COLLECTED EDITIONS – SUPERMAN: EMPEROR JOKER

(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 Emperor Joker A Superman Emperor Joker BNuts and Bolts

  • Released on January 17, 2007
  • Original price $14.99
  • 256 pages
  • Cover by Ed McGuinness and Cam Smith

Contents

  • It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World from Superman (Vol. 2) #160
  • Crazy About You from Adventures of Superman #582
  • No Axioms from Superman: The Man of Steel #104
  • Supermanamrepus from Action Comics #769
  • It’s a Joker’s World, Baby, We Just Live in It! from Superman: Emperor Joker #1
  • The Story Continues…! from Superman (Vol. 2) #161
  • Life is But a (Very Bad) Dream from Adventures of Superman #583
  • All The World His Stage from Superman: The Man of Steel #105
  • He Who Laughs Last! from Action Comics #770

Notes

  • In all honesty this should have been Superman Volume 5: Emperor Joker as the stories reprinted here fall between the Critical Condition and President Lex collections.
  • I remember people being very excited when this trade hit in 2007.  Actually it was excitement mixed with “well it’s about damn time”.  I was one of those people.  The fact that this collection wasn’t in that six volume set that reprinted the start of the Berganza regime always struck me as a glaring omission.  It was such a good story.  Why hadn’t they reprinted it?
  • To be fair it doesn’t have much of an impact on that series of trades.  There really isn’t anything in this story that has much of an impact on the stories in volumes 5 and 6 with the possible exception of the Bizarro story from President Lex.  If you were reading these stories strictly from the trades the absence of Emperor Joker isn’t all that noticeable.
  • Still, I am very happy that they decided to put this out in collected form and because I have a bizarre filing system for, well, everything I do file this trade between Critical Condition and President Lex on my bookshelf.
  • This story came out of nowhere when it was first published.  I remember being quite confused for the first few chapters.  In retrospect that was a neat feeling to have and something that hasn’t happened in quite some time, especially in this day and age of spoilers and such.  That isn’t a judgment call, merely an observation.
  • On an odd note that has nothing to do with trade paperbacks I wrote a letter (well, e-mail really) about Superman #160 that was published a few issues later.  It wasn’t my first letter to get printed but it was still damn cool.
  • The use of the Joker in this story felt only fair to me when it first came out.  Towards the end of 1999 Lex Luthor was making a few appearances over in the Batman titles so it seemed like turn about was fair play by using the Joker in this story.
  • And the idea of this story is really cool and kind of scary really.  The Joker with the powers of…well, I am going to play it safe and keep these notes spoiler free.  It really is worth the reveal.
  • Superman: Emperor Joker #1 was the second to last such special of this time period.  As I have mentioned elsewhere the creators in this era really liked to stick to their own books, so crossovers like this that had a special in the middle (or beginning or end really) were becoming a thing of the past.  They used this one to good effect, though.
  • The whole Team Superman idea was used to good effect as well.  I have to hand it to the powers that be at DC in 2000…they sure did try to get the various Superman related characters to act as a family unit like the various Batman characters were doing at the time.  There was even a Team Superman Secret Files and Origins.
  • This story also served to put Bizarro back on the map in the Superman titles, which I really liked at the time and I still like it today.

ACQUISITIONS – NEW COMICS (02/20/2013)

Technically this edition should be called New Comics (02/20/2013 and 02/21/2013) as I went back to the shop the next day to get a few things but more on that in a minute.

Superman Books

Action Comics (Vol. 2) #017Action Comics (Vol. 2) #017 Variant Supergirl (2011)#017Justice League (2011) #017For the past two weeks I have made a habit of taking a picture of the new comics I have purchased and posting them to both Facebook and Twitter.  I thought it might be a fun thing to do since some of the other kids have taken to doing it as well.  For the past two weeks it has been pointed out to me that I was missing a book that was supposed to be on my pull list.  I wasn’t angry either week because I am fairly sure that it was probably an oversight on the part of Dave over at Dave’s Comics.  Last week it was Earth-2 #9 and this week is was Supergirl #17.  I had some errands to run the day after I hit the shop anyway so I went by Dave’s again and managed to find both books. For some reason Supergirl #17 got mixed up in the variant covers so it was rather fortuitous that I was looking for the Action Comics variant you see above.

Supergirl #17 was a solid chapter in H’El on Earth though I have a few reservations about how the story is going to wrap up.  The whole Oracle thing doesn’t really jibe with H’El’s plans and it almost (and I realize I am stretching here) feels a little like this is trying to be DC’s version of Galactus coming to Earth but I have enjoyed the story thus far and am looking forward to the conclusion.  Action Comics was its usual roller coaster ride and you can read my full review of that issue over at the Superman Homepage.  The variant cover this time is absolutely gorgeous though I will admit that baby Kal-El looks a little wonky.  If you want a couple of really great wallpapers of this cover head on over to Sensor Sweep where you have two options for your desktop.  You can find those here and here.  Justice League #17 was a satisfying conclusion to Throne of Atlantis though I can see where some people may have been put off by it since it was so Aquaman heavy.  Then again it was an Aquaman centric story so I sort of expected that.  If the story had been called Sword of Paradise Island I would assume that Wonder Woman would have taken center stage in the finale.

Other Books

  • Justice League of America #1
  • Justice League of America’s Vibe #1
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws #17
  • Batgirl #17
  • Green Lantern #17
  • Nightwing #17
  • Flash #13-16

Justice League of America #1 was really solid.  I admit I wasn’t expecting much but the series has a lot of potential.  My only real concern is that it seems like DC is insistent on setting up hero vs. hero fights and I am worried that that is what this series is going to turn into.  Still, I liked what I read and the David Finch art was great.  Vibe #1 was a real treat and I like the government angle that was added to it.  I am not sure this book is going to survive because the concept has a limited shelf life but I am sticking with it for the moment.  Red Hood and the Outlwaws #17 was a nice character piece with a cliffhanger ending.  It reminded me of an Uncanny X-Men story Lobdell wrote at the end of X-Cutioner’s Song.  Batgirl #17 was…well it wasn’t bad but I preferred the Gail Simone written issues of this series.  Nightwing #17 was another nice character piece but it felt heavy handed in places.

I haven’t cracked Green Lantern #17 or the Flash issues I bought as of yet because I have a little catching up to do with those titles.  If all goes well I should be up to speed (no pun intended there) on both of those titles within a week or two.  I have managed to get through all of the Batman titles that were piled up and my New 52 reading is coming along nicely.  Aquaman is up next on the docket with Firestorm to follow and then Flash and then Green Lantern.  So I have some good reading ahead of me it seems.

ACQUISITIONS – JUSTICE LEAGUE BEACH TOWEL…NEW 52 STYLE!

New 52 JL Beach TowelThis post could also be titled “Reason 1,458 That My Wife is Awesome”.  Recently Rachel, my wife and enabler, went to Target and bought me this beach towel because she thought I would like it.  I don’t normally use beach towels but every once in a while we’ll get one especially if it has Superman on it.  I really like this one too.  It would have been nice to see more of the League on the towel specifically Aquaman since he’s, you know, water based and all that but this is a pretty dynamic image nonetheless.

My biggest takeaway from this towel is that this is the first non-action figure merchandise I have seen that has the new Superman costume on it.  I don’t really count action figures as merchandising anymore because those are every bit as collectible as the comics and are mainly aimed at both the comic book reading audience and action figure collectors.  So to see something like this which is ostensibly aimed at children with the new Superman on it was surprising in that way that it shouldn’t have been.  In a few short months stores are going to be flooded with merchandise tied to MAN OF STEEL so that version of the costume is going to be seemingly everywhere so by that point it will be commonplace but to see the comic book version out is still kind of novel.

More than anything it was awesome that my wife thought of me while she was shopping.  She really is the best enabler/wife a comic book fan could ask for.

WHO’S WHO CLASSIC – MON-EL (PRE-CRISIS)

Welcome to another installment of Who’s Who Classic, a regular feature here at the Fortress where every Monday I will present an entry from the original series of Who’s Who comics that DC published between 1984 and 1988.  Superman was well represented in those series and I wanted to share the entries with you just in case you have never seen them.  Today’s entry is Mon-El (Pre-Crisis)!

Mon-El A(originally published in Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #15, May 1986)

Remember that you can click on the images to make them larger.

COLLECTED EDITIONS – SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL VOL. 7

(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.)

Man of Steel Vol. 7A Man of Steel Vol. 7BNuts and Bolts

  • Released on February 6, 2013
  • Original price $19.99
  • 189 pages
  • Cover by Jerry Ordway (or at least cobbled together from Jerry Ordway drawn images)

Contents

  • Toys in the Attic from Superman (vol. 2) #13
  • Junk from Adventures of Superman #436
  • Hell is Where The Heart Is… from Action Comics #596
  • Last Stand! from Superman (vol. 2) #14
  • Point of View from Adventures of Superman #437
  • Visitor from Action Comics #597
  • Wings from Superman (vol. 2) #15
  • …The Amazing Brainiac from Adventures of Superman #438

Notes

  • I realize this is my personal bias showing but I am extremely happy that after nearly five years DC released another volume of this series.
  • There is a certain level (and by “certain level” I really mean “a whole lot”) of disappointment that DC didn’t commission an original cover for this volume.  Jerry Ordway drew the previous six covers and they look amazing.  It would have been nice for them to continue that tradition.
  • On the other hand it is nice that they chose to use Ordway artwork for the cover.  The main image is a little flat (Ordway’s words, by the way, not mine) but the bottom image is awesome.
  • Even though it has been almost five years since the last volume of this series came out I love the fact that the spine of this collection matches the previous six.  The DC COMICS logo at the bottom is different but the style and font are the same.
  • There is no introduction to this volume nor is there a cover gallery.  Instead each issue’s cover is placed before the story, which I liked quite a bit.
  • Superman #13 features the first appearance of the Post Crisis Toyman.  I liked what Byrne did with the character.  The fact that he is British is largely forgotten or ignored after this introduction.
  • The first five stories in this volume are Millennium crossovers.  You might think that reading these issues outside of the series it is tying into would be problematic but thanks to the storytelling of the time we’re brought up to speed pretty quick.
  • One of the ways Millennium crossed over into other titles was the idea that each hero had a Manhunter “sleeper” agent in their midst.  Byrne went all in on this idea by not only making Lana Lang a sleeper agent but every child in Smallville born after Superman’s ship landed as well.  While it was more personal for Lana as she was chosen to be the lead agent I both like and am uncomfortable with the idea that every man and woman younger than Superman was violated by the Manhunters.  It’s a cool idea for a story but has a lot of weird implications.
  • Ultimately the idea is largely ignored after this story ends.  It is talked about during the World of Smallville mini-series but after that it is pretty much forgotten, which is probably for the best.
  • Adventures of Superman #437 features the story where Jose Delgado (a.k.a Gangbuster) is temporarily crippled.  This was the first time I, as a reader, saw Gangbuster in action as I missed the first appearance of Jose in costume.  Considering how important that character became to me during the early nineties it’s kind of weird to think that my first exposure to him was at his lowest point.
  • The bombshell dropped on Lois in Action Comics #597 amuses me to no end.  Jonathan Kent tells Lois that the Kents raised Superman alongside Clark as brothers in an effort to throw her off the trail of finding out Clark and Superman were one and the same.  This blows up in everyone’s faces as Lois feels betrayed.  This isn’t the last time Jonathan will come up with a plan that isn’t all that…thought out.  Lois would feel resentful towards Superman and Clark for a very long time and it was only after she thought Clark had died that she actually forgave him.
  • Of course the fact that the creators that followed Byrne chose not to deal with this revelation probably had something to do with it as well.
  • Superman #15 has the first appearance of a villain called Skyhook.  This is one of many characters and storylines that Byrne would introduce during the course of his time with Superman that would be later resolved by Roger Stern.  This is not a criticism, merely an observation.
  • Adventures of Superman #438 featured the first appearance of the Post Crisis Brainiac.  This is another one of those issues I missed first run during my early collecting days.  I rather liked it when I finally got to read it but I have since learned that readers were not all that thrilled with the new Brainiac, at least during his first appearance.  I can see it both ways, really.  It’s not the most dramatic of introductions but it was such a cool idea.
  • The name Milton Fine is a Three Stooges reference.  In case you were curious.

To follow the series as it progress check out the following links:

MAN OF STEEL WATCH – EMPIRE MAGAZINE

So the hype leading up to Man of Steel is starting to really crank up.  More bits and pieces about the merchandising are making their way around the web and there is even word of a new trailer in April.  Magazines are getting in on the action too.

Empire Magazine 2013 AThis cover got quite a bit of play when it hit the Internet.  It’s been interesting to see actually.  A new image from this film pops up on a website and suddenly all of my friends on Facebook that like Superman are either posting it, making it their profile picture or both.  It’s not something I necessarily like to do but more power to them.

What I love most about this cover is that Superman is front and center.  Even with Iron Man 3 coming out in the same summer Empire chose to go with Superman as their main image, which gives me some hope that this film will be the big deal it needs to be.  What I don’t like about the cover is that it states that Superman is getting the “Dark Knight treatment”.  My first thought when I read that was, “Wow, that is written by someone is trying to sell magazines.”  Yes, the recent Batman films and Man of Steel share some creative personnel but everything that I have read regarding Man of Steel is that Superman is going to be a figure of hope, not a dark knight in red and blue.  The people responsible for the cover copy on this magazine don’t care about that.  Their goal is to get the average person on the street to purchase their magazine and if they can associate this movie with a very successful film franchise then maybe that average man and woman on the street will be more likely to plunk down the cash to buy this issue.

Is it misleading?  Yes.  Is it morally wrong?  I don’t know if I would go that far, but it is still annoying.

There was a variant to the cover without the obnoxious copy.

Empire Magazine 2013 BThe more I see of that suit the more I like the way it looks.

As I was searching for a post worthy version of this cover I stumbled across this image and smiled.

Empire Magazine 2006It’s nice to see that when a Superman film comes out he gets the cover of Empire Magazine.

WHO’S WHO CLASSIC – SUPERBOY (POST-CRISIS)

Welcome to another installment of Who’s Who Classic, a regular feature here at the Fortress where every Monday I will present an entry from the original series of Who’s Who comics that DC published between 1984 and 1988.  Superman was well represented in those series and I wanted to share the entries with you just in case you have never seen them.  Today’s entry is Superboy (Post-Crisis)!

Superboy(originally published in Who’s Who Update ’87 #5, December 1987)

Remember that you can click on the images to make them larger.