DC Trade Solicitations for November/December 2015 - Batman Eternal, Green Arrow by Jeff Lemire Deluxe, Phantom Stranger

Friday, July 17, 2015

After the big launch of the Convergence trades in last month's DC Comics hardcover and trade paperback collection releases, November/December 2015 (posted July 2015) is a bit quieter -- some solid books, but no giant headlines, I don't think. Briefly, I was glad to see a lot of DC original graphic novel news coming out of San Diego Comic-Con: two different Earth One volumes, Grant Morrison's Multiversity graphic novels, and most significantly new Milestone graphic novels. All of that says to me the original graphic novel market is stable and DC has committed to it for the foreseeable future, and that's good news. (Now if we could only see that Samaritan X graphic novel one of these days.)

Anyway, here's my picks for this month. Not the full list, mind you, which you can find at the DC Comics site, but my picks:

Batman Eternal Vol. 3 TP

I'm re-reading Batman Eternal Vol. 1 right now, maybe a little more slowly, and I'm liking it better than before. I'm still into the crime part and not quite into the supernatural part, which is where I remember it got shaky, so we'll see what happens.

Anyway, this collects the final issues of Batman Eternal, plus the flash-forward issue Batman #28, which was also collected in Batman Vol. 6: The Graveyard Shift. I feel like including it here misses what I thought was the point of the issue, that it was a non-Eternal preview of the Eternal world, but I guess it'll be interesting to see where it's supposed to fit, and how Eternal makes sense with and without it.

Batman/Superman Vol. 4: Siege HC

I'm not much for the question of "Who is Superman's Joker?" addressed here (Superman's Joker is Lex Luthor. If the question is "Who's Superman's strange, sadistic, Joker-like foe," that's a confusion of Superman and Batman as interchangeable characters with interchangeable villain types. Batman has a Joker, Superman has a Lex Luthor). Notably, however, this collection includes issues #16-20, an annual, and the Futures End tie-in issue.

Green Arrow Vol. 7: Kingdom TP

Arguably DC Comics's hottest television property has had a rough time in the New 52, starting to see the light only with Jeff Lemire's suprisingly short stint on the title. We've another new team post-Convergence, leaving us with one single Arrow-inspired volume by Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Sokolowski. I'm hoping for good things but I can imagine if some people would just as soon skip to the new (and hopefully more permanent) run.

Green Arrow by Jeff Lemire Deluxe Edition HC

Speaking of which, if one didn't read Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Green Arrow run, this deluxe edition is surely a nice way to enjoy it. DC is offering some fine deluxe editions of the best New 52 runs lately -- of which Flash by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato is another -- though unfortunately without enough consistency for one to decide to skip the original trades for the deluxes.

Harley Quinn Vol. 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab HC

In a Harley book for all seasons, the collection includes just three regular issues, #14-16, an annual, and then the Valentine's and Holiday specials.

Justice League United Vol. 2: The Infinitus Saga HC

I've been trying (poorly) to keep track of where the Futures End tie-ins show up. I don't know for sure, but I sense that when a volume has two Futures End issues in it, that's a sign maybe these are a bit more connected to Futures End proper than the other tertiary tie-in issues. Anyway, Justice League United Vol. 2 has a lot going for it, namely Jeff Lemire, the Legion of Super-Heroes, issues #6-10 plus an annual, and both the Justice League and United Futures End tie-in issues.

The Phantom Stranger TP

Collects the 1980s Phantom Stranger miniseries by former DC editor Paul Kupperberg, plus the Phantom Stranger stories from Action Comics Weekly (making this another, after Superman: The Power Within and Nightwing: Old Friends, New Enemies, to collect the Action Comics stories). Artists include Mike Mignola and Kyle Baker.

Superman – Action Comics Vol. 7: Under the Skin HC

The final Action Comics collection before Convergence. Solicitations say this collection includes Futures End #1, which I'm guessing means the Action Comics: Futures End issue by Sholly Fisch, since I can't figure why Futures End #1 proper would be included here.

Book you're looking forward to? Something I should have mentioned? Sound off in the comments and let me know.
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  1. Was there not a Doctor Fate TPB coming out in December also?

    1. Unless I'm just overlooking it, that book wasn't solicited this month. What date the book is listed for release online and when it's solicited aren't always an exact match; possibly it'll be in the December 2015/January 2016 solicitations next month.

  2. The reason for the regular Justice League Futures End issue being collected in the JLU trade is because it was a two parter with both being written by Jeff Lemire. I didn't particularly enjoy it and it isn't really connected with Futures End proper at all unless you want to know what the Justice League is up to.

    I really like DC's two choices for New 52 Deluxe Editions and will most definitely double dip on them. They should do the same with Scott Snyder's Batman and Azzarello's Wonder Woman.

    1. Of all the New 52 titles, I think the Azzarello Wonder Woman is most deserving of an omnibus or set of deluxe volume hardcovers.

    2. I would vote for a series of two or three deluxe editions over the omnibus just because they're easier to hold and read (says the man with the Hawkman and JSA omnibuses on his bookshelves).

    3. Deluxe Editions for Snyders Batman would be great, especially if they did it by arc and didn't number them. I kind of hate that Zero Year is placed in the middle of the series, trade number wise. It irks that little bit of OCD in me.

    4. Though "placed in the middle" is subjective. Arguably Zero Year appears exactly where it needs to in terms of the narrative of Snyder's Batman story, even if that narrative is nonlinear. Got Star Wars on the brain -- you could say Episodes IV, V, and VI are "placed" out of order, but really they're placed in order, just not linearly.

  3. Marvel: http://www.comicbookresources.com/article/all-new-all-different-marvel-arrives-in-marvels-complete-october-2015-solicitations

    *Secret Wars HC—Well that was quick! Due to the rolling schedule of the various tie-ins, the hardcover of the main mini-series will be out before most of the other “Secret Wars” books end. This is a good tactic as readers who want to get into ANADM (All-New, All-Different Marvel) can start immediately and even follow some books during their relaunches. As far as reading order goes, only four issues are out so far and I sense Hickman has some ideas in the wings.

    *A-Force: Warzones! TPB—It’s interesting to note that if a book shares its name with a previous title, like “Infinity Gauntlet”, it gets Warzones as a subtitle. The Marvel solicits go through a whole bunch of “Secret Wars” paperbacks before looping back to the hardcovers, so I won’t discuss all of them. However…

    *Guardians of Knowhere TPB—This storyline is shorter than the others, but it includes the third issue of the original “New Avengers: Illuminati” storyline. It’s specifically the issue about the Beyonder and it doesn’t line up with “Secret Wars” at all, similar to Molecule Man in “Dark Avengers”. So this could be padding, or this could be a clue of what Bendis is doing.

    *Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps TPB—Kelly Sue departs for now* and leaves us a swan song before the “Agent Carter” showrunners take over. This also includes the very sweet final issue of the first volume; I wouldn’t be surprised if she wrote a little goodbye essay as well. (*I’m predicting she comes back in 2018 to write some CM movie tie-ins.)

    *Marvel Masterworks: The Champions Vol. 1 HC—A book starring Black Widow, Ghost Rider, Hercules, Angel and Iceman would likely be a hit right now, so it’s a shame this got launched thirty years too early. (They should’ve included Daredevil.) It’s the weirdest team line-up this side of JLA Detroit, plus it’s by Tony Isabella.

    *Daredevil by Mark Waid Vol. 4 HC—Collecting the first two trades of the “West Coast” run, they’re not even pretending it’s a different title from the first three collections. Get it if you want to catch up quickly.

    *Superior Foes of Spider-Man Omnibus HC—Some of said foes are returning in the new “Ant-Man” title, but that aside this is an unsung masterpiece. It’s certainly more of a “Thunderbolts” book than the actual Rulk-led version was.

    *The Uncanny X-Men Vol. 3 Omnibus HC—A good chunk of this material was in the “Phoenix Rising” trade, and pretty much every issue in this omnibus is a classic. I need to keep a running counter on how many times the original “Wolverine” mini-series has been republished the same way I do with the Thanos Annual saga.

    *Hawkeye Vol. 5: All-New Hawkeye TPB—Speaking of not renumbering the trades, “Hawkeye” goes the same route as “Daredevil”, transforming the original title into a subtitle. Fans looking for this book can easily locate “All-New Hawkeye”, while fans wanting to continue from Fraction’s run can pick up from here as well.

    *Star Wars: Journey to SWTFA TPB—The new timeline of the Star Wars universe (albeit a very brief sketch) leaked out recently and I like the new status quo. This will possibly feature the Battle of Jakku, a major event in the timeline as far as the characters in Episode VII are concerned. Plus it’s by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto, the creative team from the only “Punisher” title I actually liked.

    1. Greg Rucka. Writing Star Wars. Leading into the new movie. I'm there!

    2. You didn't like the Ennis years? That's peak Punisher, for me; both Marvel Knights and MAX. I've yet to read Ruckas run, but it really sounds like a case where Rucka doesn't really "get" the character, so I've been hesitant to read it.

      Star Wars has kind of lost me over the years due to a combination of fan attitude and the baby being tossed out with the bathwater when it switched hands. It's a shame, because I'd be interested in seeing Rucka doing it. He and Ed Brubaker are writers I like a lot, but feel as though they got real comfortable doing one type of story or genre, which has been slowly wearing on me. I may check it out anyway.

    3. Let's just say that the only review I've ever had to stop myself from submitting because it was full of too much vitriol was of "The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank". The character just really doesn't make any sense in the wider context in a world with other superheroes, although I'm looking forward to the television version on Daredevil.

    4. @dl316bh Baby and bathwater being the extended Star Wars universe?

    5. @CE: Yeah. It's different compared to, say, DC. With DC, your favorites and the elements you love will always come back. With Star Wars, so much of what it became outside the original trilogy owes everything to what came after. That's all gone now.

      I understand why they did it. But as someone who grew up after the original trilogy - and was drawn into that world by the expanded work - it kind of feels almost as if it's an admission that, in the grand scheme of the franchise, the story of the original trilogy. Not Kyle Katarn. Not Mara Jade or Revan or the Outcast. Just Luke Skywalker, Leia and Han Solo. Hell, that probably works for a lot of people - I've seen more than my fair share of folks who refuse to acknowledge stuff outside the original trilogy, which has become as untouchable as scripture to some - but I feel like it lost me, whether I like that or not.

      I want to be into it, but I feel like at some point - I don't know where - I subconciously checked out and I can't get back in.

    6. I can totally understand that. I think I took the New 52 relaunch easier than some, but I imagine it's kind of the same thing -- you collect for a long time, you get invested in the story, and then one day the publisher says *poof* all of that is gone.

      Though with DC, at least -- not counting that they'd rebooted before -- the comics were the thing, so one might reasonably expect that what they were reading was historically germane. With media tie-ins, I feel I've known for a while that they weren't "ours" per se; no great examples, but there were Star Trek: Voyager books while the show was airing that later episodes contradicted, or revelations about Dr. Bashir late in Deep Space Nine that the series novels could never have predicted. Or the Star Trek: Federation novel that was later contradicted by Star Trek: First Contact.

      Though with Star Wars, I guess the Expanded Universe went on long enough that no one could be blamed for thinking that was "it" (and who could've predicted where we are now). At the same time, I'm on the other side of this from you -- I gave up on the Expanded Universe after a couple of so-so novels, never really got into the comics, and then when my interest did begin to grow, I found trying to get in to it entirely overwhelming. It was much easier for me simply to watch the movies, Clone Wars, and Rebels, and so when the Expanded Universe became Legends, that actually cleared a lot of obstacles for me. I'd argue the DC Universe wasn't that complicated pre-New 52, but I imagine many a new reader felt similar to how I feel about Star Wars, that suddenly a path had been cleared.

      Altogether a similar situation, of sorts, in that the Season 10-11 X-Files went from being "it" to no longer being "it," though in that case I'll happily give up that "Expanded Universe" for six new episodes.

    7. I get what you mean about the novels. Admittedly, there's a point where it's best to just stop. But a fair number of them up through the New Jedi years are well, well worth it and were about as good a "next step" in the universe as you could ask for. I still have several of those books.

      But it's not even just the novels. It's kind of... everything. Shadows of the Empire is gone and that was as close to official canon as you got without being an actual film prior to the Disney buyout. The numerous amazing games are wiped from existence; again, the Shadows of the Empire game, as well as the Knights of the Old Republics, the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series, Rebel Assault and Republic Commando. I know you haven't read the comics, but there were plenty of great ones.

      It feels very different from DC because... well, we're probably never going to see the things or characters we got attached to, again. It's clear Disney wants to go in its own direction. Hence wiping the floor to begin with. I dunno. It just feels different to me.

      I went to see all of the prequels opening day, once upon a time. Now I doubt I'll even bother to see episode seven. Something feels wrong about that. I wish it weren't so. It's hard to realize you've become completely divorced from something you loved for so long.

    8. A lot is riding on Episode 7. They have another Episode 1 fiasco and their entire plans for a Star Wars Cinematic Universe could be in jeopardy.

      Any profit in Marvel doing a "Star Wars Legends" series, you think, telling tales from the Expanded Universe? Does Marvel even have the rights to all of that, or is it wrapped up with Dark Horse somehow, licensing aside?

    9. I think Marvel would be able to use any of the old EU characters, either importing them into their new universe or telling new "Legends" tales. They obviously have the reprint rights to the old stories, since they're publishing them in Epic collections and putting on Marvel Unlimited. Maybe there's a stipulation that they can't use those characters in new stories, but I imagine the licensing deal with LucasFilm gives ownership of the characters to LucasFilm, and they can let their latest licensee do what they will.

    10. @CE: I'm not entirely sure about the rights situation, but I'm pretty sure I read before that it can get a bit more complicated than Disney wanted to bother with. They'd likely have to renegotiate a lot of things, including residuals; far easier to make all that non continuity and negotiate that stuff on a case by case basis, depending on what would sell, and make everything in continuity moving forward in house to eliminate any issues.

      Granted, I can't remember WHERE I read this, so big, heaping shaker of salt.

      @Austin: I wish, but I genuinely doubt they'll repurpose anything they don't own lock, stock and barrel. Causes too many problems. We're jumping franchises here with this, but it's kind of like what happened with The River trilogy in Mirage TMNT. Mirage and Peter Laird wanted Veitch to sign a retroactive WFH contract giving them all the rights for a payout, he refused and Laird wiped it off the face of the Earth, practically, rather than deal with it.

  4. *Dark Horse: http://www.comicbookresources.com/article/avatar-returns-goon-celebrates-halloween-in-dark-horses-october-2015-solicitations

    *Nothing’s really striking me this month… it’s a shame they didn’t do “Alien” and “Predator” Halloween specials, those would be fun.

    IDW: http://www.comicbookresources.com/article/back-to-the-future-eastman-bisley-team-up-in-idws-october-2015-solicitations

    *Ragnarok: Last God Standing HC—Walter Simonson. Thor. That should be enough to convince you get this if you aren’t already following it.

    *Transformers MTMTE Vol. 8 TPB—With news of Combiner Wars getting an animated series, there’s hope that at least some of the Lost Light’s crew can make it to the screen. This trade brings back the Decepticon Justice Division in a huge way.

    *Jem and the Holograms: Showtime TPB—Here’s another of Hasbro’s brands becoming a big success for IDW’s comics. I can only hope that the trailers for the upcoming film have been trolling the audience, because otherwise heads are going to fly.

    Image: http://www.comicbookresources.com/article/image-comics-october-2015-solicitations-deliver-paper-girls-i-hate-fairyland-more

    *Nothing’s really striking me here, either, which is good because that’s a lot of Marvel to get through.

    *Valiant: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2015/07/15/book-of-death-concludes-in-the-valiant-solicitations-for-october-2015/

    *Dead Drop TPB--Ales Kot specializes in fast, funny thrillers, and this looks to be another one, with the addition of a seemingly random Valiant cast. I mean, you have Archer... and then you have Ninjak's handler Neville. I'm looking forward to getting this one.

    *Ivar: Timewalker Vol. 2: Breaking History TPB--It feels like the first trade just come out last month... this volume brings in Armstrong and the Eternal Warrior, and having all three Anni-Padda brothers in one place means a lot of fun is about to happen.

    *Archer and Armstrong: The Complete Classic Omnibus HC--I'm really, really tempted to get this, especially if Valiant isn't going to break down their classic material into smaller paperbacks the way Marvel does with its omnibuses.

    1. I'm kind of surprised Dark Horse doesn't do more with Alien and Predator in general. It's one of the few big name universes they still have left under their umbrella, now that Star Wars has gone off to more Disnified pastures. I love the hell out of the universe and it seems like they take years long breaks between doing anything with it.

      Also, speaking of Dark Horse, I've about given up on ever seeing Umbrella Academy again.

    2. They finished Fire and Stone back in January... apart from Archie Meets the Predator (which barely has the Predator in it) I'm anxious to see the AvP franchise in comics again.

    3. One of the Moon Bros said at SDCC he's starting the next Umbrella Academy in like 2 months.

  5. I only read Eternal the one time as it was coming out, but if I recall correctly, the point where Batman #28 occurred was viewed from a different perspective in Eternal - and it was missing some key elements that occurred in the Batman issue. I think is makes a lot of sense to include it as part of the narrative.

    1. That's cool. I look forward to reading it with and without and seeing how it goes.

  6. Green Arrow vol. 5 by Dennis O'Neill???

    1. I am almost positive this is "just" the next Green Arrow by Mike Grell collection. Possibly O'Neil (one "L") is listed because it includes the Green Arrow/Question crossover in each title's respective annual.

  7. It's a little surprising that they're doing a trade of old Phantom Stranger material NOW, as opposed to when his recent solo was still running. Odd timing. unless they plan on doing something with him soon.

    Speaking of the Stranger, I actually read the first trade of his New 52 series and it was pretty decent, especially once DeMatteis came on board.

  8. Could anyone tell me if DC has shown any intentions of releasing the classic John Ostrander Sucide Squad run in a new collected edition, seems like a no brainier with the film coming out but I can't find anything mentioned on the internet.

    1. Solicited.



      I guess sales of the first will decide the fate of the second...considering that the second trade had already been solicited and scrapped a few years ago. At the current pre-order price for the first trade, I guess buying it is a no brainer, as well.