Trade Perspectives: Batman: RIP and Final Crisis Further Thoughts

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A few thoughts on the Collected Edition blog discussion from last week of which collection to read first, continuity-wise, Batman: RIP or Final Crisis:

Among a number of great comments (thanks all!), Spooky notes that "if you want to read the two hardcovers without interruption, then you should read Batman: RIP first, because the majority of it takes place before Final Crisis. But be aware that both hardcovers (when read uninterrupted) spoiler each other!"

Therein, as they say, lies the rub.

The results of our (first ever) Collected Editions blog poll had 90% of respondents for reading Batman: RIP first, versus 10% for reading Final Crisis first. From what I understood from everyone's comments, Final Crisis #5 spoils Batman #683 (at the very end of Batman: RIP) while Batman: RIP spoils the first chapter (I think) of Final Crisis, but not in a major way. If I've got all that right, then indeed Batman: RIP is the one to read first, though I'm not happy about the situation.

This strikes me as a problem unique to wait-for-trading, one we might see come up more and more as more crossovers, and their ancillary titles, are collected in trade. Identity Crisis tie-ins like Flash: The Secret of Barry Allen and JSA: Lost branched off the main story rather than intersecting, but Teen Titans: Titans East and Countdown to Final Crisis Volume 1 intersected and each spoiled the death of a character found in the other book.

I think this comes from an increased effort on DC's end to let independent titles stand on their own during crossovers (Infinite Crisis versus The Sinestro Corps War, for instance), but what we get is the awkward intersection of stories as we see here. It's good, don't get me wrong, for Batman, and good for Final Crisis, but troubling for the trade reader. Ultimately it seems there no perfect order to read these two volumes completely, and I object as a trade reader to having to go back and forth between two volumes to avoid spoilers.

But such is life. Thanks for thinking this through with me. I'll touch on this topic again, for sure, when I read these two books, and I'd love to hear any additional thoughts you may have. New reviews coming soon!

***

Separately, I was re-reading Nightwing: The Lost Year last night -- anyone know if the new Vigilante is supposed to be a character we've already met? I have a sick idea who it might be -- I don't want to spoil it here, but email me at the address at right if you want to know.
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9 comments:

  1. Great work on this - just the reason I love this website... Looking forward to both of these books later in the year, and hopefully an update to the DC Trade timeline:) Keep it up!!

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  2. Well, Grant Morrison thinks that the last two issues in Batman RIP (as well as Submit and Superman Beyond) should be collected properly in an Absolute-style version of FC. It seems like he had a longer story to tell and was forced into 7 issues.

    You will have a much harder time reconciling how to read the FC companion w/FC than RIP. That'll be a mess. Final Crisis 4 is informed by Submit, which cannot make sense w/o reading FC 3.

    Final Crisis 7 will seem quite odd w/o Superman Beyond - however, SB would spoil an event in FC 2 if you read it first.

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  3. Bob:

    There are not nearly enough (are there any?) Morrison Absolute Editions.

    I would definitely buy a collection of all the Morrison-penned FC tie-ins.

    Oh, and a warning to all trade-waiters: Superman Beyond is an absolutely (ouch) essential part of FC, and is included in the FC: Companion. Don't attempt to read FC without it, or you may suffer permanent brain damage, as I have. :)

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  4. Presumably All-Star Superman will get the Absolute treatment. But to answer your question, no, there aren't any Morrison absolute editions yet, which is quite a shame. The closest thing is the Deluxe Edition JLA books

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  5. I agree with Stampedo that Superman Beyond is essential to Final Crisis.

    Even though Morrison is my favorite writer in comics I think Infinite Crisis was better than Final Crisis, and it was only Superman Beyond that felt like a proper successor to COIE and IC.

    Even if you NEVER read Final Crisis, you should still read Superman Beyond!

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  6. Morrison calls for an Absolute Final Crisis? Bob, where did you see that?

    Fortunately I can feel pretty justified reading Final Crisis before the Final Crisis Companion, though on the second read I'll probably go back and forth between the two (as I did on the second read of Sinestro Corps/Tales of the Sinestro Corps).

    I've long, long believed we'll see an Absolute All-Star Superman. If they're making an Absolute Superman for Tomorrow, then certainly All-Star deserves the treatment, too.

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  7. I'm honestly not positive where I read the thing about the 'complete' FC being collected, but he lists the author-intended reading order here:

    http://www.newsarama.com/comics/010928-Grant-Final-Crisis.html

    To avoid spoilers for the wait-for-traders, the order is:

    FINAL CRISIS # 1- 3
    SUPERMAN BEYOND # 1- 2
    SUBMIT
    FINAL CRISIS # 4 – 5
    BATMAN #682 – 683
    FINAL CRISIS # 6 – 7

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  8. Submit and Superman Beyond are missing from the companion. Maybe they will show up in June's solicits for the Final Crisis collection


    FINAL CRISIS COMPANION TP
    Written by Grant Morrison, Peter J. Tomasi, Greg Rucka & Eric Trautmann and Len Wein
    Art by Doug Mahnke, Ryan Sook and others
    Cover by J.G. Jones
    As the FINAL CRISIS rages on, some of DC’s biggest heroes battle evil in this collection of important supporting issues! Featuring FINAL CRISIS #1: director’s cut, FINAL CRISIS: REQUIEM #1, FINAL CRISIS: RESIST #1 and FINAL CRISIS: SECRET FILES #1!

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  9. Another trade seris that suffers from the trouble listed above, by the way, is Superman: Last Son vs. all the Busiek Superman trades; whatever you read first, each still spoils something in the other about Chris Kent.

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