"What to read before Convergence" guides, you can find those at the link). I'm excited for Convergence, but I wonder if I'll be as excited once it actually comes around (and then, even later, when it's collected in trade). Right now, I think part of the intrigue, aside from seeing these lost characters again, is wondering how it will all end up and what happens next. Talking about solicitations, however, we're going to know "what's next" well before we crack the pages of Convergence; to that end, probably the time of most excitement for Convergence is right here and now. Probably this is a difficulty with the whole comics solicitations cycle in general; very often we already know the end of the story before we start reading.
Case in point is some of this month's trades -- if you're like me, you already know how Batman and Robin: The Hunt for Robin turns out, what event Superdoom teases, who appears in Flash: Out of Time, etc. This doesn't dampen my enthusiasm for reading any of these books, though I wonder if I'd have ended up enjoying them more if I didn't know what was what. Anyway, here's today's contestants:
• Batman and Robin Vol. 6: The Hunt for Robin HC
For me, Damian Wayne's sensationalized death somewhat cheapened the character for me, but his potential resurrection would seem to cheapen his death, so I guess I'm just determined not to be happy. It seems like a long way around for the Batman and Robin title to take nearly a year to undo Batman, Inc. and then continue telling its own stories -- can't help but think of that as kind of wheel-spinning -- but I have consistently liked Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason's work, so I imagine when I get right down to it, I'll like what they do here, too. This collects issues #29-34 plus the Robin Rises: Omega one-shot.
• Batman: Arkham – The Riddler TP
These stories do not particularly take place in Arkham Asylum, so one assumes here that "Arkham" in the title is meant to be a call out to the video game fans. That's an interesting (and perhaps unlikely) market for what's largely Golden and Silver Age stories, but I am intrigued by DC using collections strategies that usually go with movies (see the Superman vs. Zod collection) now for video games.
The older stories in this book do include the Riddler's first appearance. Notable are the exquisite Paul Dini stories from his short Detective Comics run. And the book also includes Scott Snyder's Villain's Month Riddler story, Batman #23.2, which has enough connection to Zero Year that I'm surprised this is the only place DC is collecting it.
• Superman: Action Comics Vol. 6: Superdoom HC
I just read the Green Lantern: Lights Out crossover by reading each title's individual trade on its own, which ultimately didn't serve the latter parts in the latter series very well. My understanding about the Superman: Doomed crossover is that it was pretty structured, such that I'm skeptical about reading just the Action Comics parts on their own (Action Comics #30-35 being a prelude and then part one of a couple different sub-stories). Also the Superman: Doomed one-shots aren't collected here, making me a little worried where and if they'll turn up.
• The Flash Vol. 6: Out of Time HC
If you need one more example of the Flash TV show's breakout strength, that the book remained in hardcover with the new team is it. I wasn't bowled over by Van Jensen and Robert Venditti's Green Lantern Corps, so I have some apprehension about what they'll do on Flash (I'm overdue to read their first collection), but of course I won't miss this one given who it introduces (it's a curious decision DC makes not to use the character's name in the marketing copy).
• Earth 2: World’s End Vol. 1 TP
Surprisingly, the first Earth 2: World's End volume only collects issues #1-11 (so says the solicitations), when the first Futures End volume collects issues #0-17 and the first Batman Eternal volume has issues #1-21. I guess starting a little later, Earth 2 has less ground to cover to fill a couple volumes, and it is about $10 cheaper per volume than the others. But, given that we know per Batman Eternal that DC can squeeze about double the amount of issues into a trade, I'd have preferred they just collected all of Earth 2: World's End at once.
• JLA Vol. 7 TP
Some of my favorite stories from JLA were collected in the previous volume, Joe Kelly's Obsidian Age storyline. In Vol. 7, though, notably, I think Kelly starts taking more chances, with the Batman/Wonder Woman romance, some politically-charged storylines, Martian Manhunter seemingly going rogue, and so on. If you liked the last one, I recommend this one too.
Issues #91-93 are by Dennis O'Neil, beginning the rotating creative teams era of JLA. Those three issues have never before been collected, but the next story, "Tenth Circle" by John Byrne and Chris Claremont, has been collected, as have most of the issues until the series end at #125. Given the lack of a consistent team, and that these remaining issues aren't as well regarded, I wonder if this might not be the last big JLA collection.
• JSA Omnibus Vol. 3 HC
I do appreciate DC going all in with these JSA Omnibus collections, though these last issues, including the very long "Thy Kingdom Come" story, are some of my least favorite. If I bought Vols. 1 and 2, I might not buy Vol. 3.
• Batman Adventures Vol. 2 TP
I'd have overlooked this one entirely, except that DC points out it includes Harley Quinn's first comics appearance. I'm not sure that's a "thing" necessarily -- it's a comic based on the cartoon, so of course the cartoon characters would appear; more notable to me is Harley's first in-continuity comics appearance, not the first time her ink met the paper. Still, given Harley's current popularity I'm sure this is a draw.
So that's what jumped out at me in this multiversal morass of a month -- what will you be picking up?