DC Trade Solicitations for December 2017 - Superman: Exile and Other Stories Omnibus, Superboy by Kesel, Aquaman: Waterbearer, Batman: Shadow of the Bat Vol. 3, Black Lightning, final Green Arrow by Grell

Thursday, September 21, 2017

It's not my imagined "Triangle Titles Omnibus," but DC Comics's December 2017 hardcover and trade paperback solicitations brings with it the Superman: Exile and Other Stories omnibus, which is at least a step in the right direction. A whole lot of what's in that book remains firmly in DC Universe continuity, and along with Jerry Ordway and Roger Stern, this book includes some of Dan Jurgens's first regular-title Superman work, making this book wholly relevant right this very moment. This already came and went from the schedule in another form, so we've got to pre-order the heck out of this thing so that DC's compelled to follow it with another volume.

It's a good month overall for Super-family collections, since we also see here the first collection proper of Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett's 1990s Superboy series, a nice thing given "the Kid"'s current absence from the DC Universe. Also from the "have your cake and eat it too" department, despite that most of Sterling Gates's Supergirl collections just received new editions, it seems DC is continuing on with the larger-form collections of the mid-2000s Supergirl series by re-collecting Gates's Who is Superwoman?, give or take a little, with issues added back in that were removed to be collected with the Superman: New Krypton books (or is it? See below for a strange coincidence with the Peter David series). This may, yes, make for uneven reading without the crossover pieces, and especially in the next volume or so, but I do like these comprehensive issue-by-issue trades (see also Batman: Shadow of the Bat), and surely Gates's Supergirl work (inspiration for the TV show) deserves as many collection opportunities as possible.

All this plus some shifts and changes on the Aquaman and Black Lightning collections fronts for better or worse, Harley Quinn and Lobo get classic collections, and more. Let's take a look at the collections that'll be greeting you in the new year ...

Superman: Exile and Other Stories Omnibus HC

This is now Adventures of Superman #445-460, Superman #23-37 (not #27 as the solicitations had for a while), and Action Comics #643-646 and the Annual #2. For reference, the original Exile paperback collection started at Superman #28 and Adventures #451 and went to #33 and #456 respectively, plus just Action #643 and the annual, so we're getting a lot more than before here. This picks up immediately from the John Byrne Man of Steel run, and quite aside from the wrenching emotion and sci-fi wonder of the "Exile" story, this book includes appearances by no less than Batman, Starman Will Payton, Gangbuster, Guardian, the Newsboy Legion, Dubbilex, Emil Hamilton, Morgan Edge, the Matrix Supergirl, Rampage, Brainiac, Mr. Mxyzptlk, the proto-Eradicator, Draaga, Skyhook, and the Prankster, plus Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Lex Luthor, Ma and Pa Kent, and Invasion! crossover tie-ins. The book includes work by Triangle Title stalwarts Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Roger Stern, Kerry Gammill, Brett Breeding, Dennis Janke, and Art Thibert, plus issues by Mike Mignola and Keith Giffen.

If we posit about the same number of issues for another volume, that would see us through such stories as the "Brainiac Trilogy," "Day of the Krypton Man," and "Dark Knight Over Metropolis," reasonably ending just before "Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite," which could head off a third volume.

Looking back at what's in this book has made me very excited for it, not to mention that some of it factors around the edges into the Rebirth Superman series. I implore you to check out the start of some of the best Superman stories there ever was.

By the by, this collection turns out to include more than the original Superman: Man of Tomorrow Vol. 1 collection was solicited to have, so maybe things turn out well after all ...

Supergirl Vol. 4 TP

So here's a puzzle. DC Comics has on their schedule for January 2018 two Supergirl reprint collections of two different series, one by Peter David and one by Sterling Gates. Both of the online solicitations list their contents as issues #34-43, and both of these, if you can believe it, look to be starting with about issue #34 based on their Vol. 3s, and for both of them, issue #43 is a reasonable place to finish.

The DC December 2017 solicitations describe the Gates series, so we can assume the book in question is Gates's. But how coincidental that DC should be releasing two different Supergirl collections of two different series in the same month with the same relative issues? My guess is the issues in the David collection will shift a little (starting with issue #32 instead of #34, perhaps), but still it's wild to see if you go look now.

If this is the Gates book, then as I mentioned, these just got reprints labeled "New Editions," though near as I can tell the contents were the same as the older books. Again, this is supposed to collect issues #34-43, of which issues #34 and #37-42 were collected in Supergirl: Who is Superwoman?, #35-36 were in Superman: New Krypton Vol. 2, and #43 was in Supergirl: Friends and Fugitives. This book does read fine with issue #43 added in terms of not ending on a significant cliffhanger; the bigger difficulty for some readers will certainly be the weaving in and out of New Krypton. (Side note, I'd forgotten that Mon-El is in this story and that he and Supergirl have significant interaction, an additional similarity between Gates's comic and the TV show, though they are not an item here).

Superboy Book One TP

Collects issues #1-11 of the 1990s Karl Kesel/Tom Grummett series plus the Zero Month issue #0, starring "the Kid" Superboy before he was known as Kon-El. Full of youthful vigor and joy, this is the run that not only gave us Superboy, Tana Moon, Rex and Roxy Leech, and Dubbilex in a Hawaiian shirt, but also lasting characters like Knockout and King Shark. I guess twelve issues is as much as they want to collect in this one, though issue #12 would be a better stopping point before the three-part (pseudo-Suicide Squad story) "Watery Grave" story in issues #13-15. We do get here Zero Hour and Zero Month tie-in issues, and also a couple parts of the "Worlds Collide" crossover with the Milestone Comics of the time (while I recognize this too will be an oddball reading experience, better some "Worlds Collide" than none).

Anarky: The Complete Series TP

As we've lamented here before, while a collection of all eight issues of Alan Grant's "ongoing" Anarky series (including a Day of Judgment tie-in issue) isn't nothing, a really "complete" collection would also encompass the contents of the 1999 Batman: Anarky collection, which included Grant's four-issue miniseries among other stories.

Aquaman Vol. 4: Underworld TP

Collects issues #25-30 of the new storyline by Abnett, and with Stjepan Sejic on art, presenting a more movie-recognizable Aquaman.

Aquaman: The Waterbearer TP (New Edition)

In possibly troublesome news, the book that used to be an apparent second volume of the Aquaman "Waterbearer" storyline has now become a new volume of the existing first trade, adding issues #5-6 to the existing collection of issues #1-4. Also the solicitation says it only collects a story from Aquaman Secret Files along with it, whereas the first trade also has a story from JLA/JSA Secret Files and Origins as well. Now, more is more, of course, but I'd always like to see never-collected material before previously-collected material. Also, given that we have collections of Will Pfeifer's run starting with issue #15, I'm really hopeful for issues #7-14 to be collected at some point so that the full run is covered.

Batman Beyond Vol. 2: Rise of the Demon TP

Collects issues #6-12. I haven't been hearing much about the Dan Jurgens series, which makes me wonder exactly how well it's doing. This volume seems to present some recognizable Bat-friends and foes, but I've long-since thought that unless books like this and Legion of Super-Heroes can demonstrate constant ties to the present DC Universe, they're always going t have an uphill battle.

Batman: Shadow of the Bat Vol. 3 TP

I know it's a disjointed reading experience and I know that almost every one of these issues is collected in a recent trade, but it's such a thrill that Alan Grant's Shadow of the Bat series is getting such swift trade love. This collects issues #0 and #24-31, which finishes out Knightquest/Knightsend and into the recent Batman: Zero Hour collection, plus the "Elseworlds" Annual #2 that apparently sees Bruce Wayne raised by the Scarecrow.

Black Lightning Vol. 2 TP

Another change from the early, early solicitations. Previously this was supposed to be issues #1-13 of the 1990s series, following the first volume collection of the eleven issues of the 1970s series (plus an unpublished twelfth issue released in World's Finest Comics #260). Now, however, this appears to collect more of Black Lightning's 1970s adventures, including World’s Finest Comics #256-260 (issue #260 again?), DC Comics Presents #16, Justice League of America #173-174 and Detective Comics #490-491 and 494-495. Fine with me but I hope this means a third Gangbuster-rrific volume on the horizon.

Black Lightning: Year One TP (New Edition)

A new printing of the Jen Van Meter/Cully Hamner miniseries.

Captain Atom: The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom TP

I didn't hear much about Captain Atom: The Fall and Rise, and this suggests to me the Rebirth ties weren't all that significant; DC certainly got the Death of Hawkman miniseries collected faster. Collects issues #1-6.

Checkmate by Greg Rucka Vol. 2 TP

Greg Rucka's Checkmate was one of my favorite books, fraught and complicated and with an unexpected DC Universe cameo around every corner. This final collection includes issues #13-25 plus the crossover with Judd Winick's Outsiders #47-49.

Green Arrow Vol. 9: Old Tricks TP

Finishing up Mike Grell's run on Green Arrow with issues #73-80, plus the Wonder Years miniseries. What a joy it is to be able to have this whole run on the bookshelf.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 4: Fracture TP

Collects issues #22-29. One of these days I'll start reading Robert Venditti's Rebirth Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps run. Venditti has been on the Green Lantern title now for an impressive amount of time, seemingly building up quite an epic, and I'm curious to dig in again.

Harley Quinn and the Gotham City Sirens Omnibus HC

If you can't collect it slowly, collect it quickly. This is all twenty-six issues of Gotham City Sirens in one volume plus the Blackest Night tie-in Catwoman #83. (Corollary: If collections won't stick, put Harley Quinn's name at the top, i.e. Harley Quinn and the New Titans: Titans Hunt and Harley Quinn and Superman: The Triangle Title Years).

Harley Quinn Vol. 4: Surprise, Surprise TP

Collects issues #22-27 and the 25th anniversary special, so issues coming out right now as a matter of fact.

Lobo by Keith Giffen and Alan Grant Vol. 1 TP

Collects the first Lobo miniseries plus the Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special, Lobo’s Back #1-4, Lobo: Blazing Chain of Love, and Lobo Convention Special, proving Lobo to be the Harley Quinn of his day. I wonder how long until we get to the Lobo series proper, which despite being satirical actually weaved in and out of quite a few DC Comics events.

Nightwing Vol. 4: Blockbuster TP

Collects issues #22-28. I guess I'll know when I get there, but I'm curious what continuity this is in -- whether this is a Nightwing who has or hasn't faced this Blockbuster before. They better keep on collecting those Chuck Dixon Nightwing books so I can get caught up.

Shade, The Changing Girl Vol. 2: Little Runaway TP

I liked the end of Shade where she made some new friends, so I was surprised and intrigued by the solicitation for this book that they apparently reject her and send her on the road. Collects issues #7-12; I'd pick this up when it comes out.

Super Powers by Jack Kirby TP

Collects the two Super Powers miniseries that Jack Kirby worked on, his only time drawing the Justice League. There were three Super Powers miniseries total, the last of which by Paul Kupperberg and Carmine Infantino without Kirby; at some point the solicitations for this book included that miniseries as well, and I rather wish it was in there for completeness sake.

Vigilante: Southland TP

Notably this collection of the Gary Phillips/Elena Casagrande series collects issues #1-6, of which #4-6 were pulled from the monthly schedule and are being released for the first time in the trade. I'm eager to see what this business is that Scott Snyder alluded to of longer-form comics being released as graphic novels; I've long since thought that certain less well-known titles should just skip monthly release and go straight to trade.

Apparently Action Comics #1,000 lands in April from what I understand ... How're you doing this month?
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17 comments:

  1. So I am absolutely quite excited by the Superman Exile Omnibus, no doubt. Those are fantastic comics and Superman often gets the short end of the stick with regard to high-end collections. However, it continues to baffle me that the post-Crisis stories, starting with Byrne's "Man of Steel" and continuing to the issues collected in this Omnibus volume, have been collected only in a series of low-quality trade paperbacks, many of which are out of print. Those stories are the beginning of the modern era of Superman. How in the world are they giving the stories immediately subsequent to Byrne's run a deluxe omnibus treatment, calling it Volume 1, and ignoring the lack of deluxe omnibus treatment given to the start of it all?

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    1. Time and tide is the answer. When the Byrne Man of Steel trades started, there weren't these omnibus collections. By the time there were, the Man of Steel connections were half done and I don't think it made sense to start over. Now having finished, they could go do it all again or they could move on to books that haven't been collected. I think forward is right; they can always go back later.

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  2. What is the new cover of the Black Lightning Year One collection of, do you know? Something to do with the TV show?

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    1. Don't know but I'd expect some badge to that effect at least; maybe a reference on the back cover.

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  3. I hope they don't forget to include the 'Infanticide' mini-series in the Lobo collection. It was drawn and co-written by Giffen!

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    1. Any reason why that wouldn't be in a subsequent trade?

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    2. It wasn't listed in the solicitation, and the page count should be around 100 pages bigger.

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  4. Fyi, Green Arrow Vol. 9 goes to issue 80, not 90.

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  5. With Superboy vol 1 its not entirely out of the question that they could include 13 issues (1-12 & 0) as they did that in the recent Catwoman by Balent vol 1

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    1. Agreed; contents might shift by the time it's released. Thanks for the reminder that the Balent Catwoman book is out.

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    2. No problem at all. Honestly I don't take any DC solicits as gospel anymore until I'm actually holding the book in my hands!

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  6. Didn't Gotham City Sirens get collected in its entirety (minus the Blackest Night Catwoman issue) 2-3 years ago? I feel like the new omnibus is more a cash grab on Harley-Mania than something we really needed (likewise for the Kesel/Dodson collection).

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    1. Yes, that's correct, but without the Catwoman issue. I was thinking that collection series hadn't actually finished, but you're right.

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  7. So excited about Superboy! I just wish that DC wasn't doing such an expensive format for the Superman: Exile collection. $125 for 22 issues, they priced me right out of that.

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    1. Check your math again, I'm counting 36 issues in that Exile omnibus...

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  8. Very excited for Checkmate vol 2, Hal and the G.L.C. but what has me thrilled is Captain Atom, I collected his N52 trades, he's one of my favorite characters

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