Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My Comics Project Update: March 2017

As part of my on-going comics project, I update monthly with what comics I bought and anything weird or interesting I stumbled across. Each post will have a running list, and I'll update with the new titles and where they fall chronologically.

I came up with the order of the books from this comment of all the Batman trades in chronological order (up to Flashpoint), this trade reading order list for Superman, and this one for Batman. I judged the rest for myself based on release dates and what the story depicted.

I want this list functional and readable, so I didn't focus on perfect chronological order. I tried to keep decent chunks of individual runs together where possible, then backtrack chronologically if necessary for a chunk of a different title--except in cases where something important was introduced, like a character dying, coming back to life, etc.

Below you'll see the list of canon DC titles that I own at this point. The ones in bold are the ones that I got this month.

  1. Crisis On Infinite Earths
  2. Batman: Dark Victory
  3. Batman: The Killing Joke, Deluxe Edition
  4. Justice League International, Vol. 1
  5. Justice League International, Vol. 2
  6. Justice League International, Vol. 3
  7. Justice League International, Vol. 4
  8. The Death of Superman
  9. Batman: Knightfall, Vol. 1
  10. Impulse: Reckless Youth
  11. Justice League: A League of One
  12. JLA Titans: Technis Imperative
  13. Young Justice: A League of Their Own
  14. Birds of Prey, Vol. 1: Of Like Minds
  15. Superman/Batman Vol. 1: Public Enemies
  16. Superman/Batman Vol. 2: Supergirl
  17. JLA: The Hypothetical Woman
  18. Teen Titans Vol. 1: A Kid's Game
  19. Teen Titans Vol. 2: Family Lost
  20. Teen Titans Vol. 3: Beast Boys and Girls
  21. Teen Titans Vol. 4: The Future is Now
  22. Teen Titans/Outside​rs: The Insiders
  23. Teen Titans: The Death and Return of Donna Troy
  24. The OMAC Project (Countdown to Infinite Crisis)
  25. Infinite Crisis
  26. Teen Titans Vol. 5: Life and Death
  27. Supergirl Vol. 1
  28. Batman: Face the Face by James Robinson
  29. Teen Titans, Vol. 6: Titans Around the World
  30. Teen Titans, Vol. 7: Titans East
  31. Superman: Up, Up, and Away!
  32. Superman: Back in Action
  33. Superman: Last Son of Krypton
  34. Superman: Camelot Falls, Vol. 1
  35. Superman: Camelot Falls (Vol. 2)
  36. Superman: The Third Kryptonian
  37. Superman: Redemption
  38. Superman: Escape from Bizarro World
  39. Superman: Shadows Linger
  40. Blue Beetle (Book 1): Shellshocked
  41. Blue Beetle (Book 2): Road Trip
  42. Blue Beetle (Book 3): Reach for the Stars
  43. Teen Titans, Vol. 8: Titans of Tomorrow
  44. Blue Beetle (Book 4): Endgame
  45. Batman: Batman and Son
  46. Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul
  47. Batman R.I.P.
  48. Final Crisis
  49. Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds
  50. Teen Titans Spotlight: Raven
  51. Wonder Woman: The Circle
  52. Time Masters: Vanishing Point
  53. Superman: Action Comics, Vol. 1: Superman and the Men of Steel
  54. Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin (The New 52)
  55. Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls
  56. Batman Vol. 2: The City of Owls
  57. Batgirl Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection (The New 52)
  58. Batgirl Vol. 2: Knightfall Descends
  59. Batwing Vol. 1: The Lost Kingdom
  60. Justice League Vol. 2: The Villain's Journey
  61. Justice League International Vol. 1: The Signal Masters
  62. Aquaman Vol. 1: The Trench (The New 52)
  63. Aquaman Vol. 2: The Others (The New 52)
  64. Aquaman Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis (The New 52)
  65. Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family
  66. Batgirl Vol. 3: Death of the Family
  67. The Movement Vol. 1: Class Warfare (The New 52)
  68. Justice League United Vol. 1: Justice League Canada
  69. Justice League United Vol. 2: The Infinitus Saga
  70. Batgirl Vol. 4: Wanted (The New 52)
  71. Secret Six Vol. 1: Friends in Low Places
  72. Bizarro
  73. Cyborg Vol. 1: Unplugged

Like I said last month, I'm trying to get the four major events of the DC universe--the three Crises books and Flashpoint. There are other important events--Zero Hour resulted in Hal Jordan turning evil and disappearing/dying for a long time in comics continuity and Convergence set the stage for DC Rebirth as well as bringing Preboot Superman into the New 52 continuity. But those weren't the big continuity rewriting events that the Crises books and Flashpoint were. Those are also kind of the way I divide the modern era of DC comics.

As you can see, I FINALLY got Final Crisis. It was pretty terrible. What I'm learning is Grant Morrison is, at best, a writer whom I finish and say, "I think this is what happened??" I don't need stuff spoonfed to me, but stories should generally have a followable sequence and boy Morrison can't do that to save his life. At least the Batman books--Batman and Son, Al Ghul, and RIP--Morrison is staying focused on one story-ish. With Final Crisis and all of the goddamned cosmos and the entirety of DC's roster at his disposal, the book spins out into a series of events that become so abstract and difficult to follow, so jumpy and choppy, that by the end of the book, I closed it, set it aside, and actually said, "...what?" outloud.

The ONLY thing I got out of it was that Batman died, but not really because he got kicked back in time to the caveman era because comics and because there's no way DC would actually kill off their biggest cash cow.

I got the next volume in Teen Titans--I am at this point, about halfway through collecting the run started by Geoff Johns in 2003. I was very glad that I caught up and read Blue Beetle volumes 3 and 4 before I bought or read Teen Titans volume 8 because it turns out Blue Beetle volume 3 overlaps with Teen Titans volume 8. There's one issue in particular in volume 3 of Blue Beetle the features the Teen Titans. And when reading Teen Titans volume 8, I was surprised to see portions of that issue were included, and then Blue Beetle keeps showing up in the subsequent issues, which is great! Jaime in the Teen Titans finally!

I have two more volumes of the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle to get and I will be finished with that run until Rebirth. I have no desire to collect the New 52 Blue Beetle. No Ted, Jaime hides his powers from his parents, almost kills one of his friends. Just...nope nope nope.

I also got JLI volume 4--the last one I'm worried about since volume 5 is far more expensive than I'm willing to spend and volume 6 ends with a cliffhanger. There is no volume 7. This means that besides trying to track down the volumes of Birds of Prey that Ted pops up in, the next Ted Kord stuff that I really need to collect is 52 and I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League. I don't care to get the follow up to that one either, Formerly Known as the Justice League, because from the reviews it's a weaker retread of Can't Believe and more sexist, which I'm good without. I get enough of that in the otherwise decent comics I already collect.

I also got The Killing Joke from my LCS because it was super cheap and...I dunno...it's a classic? It leads to the creation of Oracle--although it should not get any credit for that since it was another writer coming along to try to fix that mess. I just got it for completeness since it is so seminal, if unintentionally so.

My quick review: The Killing Joke is overhyped garbage. It was interesting to see a back story to the Joker, but it was honestly too short to effectively tell the story it tried to tell. It didn't need padding. It needed time to better tackle Batman and the Joker's relationship--and to give more time to Barbara. Make the story at least partially about her--and not like how they did in the movie where they made Barbara into Batman's fuck buddy and pining girlfriend---UGH GOD DAMMIT WHY DC WHY???

I'll go into it more later, but the volume of Supergirl I got was...very uneven at best. It started decent, but about halfway through goes way off the rails. I thought the guy at the counter at my LCS was being kind of a jerk when he said "Just fyi, this book doesn't have, like, a story. It's just sort of random things happening." He was right.

And that other Final Crisis book up there is a tie-in that features, as I understand it, the resurrection of both Connor Kent and Bart Allen, which I need to read as part of my Teen Titans collecting. It's so far pretty good--far, far better than Final Crisis.

For April, I'll obviously keep collecting Teen Titans, try to finish up the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle run, but I'm also tempted to jump ahead and start collecting some of the stuff that leads into Rebirth because those trades are finally starting to come out and I want them so baaaad--*grabby hands.* Especially because of the gonzo nonsense I've seen about the current Superman run and how they're explaining Preboot Superman. It look like the kind of over-complicated mess that I love about comics. So I might try grabbing Flashpoint, and then jumping straight to Convergence and the Preboot Superman stuff. I dunno. We'll see.

If you have any thoughts about, drop me a line in the comments. Want to discuss books I've recently purchased or read? Any suggestions for books I missed? Just please, no spoilers.

Happy reading!