Review: Aquaman Vol. 5: The Crown Comes Down trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

For a book that's just three issues and an annual, Aquaman Vol. 5: The Crown Comes Down is a nice surprise. After the expansive, lush Aquaman Vol. 4: Underworld, I wondered what writer Dan Abnett could really do in such a short book, and truly this is more of an intermezzo between the fourth and sixth volumes than a collection in its own right. But Italian artist Riccardo Federici is a fine follow-up to Stjepan Sejic from last time, and indeed there is an important plot shift in this book that sets up the next volume's finale of this storyline -- so this book is good-looking, but more than just an artist's showcase like Batwoman Vol. 2: Wonderland. Inasmuch as Crown Comes Down brings us up to date on the goings on in Atlantis, it's a shame we'll have to wait now until December for the next part.
Collected Editions 2017 Comic Book Gift Guide

Review: Super Sons of Tomorrow trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Super Sons of Tomorrow didn't deliver a lot of what I was hoping for from this crossover. There is a bit of joy in this added moment of collegiality among the Rebirth set, mainly Superman on the same page as the Teen Titans. Otherwise, when it comes to "Superboy" Jon Kent meeting the Teen Titans and issues of membership and such, we just went through that in the last volume of Super Sons, and so it hardly seems so novel. The "of Tomorrow" bit of this book, the most exciting part, fails to live up to the hype, hamstrung in significant ways similar to how a whole lot of other Rebirth books are hamstrung.

Maybe this book has implications for Teen Titans (though I struggle more and more to care about that title the way I once did), but for a "event" crossover, Super Sons of Tomorrow doesn't really seem to do all that much.

Review: Justice League Vol. 6: The People vs. the Justice League trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

In comics there's a genre of story comprised of the five or six issues written by a guest team between two major teams' runs. Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso's Batman: Broken City is an example, coming between Jeph Loeb and Judd Winick; more recently we saw Shea Fontana's Wonder Woman Vol. 5: Heart of the Amazon, being five issues between Greg Rucka's and James Robinson's runs.

Christopher Priest's Justice League Vol. 6: The People vs. the Justice League is another one of these, filling the space where Justice League might otherwise just not be published between Bryan Hitch's Rebirth run and Scott Snyder's post-Dark Nights: Metal No Justice and Justice League series. At the same time, Priest gets 10 issues, what we might actually charitably call a "run" these days, and it's enough room that Priest even ducks the "one arc and done" format for something harder to quantify.

Review: Dark Nights: Metal: The Resistance trade paperback (DC Comics)

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Sunday, July 08, 2018

I still appreciate Dark Nights: Metal's restraint; when you consider Blackest Night had seven hardcovers, three for Metal is downright austere. Still I did note in my review of the tie-in Dark Knights Rising a little sense of crossover-itis; surely some of what was in that book was good and necessary for the telling of the overall Metal story, but not all of it. That holds true for Dark Nights: Metal: The Resistance, too; some parts are stronger than others, and some parts seem worthwhile storytelling (even aside from the crossover tie-in) and some seem entirely unnecessary, representative of the kind of excesses we keep wishing crossover events would avoid. And though the lower cost is nice, making this the sole paperback of the four is a questionable choice.

Ten Thoughts About Batman #50

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Spoilers follow for Tom King's Batman #50 ...

Review: Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 6: Fall of the Batmen trade paperback (DC Comics)

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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

James Tynion's Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 6: Fall of the Batmen is a controversial penultimate chapter in this saga. Parts of this run, and even this very volume, have had me singing for joy; yet the events of this volume are right up there with the most problematic developments this series has had to offer. I am not averse to writers making these character suffer in dramatic and cogent ways, and given that this is indeed Tynion's penultimate volume, I have some sense maybe things are darkest here before a very intentional dawn. So I would not rail against Tynion for his treatment of this or that character (much); rather I'm just fervently hoping for a satisfactory resolution a couple of months from now.

Review: Batwoman Vol. 2: Wonderland (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Nearly all of the Rebirth Batwoman Vol. 2: Wonderland happens in a dream sequence. This book is a gorgeous and well-deserved spotlight for artist Fernando Blanco, who draws lush landscapes and topsy-turvy grotesques with equal aplomb — but it's a five-issue trade in which the bulk of four issues involves Batwoman Kate Kane fighting one villain and bopping around through scenes the audience knows are hallucinations, plus one issue done by a guest team. Very little, nigh nothing, happens here, and though writer Marguerite Bennett certainly has Batwoman's psychology down pat, this is a poor showing for a Batwoman book, especially when the next volume marks the end of this particular run.

Review: Flash Vol. 6: Cold Day in Hell trade paperback (DC Comics)

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Flash Vol. 6: Cold Day in Hell is among the better of Joshua Williamson's Flash volumes. Not coincidentally, it involves Captain Cold and the Rogues, as did another of Williamson's better ones, Flash Vol. 3: Rogues Reloaded. Helpful here too is art by Flash series stalwarts Howard Porter and Scott Kolins, plus Scott McDaniel looking as good as he has in a while. There is still some detritus around the edges, but also three strong issues; every time that happens, I hope it signals a turnaround for the Flash title on the horizon.

Odds and Ends for 6-27-18

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A little behind-the-scenes content for you today. This was just going to be a soft update on the Facebook page (you have Liked the Facebook page, right?), but then it got a little more complicated so I thought I'd post it here.

The first bit of good news is that I've just updated the DC Trade Paperback Timeline for the first time in 2018 with 48(!) new titles added, ranging from my beloved Titans: Total Chaos all the way through DC Rebirth books on the precipice of Dark Nights: Metal. Please check it out, share, spread the word, and enjoy.

DC Trade Solicitations for September 2018 - Batman Vol. 7: The Wedding, Man of Steel by Bendis, Super Sons Omnibus, Shazam: Monster Society of Evil, Knightquest: The Crusade Vol. 2, Dark Knight Detective Vol. 2

Monday, June 25, 2018

DC Comics' September 2018 hardcover and trade paperback solicitations includes a big one for trade waiters, the Batman Vol. 7: The Wedding collection, which admirably DC is releasing in paperback first (issue #50 is in the hardcover Batman/Catwoman: The Wedding Album, but to release the sequential story in paperback first is an admirable sticking to the format). I admit, though, wanting to avoid spoilers and such, that's a single issue I'll probably be picking up in a couple weeks, much the same as I did Action Comics #1000. I love my trades, but good on DC for publishing such can't-miss stories lately as to get even me picking up the floppies.

So the book I'm second-most excited about on this list is Batman: The Dark Knight Detective Vol. 2. As I detail below, this is a parallel collections series with Batman: The Caped Crusader (the first volume of which we're anticipating in August) collecting the immediate post-Crisis on Infinite Earths issues of Detective Comics and Batman respectively. The contents of this had been muddied for a while but it looks like we know them for sure now, and while there's nothing ground-breaking (which is fine; the whole joy of these collections is just that they collect the sequential comics of the time, big events notwithstanding), we do get the first appearances of a couple of long-lasting Batman rogues.

There's also a pretty cool He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Omnibus, an even-more-complete Super Sons Omnibus, the classic Shazam!: Monster Society of Evil collection that people have been wanting for a while, Brian Michael Bendis' Man of Steel, the first collections of Sideways and The Terrifics if that's your cup of tea, and more of the "Batman: Knightfall" anniversary collections.

Here's my take on the listings ...

Absolute Daytripper HC

Ten issue Vertigo miniseries by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá from 2010, previously collected in paperback and deluxe hardcover, now in Absolute format.

Batgirl Vol. 4: Strange Loop TP

Previously said to collect issues #18-23; now collects #18-24 and "stories from issue #25." Looking at the credits, I'm guessing what's omitted from issue #25 is the lead-in story to Mairghread Scott's upcoming run, which'll probably be included in that first collection proper. Rest easy, Burnside costume.

Batman Vol. 7: The Wedding TP

Arriving at the end of October, this is issues #45-50, the Booster Gold story and the wedding, plus the story from DC Nation #0. Impressively, they've kept this as first-run paperback.

Batman: Detective Comics: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book Three HC

The previous solicitation said issues #963-974 and Annual #1; this has the book ending at #973, but Detective Comics Vol. 6: Fall of the Batmen ends with #974, so I'm guessing the error is here. Anyway, this is Detective Comics Vol. 5: Lonely Place of Living and Vol. 6.

As I speculated before, James Tynion only has one more collection of Detective to go after this, so I wonder how they'll fill the next Deluxe Rebirth hardcover, whether with the interstitial issues before Bryan Hill's story and/or with the Hill story, or something else entirely.

Batman: Haunted Knight New Edition TP

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special, Batman: Madness, and Batman: Ghosts that preceded Long Halloween and Dark Victory.

Batman: Knightquest: The Crusade Vol. 2 TP

The second part of the Azrael-focused "Crusade," Detective Comics #671-675, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #24-28, Batman #505-508, and Showcase ’94 #7.

If you haven't heard, DC's releasing a Batman: Troika collection down the road, so as to fully collect everything in the Knightfall Omnibuses.

Batman: The Dark Knight Detective Vol. 2 TP

I've been following with great interest DC's new parallel collections series, Dark Knight Detective and Caped Crusader, collecting immediate post-Crisis Detective Comics and Batman respectively.

For a while, weirdly, the contents of this collection were listed as Batman #432-444 and Annual #13, which would be the contents of Caped Crusader Vol. 2. Now, however, more correctly, this is Detective Comics #583-591 and Detective Comics Annual #1. The creative team is Alan Grant, John Wagner, and Norm Breyfogle; notably these are the first appearances of Ventriloquist and Scarface, Ratcatcher, and Corrosive Man (and Cornelius Stirk will be along next time), though this is somewhat overshadowed by the important stuff happening in Batman at the time (like the death of Jason Todd).

The annual is part one of the "Fables" crossover with Green Arrow and Question, by Dennis O'Neil and Klaus Janson. I don't know how related all the annuals are, but given that I don't see that they've all been collected elsewhere, it would be nice if they were all collected here.

Batman: The Dark Prince Charming HC

The Enrico Marini collection.

Batman: White Knight TP

Despite the acclaim this book is getting, the glut of Elseworlds (and multiversal) Batman stories would make me slow to pick this up -- except, it turns out to be DC's first release under the Black Label imprint, and I do want to mark that, so that shifts it into the "buy" column.

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands TP

I hope very much that Bryan Hill's forthcoming use of Black Lightning in Detective Comics refers to or is complementary to this. I have far more interest in a miniseries starring the DC Universe's present, active Black Lightning than I do a one-off Black Lightning miniseries, that it has Tony Isabella involved notwithstanding.

Bombshells: United Vol. 2: War Bonds TP

Collects issues #7-12

Deathbed TP

Collection of the Joshua Williamson/Riley Rossmo series from Vertigo.

Deathstroke Vol. 5: The Fall of Slade TP

Collects Christopher Priest's Deathstroke issues #26-29 and Annual #1, the end of the "Defiance" storyline. The solicitation for this seems to reflect the final issue of Deathstroke Vol. 4: Defiance, so I'll be curious to see what this is actually about; Priest's Deathstroke is always a good time.

Demon: Hell Is Earth TP

The recent six issue miniseries by Andrew Constant and Brad Walker. Another where I'm far more likely to be interested if it actually reflects the here and now of Etrigan in the DC Universe than if it's just a one-off of one writer's interpretation of the character.

Flash by Mark Waid Book Five TP

Collects Mark Waid's Flash #106-118 and Impulse #10-11. This is the "Dead Heat" crossover plus the "Race Against Time," story, and a tie-in to Waid's own Underworld Unleashed.

Flash: Starting Line DC Essential Edition TP

Paperback "Essential Edition" of the early New 52 run, issues #0-12 and Annual #1 by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul.

Flash: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol. 1 HC New Edition

Showcase #4, 8 and 13-14, Flash Comics #104, and Flash #105-132. First appearances of Barry Allen and also Mirror Master, Pied Piper, Gorilla Grodd, and Weather Wizard, among others.

Green Arrow: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book One HC

A welcome surprise, after this was solicited and then cancelled early on in Rebirth. Collects the Rebirth special and issues #1-12, which is the Green Arrow Vol. 1: The Death and Life of Oliver Queen and Green Arrow Vol. 2: Island of Scars paperbacks.

Green Lanterns Vol. 7: Superhuman Trafficking TP

Issues #40-43 and Annual #1 by Tim Seeley. Having read all of the Sam Humphries run, I am interested to see what Seeley does here given my enjoyment of his other work.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Omnibus HC

In my opinion, a fantastic use for an omnibus. This collects a bunch of disparate Masters of the Universe series by DC over the years; I might not bother to track them all down individually, not in the least because I don't believe they all necessarily jibe with one another, but all of them in one book together? Sure, definitely. I only wish the new Injustice crossover miniseries was in there too.

Collects DC Comics Presents #47, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1-6 (2012), He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1-19 (2013), He-Man: The Eternity War #1-15, DC Universe vs. Masters of the Universe #1-6, He-Man/Thundercats #1-6, and Origin of He-Man, Origin of Skeletor, and Origin of Hordak

John Constantine: Hellblazer 30th Anniversary Edition HC

Collects Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 and John Constantine, Hellblazer #11, #27, #41, #63, #120, #146, #229 and #240 by the likes of Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Brian Azzarello, Paul Jenkins, and Jamie Delano, with a new introduction by Sting and a timeline of John Constantine's life.

Justice League: The Darkseid War DC Essential Edition TP

Essential Edition in paperback at 376 pages, collecting Justice League #40-50 plus all the one-shots and so on.

Justice League: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book Three HC

Said to collect issues #26-33, which is Justice League Vol. 5: Legacy plus two Dark Nights: Metal tie-in issues. I had suspected DC wouldn't be continuing these deluxe hardcovers after these Rebirth runs, but given the star status of Scott Snyder's new Justice League, maybe they will.

Man of Steel by Brian Michael Bendis HC

Interesting to note that this is now called Man of Steel by Brian Michael Bendis, which equally I guess eliminates any confusion with the John Byrne book. With art by Ivan Reis, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Ryan Sook, Kevin Maguire, Adam Hughes, and Jason Fabok.

Powers Book One TP New Edition

Issues #1-11 (not #1-20) of the Brian Michael Bendis series.

Raven: Daughter of Darkness Vol. 1 TP

Some years ago DC was releasing twelve-issue miniseries as two Vol. 1/Vol. 2 collections instead of one book, and it was annoying to me as a reader -- the epitome of an unfinished story, leaving me to trade-trade wait -- and I was glad that practice ended. I'm already slow to pick up these Marv Wolfman new-Raven miniseries, having heard not much happened in the first and finding this iteration of Raven insufferable, and splitting it like this makes me even less enthused.

Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 4: Good Night Gotham TP

Collects issues #19-25. Go read the solicitation for this one and also for this month's Supergirl collection. Someone out there is having fun writing these.

Sandman Omnibus Vol. 3 HC

I'm sure I did know that Sandman was being collected in omnibus but for some reason this caught me by surprise. Here's another where I think the bigger doses are probably better for reading than ten-plus collections. This is actually into the post-series and tie-in material now: Sandman: Overture, Dream Hunters, Endless Nights, Sandman Midnite Theatre, Death: High Cost of Living and Time of Your Life, and more.

Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes 30th Anniversary Edition TP

New-new editions of the Sandman paperbacks. Issues #1-8.

Scarlet Book One TP

Issues #1-5 of the Brian Michael Bendis series.

Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil Deluxe Edition HC

Collects Captain Marvel Adventures #22-46, considered one of the first and longest multi-part stories of the Golden Age of comics. Including a who's who of Captain Marvel rogues, the stories remained long uncollected because of African American and Asian stereotypes. The new collection will include essays that likely take a critical look at the book's excesses.

Sideways Vol. 1: Steppin' Out TP

Issues #1-6 by Dan DiDio, Grant Morrison, Justin Jordan, and Kenneth Rocafort. I haven't always favored some of this creative team's prior work, but some of the madcap stuff happening in this title (the Seven Soldiers, for instance) can't be passed up.

Suicide Squad Unwrapped by Jim Lee HC

The Rebirth Suicide Squad issues #1-8, the Rebirth special, and the Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad April Fool's Special, with just Jim Lee's pencils. The latter special has another artist and I wonder how they'll handle that.

Suicide Squad Vol. 7: Drain the Swamp TP

Collects issues #33-40 by Rob Williams and Si Spurrier.

Super Sons Omnibus HC

The newly expanded Super Sons Omnibus now also includes the recent Super Sons/Dynomutt Special as well as Super Sons #1-16 and Annual #1, Superman #10-11 and #37-38, Teen Titans #15, and a story from DC Rebirth Holiday Special #1

Supergirl Vol. 4: Plain Sight TP

Yes, really, go read the solicitation for this book. It's a riot. This collects issues #15-20 of the book before it goes on hiatus and then Marc Andreyko comes on.

Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age Vol. 1 TP

House of Secrets #92 and Swamp Thing #1-13 by Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson, and Nestor Redondo.

Teen Titans Vol. 3: The Return of Kid Flash TP

Collects issues #13-14, #16-19, and the DC Holiday Special 2017 (with pause for the "Super Sons of Tomorrow" crossover) by Benjamin Percy et al, the final issues before the "No Justice" relaunch.

Terrifics Vol. 1: Meet the Terrifics TP

Issues #1-6 by Jeff Lemire, Doc Shaner, and Ivan Reis.

Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 2 HC

It's still a thing, I think, that Diana's supposed to be in a different costume in every panel of this book? Curious to see how that goes down.

Clearly those Walmart-exclusive stories are going to be collected on their own, yeah?