I was very excited to receive this book as a long awaited birthday present. However, to add to other reviewer's comments, from a production standpoint, this book is very large, and extremely unwieldy. It's hard to read some of the dialogue when you get towards the middle of the book, which diminishes the pleasure of reading the story, and as others have noted, undermines the artwork. This really should have been released as two separate oversized books so that it would be more readable.
From a critical perspective, this was DC's opportunity to "rewrite" the book on the entire universe. Each comic really stands on the strength of the authors. In my mind, the best "rewrite" of making a super-hero contemporary was Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man, or Millar's Ultimates (rewrite of Avengers, which the current Avengers film is based on).
I'm not a DC guy, but was excited to be able to pick up each issue and understand who each character is, what their power was and where the story was heading. Each of these stories should have been simpler, since you shouldn't need to know any continuity. This is a brand new universe, there is no continuity. Yet somehow, on many of the books, I felt completely lost.
I'm using this book as a sampler, to figure out if any of the comics really stand out to continue to buy other TPBs. So far, only Justice League was fairly interesting. Again, due to the writing.
Marvel has the same problem in their Point .1 issues. They were supposed to be starting points. A lot of these issues, you feel like you are walking in the second half of a movie. Of course, these new comics should appeal to have been reading the books forever, but what is the point of revamping a universe if you are just going to be telling the same old stories.
I recommend to buy this book if you are interested in seeing what DC has done, but likely you should pay less than $100.00 Otherwise, wait a few months, a buy the higher rated collections of the what fans think the best comics that came out of 52.
The new 52 was a great marketing ploy. I wish they would have spent more time developing the characters and story to bring me into their larger universe.
I will likely lend this book out but I highly doubt that I'd take it to my grave.