A programming note: Starting next week and continuing the week after, the Collected Editions blog will have a special look back at a DC Comics Archives series while a large amount of our readership goes on vacation. Please continue to feel free to leave comments on the site, and we'll be around for any breaking news should it arrive.
I felt disappointed last month that DC's February 2010 solicitation of the Gotham Sirens: Union hardcover only included the first seven issues of that series, and none of writer Paul Dini's uncollected work, but there's a ray of hope in DC's March 2010 solicitations. The first collection of Dini's other new Batman series, Streets of Gotham (renamed for the trade Batman: The Streets of Gotham: Hush Money) contains Detective Comics #852 and Batman #685 -- that is, the "Faces of Evil" issues that followed Dini's Heart of Hush storyline. Now if we could only get collected Detective Comics #851 and Batman #684, two issues that followed directly after Batman RIP ...
The JLA Deluxe Edition Vol. 3 (or JLA Omnibus) contains, as we predicted, the Sandman, Ultramarine Corps, and "Crisis Times Five" issues. A bit of a surprise is the JLA #1,000,000 issue, some compromise between ignoring the DC One Million crossover referenced in this collection and not re-collecting the entire series. This story is not actually collected in the DC One Million trade paperback, so it's not a complete loss for completists; if I recall, this particular issue takes place largely on the present-day JLA Watchtower, and it's possible it could read relatively seamlessly within this book, or so I hope.
I'm glad to see that Oracle: The Cure contains some missing Birds of Prey issues, but there's still some debate as to whether issue #125 is in here, or only #126-127. If there's just one Birds of Prey issue left uncollected from the end of the end of the run, and Oracle: The Cure turns out to be just five issues when it could have been six, I will be very annoyed.
Additionally for the completists out there, Booster Gold: Day of Death has the Brave and the Bold issue #23 that included Booster and Magog. Granted, I still scratch my head as to why the DC Universe needed a Magog series; according to Marc-Oliver Frisch over at The Beat, the book's sales have dropped a total of 50% over its first three months.
The collection of Scott Kolin's Solomon Grundy miniseries, thankfully, also includes the "Faces of Evil" special. If you want a real throughway from Final Crisis to Blackest Night, this Solomon Grundy miniseries started with one and ends with the other.
Finally, apparently Superboy: Redemption, the collection of the first new Adventure Comics issues, has been renamed Superboy: The Boy of Steel. Apparently this includes issues #0-3 and 5-6, dropping the Blackest Night crossover in issue 4 (presumably, the only contents from issue #5 are the Superboy co-feature, and not the second part of the Blackest Night story). Maybe the Blackest Night parts will end up in the rumored Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps volume two collection?
We imagine the Legion stories from Adventure Comics will be collected on their own; the material from issue #0 is likely just the "Origins & Omens" section.
In some other bits of news, DC announced via The Source today that it will publish the long-unavailable Superman vs. Muhammad Ali in not one, but two hardcover editions. The Source calls the first hardcover a "deluxe" edition with sketchbook and new cover by Neal Adams, but whether "deluxe" means "deluxe format size" (like Batman RIP) is unclear. The second hardcover will have the same trim size as the original tabloid comic, so it stands to reason that the first should be "under-" or regular-sized. Surely there'll be a price difference, too -- I wonder if they'll be released on the same day or separate from one another.
It's interesting that DC chose to publish this in hardcover (72 pages plus a sketchbook isn't a lot) rather than as a perfect-bound comic (like some of the faux annual "reprints" a few years back). Say what you will about the ongoing monthly comics versus collections debate, but there seems to be a sense at least that collections equal permanence. For something as short as Superman vs. Muhammad Ali to end up in hardcover posits the collection as the ultimate destination -- the previous "floppy" (I use the term sparingly) version of Superman vs. Muhammad Ali didn't beget a floppy reprint, but rather a collection (and the paperback can't be far behind).
On the other hand, see DC "redefining" its co-feature program, moving away from the definite co-feature-to-collection pathway. Says Dan Didio to Comic Book Resources, "We were looking at something like Ravager when thinking about having enough material later on to stand alone as a collection, but ... it works much better for ... stronger stories if we don't concentrate on collecting the co-feature."
That is, many of the first wave of co-features were written to be twelve or so segments long to make up a collection, but now DC's finding that they're better off letting the co-feature determine its own length and how it interacts with the main series than "writing for the collection." I'm very OK with this; there's the danger, of course, that shorter co-features may never be collected, but I'd rather dig up a co-feature in single issues later on than sit through a poor story that's been unnecessarily drawn out. DC doesn't collect everything I want them to, but they collect enough of the highlights that I'm optimistic this will work out.
That's all. A new review coming tomorrow, and then our special review segment begins next week. Be safe and careful out there.
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