We recently received a rather weighty package here at ComicsAlliance International Headquarters containing the DC Comics New 52 hardcover collection, which compiles every #1 issue from the recent relaunch of the DC Comics superhero line into one $150 hardcover. Given that it contains literally 52 comics, a little math will tell you that this is a massive, massive tome, clocking in at 1216 pages and 7.5 pounds. While it may be hard to conceptualize just how enormous this is until you actually hold it is your hands, I have discovered a rather useful comparison for scale: It is roughly the size and weight of my cat. I have photographed it accordingly.

The hardcover is what it says on the: all 52 #1 issues with a spine slapped on the side. It's the perfect gift for... someone who wants that? What typically makes hardcover and trade paperback editions of superhero comics appealing is that they collect a complete story, transcending the slow, sequential parcel of the monthly format and consolidating into something self-contained that you can put on a shelf. This, on the other hand, is a collection of 52 story fragments, most of which end in cliffhangers, and it feels a lot more like a grab bag of pages torn from unrelated stories rather than something that begins and ends.

As far as reaching out to new readers, the collection is precisely as appealing as the content of those first issues, which is to say hit or miss. If you're thinking about initiating a friend into the mysteries of the DC Universe, you're probably better off picking up the trade paperback collections of individual titles when they finally come out in 2012, as opposed to a rather expensive form of narrative trail mix that could potentially serve as a murder weapon in a comics-themed episode of CSI.

DC Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee tangentially address this issue in an oddly short and stilted introduction that certainly describes the relaunch with a series of words. I imagine it will be particularly helpful for existing readers, in case they did not yet realize how compelling they found the New 52.

Undeniably, the relaunch was a huge and significant move not only for DC Comics but for the comics industry itself, and the book makes sense as an artifact to commemorate a major creative shift. At $150, it's a pretty expensive artifact, but if you really want to relive the experience of September 2011 (never forget) and have a couple extra c-notes and a particularly sturdy coffee table, then this is definitely the book for you.