Markley’s Fevered Brain: A Hundred Pages!

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

A few years ago DC Comics started doing 100 page comics that were sold just in Wal-Mart stores. These books generally hade 24 pages of new material and the rest was reprints of New 52 or Rebirth stories. About six months ago, DC/Wal-Mart ended and restarted all the books again with number one issues. This time they offered the books to Wal-Mart, and then, anywhere from a week to four weeks later, to the direct comic book market with brand new covers not on the Wal-Mart books. These books are 32 pages of new material and the rest being made of reprints mostly of New 52 and Rebirth stories. Except recently they have been reprinting some older stories even going back to the late 1970s!

Flash Giant #4

Flash Giant #4


Now I am not going to encourage you to go search for the first wave of the books from Wal-Mart as DC has kindly collected the lead stories (the new material) into a series of miniseries (and then HCs, well the Batman run so far) and the Swamp Thing stories into a trade collection. There will be collections of the Superman, Wonder Woman, and Teen Titans stories coming later this year. The only collection from the first wave of books not announced yet is the first wave of Justice League of America volumes. I think there were four issues and I have no doubt those stories (the new stories that is) will be collected in the near future.

Batman Universe HC

Batman Universe HC


The first collection that has been released is called the Batman Universe HC and it is deftly written by Brian Michael Bendis and beautifully drawn by Nick Derington. This is a very entertaining tale of Batman searching through time and space to find a mysterious object that will destroy the universe as we know it. The story is quick paced with sharp dialogue with nice bits of humor. Throughout the story there are all sorts of guest stars including Green Lantern, Green Arrow and Jonah Hex plus the villainy of the Riddler and the time traveling villain Vandal Savage. This was a great Batman story and to me makes a good argument to let Bendis write Batman regularly. This reminded me a lot of the classic Silver Age Justice League stories that over a number of chapters would tell a great standalone story. I would highly recommend this full color hardcover from DC.

Superman: Up in the Sky

Superman: Up in the Sky


Following up the Batman collection there is Superman: Up in the Sky HC which is due later this year. This collects the six issue series of Superman comics by Tom King and Andy Kubert from the first wave of the 100 page giants. These stories were originally available only at Wal-Marts so the single comics or this collection is the only way to get these stories. I did not enjoy this book as much as I liked the Batman book. The story is about a young girl who is kidnapped by aliens and Superman heads off on an intergalactic journey to rescue her. The story reads as if each chapter is a standalone story (with some being better than others) while the Batman story was a nice linear and coherent story. The art is classic Kubert and the resolution is very satisfying but getting to the conclusion at times was a bit of a drag. Overall, this book reads much better in one sitting than the monthly comics that I read so I would recommend this collection. Once again it is a full color hardcover.

Wonder Woman: Come Back To Me

Wonder Woman: Come Back To Me


The third collection is the six issue series called Wonder Woman: Come Back to Me. This one is written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti and drawn by Tom Derenick. The basic story is Steve Trevor and Etta Candy disappear and then Wonder Woman goes off on a massive search for them while at the same time battling her longtime foe, the Cheetah. The story is similar to the Batman story as it involves time travel and is sort of a wild chase through time and space. Once again this book did not entertain me as much as the Batman book and of the five collections this might have been my least favorite. It is a good read but it really did not make me want to read more. A must for any Wonder Woman fan and a fine book to read if you have extra time and money. Once again, a full color hardcover.

Titans: Burning Rage

Titans: Burning Rage


Next we shift to a collection of the Titans 100 page giants called Titans: Burning Rage. This is different than the previous three collections as it is available as a trade paperback only. It collects all of the new Titan stories from the first wave of the Titans 100 page giants. This was a fun read that was a flashback to the past and was just a classic DC Titans story. It is written by Dan Jurgans and drawn by Scott Eaton. The story is about trouble in the streets as the Titans, along with Hawk and Dove, try to find out who  is causing havoc all over the world. A fun romp, again similar to the JLA stories of the 1960s in structure, not in look. This is a fun story filled with fights and action and an easy read. It will be out later this year.

Swamp Thing: Tales From the Bayou

Swamp Thing: Tales From the Bayou


Swamp Thing: Tales From the Bayou is a trade collection that is already out that is a little different than the above books. First off, it is a trade paperback and not a hardcover. Secondly it collects stories in addition to the first wave of the Swamp Thing 100 page giants. Also, these stories were not collected into comics prior to the trade collection like the above books were. Plus, it is currently available. The story from the seven issues of the 100 page giants is basically about two college students who disappear in the bayou and Swamp Thing and his companion Briar are off to solve the mystery of a very bloody killer. It is written by Tim Seeley and drawn (well, the early chapters) by Joelle Jones. In addition to these stories from the 100 page giants there are short stories from Swamp Thing Winter Special, with a phenomenal story by Tom King and Jason Fabok, Young Monsters in Love #1, Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1; and Swamp Thing Halloween Horror Giant #1. Other creators include Brian Azzarello, Aaron Lopresti and more. While once again this collection is a bit of hit and miss, I would recommend it if only for the Tom King/Jason Fabok story which was a work of beauty.

Next I am going to briefly look at a series of 100 Page Giants that are one shots (well, one is ongoing). These are books that are only one, or in a few cases two, volumes and include new stories plus reprints. Generally running 32 pages of new material and 64 pages of reprints. Some of these are great and some are so so. I want to mention these as I am not sure as to when or how DC will collect these stories in the future as the subject matter varies so much. So if one of these titles appeals to you I would encourage you to seek out these original 100 page giants. As a bonus, all of the books are only $4.99 for a 100 pages!

Scooby Doo 50th Anniversary Giant

Scooby Doo 50th Anniversary Giant


First up we have the Scooby Doo 50th Anniversary Giant #1. This was a great collection of classic Scooby-Doo stories (from DC, sadly not the earlier runs from Gold Key, Charlton, Archie, Marvel) but what I loved most about this collection was a new story by Sholly Fisch and Dario Brizuela (the creators of Scooby-Doo Team-Up) about Scooby-Doo’s birthday. Just fantastic.

From Beyond the Unknown Giant

From Beyond the Unknown Giant


From Beyond the Unknown Giant #1 is named after a title from the early 1970s that reprinted classic science fiction stories. This giant stands out because of the strength of the new stories and it reprints stories that actually pre-date the New 52 and Rebirth time periods. (In all the Giants prior to this reprints were from the New 52 or Rebirth era). The lead new story features Green Lantern. A wonderful new Kamandi story by Tom Sniegowski and drawn by Eric Gapstur. This is a short story but it is the best Kamandi story I have read since the glory of the Kirby days. Once again I would highly recommend this book if only for the Kamandi story. Then there is a third new story by Dan Jurgans and Norm Rapmund with the Legion of Super-Heroes. Once again this is a throwback to the classic Legion under the care of my fellow columnist KC Carlson. Perhaps the reason I enjoyed this book even more was the reprints were of a DC Comics Presents story with Superman and Adam Strange from the 1990s and a Brave and the Bold story with Batman and the Metal Men by the legendary team of Bob Haney and Jim Aparo from the 1970s. This might be the best overall 100 Page Giant I have read so far. Highly recommended.

Superman Giant #2

Superman Giant #2


The third giant I would like to spotlight is Superman Giant #2. This is because of the lead story written by Robert Venditti and Paul Pelletier. This is a 24 page story that to me harks back to the best Superman stories. It is a standalone tale of gamblers taking bets on Superman saving people. A simple premise that makes for a stunning story. It looks beautiful and the story is fast paced, action packed and heartwarming. There is also another new story and reprints for 2010 and 2016. A great standalone book.

Batwoman/Supergirl: World’s Finest

Batwoman/Supergirl: World’s Finest


Currently there are regular giants of Batman, Aquaman, Titans, Wonder Woman, Flash and Swamp Thing that are generally split with three books (and a special one-shot) one month and the other three the next month. There have been a variety of special one shots and miniseries over the last year. These specials have included a two part Crisis on Infinite Earths, Batwoman/Supergirl: World’s Finest, Teen Titans Go/Super-Hero Girls (2 issues), Birds of Prey, Ghosts, Villains, and the Scooby-Doo and From Beyond the Unknown I mentioned earlier. All of these books vary in quality but again for the price of $4.99 I would easily recommend any of them as they are probably the best value in comics. (Yes, there are the $1 True Believer comics, but these giants have 1/3 of brand new material).

This wraps it up for this time out. I really enjoy these collections as they are for the most part standalone stories, and they are available to everyone at their local comic shop. Have you read any of these books? Ether the Wal-Mart versions of the direct market versions? If so I would like to know what you thought. Do you enjoy them as much as I do? Why not? I can be reached at Wayne Markley on Facebook or at MFBWAY@AOL.COM on the world wide webs. All of these thoughts are mine and do not reflect the opinions of Westfield Comics or their staff. As always…

Thank you.

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