Hawkman Omnibus, Batman Inc. Deluxe, Flex Mentallo in DC's winter 2011 trade paperback solicitations
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
DC Comics sure can. Looking toward their 2011 winter trade paperbacks and collections already, the name of DC's game seems to be omnibuses.
* The Hawkman Omnibus Vol. 1
* DC/Marvel Crossover Omnibus Vol. 1
* League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Omnibus
* Kamandi Omnibus Vol. 1 The Last Boy on Earth
This is in addition to the recently announced Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Omnibus series, the New Teen Titans Omnibus series, and the earlier Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus series.
What is an omnibus? In DC parlance, it seems to be a hardcover volume (initially) that collects the amount of material you'd usually find in at least two trades. The first Flash omnibus contains the Wonderland and Blood Will Run trades; the first New Teen Titans omnibus contains issues #1-16 from the first two New Teen Titans Archives.
Where did this Omnibus format come from? By my estimation, it started with the Starman Omnibus editions and with the Jack Kirby Fourth World Omnibus editions. There have been other books of similar ilk not specifically called omnibuses, like the JLA Deluxe books and the Gotham Central and Seven Soldiers hardcovers that collected two or more of the previous trade paperbacks. These were it in terms of omnibuses for a little while; in a short amount of time, however, we've seen an increasing number of omnibuses, including the classic Green Lantern omnibuses, and now these.
Why Omnibuses? They are not cheap, to be sure; the Hawkman volume is $50 before discounts, but the New Titans and Flash books are both $75. They do however in large part collect out-of-print material, consolidating DC's expansive collections line into fewer volumes.
Also -- furthering my theory that trade paperbacks are the new single issues -- I believe there's a growing sense when we see two volumes of Superman: The Black Ring or Superman: Grounded that a trade paperback is no longer the "whole story" like it once was, and the omnibuses offer additional completion for someone willing to forgo the immediate trades for the later omnibuses (or, I imagine DC hopes, someone willing to buy both).
New in the DC Universe
* Batman Incorporated Vol. 1 Deluxe
The next biggest news here, though not perhaps much of a surprise, is that Batman Inc. will be collected first in the deluxe oversized format. As Grant Morrison's recent other Batman books -- Batman RIP and the Batman and Robin volumes -- were also deluxe, this only stands to reason, though I wish all the books might've had a common trade dress.
* Superman: Reign of Doomsday
It's also not a great surprise that the ongoing Reign of the Doomsday crossover is getting a collection, but it will be interesting to see how this fits in trade-continuity-wise, given that it includes issues from Superboy, Supergirl, Outsiders, and Justice League.
* Flash Vol. 2: The Road to Flashpoint
Flashpoint, did you say? The crossover that will inevitably overwhelm DC's trade program not too long from now gets the titular role in the next (and last, if DC's hype machine is to be believed) Flash collection.
* Green Lantern: War of the Green Lanterns
Also, just in time for movie-time, a book with the word "Green Lantern" in the title not once, but twice.
* Doom Patrol: Fire Away
If you turn your head and squint just a little bit, it's possible this could collect issues #14-22 of Keith Giffen's Doom Patrol, bringing the entirety of this cancelled series to trade. Dare we hope?
* New Teen Titans: Games
The long-awaited and much delayed New Teen Titans graphic novel -- which I believe Marv Wolfman recently said would be back on the schedule soon -- is now re-solicited for September 2011.
* Booster Gold: The Life and Times of Michael Jon Carter
I believe this is just the next Keith Giffen Booster Gold volume, tying in to Justice League: Generation Lost, and not yet the Booster Gold/Flashpoint tie in -- but I mention it just because I like the title a lot.
Collected Reprints (sans Omnibus)
* Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery Deluxe
Sure to be a hit, the legally-tenuous, long-rumored Flex Mentallo collection from Grant Morrison finally gets a solicitation.
* Batman: A Death in the Family
An interesting item here at 272 pages; I wonder if this is a paperback of the recent DC Comics Library hardcover, which collected both Robin Jason Todd's demise in A Death in the Family and Tim Drake's arrival in A Lonely Place of Dying. That "DC Comics Library" imprint seems to have died a quick death, however, and I think we'll know for sure if the paperback doesn't carry that label.
* Batman No Man's Land Vol. 1
The six-book No Man's Land is a favorite among Batman fans, and some of the volumes out of print. At $30 and 544 pages, my guess is that this paperback contains one or two of the No Man's Land books -- what'd be even better is if this series collects some of the No Man's Land stories that never saw collections (like stories that introduced the DC Universe Harley Quinn). I'd have preferred this in hardcover (Omnibus much?) but something is better than nothing.
* Suicide Squad Vol. 2 The Nightshade Odyssey
Pleased to see another volume reprinting the 1980s Suicide Squad series, bringing us one step closer to a trade of the first appearance of Barbara Gordon as Oracle.
* Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers
Another artist-focused Batman collection, like similar books featuring the artwork of Gene Colan and Tim Sale. Curious that this one is called Legends of the Dark Knight and not Tales of the Batman like those are.
* The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Curse - Deluxe Edition
The new deluxe Great Darkness Saga was such a good-looking volume when it appeared on store shelves and then sold out during the holidays, that I finally picked one up for myself just a few weeks ago. I was quite excited to see DC solicit a sequel some time ago, and I re-mention it here only to note that this is indeed a collection of the early Paul Levitz stories that came after Great Darkness (as confirmed by recent DC solicitations) and not a part of the new series (though there's that, too -- see below). I hope DC continues to produce these -- deluxe oversized "omnibus-length" editions of DC's relevant classic material is OK with me!
* Night Force
Speaking of Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, here's a collection of their 1982 supernatural series. DC just published a DC Comics Presents edition of issues #1-4; I'd hope at $40, this hardcover collects the entire series.
The Best of the Rest (also not Omnibus)
* Batman: Noel
Here's Lee Bermejo's new original graphic novel, becoming a DC Comics holiday tradition after Joker and Luthor. The next Superman Earth One isn't solicited yet, nor J. Michael Straczynski's Samaritan X, but DC publisher Dan DiDio has suggested the end of the year is when we'll see a spate of DC graphic novels.
* Batman: The Black Mirror
Collecting the Scott Snyder/Jock storyline that's getting considerable acclaim right now. Here's hoping this is just one volume, not two (per Superman's Black Ring and Grounded).
* Brightest Day Vol. 3
* Brightest Day Vol. 1 (paperback)
Brightest Day concludes in 2011, and even starts again in paperback the same year -- you can all check my math, but I think this is a "getting better" release schedule on DC's part. It does seem like we won't see Flashpoint collections until 2012, however.
* Superman: The Black Ring Vol. 2
* Superman Grounded Vol. 2
At about twelve issues each, and especially with all of Grounded's bad publicity, I really would've liked to see DC publish both of these as respective individual volumes, instead of unnecessarily stretching them out into two short hardcovers. We know DC can do twelve-issue hardcovers, i.e. Brightest Day -- not doing so just seems like profiteering to me.
* Supergirl: Good Looking Corpse
Even if this is the title of the new Nick Spencer/James Peaty storyline, it has weird "dead women" connotations of the kind I thought DC was trying to make a concerted effort to avoid these days. Will anyone ever want to say "my favorite Supergirl trade is Good Looking Corpse"? I think this one needs a re-do.
* Batman: Arkham City
* Birds of Prey Vol. 2: Death of Oracle
* Green Lantern Corps: The Weaponer
* Justice League: Generation Lost Vol. 2
* Justice League of America: Omega
* Justice Society of America: Supertown
* Superboy Vol. 1: Smallville Attacks
* Teen Titans: Team Building
No surprises here necessarily, either, but the next releases of your favorite ongoing series. Both the Superboy and Justice League trades ought be roundabout the Reign of Doomsday crossover.
* All Star Superman
With the Absolute edition and such, this didn't especially jump out at me, but it would seem a bunch of readers have been waiting to read All Star Superman in single-volume paperback form (and indeed I approve DC bringing these issues together in one volume, not two). I'd have thought this would be better released when the movie came out, but maybe DC was trying to push the Absolute at that time.
* Batgirl: The Lesson
Also can't believe I left off the next Bryan Miller Batgirl collection. I really liked the first volume and I'm looking forward to the second, and I'm thrilled at all the acclaim Miller has received for the most unlikely of books, one starring the erstwhile Spoiler Stephanie Brown.
There is more to say, especially on certain Omnibus editions, and look for that coming in a few days. I'll pause here, though, and ask: Omnibuses, love 'em or hate em? What else is on your to-buy list?