Batman has been one of the top 5 books of the New 52 without question in my mind. It and Batman and Robin I have found to be light years ahead of the other Bat-books. The Night of the Owls needs to end and probably didn’t need 85 crossovers (of which I read all, and actually liked most of them and was glad to get exposed to the new Bat-Universe), but I’m about done with it as it no longer seems like much of a threat as all the Talons pretty much got their butts kicked.
Batman 1-9: Grade = A.
Batman Annual: I never know what to expect with annuals. In the past I’ve usually been disappointed by them, expecting more and better and frequently getting five times the fluff for twice the price. Not this one. Straight up a Mr. Freeze book, this book is awesome from start to finish. The back story of Freeze is creepy and sad, his current motivations are even creepier, and he is extraordinarily powerful, weird, and a bit scary. He’s turned into a fantastic villain, which makes me happy, since my only memories of him are from the old TV show and whichever Bat-movie he was in.
This is only the second time I’ve read him. The first was in Red Hood, and it was good, but this was over the top awesome. I guess I don’t like that at the end he’s going to be back in Arkham and not on the loose, because I think he could be a fun villain to have around (unlike the Penguin, who has sucked in the other Bat-book he’s in). I’m setting the bar here for the grade for this because I hate doing this right off the bat, but this book is that outstanding.
Batman Annual 1: Grade = A+