The New 52 has been piss poor awful. Granted, I haven’t read all 52 (or however many series there are), but does anyone really need to read Hawk and Dove or Deathstroke by Rob Liefeld to know they’re bad comics? Or, like, Voodoo by Ron Marz, Detective Comics by Tony Daniel, or Teen Titans by Scott Lobdell? Hell, Judd Winick’s Batwing? Not to mention all the series that have already been canceled and I forgot about. The vast majority of the New 52 comics are churned out by a committee of lower tier talents, the likes of whom I can hardly believe still get work in the industry. (Tom DeFalco, really?)
The one New 52 book that I can say I have genuine love for is Wonder Woman. Azzarello, Chiang, and Akins are crafting what looks to be the defining Wonder Woman story of all time. (Of course, it’s not like there’s any competition beyond Greg Rucka’s run.) Out of all the New 52 comics, it’s the only one that’s consistently well-written and well-illustrated, and it actually uses the revamped continuity/universe to its advantage in telling a new Wonder Woman story that we haven’t seen before. It’s the best New 52 comic and it’s up in the top tier of current superhero series with any of Marvel’s finest offerings.
Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man is very good, too, if a bit inconsistent in terms of art. It also feels a little bit derivative of Jamie Delano’s run on Animal Man, but it’s still worth reading. Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing was pretty good; Yanick Paquette’s art in that is spectacular. I enjoyed the first Justice League Dark storyarc, but even as an unhinged and unabashed Peter Milligan fan, I have to admit it’s not Milligan’s finest work. (I have a small stack of his Red Lanterns issues, which I haven’t gathered the willpower to read yet because the art’s just horrible and I kinda don’t expect it to be anything special. Same with his Stormwatch.)
Some of the other series ranged from really middle of the road to below average. They weren’t offensively bad, but after I sampled them (read the first TPB from the library, or just an issue here and there), they don’t make me want to continue reading them, either. I’m thinking of stuff like Birds of Prey, Demon Knights, Batwoman, Mister Terrific, Batgirl, and maybe some others.
A lot of the higher profile books have ranged from disappointing to flat out bad (maybe due to the amount of hype or importance placed upon them). Johns’ Justice League is terrible. I don’t know how anyone can defend it. Anyone who enjoys it probably hasn’t read a whole lot of comics. At this point, I don’t care for any of Geoff Johns’ comics. Justice League of America, Vibe, Aquaman - whatever.
Action Comics isn’t bad or anything, but it’s definitely disappointing considering it’s from Morrison and it’s Superman. The best issue I’ve read of that series was probably that one Gene Ha issue with the black Superman. As a whole, though, it does feel neutered from Morrison’s usual Superman. You see hints of Morrison’s mad genius in little lines of dialogue here and there, or in an idea that’s glossed over far too quickly - but for the most part it feels like a generic superhero story where Superman is wearing a really ugly version of his normal costume. A lot of the art is middle of the road, too - like, just a barely a level above like a Mark Bagley.
Snyder and Capullo’s Batman is all right, but I still think Snyder has a lot to prove to me. He hasn’t earned my trust yet. I’ve read the first Court of Owls HC and I have the City of Owls HC in my possession (from the library, of course). I think he does a good job with coming up with concepts or plots, but there’s just something about his execution that sticks in my craw sometimes. I’d have to do a more critical review to be more specific, but there are definitely moments in his comics that I think are just corny, or cheap escapes out of danger by the protagonist. Capullo’s art kinda sucks, though, so that’s not good.
David Finch’s The Dark Knight is garbage, a vanity project by an artist who can’t write and tell a story.