Review: War of the Green Lanterns: Aftermath hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

War of the Green Lanterns: Aftermath is a mixed bag. It added significantly to my enjoyment of War of the Green Lanterns itself, and for that I credit writer Tony Bedard (sharing book credits with Peter Tomasi). Bedard's contributions, however, also contain some troublesome moments; Tomasi delivers solid work, but the majority of it is entirely unrelated to War. In this way, Aftermath is a book headed in many different directions; I'm always glad when DC collects their comics, but the Aftermath collection is an unusual one.

[Contains spoilers]

The beginning of Bedard's two-issue Aftermath miniseries is quite moving. Bedard focuses on fan-favorite Kilowog in the opening scenes, using him as the through-way to depict the Green Lantern Corps's pain and mistrust of their Guardians, and vice-versa. Trauma due to mind control is hard to demonstrate, but Bedard personalizes it. Any time the Guardians's assistant Salaak disobeys them is also notable. Bedard has spotlighted former Guardian Ganthet throughout his Green Lantern Corps run, not always adroitly, but here the scenes believably present the Corps's conflict between their duty and their loss of faith.

Review: Amazing Spider-Man: The Fantastic Spider-Man hardcover/paperback (Marvel Comics)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

[Guest review by Doug Glassman]

In honor of the season premiere of Mad Men, I’ve decided to review a comic which has an inexplicable reference to the series.

Actually, The Fantastic Spider-Man was on my list of comics to get to eventually, but I need a break from the gargantuan Captain America: The Captain trade. I was holding back on this particular trade because it ties into Jonathan Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four and its sequel series, FF. At this point, I haven’t decided whether to go back and read Hickman’s Fantastic Four or just go ahead and start with volume one of FF, which I already have.

So how does The Fantastic Spider-Man fit in with that title? Well, as the cover shows, Spidey has joined up with the Future Foundation, the current incarnation of the Fantastic Four [... Fantastic Four, Inc.? -- ed.].

Review: Wonder Woman: Greatest Stories Ever Told trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, March 26, 2012

[Guest reviewer Zach King blogs about movies as The Cinema King]

Now that Superman and Batman have flown off, let's give the ladies a chance and have a look at what's been collected as Wonder Woman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told.

I'll be honest: Wonder Woman is probably the first-string JLA member about whom I've read the least (a handful of Perez and Simone volumes [you've gotta read the Rucka books! -- ed.]).  With her New 52 incarnation hitting it out of the park courtesy of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, however, I realize that the problem has been creators not knowing what to do with the character. After reading the "Greatest Stories," I see that it's been a problem for years; the stories here don't all give a sense of who Wonder Woman is, nor are all of the stories particularly great.

Ask Collected Editions #6: Who remembered Crisis on Infinite Earths?

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's time for another in our "Ask Collected Editions" series! On the Collected Editions Facebook page, DC Comics continuity's got Robin Armour all tied in knots. Let's see if we can help.

As always, if you have a question for "Ask Collected Editions," send an email to the Yahoo account or post it on the Collected Editions Facebook wall, and your question could be used in a future segment.

From Robin:
I was wondering if you could answer a long-standing question of mine that's been bugging me on and off for the past couple of years.

In Flash: Secret of Barry Allen and indeed Identity Crisis it is proposed, unless I am very much mistaken, that Barry Allen is the Flash that voted to wipe the memory of Doctor Light and effectively lobotomize him.

I find this a little hard to swallow given that for this to have been in continuity it would had to have happened before Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the DC Universe didn't start getting majorly gritty until after 1986. Up until recently I wasn't even certain if characters were aware of the Crisis or if they had just rebooted the whole continuity, starting the characters all over again -- I thought that was the whole point of Crisis?

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes: Consequences hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Legion of Super-Heroes: Consequences is a fine next chapter in Paul Levitz's ongoing Legion saga. I use the word "saga" specifically here, because indeed Levitz seems to be writing a Legion opus, as he's done before, that pays no real mind to the structures of issue nor collection. Consequences picks up some threads from the previous volume The Choice and entirely overlooks others; it also ends very suddenly, underlining that where the collection ends was not so much foremost in the mind of the author. It does not help the vague nature of this collection that in the hardcover, at least, some of the chapters are printed out of order.

The Legion of Super-Heroes titles remain at the top of my reading list, but Consequences is the kind of Legion collection that reinforces how much dedication it takes to be a Legion fan. You must be really invested to read a collection that follows these characters but bears little connection to the previous book. Consequences will leave ardent Legion fans hungry for the next volume, but I wonder if with this one we'll lose some of those that were on the fence.

Review: Invincible Iron Man Vol. 8: Unfixable hardcover/paperback (Marvel Comics)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

[Guest review by Doug Glassman]

Similar to the last volume, My Monsters, Invincible Iron Man: Unfixable puts the title in a holding pattern between the Heroic Age and Fear Itself. However, Unfixable does have what that volume lacked: a great core story for the majority of the book.

As indicated on the cover, Iron Man’s foe is Doctor Octopus. Yes, that’s Doc Ock. His new look was explained in Amazing Spider-Man as being caused by his body failing due to his various battles. This makes a lot of sense: after all, Doc Ock has never been the most physically fit of villains, and his arms are directly connected to his spine, which can’t be good for either his nervous system or his skeleton.

Top Legion of Super-Heroes trade paperbacks

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What are the best or most accessible Legion of Super-Heroes collections? If you had to pick the top ten (or so) greatest Legion of Super-Heroes trade paperbacks to read, what would they be? We've tried to answer this question already with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern, and Justice League (plus our top ten DC trades with female protagonists); now we're going to give a Legion of Super-Heroes trade reading order a shot.

The Legion is unique in the DC Universe, second only to the New Gods in its own engrained mythology. Batman fights the Joker and sometimes Superman does too, but there's hordes of heroes special just to the Legion, not to mention villains like Nemesis Kid, Dr. Regulus, and Tyr, rarely been seen outside Legion comics.

But despite the characters being set apart in the future, DC has perennially published the Legion title (often even more than one). Creators and stalwart fans thrive on Legion trivia. It's not hard to see why; I am new to Legion fandom, but the tapestry on which the stories are built is so rich, and the universe so engagingly expansive, that I think Legion titles will always have a place on my reading list now.

I am far from a Legion expert -- I'll provide links to some of those at the end of this post, who can likely answer any Legion question you'll ever have, ever -- but I think my new Legion fandom is a benefit in this instance. What follows are suggestions from a new Legion fan, not a seasoned follower, and in that way maybe I can better help those just starting to read about the Legion of Super-Heroes.

To wit, I believe can be entirely caught up with the Legion with just these books, all but two of which published in the last couple years:

* Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga
* Legion of Super-Heroes: The Curse
* Justice League of America, Vol. 2: The Lightning Saga
* Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes
* Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds
* DC Comics Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes #2
* Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton Vol. 1
* Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton Vol. 2
* Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes: The Early Years
* Legion of Super-Heroes: The Choice
* Legion of Super-Heroes: Consequences
* Legion of Super-Heroes: When Evil Calls

DC New 52

* Legion of Super-Heroes: Hostile World
* Legion Lost: Run From Tomorrow

(Enter sound of true Legion fans weeping for all that I've just skipped over.)

What you have above in Great Darkness and Curse are part of writer Paul Levitz's 1980s run on Legion ("Great Darkness" is considered one of DC's all-time classic stories); the rest are Geoff Johns's post-Infinite Crisis relaunch and Levitz's current modern run on the title. Legion continuity got a little confusing, to say the least, shortly after Great Darkness, but Johns's relaunch preserves Darkness and then picks up fresh from that point. Levitz's The Choice refers back to Darkness also.

If you want to hit the ground running, catch up on the Legion and their major characters and relationships, and be able to read the DC New 52 Legion titles, this is all you need.

But of course, there's so. much. more.

The Golden Age of the Legion

There is a lot of Legion you could read. A lot. That is, there's thirteen Archives editions (with Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 13 coming out in May). These would take you from the Legion's earliest appearance in 1958's Adventure Comics #247 all the way to Legion stories published in the late 1970s, Paul Levitz's first run on the series, and important adventures too numerous to list, some still in continuity, including the death and resurrection of Lightning Lad, the death of Ferro Lad, the introduction of Brainiac 5 and others, the marriage of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, and on, and on.

No kidding, you could read back issues of Legion forever, and it's a testament to the team's popularity that DC has released so many collections. Material from the first nine Archives is also collected in four black-and-white Showcase Presents volumes, plus a special DC Comics Classics Library: The Life and Death of Ferro Lad hardcover (which duplicates some material from Showcases vols. 2 and 3, or Archives vols. 5 and 6).

Legion Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths

* Legion of Super-Heroes: An Eye for an Eye
* Legion of Super-Heroes: The More Things Change
* Superman: The Man of Steel, Vol. 4

DC has released two Legion collections that take place just after Great Darkness and The Curse and just before Crisis on Infinite Earths, Eye for an Eye and The More Things Change. The Legion titles, at this time, had split into Legion and Tales, and the two books only collect the Legion issues, which lessens their readability somewhat, though these are good stories of the Legion versus the Legion of Super-Villains. I'm still hoping DC will release deluxe hardcovers, like Great Darkness, of both the Legion and Tales stories from this era.

Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, Superman had never been Superboy and therefore wasn't a member of the Legion. DC revised the Legion's history through the machinations of a villain called the Time Trapper, and this collection of the John Byrne-era Superman stories includes Legion issues and a post-Crisis Superman/Legion team-up. Other than this, precious little of the post-Crisis (including Keith Giffen's famous "Five Years Later" Legion and a spin-off Legionnaires title starring back-to-basics Legion clones) has been collected.

Legion Post-Zero Hour

* Legion of Super-Heroes: The Beginning of Tomorrow
* Final Night
* DC Comics Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes #1
* Legion Lost
* The Legion: Foundations
* Teen Titans: The Future is Now

DC rebooted the Legion completely after the Zero Hour crossover (as they maybe should have done after Crisis). Only basically the beginning of this series is collected and the end; the Legion and Legionnaires titles shuttered with the "Legion of the Damned" storyline, and then DC relaunched the franchise (though not the continuity) with the excellent Legion Lost miniseries that followed from "Damned," and then a new series just called Legion. (Maybe two years in, this Legion factored heavily in the Final Night crossover.) The Connor Kent Superboy guest-starred with this Legion in Foundations, a poor riff on Great Darkness Saga, before this Legion was lost in time and the series ended as of the Teen Titans trade.

"Threeboot" Legion

* Legion of Super-Heroes: Teenage Revolution
* Legion of Super-Heroes: Death of a Dream
* Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes: Strange Visitor from Another Century
* Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes: Adult Education
* Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes: The Dominator War
* Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes: The Quest for Cosmic Boy
* Legion of Super-Heroes: Enemy Rising
* Legion of Super-Heroes: Enemy Manifest

Called such because it would be the third from-scratch version of the Legion, the "Threeboot" series was written by Mark Waid with no connection to any previous Legion series. The first volumes, especially, are quite good, and I credit this series with sparking my own interest in the Legion. Waid portrays the Legion as a youthful political movement in a way I hadn't considered the Legion before, and his take is definitely more "space opera" than action series, much like that of Levitz. The final books by classic Legion writer Jim Shooter are also good enough, though Shooter quite famously feuded with DC towards the end and even had his name removed from some issues.

The second and third Legions are interesting and relevant, in that the second interacted with the DCU and Superboy and the third interacted with the post-Crisis Supergirl, but they're not imperative reading if your only goal is to catch-up with the present. All three Legions appear, as the name suggests, in the Legion of Three Worlds series, though the original and current Legion is the most prominent of the three.

Further Legion reading and resources

* Legion of Super-Heroes: 1,050 Years of the Future

* Teenagers from the Future: Essays on the Legion of Super-Heroes

* The Legion Omnicon
* Legion Abstract
* Legion of Substitute Podcasters
* Legion Wiki

Published for the fiftieth anniversary of the Legion, 1,050 Years of the Future collects stories from about every Legion era. The first appearance is in there and the aforementioned death of Lightning Lad story, as well as material from the post-Zero Hour team. The volume came out in 2008, however, so nothing from the "Threeboot" nor Geoff Johns-reboot series.

Teenagers from the Future is a collection of essays on Legion stories and themes, many by popular authors and bloggers around the 'Net (edited by GeniusboyFiremelon and ComicBookResources's Tim Callahan). I've been holding a copy of this on my shelf for a long while until I'm more familiar with the Legion; now that I've read through Great Darkness Saga, it's probably about time to crack it open.

And then there's a brain trust of Legion sites. Back in 2008, Collected Editions crossed over with the Legion Omnicom for a series of trivia questions supporting a week of Legion reviews (thanks Michael!). I've visited/listened to the other sites throughout my reading when I've been trying to figure various things out (Why does White Witch look like that if she's Dream Girl's sister? Who was Andromeda again?) -- check 'em out!

So that's my Legion run-through. Whew! Hopefully that gives new or confused Legion fans a better idea where to start. If you've got additional Legion questions, just ask, and I'll do my best to answer them. And coming up, our review of Legion of Super-Heroes: Consequences.

Review: DC Comics Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes #2 comic book

Monday, March 19, 2012

I liked Geoff Johns's recent Legion "reboot" -- bringing the classic Legion into modern continuity -- and I liked the first volume of Paul Levitz's return to the Legion title. Bridging the stories of those two writers, or so I thought, were a couple of backup tales by Johns from the Adventure Comics series; I was pleased when DC Comics solicited DC Comics Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes #2, collecting those stories.

Unfortunately, what this volume revealed is that Levitz's first new Legion collection, The Choice -- while entertaining -- picks and chooses from Johns's stories, at times outright ignoring them. That's Levitz's prerogative as the Legion writer, but having followed Johns's Legion to this point, the fact that Levitz doesn't sync up leaves some plotlines terribly unresolved.

Ask Collected Editions #5: DC Comics New 52's JSA/JLA generation gap

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's time for another in our "Ask Collected Editions" series! Responding to my interview with Ridiculously Awesome about the DC TPB Timeline ebook, Glint asked my opinion about the loss of "generations" in the DC New 52.

As always, if you have a question for "Ask Collected Editions," send an email to the Yahoo account or post it on the Collected Editions Facebook wall, and your question could be used in a future segment.

From Glint:
In your Ridiculously Awesome interview, much of which made me smile, you mention how the New 52 no longer has that generations of superheroes aspect. I know it's early days yet, but is that a problem as far as your concerned?

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes: The Curse deluxe hardcover (DC Comics)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The stories collected in the deluxe Legion of Super-Heroes: The Curse are not what you would traditionally find within a deluxe book. I enjoy the oversized format, but there's a lack of event status here that usually underlies collecting a book in this way. That the story for which this book is named appears only at the very end of the volume, and has little to do with the rest of the book, further reinforces what a strange and arbitrary choice it was to produce this collection at all.

Yet still, I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I'd entirely purchase another volume if DC Comics saw fit to continue this collection series.

[Contains spoilers]

The Curse is a fair sequel to DC's previous deluxe Legion book, The Great Darkness Saga, in that Curse cleans up a number of Darkness's dangling plotlines: the redemption of Chameleon Boy, for one; the fruition of Darkseid's curse; and the revelation of an impostor in the Legion's midst. This latter item makes clearer a bunch of strange scenes in Darkness, so in this way Curse is a good buy for Darkness fans. Curse would be a poor collection to read on its own, however; most of what concludes in Curse begins in Darkness, and whereas Darkness has an element of self-containment, most of Curse's narrative power comes in finishing stories begun in the first volume.

Invincible Iron Man: My Monsters Vol. 7 hardcover/paperback (Marvel Comics)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

[Guest review by Doug Glassman]

When we last saw Tony Stark, his mind had been rebooted thanks to some help from the Avengers and his own guilt. I’ve decided to skip the Iron Man Stark Resilient books (volumes five and six) because, to be honest, they’re a bit of a slog. Matt Fraction is telling one very long story with these books, and while everything does interlock nicely, both World’s Most Wanted and Stark Resilient were heavily padded out. Each could have been shortened by two or three issues without losing any major details.

At some point, I may go back and review volumes five and six, but they aren’t really necessary to read Invincible Iron Man Vol. 7: My Monsters, which is very much a standalone. In fact, this trade is an unusual collection, containing Invincible Iron Man’s first annual, issue #500 and issue #500.1, plus a back-up story from a later issue. I find that Marvel’s “Point One” concept is rather silly, and I think that they would be better off either publishing a book twice a month or creating extra-long specials. However, no matter how they do it, I like that we can get more out of each story.

Everybody's Talking about the DC Trade Paperback Timeline ebook

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

To steal a line from our friends at the Source blog, the DC Comics Trade Paperback Timeline ebook launched with a bang, and I've been so excited by the attention it's received and the new readers it's brought to my timeline efforts.

Among the highlights are an interview I just completed at the Ridiculously Awesome blog, where we talked all things timeline and how new readers can approach the DC Universe. From the interview:
What made you want to put together a chronology of DC’s trades?

I started “waiting for the trade” a few years before I began the Collected Editions blog. I was tired of waiting six months to finish reading a story in single issues, and also of all the advertisements in the issues. A couple years later when DC and many other publishers began releasing collections routinely (as I talk about in the introduction to the DC Trade Paperback Timeline ebook), there was greater continuity between trades; DC published trades that were specifically branded as tie-ins to event miniseries, for instance, or characters would finish an arc in one trade and their story would continue in another. This cross-trade continuity was interesting to me, and I created the timeline so that I and others could keep track of how DC’s trades fit together from the beginning of the current DC Universe to the present.

Were there any anomalies that you encountered as far as continuity?

I encountered plenty of anomalies working on the timeline — that’s part of what makes it so useful and fun! The Hawkworld anomaly is one famous one (one Hawkman appears from Legends through Hawkworld, and then that Hawkman is retroactively replaced by another one). There’s lots of times that books published at the same time don’t fit, like when Superboy Connor Kent is resurrected after Final Crisis but the Teen Titans title acts like he’s dead almost until Blackest Night. There’s also plenty of changes to continuity as the timeline progresses — Superman gets a couple new origins and so does Green Lantern, and these changes are presented at the appropriate time to read them.

So where would you recommend someone just getting into the DC universe to start reading?

In terms of how to start reading about the DC Universe, I encourage fans to jump in anywhere. I learned about the DC Universe by reading and then reading more and reading back issues, and I reject the notion that comics continuity scares off new readers; instead I think part of the joy is finding references you don’t understand and reading older stories to fill in the gaps. Crossovers (or their aftermaths) are good places to start reading, however; DC created a “jumping on” point for their titles just after Infinite Crisis, but starting at the beginning of Countdown to Infinite Crisis is good too. Adventurous readers, however, could start just after Zero Hour or even with Legends, the first crossover of the post-Crisis on Infinite Earth’s DC universe. Of course, the DC New 52 relaunch is also designed with new readers in mind.
Check it all out at Ridiculously Awesome.

Johanna Draper Carlson also mentioned the DC TPB Timeline ebook on Comics Worth Reading as part of their "digital and webcomics" coverage.

And on the audio side, check out Chris Marshall's recent Collected Comics Library podcast where Chris also reviews the DC Timeline ebook (if you're digitally-inclined, Chris has a Collected Comics Library app, too!).

i'm also grateful to long-time reader Mark Simms, whose review of the DC TPB Timeline ebook on Smashwords calls the timeline "a sensible order to read the stories of this shared universe, often with justification, but without spoiling any of the storylines ... Perfect for those trips to the comic or book store, when you're not sure what you should read next." Thanks, Mark!

There's lots more coming up related to the DC Comics Trade Paperback Timeline -- stay tuned!

DC Trade Solicitations for June 2012

So how about that new DC Comics website?

DC released their trade solicitations for June 2012 yesterday, and as has become pretty much the norm lately, there's a whole lot of DC New 52 material and not much else. I am excited to read the New 52 books, but I hope that after the first round is collected, we begin to see more balanced collection offerings from DC -- not just new stuff and second printings of old collections, but newer and richer collections as well.

* Absolute Batman and Robin: Batman Reborn

DC's big offering for the month is the Absolute-sized collection of Grant Morrison's run on Batman and Robin. This'll be a beauty, no doubt, though I'm hesitant to trade in my deluxe volumes for it (would I feel differently if DC had released just regular hardcovers and not deluxe?). Either way, looks like the only extras this includes are the same as were in the hardcovers -- this was been a topic of some debate on the Collected Editions Facebook page, whether by virtue of being Absolute these volumes should always carry some extras not found elsewhere.

* The Flash Omnibus by Geoff Johns Vol. 3

I'm surprised, but it looks like this is the last Flash Omnibus. For some reason I thought the Flash Omnibus series was definitely four volumes, but this book collects through issue #225 (at least according to solicitations), and that's the end of Geoff Johns's run writing Flash Wally West, at least. Again, according to solicitations at least, this volume collects Flash: Ignition (one of my personal favorites), Flash: The Secret of Barry Allen (with ties to Identity Crisis) and Flash: Rogue War.

(I'm perhaps even more curious to see how much New Teen Titans will be collected in those omnibuses. To "Siege of the Zi Charam?" ... Probably not.)

* The Invisibles Omnibus

If you missed Zach King's series for Collected Editions on the Invisibles, take a moment to catch up. I didn't know much about Invisibles beforehand, but Zach's enthusiasm had me eager to check it out, and it sounds like it's required reading before picking up Grant Morrison's Supergods. Only, hopefully DC has their binding issue worked out by then, because this is a super-thick book (over 1,500 pages) and it don't want it to be more difficult to read than it has to be.

* Superman - Action Comics Vol. 1: Superman and the Men of Steel
* Batwing Vol. 1: The Lost Kingdom
* Demon Knights Vol. 1: Seven Against the Dark
* Grifter Vol. 1: Most Wanted
* Men of War Vol. 1: Uneasy Company
* Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth

The next round of DC New 52 books. Action Comics is the star there, of course, the one I'm most highly anticipating, though Demon Knights is also high on my list. Men of War is a "done in one," essentially, now being cancelled; I'll be giving Suicide Squad one book to see if it impresses. I'm eager for Grifter mainly because I like the general idea of the Wildstorm universe merging with the DCU. And of course, I keep on rooting for former Outsiders writer Judd Winick, so we'll see how Batwing goes.

* DC Comics Presents: Superman/Supergirl #1

After we didn't see any DC Comics Presents volumes for a couple months, I thought these were more or less dead, but here's another (timed, perhaps, to coincide with Super Best Friends Forever on Cartoon Network, though I fear we'd have another "character in the comics is weirder and more sexualized than character on TV" on our hands). Superman/Batman #19 and Supergirl #1 are essentially Supergirl #0-1, the start of the character's new series. Superman #176 is a curious inclusion, a story in the wake of "Our Worlds at War" that doesn't include Supergirl at all (she wasn't around then; it's Superman talking to a counselor), but is written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Ian Churchill, the team on the Supergirl issues.

* Wonder Woman: The Twelve Labors

As I mentioned before, this 1970s storyline returned Wonder Woman to her classic look after the Diana Prince era. Had I the choice, I'd as soon see DC's collection release list filled with items like this -- notable but maybe relatively unknown stories from DC's history that illuminate current events, rather than new collections of material that's already been collected a dozen times over. To wit ...

* JLA Vol. 2

I'm sure Justice League books sell pretty well, what with the Doom movie and all, and especially Justice League books with Grant Morrison's name on them, but we've already seen this material collected in paperback and hardcover and now here it is in paperback again. Surely this will sell, but it seems like an also ran on this list of mostly "run of the mill" collections.

The sole bright spot in this one, to correct myself, is the inclusion of the JLA/WILDCats crossover. Irrespective of Grant Morrison's writing, I always thought Val Semeiks art was too stilted for this, and it's struck me as more wooden of a DC/Wildstorm crossover than I would have expected from Morrison. However, with characters like Grifter now appearing in the DC Universe proper, surely the "first meeting" of these teams must hold some interest.

* Showcase Presents Rip Hunter, Time Master Vol. 1

1960s stories from Showcase and the Rip Hunter, Time Master series, including Rip's first appearance.

* Green Arrow Vol. 1: Into the Woods
* Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors Vol. 1
* Wonder Woman: Odyssey Vol. 1

Your paperback re-releases for the month. Some ambitious reader should look at what books from this DC did and didn't release in paperback after the hardcover publication -- that we lost the paperback of Justice League: Generation Lost Vol. 1, for instance, speaks to DC letting go of that Justice League International in favor of the new one. On the other hand, JT Krul's now out-of-continuity Green Arrow stories seem to warrant paperbacks -- we can't say that's entirely because of the Brightest Day crossover since, again, Generation Lost didn't make it to paperback. Another thing to watch is exactly how many of these make it to publication.

So, another month, another slew of DC New 52 collections and not much else (not, entirely, that there's anything wrong with that). What're you buying this month?

Ad incorrectly states hardcover Flashpoint tie-ins

Monday, March 12, 2012

Those of us who like hardcover collections almost (but not quite) got their way this month.

Back when DC first announced the Flashpoint tie-in collections, they were listed as hardcovers, though we quickly learned they'd actually be paperbacks. The Flashpoint hardcover was released last October, and the Flashpoint paperback would be released in March with the tie-in paperbacks.

I like uniformity on my shelf and I was happy to have hardcover tie-in collections along with the main event, as with Blackest Night. I was disappointed when these changed to paperback, though it makes financial sense for DC Comics given how little impact the "Flashpoint universe" has had so far and how Flashpoint has been greatly overshadowed by the DC New 52 books that followed.

We got a glimmer of hope that maybe things had changed back again with an advertisement in recent DC issues that promised "six hardcover collections" of Flashpoint and its tie-ins (scan pending). I was skeptical because for those who might have pre-ordered the Flashpoint books, DC would either have to cancel or deliver hardcovers for paperback price, neither of which seemed likely -- though I was still hopeful.

Alas, it seems it was just a typo, because more recent copies of the same advertisement have the phrase changed to "six paperback collections." Here's the corrected advertisement:

Corrected Flashpoint collections advertisement

As you can see, a single word change, and we're back where we were before. The Flashpoint paperback and tie-in collections will be out later this month.

* Flashpoint
* Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Batman
* Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Superman
* Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Wonder Woman
* Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring Green Lantern
* Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint Featuring The Flash

I'm picking 'em up, but I know they're not real popular at this point. Anyone else going in for these?

(Thanks to Speed Force for the tip and Kent Hare for the scans!)

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga deluxe hardcover (DC Comics)

I've finally read Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga, probably much later than I should have. I've read most of DC Comic's other legendary greats, like Sandman or New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, but I'm a late-blooming Legion fan and never felt the urgency to pick it up.

It's probably good, as a matter of fact, that I waited this long, until DC released the recent deluxe edition of Great Darkness Saga. The deluxe edition includes Legion issues #284-296 and the annual, while previous editions collected mainly just #290-294. Those issues do present the "Great Darkness" story, but I imagine to read those alone I would have had a lot to look up afterward. What this deluxe edition adds to "Great Darkness" doesn't greatly enrich the main story, but it at least sets the scene for the Legion before the main event.

Review: Batman: Noel graphic novel (DC Comics)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

[Welcoming guest reviewer Zaid Alawi, who very occasionally posts his ramblings, thoughts, and stories on his personal site, Frakking Off.]

One of the most anticipated Batman releases this past year was Lee Bermejo's original graphic novel, Batman: Noel. Batman fans know Bermejo as the artist who collaborated with writer Brian Azzarello in the original hardcover Joker a few years back. This time around, it's a solo effort, as Bermejo's taken over the writing duties as well.

Noel is an adaptation of Charles Dickens's classic story, A Christmas Carol, set in Gotham City, with the Dark Knight fulfilling the role of Scrooge. Most audiences will probably be familiar with the oft-adapted Christmas Carol's basic story -- Scrooge, a miserly old man is confronted by the ghost of his longtime friend and business partner, who tells him that he must repent his miserable ways or else face eternal damnation. Scrooge is then visited by three spirits (representing the past, present, and future, respectively), and ultimately learns his lesson and becomes a new man -- friendlier, kind-hearted, and generous in spirit.

Review: Carnage: Family Feud hardcover/paperback (Marvel Comics)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

[Guest review by Doug Glassman]

Sometimes, all it takes to revive a good, but overused villain is some downtime. For instance, the Mandarin went unused in the pages of Iron Man for years because the writers and editors had difficulty reconciling his deep Communist roots with the post-Cold War world. John Byrne then brought him back for the epic “Dragon Seed Saga” and cemented him as Iron Man’s greatest nemesis once again.

Similarly, Carnage was one of Spider-Man’s most formidable villains ... in theory. In practice, his overexposure led to him becoming more of a joke and annoyance. When he was ripped in half and sent off into space by the Sentry in the pages of New Avengers, a good section of the fanbase wished him “good riddance.” But that was all the way back in 2005, and as per good old Marvel tradition, Carnage has returned. The explanation for all of this comes in issue four of Carnage: Family Feud, and it makes sense considering what we know about symbiotes.

Review: Batman: The Dark Knight: Golden Dawn deluxe hardcover (DC Comics)

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Monday, March 05, 2012

That David Finch draws pretty pictures is not at issue here. Batman: The Dark Knight: Golden Dawn, the deluxe edition, is a visual feast. From Finch's depiction of Batman's new costume, to Finch's unique take on some of Batman's rogues, to his grotesque supernatural characters, to the sheer scope and detail of Finch's work as presented in this over-sized format, Golden Dawn is a joy to look at.

Coming at the cusp of the DC New 52 relaunch, however, Finch and Dark Knight find themselves the inheritors of all sorts of thorny issues.

Finch has been primarily an artist, given Dark Knight to write as part of the DC New 52's controversial trend toward writer/artists. However, almost as soon as Dark Knight was relaunched, Finch ceded writing duties to Paul Jenkins and then Gregg Hurwitz.

Though Finch has had a significant comics career already, his work wasn't known to me prior to his exclusive DC contract. What I saw of his art in the beginning was a now-infamous Justice League cover in which Wonder Woman is smaller and more sexually styled than the other characters, and some Brightest Day covers where the women were again sexually styled and to an extent cookie-cutter copies of one another. This at a time when DC is taking some heat for their portrayal of women.

What I Really Do: Superman

Friday, March 02, 2012

See also Batman.

What I Really Do: Batman

See also Superman.

Green Lantern: Sector 2814 is Dave Gibbons spotlight book

One of the few surprises in DC's recent Fall 2012 trade solicitations was Green Lantern: Sector 2814 Vol. 1, a collection of early 1980s Green Lantern stories by Len Wein. I'm glad to see a collection of this mostly-uncollected period of Green Lantern history, but its inclusion on the DC list amidst all the DC New 52 books seemed fairly random.

It turns out you can thank Before Watchmen for this one.

Well ... maybe not Before Watchmen per se, but despite the fact that Sector 2814 also includes art by Dick Giordano and possibly also Gil Kane, the impetus for this collection appears to be Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, and I can't believe the timing is all that coincidental ...

Review: Batman and Robin: Dark Knight vs. White Knight hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Batman and Robin: Dark Knight vs. White Knight, the final pre-Flashpoint volume of the title, offers three three-part stories by three different writers, mostly in a classic Batman style. That is, Peter Tomasi's titular story and Paul Cornell's contribution both introduce Batman Dick Grayson and Robin Damian Wayne to weird new rogues, with considerable space given over to their origins, reminiscent of old Shadow of the Bat stories. In the third story, Judd Winick returns to pen Red Hood Jason Todd, bringing some tie to Winick and Grant Morrison's versions of the character.

They are none of them poor stories, but neither do they much move forward this Batman and Robin. In the space between the return of Bruce Wayne and the DC New 52 universe, Batman and Robin bides its time, enjoyably but not ground-breakingly.