(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.)
- Released on February 25, 2004
- Original price $17.95
- 208 pages
- Cover by Paul Rivoche
- 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
- 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…