In 1999, the Superman titles saw a massive overhaul in creative talent, probably for the first time since Byrne took over. (Before that, it was just one or two creators changing at a time.) As a result, the series take on a different tone, and sometimes, it’s hard to believe that we’re reading the same Superman, especially once we get past Infinite Crisis.
I start getting away from the “completest” mentality during this era. As the titles unlink and several fill ins get tossed in the mix, I found a lot of issues to remove to create a smoother read.
The City of Tomorrow
(Already out of exact triangle number order. I don’t know why the Y2K special wasn’t released immediately before parts 2-5. Anyway, I originally had the trade for Y2K – called Endgame – but flawed binding led me to bind it.)
Superman: Metropolis Secret Files
Superman Annual 12
Emperor Joker (TPB)
Emperor Joker 1
AoS 586 (pages 1-4)
AoS 588 (birth excerpts)
President Luthor Secret Files
(At this point, the creators basically said they weren’t going to be following the strict linkage and triangle/shield numbers. Adventures of Superman causes a bit of a problem here because it’s trying to tell its own story, but still links in with various ongoing plot points. That’s why I dumped it except for the pages dealing with Lex 2000 and the birth of Ron and Lucy’s baby, to wrap up that subplot.)
Return to Krypton
Detective Comics 756
Our Worlds at War
OWAW Secret Files and Origins
World’s Finest: OWAW
(With OWAW, I was trying to keep the book as Superman-centric as possible, but still keep in the tie-ins I found interesting – like Batman, which actually did feature Superman at the end and tie in quite well with several Superman plotlines. Wonder Woman was getting a lot of good reviews at this time, but a lot of those issues recap what was going on in the Superman issues, so they ultimately got dropped, since there was no clean way to insert them. I had toyed with the idea of spreading out the Secret Files issue, but realized that it works well after the JLA special, at the midpoint of the story.)
Starting with the books below, I decided to move away from my completist mentality. Once the books unlinked, there were a lot of filler issues. Plus, with the books going in four different directions, stories were a bit all over the place.
Casualties of War
For the next few volumes, I had to give up on strict chronology between the different books. I liked keeping them separate for the most part, especially Casey and Seagle’s runs, but occasionally, there were some overlaps. The main issue is the Luthor presidency which ends in Superman/Batman #1-6, and the Cir-El Supergirl, who debuts at the beginning of Seagle’s run, but supposedly disappears after Superman #200. My solution to all of this is to take the plot element of a time storm from the books circa Superman #200, and use that to explain why the chronology might not line up so well. Hence, Cir-El still appearing in the first Superman/Batman arc, even though I have placed it after Superman #200. This can also smooth out how almost an entire year takes place in each of these books, as Action #810 is a New Year’s Eve story, and Adventures of Superman #623 is a Christmas story, both from 2003…following 2002′s Lost Hearts crossover, which is set around Christmastime. I have even linked the first three together in cover design, using the Kryptonian font to faintly spell out “time storm” on the back cover of each.
Superman vs Darkseid 1
Superman/Batman Secret Files
(The first 8 issues are the Ending Battle crossover, originally slotted as its own TPB until the book came apart.)
Superman: The Ten-Cent Adventure
Majestic: Strange New Visitor (TPB)
(I didn’t care much for the Godfall storyline, and there’s enough going on in this book to explain Superman coming back. Really, I don’t feel there’s much of an explanation needed.)
Public Enemies (TPB)
Road to Ruin
Superman Secret Files 2004
AoS 627-638, 640-641
(I thought about getting the Prelude to Infinite Crisis trade to cover the Secret Files, but it wouldn’t fit into the books I’ve already bound. Binding it here keeps the Mxyzptlk story by Rucka in the Superman collection.)
For Tomorrow (TPB)
There were several options with the Infinite Crisis tie-in era. I ultimately chose to bind Infinite Crisis and its lead up separately from my Superman collection, so there are a few issues that I have bound in both places. Because of the way IC kept weaving in and out of the Superman books, I couldn’t just skip those issues. I did skip the Superman/Captain Marvel three parter, since that was already collected in the Day of Vengeance trade, and doesn’t really impact the ongoing series much.
Adventures of Superman 642
Wonder Woman 219
Adventures of Superman 643
Action Comics 830-831
Adventures of Superman 644
Adventures of Superman 645
Adventures of Superman 646-647
Adventures of Superman 648
Adventures of Superman 649
For comparison, my complete Infinite Crisis map is here.
The Superman map continues, with One Year Later up to the Flashpoint reboot.