I consider the Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer/Fugitive collections a pretty seminal part of DC Comics trade history. These four total books were something of an experiment in which DC cut-and-pasted the relevant parts of a Batman crossover together (omitting irrelevant individual series stuff), such to make a sort of collage graphic novel. At a time when not every comic automatically went to trade, this kind of mixing and matching of tie-ins into a collective whole was revolutionary (though in reading it was a bit disjointed).
However, there were a number of comics left out of these trades for various reasons. Some weren't specifically labeled as tie-ins, but since the event affected the general status quo of the whole Batman line, most everything spoke to Murderer/Fugitive, even if in minor ways. One of the most notable was Batman #604, which served as a turning point in Fugitive but wasn't included in the trades.
For that reason, we at the homestead were very excited by DC's plans to release new, more complete editions of Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer and Fugitive, kind of like the new, more complete Knightfall and No Man's Land volumes. However, Collected Editions reader Kirk Kiefer (Tumblr) has alerted me that the solicitations for the new Murderer trade aren't quite accurate; the collection is missing at least one issue -- one that was included in a previous Fugitive trade -- and that the order of the issues in the book leaves a bit to be desired.
Here's Kirk's notes, originally posted on the Marvel Masterworks/Collected Editions Discuss Forums site:
So I just received the new Batman: Murderer tpb, the first of two TPB re-collecting the Murderer/Fugitive arc. The original trades edited issues (usually secondary titles like Batgirl) to only include pages relevant to the overall Murderer/Fugitive storyline, but left out entire important issues (like Batman 604) altogether. The solicits for the new trades looked good, but, as is pretty much always the case with DC nowadays, the solicits are purely theoretical and rarely (if ever?) an accurate listing of what is actually in the book. I had hoped that they'd just include everything, as I'd rather choose what issues or pages to skip than not be given the choice.Kirk goes on to say:
The new Murderer TPB unfortunately is another case of the solicits being wrong. It includes Detective Comics 769-770 but skips Detective Comics 768, the first of Greg Rucka's three part "Purity" storyline. The solicitations listed Detective Comics 766-767 as being in the new Murderer tpb (and they are), and 768-775 as being in the upcoming new Fugitive collection. They clearly decided to include more issues, but 768, for whatever bizarre reason, went AWOL and is not included in the new trade (though it was in the old trades). Even the Table of Contents is wrong, mislabelling 769 as "Purity Part 1" instead of part 2.
Purity 2-3 are in the book. The scene most integral to the Fugitive arc in Purity Part 1 is Montoya and Allen discussing the murder and deciding to go question Alfred. In part 2 they're at Wayne Manor questioning him. Obviously you can infer what happened, but it's still more integral than, say, the Robin issues they collected in full AND it's written by Greg Rucka, one of the guys behind the whole story. The first page of Purity Part 2 more or less sums up the main story from Part 1, so you won't be completely lost, but obviously you're still only getting 2 parts of a 3 part story. They deemed it important enough to include in the trades the first time around, so not sure why they decided to ditch it on this release.I've got to say, I'm pretty disappointed by Kirk's report, too -- and especially that the issue omitted is one by Greg Rucka, when Rucka's issues tied a lot into the end of the story even if they didn't seem to do so at the beginning.
Also stupid is the order of the issues; in the original collections they were even smart enough to put the entire Purity storyline together, since each issue immediately picks up from the proceeding one. In this collection parts 2 and the 3 are separated, so you end up on a cliffhanger with Purity part 2 (Tec 769) that has Batman with a gun to his head, go to Batgirl 27 which has Batman talking to Cass Cain, Nightwing 68, then Gotham Knights 28 which has Batman running around doing this and that and ends on a cliffhanger of Batman getting shot at and fighting zombies, THEN you get to Purity part 3 (Tec 770) which picks up immediately from the cliffhanger from part 2 of Purity. Earlier in the trade they had abandoned strictly chronological placing of the issues, putting Batman 601 and 602 together for example, so I'm not sure why they didn't do that for these issues.
Anyone else pick this up, and what did you think of the contents?
UPDATE: Kirk contacted Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, and he reports below that DiDio "told me that DC 'will be taking steps to recall and correct the Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer collection.'" Good news!