DC solicits Fall 2012 trade collections

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On the Source yesterday, DC Comics Publicity Manager Pamela Mullins announced a host of new trade collections and graphic novels for the rest of 2012. This, on the heels of DC re-announcing the first DC New 52 collections -- this is, for the most part, everything not DC 52 for the year.

I've included some highlights below; I would mention that I am not completely blown away by this list. Green Lantern: Sector 2814 is unexpected, but the rest of these are expected -- additional volumes in reprint series, gargantuan omnibuses of dated material, and so on. In a post another time, I'll look at some DC material I'd still like to see collected -- if this is it for DC for 2012, seems to me they're not stretching themselves too far, in favor of letting the DC New 52 collections shine for the year.

(Would love to see a comics blog get some votes for a Shorty Award, by the way, if you'd like to help out.)

Here's what I noticed:

Writers: Doug Moench, Alan Grant, Chuck Dixon, Mary Jo Duffy and Dennis O’Neil
Artists: Mike Manley, Dick Giordano, Bret Blevins, Graham Nolan, Scott Hanna, Ron Wagner, Tom Grummett, Jim Balent, Rick Burchett, Barry Kitson, Mike Vosburg, Mike Gustovich, Lee Weeks, Joe Rubinstein, Phil Jimenez and others
Collects: BATMAN #509, 510, 512-514, BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #29, 30, 32-34, DETECTIVE COMICS #676, 677, 679-681, BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #62 and 63, ROBIN #8, 9, 11-13, CATWOMAN #12, 13 and SHOWCASE 94 #10
$29.99 US, 652 pg

This collection also doesn't collect the "Knightfall: The Search" chapters that we talked about earlier; since Knightfall Vol. 2 has some of those "Search" chapters and not all of them, I still believe there's a mis-print somewhere and Legends of the Dark Knight #59-61, at least, will be collected in one of these volumes.

This volume does however, include Batman: Prodigal, the story where Dick Grayson becomes Batman the first time around. I know why DC's including this, as fans have been clamoring for another shot at Prodigal ever since Dick became Batman after RIP -- but if you're reading the Knightfall saga for the first time, Prodigal is terribly anti-climactic. You've had three volumes of Bruce Wayne beaten and fighting to reclaim the Batman mantle, he returns and defeats Azrael -- and then disappears for twelve entire issues while Dick fumbles around as Batman.

If the four-part "Troika" storyline that followed had also been included, which has Bruce back in a new costume, that might bring this book full circle; take it from me, however, that Prodigal ends on a cliffhanger, and if you've been following the story since the beginning of Knightfall, I'm pretty sure you'll be saying "Is that it?"

Writers: Barbara Kesel, Chuck Dixon, Jai Nitz, Terry Moore, Geoff Johns, Jimmy Palmiotti, Judd Winick,
Artists: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
$39.99 US, 304 pg

This is a wacky collection in part because it's got an otherwise-uncollected Birds of Prey story in it that took place between Chuck Dixon and Gail Simone's runs. Also nice to see the uncollected material from Wonder Woman #600 surface here and there.

Writers: Gregg Hurwitz and Jason Aaron
Artists: Szymon Kudranski and Jason Pearson
$14.99 US, 144 pg

I've said before I think we need a Penguin miniseries like a hole in the head, not that that should dampen your enjoyment of it. That DC pads this post-Flashpoint Penguin origin with a pre-Flashpoint Penguin one-shot leaves me scratching my head.

Writer: Paul Levitz
Artists: Marcos To and John Dell
Collects: HUNTRESS #1-6
$14.99 US, 144 pg

On the other hand, DC's not puffing this one up at all. As a backdoor pilot to DC's new Earth 2 endeavors, it'll likely sell itself.

Writers: Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohen
Artists: Ernie Colon, Ric Estrada, Pablo Marcos, Alex Saviuk, Bob Smith, Gary Martin, Romeo Tanghal, Kurt Schaffenberger and Karl Kesel
$19.99 US, 648 pg

I can't claim much of a touchstone for this series myself, but I recognize it as a long-uncollected DC classic and I'm sure someone is excited about this. No doubt this is coming out in part in conjunction with the upcoming Cartoon Network series.

Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Artists: Keith Giffen, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Jack Jadson, Chris Batista, Jimmy Palmiotti, Ken Lashley, Eddy Barrows, Rob Stull, Shawn Moll, Tom Nguyen, Todd Nauck, Marlo Alquiza, Dale Eaglesham, Art Thibert, Patrick Olliffe, Drew Geraci, Ray Snyder, Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning, Rodney Ramos, Dan Green, Tom Derenick, Jay Leisten, Jamal Igle, Keith Champagne, Andy Smith, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund and Darick Robertson
Collects: 52 #1-52
$150.00 US, 1216 pg

I've been calling this one for a while -- with DC's current emphasis on Omnibus editions, the weekly 52 series would seem ready-make for that kind of collection. One thousand, two hundred sixteen pages and $150 is a hefty, expensive book, however, at the same time DC is getting flak for the quality of their collections (see video via Kris Shaw below) -- I'm curious if this'll be worth the paper it's printed on, so to speak, or if at some point customers will start voting with their wallets against DC's poor bindings if they continue.

Writer: Paul Levitz
Artists: Chris Batista, Rich Perotta and Marc Deering
$14.99 US, 144 pg

Surprised to see DC go paperback on this. One person's opinion, I didn't think Legion really needed a "secret" origin -- maybe it hasn't sold so well that DC won't risk a hardcover on it.

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artists: Tom Raney, Oscar Jimenez, Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary, Randy Elliot and others
Collects: STORMWATCH #48-50 and #1-11
$29.99 US, 384 pg

Glad to see this continuing. The first new Stormwatch hardcover collected the Stormwatch: Force of Nature (#37-42) and Lightning Strikes (#43-47) trades; this encompasses Change or Die, A Finer World, and Final Orbit. Not included here, troublingly, is the in-continuity WildCATS/Aliens story that ended Stormwatch and lead into Authority; maybe this will appear if DC keeps collecting WildCATS alongside this.

Writer: Len Wein
Artists: Dave Gibbons, Dick Giordano, Mike DeCarlo and Mark Farmer
Collects: GREEN LANTERN #172-176, 178-183 and 185-186
$16.99 US, 192 pg

I'm rather enthused about this collection (series, it seems) of early 1980s, just-before-Crisis on Infinite Earths Green Lantern stories, which involve Hal Jordan in Earth-bound tales and eventually John Stewart taking over as Green Lantern. I imagine these will read as rather dated, and I don't think Hal comes off altogether well in them, but this is a significant period of DC history that lacks collections, especially these that are partially still in-continuity.

Writers: J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Roberson
Artists: Eddy Barrows, Allan Goldman, JP Mayer and others
Collects: SUPERMAN #707-711 and 713-714
$14.99 US, 168 pg

Wouldn't it have been a riot if they'd decided to stick Superman #712 in the paperback?

That's my picks -- you can see the full list at the Source. What jumps out at you on the list?

(Video courtesy Kris Shaw)

Review: Hulk Vol. 3: Hulk No More hardcover/paperback (Marvel Comics)

Monday, January 30, 2012

[Guest reviewer Zach King blogs about movies as The Cinema King]

Halfway through Jeph Loeb's run on Hulk, I'm finding this whole thing to be a bit of a mixed bag. Maybe it's a case of parts being more than their sum, but for every high point I'm finding I have to wade through a few chapters that just don't hit it for me. Volume 3, Hulk No More, has a fantastic ending, but it's a rebound after a problematic and ultimately lackluster opener.

Hulk No More, like its predecessor Red and Green, is divided roughly in half, although the division isn't as neat. Hulk No More begins with a three-parter in which Hulk and Red Hulk are pitted against each other in a cosmic game of "who's tougher," sponsored by The Grandmaster and The Collector. The stakes? Hulk, Silver Surfer, Doctor Strange, and Namor have all been ripped from the most tragic times in their histories to fight for the lives of the women they love, while Red Hulk and his team of baddies (Terrax, Baron Mordo, and Tiger Shark) stand in their way, apparently just for the hell of it. Then Hulk and Red Hulk square off once more, this time in MODOK's secret government laboratory. It's here that Red Hulk drains Hulk of his gamma energy, stranding him as Bruce Banner and seemingly ending the Hulk's career -- for good.

Review: Superman: Return of Doomsday trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The end ought have been the beginning of the Superman: Return of Doomsday collection. That is, the book ends with an alternate cover for Justice League #55 by Dan Jurgens, echoing his iconic Superman #74 cover. It is in this way that one has to read all of Return of Doomsday, not as a story in its own right but rather as an ode to the destructive mayhem of the original Doomsday story.

Indeed, retreat now all ye seeking a moral in this story. Return of Doomsday offers no real beginning or ending, nor much of a narrative structure. It's simply 144 pages of Doomsday doing what he does best, beating up superheroes, and anyone expecting more than that will be sorely disappointed.

[Contains spoilers]

To break this trade down further, the first issue begins with Doomsday attacking Steel out of nowhere and ends with Doomsday carrying the beaten Steel away; the next issue begins with Doomsday attacking the Outsiders out of nowhere and similarly carrying the Eradicator away. The next chapters are exactly the same: mostly unrelated, and mostly filled with the characters wondering where Doomsday came from while Doomsday beats them soundly.

Review: Superman: Grounded Vol. 2 hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, January 23, 2012

If you haven't read Superman: Grounded Vol. 1, do yourself a favor and go read just the first full chapter, originally published as Superman #701. From Superman fixing the car, to the diner, to the drug dealers, to the jumper, and finally Superman quoting Thoreau in the end, writer J. Michael Straczynski presents a clear study on the existence of heroism in every person. Grounded may not be a perfect storyline, but Superman #701 is one of those rare perfect issues.

Superman: Grounded Vol. 2, unfortunately, lacks any such perfect issue.

The book itself claims to have been co-written by Straczynski and Chris Roberson. In a later War Rocket Ajax interview, however, Roberson says it's all his, and I believe him, because the writing her lacks Straczynski's mastery. But I'm not here to quibble with Roberson's writing in this book -- it didn't move me, but you can find plenty other reviews that look at that on an issue-by-issue basis.

Rather, what actually offends me about the second volume of Grounded is the way in which it dismisses and at times even outright disputes what Straczynski established in Grounded, Vol. 1. Straczynski and Roberson are having a conversation about Superman in Grounded, with each writer expressing their side in a volume; Straczynski's, I believe, was a complicated and critical look at Superman that still preserved the character's heroism, while I find Roberson's too reductive and somewhat pandering.

Review: War of the Green Lanterns hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Green Lantern is one of those series, as most readers will know, that's continuing virtually unchanged into the DC Comics New 52 relaunch. War of the Green Lanterns, though a crossover, needed not necessarily to be an ending; however, writer Geoff Johns accomplishes both, setting up the next arc while bringing to close, at least in part, his uninterrupted sixty-seven issue run on Green Lantern. As a crossover, War of the Green Lanterns has interesting elements but as a whole feels somewhat tired; hopefully it portends better things to come.

[Contains spoilers]

What is meant to differentiate War of the Green Lanterns from previous Green Lantern crossovers like Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night, I'm guessing, is that its focus is the four Earthman Green Lanterns. Though Hal Jordan, Guy Garnder, John Stewart, and Kyle Rayner are often in lead roles, in this story they have to battle an entire mind-controlled Corps often without their green rings. This would be a cause for much celebration at the end of the story, cementing the place of these four as the greatest of the Green Lanterns, if not for the pyrrhic nature of their victory -- where both Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night ended in triumph, War of the Green Lanterns ends in victory for the Corps but defeat for our heroes.

DC Trade Solicitations for April 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

DC Comics has released their trade solicitations for April 2012, and it's no surprise that we're knee-deep in DC New 52 trades. Just past those, however, are a surprising number of archives, reprints, and Really Big Collections. This is the trend I'm personally watching in DC's collection announcements over the next few months; when we set aside the New 52 books, what is DC selling or emphasizing in addition?

* Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 1: Faces of Death HC
* Batwoman Vol. 1: Hydrology HC
* Catwoman Vol. 1: The Game TP
* Animal Man Vol. 1: The Hunt TP
* Green Arrow Vol. 1: The Midas Touch TP
* Justice League International Vol. 1: The Signal Masters TP
* Stormwatch Vol. 1: The Dark Side TP

The New 52 Justice League, Batman, and Green Lantern collections all shared the spotlight last month, but the Bat-books really seem to take the lead here with Detective, Batwoman, and Catwoman. We also see our first Edge and Dark collections with Stormwatch and Animal Man respectively. Can't wait to see DC's unified trade dress for these books (or if DC has chosen to go with a unified trade dress).

* Absolute Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War HC
* The Infinite Crisis Omnibus HC
* Batman: The Black Glove Deluxe Edition HC

These are three high-profile, expensive books in one month. Though the only other one that I know is coming down the pike is the Absolute Batman and Robin volume, I wonder if these are successful, if we'll start to see more, even monthly, "coffee table"-type books from DC. Of course, the above are already seeing controversy -- Absolute Sinestro appears to be "just" a larger-size reprint of the original story, which I think makes most early adopters unlikely to double-dip. The Infinite Crisis Omnibus solicitations omitted the inclusion of Villains United, but both for completeness and for that series's integral role in Infinite Crisis, I just can't see DC leaving it out.

* Batman: Prey TP
* Challengers of the Unknown Omnibus By Jack Kirby HC
* DC Universe: Legacies TP
* Legion Lost TP
* Showcase Presents: Sea Devils Vol. 1 TP
* Sgt. Rock Archives Vol. 4 HC
* Starman Omnibus Vol. 1 TP

There's a lot of rich material here, suggesting DC's past continuity is not gone, just, well, past. There's a Challengers Omnibus, a Sgt. Rock Archives, and a Sea Devils Showcase Presents (tying into current goings-on in the Aquaman series, perhaps?) -- on one hand, all these different reprints of old material are good, but on the other hand it furthers DC's schizophrenic publishing routine -- what makes Challengers an omnibus and Sgt. Rock an Archives? Why does Sea Devils only make the level of Showcase Presents and not an Omnibus? Confusing times for readers.

Meanwhile, I dig DC's chutzpah in releasing Legion Lost in paperback. This book has little-to-no connection to the current ongoing Legion Lost series and I'd imagine the pent-up demand for the collection expired with the hardcover -- but hey, we have another book out right now called Legion Lost, so let's throw this at the wall and see what sticks! (Letting alone that Legion Lost, the Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning miniseries, is really quite good.)

* Batman: Knightfall Vol. 2: Knightquest TP New Edition

For those playing at home, the second Knightfall volume includes the entirety of the previously-uncollected "Knightquest: The Crusade" storyline, in which Batman (former Azrael) Jean Paul Valley descends into madness. This book only collects some of the issues from "Knightquest: The Search," however -- which separately followed the crippled Bruce Wayne -- and not all of them, omitting for instance the quite-integral Legends of the Dark Knight issues. I can't believe DC would come this far only to not completely collect "Knightquest" again, so I'm betting those will be in this book or the next.

(By the way, blink and you'll miss it, but DC has this titled Batgirl: Knightfall on their site at the moment.

* Brightest Day Vol. 2 TP
* Batman: Bruce Wayne: The Road Home TP
* Batman and Robin: Batman And Robin Must Die TP
* Green Lantern: Brightest Day TP
* Superman: Grounded Vol. 1 TP

And just to show that the old continuity may be down but not out, DC comes through with paperback releases of Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern stories on various levels of "happened" and "didn't happen." What will be interesting in a few months is when DC has exhausted all the paperback reprints of their regular title hardcovers, and then we're just down to DC New 52 books and collections -- will we see more new "reprint" collections (like Sea Devils, Chase etc.) or just less collections output from DC?

What's on your "to buy" list this month?

Favorite Comic Trades for 2011

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's been a while since I've written a "best of the year" post (back in 2005 and 2006, even), so thanks to frequent guest-poster Zach King for suggesting it. I'm posting it before the end of January, so that's not too late for a "best of 2011" post, right?

My qualification process was simple -- the book had to have been published in 2011 and I had to have read it in 2011, so unfortunately Batman: The Black Mirror was out, along with early Secret Six trades. I tried to pick books I not only liked when I read them but still liked -- Superman: The Black Ring Vol. 1 went off the list since the second part left me a little cold, and I couldn't quite muster the same enthusiasm for Brightest Day that I'd had at the time.

Here's the list, counting down from 10 to my top pick:

10) Teen Titans: Ravager: Fresh Hell

I'm still pretty high on this one. We all know I didn't much like Sean McKeever's Teen Titans work, but he used the backup-story format really well in Ravager to craft a story full of moral-ambiguity that kept the character hopping. This is not the most groundbreaking book on the list (or groundbreaking at all, really), but it was a kicky story in its own right.

9) Flash: The Dastardly Death of the Rogues

I'll tell you, this book almost didn't make the list, so poor was its follow-up, Flash: The Road to Flashpoint. It's a testament to just how good Dastardly is, between writer Geoff Johns and artist Francis Manapul. Johns takes his time here, fully setting up Barry's world, including some power-establishing action sequences by Manapul that are off-the-charts good. I like the exploration of the fastest man dealing with a world of text messages and cell phones; there was a lot of potential in this volume, best reflected perhaps by how disappointed we were that the next volume didn't live up.

8) Justice League: Generation Lost

Judd Winick wrote a funny, moving, thoughtful superhero tale in Generation Lost; before DC's New 52 erased the old Justice League International completely, this was a fine tribute. Espionage, double-crosses, time travel, you name it. And nice to look at, too, not just Aaron Lopresti and Joe Bennett's interior pencils, but Cliff Chiang's covers from the original issues as well. Both volumes hold up exceptionally well; this is where the competition gets tight on this list.

7) Batgirl: The Flood

If I can cheat just a little bit, Batgirl: The Flood was not quite as good as Batgirl Rising, but I love the series enough that it deserves a mention. Writer Bryan Miller does great things both with Batgirl Stephanie Brown but also in giving Oracle Barbara Gordon some of the personality she's lacked of late in Birds of Prey. The profile issue of Detective Nick Gage might win the trade its spot on its own, so subtly does Miller convey important information about the character.

6) Secret Six: The Reptile Brain

OK, I'm cheating again. Reptile Brain is not the strongest Secret Six collection, though it is especially strong. Writer Gail Simone reuses characters from some of her other books here to great surprise and delight; I'm also a sucker for a good Skartaris story, especially when Simone picks up on continuity from the otherwise-ignored recent Warlord series.

5) Legion of Super-Heroes: The Choice

This could just have easily have gone wrong, but DC and Paul Levitz came through with a hefty Legion collection (including a couple of back-up stories) that was complex and thorough and gave the reader a lot to chew over. I'm quite eager, actually, to turn to the next volume, Consequences, pretty soon; I was glad to hear Levitz was just keeping on through the New 52.

4) Justice Society of America: Axis of Evil

Axis of Evil sticks with me perhaps because I didn't expect to enjoy it quite as much as I did. Bill Willingham's essentially just writing a Mr. Terrific story here, but it's one set in an alternate timeline where Willingham gets a lot of room to explore Terrific's character. There's startling evil here, but also unexpected kindnesses -- this is one that took me by surprise and I couldn't stop reading.

3) Doom Patrol: Brotherhood

Doom Patrol: We Who Are About to Die was good, and then the follow-up volume Brotherhood was even better. It's not just because Keith Giffen finds a way to reintroduce a gaggle of random elements from past Doom Patrol iterations into this story without getting too mired in continuity (plus, Ambush Bug!). Rather, it's the closing sequences in which the severely-depressed, emotionally-damaged Patrol, against all odds, suddenly decides to take their lives back. Giffen's Doom Patrol was silly and edgy, but also smart and sweet. We won't get in to the last volume being cancelled again, or I'll get all teary.

2) Green Lantern: Brightest Day

This collection almost didn't make the list, since I was pretty worn-out on Brightest Day itself, but I happened to be re-reading it as I was writing this list, and I was reminded just how good Green Lantern: Brightest Day was. Geoff Johns takes Hal Jordan on a cross-country tour with representatives of the multi-colored Corps in tow; it's a little formulaic in that every Corps gets its own issue, but Johns also does well revealing tidbits about the various Lanterns through the vantage of the other Corps's emotions. And dialogue -- this is a remarkably dialogue-heavy book, with just pages and pages of the Lanterns debating their different philosophies as to how to proceed. All of this, and a great cliffhanger toward War of the Green Lanterns (which is itself kind of a disappointment, but the lead in is good) -- when Green Lantern is good, it's very good, and this is one of those times.

1) Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne/Time and the Batman/Batman and Robin: Batman Must Die

Cheating again! Of these three, I think I liked Return of Bruce Wayne best of all, but Time and the Batman had some pages that have stuck with me as well, and Batman Must Die also. I have, I'll admit it, since Final Crisis, become something of a Grant Morrison convert. Is the DC Universe a living being? Maybe not, but Morrison's idea of comics as society's new mythology, an ongoing story seventy-five years old and counting, really resonates with me. "Whatever they touch turns to myth" -- indeed, indeed. I'll be thinking about these three for a while, and that's why they're my number one pick for 2011.

Once again, happy new year to all and best wishes for 2012.

What were your top books of last year?

Review: JSA All-Stars: Glory Days trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Writer Matt Sturges's JSA All-Stars: Glory Days both confirms and rejects my assertion, after reading the previous volume Constellations, that JSA All-Stars is really just a new iteration of the classic Infinity, Inc. team. Plot-wise, there isn't much remarkable in Glory Days, but fans of the team's roots will find a bit to enjoy nonetheless.

[Contains spoilers]

It isn't just that members of the JSA All-Stars team reminisce about their Infinity, Inc. days. It's isn't just that the book cameos another former Infinity, Inc. member, or that it picks up the threads of an Infinity, Inc. story. It's about the time that members of the JSA All-Stars actually drive by the old Infinity, Inc. headquarters and stop to take a look that it becomes impossible to deny how much the ghosts of that former team drive this book. Sturges begins the "Glory Days" story in Infinity, Inc.'s home base, Los Angeles as the team helps out former Infinity, Inc. supporting cast member Chief Bracken; this leads Infinitors Hourman and Atom Smasher to joke about the old days, all in the first six pages of the story. The connections grow exponentially from there.

Review: Batman: The Black Mirror hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

With issue #881, DC Comics's own stalwart "gray lady," Detective Comics, closes its doors after almost seventy-five years. By all accounts, writer Scott Snyder ends Detective on a high note with Batman: The Black Mirror (in contrast to the end of its sister title in Batman: Eye of the Beholder). Black Mirror is a stout, involved collection worthy of its praise.

Perhaps the great point of debate, then, is where exactly Synder excels in Black Mirror. Is it in convincingly depicting Gotham City as a character with its own presence? In creating a story that succeeds in taking Batman and his allies back to their earliest days despite that this Batman is Dick Grayson and not Bruce Wayne? Or is it in presenting a slow-building horror story populated with the kind of twenty-first century villains that act as a signpost for where the Batman titles need to go in DC's New 52 continuity? All of this is the case, to be sure, and more.

Review: Batman: Eye of the Beholder hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

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Monday, January 09, 2012

It's hard not to imbue Batman: Eye of the Beholder with some kind of greater meaning (for me, at least) given that it's the final originally-numbered Batman comics collection before the DC Comics New 52 relaunch. Not that writer Tony Daniel is necessarily writing it as such; it's unclear how aware Daniel was of the DC Relaunch when he wrote these issues, and DC omits from this collection the actual "final" Batman issue written by Fabian Nicieza.

Eye of the Beholder is adventuresome, though not necessarily Daniel's strongest work; as a Batman finale, there's a bit one can read into this book, but overall in that aspect the book doesn't really measure up.

[Contains spoiiers]

Depending on your point of view, Tony Daniel either has a great sense of Batman continuity, or his Batman stories are mired in re-treading old material. The "Eye of the Beholder" storyline picks up from the much-maligned Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul crossover, while "Pieces" is even more enmeshed in Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's Batman: The Long Halloween and Dark Victory than Daniel's previous Batman: Life and Death was. This works for "Eye," creating something interesting from the preceding story's ashes, but "Pieces" revises Loeb's work in ways better left alone.

Review: Chase trade paperback (DC Comics)

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Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Chase series has long been at the top of my and many other trade-waiters lists of comics for which we'd like to see collections, making the new collection -- to coincide with writer and artist J. H. Williams's use of the character in the Batwoman series -- both welcome and somewhat miraculous. I never thought I'd see this collection, and especially not complete with Cameron Chase's Batman premiere issue and some of her Secret Files appearances; it's a good day for collected comics fans.

To read the Chase trade paperback, however (and this is why we can't have nice things), is to be reminded that Chase was indeed a series cancelled suddenly, more so than Stars and STRIPE or Manhunter or Aztek or any of a number of other similar cult hits. The book asks considerably more questions than it answers and begins down a number of paths it never concludes. The Chase collection is almost (but not entirely) as complete as one might hope, but from the reader's perspective still feels incomplete.

Review: Black Lightning: Year One trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, January 02, 2012

[This guest review comes from Wayne Brooks; Wayne's local comics shop is AfterTime Comics in Alexandria, Virginia.]

In this wonderful medium we cherish often there are comics that do not get the press they truly deserve and fly under the radar. Black Lightning: Year One is one of those gems. This book is great.

Black Lightning is one of DC Comics's best super-heroes. Created by comics great Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden in 1977, Black Lightning was DC’s first African American super-hero to star in his own book. But maintaining a comic has not been easy. He was cancelled, twice, but the hero has a pretty good following and has moderate (solo outings in Detective and World's Finest) to great success (Batman and the Outsiders, Justice League) over the years.