Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spider-Man's Brand New Day!

I read a lot of comics and I have been reading them for a long time. One group of titles I never really got into - the Spider-Man titles. I like the character just fine, but I always had trouble getting into stories or books that featured just him. I think the trouble lies in the fact that I couldn't identify with him. For one thing - Mary Jane. Sure I've got a super-hot wife, but I worked hard for her affections - she didn't just fall into my lap. Also, she's not taking any more modeling gigs.

The other thing is this guy has so many opportunities to make his life easier and he never takes them. People want to give him money, or support, and he just turns it down or gives it way. Here's a guy that's going out into the world, putting his life on the line constantly, and he lets himself go hungry!

All that aside, when Marvel announced their whole "Brand New Day" thing for Spider-man and the gang I figured I'd give the title a shot. It's really great and I'm enjoying it tremendously. Peter Parker is on his own, trying to make a life for himself while dealing with all the hardships that come with being Spider-Man. The new characters are interesting - I very interested to see how they play out.

Brand New Day directly follows the events of One More Day, published in these issues:
(Part 1) The Amazing Spider-Man #544
(Part 2) Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #23
(Part 3) Sensational Spider-Man (vol. 2) #40
(Part 4) The Amazing Spider-Man #545

Brand New Day starts off in Amazing Spider-Man (now shipping thrice-monthly-ish) and continues in the Annual and a few "Extra" issues. Of course, "Brand New Day" ends after only a few issues, though the events that drive the new continuity are felt through these issues.

Amazing Spider-Man #546-566
Amazing Spider-Man Extra #1
Amazing Spider-Man #567-574
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (2008)
Amazing Spider-Man #575-583
Amazing Spider-Man Extra #2
Amazing Spider-Man #584-588
Amazing Spider-Man Extra #3
Amazing Spider-Man #589-Current

The main thing here is that I want to support the project. Marvel has taken three monthly titles and combined them into one thrice-monthly title with a rotating creative team - but with the same overall narrative! This is a practice that I'd love to see for Superman, Batman, Avengers, X-Men, and more! If Marvel makes money off this experiment, perhaps they'll try it with other books too.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Superman - New Krypton (reading order)

I haven't really been a follower of the Superman titles for a while, but these issues sparked my interest. Fortunately, DC for the most part has been numbering these issues that have come out since the New Krypton special.

Lead-in to New Krypton:

Superman - #677 to #680
Supergirl - #34
Action Comics - #866 to #870
Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen Special #1

New Krypton:

Part 1 - Superman: New Krypton Special
Part 2 - Superman #681

Part 3 - Adventure Comics Special Featuring the Guardian
Part 4 - Action Comics #871
Part 5 - Supergirl #35
Part 6 - Superman #682

Part 7 - Action Comics #872
Part 8 - Supergirl #36
Part 9 - Superman #683

Part 10 - Action Comics #873
Part 11 - Supergirl #37 (no cover-number)
Part 12 - Superman #684

Part 13 - Action Comics #874
Part 14 - Supergirl #38
Part 15 - Superman #685 (no cover-number)

Part 16 - Superman: World of New Krypton #1
Part 17 - Action Comics #875
Part 18 - Supergirl #39
Part 19 - Superman #686

Part 20 - Superman: World of New Krypton #2
Part 21 - Action Comics #876
Part 22 - Supergirl #40
Part 23 - Superman #687

Part 24 - Superman: World of New Krypton #3
Part 25 - Action Comics #877
Part 26 - Supergirl #41
Part 27 - Superman #688

Part 28 - Superman: World of New Krypton #4
Part 29 - Action Comics #878
Part 30 - Supergirl #42
Part 31 - Superman #689

Part 32 - Superman: World of New Krypton #5
Part 33 - Action Comics #879
Part 34 - Supergirl #43
Part 35 - Superman #690

Looks like the number is restarting for the Codename: Patriot issues.

Part "S" - Superman Annual #14 (2009)
Part 0 - Superman 2009 Secret Files
Part 1 - Superman: World of New Krypton #6
Part 2 - Action Comics #880
Part 3 - Supergirl #44
Part 4 - Superman #691

I'm not sure if Adventure Comics fits in with these titles at all - I have it, but haven't read it yet. I'll update later.


As always - if you have any additions or corrections, please send them my way.

Batman - Battle for the Cowl (reading order)

Hopefully this reading order is going to be easier and far-less convoluted than No Man's Land.

Here we go - ordering by release date:

Gotham Gazette: Batman Dead? - 3/04/2009
Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1 - 3/11/2009
Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #1 - 3/18/2009
Battle for the Cowl: Commissioner Gordon - 3/25/2009
Oracle: The Cure #1 - 3/25/2009
Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2 - 4/08/2009
Battle for the Cowl: Man-Bat - 4/1/2009
Oracle: The Cure #2 - 4/15/2009
Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #2 - 4/22/2009
Battle for the Cowl: Arkham Asylum - 4/22/2009
Battle for the Cowl: The Underground - 4/29/2009
Battle for the Cowl: The Network - 5/06/2009
Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #3 - 5/13/2009
Oracle: The Cure #3 - 5/13/2009
Secret Six #9 - 5/13/2009
Batman: Battle for the Cowl #3 - 5/20/2009
Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive? - 5/28/2009

I didn't actually grab the Azrael issues yet so I can't really speak to the entire order, but mostly this seems to be the ideal way to read through them. Mostly it seems that publishers haven't gotten better at releasing things in the order in which they should be read, but there have been a few mistakes from time to time.

If anyone has any additions or corrections to this list, please let me know.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fringe Steals from Ex Machina!


I just got done watching the first season of Fringe. While I have to say that I enjoyed it, I also have to admit that I'm left with a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Brian K Vaughan has been writing a fantastic comic series from Wildstorm/DC called Ex Machina. It's about a superhero in a world very much like our own. Mitchel Hundred went by the name of the "Great Machine" when he was out saving the world. Perhaps his greatest achievement as a hero was stopping the second airplane from striking the second World Trade Center tower in New York City on 9/11.

There is a mystery surrounding the origin of Hundred's powers - even to him. In one of the issues there's a visitor from another dimension that meets with Hundred and tells him that he's crossed over from another reality in advance of a invading army that aims to take over not just the world - but ALL the worlds.

Cut over to Fringe - the early episodes were very much in the vein of X-Files with a mystery of the week and a slow build-up to the overall story. Suffice it to say a large component of the story involves travel between worlds and various factions battling against one another. The final shot of the finale pulls away from two characters talking in an office. As the shot widens and travels further from the window you see that both towers are still standing and it is implied on a newspaper front page that it was the White House that got destroyed in this reality. ["Obamas set to move into new White House"]

Of course it's not a blatant rip-off, certainly nothing that BKV could go after JJ Abrams for stealing, but it definitely takes some key points.

Batman - No Man's Land (reading order)

No Man's Land was a massive cross-over from 1999 and took place in several DC Comics titles. The central titles used in the cross-over were Batman, Detective Comics, Shadow of the Bat, and Legends of the Dark Knight.

Recently I decided I wanted to pick up these issues and give them a read. I figured since it was the starting point for two of my favorite DC characters - Harley Quinn and Cassandra Cain - and apparently was a big deal that I'd give it a shot. I found a great deal on the issues in one lot on eBay and went for it.

When I got them I started flipping through the first couple and I noticed that there's really no way to tell from the issues which order you should read them in. I spent some time looking on-line and I found two slightly different guides for the reading order. I tried to combine the two, which essentially worked pretty well. As I read through them though I found a number of problems and decided to update the list.

I didn't always remember all the changes I thought of making so there are still some problems with it. Additionally, the editors missed a few things and frankly I just don't think some things can be resolved with the continuity. However, these are usually minor details and don't really adversely affect the reading experience. If you actually use my list to read your issues, please let me know of any thoughts or changes you want to see.


Batman - No Man's Land Reading Order:

Azrael 47-50 - A Man of Wealth & Taste / Scratching the Surface / Gotham City Must Die! / Resurrection
Batman 560 - Mr. Wayne Goes to Washington (Part One)
Detective Comics 727 - Fight or Flight (Part One)
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 80 - Waxman and the Clown (Part One)
Batman 561 - Mr. Wayne Goes to Washington (Part Two)
Detective Comics 728 - Fight or Flight (Part Two)
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 81 - Waxman and the Clown (Part Two)
Batman 562 - Mr. Wayne Goes to Washington (Part Three)
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 82 - Waxman and the Clown (Part Three)
Detective Comics 729 - Fight or Flight (Part Three)

Batman: No Man's Land 0 - Ground Zero (contains some slight spoilers)
Batman: No Man's Land 1 - No Law and a New Order (Part One)
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 83 - No Law and a New Order (Part Two)
Batman 563 - No Law and a New Order (Part Three)
Detective Comics 730 - No Law and a New Order (Part Four)
Azrael 51 - Miracle Run
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 116 - Fear of Faith (Part One)
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 84 - Fear of Faith (Part Two)
Batman 564 - Fear of Faith (Part Three)
Detective Comics 731 - Fear of Faith (Part Four)
Azrael 52 - Devil Down Below
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 117 - Bread and Circuses (Part One)
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 85 - Bread and Circuses (Part Two)
Batman Chronicles 16 - Two Down / The Comforts of Home / Harold
Batman 565 - Mosaic (Part One)
Detective Comics 732 - Mosaic (Part Two)
Azrael 53 - Jellybean Deathtrap
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 118 - Balance
Batman 566 - The Visitor
Detective Comics 733 - Shades of Grey
Azrael 54-55 - Step into the Light / Misery Dance
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 119 - Claim Jumping (Part One)
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 87 - Claim Jumping (Part Two)
Batman 567 - Mark of Cain (Part One)
Detective Comics 734 - Mark of Cain (Part Two)
Young Justice No Man's Land Special 1 - Road Trip
Robin 67 - Way Dark
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 120 - Assembly
Azrael 56-57 - The Night Foretold! / Scratched Out!
Nightwing 35-37 - Escape to Blackgate / Direction / A Slight Detour
Batman Chronicles 17 - Little Bat Lost / Turn On, Tune In, Freak Out / Identity Crisis
JLA 32 - Inside Job
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 88 - Fruit of the Earth (Part One)
Batman 568 - Fruit of the Earth (Part Two)
Detective Comics 735 - Fruit of the Earth (Part Three)
Catwoman 72-74 - A Funny Thing Happened On the Way Back To Gotham ... / Ms. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 121 - Powerplay
Batman: Harley Quinn One-shot
Robin 68-70 - War Beneath the Streets
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 89 - The King
Batman Chronicles 18 Spiritual Currency
Batman 569 - I Cover the Waterfront
Detective Comics 736 - Homecoming
Azrael 58 - Ghosts
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 122 - Low Road to Golden Mountain (Part One)
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 90 - Low Road to Golden Mountain (Part Two)
Batman 570 - The Code (Part One)
Detective Comics 737 - The Code (Part Two)
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 123 - Underground Railroad (Part One)
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 91 - Underground Railroad (Part Two)
Batman 571 - Goin' Downtown (Part One)
Detective Comics 738 - Goin' Downtown (Part Two)
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 124 - Captain of Industry
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 92 - Stormy Weather
Secret Files and Origins: No Mans Land
Nightwing 38 - Ballistic Romance 1
Robin 71- The Lizard King
Nightwing 39 - Ballistic Romance 2
Robin 72 - Last Stand on Grand Avenue
Batman 572 - Jurisprudence (Part One)
Detective Comics 739 - Jurisprudence (Part Two)
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 125 - Falling Back
Catwoman 75 - The Rules
Azrael 59 - Pilgrim's Return
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 93 - Assembly Redux
Robin 73 - The World Around the Corner (Robin leaves NML?)*
Azrael 60 - Evacuation
Catwoman 76-77 - Strange Bedfellows / Payback
Batman 573 - Shellgame (Part One)
Detective Comics 740 - Shellgame (Part Two)
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 126 - Endgame (Part One)
Batman 574 - Endgame (Part Two)
Detective Comics 741 - Endgame (Part Three)
Azrael 61 - Presents of Mind
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 94 - Days of Auld Lang Syne

*I think there was a snafu on the part of the editors regarding this issue of Robin. Tim Drake is rescued from Gotham by Helicopter, but somehow Robin is still in Gotham. The only time it's addressed that he had to come back to Gotham is in the very last issue, Shadow 94. There are all kinds of continuity problems with that one so it's best just to let it be.