Trade Perspectives: DC for February/March 2010, Collections and Co-Features

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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13 comments:

  1. The re-defining of the co-features scared the hell out of me until I saw that they're leaving The Question (Detective Comics) alone for now. I would really hate to lose it again, now that we have it back!

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  2. ComicReaderDude12/23/2009 08:17:00 PM

    On the subject of the co-features, I don't see why the ones that seem to be a spin-off of a current story wouldn't be collected with that story in that title's collection, like we saw with the Origins & Omens co-features, or the pages from DC Universe #0, appearing in the TPBs for the main titles' collections, or in the case of the DC Origins collection, gathering a whole bunch of one-off short story co-features into one TPB. I would support those as I intend to with the DC Origins TPB. They also have done a good job of collecting like stories together where they fit to make a trade, like they did with the GA/BC: Road to the Altar that had the BC miniseries, the Wedding Planner, and some co-feature pages from other books to pull that timeline together in a way that made a lot of sense to read.

    Still wondering if the Prometheus Faces Of Evil will wind up in the Cry For Justice trade as I guessed that the Solomon Grundy one would include that FOE and turned out to be true. We know that the Kobra FOE will be in the Kobra trade, but I still haven't heard where or if the Deathstroke one will turn up. Does anyone know what storyline it may have tied into as a clue?

    Thanks for the note on there being a Superboy co-feature in Adventures #5, since I had no idea where the #4 issue was going by itself without #5, but it makes sense that that 2-parter might show up in the BN: Tales of the Corps, even the vol 1 since it seems a large page count for just 3 issues.

    On a side note to Collected Editions:
    I tried to post a comment on a bunch of trades for the DC TPB TimeLine on a bunch of missing TPBs and where they might fit. The site said it was waiting for approval, but didn't seem to ever make it as a post. Was there a site problem and if so is there a better way to post comments to the TPB TimeLine?

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  3. Actually, JLA #1,000,000 was collected in the DC One Million TPB. Even though it only stars the team's B-list members, it's a major part of the crossover and ends on a cliffhanger that DC One Million #3 picks up on. I'm baffled by DC's decision to include it in the 3rd JLA deluxe hardcover while skipping the main mini series, but maybe it means they won't cut the last two pages of JLA #23 this time. Let's hope so.

    Nice to see Dini's Hush/Catwoman two-parter get collected, though. Unlike Denny O'Neill's "Last Days of Gotham" arc, those issues actually have important repercussions to the Batman books.

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  4. Some of the shorter new co-features (that is, three or so parts long) I imagine will be collected with their main feature; I thought DiDio said that some of the existing ones that aren't quite long enough might be collected together, like DC Origins.

    Don't know about the Prometheus Faces of Evil (though I hope it's in the Cry for Justice trade, too), but if the Deathstroke Faces of Evil was going to be collected somewhere, it ought have been in the beginning of Outsiders: The Deep (along with DC Last Will and Testament) and it wasn't, so I imagine it's back to the back issue bins for that one (see Timothy Callahan's review at Comic Book Resources).

    @CRD I saw the timeline suggestions, but I've been holding them until I could check them or integrate them into the timeline. If you have more suggestions, you can email them to me at the address at bottom. Thanks for the help!

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  5. I don't get that DC One Million won't be included but JLA/Wildcats was? One Million definitely pertained more the that series than that book.

    Also I wonder why they didn't include the latest issues of Batman/Superman that wraps up the story from the Solomon Grudy mini.

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  6. I'll be curious whether JLA One Million fits in the space of the hardcover without much awkwardness. I hope so.

    That Superman/Batman Solomon Grundy issue will be included in the forthcoming S/B:Night & Day collection, not to worry.

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  7. I would love to see JLA deluxe editions by mark waid at this format: I hope this will happen..
    anyone like this idea?
    1. JLA deluxe edition vol 1 Mark waid
    JLA 18-21,32-33, JLX 1 from amalgam comics,
    Justice League a midsummers nightmare 1-3
    2. JLA deluxe edition vol 2 Mark Waid
    JLA 43-54
    3. JLA deluxe edition vol 3 Mark Waid
    JLA 55-58,60, JLA heavens ladder,("Lost
    Pages" JLA Secret files 3)
    4. JLA deluxe edition vol 4 Mark Waid
    JLA Year One 1-12

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  8. Is Waid writing anything currently at DC right now? I'd imagine that might be one barrier to producing a new collection of his earlier work; they might want to wait until they can cross-promote with a series. Good ideas, though; I always thought it was a shame Bryan Hitch dropped out of this run before it ended, which I think affected things a bit. Certainly I agree Waid's JLA: YEar One deserves hardcover treatment.

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  9. Eh Waid's FLASH deserves a deluxe hardcover format......I don't know how many volumes that'll be though....

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  10. The Return of Barry Allen in deluxe hardcover format ... now there's a great idea ...

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  11. I picked up The Return of Barry Allen recently; haven't read it yet, but I know you've mentioned in multiple places your fondness for it. Unfortunately, due to the Internet I've already accidentally spoiled the "surprise" in the story (which I won't mention here, as I wouldn't want to spoil it for others). I'm hoping that knowing it up front going into the story isn't going to ruin it for me.

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  12. In my opinion, Waid's Flash run should get the Omnibus treatment, just like Starman. There's just too much material to collect in thin volumes.

    I like the idea of collecting his JLA stories in deluxe editions, but I think they should be split chronologically, like this:

    Vol. 1 - Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare, JLA #18-21 and #32-33 (JLX #1 would be a bit too much)

    Vol. 2 - JLA: Heaven's Ladder, JLA #43-49 and the Tower of Babel epilogue from JLA Secret Files #3.

    Vol. 3 - JLA #50-58 and #60.

    JLA: Year One should be a separate, non-numbered volume.

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  13. Return of Barry Allen is still a great read, Mark; there's a moment toward the end that always gives me chills.

    JLA: Year One is another one of those, like Return of Barry Allen, I can read again and again and always enjoy it. Wonder Woman should be involved in the creation of the JLA, but I do regret that JLA: Year One is out of continuity.

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