Oh, I hadn’t realised yet he’d finally gotten to “Denied”. I’ll definitely get that, I very much enjoyed “Defined”, 90s or not
I enjoyed Defined more than I’m letting on, but that’s mainly because I want to put a big ol’ warnin label so it doesn’t come off as a bad rec.
Things like Kirby Hero and Wally are fantastic. And I love the cameos and finding out the connections between the real life figures and why Wagner chose that specific archetypical hero to represent them. But it’s definitely less accessible.
And yeah, Denied is half way done right now. Real fun.
So, a set of Rocket Raccoon reads:
A Chasing Tale
This remains the best of the lot of the three Young trades by far. THat it has art for him for four excellent issues helps too.
This was a good continuation that brings Rocket full circle.
Tricks of the Trade
In contrast, this was complete crud - dull stories, crap to horrible art, I’m not surprised Young called it a day with Civil War II inbound.
Marvel clearly seem to think a lot of Rosenberg, but after reading this I really don’t see it. Not even an appearance by the Kra-Van saves it.
Rocket: The Blue River Score
My thanks to those who’ve been recommending this brilliant little miniseries by Al Ewing. This is a very well-done and classy tale. The art is superb, the writing matches - utterly excellent.
Superman: Deluxe Volume 2
Re-reading Multiplicity, with the added knowledge of Oz, was far better the second time.
The one big weakness of these volumes remains DC’s refusal to include crossover issues, so all I have are pieces of the Reborn story. Yes, I have the other OHC, but it’d be so much better if DC had just bit the bullet and included them.
Black Dawn was a story that got a lot of praise around here, which might have been its undoing as I found it OK, but nowhere near the stellar story it was reputed to be. Part of the problem is there’s been a few too many ‘break Superman’ tales in Rebirth, or knowing they can’t break Superman, the villains go after Jon instead. The other problem is I’ve never found Manchester Black to be that great a villain either. Put those two together and it adds up to a rare misfire, albeit with great art.
Han Solo OHC
The only flaw with this collection is Marvel double-dipping by bundling Star Wars #8-12 to up the price - when they’ve already OHC’d those. As I got this for just under £13, it’s still good enough for a 5-issure OHC.
The story itself has had quite the reputation and, for the most part, lives up to it. The one discordant note is Leia’s “cover” for Han’s departure - clocking him. As an isolated instance it’d just about work, but there’s a good few other cases that render it more poorly. For all that Leia can easily sharpshoot anyone in the head at range, she tends to be more subtle than that.
The main arc of a deadly race across space, a fatal Cannonball Run as it were, is superb. You even have the Empire interfering. It’s all brought to life by brooks’ brilliant art - he’s never going to be a monthly artist so a mini is perfect for him - as he demonstrates here.
Easily one of Marvel’s best SW stories and well worth waiting for the OHC edition of.
Battleworlds: Squadron Sinister
I picked this up cheap last week and I think it’s the most current Marvel thing I’ve read.
Anyway, it sells itself, certainly on the front cover, as a battle between the Squadron Sinister (here fairly traditional, but with a bit more ethnic diversity) and JMS’s Supreme Power line-up. That’s a bit misleading though, as the JMS characters are dispatched in about three pages. Instead, this is a story about the Squadron Sinister and is, to a degree, “What If the evil version of the Squadron had suceeded with Project Utopia?” (from Gruenwald’s maxi-series.
The result is naked aggression towards neighbouring bits of Battleworld (most notably one based on the New Universe) and lots of in-fighting. Which is all very fun, but not desperately meaty. As a four issue tie-in to an event, I don’t suppose it really needs to be, but there’s nothing here to create much of a lasting impression.
It also doesn’t (seem to) set up the post-Secret Wars Squadron Supreme series, which I had expected it to.
So, all of this MAGE talk made me run out and get the recent trades from the Strand.
And in my hurry I didn’t realize that the third volume, which collects the first half of The Hero Defined, has a gigantic misprint on its side denoting it as part of The Hero Discovered. Wondering if this is something that hasn’t been corrected yet, but I will have to wait until after work to be able to check in any case at the Forbidden Planet a few blocks away.
Batman: Earth One - Volumes 1-2
Wow, these were an unexpected gem - I had high hopes as the teaming of Johns-Frank tends to have a very good hit rate but how to do a story that there’s been so many versions of and make it feel new? Somehow they pull it off, as like the Earth One Green Lantern, this is a distinctly different version of batman but one that still covers the expected points, just not as you might expect.
Johns-Frank have been doing great work for a while now, but what makes this far better is that it really is a standalone piece. The Legion arc on Superman? Heavily linked to other stories. Brainiac? Even more so. Superman: Secret Origin - that was and they should do more stories of this nature, that all you need to do is buy the book.
Each story also takes full advantage of not being shackled to a 20/22 page episode pieces, instead the story is allowed to develop more naturally.
The first trade was a bit cheap, almost heading in the direction of Marvel’s notorious editions, but clearly DC realised they were taking the mick and the second is far better.
For the price you can get these, I got each for £7.84, they’re superb pieces of work. I hope they do get to that Volume 3 they’ve talked of.
They started production of it almost immediately after the second’s release. With Frank even showing off some inked panels a few months later.
It’ll probably be out after Doomsday Clock in 2020.
But yeah, I completely agree with your review of them. For me I think it takes good amounts of Burton, and mixes them in with a rather nice sense of a “coming into your own” style story. Even by the end of the second there’s still so much room for there to go, and the sequel hook is second to none. I was slow on the uptake and it did manage to floor me.
Personal favorite line of the Earth One GNs.
Add me to the Batman Earth One fan club, it was surprisingly very fresh and it worked very well.
Johns & Frank have made for a formidable team at DC over the years.
I hate Geoff Johns’ more human, fallible Batman. The Earth One graphic novel line was where this interpretation of the character first came to the fore, and I have a huge problem with that. I haven’t even read the second volume yet, although I do own the hardcover. Maybe I’ll give it a second chance someday, now that I’ve grown to appreciate Johns storytelling style elsewhere.
Interesting to see Daytripper get an Absolute.
It’s an underrated, brilliant series.
It’s infuriating that DC chose not to include the Zero Hour and #0’s in the Knightsend Omnibus. Those issues, particularly the #0’s were an integral part of the storyline, providing important foreshadowing to Dick’s time in the cape & cowl, in “Prodigal”.
DC are maddening when it comes to this stuff. I don’t think they have anyone in their collected editions department who really keeps a close eye on it and makes sure these collections are comprehensive.
I am half-expecting the upcoming Morrison Batman and Seven Soldiers omnibuses to be marred with screw-ups somehow.
I remember Walt Simonson on his Facebook group annoyed at their Orion collection that they’d put the backup stories out of sequence. He said all they had to do was email him a pdf copy to check over but nobody at DC got in touch until it was printed and in the shops.
Yep, I remember that too, when the backups tied into each issue.
Marvel may have their complaints about the physical quality of their books sometimes, but they’re normally pretty good at keeping on top of contents (I’ve mentioned before Cory Sedlmeier’s great work on the Masterworks line and some of the classic omnibuses, and Jeph York normally goes to great lengths to try and make his collections as comprehensive as possible too, including frequently asking for reader input while the books are being put together).
They’re doing really well with the Epic Collections too, which have been pre-mapped out so they can be done out of order. You just know DC would manage to screw that up somehow.
Yeah, they’ve obviously got a plan with those. They seem to take a very long-term view on mapping out collections (I know Sedlmeier has said that some of the decisions made for cut-off points on volume one or two of some of the omnibus lines have been made because of the knock-on effect on much later volumes).
I always thought it odd that Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol 1 stopped halfway through the Dark Phoenix storyline. That seemed such a bat shit crazy thing to do.