DC Trade Solicitations for April 2017 - Batman: Zero Hour, Suicide Squad: Phoenix Gambit, Green Arrow: Hunt for Red Dragon, Wonder Woman: Year One
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Don't forget that pre-ordering is your friend, because at the same time we do seem to have lost the Justice League: Breakdowns collection among others -- more on this later.
All of that plus a bunch of new/Rebirth collections including the first collection from Young Animal, Gerard Way's Doom Patrol.
Let's take a look!
• Batman: Zero Hour TP
I've been excited about this quirky little book for a while now; I'm not quite sure what prompted it, but it fills a nice gap in terms of collected Batman material. This is Batman #511, Shadow of the Bat #31, Detective Comics #678, Catwoman #14, and Robin #10, and then the "Zero Month" issues of each that followed the Zero Hour crossover, plus Legends of the Dark Knight #0.
These for the most part involve the Bat-family interacting with previous-continuity versions of themselves; it's an odd draw for modern readers given that the "present" characters are themselves now considered alt-continuity. But I recall these being rather cute, and in a time before Barbara Gordon was Batgirl again (or even much of a player in the Bat-family titles at that time as Oracle), the appearance of Batgirl here was a big deal, not to mention Tim Drake meeting Robin Dick Grayson. Probably this collection will be even more enjoyable to the casual multi-media Bat-fan than a dedicated one. The #0 issues equally spin a Batman origin that's also well out of continuity by now, but for a casual reader, I imagine this will all feel pretty familiar.
Collections of Zero Hour tie-in issues are rare (almost nonexistent) to begin with. These issues, previous uncollected, came out between Knightfall and Prodigal, both long-since collected themselves. To that end this collection fills a sizable hole, and that much should appeal to dedicated fans, so I see this book really having something for everyone.
I'd be happy for a Superman: Zero Hour collection too, but in the absence of that, my only gripe is that this book doesn't include Louise Simonson and John Bogdanove's Superman: The Man of Steel #37, which has Superman meeting a bunch of alternate Batmans including from the Golden Age, Neal Adams, the Kelley Jones vampire Batman, and Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns Batman.
• Batman: New Gotham Vol. 1 TP
Greg Rucka and Shawn Martinbrough came out of No Man's Land swinging with a dynamic Detective Comics that used a singular color palette and hard-boiled stories that would eventually set the template for Rucka and Ed Brubaker's Gotham Central. Issues #743-750 were collected in a book called Batman: New Gotham Vol. 1: Evolution, but this new book picks up with the beginning of Rucka's run, issue #742, and continues through a Poison Ivy story and a Two-Face one-shot (again, shades of Gotham Central), as well as the previously-collected Ra's al Ghul story.
That this book is called New Gotham Vol. 1 is notable, however, because previously, the second "New Gotham" book (of only two) collected the Officer Down crossover between all the Bat-books, including Detective #754. Possibly, or not, DC will issue a new printing of Officer Down as New Gotham Vol. 2. Or, if this "New Gotham" series is really meant to be a "Detective Comics by Greg Rucka" series, then Rucka and Martinbrough (also with Rick Burchett) continue to issue #765, before the Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer/Fugitive crossover (so, New Gotham Vol. 2 or Vol. 3 could be issues #754/755-765). This particular run of Rucka's would then end with Detective #775, but all of that is collected in the new recent Murderer/Fugitive collections, so I doubt DC will collect that again (Rucka would follow Bruce Wayne's bodyguard Sasha Bordeaux over to Checkmate).
So the future of this seems to be a two or three-book series tops, with the next book collecting Officer Down and/or the end of Rucka's Detective run. I'm doubtful this new series is collecting all the post-No Man's Land Batman stories, as Ed Brubaker's stories over in the the Batman title proper were recently collected in a Batman by Ed Brubaker series. Possibly Gotham Knights could be collected, but as Devin Grayson hasn't worked with DC in a while, I'm doubtful -- I think this is probably just a Rucka book.
• Batman/Wildcat TP
Meant in the most positive way possible, Chuck Dixon's 1990s-2000s output for DC produced some wonderfully workaday comics. This is not to call them boring, but rather DIxon, like Dan Jurgens and others on the Super-books, produced stories day in and day out that were not all of them event comics or blockbusters, but had a consistency and longevity that we don't see nowadays (including one hundred issues of Robin and seventy of Nightwing). Similarly the Batman/Wildcat and Catwoman/Wildcat miniseries collected here (along with Guy Gardner: Warrior writer Beau Smith) are no barn-burners, but they are charming late 1990s fare that it's nice to see preserved as a testament to Dixon's legacy. I think it's a nice touch that DC includes Bob Haney's 1970s Batman/Wildcat Brave and the Bold team-ups (issues #88, 97, 110, 118, and 127) for precedent.
• Batman: Arkham -- Mr. Freeze TP
Collects Batman #121, 308, 375, and 525; Detective #373 and 595; the Batman: Mr. Freeze special by Paul Dini published around the Batman & Robin movie; Gotham Knights #59; Legends of the Dark Knight #190-191; and the New 52 Batman Annual #1. There's plenty of classic stuff in here, including when Mr. Freeze was known as "Mr. Zero." To my interests, Batman #525 is an Underworld Unleashed tie-in (collected also in the Batman by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones book); the issue of Gotham Knights is uncollected but also generally unrelated to the War Games doings of the time.
• Green Arrow Vol. 8: The Hunt For the Red Dragon TP
Hooray for continuing the Mike Grell Green Arrow collections! Ten issues here, #63-72, leaving just eight left for the last collection, issues #73-80. I am pretty sure Grell's Green Arrow: The Wonder Year origin miniseries (published around the same time as the end of this collection) has never itself been collected, and it'd be a nice touch to include that with the last volume.
• JLA: Year One Deluxe Edition HC
One of my all-time favorite books is Mark Waid and Barry Kitson's JLA: Year One. The twist in the book totally floored me, and Waid writes a superlative Hal Jordan and Barry Allen (probably, for a real deluxe edition, Waid and Kitson's follow-up Flash/Green Lantern: Brave and the Bold miniseries should be in here, too). Irrespective, this book is surely deserving of oversized hardcover treatment.
• Last Days of the Justice Society of America TP
A collection of the Last Days of the Justice Society of America special by Roy and Dann Thomas has been knocking around the early solicitations list since last March, so it's good to see it finally getting a listing. This also solves for us the long mystery as to what else would be in this book besides the one special, namely stories from Secret Origins #7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 24, 25, and 31.
Last Days of the Justice Society is, as mentioned before, Roy Thomas's special just after Crisis on Infinite Earths that saw the Justice Society exiled to Ragnarok (and separated from sticky continuity concerns) untl they'd return six years later in Armageddon: Inferno (not collected here, but it was a long shot). Subsequently, DC's Secret Origins series presented the post-Crisis origins of a variety of heroes, but with special emphasis on the lost Golden Age heroes, written by the Thomases. These origins are, respectively, Sandman, Flash (and.or Star-Spangled Kid), Hawkman (and/or Paul Kupperberg's Power Girl), Johnny Thunder (and/or the Whip), Spectre, Hourman, Green Lantern, Dr. Mid-Nite, Dr. Fate, the Atom, and the Justice Society itself.
All in all this looks like a fine collection and I'm satisfied with the Secret Origins stories being there. Now let's see collections of All-Star Squadron, Young All-Stars, and more Infinity Inc.!
• Suicide Squad Vol. 6: The Phoenix Gambit TP
Hooray as well for another volume of John Ostrander and Kim Yale's Suicide Squad! Most notably, the last couple issues of those collected here, #40-49, spotlight Barbara Gordon as Oracle, as created by Ostrander and Yale. There's also the "Phoenix Gambit" storyline, where a year after the events of Suicide Squad Vol. 5: Apokolips Now, Amanda Waller and Batman reconvenes the team for a mission in Cold War "Vlatava," plus a run-in with Kobra.
For the next volume, ten issues would take us through the "Dragon's Hoard" storyline and also a War of the Gods tie-in issue at #58. That would leave issues #59-66 for the final eighth volume; what a joy if indeed this whole series could be collected.
• Supergirl Vol. 3: Ghosts of Krypton TP
The material here is a combination collection of Supergirl: Beyond Good and Evil (#23-27 and Action Comics #850) and Supergirl: Way of the World (#28-33). The next issues begin Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle's run with ties to the "New Krypton" story, recently re-collected on their own, so I'm guessing this is it for these larger Supergirl re-collections. This volume offers stories by Kelley Puckett that are a more traditional take on Supergirl than the "good-girl-gone-bad" stories by Joe Kelly in the previous volume, but my reviews at the time found the stories a tad dull, even despite a guest-appearance by Mitchell "Resurrection Man" Shelley.
• Wonder Woman by John Byrne Book One HC
John Byrne took over Wonder Woman after William Messner-Loebs's almost forty-issue run, the last of which, the "Contest" story, had Mike Deodato on art and was recently re-collected. Byrne's run, ultimately over thirty issues, would restore Wonder Woman of sorts to the Justice Society via her mother Hippolyta, would also try to smooth out (with no small degree of difficulty) Donna Troy's origin, and would introduce the first iteration of Cassie Sandsmark as Wonder Girl. Here, Wonder Woman also seemed to die for a time and there was tie-in with Byrne's Genesis event crossover.
All of these issues short of #113-114 were collected in Wonder Woman: Second Genesis and Lifelines, but the issues are uncollected after that. Second Genesis pits Wonder Woman against Darkseid; Lifelines, with some intention, sees Diana fighting some major "event villains" of the time: Doomsday, the Reverse Flash, and Sinestro.
• Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 2 -- The Victim Syndicate TP
Collects issues #943-949 of the Rebirth series, including the "Batwoman Begins" two-parter.
• Blue Beetle Vol. 1: The More Things Change TP
Issues #1-6 and the Rebirth special.
• Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love TP
Collecting the Deadman miniseries by Sarah Vaughn and Lan Medina.
• Doctor Fate Vol. 3: Fateful Threads TP
Collects issues #13-18, the final issues of the Paul Levitz series.
• Doom Patrol Vol. 1: Brick by Brick TP
The first collection of Gerard Way's Young Animal imprint is Way's own Doom Patrol, collecting issues #1-6.
• Flash Vol. 2: Speed of Darkness TP
Collects issues #9-13 of the Joshua Williamson Rebirth series.
• Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 2: Bottled Light TP
Collects issues #8-13
• Raven TP
The Marv Wolfman miniseries. I glanced at this and it seems Raven believes something has happened to Tim Drake, so it must take place after Detective Comics #940, unless there's something in the end of Teen Titans I don't know about.
• Supergirl Vol. 1: Reign of the Cyborg Supermen TP
Collects issues #1-6 and the Rebirth special.
• Superwoman Vol. 1: Who Killed Superwoman? TP
Collects issue #1-7. I was surprised to see Phil Jimenez is off this title; I hope that's for good reasons and not unhappy ones.
• Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One TP
The second collection of Greg Rucka's Rebirth Wonder Woman series, reprinting the issues set in the past, with art by Nicola Scott, issues #2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 (#8 is an "interlude" story wth art by Bilquis Evely).
It's our first solicitations list of 2017. What're you buying? What are your new year's comics-purchasing resolutions?