I’ll open this with a little bit of info about myself, I avoided any of the New 52 titles like the plague for years, purely because of the slew of bad news about certain characters I’d grown up reading and loving that I kept hearing from news sources. As it turns out, I made a mistake.
Back in 2011 DC Comics decided to do a full universe reboot and retcon (not unusual for DC, the most recent one before that was 2005), where they tried to make their famous and not so famous characters much more relatable and in tune with modern sensibilities. As a major Batman fan this concerned me and I avoided the titles until after hearing an interview with Scott Snyder, the current writer of ‘Batman’ (the flagship Batman title) and deciding to give it a shot. I’ll be honest – all the horror stories I’d heard were unfounded, New 52 Batman is awesome.
The newly retconned Batman universe picks up mid story. Unlike other times we don’t have to sit through a similar yet minutely different origin story. The Batman origin at this point is part of the social conscious. As a boy he goes to a play or a cinema showing (most often these days the Mask of Zorro) and after leaving early and taking a detour his parents are murdered in front of him. This causes him to set off on a lifelong quest for justice and acquiring the skills and abilities to pull it off. The story picks up when Bruce Wayne has been Batman for 5 years, and to their credit DC manages to keep the storyline relatively stable from the previous encounters; most things that happened in the previous universe happened in this one, or at least similar things did. The first arc written by Scott Snyder with art from Greg Capullo (well known for being the 2nd main Spawn artist) kicks off with Batman discovering an ancient conspiracy to ‘cleanse’ Gotham City by a shadowy group known as The Court of Owls, a seemingly mythological group said to run anything and everything behind the scenes in Gotham.
Without spoiling anything I can say that Batman disrupts their plans somehow and he is forced to square off against ‘the Talons’ a new foe never seen before in Batman continuity. The series also brings a new and frankly disturbing origin for Mister Freeze which is either perfect or certain to upset the hard-core animated series fans, and brings The Joker back to his absolutely terrifying Alan Moore era best. The story is very well written and it makes this old Batman fan feel at home while being accessible to a new reader (I’ve given this to a friend who has little to no Batman knowledge and she loved it). It’s the perfect kick off point if you have always been interested in Batman comics and never knew where to start, I definitely recommend giving it a shot.