DC Trade Solicitations for March/April 2015 - Batman Snyder "lost issues," DC Essentials, Azzarello's Wonder Woman ends

Monday, November 24, 2014

As we saw last time, DC's begun naming their hardcover and trade paperback collections solicitations by the actual month they'll come out, not by the month for which they're also soliciting the regular comics, so these are the solicitations, truly, for March/April 2015. Last month's were February/March, so it'll be interesting to see if next month is April/May or if the months will start to consolidate to just May, etc.

There's not really a whole lot here, just collected releases of regular series and the paperback editions of some hardcovers, but there are a couple books I'm interested in, including that Batman Vol. 6 "lost issues" trade and the end of Brian Azzarello's Wonder Woman run. Let's take a look.

Batman Vol. 6: The Graveyard Shift HC

For me, one of the most hotly anticipated trade releases this month is Batman Vol. 6, now titled "The Graveyard Shift." If you've been with us long enough to remember when non-event-connected comics were sparsely (if ever) collected, then you'll understand what a pleasure it is to have this collection of Scott Snyder's issues printed roundabouts Death of the Family and Zero Year. Only a pity that this book, which leads in to Batman Eternal, couldn't come out before the first collection of that title and not after.

• DC Entertainment Graphic Novel Essentials and Chronology 2015

I covered the contents of the 2013 and 2014 DC Graphic Novel Essentials and Chronologies previously; these books will never be as comprehensive, understandably, as we we trade-obsessed may like, but I appreciate very much that DC publishes them and that they've continued to publish them now for going on three years. I don't necessarily recall a solicitation of the book before, but I think this again speaks to DC's growing commitment to this guide.

Earth 2 Vol. 5: The Kryptonian HC

I was not so thrilled with Tom Taylor's first volume of Earth 2, but all this Futures' End/World's End/Multiversity/Convergence stuff does have my attention, and Earth 2 Vol. 5: The Kryptonian marks the last volume of Earth 2 before World's End. Also included is the Futures' End tie-in issue.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Two Vol. 2 HC

Speaking of Tom Taylor, I really am pretty excited about the next chapter of his Injustice saga. The first part of Year Two ran a lot slower than all of Year One, offering more time for character beats and less senseless slaughter or bickering between Superman and Batman. As such, I felt Injustice really opened up in Year Two Vol. 1, and I'm eager to see what Taylor does next in this no-holds-barred environment.

Robin, the Boy Wonder: A Celebration of 75 Years HC

I'm not much the target audience for these 75th anniversary collections, having usually read or owning in other collections anything that would be of interest to me here. But I am glad to see that alongside Bill Finger and Don Cameron, the other creator specifically named is Chuck Dixon. In my opinion DIxon is the driving force behind what we understand to be the Robin character today; surely any Tim Drake story you read owes a debt to Dixon, but likely any Dick Grayson story, too. DC hasn't been much for Chuck Dixon collections these days, but I'm glad that's set aside for the Robin book.

Wonder Woman Vol. 6: Bones HC

I have enjoyed Brian Azzarello's take on Wonder Woman, but I've also seen it become a bit repetitive, and I'm glad for this conclusion that will allow the writer wrap it up and move the story into legend. Looking forward to this one.

Harley Quinn Vol. 2: Power Outage HC

Satire comics aren't necessarily to my taste, but I have to admit that between Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International: San Diego and the Futures' End tie-in issue, the second Harley Quinn collection is a bit of a draw. I'm also glad to see that Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti seem to make character Sy Borgman a part of Harley's regular supporting cast with this volume, which kind of helps mitigate Harley and Sy's truly ridiculous first adventure.

All-Star Western Vol. 6: End of the Trail TP

All-Star Western is a title I've really never been able to get fully in to (I know, I know), and at least with this cancellation I don't have to keep feeling bad about not reading it. I still mean to check out Jonah Hex and Booster Gold's adventures, though that'll probably only come when I'm ready to settle down with the whole series.

That's the end of my rather short list ... what are you thinking of buying this month?
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  1. Marvel: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=57162

    *Avengers and X-Men: Axis HC—That’s a whole lot of nope. Unlike “Original Sin”, which actually has had a massive impact on the Marvel Universe, all “Axis” has provided is a cheap opposite day plot with little sticking power. I’ll stay with Hickman’s Marvel as I have been for years now.

    *Marvel Star Wars Omnibus Vol. 2—On the one hand, this is quite expensive and has been published in color, albeit shrunken down, in a few Dark Horse omnibuses which totaled cost about 2/3 as much as this book. On the other hand, this does contain some of the best “Marvel Star Wars” stories, including the amazing Michelinie/Simonson run.

    *Avengers: Quicksilver TPB—For years, the only issue collected from this was its part of the “Live Kree or Die” story in “Avengers”. This series embraced a lot of the Wundagore/High Evolutionary backstory that often gets pushed aside in favor of Magneto screwing his children up yet again. For instance, you get to meet Bova, the human-cow hybrid nanny.

    *Hawkeye: Avenging Archer TPB—This collects the variety of mini-series covering the period from Mockingbird’s return in “Secret Invasion” to the start of Clint’s current title. They’re all quite good and it makes sense for this to come out after Adrienne Palicki’s fantastic performance as Bobbi Morse on “Agents of SHIELD”.

    *Avengers: Time Runs Out Vol. 2 HC—See, even Jonathan Hickman doesn’t want to deal with Rick Remender’s side of the Marvel Universe. His books skipped eight months to sidestep the entire “Axis” fiasco and are much better for it, allowing “Secret Wars” to start up much faster than it otherwise would have.

    *Secret Avengers: The Labyrinth TPB—I still need to get and review the first volume because this title seems like a hit. I’m especially excited that there’s a mention of Tlön, as I’m reading the complete fictional works of Borges in between trades and that seems to be a direct Borges reference. Plus MODOK is apparently an Avenger.

    *Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 HC—Since Carol’s joining the team and they’re doing an arc investigating Venom’s home planet, plus Angela is a key character in “Loki”-related titles, it might be time to catch up on this. Interestingly, the movie poster cover lists the book’s contents on the front, something that would be great on all trades to be honest.

    *Ms. Marvel: Generation Why TPB—More than likely I’ll end up getting the issues before this trade comes out, but from what I’ve seen, Kamala’s interactions with Spider-Man, Wolverine and Lockjaw are all stellar.

    *Hawkeye vs. Deadpool TPB—I wouldn’t be getting this if Gerry Duggan wasn’t writing it, as a lot of other writers can’t quite figure out how to use Deadpool correctly. It’s easier to do Hawkeye and I trust that Duggan has it figured out.

    *Loki, Agent of Asgard: I Cannot Tell A Lie TPB—Only three issues in this trade have come out so far and it’s already a frontrunner as one of the best Marvel trades of 2015. Like “Dark Reign”, a side effect of “Axis” is that some titles come up with great stories, and the Loki vs. Doctor Doom arc might be to “Axis” as “Hitman” was to “Bloodlines”.

  2. Dark Horse: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=57175

    *Groo vs. Conan TPB—I feel like this was in development for decades, and I’m so happy that it’s finally out. The cover isn’t a metaphor: the entire book is drawn by Aragones except for Conan, who’s drawn in his normal style by Thomas Yeates. If you’ve never read any “Groo” before, this should be a good start.

    *Prometheus: Fire and Stone TPB—It does make sense to collect the four separate “Fire and Stone” minis in their own trades, but I do hope that there’s a big hardcover which puts everything in publication order. At the very least, they should put the original order checklist in the trades so you can read it the way it was shipped.

    Image: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=57164

    *Prophet: Joining TPB—The description for this reads “The Superbeing Troll’s plans to lure out Badrock come to a head.” So even more Youngblood characters show up in the future?! This actually gives me an incentive to go back and read the other trades, just because what they’ve done with Prophet and Diehard is so freaky that I can’t imagine what Future!Badrock is like.

    *Trees Vol. 1 TPB—Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood took over “Moon Knight” after Warren Ellis’ departure; shouldn’t they have written “Trees” instead given their names? I got the first issue of this for free on Comixology and it’s pretty intriguing. Maybe the trees appeared to protect the Earth from a solar flare? (Note to Steven Moffat: please start up another kid-oriented Doctor Who spinoff as a place to put scripts like "Kill The Moon" and "In The Forest of the Night". Both were decent, but they hurt the season's momentum.) 

    IDW: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=57183

    *Steranko Artist’s Edition TPB—This has a special appeal amongst the other Artist’s Editions as you can finally see up close what Steranko’s famous SHIELD artwork looks like uncolored. Plus there’s a “massive four-page gatefold”, which in this page size means it’s the size of a movie poster.

    *Star Slammers HC—Walter Simonson’s first series still holds up all these years later; I may just spring for the first edition because of the signature plate. How crazy is it that it began as his college thesis?!

    *Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War! Vol. 2 TP—They had me at “Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy”, but the concept of a “Cow and Chicken” tie-in comic is just outstanding.

    Valiant: http://www.newsarama.com/22762-valiant-comics-february-2015-solicitations.html

    *The Delinquents TPB—This is sadly the swan song for “Archer and Armstrong” as we know it for the time being; while James Asmus will launch “Quantum and Woody Must Die!”, Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry are moving on to the new “Timewalker” series. But at least Valiant’s two comedy titles are ending and changing with a bang in one of the best crossovers of the year.

    1. While it's sad to see Archer & Armstrong go, I am really excited about Timewalker. My hope is that Archer & Armstrong #15 (the issue where Armstrong and Ivar go on a pub-crawl throughout history) is an indication of what's to come with Timewalker.

      By the way Doug, have you heard anything good or bad about Fred Van Lente's Magnus, Robot Fighter? Are you planning on checking it out?

    2. I'll probably review that early next year once the Solar trade comes out. So far the reaction's been positive, although I know Valiant is kind of ticked off that Jim Shooter sold the Gold Key properties to Dynamite instead of them. It may end up being for the best since Dynamite has the upcoming King imprint which is a better fit for the Gold Key books. Not having Turok, Solar and Magnus meant that Valiant had to put extra effort into their own concepts, which is paying off massively. I don't think we'd have Divinity or Punk Mambo on the publishing schedule if they had to keep the Gold Key books in constant publication.

  3. They ended up adding a post-Eternal issue (#34) to Batman vol. 6, but I guess there's no problem, since it's self-contained and doesn't really spoil anything. That way, volume 7 will be entirely filled by the 6-part Endgame arc.

    1. It's a post-Eternal issue but it was actually published in the midst of Eternal, right? My sense was these were supposed to be ready out of order in kind of a wonky manner, though as it turns out the first Eternal trade comes out before Batman Vol. 6.

    2. Yes, it was published in the midst of Eternal, just like Endgame (which is also set after the weekly series) has been.

    3. Hey there. Excellent points there, and I would personally like to have volume 7 just be the Endgame arc as well.

      Do not forget, however, that issue 28 is a Batman Eternal 3/4's of the way through teaser as it takes place near the end of Eternal. Snyder said they did it in part to start promoting Eternal and give Capullo a much needed break as the three bookend issues for the Zero Year acts were all extra sized issues and Snyder wanted Capullo to have some breathing room to get caught up and take a slight breather.

      Even though I am going to be bummed that we have to wait even longer for the Endgame story, which from all the reviews I have been reading looks amazing but I am glad they went back and collected all these uncollected issues, as weird as it will flow they all seem entertaining.

    4. So... what reading order do you guys recommend for the Batman & Batman Eternal stuff? Thanks.

    5. If Eternal is fully collected by the time Batman vol. 7 comes out, I'd recommend you to read the whole thing between volumes 6 and 7.

    6. I don't know if I can wait that long. ;) Do I really need to read Batman #28?

    7. I'm reading the first volume of Eternal now and I'm having no trouble understanding it, and I haven't read any of the stories collected in Batman Vol. 6. Probably the only thing I'd recommend is Detective Vols. 3 and 4, but that's just for some minor context in an issue or two.

    8. Sorry, Spooky, I totally forgot that the first Batman Eternal TPB was coming out already. As CE said, there's no problem in reading it before Batman #28 or any of the stories collected in Batman vol. 6.

  4. My list looks about like yours, minus the Harley stuff. I may also pick up the Sensation Comics trade. Overall, looks like a light month for me, DC-wise.