New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 3 -- Lies, Damn Lies, and Omissions

Friday, May 31, 2013

New Teen Titans Omnibus Volume 3DC Comics's New Teen Titans Omnibus series has been controversial almost from the get-go. Aside from concerns over the binding, there was the strange omission of New Teen Titans issue #38 from Volume 2; DC originally solicited Volume 3 with a content listing that couldn't be right (too few and duplicate issues), and then they cancelled the third volume altogether and resolicited it a few months later.

Well, DC has finally released the New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 3, and with a hat-tip to Facebook friend and frequent commenter Xavico, it looks like the trouble's not over yet.

DC solicitations, and even their current web page, said the New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 3 would collect Tales of the Teen Titans #45-61 and 66-67, New Teen Titans #38, New Teen Titans #1-6, and Secret Origins Annual #3. We knew right away this wasn't right, because among other reasons, Tales #60-61 are actually the same comic as Titans #1-2, and even if what was just included were pin-ups or such, the contents were far too few to make an omnibus.

I've now learned that the contents of the Vol. 3 Omnibus are New Teen Titans #38, Tales of the New Teen Titans #45-50, New Teen Titans (Vol. 2) #1-6, New Titans #50-61, New Titans #66-67, and Secret Origin Annual #3.

In comparison, this means the omnibus collects not Tales of the Teen Titans #45-61 and 66-67, but rather Tales of the Teen Titans #45-50 and New Titans #66-67; added are New Titans #50-61.

Now, even as we might prefer the contents be listed right in the solicitations (and again, they're still wrong at the moment on DC's website), gaining ten or so extra issues isn't a bad thing. Unfortunately, however, there's some significant gaps in this volume that make for a tricky reading experience.

Titans Hunt for Missing Issues

That New Teen Titans #38, the first "Who is Donna Troy?" story, is here and not in the previous book seems silly to me since the first two volumes unfolded chronologically otherwise, but it appears here with the "Who is Wonder Girl?" story, so it's understandable. Tales #45 picks up where the last volume finished and continues to issue #50, Donna Troy's wedding. Still OK so far.

Starting again with New Titans #1, however, jumps over Tales #51-58, and here we get a sense of what's really going on. Though billed as the New Teen Titans Omnibus series, these books are really the Marv Wolfman/George Perez Teen Titans Omnibus series. Tales #51-58 didn't have Perez on art; New Titans #1-6 did.

Then the book jumps again, skipping over forty issues to pick up with New Titans #50 when, you guessed it, Perez returned to the art again. At this point the book has lost all semblance of being a Titans omnibus and has instead become George Perez spotlight book (it's not a Marv Wolfman spotlight book, since Wolfman is the writer on a number of the issues that are skipped). There's nothing wrong with a Perez spotlight book per se (it's probably overdue), but I sincerely doubt that's what readers thought they were getting when they started buying this series years ago.

And even worse, New Titans issues #60-61 are parts 2 and 4 of the Batman story "A Lonely Place of Dying"; the other parts, written by Wolfman but drawn by Jim Aparo, are omitted. At this point if I'd purchased this book, I'd be steamed -- I specifically avoid DC's artist spotlight books because they contain "parts" and don't tell a full story; it's OK if that's your thing, but again, I don't think that's what readers were expecting at the beginning of this series and it feels like a bit of bait and switch now.

Others smarter than me can speak to this -- and in no way do I fault Wolfman or Perez for any of this -- but I wonder if this has to do with royalties, if it's easier to just include one writer and artist in this book and only pay two sets of royalties than to also pay to Aparo and others, the reader's experience irrespective.

Looking at this omnibus one more way, there's thirteen issues here that have never been reprinted (Tales #45-49, Titans #6, #56-59, and #66-67, and Secret Origin Annual #3), versus ten issues that have been collected before. That's not great, but it's actually better comparatively than the second New Teen Titans Omnibus, which only included one or two issues not found elsewhere.

Fool Me Twice ...

Chances are, with all the jumps, that this is the last New Teen Titans Omnibus. DC's track record on these series is not great -- there was the cancellation of the Starman Omnibus paperbacks mid-series recently, a seeming switch from the Chronicles volumes over to omnibus format, and the mid-series cancellation of collection series like Justice League International a couple years ago. After New Teen Titans, I wouldn't blame a reader for being wary here on out of starting to read any high-priced collection series until they know exactly how it's going to end.

Still planning to pick up the New Teen Titans Omnibus Volume 3? Cancelled your order? Sound off in the comments and let me know!
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39 comments:

  1. DC's collected editions department (to the extent it still exists) has become a huge joke. Not all of the issues you listed were drawn by Perez; some of them were only co-plotted by him. Which is fine, except that the "Batman" chapters of "Lonely Place of Dying" were *also* co-plotted by Perez.

    I fully appreciate that the Perez issues of Titans are the ones people actually liked, and thus the ones most likely to have commercial appeal, but they didn't name it or market it as "Titans by George Perez". It's not unreasonable for consumers to believe that something called the "New Teen Titans Omnibus" is going to be a comprehensive sequential collection as opposed to an artist-focused one.

    DC's screwed stuff like this up way too many times to just write it off as a one-shot error. Frankly it's happened enough that I wonder how familiar the people assembling these collections are with the source material. Having blatant stuff like this pop up on a *series* of $75.00+ "Omnibuses" is bush league.

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    1. You know offhand which issues weren't drawn by Perez?

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  2. I'm relying on my all-too-often faulty memory, but I don't think he penciled issues after New Titans #55. I *know* Tom Grummett drew the Lonely Place of Dying issues.

    And now that I'm thinking about it, didn't the previous volumes of these Omnibuses include a Batman & The Outsiders issue drawn by Jim Aparo?

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    1. Yes, Vol. 2 had the Aparo issue, part of a Titans/Outsiders crossover. Which makes the Vol. 3 choices all the more maddening.

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  3. I believe jurgens did the art on issue 6.

    this is a huge disappointment.

    - steve

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    1. Curiouser and curiouser. If the point wasn't to use no other artists but Perez, why exclude the other parts of Lonely Place of Dying ...? Baffling.

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  4. I will admit that not including the Batman portions of Lonely Place of Dying is a regrettable oversight (although if it came down to deciding between those and the Secret Origins Annual, I'd say they made the right choice), but otherwise, bucking popular opinion, this is exactly the collection I was hoping for.

    Here's the thing: this is a premium omnibus, not just another trade paperback collection. Yes, it was billed at the New Teen Titans Omnibus, not the Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans Omnibus, but for me, the only issues really worth this lush (and expensive) treatment are the ones involving both creators in one form or another. Their collaboration produced much higher quality results than Wolfman's efforts solo, and I feel like I can grab the latter in a back issue bin. I really don't need to spend $75 on an impressive volume to get their full effect. It's the full package of the property's genius I'm willing to spend the money on, not just any appearance by the characters in question.

    Who knows? Maybe they'll start a New Teen Titans Chronicles series. THERE, I can see needing to include everything, regardless of creator.

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    1. Matthew, thanks for chiming in with a dissenting opinion here. I do agree that three *big* volumes of New Teen Titans material is better than nothing -- at least there's a substantial record now of this amazing series.

      New Teen Titans Chronicles would be cool, but from what I hear, the Chronicles books are phasing out in favor of Omnibuses of the same ...

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    2. Sure, but it kinda sucks to try to read a story and then suddenly you're missing 40 issues of what happened. I get that everybody likes Perez and whatnot, but it is a continuing story. Do they even do the readers the courtesy of a "Hey, we skipped 40 issues because you probably didn't want to read them, but here's what happened" page?

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  5. Horribly disappointing and I am thinking of canceling my order with Amazon over this news. DC plays hard and fast with these collections, most likely in an attempt to duck royalty payments to some of the less-featured creators in the series. There can be no other explanation why they would leave out the missing issues.

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  6. "DC Comics's New Teen Titans Omnibus series has been controversial almost from the get-go. Aside from concerns over the binding, there was the strange omission of New Teen Titans issue #38 from Volume 2."

    Not to forget the several pages where art was stretched to make for missing publishing data boxes...

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  7. Hey C.E.

    Actually I took the comment on Facebook for a moment. This is what happened:

    My idiot friend, Walter, bought the book and he was mad because of the content. I had no idea what he was talking about because I'm not a TNTT freak like him. Anyway, he explained me about it and immediately wrote the question to Dan Didio.

    Freaking Walter left to Belgica the next day, so when you asked me for pictures of the book, I didn't had them. All I had was Walter explanation and nothing more.

    Although he told me and showed me what was wrong with the collection, I start thinking there could be a margin of error in my statement because I never thought getting the hard evidence to prove it (by taking a picture to the table of content).

    Anyway, I'm still working in getting the pics, and also getting a better description from Walter.

    Once I have all that, my lovely post will be back to Dan Didio's Facebook page.

    Thanks!

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    1. X, unless your friend Walter was the source for a while bunch of posts now across the web, the contents are independently confirmed. If you get an answer on this, I'd be curious to hear it.

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    2. He wasn't the source. That's for sure.

      Still digging though.

      Thanks!

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  8. Sometimes I actually like DC's artist-based books, especially the Batman ones (Jim Aparo, mmm.) But THIS is definitely bullcrap. If they had billed it "New Teen Titans by George Perez" I would have absolutely no problems with it, but as usual DC is trying to fool people into thinking they're paying for something that they're not getting. It reminds me of the recent JLA collections, which had Morrison-only issues despite just being called "JLA."

    I was also wondering why NTT #38 wasn't in the last volume, still doesn't make sense to me. Luckily the Official Teen Titans Indexes from the 80s present a proper chronological order.

    DC, your "collected editions department" (aka, the zoo) is a joke.

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  9. im very torn right now. part of me is contemplating cancelling my order from amazon but part of me really still wants this.

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  10. My frustration with the New Titans series of omnibuses are where they didn't bother to correct the mistakes they made in their Archive editions, such as the stretched splash pages for some issues and the solicitations stating the wrong issues are in the collections.

    That said, I am fine with New Titans Vol. 1 #38 being included with this set as part of the Who Is Donna Troy/Wonder Girl story line. I'm just surprised they didn't also include the Return of Wonder Girl mini-series. I'm also all right with the post wedding issues (#'s 51+) of Tales of the Teen Titans not being included. The story and art on those felt more like filler waiting for the Baxter reprints.

    My main wish is they included the covers Perez drew on the issues of New Titans Vol. 2 between #'s 6 and 50. He did some fine work on those and it'd be great to see them in this collection.

    For the issues Grummett and other drew, aside from #6, Perez was credited with at least layouts.

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  11. The missing issues of Tales after #50 are a shame. They are mainly Changeling and Cyborg-centric but are important character development for Gar. Disappointing. Could have done without the huge jump to New Titans #50 - the Who is Donna Troy? trade already does a nice job of collecting that. *sigh* I will buy it anyway because it's not like they're ever going to re-release it in a better format.

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  12. Well, Xavier is 100% right. You can see the hue and cry here:
    http://marvelmasterworksfansite.yuku.com/topic/16637/New-Teen-Titans?page=25#.UakxUZwQM1I

    My...issues, with this collection:
    1. It's a New Teen Titans Omnibus, not a Wolfman/Perez Visionaries book. Even if we consider "billing" as a Marv Wolfman/George Perez Omnibus, I consider an either/or...meaning, if an issue is written by Wolfman, has to be there. If an issue has art by Perez, has to be there. Even the Chris Claremont/Jim Lee X-Men Omnibus contains issues not drawn by Jim Lee but by Marc Silvestri, and written by Chris Claremont.

    2. Solicits. If you change the product, resolicit. You will have a bunch of angry fans otherwise.

    3. If it's a Perez art book, why are the covers of Tales of the Teen Titans not included. If it's a Perez (writing+art) book, why the omission of 3 parts of A Lonely Place of Dying. Why, if fact, the inclusion of two parts?

    4. Why the inclusion of a Dan Jurgens art book, if all or any of the above were true?

    I realise my arguments may not be 100% correct, and I just might have singles of issues 51-58, the main point of argument, still, it does not take away the fact that this is not an Omnibus.

    CE, if you remember, in my look at The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, I was lamenting the non publication of Tales 54 & 55, and we were surmising that with the advent of an Omnibus, things would be corrected. So much for that.

    The LSH by Paul Levitz, while not listed as an Omnibus does a much better job. I do not know whether we will see more volumes after 'The Curse'

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  13. I'd like more legion post-curse. I'd also like the rest of infinity Inc generations saga. and, I'd really like this book to be what was promised. - steve

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    1. Steve, all that plus more Ostrander Suicide Squad volumes. :)

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    2. definitely those! - steve

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  14. Dan Didio is dutching questions about this collection. Then make his other pals bury the possibility of a straight answer:

    https://www.facebook.com/dan.didio/posts/10201227674554502?notif_t=like

    ... As expected.

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  15. Wow, what a mess.

    I definitely see the appeal of a Wolfman/Perez collection, so the big skips don't bother me too much, though the book really should have been billed as such. (I imagine if I'd been counting on picking up a collection of the complete run, I'd react differently.)

    But I can't stand it when a collection leaves out something integral - like, say, parts of a story. Including 40% of "A Lonely Place of Dying" is just ridiculous.

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  16. I am very disappointed with this collection. I was especially looking forward to the post-Terra Changeling/Terminator encounters. And I was holding out hope for inclusion of all covers and even the anti-drug issues.

    But the suggestion that royalty calculations had anything to do with the story selection is silly. DC routinely publishes collections with multiple creators and pays the correct royalties. They even try to track down the heirs if, as is becoming all too likely, the creators have passed. The only time where the number of creators is a factor is with certain Showcase books. Having to sometimes negotiate lower reprint fees than the creators would otherwise be entitled to is obviously easier with fewer creators. And the refusal of individual writers or artists to sign off on the lower rates can lead to issues being left out of the collection or a book’s cancellation. Or a format change like the b&w SSOSV collection becoming two color hardcovers.

    No, I think the explanation is that someone made the decision that the non-Perez issues weren’t worth including. As the review pointed out, this was a major shift from Volumes 1 and 2 which featured art by Infantino, Swan, Pollard, Aparo and others. I would be very interested in checking out the editorial credits for Volume 3 to see if they differ from the first two books

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    1. I'm curious about the editorial credits, too.

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  17. It seems that they edited #50 a bit too - I remember a scene from the original where Superman's gift to the couple was patroling the skies during the wedding. It makes me wonder what else was edited out.

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    1. I thought that scene was from a Secret Files & Origins issue or some other kind of special issue that came much later recounting Titans history. Or was it in both places?

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    2. Yeah, pretty sure that was Justice League of America #0, from after Infinite Crisis.

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  18. I got a response from Dan Didio:

    "Okay, heard from my Collected Editions team, the conceit behind these Teen Titans Omnibus is to collect everything that George and Marv was involved in, so they did revise what was going to be collected, but it is still that same size as advertised and contains all the stories by Marv and George, done either separately or together. Sorry about delayed response. DD"

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    1. Well, I do appreciate Dan looking in to this and getting back to you on it.

      I'll start the griping by pointing out that this isn't "all the stories by Marv and George, done either separately or together," because Tales of the New Teen Titans #51-58 (which are omitted from this book and would have fit between Tales #45-50 and New Titans #1-6) are written either by Wolfman or by Perez and Wolfman, so "all" in Dan's statement isn't accurate.

      So again I appreciate Dan checking on this and I acknowledge he's just relaying what the collections department told him, but this doesn't explain the issue.

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    2. So Dan DiDio doesn't even know what George Perez and Marv Wolfman actually did on the Titans books.

      Jesus.

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  19. I'd say they need to consider more collected editions, as people are clearly passionate about this material! - steve

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  20. Glad I stumbled across this post. I was planning to pick this up at some point. Glad I read this first.

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  21. Hello I'm just received my Omnibus 3. And yeah, like you said i'm Pist off.
    Hell that not why I buy the omnibus in the first place.
    I love Perez, Really. But jump in point to point without logic is seely.
    I wanted to read the titant to point A to the end without having to search the ongoing.
    And a Omnibus is great in a collection (Strong, durable, nice to watch).
    And I think that Dc have lie to me. If only they have make a name like the Marvel Perez TPB collection. But no they title : "Teen Titans Omnibus". Ok the covert have Wolfman & Perez in for be fair. But damn I'm pist off.
    I hope and strongly suggest to DC to do a Forth Omnibus with the gasp in ... We have already no real order in it anyway. It's just so unfaire to Wolfman and for the other artist that give life to the character. And not unfaire for readers.

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  22. Just got mine today. Mixed feelings for this omni. Bought this for the sake of completing all 3 volumes of this. By not including issues 51 to 58 really makes this an incomplete Omnibus. People working at DC clearly don't know what they're doing and I hope that they take note on this honest mistake they made if they were planning this to be Wolfman and Perez NTT Omnibus they can simply inform us from the start that this series will only collect the Wolfman and Perez issues. I don't really care about the New Titans issues that are included here I have a feeling that those issues were just fillers for this collection. I wish they included issues 51-58 over the New Titans issues and for me it was never about the page count for these kinds of books what I want is a proper and chronological order of issues to read and have. Shame on you DC.

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  23. Does anyone know if this will be the last volume of the teen titans? I'd be more pissed if they reprint it with all the gaps filled in a few years time.

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    1. I believe the common impression is that this was the last volume; the books, it turned out after the fact, were meant to collect just the Wolfman/Perez Titans issues, and I believe there's nothing else planned having accomplished that. There's nothing in terms of a new volume or a reprint volume on the schedule for this coming season, at least.

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