I maintain that there's the glimmer of a good story somewhere within Trinity of Sin: Pandora Vol. 1: The Curse. Among the variety of challenges that face Pandora is that the character appears initially like something out of Wildstorm or Top Cow comic in the 1990s, the stereotypical tough-as-nails lady warrior with a mystic gun in each hand, hard to take seriously. Additional baggage comes in the form of the great emphasis the New 52 titles have placed on the Pandora character so far, all of which this volume promptly ducks.
But in the moments when Pandora is not trying to be what a variety of other series needs it to be and instead asserts its own identity, there's an interesting Forever or Highlander-esque tale of an immortal and the people she's taken under her wing. Pandora could be quite engaging, if only this book would decide exactly what it wants to be.
It's DC Comics's Fall 2015 trade paperback and hardcover collections! This list is now complete and updated with my comments, barring any late-breaking additions.
Big items on this list are two from Grant Morrison, Wonder Woman: Earth One and a deluxe-size edition of Multiversity. Don't miss, however, a couple of nice Chuck Dixon reprints, Birds of Prey and Robin (to go along with the recent Dixon Nightwing collections), and a Batman: Road to No Man's Land collection; Showcase Presents: Blue Devil; a deluxe edition of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Green Arrow; a new Green Arrow collection by Mike Grell and a new Deathstroke, the Terminator collection by Marv Wolfman; plus a Batman v. Superman companion collection. Read on for more!
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Note that all of this information is subject to change before publication.
Obviously I have no objection to Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams's seminal Green Lantern/Green Arrow getting all the continued attention it deserves, though I do wonder how the 1970s artwork will hold up in large-scale format.
Said to include Batman and Robin #35-40, Batman and Robin Annual #3, the Damian Wayne story from Secret Origins #4 (one of the best of the initial Secret Origins stories), and Robin Rises: Alpha, though not Omega. Since this is the last trade of the series as it's cancelled before Convergence, I expect Omega will actually be in here, too.
Continuing this series of meant-to-attract-video-game-fans Batman: Arkham collections. It doesn't say it specifically in the solicitations, but the temporary cover art for this collection shows Batman Annual #14 by Andrew Helfer and Chris Sprouse, which I consider history's creepiest, most definitive Two-Face story. Hope it's in there.
A collection of Superman/Batman "clashes." Given we already got our Dark Knight Over Metropolis, I wonder what else this will collect, and if the emphasis will really be on fights between Batman and Superman, and whether that means full storylines or just parts of stories (Dark Knight Returns, excerpted?). This seeming emphasis on Superman and Batman not getting along is troubling; the movie producers have the unenviable job of making us take sides but then they ultimately need us to come to like both characters. Avengers, on the other hand, has largely emphasized the characters' teamwork; I'm not sure the DC movie team has the right idea.
The full contents aren't listed, but these are previously-uncollected stories between Cataclysm (recently announced for a new collection) and Batman: No Man's Land (roundabouts Batman #560, Detective Comics #727, Shadow of the Bat #80, and so on). I've probably literally been waiting for this collection for almost fifteen or so years. A good amount of this is written by Chuck Dixon, reflecting an overall trend lately toward DC reprinting Dixon's work -- Nightwing, previously, and in these solicitations Birds of Prey and Robin.
Rather surprised to see DC reprinting this. I appreciate the sentiment -- though I don't completely recall, apparently the original trade was printed maybe with some non-essential material excluded, and this new collection "includes chapters never before reprinted chapters." At the same time, this story was not great, up to and including the weird torture death of Robin/Spoiler Stephanie Brown that was written and drawn so awkwardly that everyone involved's discomfort nearly bled off the page, and in the spirit of DC's Divergence it surprises me they're choosing to bring this up again. Good for completists, though!
I've never read this mini-series written and drawn by Matt Wagner, but I've heard good things about it; something silly that put me off it is that there seemed some fan interest in finding where this fit into continuity, when it ultimately doesn't; likely this deluxe edition is meant to coincide with the Batman v. Superman movie. I have some sense this is set within the same "timeframe" as Wagner's Batman and the Monster Men books.
A new collection of Chuck Dixon's first Birds of Prey material, namely Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey #1, Birds of Prey: Revolution #1, Birds of Prey: Manhunt #1-4, Birds of Prey: Wolves #1, Birds of Prey: Batgirl #1, and Showcase ’96 #3. This is essentially the contents of the existing Birds of Prey and Birds of Prey: Old Friends, New Enemies trades, except it excludes Birds of Prey #1-6. I think this is a good thing, however, because it suggests the next volume might collect Birds of Prey #1-6 and beyond; Dixon's Birds of Prey #7-19 and issues from the #20s and #30s have never been collected, but hopefully this is a sign that they might be.
Glad to see this Will Pfeifer collection that follows the Ed Brubaker collections. It wasn't surprising we got re-printed, more-complete Ed Brubaker collections because, well, Ed Brubaker, but whether DC would continue to collect this into the War Games era of Catwoman was another story. Collects the pre-FlashpointCatwoman series #38-49.
DC recently announced this expanded collection of Neil Gaiman's Children's Crusade Vertigo event, with a new story added. It does seem a little strange to me though that this should only collect the Gaiman material and not the Black Orchid, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol, and Arcana/Books of Magic annuals that went along with it. That would make it more of a must-buy for me.
Hooray! A second collection of Marv Wolfman's 1990s Deathstroke, the Terminator series! This one collects the "Terminator Hunt" storyline, issues #10-13 and Annual #1 (there was a Superman crossover issue, #68, where Lois Lane's sister Lucy gets caught in the crossfire, that I think they should include here, too). Either this is the last of these Deathstroke collections or something really extraordinary is about to happen, because the next Deathstroke issues are part of the "Titans Hunt" "Total Chaos" crossover with New Titans [and Team Titans], which I have wanted to see collected forever but never have been. [Edit: Mistakenly identified this as "Titans Hunt," not "Total Chaos." Verily I'd like to see all of this collected -- basically New Teen Titans and its related series all the way from issue #71 through issue #92, if not all the way to issue #100. Still,] I'm not optimistic that now is the time.
Don't let the title fool you; what's really notable about this collection of Garth Ennis's Demon #40-48 and Annual #2 is all Hitman -- the origin of Hitman (also collected in the Hitman books) plus a Demon/Hitman team-up.
A paperback of the previously-released Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus Vol. 1. This one was thinner than the next two, by comparison; I wonder how paperback binding and a paperback spine is going to work when these collections really get to omnibus-size.
I really liked what I've read of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Green Arrow work, and no disrespect to the new team but I was sad to see Lemire leave the book, seemingly somewhat suddenly. This is reported to be Green Arrow issues #17-34, the Futures End issue, and the story from Secret Origins, about three trades worth. Given how quickly this run came and went, I'm glad to see it get this recognition.
Hooray also for the next collection of Mike Grell's Green Arrow (though neither collections of John Ostrander's Martian Manhunter nor Spectre on this list is concerning). This collects issues #21-28 of the 1980s series, including a guest appearance by Warlord Travis Morgan, another of Grell's popular characters.
Collects Green Lantern/New Gods: Godhead #1, Green Lantern #35-37, Green Lantern Corps #35-37, Green Lantern: New Guardians #35-37, Red Lanterns #35-37, Sinestro #6-8, and Green Lantern Annual #3, verily the last Green Lantern crossover before Convergence. Somewhat worrisome is that the already-solicited Green Lantern Vol. 6: The Life Equation collects Green Lantern #35-40 and the annual but notGreen Lantern/New Gods: Godhead #1; I really hope the only place to read that isn't just here.
This would seem to collect Dr. Fate material from his Golden Age appearances to 1970s material, to the Dr. Fate miniseries by J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen (Kent Nelson as Fate to Eric Strauss and his mother Linda as Fate), sending just before the ongoing DeMatteis series in the late 1980s.
Collects the various Batman: Endgame specials: Gotham Academy: Endgame #1, Batgirl: Endgame #1, Batman and Robin: Endgame #1, Arkham Manor: Endgame #1, and Batman Annual #3, back-ups from Batman #35-39.
No word on the contents other than this is the next collection of the Chuck Dixon series. Last volume collected the same as the original second volume, Rough Justice, issues #9-18. The original volume three collected issues #1/2, #19, #21-22, #24-29. The missing issues, #20 and #23, were respectively parts of the "Cataclysm" and "Brotherhood of the Fist" crossovers; for completeness, I wouldn't mind seeing them restored to this volume.
Among other issues, this collects the Phantom Stranger material from Action Comics Weekly, making it the third (by my count) collection to include Action Comics Weekly material, after Superman: The Power Within and Nightwing: Old Friends, New Enemies.
We know this is a collection of Robin Tim Drake stories by Chuck Dixon, and the apparent presence of artist Tom Lyle suggests this could be one collection of all three of the Robin miniseries that preceded Dixon's ongoing series. If indeed it includes Robin III, that would be the first time that miniseries has been collected. Other Robin material has been collected out of order in Robin: A Hero Reborn and Robin: Tragedy and Triumph, so maybe this new collection series will put all of that back in order.
No word on the contents, but as Secret Six Vol. 2 collected issues #1-14, the first two (numbered) trades, this could collect Vol. 3 and 4, Danse Macabre and Cats in the Cradle, issues #15-24, and that would leave the fourth new volume to collect the final two trades, issues #25-36.
Another definitively 1980s series that I've really wanted to read; after Showcase Presents: Booster Gold and Showcase Presents: Blue Beetle, Blue Devil is only logical. Said to collect issues #1-18 of the series plus Fury of the Firestorm #24.
I guess this re-print of the already-released collection of John Ostrander's first Suicide Squad issues is meant to coincide with the movie. My hope is that maybe this will finally lead to the release of Suicide Squad Vol. 2: The Nightshade Odyssey, previously solicited and then cancelled; I'd been looking forward to that one.
I liked Scott Snyder's Swamp Thing OK, and the Yanick Paquette artwork is going to be sensational in this large-scale format. Seems to me that if DC is going to do the New 52 Swamp Thing deluxe, only fair that Jeff Lemire's related, superlative Animal Man series get the same treatment.
Make that four collections now of Action Comics Weekly material, with this collection of Max Allen Collins's Wild Dog stories. (I mainly remember Wild Dog for the stark-looking DC house ads.) Between this and the Batman: Second Chances, seems about time for a collection of Collins's Ms. Tree.
Not to save the highlight for last, but it seems we can expect the Grant Morrison/Yanick Paquette graphic novel in November. No additional clues on the story aside from that Morrison "once again pushes the boundaries of the graphic novel page in his mind-bending new take on the most powerful woman in the DC Universe."
Joshua Hale Fialkov's I, Vampire was one of the best of DC Comics's New 52 debuts, and a reader picking up the series' three volumes is in for a treat. The characters, Andrea Sorrentino's art, even the structure of how the story unfolds is remarkable. That I, Vampire Vol. 3: Wave of Mutilation is the weakest of the three books is unfortunate but not unexpected; this is a common pattern, even with good books, that when cancellation looms, the series artist leaves, and numerous storylines have to be wrapped up at once, the overall product suffers. This does not lessen my esteem for the series, and I'm still eager one of these days to pick up Fialkov's new series The Bunker.
I have nothing against Daniel Way and Steve Dillon’s recent version featuring Red Hulk, Deadpool, Elektra, and other anti-heroes, and I get that the name “Thunderbolts” worked for that team because it was organized by General Thunderbolt Ross. But for me, Thunderbolts means that at least some of the original members are involved, usually Songbird and Moonstone. The latter stayed with the old Thunderbolts book when it was reconfigured and rebranded as Dark Avengers, but that book didn’t feel like Thunderbolts either. I was hoping that Songbird would join Luke Cage’s Mighty Avengers, but that’s not the direction Marvel wants to go in.
Brian Buccellato's Flash Vol. 5: History Lessons could be dismissed as a filler trade. It contains only three issues written by Buccellato, sans co-writer Francis Manapul and just prior to Buccellato leaving Flash to join Manapul on Detective Comics. There's an annual, by Buccellato but disconnected from ongoing events, and then an inventory issue by Christos Gage. It is arguably a thin trade, as these things go, marking time before Robert Venditti, Van Jensen, and Brett Booth take over with the sixth volume.
At the same time, the three-part "History Lessons" is a very good story, and for that reason while one could dismiss this trade out of hand, I wouldn't. Part of what makes it good is, here at the end of the inaugural New 52 Flash run, how close Buccellato comes to upsetting the entire Flash status quo, in ways that might intrigue Flash television show fans. Another notable aspect is that whereas artist Patrick Zircher might not be an obvious choice for Flash, Buccellato plays to Zircher's strengths. What emerges is a gritty, authentically frightening Flash story, markedly different from much of what we've read so far, that demonstrates the range of the character. Even if History Lessons is filler, Buccellato and Zircher go a long way to make the book worth a reader's while.
DC Comics's June 2015 post-Convergence solicitations include their July/August 2015 hardcover and trade paperback collection releases, and there are a lot of them. At least ten series release their trades collecting stories right up to Convergence, and of those there's about a half dozen where the books are cancelled and these are the series' last trades.
And that's not even including a bunch of cool releases of older stories in this solicitations round -- America vs. the Justice Society, Batman: Second Chances (nee "The New Adventures"), Aquaman: Sub-Diego, and even an Absolute edition of Scott Snyder's Court of Owls. Let's jump in and take a look:
Over at Every Day is Like Wednesday, in Caleb's monthly, entertaining look at the DC solicitations, he called Aquaman: Sub-Diego "the biggest head-scratcher of the month." Well, I can't say why DC Comics finally decided to publish this collection of Aquaman #15-22 (from roundabouts the time Identity Crisis, a couple years before Infinite Crisis, but I do know that I've been wanting to read this book for a while, and for the purest reason possible -- I heard it was a good story. The current popularity of Aquaman, and that it's written by current DC scribe Will Pfeifer and drawn by current DC writer/artist Patrick Gleason, probably doesn't hurt, either. Either way, I've been waiting for this one for a while and I'm excited about it.
This one seems the stranger to me, since aside from Earth 2: Society, there really isn't a Justice Society presence now in the DC Universe -- not that I'm complaining, since this is one I wanted to read, too. Just before Crisis on Infinite Earths, America vs. the Justice Society recaps the Justice Society's pre-Crisis adventures, and also includes the JSA being called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, an event I believe later brought into post-Crisis continuity.
My only gripe is I wish this had included the post-CrisisLast Days of the Justice Society special, which was also by Roy Thomas and bridged the pre-/post-Crisis gap for these formerly Earth-2 characters. That, to me, would make this a fuller and more relevant trade.
Anyway, I hope this a start of more collections from this era -- Infinity, Inc., All-Star Squadron, and etc.
No longer called "The New Adventures" (as was sometimes printed on the issue covers), the re-named Batman: Second Chances are the stories that introduced the post-Crisis Robin Jason Todd before Death in the Family, written by Max Allan Collins. Notable that this trade spans issues from just before/just after the Batman: Year One in-series miniseries, to Ten Nights of the Beast. I do rather wish DC had stuck Batman #401 in there, even if by a different writer, a Legends tie-in issue that's arguably the first post-Crisis Batman appearance; later in the trade we do get a Millennium tie-in.
There's just a handful of (rather terrifying, I recall) issues between the end of this book and Death in the Family, as written by Jim Starlin, including the infamous issue where young Jason kills someone. I wouldn't mind if DC collected those to bring the whole era into trade.
As I've said before, a large collection of George Perez's Wonder Woman stories is a great thing. But, I've read these; they were available in paperback some years ago. Perez stops drawing the series after these issues (#1-24 and Annual #1) but he's still writing for another about 40 issues. I'd very much like to see DC follow this with a volume 2.
• Absolute Batman: The Court of Owls HC
I don't go in for Absolute volumes lightly these days, but this one is tempting. I still believe these two books, originally Court of Owls and City of Owls, are Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's strongest work on Batman; the two books read great as individually but they'd be even more powerful read together. Add to that Capullo's magnificent labyrinth pages in the first part (even if these will be a nightmare to turn around in Absolute size) and his cinematic climactic fight scene in the second, and you've got a story worthy of an Absolute. I wouldn't be surprised if Zero Year, at least, also makes it to Absolute.
The Kevin Smith stories that preceded this volume were just upgraded from deluxe format to Absolute. There's fewer of the Brad Meltzer issues -- just six, #16-21 -- so a deluxe collection makes more sense. The Phil Hester/Ande Parks art will look good either way.
It's still curious that what's now being advertised in the solicitations as a "6-ssue [mini-series]" was originally pitched as a series. We saw a bunch of New 52 titles that started out as series but became "mini-series" by default; this looks like one that started as a limited series, got an upgrade, and then went back to it. No overwhelming interest in this though I imagine I'll read it as an offshoot of Batman Eternal (actually curious to see what Doug thinks of it as compared to Gerry Duggan's Deadpool).
I was not very taken with the all-over-the-place first volume of Batman Eternal and frankly I'm a little impatient that there's one more collection of the series after this one. Hopefully this second volume begins to tie to Catwoman, Arkham Manor, etc. more, so it's not just the Bat-family running around scattershot.
Personal preference, but I prefer this semi-villainous iteration of Harley Quinn to the Ambush Bug-esque Harley Quinn that's ubiquitous in the DC Universe these days. Among other contents are back up stories from Gotham Knights and two Detective Comics Harley stories by Paul Dini.
Also the final issues of Red Lanterns, ending with Convergence. This includes the Futures End tie-in issue; as I'm going through this list I'm wondering where some other of these will show up -- Catwoman and Green Lantern Corps, among others.
Collects the final issues of Supergirl, with the Futures End issue and Doomed tie-in. Though cancelled with Convergence, I've no doubt we'll see a new Supergirl series taking cues from the television show within a year or so.
Collects the entirety of the Geoff Johns/John Romita run. What art I've seen so far in regards to covers, etc. hasn't thrilled me, but Johns had one of my favorite Superman runs from the past decade or so, so my expectations are high. I'm surprised they didn't just kick in the story Romita wrote and drew for Superman #40, which seems more related to the Johns run than the upcoming Gene Luen Yang run. Hopefully this doesn't mean Superman #40 will never be collected.
I was just wondering the other day whether this would even see a collection or not. I imagine Phantom Stranger and Question will still be aspects of the DC Universe post-Convergence, but I wonder if Mystic U will use Pandora or if that character's era has ended.
That's what I'm thinking of buying. How about you? What post-Convergence/Divergence book are you most excited about?
There are few words more divisive than those when it comes to comics. It's easy to see why Rob Liefeld's art gets so much hassle from fans, but from a distance, Greg Land's artwork looks okay. That's until you notice the numerous characters, primarily women, who have been traced from pornographic magazines. Nearly every woman Land draws is screaming and bug-eyed; it looks bad enough without knowing exactly why. It's difficult for me to judge his actual talent as he's also been known to swipe from other comic book artists in addition to his tracing escapades. It's so distracting that I decided to not pick up the Marvel NOW! Iron Man re-launch because of his presence. So why did I end up reading and enjoying Mighty Avengers: No Single Hero if I couldn't stand the artwork?
Throughout his Flash work, Brian Buccellato has had big shoes to fill. For the most part, that's in following Geoff Johns after both his revival of Flash Barry Allen and, before that, a superlative run with Flash Wally West, itself following Mark Waid's equally legendary run. And among the challenges that Buccellato and co-writer/artist Francis Manapul undertook, for the most part successfully, was a Reverse-Flash story, daunting on the heels of Waid returning "Professor Zoom" to prominence and Johns making him downright scary.
But Buccellato still had one more hurdle to surmount. Captain Cold had been a major player in Johns's run, essentially supporting cast and a strong thematic foil for Wally West. Johns wrote a powerful series of Wally West/Rogues stories, completed them, and then came back for not one but two victory laps, the crossover event tie-ins Blackest Night: The Flash and Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge, two final, chilling exclamation points on the Rogues stories Johns had told thus far. So for Buccellato to channel the Rogues in Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion is to tell a story with an intimidating legacy behind it.
If the test of a successful miniseries is whether you'd want to read an ongoing series of the same, then Sterling Gates's Forever Evil: ARGUS is a success, though there is not unfortunately an ARGUS/Steve Trevor series nor any material from Gates on DC's new post-New 52 docket. Toward the end, ARGUS takes on too much and can't ultimately deliver on it all, though that's some argument toward continuing the series in a monthly book. Also, while artist Neil Edwards provides a fine base for the book, the art quality varies wildly depending on the inker, hampering the story Gates tries to tell. In all, however, here at the end of the New 52, ARGUS is a fun read, especially for those wanting some key pieces of New 52 history filled in.