DC Trade Solicitations for November 2014 - Absolute Green Arrow by Kevin Smith, Futures End and Batman Eternal, Nightwing by Chuck Dixon, Spectre

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Some interesting stuff in DC Comics's November 2014 hardcover and trade paperback collections solicitations. Probably I'm most interested here in the collections of DC's new weekly series, though most notable on the list is the rare change-up of the deluxe Green Arrow by Kevin Smith to an Absolute Green Arrow by Kevin Smith. We also see another collection of John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake's Spectre and the first in a new series of collections of Chuck Dixon's Nightwing series. Both of these were "wishlist" trades for me, and I'm both excited about the new collections and also hopeful there will be more volumes to follow each.

Absolute Green Arrow by Kevin Smith HC

I think pretty highly of Kevin Smith's Green Arrow stories, ones that first got me into Green Arrow and also that in a historical sense typify well the transition from 1990s to 2000s comics in bringing back the "iconic" Green Arrow as lead in his own series. The roots of the Green Lantern and Flash "rebirths" and even into what became the New 52 have some of their beginnings in Green Arrow: Quiver and its ilk.

I did notice a few weeks back, however, that the deluxe Green Arrow by Kevin Smith had been canceled. Aside from Smith's notoriety, I figured this was probably meant to capitalize on the current wave of Arrow popularity; when canceled, I figured that meant maybe DC had bet too hard on that popularity and the interest just wasn't there. Instead, I think we can interpret from this that there was so much interest that the book got a format bump, from deluxe up to an Absolute edition.

This probably says good things about the Green Arrow and Arrow franchises, but it's maybe not so good for our wallets. Weekly Collected Editions contributor Doug Glassman sent a couple thoughts on that point:

"One of the biggest regrets in my comics reading journey is selling back my copy of Green Arrow: Quiver. I've been unable to find the trade despite searching up and down Florida at comic book stores and conventions. For instance, not a single booth at Florida Supercon had a copy. I was excited when the deluxe hardcover edition Green Arrow by Kevin Smith was announced.

"So of course, it's now canceled and replaced with an Absolute edition at three times the price. Now don't get me wrong: 'Quiver' is deserving of an Absolute edition ('Sounds of Violence' less so, but hey, they might as well put out all the Kevin Smith stuff at once). Phil Hester's art is amazing, and hopefully the Absolute will include some process pages. But if this is the only way they'll reissue these books, I'll just get them on Comixology instead.

DC, please surprise me. Please announce some sort of softcover collection of Green Arrow by Kevin Smith as a replacement. I'd really like to put it on my shelf next to my old favorites like JSA, Manhunter, Geoff Johns's Teen Titans and Mark Waid's Legion threeboot. I'm simply not willing to spend $100 on a book collecting fifteen issues ... and I don't think I'm the only unwilling one either."

New 52: Futures End Vol. 1 TP
Batman Eternal Vol. 1 TP

In the same month, we have the first collections of the weekly series Futures End and Batman Eternal. The books collect through issues #17 and #20 of the series respectively, so we can expect maybe three collections for each. That these are paperback releases comes as something of a surprise (maybe a pleasant one), given that the last round of weekly series, Brightest Day and Justice League: Generation Lost, were both collected in multiple hardcovers. I think it would surprise no one, however, if we saw an omnibus volume of each series before all was said and done.

Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Omnibus Vol. 1 HC

We recently talked about fixes to the Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Omnibus elsewhere in the blog; suffice it to say there's some better news now in terms of the "Sinestro Corps War" Green Lantern Corps issues being collected in this book.

Nightwing Vol. 5: Setting Son TP
Nightwing Vol. 1: Bludhaven TP

Curious timing in the release of Kyle Higgins's last Nightwing book alongside Chuck Dixon's first -- the first and last Nightwing titles, even if Grayson lives on. As I've said before, the real value to me in this new line of Nightwing reprints is not if it collects just the early issues, which I already have, but if it goes past issue #50 to some of the uncollected materials and even into Devin Grayson's run. I am skeptical the collection series will go that far.

Spectre Vol. 2: The Wrath of God TP

Pre-order, pre-order, pre-order! The second collection of John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake's Spectre needs your support if we're going to get a third. Hopefully this gets a bump from the new Gotham by Midnight series and/or the rumored appearance of the Spectre on TV's Constantine.

Larfleeze Vol. 2: The Face of Greed TP

Can't say I'm likely to pick up this, the last issues of Keith Giffen's Larfleeze series, any time soon, but it does include a favorite Green Lantern so I'll probably be along eventually.

Movement Vol. 2: Fighting For the Future TP

I'm pleasantly surprised the first Movement trade made it to print and hopefully that means the same for the second; I had thought maybe these would be canceled like Green Team, but apparently not. I would have preferred DC try to squeeze all twelve issues into one trade, perhaps, but no big deal.

Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 5: The Big Picture TP

Red Hood and the Outlaws is one of those books I've completely lost track of. Jason Todd still has no memory? Wasn't that like two books ago? For a long time I was holding out hope this book would address Starfire's own memory issues, and in that way fill in some of the not-Titans history in the New 52, but I eventually gave up on that. I wouldn't be surprised, just speculation, if the Red Hood title didn't last much longer; I think DC would do well to replace it with a re-tooled Arsenal title while the aforementioned Arrow iron is hot.

I am glad to see that this book includes the Red Hood-themed DC Comics Presents stories, however.

Red Lanterns Vol. 5: Atrocities TP

I still haven't had a chance to check out the post-Peter Milligan Red Lanterns title, but I'll probably pick this up eventually because of its ties to the Super-titles. Includes just the Red Lanterns half of the Green Lantern/Red Lanterns #28 flip book.

Worlds’ Finest Vol. 4: First Contact TP

If you compare this Worlds' Finest volume with the Batman/Superman Vol. 2, each book collects seven issues, but they share four issues and there's only three in each trade that are unique to the book. That feels like not enough, to me; I'd have preferred DC kept the two books separate and just let the audience read back and forth between the two.

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  1. Marvel: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=54943

    *Fantastic Four by Matt Fraction Omnibus—This is a case of an excellent comic having to share space with an okay comic. Fraction inherited the dual “Fantastic Four”/”FF” set-up from Jonathan Hickman, and while the former was rather dull, the latter was excellent, with Fraction letting loose with the ragtag team, their young wards and artists Michael Allred and Joe Quinones. Get the “FF” trades and skip the omnibus.

    *Howard the Duck Omnibus—Remember what I said on Wednesday about Marvel republishing everything in their cosmic catalog? Here’s the ultimate example. Like the “Not Brand Yecch” material they solicited a few months back, I’m not sure how well Howard holds up nowadays, but five seconds at the end of “Guardians of the Galaxy” was enough to redeem him.

    *Wolverine Epic Collection: Madripoor Nights TPB—If Logan’s death has gotten you interested in his life, this is a great place to start along with the classic Claremont/Miller mini-series. This also includes the excellent Gehenna Stone Affair which I reviewed a while back.

    *This is a surprising lack of trade material for November. I mean I’m leaving out a bunch of the first and second trades of many All-New Marvel NOW titles, but that aside, I figured they’d have a little more on the shelves before Thanksgiving and the Christmas shopping season.

    Dark Horse: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=54804

    *Nothing’s really grabbing me this month from Dark Horse trade-wise. I should note however that the solicits for the “Fire and Stone” mega-AVP crossover look very promising, as does “Itty Bitty Mask”, which is the first new material from “The Mask” in fifteen years.

    1. Thanks for the tip on the Fraction FF omnibus-- I've been collecting the FF omnibi, and what I've read of it looks good.

  2. IDW: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=54952

    *Jack Kirby’s Mister Miracle: Artist’s Edition HC—If I was going to get any of these Artists’ Editions of the Fourth World, it would likely be this one, as Mister Miracle is probably my favorite New God. I will say that I think Kirby’s artwork loses some of its power in black and white.

    *Transformers: Robots in Disguise Vol. 6—This is, if I’m not mistaken, the last volume before the “Robots in Disguise” subtitle is dropped so as to not conflict with an upcoming show. Optimus Prime, Prowl, Sky Lynx, Jetfire (!) and more head to Earth for a fairly good story. It’s not at the level of “More Than Meets the Eye”, though.

    Image: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=54954

    *Just The Tips HC—A sex guide made out of reprints from the “Sex Criminals” letters pages? I’m actually intrigued to see what it’s like, since Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky are two of the funniest creators around (and I get the feeling that the awesome Kelly Sue DeConnick, Fraction’s wife, will have some influence in this as well).

    *Saga Book One HC—I may actually have to break down and read “Saga” just because they specifically designed the cover for this collection to piss off the people offended by a character breastfeeding on issue 3’s cover. It’s also supposed to be good or something. Either way, well played, Vaughn and Staples.

    *Lazarus Book One HC—Speaking of hardcover collections of titles I should catch up on…

    *Punkrockpaperscissors TP—This one is worth noting for the title alone. I’ll at least flip through it just to see how many bands I recognize.

    *The Wicked + The Divine: The Faust Act TP—This is the next big craze amongst the indie comics set, but it’s for very good reasons, like Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie collaborating once more and a unique story about ancient gods in a modern world.

    Valiant: http://www.comicvine.com/articles/valiant-comics-november-2014-covers-and-solicitati/1100-149579/

    *Armor Hunters TP and Unity: Armor Hunters TP—Only a few years ago, crossing over two titles (“Harbinger” and “Bloodshot”) was a big step for the revived Valiant. The eighteen-part Armor Hunters storyline is their most ambitious project so far and I can’t wait to see changes it brings.

    *X-O Manowar Classic Omnibus HC—Here’s another major milestone, the first omnibus ever produced by Valiant Entertainment. Most of these issues have never been collected before and it even includes the “X-O Database”; I wonder if they kept the acetate diagrams. I really hope the next omnibus is Classic “Archer and Armstrong”, even though I have a sneaking suspicion that it’ll be Classic “Bloodshot”.

    1. How is it IDW can be reprinting Mister Miracle?

      Hear, hear for Lazarus. Loved the first collection; review of the second collection coming soon.

    2. IDW often licenses comics from the Big Two for its Artist's Editions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artist%27s_Edition

      I was tempted by the New Gods one, but at my income level, the price is just too high.

    3. Just curious, what's in it for DC and Marvel to license IDW to do this, instead of doing it themselves?

    4. From what I've seen, IDW does this because it's a niche service that Marvel and DC likely won't offer. They're limited runs and very expensive so it's not a huge write-off for those companies. I doubt that anybody is getting the Artist's Edition of "Mister Miracle" in place of DC's collections, but rather alongside it as a deeper investigation into Kirby's work.

      Plus it depends a lot on the artists having their process work in their possession. Walt Simonson apparently has everything he ever drew in his garage which is why he's had a bunch of these put out (Thor, Alien the Illustrated Story, Lawnmower Man, Robocop vs. Terminatork, etc.) The Mister Miracle pages probably came from the Kirby Museum or Mark Evanier's collection.

  3. Great preview of the upcoming books as always. I'm hearing the same complaints about the Absolute GA book from a lot of folks. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    What I'm getting:

    BATMAN: THE JIRO KUWATA BATMANGA BOOK 1 TP: I have no idea what to expect, but this just looks like fun.

    BATMAN ETERNAL VOL. 1 TP: I will probably skip Future's End, at least for now. I hear mixed things about it, and the premise isn't that interesting, either.



    NIGHTWING VOL. 1: BLUDHAVEN TP: I may get this one (i don't think the original had the 4 issue mini, or did it?) but will probably stop here until/unless new uncollected material comes out.

    THE SPECTRE VOL. 2: THE WRATH OF GOD TP: Well, of course.

    Some of these others will probably eventually make their way into my collection in months that are slack.

    1. The original Nightwing Vol. 1 did not have the four-issue miniseries in it, but rather the mini plus the Nightwing: Alfred's Return one shot were in a trade all their own. So in essence, you're kind of losing the Alfred's Return one-shot in this new collection; no great shakes, but then again I think it'd be better if they included it than not.

  4. At this price point I'll probably going to get the Green Arrow stories from comiXology. The trade are wayyyy to expensive for used books and I'm not that much a collector that I need an absolute edition.

    I'll have to pickup Nightwing - Blüdhaven (I only heard good things about Dixons Nighwing run). The original miniseries is still uncollected though, isn't it?

  5. Wait, Nightwing Vol. 1 - Blüdhaven collects both, the miniseries and the first eight issues of the on-going, does it? At least if Amazon is listing this correctly. Wow, this is great!

    1. I really liked Dixon's run. I am sure you'd enjoy this.