I can not adequately express how annoyed I am with the way that trade paperback graphic novels fail to label their books. While Batman Beyond 2.0: Rewired (graphic novel 166 pages) was another great addition to the Batman Beyond storyline, I am obviously missing key portions of the plot for this series, which is not increasing my feelings of endearment towards DC Comics.
It’s entirely possible that this review will turn into at least a partially gigantic rant about some very random things. I think most of my frustration will stem from a strong desire from me to have more access to these stories that have great characters and interesting storylines and how difficult that process is made by the industry personnel who refuse to do something as simple as using a numbering system or putting a book listing in each trade paperback graphic novel.
The biggest problem I have with these graphic novels is that there is no table of contents. There is absolutely *NO* way for someone browsing in an actual house of books to be able to figure out which books to buy or where to start or what order the books are in. It seems to me as though the comic book companies are banking on the idea that the only people interested in buying the graphic novels are people who are already familiar with the characters, the comic books, the storyline, and already know absolutely everything there is to know about the comic book universe. This frustrates me on every level because I am a hobbyist, not a die-hard, obsessive fan. I can tell you the birthdays and important holidays for all of my close friends; I can tell you favorite stories of adventures with people who matter to me the most; I can tell you hilarious stories about events that are important to my life or the lives of people I care about. I can *NOT* tell you in which issue of a comic book some random character showed up for two panels and then we see them again in another comic, ten years later. I can *NOT* tell you which artist draws which random character more accurately. I have spent my time and my life, especially these days, investing in real, actual people, and not fictional characters. And, quite frankly, I don’t care to spend my free time digging up the information I’m missing about these graphic novels. It’s also the main reason I haven’t purchased any of the Green Lantern trade paperback graphic novels. I have no way to know what order they should be in and I don’t care enough to spend my free time having to find out.
Would it really be so hard for trade paperback graphic novels to have a book listing, just like any other, normal book series? Most books on a shelf will have a list, in order, in the beginning of the book, for the previous books in the series. Some books even have the book number listed on the cover, such as “Book Three of the Awesome Book Series.”
Now, Batman Beyond 2.0: Rewired actually *does* have a volume number on it, both on the spine of the trade paperback graphic novel and on the front cover. This is very helpful, except for the fact that there is obviously *huge* amounts of information that happened sometime *before* this volume, even though this volume is labeled as “Volume One” and I have *no idea* what happened or when or where to find it. What happened with Terry and Bruce? Or Terry and Dana? And so many other questions that I don’t care enough about to research and learn because I have other ways I like to spend my free time. I like to be able to curl up on the couch with a book, a novel, a graphic novel, or whatever and just read the story. I don’t want to spend my reading on the couch time having to sort through a thousand internet articles (and if your internet was as questionable as mine, you wouldn’t want to spend extra time digging around, either 😉 ) just trying to figure out which book I’m supposed to look for next time I visit the house of books. I’d rather just be able to buy what I need when I want it and come home and have a reading marathon.
Overall, I thought this graphic novel was a wonderful addition to the Batman Beyond storyline and I would enjoy it a lot more if I didn’t keep buying these in a wonky order and reading them while I am obviously missing massive chunks of important plot development. That’s why this is only going to rate as a high two on my rating scale. If the comic book industry did a better job of organizing their trade paperback graphic novels, I would buy more of their products.