’ New 52. There was plenty for us to love and hate, but what were your highlights and lowlights? Let us know in the comments below!