Review: Justice League of America: Rise of Eclipso trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Justice League of America: Rise of EclipsoOnce upon a time, DC Comics superheroes wore their collars low and their underwear on the outside, and the Justice League consisted of second-generation heroes including Batman Dick Grayson, Donna Troy, Supergirl, and others. With focus shifted to the New 52, DC cancelled the hardcover of James Robinson’s final collection of his League run, Justice League of America: The Rise of Eclipso, but the book emerged later in paperback amidst the first wave of New 52 collections, a veritable message in a bottle from another era, bobbing in a sea of change.

Robinson’s story is enjoyable if madcap, as Robinson’s Justice League stories have tended to be — the action shifts back and forth in time, characters leave and return at random, the Leaguers call each other “babe” and “doll” and seem extraordinarily concerned with each others' emotional well-beings. That won’t be for everyone, but it’s clear Robinson likes and respects this team, and that the characters like one another — this League may be the closest to friends that I can recall — and that makes for a pleasant read especially when the team’s fate is decided in the last chapter.
Collected Editions 2017 Comic Book Gift Guide

Review: I, Vampire Vol. 2: Rise of the Vampires trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I, Vampire Vol. 2: Rise of the VampiresDC Comics’s loss of writer Joshua Hale Fialkov, before his tenure with the company ever truly started, becomes even more unfortunate. In I, Vampire Vol. 2: Rise of the Vampires, Fialkov writes not only vampire Andrew Bennett but also two of DC’s more troubled properties, Justice League Dark and Stormwatch, and handles them all with alacrity, proving the versatility the writer would have brought to the Green Lantern titles.

Fialkov, with artist Andrea Sorrentino, continue to offer an I, Vampire series that’s frightening and compelling — but also in this second volume, more so than in the first, wryly funny. I, Vampire is a can’t miss book; though cancelled, readers should still do themselves a favor and pick this one up.

Review: Axe Cop Vol. 1 trade paperback (Dark Horse Comics)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Axe Cop Vol. 1 (Dark Horse Comics)[Review by Doug Glassman, who Tumblrs at Hell Yeah '80s Marvel!]

After spending a few reviews discussing comiXology and how the Internet has affected comics, I feel like I’ve left webcomics in the lurch. The webcomic spectrum is as vast as the print comic spectrum, from one-panel gag cartoons to multi-chapter epics. I don’t read as many of the more complex webcomics as I’d like to for the sole reason that I keep forgetting to check up on them when the pace slows.

So naturally, after all of this ruminating, I decided to go out and buy the first volume of webcomic Axe Cop in print. To paraphrase Homer Simpson in The Simpsons Movie, “I can’t believe you’re paying to get something you see on the Internet for free!” However, there’s one excellent reason to buy the printed version of Axe Cop: it contains numerous annotations from artist Ethan Nicolle explaining the thought process behind the comic. Considering the process by which the book is made, this can be very enlightening.

Axe Cop is the creation of brothers Ethan Nicolle and his much, much younger brother Malachai, who was five years old when he began “writing” the comic. It’s a journal, essentially, of Malachai’s playtime ideas and fantasies. In the introduction to the “Moon Warriors” arc, Ethan explains that the two create stories while playing together, whether in person or over the phone; as a result, many of the characters come in pairs or are brothers themselves. As Malachai grows up, you can see how different hobbies and life events change his view of the world, often to hilarious effect. For instance, God and Satan start appearing just as he would have started Sunday School, while later episodes take a distinct scatological bent as he discovers poop humor.

Review: Happy! by Grant Morrison trade paperback (Image Comics)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy! by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson (Image Comics)The broad strokes of Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson's four-issue miniseries Happy!, newly collected -- a Christmas story in which a hitman reluctantly teams with a cartoon blue horse to save a kidnapped girl -- tells the reader most of what they can expect from the book. Happy!'s arc is fairly predictable in the way of the other Christmas tales it honors and lampoons, but the enjoyment comes in watching how Morrison dizzily mashes up crime drama and Christmas story cliches into a story demented and warm at the same time.

[Review contains spoilers]

Happy! teams former police-detective-turned-hitman Nick Sax with Happy, the equine imaginary friend of a girl named Haley, who only Nick can see. Nick's on the run from Mr. Blue because of a botched hit job and seconds away from torture at the hands of Mr. Smoothie (all of this purposefully like something out of a Quentin Tarantino film) when Happy helps him escape in exchange for helping Happy rescue the kidnapped Haley.

Review: Dial H Vol. 1: Into You trade paperback (DC Comics)

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dial H Vol. 1: Into YouHow difficult it is to decide exactly where China MiĆ©ville’s Dial H Vol. 1: Into You fits in the literary continuum is just the first indication of what a pleasantly oddball book this is. It starts out as a crime drama and never quite loses that crime noir aesthetic; toward the middle, Dial H would seem to offer some generally familiar superheroics, but this, too, is supplanted by some unexpectedly vigorous sci-fi — aliens and creatures from other dimensions and time travel.

Dial H is interesting and well thought-out, and MiĆ©ville would seem to have a thorough mythology for the “H Dial” planned out that could last this title many moons. Whether that will happen or not, however, remains to be seen — the second volume of Dial H, already solicited, collects issues #7-16, more than a normal trade and also cutting off at the September issue where many expect DC may release a new “wave” of titles. Dial H is the kind of oddball that the DC Universe needs, a diverse voice instead of another franchise title; we’ll learn shortly whether there’s public support for that kind of thing, or if Dial H is soon to dial its last.

Review: Nextwave: Agents of HATE Ultimate Collection trade paperback (Marvel Comics)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nextwave: Agents of HATE Ultimate Collection[Review by Doug Glassman, who Tumblrs at Hell Yeah '80s Marvel!]

Have you ever avoided reading a book because of its fans?

Warren Ellis’ Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. was one of the first comics to really understand and manipulate social media. The publication of every issue was met with the creation of GIFs, memes and a rabid need to "spread the word." There was even a theme song written for the book. Back then, I thought it just seemed stupid and pointless, and the overselling of the book kept me away. As it turns out ... they were right. Nextwave is pretty amazing, although a lot of what makes it work depends on context.

Cancelled Trade Cavalcade: Starman Omnibus Vol. 3, Legion Worlds, Justice League Chronicles

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Starman Omnibus Vol. 3 by James Robinson (DC Comics)[In times of tragedy, you can always help by donating blood with your local Red Cross. If they have sufficient donations, please make an appointment to donate another time.]

In all the hubbub these past few weeks about the Death of the Family, Throne of Atlantis, Grell Green Arrow and other collections, and then the new DC Villains Month and omnibus, there hasn't been time to recognize some significant cancellations in our midsts.

Not only did DC cancel the Legion Worlds and Starman Omnibus Vol. 3 trade paperbacks, this week they've also cancelled the first Justice League of America Chronicles collection.

Standard disclaimers apply that DC is a company and companies have to make money, and I don't necessarily expect DC to publish books that aren't going to net them a profit. Each of these cancellations is a shame, however; let's take a moment to see what we've lost.

Whither Starman?

Perhaps the most startling here is the cancellation of the paperback Starman Omnibus Vol. 3. In canceling this, DC must definitely be suggesting they no longer intend to continue paperback reprints of the original Starman Omnibus hardcovers, many of which are out of print.

Once upon a time I might have expected Starman, like Sandman or Watchmen, to remain perpetually in print at DC, essentially printing money. But any number of factors -- from writer James Robinson having left comics for a while, to (wisely) the number of Starman spin-offs being few, to the entire saga's ejection from continuity with the New 52 -- seems to have dimmed the larger public's knowledge of Starman (even as the stories themselves remain a treat).

I'm reminded of a particularly daft blog post on the DC Comics site that not mis-characterized the plot of Starman, but treated it like a bygone, forgotten relic. Though the post seems silly, I fear it's probably not far from an accurate portrayal of where Starman stands now.

The problem is that readers who already bought the paperback Starman Omnibus Vols. 1 and 2 are now stuck with two paperbacks that will likely never see their companion volumes. Some part of me expects DC might still release Starman in true omnibus format (the whole series in just one or two hardcover volumes), but that still doesn't help anyone stuck with those two paperbacks.

The Pre-Order Dilemma

On one hand, I might suggest to anyone thinking of starting to collect a series, especially a paperback series with hardcover equivalents, to wait and see if all the books come out before you do so. Readers of the classic Justice League International collections faced a similar problem when DC released four hardcover volumes, then two paperback volumes, and then the series abruptly ended. At the same time, a catch-22 -- by not buying a collection series when it comes out, readers also risk that those same low sales will cause the very cancellation they're hoping to avoid.

So, I must say again, pre-order, pre-order, pre-order. More than likely what killed the Legion Worlds collection was lack of pre-orders; this collection of Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning Legion specials followed sequentially from the Legion Lost miniseries, which itself saw a hardcover release in 2011 but the paperback, too, was cancelled by DC.

Legion Worlds was one of those esoteric collections that probably wasn't going to appeal to a large audience, but that I and others had hoped to see. And I'm telling you, I think books like Green Arrow: Hunters Moon (Mike Grell) and Deadshot: Beginnings, and even Superman: Man of Steel Vol. 8, Superman: Dark Knight Over Metropolis, and Nightwing: Old Friends, are on equally shaky ground. All of these are collections of "old" (1980s) comics and none of these are very much in continuity any more. Superman, Nightwing, and Green Arrow all have name recognition, but I'm shocked frankly that DC is even releasing the Deadshot collection after having cancelled the second collected volume of John Ostrander's Suicide Squad. If you want to see these books released, they need your support.

Omnibus Rising?

Justice League of America Chronicles was meant to be the start of a chronological reprint of the classic Justice League stories, in step with the Batman and Superman Chronicles books. I wonder if we can find a hint to Justice League's fate in the fact that DC has solicited a Superman: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 1 which itself collects the first four(!) Superman Chronicles volumes; perhaps Justice League Chronicles will be replaced with a Justice League of America: The Silver Age omnibus.

So, disappointed Starman fans out there? Someone other than me really looking forward to that Legion Worlds collection? Let me hear from you.

Review: Criminal Vol. 1: Coward trade paperback (Marvel Comics)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Criminal Vol. 1: Coward[Guest reviewer Zach King blogs about movies as The Cinema King]

When I first began to read comics as a very young child, the lure was simple -- Batman. Get anything with Batman on the cover. I expanded my net as my knowledge of the characters increased. As I got older and my budget got tighter, I matured into seeking out specific creators -- first writers, then artists as my aesthetic palate became more sophisticated.

Now I'm at what might be a third age in my maturation as a comics reader; I'm deliberately and specifically seeking out creator-owned work. It's not a political move, strictly speaking, since the bulk of my pull list is still company-owned. But I'm now conscious of the freedoms afforded to creators who own their own work, and with many of my favorite creators moving there exclusively, I can feel my palate refining once more.

As a fan of Ed Brubaker's work, particularly on Gotham Central, and having "met" Sean Phillips in the Marvel Zombies series, I was excited to dive into Criminal, their ongoing crime noir. Gotham Central it ain't, but by the end of the first volume, Criminal Vol. 1: Coward, the series more than lives up to the hype.

Review: Red Lanterns Vol. 2: Death of the Red Lanterns trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Red Lanterns Vol. 2: Death of the Red LanternsWriter Peter Milligan has an interesting character in Rankorr, nee Jack Moore, the newest human inductee into the Red Lanterns. From Rankorr’s unique powers to the manner in which he recognizes throughout Red Lanterns: Death of the Red Lanterns, on behalf of the reader, some of the more nonsensical aspects of the Red Lanterns' behavior, he manages to steal most of the scenes in which he appears.

The bizarre behavior that Rankorr witnesses is true to the Red Lanterns' characters, but it creates some distance for the reader. When the Lanterns, blinded as they are by rage, battle each other for no reason or take off randomly on one adventure or another, it’s hard for the reader to truly go with them, rather than be frustrated by plot points that are obvious red herrings. Death has more of a story than the previous volume, but it still contains six issues in which only two really move the Red Lantern story forward.

DC Villains month for September 2013 and a new DC New 52 Villains Omnibus

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

DC Comics Faces of Evil promo
Tip of the hat to a retailer friend for this one. The newest DC Comics trade catalog lists the following:
DC New 52 Villains Omnibus
In September 2013, evil took over, as every title in the DC Universe published special new #1s featuring the villains of the DC Universe, collected here in a massive hardcover edition.

A giant-size, hardcover omnibus collection of the special "villains issues" published line-wide in September 2013, spotlighting the greatest villains of the DCU.
Following on the heels of last September's line-wide zero issues and its resultant DC Comics: The New 52 Zero Omnibus (and before that, the original DC Comics: The New 52 Omnibus), indeed the rumors are true -- this coming September will have new issue #1 villain titles, with an omnibus to follow in December.

Fifty-six of 'em in all, apparently. Let's see ... Lex Luthor, Joker, Sinestro ...

At some point this omnibus will be available for pre-order at the link, but it's still too early at the moment.

Review: Vixen: Return of the Lion trade paperback (DC Comics)

Vixen: Return of the Lion[Guest review by Wayne Brooks; Wayne's local comics shop is AfterTime Comics in Alexandria, Virginia.  The review contains spoilers.]

I love a great super-hero trade, and that’s exactly what Vixen: Return of the Lion is.

The five-issue 2008 miniseries collected here came about after the character had prominent new appearances in Brad Meltzer’s, and later Dwayne McDuffie’s, Justice League of America. She debuted in Action Comics #521 in 1981, created by comics greats Gerry Conway and Bob Oskner.

Vixen was one of DC Comics’s first female African American super-hero. Vixen is model Mari McCabe, who, thanks to her Tantum Totum amulet, can mimics the abilities of any animal. After teaming with Superman twice, Vixen was seen sporadically throughout the DC Universe, becoming a member of Justice League Detroit and the Suicide Squad (with an unfortunate Wolverine hair-cut). Vixen also appeared prominently in McDuffie’s Justice League Unlimited cartoon, and when McDuffie took over Justice League of America, he crafted a long storyline (from The Injustice League to Second Coming) that had Vixen learning the true source of her powers and made her an even more powerful asset to the team.

DC Trade Solicitations for July 2013 - Batman: Death of the Family, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, Nightwing, Jim Aparo

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Batman: Death of the Family July 2013 solicitation coverIt's April, barely spring, and DC Comics already has books in their solicitations for July 2013 that won't actually come out until October. Comics, everyone!

Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family

From the "striking while the iron is hot" department, the biggest headline on DC Comics's July 2013 trade paperback and collections solicitations is the Batman: Death of the Family collection. Collected Editions originally broke the news about many of these collections a few weeks ago, but now here they are officially on DC's solicitations list. It's nice to see the Batman collection released first and the Joker collection of tie-ins released second, which I think is more proper, versus the tie-in Night of the Owls collection that was released before the main Batman collection.

Oh, an apparently an acetate jacket with "the horror that is The Joker’s skinless skull" underneath? Charming.

Justice League Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis

The second biggie, the collection of the Justice League/Aquaman crossover, is now solicited for September. Adding to the ongoing confusion about what the individual Justice League and Aquaman books will collect, here's another new set of contents for the Justice League volume: JL #13-17 and Aquaman #15-16. This omits Aquaman #14, which had previously been listed as included in that volume. The good news is, that's another issue the Aquaman trade can recover separate from the Justice League volume; the bad news is, the JL trade now seems to be down an issue, but holding at the same price as before.

Batman: The Court of Owls Book and Mask Set

I'm curious if anyone's buying this. I liked this story and all, and the photos of the people on owl masks at the cons have been cool, but I'm not sure I necessarily need an owl mask hanging around. At first listing it seems the price of this is not more than if you had bought the Batman: Court of Owls hardcover on its own, so maybe if you missed it the first time, might as well get a mask out of it.

Nightwing: Old Friends, New Enemies TP

Among other things, this collection of Nightwing/Speedy Roy Harper team-ups is the first time, I'm pretty sure, DC has collected any parts of when Action Comics became Action Comics Weekly. I'll be exicted to add this one to the DC Trade Paperback Timeline, if indeed it makes it to print (you never can tell with these trades of older material, though a Nightwing book has a better-than-average chance).

Green Lantern: Sector 2814 Vol. 2 TP

Elsewhere on the site we had been discussing how these Sector 2814 collections are getting nearer and nearer to intersecting with Crisis on Infinite Earths, and then to the post-Crisis Green Lantern Corps collections, in which some of the characters still remembered pre-Crisis continuity (those stories are also in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 3). Anyway, hopefully the continuance of these John Stewart-focused Green Lantern trades suggest DC intends to keep the character around for a while, despite what rumors may suggest.

Legends of The Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Vol. 2 HC

Based on your feedback, these artist focused editions have been very popular; this volume collects self-contained stories from Brave and the Bold, which should cut down on some of the strangeness where these books collect stories with no beginning or ending because the spotlighted artist only handled one part.

And your New 52 collections for July:

DC Universe Presents: Vandal Savage TP

Rather excited for this one, both for the short stories in the DC Universe Presents zero issue, and also because James Robinson's take on a serial killer Savage and his criminal profilier daughter sounds like an epic combination.

Sword of Sorcery Vol. 1: Amethyst TP

Equally glad to see this done-in-one -- I really only wanted to sample the adventures of Amethyst, not delve into them long-term, so I'm glad it worked out (good for me, bad for the title, I guess).

Batwoman Vol. 3: World’s Finest HC
Captain Atom Vol. 2: Genesis TP
Green Lantern: Rise of the Third Army
Legion Lost Vol. 2: The Culling TP
Shazam! Vol. 1
Talon Vol. 1: Scourge of The Owls TP
Wonder Woman Vol. 3: Iron

Six months and counting till October ... What's on your must-read list for July?

Review: Voodoo Vol. 2: Killer in Me trade paperback (DC Comics)

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Monday, April 08, 2013

Voodoo Vol. 2: Killer in MeI liked Mike Costa’s Blackhawks: Great Leap Forward, though it only lasted one collection. Blackhawks fans like me will be pleased to find that Blackhawk leader Andrew Lincoln figures prominently into Josh Williamson’s Voodoo: Killer in Me. Different writer behind the character, of course, and neither Lincoln’s Blackhawk adventures nor any of the team’s other characters really factor in the book, though the status of the now-defunct ‘Hawks does get a mention once or twice (except Williamson, for some reason, calls them the “Black Hawks” instead, maybe to contract with Voodoo’s Black Razors).

Lincoln’s presence is only one of just a few reasons most readers will want to pick up the second Voodoo collection; most will probably be content to let this one lie. There’s a handful of continuity notes here, in the form of ties to DC Comics’s other Daemonite invasion-centered books like Superman and Grifter, but probably that’s not enough to net the book a wide audience, and this title’s cancellation is merciful.

Review: Superman/Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Superman/Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told[Guest reviewer Zach King blogs about movies as The Cinema King]

Say what you want about DC's Trinity or the Big 7, but for my money the superhero team-up tradition that started with the Justice Society of America reached its logical apex when Superman finally met Batman nearly fifteen years after they debuted on the scene. Though their relationship has changed significantly since the Silver Age, this partnership is enough to make your average comics fan say, "Avengers, schmavengers."

Published in the midst of the highly popular team-up series that began with Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness's "Public Enemies" arc, Superman/Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told seeks to gather the best of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight. And perhaps fittingly for a book centered around the World's Finest, this trade is one of the best in the series, hitting all the important notes and serving as a strong primer for what this partnership has looked like over the last 60 years. While some of the stories haven't aged very well, each justifies its own inclusion beyond the one-page introduction, and none is a wasted reading experience.

Review: Classic GI Joe Vol. 3 trade paperback (IDW Publishing)

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Classic GI Joe Vol. 3[Review by Doug Glassman]

By the time I was old enough to appreciate the G.I. Joe animated series, I was already too into Transformers and Power Rangers to really get invested in it. As a result, I don’t have too many memories of it. Instead, I was drawn back into the franchise a few years ago by the impressive “Pursuit of Cobra” toyline and I’ve been catching up on the classic G.I. Joe comics ever since. I reviewed the first two volumes of Classic G.I. Joe on my Tumblr, “Hell Yeah '80s Marvel!”, and I did that to get them out of the way so that I could review Volume 3 on Collected Editions.

The third volume of Classic G.I. Joe starts off with “Silent Interlude,” which is widely considered the greatest Joe story ever told. Done without dialogue and sound effects and drawn by Larry Hama himself, it follows Snake-Eyes as he rescues Scarlett from Destro’s castle. While the lack of dialogue is a bit gimmicky, the story itself is still excellent, with Scarlett freeing herself for the most part. Hama’s art is in a neat, scratchy style, and it’s a shame that he doesn’t do more penciling. The issue introduces the Red Ninjas (who for some reason hang from the ceiling like bats), the C.L.A.W. glider (made famous by the opening of G.I. Joe: The Movie), and a certain white ninja.

Trade Perspectives: How DC Comics Collects Crossovers in the New 52

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Diamond Previews November 2012: Justice League/Aquaman: Throne of AtlantisDC Comics is collecting crossovers in the New 52 probably just the way they should be, but in a way that's increasingly going to make readers crazy.

DC's crossover collection schema in the New 52 has tended to go one of three ways. For crossovers between two books (Stormwatch/Red Lanterns, Resurrection Man/Suicide Squad, etc.), DC collects the crossover issues from both series in both titles' collections, which is good if you just read one series and negates having to "trade-jump" between books.

For crossovers with a "main" title accompanied by tie-ins, DC tends to collect them like this:

Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family - Batman #13-17
Joker: Death of the Family - tie-in issues

Each of the tie in issues (Batgirl, Nightwing, etc.) are then also collected in their own individual series collections.

What's good about this is if I'm only interested in the very core story, I only need pick up the Batman book. If I'm generally interested in "Death of the Family," I could pick up the Batman and the Joker tie-in book. And if I already collect all the Bat-titles, I could pick up Batman and the other individual series, still be able to read the tie-ins, and not have had to buy anything extra to follow the crossover. Seems like a win.

Finally, when a crossover has no "main" book, however, but rather the parts are split between a couple of titles equally, the collections tend to look like this:

Green Lantern: Rise of the Third Army - Green Lantern #13-16, Green Lantern Corps #13-16, New Guardians #13-16, Red Lanterns #13-16, Green Lantern Corps Annual #1, pages from Green Lantern Annual #1
• Green Lantern: Wrath of the First Lantern - Green Lantern #17-18, Green Lantern Corps #17-20, Red Lanterns #17-20 and Green Lantern: New Guardians #17-20

Green Lantern Vol. 3: Rise of the Third Army - Green Lantern #13-20, #0
Green Lantern Corps Vol. 3: Rise of the Third Army - Green Lantern Corps #15-20, Green Lantern Corps Annual #1
Red Lanterns Vol. 3: Rise of the Third Army - Red Lanterns #13-20, #0
• Green Lantern: New Guardians Vol. 3: Rise of the Third Army - New Guardians #13-20, #0

Here, the first book collects just the "Rise of the Third Army" storyline and the second collects just the "Wrath of the First Lantern" story; and again, the individual series are collected alone in their own books.

What's good here is that, if I'm just a casual Green Lantern fan, I can pick up the two crossover volumes and get a full story in just two books. However, if I read the individual Green Lantern series, my choice is four collections, all of which only collect part of the crossovers -- so, I imagine, I'll have to flip back and forth between four collections to get a comprehensive story.

And also, the individual collections start coming out in October 2013 and finish in January 2014, so a Green Lantern fan would essentially have to sit on these books for four months until they could read the story in full.

Again, this is pretty fair -- whether you read all the series, one of the series, or just the crossover, DC has a solution for you that means you don't have to buy more than you should. Only, the reading experience might be awkward, and it might take awhile before you can read the books.

Real difficulties begin to arise in situations like with the "Young Justice" group "Culling" crossover:

Culling: Rise of the Ravagers - Legion Lost #8-9, Superboy #8-9, Teen Titans #8-9, Teen Titans Annual #1

Superboy Vol. 2: Extraction - #0, #8-12, Teen Titans #10
Teen Titans Vol. 2: The Culling - #0, #9-12, DC Comics Presents #12
Legion Lost Vol. 2: The Culling - #0, #8-16

Once again, there's a main book and then there's individual books, which is good. However, the Teen Titans annual, even given that it might be pertinent only to "Culling," is collected only in the main Titans book -- this might pose a problem for some completists. See also the "Throne of Atlantis" crossover:

Justice League Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis - Justice League #13-17, Aquaman #14-16
Aquaman Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis - Aquaman #14-16, #0, Justice League #15-17

The Justice League trade contains the same issues as the Aquaman trade (as solicited by DC) and the Aquaman trade contains a handful of the Justice League issues, so the Justice League trade would seem the one to read. The only difference is the Aquaman trade includes that book's zero issue -- so here again, for completists, in order to get the full Aquaman experience a reader would have to pick up an entire trade only to get one issue's difference.

How did we get from the good to the trouble?

I think the Green Lantern books have it right, in that everything that appears in the main collections also appears in the individual collections. Culling is closer -- in both the Culling and Green Lantern examples, I don't much like to have to "trade-jump," but I don't see a better solution; the Teen Titans Annual is a sticky widget, but probably unavoidable.

For someone with no interest in the crossovers at all, I doubt an individual collection of Legion Lost or Red Lanterns will read well, ducking in and out of the crossovers, but that's probably what someone who was only following an individual series on its own would want anyway, whether the reading experience makes good sense or not.

With Justice League and Aquaman, I sense on DC's part a reluctance to 1) collect the very same issues in two different books, or 2) to make a true crossover trade, like Justice League/Aquaman Vol. 3. The latter would be awkward, but it would work -- the eight issues collected in the individual Justice League trade would expand by one to include Aquaman #0, and the Aquaman trade could go away entirely.

Or it could be Justice League Vol. 3 and the Aquaman Vol. 3 label could be saved for issues #17 and on of Aquaman, or the book could just be called Throne of Atlantis (like Culling), still collect those nine issues, and both Aquaman and Justice League would continue with their third volumes later.

Take this pre-New 52 example:

Green Lantern: War of the Green Lanterns - Green Lantern #63-66, Green Lantern Corps #58-60, Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #8-10
War of the Green Lanterns Aftermath - Green Lantern Corps #61-63, Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #11-13, War of the Green Lanterns Aftermath #1-2

In essence, Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps and Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors didn't get their own invidual trades there, but rather they were combined in a crossover collection. That book finished Green Lantern, but then the last issues of Corps and Warriors were included in another "combination" collection that also included Aftermath.

I understand why DC doesn't want to go this route any more, giving each individual series their own sequential, numbered collections, but neither do I think any of us want an Aquaman trade for only one issue we can't find outside a Justice League trade.

What crossover books have you bought in the New 52? What do you think the problems and solutions for crossover collecting are?

Review: Stormwatch Vol. 2: Enemies of Earth trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, April 01, 2013

Stormwatch Vol. 2: Enemies of EarthStormwatch Vol. 2: Enemies of Earth is another of those DC Comics New 52 books juggling creative teams; after the first volume, Paul Cornell is out, and Peter Milligan takes over for this and the next trade before Jim Starlin will come on and essentially reboot the title in total (nearly the same thing is happening with Jeff Lemire on Green Arrow).

That the creative team is still in flux may give some readers pause to pick up Stormwatch just yet. Indeed Enemies of the Earth reads like a “getting settled” trade. The seven issues here make up five stories (two two-parters and three single issues); an occasional “done-in-one” is fine, but with three, Enemies feels like a collection of Stormwatch stories and not necessarily a Stormwatch book.