DC Trade Solicitations for October 2014 - Futures End: Five Years Later Omnibus, Simone's Batgirl ends, Superman Unchained, Identity Crisis Tenth Anniversary

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Comings and goings" is the theme of the month in DC Comics's October 2014 hardcover and trade paperback collections solicitations.

Not only does DC have six new series premiering in October, along with the launch of one more weekly series, but in trades we also see Gail Simone's last Batgirl trade, Jeff Lemire's last Animal Man trade, Ann Nocenti's last Catwoman trade, Scott Snyder and Jim Lee's first/last Superman Unchained trade, and Marc Andreyko's first Batwoman trade (which ties in to JH Williams and Hayden Blackman's last Batwoman trade). All this plus the Futures End: Five Years Later omnibus and "why do we need another Identity Crisis trade?" So belly up to the bar and I'll run down my picks:

Futures End – Five Years Later Omnibus HC

I've soured a bit on these omnibus editions from DC; it's pretty cool to have, say, the entirety of DC One Million in one volume (still waiting on that Armageddon 2001 Omnibus, which I would buy immediately), but they are very heavy, and very unwieldy to sit and read. It remains to be seen, however, whether these "Five Years Later" issues will be collected with each series' individual trades or not. The "Villains Month" issues were not all collected except in the omnibus, but for most of those I figured that if it wasn't important enough to collect in a trade, it wasn't important enough for me to read.

Jury's still out on buying all the "Five Years Later" tie-in issues in one book, though; probably if DC would release a digital edition of these omnibuses, I might give it some additional thought.

Batgirl Vol. 5: Deadline HC

Notable now that we know that this is indeed Gail Simone's last Batgirl collection. I'm hoping Gail's next "secret" project involves "six" characters ...

Animal Man Vol. 5: Evolve Or Die! TP

Jeff Lemire's last Animal Man trade (going along with Gail Simone's last Batgirl trade), but I'm not taking it so hard given that Lemire is writing still writing Animal Man over in Justice League United.

Catwoman Vol. 5: Race of Thieves TP

Collects issues #25 and #27-34, which might seem a little confusing, but issue #26 went with the "Gotham Underground" storyline, so it's in the previous volume. Here, issue #25 is the "Zero Year" tie-in, #27-28 are "Gothtopia" tie-ins, and then finally issues #29-33 or #34ish are the "Race of Outlaws" storyline. One of the perks of being a trade-waiter is that issue #25 now doesn't interrupt the previous storyline. Keeping with this month's theme, this is Ann Nocenti's final Catwoman trade.

Superman – Action Comics Vol. 5: What Lies Beneath HC

What's most interesting in this collection of Action Comics #25-29 is that it also includes Secret Origins #1. I'm guessing this means the Superman origin story only, but I'll be curious to see if this keeps up and the Secret Origins stories end up in the individual characters' trades only, and not in dedicated Secret Origins collections.

Batwoman Vol. 5: Webs TP

Webs collects Marc Andreyko's first issues on Batwoman (including a "Zero Year" tie-in) and also the Batwoman Annual #1, where Andreyko cleaned up some storylines left over from the previous team, JH Williams and Haden Blackman. I rather wish they'd included Batwoman Annual #1 with the old team's last trade, such to give a better sense of a completed story despite the goings-on behind the scenes, but maybe they wanted Vol. 4 to be the old team's alone.

Superman Unchained Deluxe Edition HC

On various boards and such, I still see some confusion about this -- Superman Unchained Deluxe collects the entire 9-issue series, previously meant (perhaps) to be an ongoing around the Man of Steel movie, but "canceled" of sorts after nine issues when creators Scott Snyder and Jim Lee moved on to other projects. Still, I'm interested to read Snyder's take on Superman, and surely Jim Lee Superman art is nothing to sneeze at.

Identity Crisis: Tenth Anniversary Edition HC

Brad Meltzer remains a big media name, but I'm befuddled by this one.

I have something of a love/hate relationship with Identity Crisis. I love the overall mystery, and I credit Identity Crisis with giving new life to a number of characters -- among them Deathstroke and Green Arrow -- in the lead-in to Green Lantern: Rebirth and the successful Infinite Crisis era of DC. Of course, at the same time Identity Crisis reflects some of the worse excesses of that era as well.

So, I acknowledge Identity Crisis as significant. But, I also acknowledge it as very much a product of its continuity moment, as opposed to something more timeless like Batman: Long Halloween or All-Star Superman.

Does Identity Crisis warrant a tenth-anniversary edition? Is this something anyone's marking, or is there a pent-up audience for this book waiting for a new edition? Obviously DC sees some money to be made here, but I'm surprised that there is.

Batman Adventures Vol. 1 TP

It's not an anniversary for Batman: The Animated Series I don't think, but with Batman's 75th Anniversary, some new collectables, and this trade, it looks like the show is getting a renewed spotlight. Sure seems to me an animated-series digital comic, even with Paul Dini and Bruce Timm involved, would sell well.

Tales of The Batman: Len Wein HC

Someone can let me know if there's notable issues in here, but I think it's auspicious to see a Batman volume spotlighting a writer rather than an artist. Again, I don't know the details of the stories exactly, but I imagine this trade jumps around less following a writer than some of the artist spotlight volumes that offer only parts of stories.

Superman for All Seasons Deluxe Edition HC

One of my favorite Superman stories, and it's maybe a little astounding that it didn't have a deluxe edition before now. Surely DC could find some additional Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale material enough to make an Absolute for this one, no?

That's what I'm (maybe) getting, but what are you getting? Favorite trades for this month I might've left out or overlooked?
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18 comments:

  1. Shouldn't there also be a 5th Swamp Thing TP? Swampy was cancelled at the same time as Animal Man.

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    1. Swamp Thing hasn't been cancelled (at least, not yet), and vol. 5 is slated for December. You can pre-order it at Amazon.

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  2. "where Andreyko cleaned up some storylines left over from the previous team, JH Williams and Haden Blackman. I rather wish they'd included Batwoman Annual #1 with the old team's last trade, such to give a better sense of a completed story"

    Oh wow, no no no. That Annual was absolutely terrible and nowhere near a worthy (or even sensible) conclusion to JH Williams' run. It should be kept far, far away from it. He got literally every aspect of the story and characters wrong. It made me give up buying the book every month.

    And "cleaned up" is pretty charitable! I'd say he made a huge mess of everything.

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    1. Sorry to hear that. I have favorable memories of Marc Andreyko on Manhunter and so I'm optimistic about his Batwoman -- if we can't have Greg Rucka or JH Williams, Andreyko seemed like a good third choice. Here's hoping.

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    2. His Batwoman run is OK. The annual however is horrible. Horrible enough that I lost all faith in the writer, despite actually enjoying his issues of Batwoman till that point.

      Just trust me, putting it with Williams' story would be an insult.

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    3. My understanding is that his run started off a bit rough, but he managed to correct himself after a couple of issues (the annual excepted). I'm still TPB-waiting for Williams' final volume--I won't buy hardcovers on principle unless they're Omnibus or Absolute editions--and I'm still debating whether I want to continue with the series once Andreyko takes over.

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    4. 'That Annual was absolutely terrible and nowhere near a worthy (or even sensible) conclusion to JH Williams' run.'
      The annual was miles better than all of JHW III's run combined.

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    5. In what way? By ignoring all the established personalities of the characters, turning Alice into a Harley Quinn rip off who quips silly jokes, and resolving the plot in the most haphazard and rushed way possible?

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  3. Surely it makes better business sense for DC to keep "Secret origins" in its own trade and not divide the stories up? Most of these trades are in volume 5 so aren't delving into the origin story at the moment (except for Batman but everyone knows that) and the idea of SO surely is to grab either brand new readers or to show established readers new characters they may not have seen before. Either way, given there are dozens of origin stories for superman over the years, and Morrison just spent an 18 issue run on how he came to be, I think the short secret origin will seem out of place and slightly redundant in the next action comics volume.

    I was looking forward to the SO trade as I thought it would be a good palette cleanser for when I'm reading a large omnibus of some kind and I want to read something short, simple and fun. I may not buy it now though if I'm going to end up owning a majority of the content I care about in each characters trades. I think DC need to save it all for SO collections and keep it out of regular trades. What do you think?

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    1. "Most of these trades are in volume 5 so aren't delving into the origin story at the moment ... Either way, given there are dozens of origin stories for superman over the years ..."

      My guess is that, even as these are "origin" stories on their face, the fact that they're written in medias res by each series' current creative team (for the most part) suggests to me that there's some aspect of origin, some aspect of "foreshadowing future storylines" going on there (a bit like the recent Zero Month issues or, going way back, the post-Zero Hour Zero Month issues).

      So that's an argument toward including the Secret Origin stories in each series trade, though I take your point about not wanting to double-dip.

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  4. For completism's sake, I hope DC keeps collecting the short stories from Secret Origins along with the characters' respective solo series, since they're mostly written by the same people responsible for the monthlies. I'd especially like to see the upcoming Wonder Woman origin by Azzarello and Chiang included in ther final WW volume.

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  5. MARVEL: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=54064

    *Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus HC—Well, here it is, the first trade of the second Star Wars era at Marvel. It wouldn’t surprise me if the entire classic run gets full-sized omnibuses (I think it would take three or four. Dark Horse’s omnibuses of this material are great, but are in the smaller size, so it may be profitable for Marvel to do full-sized trades of this run. SDCC may hold the answer for their Star Wars plans.

    *Original Sin HC—I’ve mostly shifted away from event-related monthlies, so unlike “Infinity”, I’ll actually be getting this hardcover. The bits I’ve read so far—primarily Mark Waid’s superb issue 0—give me hope.

    *Marvel 100th Anniversary TPB—Marvel’s doing a few flash-forwards recently with both this and an eight-month jump in Avengers. What I’ve heard of these specials is mostly positive so far, and these stories could very well influence future developments much in the way that “Kingdom Come” inspired characters and stories in the main DCU.

    *Original Sin: Hulk vs. Iron Man TPB—Okay, so this is one exception from that “moving away from monthlies” statement, mostly because of the creators involved and the story concept. There’s a lot going on here to make it feel more like a valid story and less like a way to synch up the cinematic and comic book universes.

    *Original Sin: Thor and Loki TPB—If “Loki, Agent of Asgard” turns out to be as good as what I’ve seen so far, then this might end up being my most-anticipated tie-in to “Original Sin”.

    *Captain America: The Death of Captain America Paperback Novel—This is a case of anticipation because of the creator involved. The actual comic arc took way too long to tell, but Larry Hama writing it means that some cool storytelling might ensue.

    *Overall there’s a lack of classic material being solicited in October other than the Epic Collections and a Stan Lee “Silver Surfer” trade. This isn’t surprising since all of Marvel’s films for the year will have been released and “Agents of SHIELD” season 2 will be in its opening episodes, not to mention holiday prep time begins in November… for now. (And thanks to IGN for putting up the “AoS” debut date literally just as I started writing that sentence.)

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  6. DARK HORSE: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=54105

    *Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book HC—The words “lost classic” are always guaranteed to grab my interest. This really does fit the category since it’s one of the first graphic novels ever created and in print for the first time in 28 years.

    *The Mighty TP—I’ve heard good things about this story, and I might review it if I can wrestle it away from this site’s editor since it’s from Peter Tomasi.


    IDW: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=54080

    *Transformers: Windblade TP—It’s hard to imagine a “Transformers” comic passing the Bechdel test, let alone having excellent female leads, but there you go. This is also the go-to book for fans of Starscream.

    *Kill Shakespeare Backstage Edition Vol. 1 HC—Apparently this is a huge mash-up of the various Shakespeare characters in one story akin to “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and “Weapon Brown”. That intrigues me, as does the promise of annotations.


    IMAGE: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=54072

    *Nothing’s intriguing me this time around, sorry to say.

    VALIANT: http://www.newsarama.com/21584-valiant-entertainment-october-2014-solicitations.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+newsaramapreviews+(Newsarama.com+previews)

    *Rai Vol. 1: Welcome to Japan TPB—I admire Valiant for a lot of its choices, and bringing back the concept of the future timeline is one of the most daring. Clayton Crain’s amazing artwork would sell me on this even if the price weren’t so low.

    *The Complete Quantum and Woody Classic Omnibus HC—This is, if I’m not mistaken, the first omnibus ever put out by Valiant. The numbering might confuse some: issue “32” is actually issue 18; they did a jump-forward as a gag.

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    1. Based on both the incredible looking preview art and the excellent work that Kindt has done thus far for Valiant (anyone who hasn't read Unity Vol. 1 really needs to), I'm highly anticipating Rai. It's definitely on my immediate purchase list.

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  7. Looking to get the same books as you, but I'd add the Showcase Presents Unknown Soldier Vol 2. There are some classic David Michelinie stories in there, some 36-37 issues.

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  8. In Animal Man v.5, it's Justice League UNITED, not Unlimited :)

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  9. Tales of The Batman: Len Wein will feature the first quality reprint of "The Untold Legend of the Batman" with art by Byrne and Aparo, the definitive pre-Crisis Batman origin story and a favorite of mine.

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