BATMAN: REBIRTH DELUXE EDITION: A HARD, HARD BOOK

KC Carlson. He is the night.

KC Carlson. He is the night.


A KC COLUMN By KC Carlson

I think I mentioned a while back that I was slowly attempting to switch over to getting my ongoing comics series as hardcover or softcover collections. (“About time,” say most people.) My first tests for this were the Batman titles — specifically Batman and Detective Comics (and since then added Nightwing).

Of course, being me, I hadn’t gotten around to reading any of them until this week, and that was mostly because I’ve had this fall/winter’s version of the creeping crud hanging on for a few weeks now. I just wanted something to read where I didn’t have to worry about gathering up all the pieces that I’d need for a good reading experience. How foolish I was to think that.

Batman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1

Batman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1


The first book I read Batman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1, went well, as it was pretty much a straight reprinting of Batman: Rebirth #1 (a one-shot) and Batman #1-15. The first major (and introductory) storyline here is “I Am Gotham”, which has six parts and an epilogue — but then we get to the “Night of the Monster Men” six-part story. Only parts 1 and 4 are included here, after which there’s a not very helpful “For the full story, see Batman: Night of the Monster Men” blurb.

DC wants me to have to buy other books if I want the full story. Part 3 and the Finale (Part 6) are in Batman: Detective Comics: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1, and Parts 2 and 5 are in Nightwing: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1 — but obviously, if you want the complete story all in one place, you have to get a Night of the Monster Men collection, which is available in either hard- or softcover.

Batman #9

Batman #9


Following “Night of the Monster Men”, there’s the five-part “I Am Suicide” storyline, which involves Batman having to “borrow” some folks from Amanda Waller, including Ventriloquist, Kite Man, Ben Turner, and others, to challenge the Psycho Pirate. (And also including a mysterious young blonde woman who likes to doodle the Legion of Super-Heroes symbol with her breath and finger on windows. Hmm.) It also involves the Isle of Santa Prisca and, amazingly, Catwoman. Turns out that this story introduces quite a few of the elements that will be important in this Batman series for at least a couple dozen issues of the series.

Batman #14

Batman #14


Up next in the original book I was reading is a transitional two-part story called “Rooftops”. On the surface, it seems to be a marking-time kind of story, but it sets up a lot of stuff that will matter much more in upcoming storylines (and forthcoming volumes) for the next year or so.

Wrapping up the book is a very generous Variant Cover Gallery, collecting all the variants from Batman: Rebirth #1 and Batman #1-15 — plus several pages of sketches, pencil artwork, and design work from the stories in this volume.

BUTTON-DOWN HARDCOVER

Batman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 2

Batman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 2


Batman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 2 is more of the same caliber of stories, but again frustrating, in that not all the issues you need to enjoy the stories are included. First up is “I Am Bane”, a brutal six-part story which not only deals with most of the extended Bat-family, but also features guest appearances by Superman and cameos by most of the best known Bat-Villains. Plus Gotham Girl slowly gets better.

Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition HC

Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition HC


Problems with complete stories pop up again in “The Button”, a four-part story that guest-stars the Flash. The villain is Eobard Thawne (although you may know him better as either the Reverse-Flash or Professor Zoom from previous eras). When originally published, this bounced between both the Batman (#21-22) and The Flash (#21-22) comics, although once again, the Flash issues are not in this volume. A very short blurb recaps The Flash #21, and the collection doesn’t really bother with The Flash #22 at all. Again, your best bet here is to get The Button as a stand-alone volume, although the early editions of the hardcover, with a lenticular cover, are most likely gone. (There were also lenticular variant covers for all four individual comic book issues of the storyline.)

Up next, from Batman #23, is another team-up — this time with Swamp Thing. It’s brilliantly called The Brave and the Mold, and it’s dedicated “For Bernie”. That’s artist Bernie Wrightson, who passed away in March of 2017 — and who really knew his way around swamps! Things get back to semi-normal in Batman #24. Another stand-alone story moves the Batman/Catwoman relationship forward in a huge way! Plus Gotham Girl is feeling much better.

Batman #25

Batman #25


The rest of the volume is taken up with the six-part “War of Jokes and Riddles” (with a brief two-issue “The Ballad of Kite Man” interlude). Been waiting patiently to see some classic Batman villains like the Riddler, the Joker, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, and cameos by even more including Deadshot and Deathstroke? Even Catwoman gets involved a bit here…

Finally, Batman Annual #1 (2016) presents five very individual short stories (totaling 38 pages of new material) spotlighting Ace the Bat-Hound, a couple of amazing Batman-level acrobats, a short Harley Quinn tale by Paul Dini and Neal Adams, a chilling visit from Minister Blizzard (who?), and a story about an fearlessly overconfident character named Haunter who apparently has ties to the Scarecrow.

Batman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 3

Batman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 3


Batman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 3 is currently scheduled to ship in December (next month). That should be a popular volume, since its main focus will be the Batman/Catwoman wedding plans and all the surrounding complications and attention. (But not the actual wedding… That’s supposed to be in Book 4!) Book 3 collects Batman (2016 3rd Series) #33-44 and Batman Annual #2 and will be a 328-page volume.

There are also Batman-centric Rebirth Deluxe Edition Books for Detective Comics (3 volumes), Nightwing (3 volumes), Harley Quinn (2 volumes, with more on the way), and Justice League (3 volumes). From the larger DC Universe, there are Rebirth Deluxe Edition Books for The Flash (3 volumes), Green Arrow (1 volume), Suicide Squad (2 volumes), Superman (2 volumes with more to come), Superman in Action Comics (2 volumes), and Wonder Woman (2 volumes with more on the way). Hope you all find the ones you want under the tree (or wherever) next month!

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KC CARLSON: Can’t help but be intrigued by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp’s take on Green Lantern in a new #1 issue on sale today!

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. Comics take a rare back seat today, however, as a new heater/AC unit is being installed here. Looking forward to teaching the new unit how to bag and board comics. I have pretty high hopes (since it doesn’t actually have hands), but at least I don’t have to worry about fingerprints!

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