Review: Flash Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Though it collects nine issues in just one storyline, Joshua Williamson's Rebirth Flash Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice never feels over-long or too padded, which is a sign Williamson has a handle on what he's doing. And indeed Flash gets hopping by the end and makes some valid jabs at the good and bad that fictional superheroes do, and art by main series artist Carmine Di Giandomenico restores some of the maturity that's been missing from Flash comics of late.

At the same time, the trajectory of Williamson's story falls easily into a common comics trope, repetitious of both a variety of previous Flash stories, recent DC storylines, and innumerable other comics. Also I fundamentally disagree with Williamson's characterization of Flash Barry Allen, which affected my enjoyment of this story overall. I'll grant that as the Flash writer, Wiliamson has probably done significant study of Barry, but I haven't had this same disagreement with Barry's portrayal by previous writers.
Collected Editions 2016 Comic Book Gift Guide

Review: Teen Titans Vol. 2: Rogue Targets trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Will Pfeifer's mid-New 52 Teen Titans relaunch had trouble from the start, eschewing any sort of a premise for an in medias res beginning that came off wobbly and confusing. There was a moment early in Teen Titans Vol. 2: Rogue Targets where I actually thought this book was picking up, but most every chapter is so slapdash and strange that I wouldn't say it's worth reading at all, really. Pfeifer might be praised for ignoring the small details and just telling a good story if that story were good, but instead the little things that don't make sense combined with a story pulling in all sorts of different directions ultimately makes for a book that doesn't feel like it's had a lot of care put into it.

[Review contains spoilers]

In the aftermath of Convergence and the lead-in to DC Comics's "DC You" titles, DC released 11-page "Divergence" digital "sneak peek" stories, the Teen Titans's of which is collected here. Written by Pfeifer with art by Kenneth Rocafort, the story is mainly a conversation between Red Robin and Wonder Girl, now estranged over Robin's decision to harbor the fugitive Superboy.

Review: Batman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

As an early foray into the DC Comics "Rebirth" universe, Tom King's Batman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham delights and disappoints. The flair for smart action King showed on Grayson is in full force here, and this is a pulse-pounding Batman story well-drawn by David Finch. But the story unfolds along predictable lines, and for a story published twice-monthly and told in fairly decompressed manner, it stops short of delving into its material as deeply as it could. Further, the seams of this latest DC relaunch are already showing, with confusion abounding as to who's who and who knows who and how.

Review: Flash Vol. 9: Full Stop hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

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Monday, January 09, 2017

Flash Barry Allen has a central role in DC Comics's Rebirth (if overshadowed by his own sidekick) and the CW's Flash television show continues to grow in prominence (most of the Invasion! crossover, even, revolved around Barry). It behooves DC, therefore, to get Flash right in the comics; arguably this should be the comic with the most muscle behind it short of Batman. The final "DC You" entry of Flash by Van Jensen and Robert Venditti, Flash Vol. 9: Full Stop, does not reach the level that this title needs to, and the Rebirth special included here by Joshua Williamson didn't wow me, either. Given the ties to Rebirth proper, obviously I'm following Flash into its next new first volume, but I've got some concerns about this one.

Review: Green Arrow Vol. 1: The Death and Life of Oliver Queen (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Benjamin Percy's first Rebirth volume, Green Arrow: The Death and Life of Oliver Queen, starts out with a lot of promise, and it's promise that carries through the book's early issues. It is not promise that carries through the whole time, however, and my concerns are equal parts that some of this I feel we've seen before and also that it all becomes more fanciful than I like my Green Arrow stories. That doesn't dampen my enthusiasm necessarily, however, because I like the dynamic Percy has set up among the cast and the end of this volume has an interesting hook, and that plus the promise of more of Otto Schmidt's art is likely to bring me back again.

Odds and Ends for 1-2-17 - DC Universe: Rebirth Omnibus contents and Legends of Tomorrow/Star Wars crossover

Monday, January 02, 2017

Happy new year! If you're just joining us after the holiday, don't miss a variety of new material on Collected Editions, including my recent review of the DC You Flash Vol. 8: Zoom, my series on the Justice League 3000/3001 books, the recent update to the DC Comics Trade Paperback Timeline, and you can also chime in on our Talkback thread to share what gifts you got this season or just talk about the year.

New reviews will resume later this week, but in the meantime, a couple of odds and ends to discuss:

• Contents of the DC Universe: Rebirth Omnibus Vol. 1

Over the holiday I had a chance to lay my hands on a DC Universe: Rebirth Omnibus Vol. 1, and I can confirm that it contains "only" the DC Universe: Rebirth special and all the individual series' Rebirth specials (plus covers and sketches) and not any of the first issues of the series.

I was under the impression that the first issues were in there, so I thought if I was still confused, maybe you were, too.

The book does notably say "Volume 1," so whether a second volume might contain the first issues or something like the Justice League of America Rebirth specials or, projecting, Justice Society of America or Legion of Super-Heroes Rebirth specials remains to be seen.

• Star Wars: Legends of Tomorrow

I've never been one to take sides in DC/Marvel rivalries; you can like what you like and I enjoy DC Comics, DC television, Marvel television and movies, Marvel's Star Wars comics, and so on. But when DC struggles in the movie department, in my opinion, and among I think their lesser successful shows is Legends of Tomorrow, it seems rather defeatist to devote an episode to Lucasfilm properties including Star Wars and Indiana Jones, given that they're owned by Disney (a rival media company of Warner Bros., even aside from Disney owning Marvel).

I have to hand it to Legends of Tomorrow for telling the story they want to tell despite the external politics, and for telling a story that's matters, as I understand it, to the makeup of their characters Nate "Steel" Heywood and Ray "Atom" Palmer. At the same time, we understand Legends has tried to improve their historicity this season but it's still suspect at best, and made up -- as we saw in the mid-season finale "The Chicago Way" -- mainly of most of the characters being markedly ignorant so other characters can info-dump to them.

Which is to say, it's kind of interesting that they're going to do a George Lucas episode, but they could just as soon not do a George Lucas episode and instead accomplish the episode's goals some other way. To the extent Legends struggles (I find it patently un-funny, except that I've tried to start viewing it through a Justice League International lens), to spend an entire episode basically paying fan service to another company's properties again seems like throwing in the towel and acknowledging the others' superiority.

Still going to watch it, though.

New reviews coming up. Happy 2017!

Review: Flash Vol. 8: Zoom hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

There's double the pressure on a comic book with its own ongoing TV series, especially when The Flash is the best of the CW's DC Comics shows. I don't necessarily believe a comic needs to contort itself to match its onscreen translation, but television's Flash is so good that one wouldn't think the comics' creative teams would have so much difficulty with the same character.

But Flash Vol. 8: Zoom is another troubled outing from Robert Venditti and Van Jensen, whose individual work I've enjoyed on Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps respectively. The story is over-long and overwrought, something that's plagued these writers on their Flash volumes previous. They also have the double-trouble of trying to follow not one but two writers' wildly popular stories about the titular "Zoom," and also of telling a story recently told very similarly -- and better -- on the show. Such handy comparisons only serve to spotlight this book's problems.

Review: Justice League 3001 Vol 2: Things Fall Apart trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, December 26, 2016

There are moments that made me think Justice League 3001 Vol. 2: Things Fall Apart was the best of this futuristic four-volume series, but true to the title, in the end things fall apart. Writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis leave no punch pulled, reserving the book's final issue for its most serious moments and its most absurd. Loyal readers come this far only to find the joke's on them, but if you're going to appreciate Giffen and DeMatteis (especially Giffen), then it's going to mean laughing at yourself and the vagaries of comic books as well. This collected edition, however, includes an impressive extra that mitigates somewhat how this book concludes.

Sunday Talkback for 12-25-16

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy holidays and happy new year! If you've enjoyed your cheer and now you're browsing the interwebs, we've got a Collected Editions open thread for your enjoyment.

So tell us: What comics have you been gifted lately? What were your notable comics moments of the year? Or hey, how's it going?

Wishing you all the best and thanks for reading Collected Editions.

(And if your gifting isn't done or you've got a gift certificate to spend, please click through to these comic book listings and help support our site!)

Review: Justice League 3001 Vol. 1: Deja Vu All Over Again trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis ramp up wild and wacky to its highest degree in Justice League 3001 Vol. 1: Deja Vu All Over Again, the fourth volume in their 3000/3001 saga. The writers manage to populate their 31st century with an almost absurd (probably purposefully) number of current DC Comics characters, from A-list and B-list Justice Leaguers all the way through more esoteric characters from deep in the DC mythos. Thus far, the 3000 books have struggled somewhat to balance Justice League action with the writers' trademark bicker-talk, not always successfully; with Deja Vu, the book gives itself over talking, often eschewing the action entirely, and it improves the tone overall. By this point 3001's got a pretty large cast, and it begins to feel like familiar, comfortable territory for Giffen especially, who juggled large casts in his well-regarded Legion of Super-Heroes runs with aplomb.