Hey, folks. It’s been a minute since I’ve done one of these. Money and time got in the way, but this is the perfect opportunity to finish up my updates for 2017.
First, if you’re new to these parts, here’s the backstory to these weird little posts: a while back I was trying to find a good Superman run to start collecting because the Snyderverse Superman bummed me out. I settled on Kurt Busiek’s run because I’d read good things about it online. Busiek’s run was part of DC’s “One Year Later” initiative where all of their titles jumped forward a year after the events of Infinite Crisis. That inspired me to create a spreadsheet placing the trades I owned in chronological order.
Over the next several weeks, I kept adding to the list, starting with the books in my Amazon wishlists, then cribbing from other lists I found online. My goal with the list became to create a reading list where one could start at the beginning of the DC timeline and read their way through to present day in roughly chronological order. The focus here is on readability over chronology, however, so I try to keep as many books in a run together as possible, doubling back if multiple books cover the same time span from different perspectives. The exceptions to that are typically if something big happens–like someone dying or a new character being introduced.
I came up with the order of my trade timeline from this comment of all the Batman trades in chronological order (up to Flashpoint), this trade reading order list for Superman, and this reading order list for Batman. Where the lists didn’t have information, I judged for myself based on the release dates of the original issues and the storyline descriptions.
Below you’ll see the list of all canon DC titles that I own at this point. The ones in bold are the ones that I got this month. The ones underlined and in italics are big events that drastically altered the timeline and/or the universe in some way (usually a reboot).
- Blue Beetle: The Charlton Files
- Crisis On Infinite Earths
- Batman: Dark Victory
- Batman: The Killing Joke, Deluxe Edition
- Justice League International, Vol. 1
- Justice League International, Vol. 2
- Justice League International, Vol. 3
- Justice League International, Vol. 4
- The Death of Superman
- Batman: Knightfall, Vol. 1
- Impulse: Reckless Youth
- Justice League: A League of One
- JLA Titans: Technis Imperative
- Young Justice: A League of Their Own
- Birds of Prey, Vol. 1: Of Like Minds
- Birds of Prey, Vol. 2: Sensei & Student
- Birds of Prey, Vol. 3: Between Dark & Dawn
- Superman/Batman Vol. 1: Public Enemies
- Superman/Batman Vol. 2: Supergirl
- JLA: The Hypothetical Woman
- Teen Titans Vol. 1: A Kid’s Game
- Teen Titans Vol. 2: Family Lost
- Teen Titans Vol. 3: Beast Boys and Girls
- Teen Titans Vol. 4: The Future is Now
- Teen Titans/Outsiders: The Insiders
- Teen Titans: The Death and Return of Donna Troy
- Secret Six Vol. 1: Villains United
- The OMAC Project (Countdown to Infinite Crisis)
- Infinite Crisis
- Teen Titans Vol. 5: Life and Death
- Supergirl Vol. 1
- Batman: Face the Face by James Robinson
- Teen Titans, Vol. 6: Titans Around the World
- Teen Titans, Vol. 7: Titans East
- Superman: Up, Up, and Away!
- Superman: Back in Action
- Superman: Last Son of Krypton
- Superman: Camelot Falls, Vol. 1
- Superman: Camelot Falls (Vol. 2)
- Superman: The Third Kryptonian
- Superman: Redemption
- Superman: Escape from Bizarro World
- Superman: Shadows Linger
- Blue Beetle (Book 1): Shellshocked
- Blue Beetle (Book 2): Road Trip
- Blue Beetle (Book 3): Reach for the Stars
- Teen Titans, Vol. 8: Titans of Tomorrow
- Blue Beetle (Book 4): Endgame
- Blue Beetle (Book 5): Boundaries
- Blue Beetle (Book 6): Black and Blue
- Batman: Batman and Son
- Batman: The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul
- Batman R.I.P.
- Final Crisis (New Edition)
- Batman: Battle for the Cowl
- Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds
- Teen Titans, Vol. 9: On the Clock
- Teen Titans Spotlight: Raven
- Wonder Woman: The Circle
- Wonder Woman: Ends of the Earth
- Batman: Time and the Batman
- Batman & Robin, Vol. 1: Batman Reborn
- Time Masters: Vanishing Point
- Birds of Prey Vol. 1: Endrun
- Superman: Action Comics, Vol. 1: Superman and the Men of Steel
- Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin (The New 52)
- Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls
- Batman Vol. 2: The City of Owls
- Batgirl Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection (The New 52)
- Batgirl Vol. 2: Knightfall Descends
- Batwing Vol. 1: The Lost Kingdom
- Justice League Vol. 2: The Villain’s Journey
- Justice League International Vol. 1: The Signal Masters
- Aquaman Vol. 1: The Trench (The New 52)
- Aquaman Vol. 2: The Others (The New 52)
- Aquaman Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis (The New 52)
- Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family
- Batgirl Vol. 3: Death of the Family
- The Movement Vol. 1: Class Warfare (The New 52)
- Justice League United Vol. 1: Justice League Canada
- Justice League United Vol. 2: The Infinitus Saga
- Batgirl Vol. 4: Wanted (The New 52)
- Secret Six Vol. 1: Friends in Low Places
- Cyborg Vol. 1: Unplugged
- Midnighter Vol 1: Out
- Midnighter Vol 2: Hard
- Wonder Woman Vol. 1 (Rebirth): The Lies
- Superman: Action Comics Vol. 1: Path Of Doom (Rebirth)
- Trinity Vol. 1: Better Together (Rebirth) *
- Superman Vol. 1 (Rebirth): Son of Superman
- Superman: Action Comics Vol. 2: Welcome to the Planet (Rebirth)
- Superman Vol. 2: Trials of the Super Son (Rebirth)
- Superman: Action Comics Vol. 3: Men of Steel (Rebirth)
- Superman Vol. 3: Multiplicity
- Superman Reborn
- Detective Comics Vol. 1: Rise of the Batmen (Rebirth)
- Batman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham (Rebirth)
- Batman: Night of the Monster Men
- Detective Comics Vol. 2: The Victim Syndicate (Rebirth)
- Batman Vol. 2: I Am Suicide (Rebirth)
As I said in my last update, I’m keen to explore more comics about gay men, so I bought the two available trades of Midnighter. At first I was reluctant because the way I kept seeing the book pitched online was “a more violent Batman that’s gay,” which is a terrible pitch. Batman can already be gross and overly violent when written by the wrong writers, so the last thing I wanted was something even worse.
Still, he’s one of the few gay men in cape comics with his own series, so I sampled the book at Barnes and Noble before buying it. The opening fight was confusing and didn’t do a good job establishing who Midnighter was or what his powers were, and I don’t know if it was more violent than Batman as much as Midnighter takes perverse pleasure in beating someone’s face in. However, early in the first volume, Midnighter goes on a date with some guy and ends up beating the fuck out of some Russian homophobe before taking his date back to his place.
He was surprisingly charming. He didn’t bother with a secret identity. He literally uses his identity as Midnighter to pick up men in bars. Imagine Bruce going to bars and using that he’s Batman to pick up women. Plus, in the quiet moments when he wasn’t gleefully pounding a bad guy’s face in, he was very sweet. I was quickly won over by him. Where Batman uses his caping as a smokescreen, Midnighter uses it as a frame. He knows he’s damaged, and he thinks he doesn’t deserve good things because of that damage.
After that first confusing issue, things really do improve, and I highly recommend picking up the first two volumes. Plus there’s a crossover in one of the volumes between Midnighter and Grayson that was sexy as fuck and made me want to pick up the trades of Grayson when I’ve never really been interested in that character before–as a secret agent or as Nightwing. And, of course, I plan to pick up Midnighter and Apollo (the sorta third volume, sorta spin-off) as soon as our money stuff settles down a little.
Besides Midnighter, I decided to focus on collecting Rebirth the rest of the year. I couldn’t help myself–I wanted to read the Superman stuff, and people kept raving about Tom King’s Batman. I did grab a couple more volumes of Grant Morrison’s Batman run, and I always get some of Gail Simone’s Wonder Woman when I can find them cheap.
I haven’t had the chance to dig into King’s Batman, but I did read the Rebirth Superman and it’s actually really good. I prefer Superman to Action Comics so far. Tomasi has a way with writing the Dad of Steel that really understands the family dynamic of Superman. Action Comics is more, just…punching. It’s fine, and there’s some decent stuff in those volumes about Superman coming to terms with the possibility that Lex appears genuinely want to do good. That said, Jonathan is awful in Action Comics, although he does become much more tolerable in the second and third volumes.
Superman Vol. 2 stands out as a highlight because it features a team up between Batman and Superman…and Damian and Jonathan. Damian came across as insufferable as always, but Tomasi was able to draw some sympathy out of him that reminded me why I like the character even if he can be a huge pain in the ass sometimes.
Superman Reborn was okay for what it was–a zany, Silver Age inspired Superman story. I don’t mind those, but I don’t feel like it meshed with the tones setup in the preceding volumes. The ultimate resolution for there having been two Loises and two Supermen works okay, but the mystery behind the unpowered Clark Kent was a pretty big let down, and overall the antagonist didn’t jive with what had already been set up. It wasn’t properly set up, so it’s a twist that’s sort of meaningless.
Want to discuss books I’ve recently purchased or read? Any suggestions for books not on the list? Questions about the order of books? If you have any thoughts about this project at all, please drop me a line in the comments. I’d love to geek out about comics with you some more. Just please, no spoilers.