COLLECTED EDITIONS – SUPERMAN VS. MONGUL

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)

Superman vs. Mongul TPB A

Superman vs. Mongul TPB B

Nuts and Bolts

  • Released on December 18, 2013
  • Original Price $14.99
  • 144 pages
  • Cover by Ryan Sook

Contents

  • The Key That Unlocked Chaos! from DC Comics Presents #27
  • Warworld! from DC Comics Presents #28
  • Whatever Happened to Starman? from DC Comics Presents #36
  • In Final Battle from DC Comics Presents #43
  • For The Man Who Has Everything… from Superman Annual (Vol. 1) #11

Notes

Mongul is one of those characters that I am fascinated with.  I was introduced to the character during the Exile story line in 1989 and followed both his escapades as well as those of his son and daughter.  To me he was this bruiser that Superman met in space and one of the villains that played a large part in Reign of the Supermen.  Until recently my one experience with him during the Pre-Crisis era was For The Man Who Has Everything… which I read in The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told.  In all honesty there wasn’t much difference between the Mongul in that story and the Mongul I had read in Exile.

Superman vs. Mongul is a comprehensive look at those Pre-Crisis appearances and proves that there were some differences between the two iterations of the character.  Part of me is annoyed that none of his Post Crisis appearances made the cut but I am assuming that whoever put this collection together wanted to limit this trade to this version of the character because it made for a smoother read.  To be fair his Post Crisis appearances occurred mainly during big, huge, soul shattering story lines so isolating one of those issues out of context might make for a jarring read.  Then again this didn’t seem to matter for other trades like this most notably Superman vs. Darkseid.

No matter the reason as to why certain issues were and weren’t included this is a great little trade.  The cover by Ryan Sook is re-purposed from DC Universe Special Superman: Mongul #1 from 2008.  That special reprinted Flash (Vol. 2) #102, Superman (Vol. 2) #32 and Showcase ’95 issues 7 and 8.  I have mixed feelings on the cover because while Mongul looks great there is something slightly off about Superman.  As I alluded to earlier this trade also reads a lot smoother than a lot of these Versus collections because we’re following a character’s history rather than seeing their greatest hits.  There is a narrative quality to the book so when you finally get to For The Man Who Has Everything… you feel like you’ve seen the beginning and probable end of this version of the character.

Also it’s always nice to see issues of DC Comics Presents get reprinted.  The two Showcase Presents volumes are great but sometimes you want to see these stories in full color.

This is definitely a collection I would recommend for both hardcore Superman fans and casual readers as well.  It’s rare for a relatively obscure villain that some consider to be the poor man’s Darkseid to get such a focus and while I would have liked to see some of his Post Crisis appearances get a little love I understand why they went in this direction.  Mongul is a solid character and a good villain for Superman.  Someone (I forget who so I apologize for my lack of a citation here) once said that Mongul was great becuase he was a Darkseid level bad guy without all of the Fourth World baggage.  While I personally like that Fourth World baggage I get what that person was saying.  He’s a cosmic level villain that has a fairly straight forward motivation that can mix it up physically with Superman.

That’s a character I can get behind.

COLLECTED EDITIONS – SUPERMAN: THE POWER WITHIN

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)

117- Superman The Power Within A 118- Superman The Power Within B

Nuts and Bolts

  • Released on January 7, 2015
  • Original Price $16.99
  • 176 pages
  • Cover by Kerry Gammill

Contents

  • Faster Than a Speeding Bullet! from Action Comics Weekly #601 
  • “They Can Run But They Can’t Hide!” from Action Comics Weekly #602
  • “More Powerful Than a Locomotive!” from Action Comics Weekly #603
  • “Final Escape?” from Action Comics Weekly #604 
  • “Aftermath” from Action Comics Weekly #605 
  • “The True Believer” from Action Comics Weekly #606 
  • “Familiar Face?” from Action Comics Weekly #607 
  • “Questions and Mysteries” from Action Comics Weekly #608
  • “And There Will Be A Sign!” from Action Comics Weekly #609
  • “Show and Tell” from Action Comics Weekly #610
  • “…Beyond Mortal Men!” from Action Comics Weekly #611
  • “Where Lurks The Evil?” from Action Comics Weekly #612
  • “Wicked Business!” from Action Comics Weekly #613
  • Death Comes Calling… from Action Comics Weekly #614
  • Fatal Flaw? from Action Comics Weekly #615
  • “Dead Men Tell No Tales” from Action Comics Weekly #616
  • “Missing Person” from Action Comics Weekly #617
  • “Out On The Town” from Action Comics Weekly #618
  • “Protective Shield?” from Action Comics Weekly #619
  • “Too Late The Hero?” from Action Comics Weekly #620
  • “Let The Punishment Fit The Crime” from Action Comics Weekly #621
  • “Seeds of Doubt” from Action Comics Weekly #622
  • “Revelations” from Action Comics Weekly #623
  • “Pin The Tail…” from Action Comics Weekly #624
  • “Out of the Frying Pan…” from Action Comics Weekly #625
  • “…Into The Fire!” from Action Comics Weekly #626
  • “Panic in the Sands!” from Action Comics Weekly #627
  • “Wipeout!” from Action Comics Weekly #628
  • Journey’s End from Action Comics Weekly #629
  • The Power From Beyond! from Action Comics Weekly #630
  • “Point Blank” from Action Comics Weekly #631
  • Holy War from Action Comics Weekly #632
  • “Blood and Sand” from Action Comics Weekly #633
  • “Breathless!” from Action Comics Weekly #634
  • “Power Failure!” from Action Comics Weekly #635
  • “The Face and The Voice!” from Action Comics Weekly #636
  • The Power of Darkseid! from Action Comics Weekly #637
  • “The Power Within” from Action Comics Weekly #638
  • “An Eye For An Eye” from Action Comics Weekly #639
  • Where There’s Smoke… from Action Comics Weekly #640
  • Justice For All from Action Comics Weekly #641
  • The Sinbad Contract Part One from Superman (Vol. 2) #48
  • The Sinbad Contract Part Two from Adventures of Superman #471
  • The Sinbad Contract Part Three from Action Comics #658

Notes

This trade brings up an odd mix of emotion in me.  On one hand I am excited that it came out.  On the other hand I find myself asking the question, “Who asked for this?”  It seems a tad disingenuous to do so because I’m the guy that’s chomping at the bit for more of the Post Crisis era of Superman to get put into collected edition form but at the same time if you had told me two years ago that this book was coming out I would have told you that you were crazy.  The reason for the split feeling is simple; Action Comics Weekly is not a title that people remember fondly.  At best it is considered a noble failure and at worst it is considered to be a joke.

Let me back up for a minute here.  It is possible that some of you have no idea that there was a book called Action Comics Weekly.   Back in 1988 DC decided to shake things up a bit and attempt to publish a weekly series.  Action Comics became Action Comics Weekly with issue 601 and the book went back to its anthology roots with a rotating series of features.  Deadman, Wild Dog (don’t ask), Blackhawk, Catwoman, Nightwing, Phantom Lady, Captain Marvel and others all had strips during the book’s 42 issue run and some of them, like Blackhawk, even spun off into their own short lived series.  The only two features that were a constant were Green Lantern (fresh from his own title coming to an end) and Superman.  Most of the stories were eight pages long but the Superman strip was a two pager right in the middle of the book.

In the interest of full disclosure I did not read Action Comics Weekly when it first came out.  At the time my comic purchasing was almost exclusively through the newsstand and this title was not on any of the spinner racks I haunted.  Being a regular buyer of the Superman titles meant that I knew that Action Comics had gone weekly but outside of leafing through the odd issue at the orthodontist’s office it wasn’t a going concern for me.  This was the early days of my collecting career and I wasn’t as…focused as I would be later on.  Back in 1997 I made an effort to collect Action Comics Weekly, which was not an easy thing because while most of the issues were both readily available and cheap there were a few that gave me some problems, most notably the final issue.  It took me the better part of a year to find Action Comics Weekly #642 and it was only dumb luck that the manager of the comic shop I went to at the time found two at the warehouse because every other comic shop I went to in the Metro-Atlanta area and some in Pennsylvania that I went to while visiting friends did not have it.  Before Chuck found those two copies I was beginning to think the book didn’t exist even though I remember seeing it at the orthodontist’s office when I was a teenager.

The struggle was real.

There were two main stories that ran through the Superman strip in Action Comics Weekly.  The first concerned a group (which could be called a cult) that worshiped Superman and even featured a confrontation with Darkseid.  The second, which only lasted a few issues, concerned Clark Kent and Superman having to deal with what is now called hate crimes in a section of Metropolis populated mainly by people of Middle Eastern descent.  To me the second story line stands out more than the first but I think that says more about me than about the quality of the tales being told.  I liked the idea of exploring what would happen if a group of people actually started worshiping Superman as a deity but even though the writing was a bit heavy handed in places a story about Superman standing up for a group of people targeted solely because of the color of their skin or their ethnicity speaks to me on a deeper level.  It also introduced a new area of Metropolis populated by people from the fictional Middle Eastern country of Quarac, which had been created by writer Marv Wolfman in New Teen Titans and carried over to this strip.

Those last few strips are why The Sinbad Contract, a three part story that ran through the October 1990 cover dated Superman books, were included at the end of this collection.  While there isn’t a direct connection between the two there is enough connective tissue to let one story flow nicely into the other.  The unrest brought up during the Action Comics Weekly stories continued into The Sinbad Contract so it made sense to include those three issues in this volume.  It also bumped up the page count and made it a more well rounded trade.  Davood Nassur, the “Sinbad” of the story, was an interesting character and it was a shame he didn’t appear much after these three issues wrapped up.  Sure there was some more of that heavy handed writing at times but this was a solid story that tried to deal with some deeper issues and how Superman chooses to deal with them.

The creators involved in these stories are some of my favorite.  Roger Stern had written one of the stories in Action Comics #600 and the main story in Superman Annual #2 but the strip in Action Comics Weekly was his first regular Superman assignment.  He would bring back the cult introduced in the first story line during the Reign of the Superman, which is one of the only callbacks to these stories after Action Comics Weekly ended.  Curt Swan was no stranger to Superman and while I wasn’t all that hot on his work back in 1988 I have since come to have a deep respect for Swan’s place in Superman history.  The Sinbad Contract was part of something DC called Curt Swan Month.  The three main Superman books from cover date October 1990 as well as Superboy The Comic Book #8 all featured art by Swan.  The fact that Swan drew all of these stories gives the trade a more unified feel.  Writer William Messner-Loebs was not part of the main Superman creative teams in 1990 but his story fit in with the ongoing narrative and he even got to introduce a major story point involving Lex Luthor.

Superman appeared on the cover of nine issues of Action Comics Weekly and two of those were group shots.  The decision to make the cover to issue 606 the cover to this volume was a good one and if I am correct it marked the first time Kerry Gammill drew the character as a professional.  While the other Superman covers were all great pieces of art this is the more traditional one.  It also features people worshiping Superman and while I have no proof of what I am about to write I don’t think it is a coincidence that there images of people bowing down to Superman in the two Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailers and this cover features people worshiping the Man of Steel.  That seems like some forward thinking on DC’s part and a good way to move some product.

Plus it’s Kerry Gammill drawing Superman.  I am such a mark for that.

All in all this is an odd but welcome trade.  As I wrote earlier in this piece I am always for having more of this era of Superman in collected form but this one also has a sort of novelty aspect to it.  It is almost a forgotten era of Superman that I am willing to bet is pretty much unknown to most of the reading population.  The storytelling is a bit strange because the trade is comprised of mostly two page stories making it feel like you are reading a collection of newspaper strips but I think that is part of the charm.  It takes skill to write two pages of story to carry things along and Stern more than steps up to the challenge.  Seeing The Sinbad Contract reprinted also does me good because it’s not one of the flashier Post Crisis stories and I honestly thought it would never be in trade paperback form.

File this under “Who Asked For This?” but at the same time file this under “So Glad DC Decided To Print This Collection”.

 

COLLECTED EDITIONS – BIZARRO’S WORLD

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)

401- Superman Bizarros World A 402- Superman Bizarros World BNuts and Bolts

  • Released on February 13, 1996
  • Original price $9.95
  • 128 pages
  • Cover by Stuart Immonen and Josef Rubinstein

Contents

  • Introduction by “Bogzarro”
  • Bizarro from Superman (Vol. 2) #87
  • Bizarro World! from Adventures of Superman #510
  • War of the Super Powers from Action Comics #697
  • Love and Death! from Superman: The Man of Steel #32
  • Opportunity Lost from Superman (Vol. 2) #88

Notes

  • The introduction by Jon Bogdanove is a lot of fun.  It has some Bizarro speak at the beginning and the end and in between is a fairly comprehensive history of the character.  I appreciate that Bogs (if I can be so informal) not only takes us through the various comic book incarnations of the character but also gives a peak behind the curtain of the story collected in this trade.  The introduction is almost the main reason to buy this book.
  • As Jon goes over in the introduction Bizarro had only one but extremely memorable appearance in the Post-Crisis comics.  To be fair he was also a recurring “villain” on the syndicated Superboy television series but as far as the comics go he was in Man of Steel #5 and did a great job of sacrificing his artificial life at the end of that story.
  • Because of that lone comic book appearance this story felt like a really big deal in 1994.  I remember loving the covers and the fact that we were seeing what I considered to be a classic Superman “villain” again.
  • Other than that there are two other reasons why I not only like this story so much but also why it illustrates what I like about this era of Superman.
  • First, it not only builds from previous sub-plots but it starts to lead into other, bigger stories.  One of the hallmarks of the Post Crisis era was the ability of the creative teams to make the four (and soon to be five) Superman titles feel like an almost weekly comic book.
  • In other words I appreciated the soap opera aspects to this story.
  • Second, the creative teams went out of their way to make me care about the characters in this story.  Bogs discusses the major theme of the inherent right of all sentient life to exist in his introduction and thanks mainly to Lois they do a great job of exploring that theme.
  • The fact that several different writers and artists were able to tell a fairly cohesive story on a regular basis for nearly a decade is something of a minor miracle.
  • This storyline features some early Superman work by future (then-future at any rate) Adventures of Superman artist Stuart Immonen.  I loved his work in the two issues of Superman that he draws during this story and was glad to see him come on one of the regular books not too long from when these issues came out.
  • For those that have read this trade (or will read this trade) and have never read the story in single issue form the final page of the story might seem a little weird.  The bottom 2/3 of the page are whited out.  My personal theory (which is mine alone and does not represent any research I should have done before typing this) is that the powers-that-be that decide what  gets a trade paperback and what doesn’t decided that they would reprint Bizarro’s World but not the story that followed it where Superman’s powers spiraled out of control.
  • So it would make sense to excise that portion of the story to allow the overall narrative have and ending.
  • Of course the fact that there is a major revelation about Lex at the end of the story kind of puts a lie to my theory.
  • Then again you could have left all the powers going out of control stuff and reprinted The Battle For/Fall of Metropolis storyline without mentioning the powers going out of control so…I have no idea.
  • Regardless if you want to see what the page actually looked like here it is.
  • Superman 88 Final PageThis trade ends with a cover gallery, which is great because the covers are really awesome.

COLLECTED EDITIONS – SUPERMAN VS. THE FLASH

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)

Superman vs. The Flash A Superman vs. The Flash BNuts and Bolts

  • Released on April 13, 2005
  • Original Price $19.99
  • 208 pages
  • Cover by Alex Ross

Contents

  • Superman’s Race With The Flash! from Superman (Vol. 1) #199
  • The Race at the End of the Universe! from Flash (Vol. 2) #175
  • Race to Save the Universe! from World’s Finest #198
  • Race to Save Time from World’s Finest #199
  • Chase to the End of Time from DC Comics Presents # 1
  • Race to the End of Time! from DC Comics Presents #2
  • Speed Kills! from Adventures of Superman #463
  • Speeding Bullets from DC First: Flash/Superman #1

Notes

  • You know, I feel a little uncomfortable writing this because I don’t want to start things off on a negative note but I am not a fan of Alex Ross’ take on Superman.  For one thing I think he draws him looking middle aged (which doesn’t work for me) and for another I never liked how he drew the symbol.  I appreciated the size but not the proportions.
  • Having said that this is a solid cover and it makes sense that you would go with Alex Ross because he sells books.
  • Thanks in large part to the 1990 live action television series I have been a huge fan of the Flash.
  • While I consider Wally to be “my Flash” I have a large amount of respect and fan love for Barry Allen and especially Jay Garrick.  So this was a welcome addition to my trades and hardcovers collection.
  • The races between the Flashes and Superman feel like they were always a big deal.  I can’t say that for certain because I was either not around or even alive for most of them, but the feeling I get from the first few stories in this book is that any time Superman and Flash raced it was epic.
  • Maybe it was the titles to the stories.  Superman and Flash seemed to always racing to the end of time or to save time or to the end of the universe or to save the universe.
  • They may seem overblown and hyperbolic today but I can’t help but love them and they bring a big ‘ol smile to my face.
  • It was nice to see two of the Post Crisis races get included in this collection.
  • Adventures of Superman #463 was my very first Flash race and it came out right around the time I was getting into the character.
  • The DC First: Flash/Superman story was welcome as well.  There were very few stories where Jay Garrick and Superman teamed up one on one, so it was great to see that the powers that be that decided what would be included in this trade wanted to have all of the Flashes represented instead of just Barry Allen.
  • At one point in the trade they reprint the cover to Limited Collectors’ Edition C-48, which reprinted Superman (Vol. 1) #199 and Flash (Vol. 2) #175 but the unreleased plans of the Fortress of Solitude and a how to draw the Flash feature.  It has a beautiful Jose Luis-Garcia Lopez (Praise Be His Name) and Bob Oksner cover.
  • Speaking of reprinting covers, all of the original covers are in this trade.  The new coloring makes some of them look really nice.

COLLECTED EDITIONS – SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL VOLUME 8

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)115- Man of Steel Vol. 8 A 116- Man of Steel Vol. 8 B

Nuts and Bolts

  • Released on January 31, 2013
  • Original Price $16.99
  • 240 pages
  • Cover by John Byrne, George Perez and Jerry Ordway

Contents

  • Checkmate! from Action Comics #598
  • He Only Laughs When I Hurt from Superman (Vol. 2) #16
  • Tin Soldiers! from Adventures of Superman #439
  • Element 126 from Action Comics #599
  • Cries in the Night from Superman (Vol. 2) #17
  • The Hurrieder I Go from Adventures of Superman #440
  • Different Worlds, Chapter One: First Date… from Action Comics #600
  • Different Worlds, Chapter Two: Fallen Idols from Action Comics #600
  • Different Worlds, Chapter Three: Broken-Mirrors from Action Comics #600
  • Different Worlds, Chapter Four: Battle! from Action Comics #600
  • Different Worlds, Chapter Five: This Hollow Victory… from Action Comics #600
  • Untitled Lois Lane Story from Action Comics #600
  • Games People Play from Action Comics #600
  • A Friend In Need from Action Comics #600
  • The Dark Where Madness Lies from Action Comics #600
  • Return to Krypton from Superman (Vol. 2) #18
  • Pin-Up Gallery from Action Comics #600

Notes

  • The cover is a mash-up of John Byrne and George Perez art from the secondary cover of Action Comics #600 and some interior art from Adventures of Superman #440.  While I would have preferred an original cover, specifically one by Jerry Ordway, this one works just fine.
  • Besides, they broke the original Ordway cover theme with the previous volume of this series.
  • Action Comics #598 was the first appearance of Checkmate.  That organization would get its own title soon a month after this issue hit the stands and would last for 33 issues, all written by Paul Kupperberg.
  • Superman #16 was the first Post-Crisis appearance of the Prankster.  It was also the first Post-Crisis appearance of Morgan Edge.
  • Oh, and that Supergirl that showed up on the final page of that issue?  Yeah, she leads to something big.
  • Personal note: I have a very vivid memory of getting Adventures of Superman #439 at the Super Fresh grocery store in Trexlertown, PA.  I read most of it in the parking lot while waiting for whoever was driving that day (my mother, my sister, my dad…I don’t remember) to get back to the car.
  • There was a sixteen page Bonus Book in the middle of Action Comics #599 that is not reprinted here.  The story itself was a 14 page Jimmy Olsen story titled The Karma Baggers.  The Bonus Book program was designed to give new talent a shot at writing and drawing comic stories.
  • The Silver Banshee makes her second appearance in Superman #17.  We get a little more of her back story here and meet her brother.  This story will be resolved in Superman #23, but not by John Byrne.  Roger Stern and Mike Mignola produce that story.
  • Oh, we also get to see Jimmy’s mom towards the end of this issue.  This had been a low-level sub-plot for a few issues and the final revelation was a surprise.  The fact that she turned out to be so…attractive was also something of a surprise.
  • I guess you could say that Jimmy’s mom has got it going on.
  • Adventures of Superman #440 is a fun issue.  Seeing Superman all giddy because of his date with Wonder Woman humanized the character and was very endearing.
  • Superman also gets Batman’s report on the scrapbook that was sent to him in Superman #5.  This was significant because after this Batman knew that Superman was Clark Kent and Superman revealed that he knew Batman was Bruce Wayne.
  • Superman also learns that the scrapbook was his mother’s.  It was taken by Lex Luthor’s men in Superman #2.  Eventually we learn that Amanda McCoy sent Clark the scrapbook after being fired by Lex Luthor.
  • Action Comics #600 was a huge deal when it came out in February of 1988.  This was the comic book end of Superman’s 50th Anniversary celebration that also included a cover story in Time Magazine, a television special on NBC and an exhibition at the National Museum of American History, which is part of the Smithsonian complex in Washington, D.C.
  • The books was made to look like the Eighty Page Giants that were popular in the sixties and seventies.
  • The date between Superman and Wonder Woman which led to the fight with the Fourth World characters was an exciting story that ended with the two heroes parting as friends.  The timing of this story being reprinted at the end of 2013 when the Superman and Wonder Woman of the New 52 are involved romantically could be good timing or a calculated move to capitalize on that relationship or both.
  • The Lois Lane story was scripted by Roger Stern.  This would be the first story he would write/script for the Superman titles.  A few months later he would write the main story from Superman Annual #2 and soon after that he would start writing Superman with the previously mentioned issue 23.
  • When I first read Games People Play I had no idea that Maggie Sawyer was a lesbian.  I had yet to read issue fifteen but more importantly I was 12 and such things tended to go over my head.  This is my favorite story from the issue.  The writing was very strong and it was a good confrontation between Lex and Maggie.
  • The final issue in this collection resulted, in part, to the Zero Hour event in 1994.  It’s not a direct cause and effect relationship but Dan Jurgens did cite this story as one of the reasons he wanted to iron out the continuity.
  • Hawkman and Hawkwoman play a key part in that story.  A year later Tim Truman wrote and drew the prestige format Hawkworld, which rebooted Hawkman for the Post Crisis world.  That series took place in the then present day DCU, so the ex-patriot Katar Hol that gave Superman a ride to Krypton didn’t exist anymore so that story suddenly “didn’t happen”.  This sort of thing rubbed Dan the wrong way and between that and some other continuity problems that had cropped up since the Crisis on Infinite Earths went down Zero Hour was born.
  • I am really glad they included the pin-ups from Action Comics #600, which included the first Superman work of Jon Bogdanove. 
  • Personal note: My sister Mary gave me my first copy of Action Comics #600 for my birthday in 1988.  She gave me that, a copy of World of Smallville #2 and a tape with three of the Fleisher animated shorts on it.  I was born on February 29th, so getting those comics and cartoons on my birthday and then getting to watch the NBC special that night…well, I was a happy Superman fan that year.

COLLECTED EDITIONS – SUPERMAN: ERADICATION!

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)

203- Eradication A 204- Eradication BNuts and Bolts

  • Released on November 11, 1995
  • Original Price $12.95
  • 160 pages
  • Cover by Kerry Gammill and Art Thibert

Contents

  • Foreward by Roger Stern
  • Be It Ever So Deadly from Adventures of Superman #460
  • The Nature of the Beast from Superman (Vol. 2) #41
  • Blood Brawl from Adventures of Superman #464
  • Not of This Earth from Action Comics #651
  • Krypton Man from Superman (Vol. 2) #42
  • The Last Son of Krypton from Adventures of Superman #465
  • Wayward Son from Action Comics #652
  • Afterword by Roger Stern

Notes

  • The Foreword by Roger Stern details the first Super-Summit meeting.  This took place in June of 1988 during the International Superman Exposition held in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Roger and several other creators, including George Perez, Jerry Ordway, Kerry Gammill as well as editor Mike Carlin went to dinner and began discussing what would eventually become Superman: Exile.
  • The Superman Historian in me loves these sorts of stories.
  • For a trade paperback that has the words, “The Origin of the Eradicator” in the title they actually don’t show the origin of the Eradicator from Action Comics Annual #2.  This might seem like a nitpick or a complaint and I really don’t mean for it to come off like that but I have that same thought every time I revisit this collection.
  • Now, I realize that trades of this era were a different beast and it is only in the past couple of years that DC has been collecting stories in their entirety but it always stuck out that they didn’t lead the trade off with that annual.  I have an idea why they didn’t.  Action Comics Annual #2 was part of a larger story so it might have felt out of place.  Also the Eradicator’s story played out over months and months worth of comics so the people that were responsible for picking out which issues would be included in this trade were probably up against a certain page count.
  • To my mind this trade is another attempt to capitalize on the success of Reign of the Supermen, which is awesome.  The Eradicator never had his own ongoing series but he managed to stick around after Reign ended.  He became a member of the Outsiders and even had his own mini-series in 1996.  Telling his origin in trade paperback form saved newer readers the time of hunting through the back issues.
  • Plus, and this is purely my very biased opinion, Day of the Krypton Man was a fantastic story.  So reprinting it made me a very happy Superman fan when I finally bought a copy of this trade.
  • Roger Stern makes a passing comment that DC should put out an Exile trade.  A little over two years after this trade came out Roger would get his wish.
  • In spite of everything I wrote above about what they should have included in this trade leading off with Adventures of Superman #460 was the way to go.  Not only does it go into the Eradicator’s origin but it was also the first appearance of the Post Crisis Fortress of Solitude.
  • I remember being very excited about that when the issue first came out.  Not only did I have that, “Hey, I’m on the ground floor of this!” feeling but it was just neat that this Superman was finally getting a Fortress.
  • A lot happens in the Superman books between Adventures of Superman #460 and Superman #41.  Jimmy Olsen had an extra-dimensional adventure.  Superman and Brainiac went a few rounds before that villain gained his new body and temporarily fled the Earth.  The Eradicator finally finished the Fortress of Solitude.  Clark and the rest of the Planet staff found out that one of their own was homeless and Superman and the Wally West Flash raced for the first time.
  • Oh, and Clark Kent quit the Daily Planet.
  • That was huge, at least for me.  When he quit rather matter of factly at the end of Superman (Vol. 2) #39 I was in shock or at least as much shock as a 13 year old can be in over a story in a comic book.  This was before I was the more jaded fan I am today.  I didn’t know it was all part of a larger story that would finally play out in Day of the Krypton Man.  To me the creators were changing everything forever and ever.
  • Ah to be that emotionally invested in the stories I read again.
  • Lobo and Superman square off for the first time during DOTKM.  This is a much leaner Lobo than he would evolve into as the ’90s wore on.  This fight/meeting is infinitely better than any that would follow because Bibbo was involved.
  • I feel somewhat like a broken record typing what I am about to type because I go over this in just about every Post Crisis related trade paperback but Draaga’s involvement in the story once again illustrates how this era built upon itself.  Here’s a character that was an important part of Exile returning to the books during another big storyline.  It gives this version of Superman a more organic feel.
  • Maxima and Superman meet for the first time during this storyline.  When she first appeared in Action Comics #645 the Maxima that Superman met was not real but a simulacrum so technically this was where the two characters had their first face to face encounter.
  • I always liked the costume that Superman adopts halfway through the story.
  • Check out page 124 of this trade and you will see the very first appearance of Hank Henshaw, the future Cyborg Superman.
  • While the title of this trade is focused on the Eradicator the heart and soul of this story goes to the heart and soul of the Post Crisis Superman.  Because of the new origin this version of Superman thought of himself as a human first and an alien second.
  • Watching Superman becoming more Kryptonian than human was hard for me because it went against everything I had come to understand about the character.
  • It is also why it was so important to have Jonathan and Martha play such an integral role in the story’s conclusion.  They are the tether that helps Clark to break free of the Eradicator’s control.  I wasn’t thinking in those terms when I first read the story.  The final chapter was simply the exciting conclusion to a, for the time, big storyline.  Now I look at the conclusion on two levels; a fun action piece and an examination of who this version of Superman is as a character.
  • Sadly this was George Perez’s last ongoing issue of Action Comics.  He was on the Superman titles for a relatively brief period and brought a nice perspective to the character both visually and in terms of the story.
  • The Eradicator would return to the Superman titles about a year later to help launch Superman: The Man of Steel.
  • The Afterword by Roger Stern details what happened to the Eradicator after this trade ended.
  • There is a part of me that would love to see DC release an “Eradicator Omnibus” that contains his first appearance in Action Comics Annual #2, Adventures of Superman #460-462, Day of the Krypton Man followed by Superman: The Man of Steel #1,  Superman (Vol. 2) #57, Adventures of Superman #480 and #Action Comics #677.  I think it would make a great read.
  • Sadly I am probably the only one that thinks this way so we’ll probably never see that.
  • Much like the Cyborg Superman the Eradicator belongs to a specific time and place.  You could update the character but without this specific backstory for both the Eradicator and for this Superman it just wouldn’t feel the same.
  • This trade leads almost directly into The Dark Knight Over Metropolis collection.  The only missing book is Superman (Vol. 2) #43.

COLLECTED EDITIONS – SUPERMAN: PANIC IN THE SKY

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)

211- Panic in the Sky A 212- Panic in Sky BNuts and Bolts

  • Released on March 30, 1993
  • Original Price $9.95
  • 192 pages
  • Cover by Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding

Continue reading “COLLECTED EDITIONS — SUPERMAN: PANIC IN THE SKY”

COLLECTED EDITIONS – TIME AND TIME AGAIN

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)

209- Time and Time Again A 210- Time and Time Again BNuts and Bolts

  • Released on August 09, 1994
  • Original Price $7.50
  • 206 pages
  • Cover by Freida Christofides

Contents

  • Introduction by KC Carlson
  • The Linear Man from Adventures of Superman #476
  • Lost in the ’40s Tonight from Action Comics #663
  • The Warsaw Ghetto from Superman (Vol. 2) #54
  • “Death Rekindled” from Adventures of Superman #477
  • Many Long Years Ago… from Action Comics #664
  • Camelot from Superman (Vol. 2) #55
  • Moon Rocked from Adventures of Superman #478
  • Wake The Dead from Action Comics #665
  • Time and Time Again Again from Superman (Vol. 2) #61
  • Time Ryders from Superman (Vol. 2) #73

Notes

  • The Post Crisis Superman didn’t do a whole lot of time traveling.  In fact until 1991 he didn’t do any with the exception of traveling to the pocket universe thanks to that world’s Superboy but that really doesn’t count.  Superman didn’t have the power to travel in time unaided so trips to the future or the past were not in the cards.
  • That is what made Time and Time Again such a big deal.  Not only was it a multi-part story that took place over all three of the Superman titles but it put the Post Crisis Superman through something new and different.
  • The timing was awful.  Clark had just revealed his identity to Lois and that revelation didn’t go over well.  Just when the couple needed to have a serious conversation about their future Clark was sent there.  And to the past.  And then to the future again.  And then to the past again.  It added a level of drama that made the story more personal.
  • Three eras of the Legion were represented in the Adventures of Superman chapters.  Not only was this one of the few times that the events that happened in the pocket universe were mentioned in the Superman titles but at the time it was was one of the few times that the Legion and Superman had anything to do with each other.
  • When this story was published the Legion was well over a year into the Five Years Later era and the history of that group was being changed so the connection between the Legion and Superman was tenuous at best.  Seeing Clark interact with the group was a real treat at the time, at least for me.  I was not the biggest Legion fan but I thought Jurgens did some neat things with them in his chapters, especially the fight with Dev-Em.
  • Speaking of that fight the moon was destroyed in Adventures of Superman #478, which was a big deal for the Legion.  It was weird to have such a pivotal event that eventually led to the destruction of the Earth and the founding of a colony in space happen outside of the Legion’s title but again it made this story that much more special.
  • The Action chapters were a lot of fun.  Lost in the ’40s Tonight not only featured a meeting between Clark and President Roosevelt but also an appearance by the Justice Battalion.  The scenes at the circus were a callback to the events of Action Comics #7 from 1938, which involved Superman and…well, the circus.
  • Chronos makes an appearance in Action #664, which plays off of events from the short lived Blue Beetle series from 1986.  He was drawn to look like Richard Nixon on purpose.
  • The Superman chapters were shorter than the normal 22 page story.  A Newsboy Legion back-up story began in Superman issue 54 and ended in issue 56.  Those back-ups are not reprinted in this trade.
  • Mister Z makes an appearance in Superman #54 which chronologically predates his first appearance in issue 51.
  • Only five pages of Action #665 appear in this trade.  The rest of that issue features the return of Baron Sunday, which didn’t have much bearing on Time and Time Again as a story.
  • The final two comics reprinted in this trade were a real surprise but a very welcome one.  This book was released in August of 1994, which was right after the publication of Zero Hour.  Waverider and the Linear Men were a big part of that event so it made sense to release this trade which not only features the first appearance of the Linear Men as a concept but also included the issues of Superman that furthered that concept and tied it into Waverider from Armageddon 2001.  Not only was it a savvy bit of marketing on DC’s part but it also gave readers at the time that were just starting to read the Superman books or those that had read Zero Hour and might have been curious the full story on those characters.
  • The introduction by KC Carlson was a fun exploration of time travel stories in general and Superman related time travel stories in specific.  It’s always neat to see introductions in these collected editions.  On a personal note I wish that they would all have introductions but maybe alas this is not always the case.

DARK KNIGHT OVER METROPOLIS TPB OUT TODAY!

Today I am a very happy Post-Crisis Superman fan.

Why?

Because DC is releasing a trade paperback which reprints one of my favorite Post Crisis Superman stories Dark Knight Over Metropolis.

SM-Dark-Knight-over-Metro-FPO_Cv_c3g5opxtqb_I will cover this trade in depth when I finally get my hands on it but I wanted to write about it today because I am just so excited.  Over on From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast Jeffrey Taylor and I launched our own campaign to get DC to reprint this story after talking to both Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway and hearing how much they liked the story and how much they wanted to see it reprinted.  While I would never say that our e-mail campaign had anything to do with this coming out (at least in any kind of serious way) I still have a big, ol’ grin on my face.

The trade reprints Adventures of Superman #466, Action Comics #653, Superman #44, Adventures of Superman #467, Action Comics #654 and Action Comics Annual #1.  Looking at the page count I have a feeling that they won’t be reprinting all of Adventures #466 and Action #653 but there are elements of those issues that lead directly into Dark Knight Over Metropolis.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

On the off chance you have never heard Jeffrey and I cover these issues over on FCTC you can check out our coverage of Action Comics Annual #1 by downloading episode 13 of the series.  We covered the rest of the issues in episodes 56 and 57, which you can download by clicking on the links.  If you haven’t ordered the book yet head on over to the Superman Homepage Amazon store and get it there.  Not only will you be getting a fantastic trade but you will also be supporting the Superman Homepage.

Again, I rarely ask this but please buy this book.  It will send the message to DC that we want more of the Post Crisis Superman to be reprinted in collected edition form.

COLLECTED EDITIONS – SUPERMAN VOL. 6: RETURN TO KRYPTON

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)

Superman Vol. 6 Return to Krypton A Superman Vol. 6 Return to Krypton BNuts and Bolts

  • Released on February 25, 2004
  • Original price $17.95
  • 208 pages
  • Cover by Paul Rivoche

Contents

  • Fathers from Superman (Vol. 2) #166
  • Sliding Home from Superman (Vol. 2) #167
  • Second Honeymoon from Adventures of Superman #589
  • The Most Dangerous Kryptonian Game from Superman: The Man of Steel #111
  • Escape From Krypton from Action Comics 776
  • Rising Son from Superman (Vol. 2) #184
  • Culture Shock from Adventures of Superman #606
  • Blood and Heresy from Superman: The Man of Steel #128
  • Dream’s End from Action Comics #793

Notes

  • While this post will be up for as long as I pay for the server space and thus can potentially be read years down the road at the time I am actually typing these words a few things have come together to make writing these notes a bit strange.
  • You see, a good friend of mine named Andrew Leyland has been reading through these trades recently and we’ve been talking about them mainly through Facebook.
  • When Andy got to this one he was a bit puzzled about how the first half of this trade puts forth a new theory on the origin of Superman and the second half immediately retcons that revelation.
  • And he has a point.  If you are reading this trade by itself it seems to be a story where a huge change is made to Superman’s back story and then in the very same volume, like three chapters later that revelation is itself revealed to be a lie.
  • What the trade doesn’t tell the readers is that a year went by between Return to Krypton I and Return to Krypton II.
  • In that year a lot happened to the Man of Steel including this huge storyline called Our Worlds At War.
  • This is why Superman goes from having an S symbol with a yellow background to an S symbol with a black background halfway through this trade.
  • So while I appreciate that DC was trying to collect both stories in one volume the fact that there is such a gap between RTK I and II makes for a very disjointed read.
  • Oddly enough Andy and I discussed these stories on an episode of one of my podcasts (Views From The Longbox) and as soon as that episode is live I will try and remember to post date a link to it in these notes.
  • One of the things we talk about regarding this story was whether or not this was an attempt by the creative powers that be that were in charge of Superman at this point to undo the origin John Byrne established in 1986 and subsequent creative teams ran with.
  • It would make sense.  By the time this RTK I and II were published it had been fifteen years since Man of Steel.  I can see a creative staff that wasn’t invested in that origin wanting to make some changes.
  • If readers had embraced the change maybe the retcon that was Return to Krypton II wouldn’t have happened.
  • Speaking as someone that was heavily invested in the Superman books in 2001 and as one that was plugged into the Internet I can safely say that a certain contingent of Superman fandom (myself included) was not happy that they were messing with the origin.
  • I have to wonder if that sort of backlash played into them changing things a year later.
  • It’s kind of funny, though.  In the twelve years since the first Return to Krypton story was published there have been four major re-imaginings of the the origin and with each re-telling (except maybe for Superman: Earth One) DC has gotten a little bolder in throwing down the revamp gauntlet.
  • Birthright was solid but ultimately didn’t stick.  Secret Origin was overly slavish to the Donner film and took too long to be told.  With the New 52 DC has seemingly settled on the origin they want to stick with for the time being.
  • Still, the first part of this trade is a solid read.  The second…not so much.  If you were wanting a proper reading order I would read the first part of this trade, the Our Worlds At War omnibus and then the second part of this trade.  It might make a bit more sense that way.

To follow this particular line of trades follow the rest of the books in the series…