DC Comics's Spring 2016 collections, but the monthly list is out -- hardcover and trade paperback collection releases for December 2016/January 2016 (posted August 2015) -- and there's some interesting material on it, especially for we fans of uncollected 1980s/1990s comics: Marv Wolfman's Deathstroke, the Terminator, Mike Grell's Green Arrow, John Ostrander's Suicide Squad, Chuck Dixon's Nightwing, and Garth Ennis's Demon (with Hitman). Just the fact that the creators' names are so synonymous with these titles suggests how special each one is.
Before we get into my picks for this month (and you can see the full list at the DC Comics site), I did want to mention that Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr.'s Superman: The Men of Tomorrow just came out, no longer numbered "Vol. 6," and if the spring solicitations hold up, Gene Luen Yang's first Superman collection will be renumbered "Vol. 1." I guess I didn't expect that DC would just keep on with the New 52 collections numbering indefinitely, as publishers across the board are somewhat adverse to high-number collections, though it is an oddity to see the series' individual issue numbering keeping on even as the collections switch over. Obviously, we've seen the same thing over in the Batgirl title.
Compare to the current Deathstroke, Teen Titans, and Suicide Squad, all of which were started over with new issue #1s; I wonder if this reflects a hesitation on DC's part to re-renumber Superman, whereas something like Teen Titans is OK, or if they've found that re-launching series like Teen Titans doesn't bring the discernible jump in sales that starting a new team on an existing book does. I can't imagine DC will renumber the Batman collections until Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo leave (hopefully never), but I wonder if, say, Wonder Woman and other series will get new collections numbering when their teams change, or if this was specific to the Superman title somehow.
Enough navel-gazing now; here's my picks:
• Batman vs. Superman TP
As the tie-in trade to the upcoming Dawn of Justice movie, this trade is surprisingly compact and modern, which incongruously I don't mind that much -- this is a trade someone interested in current DC Comics could read and get a fair primer on the current DCU, whereas Silver Age or etc. stories wouldn't fit that same purpose. It is, specifically, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #4, Batman #612 (an issue of "Hush"), Batman #35-36 (two parts of "Endgame"), Superman/Batman #32 (maybe the only odd one, part five of Mark Verheiden's Enemies Among Us) and #78 (a Joe Kelly one-off), and Justice League #2 (from Origin).
What's missing is a Superman/Batman team-up a la something from No Man's Land or Dark Knight Over Metropolis (thankfully already collected), though likely that's not really the point of this particular collection. What worries me in general is that the zeitgeist will gain some idea of Batman and Superman as enemies or a "who could beat who" mentality, when that's hardly the actual reality in the comics.
• Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 7: Anarky HC
The final Detective Comics trade before Convergence and the final with Francis Manapul on art (that didn't last long, unfortunately), with issues #35-40. The solicitation includes the Futures End issue and also Detective Comics: Endgame; other series have omitted their "Endgame" specials, so I wonder if this one'll actually be in there or not.
• Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity Deluxe Edition HC
With no disrespect to the Matt Wagner miniseries, which I've never read but I'm told is quite good, it seems a shame there's no modern-ish, in-continuity story DC can go to for a teaming of DC's Big Three in anticipation of Dawn of Justice, turning instead to an essentially Elseworlds (or out-of-continuity) miniseries. Among good Trinity stories, Kingdom Come is obvious but doesn't meet the criteria either. Best I can think of is Jeph Loeb's Batman/Superman: Supergirl, which in recently being re-branded as Supergirl probably can't also be used as a Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman book.
• Catwoman Vol. 4: The One You Love TP
I'm not sure if it's Gotham or what has emboldened DC to collect these lesser-known mid-series issues from the Ed Brubaker-era Catwoman series, but it's a strange delight to see them collected. If this trade does indeed collect issues #38-49, then the next volume will start to get into the material previously collected in Catwoman: The Replacements. From then we're into some sometimes-weird, sometimes-well-done issues by Will Pfeifer that involve Catwoman having a child, among other things.
• DC Comics Presents: Superman – Lois And Clark 100-Page Super Spectacular #1
On title alone, there were a bunch of really exciting things this could collect. That it's apparently the somewhat-rushed Wedding Album is a kind of a disappointment (not in the least because Superman didn't have powers at that time), but if you haven't read it, here's the wedding of Clark Kent and Lois Lane for you.
My fervent hope is that Dan Jurgens's new Superman: Lois and Clark series doesn't just use a Superman and Lois Lane who are married kind of like the pre-Flashpoint Superman and Lois, but rather that Jurgens specifically writes the actual pre-Flashpoint Superman, like with references to Death of Superman and the businessman Lex Luthor and etc. That's what I'm interested in, not a familiar-looking alt-Superman.
• DC Comics Presents: Titans Hunt 100-Page Super Spectacular #1
If you want to get me super-excited and super-disappointed in the span of two lines, call a DC Comics Presents reprint book "Titans Hunt" and then put 1960s Titans issues in it. Obviously, I realized afterward, "Titans Hunt" is a reference to the new series, not the Marv Wolfman storyline. My fingers are still permanently crossed, however, that the Titans Hunt series will inspire a classic "Titans Hunt" collection.
• Deathstroke, the Terminator Vol. 2: Sympathy for the Devil TP
Speaking of exciting "Titans Hunt"-era books, however, this second collection of Marv Wolfman's Deathstroke the Terminator now includes issues #10-13, the Annual #1, and Superman #68 by Triangle Titles extraordinaire team of Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding. For me that's worth the price of the whole trade.
• Demon Vol. 1: Hell’s Hitman TP
Poor Etrigan cannot get a break, sharing even top billing of this Garth Ennis collection with Hitman. With All-Star Section Eight on the stands, surely DC should just bite the bullet, so to speak, and launch a Hitman revival.
• Earth 2: World’s End Vol. 2 TP
The final collection of the weekly series, collecting Earth 2: World's End issues #12-26.
• Flash Vol. 7: Savage World HC
The final pre-Convergence collection of the Robert Venditti/Van Jensen run.
• Green Arrow Vol. 4: Blood of the Dragon TP
Three cheers for the continuing Mike Grell Green Arrow collections. This one includes Shado and an appearance by another well-known Grell character, Warlord Travis Morgan.
• Lex Luthor: A Celebration of 75 Years
Said to include stories by Jerry Siegel and Geoff Johns, so from start to finish basically, but if James D. Hudnall and Eduardo Barreto's Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography isn't collected here in full, you can keep it.
• Nightwing Vol. 3: False Starts TP
Really good news here for fans of Chuck Dixon's Nightwing, as this third new collection improves on the original Love and Bullets with an unbroken run of issues #19-25 (including Cataclysm and "Brotherhood of the Fist" issues), and the DC One Million, and the Nightwing and Huntress miniseries by Devin Grayson, which was originally collected in a separate trade. Completeness here hopefully suggests more completeness later on.
• Suicide Squad Vol. 2: The Nightshade Odyssey TP
You must be living under a rock if you haven't heard me raving yet about the re-solicitation of John Ostrander's Suicide Squad Vol. 2: Nightshade Odyssey (and apparently a third one potentially on the way, too). I don't know if we ever knew the full contents, but I'm pleased to see this is Suicide Squad #9-16 and Justice League International #13 and the Doom Patrol/Suicide Squad Special.
• Worlds’ Finest Vol. 6: The Secret History of Superman and Batman TP
Bringing to a close the Paul Levitz series. In a forthcoming review I'll remark that Levitz's Worlds' Finest has made me less likely to check out his new Dr. Fate series, except that the latter has been getting good reviews. Anyone?
OK, so that's what I'm on about. Nice varied list here all around. Tell me in the comments what you're planning to buy.