Review: Batman Vol. 6: Bride or Burglar? trade paperback (DC Comics)

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

I received, generously, a review copy of Batman Vol. 6: Bride or Burglar that allowed me to read and write the review for this volume ahead of time before I picked up with single issues through Batman #50. Many of you, but perhaps not all, know that issue gave me a different perspective on this book. I considered rewriting this review in line with that new knowledge, but decided there's perhaps going to be few other reviews of Batman Vol. 6: Bride or Burglar that address the book entirely straight without Batman #50 seeping in, and so it's worthwhile to leave this review untouched. To that end, this remains a real trade-waiter's review, reflecting no knowledge of what lies ahead besides what this book itself presents. Please enjoy.

Tom King's Batman Vol. 6: Bride or Burglar? is an enjoyable but strange book, of the kind that continues to make me wonder what we're in for when Batman and Catwoman finally arrive at the altar. King's Batman Vol. 5: Rules of Engagement, I felt, covered all the imperative engagement-type stories -- notifying the Bat-family and the mother of Batman's son, a post-engagement double date with Superman, etc. Bride swings farther -- a one-off mystery that need not even involve the wedding at all, and a three-part story where Batman and Catwoman save the world. Again, these are good -- really quite spectacular, even -- but one does not want to be so cynical as to think these "just because" stories are simply to get us to issue #50; I can't shake the feeling there's more going on.

Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman, Absolute Black Mirror, Hush Saga Omnibus, New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 4, Final Ostrander Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman by Phil Jimenez Omnibus, Justice League Dark: Witching Hour, Black Lightning: 1995, more in DC Comics Spring 2019 solicitations

Thursday, July 26, 2018

My rundown of DC Comics' Spring 2019 catalog hardcover and trade paperback solicitations. A few gems here -- I have to say, not really a lot of surprises in this list and not a whole lot that really blew me away, though some good stuff and plenty of books I'm looking forward to.

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Notably there's no new Superman material on this list, which after both the Superman: The Exile and Other Stories omnibus and Superman Blue Vol. 1, I'd really hoped there would be -- like Superman Blue Vol. 2 -- so that's a bummer. No continuation of the classic Robin series, or Superboy, nor a surprise Christopher Priest Steel or John Ostrander Hawkworld trade, nor another Justice League Task Force, something from the Titans: Total Chaos era, another Green Lantern: Kyle Rayner or Aquaman by Peter David or Legionnaires or Wonder Woman and the Justice League, nor Marv Wolfman's Deathstroke, the post-Crisis Green Lantern Corps, or so on (and I know, literally everyone has something else to add to that want list).

That said, we do see the final volume the John Ostrander Suicide Squad collections, which is magnificent news indeed (to some extent that overshadows whatever else I might feel is missing here). The Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion deluxe gets a second volume. I, for one, am glad to see another volume in the Catwoman by Jim Balent series. The Batman: The Hush Saga Omnibus is an astounding collection of not just "Hush" but many of the ways DC tried to re-use the Hush character under different writers after the fact.

There's also the New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 4 and New Teen Titans Vol. 10, each extending Marv Wolfman's Titans far into realms where it's never been collected before (another chapter in this long strange saga). If your collection lacks the essential Outsiders by Judd Winick, that's getting a new collection run too, well-deserved (plus the next volume of Mike W. Barr's Batman and the Outsiders). Add to that another Batman: The Caped Crusader (finally with "Batman: Year Three"), Tony Isabella's 1995 Black Lightning series, a Wonder Woman by Phil Jimenez omnibus, and an Absolute edition of Scott Snyder's Batman: Black Mirror.

"Regular series" books I'm interested in include the end of Dan Abnett's Aquaman and the Aquaman/Suicide Squad crossover; also Priest's Batman vs. Deathstroke (where Slade gets second billing even though it's his book) and the first "event" of the "New Justice" era, Wonder Woman & the Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour. We also see a deluxe Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman hardcover, in line with the Action Comics #1000 celebration.

So let's dig in and take a look. All of this information is subject to change before publication. Not all links may be functional yet.

Absolute Batman: The Black Mirror

Detective Comics issues #871-881. Good for Scott Snyder on this one; this'll be a good-looking book.

Absolute Daytripper

Ten issue Vertigo miniseries by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá from 2010, previously collected in paperback and deluxe hardcover, now in Absolute format.

Absolute Scarlet

Collects issues #1-10 by Brian Michael Bendis in hardcover, Absolute-size, with slipcase.

Adventures of the Super Sons Vol. 1

Issues #1-6 of the twelve-issue Adventures of the Super Sons miniseries, which is never how I like miniseries collected. This is paperback; I'll hold out for the guaranteed hardcover.

Aquaman Vol. 7

Issues #43-48 by Dan Abnett, the finale of his run. These issues are after the Aquaman/Suicide Squad collection.

Aquaman/Suicide Squad: Sink Atlantis

Collects Aquaman #39-40 and Suicide Squad #45-46 by Dan Abnett and Rob Williams respectively. I've been enjoying Abnett's Aquaman lately and I'm sorry to see it come to an end, so this is a nice treat before the finale.

Astro City Vol. 17

Concludes the Kurt Busiek series, collecting issues #47-52.

Authority by Ed Brubaker & Dustin Nguyen

Collects The Authority: Revolution #1-12.

Batgirl Vol. 5: Vanishing Point

Collects issues #24-28, the first collection of the new run by Mairghread Scott and Paul Pelletier.

Batgirl: The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 2

Batman Family #12-20 and Detective Comics #481-519.

Batgirl: Year One Deluxe Edition

Deluxe of the Chuck DIxon/Scott Beatty miniseries.

Batman - Detective Comics: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 4

Collects issues #974-982, the Vol. 6 Fall of the Batmen and Vol. 7 Batmen Eternal collections, the final issues by James Tynion (give or take issue #982).

Batman & Superman in World's Finest: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol. 2

World’s Finest Comics #117-158.

Batman and Harley Quinn

Paperback of the miniseries by Ty Templeton and Rick Burchett ahead of the recent animated movie.

Batman and the Justice League Vol. 2

Second collection of the manga by Shiori Teshigori.

Batman and the Outsiders Vol. 3

Collects Batman and the Outsiders #24-32, Batman and the Outsiders Annual #2, DC Comics Presents #83, and excerpts from Who’s Who #12-15. This is Mike W. Barr's final collection of this title before it becomes Adventures of the Outsiders.

Batman Noir: Gotham by Gaslight

Black and white pencils and inks of Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola's inaugural Elseworlds story.

Batman Vol. 9

Issues #57-62. David is protecting all the details.

Batman vs. Deathstroke

In hardcover, because DC's not playing here. Issues #30-36 by Christopher Priest.

Batman: Arkham: Ra's Al Ghul

Another one so obvious I think I thought they already did it. Collects Batman:#232, Batman #243-244, DC Special Series #15, The Brave & the Bold #159, Detective Comics #750, Batman Annual #26, Nightwing #152, Batman & Robin #23.3, and Who’s Who in the DC Universe: #13. I like that this is single issue material and not the more noted graphic novels.

Batman: Creature of the Night

The Kurt Busiek four-issue miniseries, in hardcover.

Batman: Death of the Family Saga (DC Essential Edition)

Three hundred pages in paperback, and the blurb suggests this might have both the Batman issues and the tie-in issues from the other Bat-family series.

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 9: Harvey Dent's Last Case

Issues #988-993 in paperback, with some or all by James Robinson.

Batman: Faces of Death (DC Essential Edition)

This is assuredly a reach when it comes to an "essential" edition, the first New 52 volume of Tony Daniel's run on Detective. See my review from back then; I thought the first half of this book was brilliant (issues #1-4), the second half, a mess (issues #5-7).

Batman: Shadow of the Bat Vol. 4

Supposed to be issues #32-43 by Alan Grant, but I'm going to guess it's a little more or less since #43 is the middle of a three-part story. Some people won't like that this is parts two, six, and ten of "Prodigal" and part two of "Troika," but there's also stories with Black Canary, the Joker, Solomon Grundy, and Anarky, plus Joe Potato.

Batman: The Caped Crusader Vol. 2

Continuing the collections of Batman's immediate post-Crisis on Infinite Earths adventures, this is Batman #433-444 and Batman Annual #13. Though Caped Crusader is said to skip "Death in the Family" (we don't know, we'll find out soon enough), this collects "Many Deaths of Batman" by John Byrne and Jim Aparo, "Year Three" (finally!) by Marv Wolfman, and apparently all of "Lonely Place of Dying" by Wolfman and Perez (the New Titans issue isn't mentioned but it must be in here). The annual has a story in it by Christopher Priest nee Jim Owsley.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (DC Modern Classics Edition)

Hardcover with slipcase.

Batman: The Hush Saga Omnibus

In my opinion, one of the coolest things on this list is the Hush Saga Omnibus, collecting not just "Hush" for the umpteenth time, but also twenty-five issues of Gotham Knights(!), #50-74 by A. J. Lieberman, Detective Comics #846-852 and Batman: Streets of Gotham #1-4, #14, #16-21 by Paul Dini, plus more. Most of that Gotham Knights material has not been collected before.

Black Lightning: The Complete 1995 Series

Tony Isabella's 1995 Black Lightning series had Marv Wolfman/Jerry Ordway's Gangbuster Jose Delgado. I'm not sure how much else you need to know. I'd be thrilled to see this make it to publication.

Blackest Night Saga (DC Essential Edition)

Essential Editions being large trade paperbacks -- this is 450 pages collecting Blackest Night #0-8.

Bombshells: United Vol. 3

Issues #13-19.

Catwoman by Jim Balent Book Two

You'd probably be madder if we didn't also get another John Ostrander Suicide Squad book on this list. Anyway, Chuck Dixon, Deborah Pomerantz, and Jim Balent's Catwoman #14-24, #0, Catwoman Annual #2, and Showcase ’95 #4, including Zero Hour and "Year One" material.

Catwoman Vol. 1

Issues #1-6 of the new Joelle Jones series.

Challengers of the Unknown by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

The eight-issue miniseries, back in paperback.

Cover Vol. 1

Issues #1-6 by Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack.

Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Vol. 2

The second collection of the Crisis tie-ins. Conceivably this could be the final book in this series, though the contents listed seem far from complete. There's some definite "red sky" (lightly tied-in) books listed like Detective Comics #558, and then also the Legends of the DCU special that was published later. I'm excited DC decided to do this and I look forward to other tie-in-type collections, irrespective of what's inside.

Damage Vol. 2 (New Age of Heroes)

The second collection of the Robert Venditti series, collecting issues #7-12.

Dark Nights: Metal: Dark Knights Rising

Paperback of the recent hardcover.

DC Comics: The Art of Bruce Timm

240 pages, arriving in April.

DC Meets Looney Tunes Vol. 2

Collects Catwoman/Sylvester and Tweety Special #1, Harley Quinn/Gossamer Special #1, The Joker/Daffy Duck Special #1, and Lex Luthor/Porky Pig Special #1.

DC Super Hero Girls: Spaced Out
Super Sons: The PolarShield Project

From the DC Zoom imprint.

DC Universe by Len Wein

Collects a variety of material by the late Len Wein, including the DC Retroactive: Green Lantern: The '80s and also the recent Swamp Thing Winter Special.

DC Valentine's Day/Love Stories Collection

This appears to be the recent Young Monsters in Love and Harley Quinn’s Valentine’s Day Special, plus a story or stories from among Jack Kirby's contributions to Young Romance #1 and #3. Which mixes some 2015/2018 stories with some late 1940s stories, and superheroes with soap opera drama; surely there's some crossover audience for this but it feels like kind of a flier.

DC: The New Frontier (DC Black Label Edition)
Kingdom Come (DC Black Label Edition)
Frank Miller's Ronin (DC Black Label Edition)

I'm not sure if books like DC: The New Frontier quite meet the criteria I imagined for Black Label (recognizing, of course, that what I imagined might be different from the reality). But moreover, I think shoehorning prior DC books into Black Label cheapens it a little; is it a place for new mature stories using the DC characters or is it the trade dress du jour under which to reprint New Frontier, Kingdom Come, et al before the next big thing comes along? Anyway, cool that this includes Justice League: New Frontier as recent collections have -- in my day, you had to read the miniseries and the special separately!

Death and Return of Superman Omnibus (New Edition)

A new edition of the omnibus (last released in 2013). This maps, if I'm reading it correctly, to the recent five-volume "Death of Superman" paperback set, excluding the books in Superman: Doomsday but including the various "Funeral for a Friend" specials and the "Bloodlines" annuals from that time.

Detective Comics Before Batman Omnibus Vol. 1
Detective Comics Before Batman Omnibus Vol. 2

The veritable detective stories that preceded the Dark Knight Detective (and featuring Slam Bradley and Speed Saunders, among others), this seems well placed before Detective Comics #1,000. The two books collects issues #1-13 and #14-26 respectively.

Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman Deluxe Edition

So after Action #1000 we kind of know how this will go. With a cover by Jim Lee, this is out in March 2019, same time as Detective Comics #1000.

Elseworlds: Justice League Vol. 3

The next Elseworlds: Justice League collection includes Conjurors #1-3 (alt-reality team-up of DC's magic characters by Chuck Dixon and the late Eduardo Barreto, Flashpoint #1-3 (an older Flash miniseries, not the one before the New 52), Superman and Batman: World’s Funnest #1, JLA: Created Equal #1-2 and Green Lantern: 1001 Emerald Knights.

Elseworlds: Superman Vol. 2

A somewhat more direct Elseworlds: Superman volume, collecting just the four-part Superman/Wonder Woman: Whom Gods Destroy by Chris Claremont and Dusty Abell and the three-part Superman: The Dark Side by John Francis Moore and Kieron Dwyer.

Final Crisis (DC Essential Edition)

Says issues #1-7 but I've got to think Superman Beyond, at least, is also in there.

Fire

Graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis.

Flash Vol. 9

Wow did some creators -- not even fans, but creators -- spoil recent Flash issues for me, and did it ever make me mad. After "Flash War," this is issues #52-56.

Flash: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 4

Collects issues #28-38, the Vol. 5 Negative and Vol. 6 Cold Day in Hell collections.

Flash: The Silver Age Vol. 4

Flash #133-147.

Flash/Green Lantern: The Brave & the Bold Deluxe Edition

Deluxe-size collection of the Mark Waid/Barry Kitson miniseries.

Fortune and Glory: A True Hollywood Comic Book Story

Collects Brian Michael Bendis's three-part comics autobiography.

Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Book One

A new "recut" collection of the Geoff Johns era. Green Lantern Corps: Recharge is in here, so maybe this it a cutdown of the Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Omnibuses or maybe something larger, depending on how the next "book" goes. Collects Green Lantern: Rebirth #1-6, Green Lantern #1-3, Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #1-5, and Green Lantern Secret Files and Origins 2005.

Green Lantern: Earth One Vol. 1

Paperback of the graphic novel by Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko.

Harley Quinn Vol. 2

The newly renumbered trade run (while the series keeps its same numbering) by Sam Humphries, which hopefully will as promised tie more closely to the DCU. Issues #50-56.

Hitman Book One

A "recut" new run of the Hitman collections, seemingly collecting more issues per book this time. This is Hitman #1-8, The Demon Annual #2, Batman Chronicles #4, and Hitman Annual #1.

Injustice 2 Vol. 4
Injustice 2 Vol. 5

Issues #21-26 and #27-32 respectively.

Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe

The team-up you never knew you wanted until it happened. Issues #1-6 by Tim Seeley and Freddie Williams, in hardcover.

JLA: New World Order (DC Essential Edition)

Supposed to be just JLA #1-5, but at 248 pages, maybe more JLA or Mark Waid's Midsummer's Nightmare.

Justice League Dark Vol. 1

Issues #1-6 by James Tynion. Your results may vary but I love having Tynion on another team book. Weirdly the "Witching Hour" crossover collection, which takes place after this book, will be released a month before this.

Justice League Odyssey Vol. 1

First collection, not arriving until May of next year, of the new series by Joshua Williamson and Stjepan Sejic. Collects issues #1-6.

Justice League of America: The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 3

Collects Justice League of America #147-181.

Justice League of America: The Bronze Age Vol. 1

Justice League of America #77-95

Justice League Vol. 2

Collects issues #7-14 by Scott Snyder and Jim Cheung. Arrives in May 2019, so nine months to a year after the first collection. The Rebirth double-shipping definitely had me spoiled ...

Justice League: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 4

Yes, this collects Christopher Priest's whole run on Justice League, issues #34-43. No, that doesn't prove to me that these deluxe editions are continuing after Rebirth (because essentially what this does is clean up the original Rebirth-launched series). Then again, I can't see DC not collecting Scott Snyder's Justice League as deluxe, so we'll see.

Kamandi Challenge

Paperback edition of the hardcover released earlier this year.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Omnibus

Hardcover omnibus of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen II and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier

Masters of the Universe Omnibus

As we've been hearing about lately, with hopefully a few other issues thrown in. Said to collect He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1-19, He-Man: The Eternity War #1-15, DC Universe vs. Masters of the Universe #1-6, DC Comics Presents #47, and He-Man/Thundercats #1-6.

Mera: Tidebreaker
Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale

The New DC Ink books.

Neil Gaiman's Stardust (New Edition)

Neil Gaiman with Charles Vess.

New Super-Man & the JLC Vol. 1: Justice League China

Though labeled as volume 1, this collects issues #19-24, which were the final issues of the newly retitled series.

New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 4

A new fourth New Teen Titans Omnibus (who's have thought years ago that we'd ever see this?). This collects through and then after the New Teen Titans Vol. 10 paperback also solicited here (issues #10-31 of the second series, annuals #1-2, and Omega Men #34).

New Teen Titans Vol. 10

The classic New Teen Titans paperbacks keep rocking and rolling like they should have done from the beginning. Collects issues #10-15 and Annual #1, including the book's tie-in to Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Outsiders by Judd Winick Book One

One of my favorite titles ever -- mature, character-driven, political, and nuanced. This collects the Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day miniseries and then Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files #1 and Outsiders #1-7, the latter of which was originally in Outsiders Vol. 1: Looking for Trouble.

Pearl Vol. 1

Issues #1-5 by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos.

Plastic Man

Collects the six issue miniseries by Gail Simone and Adriana Melo, coming in April.

Powers Book Four

Issues #23-30 and #1-11.

Powers Book Three

Issues #1-22 of the book's second volume by Brian Michael Bendis.

Promethea: The Deluxe Edition Book One

Deluxe size of the Alan Moore/J. H. Williams series, collecting issues #1-12.

Sandman Vol. 5: A Game of You 30th Anniversary New Edition
Sandman Vol. 6: Fables & Reflections 30th Anniversary New Edition
Sandman Vol. 7: Brief Lives 30th Anniversary New Edition
Sandman Vol. 8: World's End 30th Anniversary New Edition

Issues #32-37; issues #29-31, #38-40, #50, and Sandman Special #1; issues #41-49; and issues #51-56 respectively.

Scalped Book Five

The final volume, collecting issues #50-60.

Scarlet Vol. 1

Issues #1-5 of the new Scarlet series.

Scooby Apocalypse Vol. 5

Issues #26-31.

Shazam! (New Edition)

New edition of the Geoff Johns/Gary Frank story, just before the movie's release.

Shazam!: Power of Hope Deluxe Edition

Deluxe-size version of Paul Dini and Alex Ross's illustrated prose story.

Silencer Vol. 2 (New Age of Heroes)

Collects issues #7-12 by Dan Abnett.

Six Days

Vertigo collection set during D-Day, World War II, by Robert Venditti and Kevin Maurer.

Sleeper Book Two

Coup D’etat: Sleeper and Sleeper Season Two #1-12 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.

Suicide Squad Vol. 8

Collects issues #41-48 by Rob Williams, guest-starring Batman. The Rebirth trades usually skipped over crossovers collected elsewhere, but these solicitations at least say this has the Aquaman/Suicide Squad issues within.

Suicide Squad Vol. 8: Legerdemain

Maybe the best news on this list is the continuation and conclusion of the John Ostrander Suicide Squad collections. This is issues #59-66, Ostrander's final issues on the series (excepting the later Blackest Night tie-in story, which is fine).

Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay

The digital series based on the recent animated film.

Supergirl Vol. 1

Collects issues #21-26 by Marc Andreyko, spinning out of the new Brian Michael Bendis Superman run.

Supergirl: Last Daughter (DC Essential Edition)

Collects the Supergirl Vol. 1: Last Daughter of Krypton and Supergirl Vol. 2: Girl in the World trades from the New 52 by Michael Green and Mike Johnson. I enjoyed these but I don't recall them being well received and the New 52 costume was much derided; at the same time, the last season of the Supergirl show was loosely based on this, so that's a selling point.

Superman Vol. 1

In hardcover, the first six issues by Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis.

Superman: Action Comics Vol. 1

Issues #1,001-#1,006 by Brian Michael Bendis and Patrick Gleason.

Superman: The Golden Age Vol. 5

Paperback, collecting World’s Finest Comics #6-8, Superman #16-19, and Action Comics #48-57.

Superman: World Against Superman (DC Essential Edition)

Essential (paperback) edition of Grant Morrison's 18-issue run on the New 52 Action Comics (often with Rags Morales).

Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen by Jack Kirby

Continuing the individual-series breakdowns of the Jack Kirby's Fourth World omnibuses, this is issues #133-139 and #141-148.

Superman/Batman Vol. 7

The final Superman/Batman issues, #76-87 and Annual #5, some of which that haven't been collected before. With Judd Winick, Joshua Williamson (writing Supergirl and Damian), Joe Kelly, Cullen Bunn, and Joshua Hale Falkov.

Swamp Thing: Protector of the Green (DC Essential Edition)

Paperback collection of the Scott Snyder/Yanick Paquette New 52 run, including the Animal Man "Rotworld" crossover issues.

Takio: The Complete Collection

Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming's young readers title.

Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Book Three

Collects Teen Titans #20-26, #29-31 and Outsiders #24-25.

Teen Titans Vol. 1

The new team of Adam Glass and Bernard Chang; I'm dubious but I've been hearing good things. Collects the special and issues #20-24.

Titans Vol. 5

Collects Dan Abnett's "New Justice"-era Titans stories. Contents are listed as #19-22 and the Annual #2, but those are the contents of the fourth volume due out in September, so we'll see.

Torso

Graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis.

Transmetropolitan Book One

Issues #1-12 of Transmet in paperback.

The Unexpected Vol. 1 (New Age of Heroes)

Spinning out of Metal, this is issues #1-6 by Scott Snyder and Ryan Sook.

Watchmen (DC Modern Classics Edition)

"DC Modern Classics Edition," which is hardcover with slipcase.

The Wild Storm Vol. 3

Issues #13-18.

Wonder Woman & the Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour

The first crossover of the "New Justice" era, including Wonder Woman #56-57 and Justice League Dark #4. It is good to see the often-removed Wonder Woman title getting involved in a crossover with the book where Diana leads the League.

Wonder Woman by Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang Omnibus

Issues #0-35 and Secret Origins #6 from the New 52 run. Personally I think, as with many things, there were good parts and bad parts of the New 52. Some would claim the New 42 was totally irredeemable, but there's an awful lot of New 52 material being collected in archival format on this list.

Wonder Woman by Phil Jimenez Omnibus

Good for Phil Jimenez, one of my long-time favorites, getting his own Wonder Woman omnibus (and with his Black Label Wonder Woman work with Kelly Sue DeConnick due out). This is issues #164-188 of that era (Paradise Lost and Paradise Found, plus some issues I don't think were ever collected before) with Wonder Woman: Our Worlds at War #1, DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy #1-4, and various Secret Files stories.

Wonder Woman Vol. 8: Dark Gods

The next collection by James Robinson, issues #46-50 and the annual #2. Steve Orlando comes on with the next book before G. Willow Wilson joins after that.

Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth

Though not listed as deluxe, this is a new hardcover of the Paul Dini/Alex Rose illustrated prose book, like the Shazam book listed earlier.

Love your comments! Leave a note below and let me know what you think.

Review: Justice League of America Vol. 4: Surgical Strike trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Two of the three stories collected in Steve Orlando's Justice League of America Vol. 4: Surgical Strike use characters directly out of Grant Morrison's JLA. That book's certainly worthy of homage, but this book's Prometheus story, at least, comes off reductive; given similar broad strokes, it seems problematic to tell the same story just with different characters. But Orlando's League's strength, as always, is in its characterization; there's six-or-so pages of the team just talking at the end of this book that's smart and gripping. Clearly this book has struggles that make its forthcoming conclusion timely, but I enjoyed myself well enough reading this volume.

Review: Superman Blue Vol. 1 trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

I've often thought of Superman Blue as the beginning of the end.

In their heyday, the "Triangle Titles" Superman team was nigh unstoppable. They're best known for "Death of Superman," but there's a bevy of stories before and after that are just as good. And the way in which the team functioned as a "writer's room" across four Superman titles to provide interconnected, soap opera-style stories has never again been done as well at DC.

But by the time "Superman Blue" came around, the longest-serving member of that team, Dan Jurgens, had written over 60 issues of Superman over at least seven years. The team had seen Superman engaged, killed, resurrected, and married (also amnesic and time-tossed once or twice). Certain events, including a perceived second death of Superman, the "death" of Clark Kent, and the overuse of characters like the Cyborg Superman suggested perhaps the team had told all the stories they had. Jurgens, whose art once anchored the books alongside Jerry Ordway and others, no longer drew; though the books sported some talented artists, the art depicted here is many steps behind its contemporaries, such as Howard Porter's dynamic work on JLA.

Review: Aquaman Vol. 5: The Crown Comes Down trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

For a book that's just three issues and an annual, Aquaman Vol. 5: The Crown Comes Down is a nice surprise. After the expansive, lush Aquaman Vol. 4: Underworld, I wondered what writer Dan Abnett could really do in such a short book, and truly this is more of an intermezzo between the fourth and sixth volumes than a collection in its own right. But Italian artist Riccardo Federici is a fine follow-up to Stjepan Sejic from last time, and indeed there is an important plot shift in this book that sets up the next volume's finale of this storyline -- so this book is good-looking, but more than just an artist's showcase like Batwoman Vol. 2: Wonderland. Inasmuch as Crown Comes Down brings us up to date on the goings on in Atlantis, it's a shame we'll have to wait now until December for the next part.

Review: Super Sons of Tomorrow trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Super Sons of Tomorrow didn't deliver a lot of what I was hoping for from this crossover. There is a bit of joy in this added moment of collegiality among the Rebirth set, mainly Superman on the same page as the Teen Titans. Otherwise, when it comes to "Superboy" Jon Kent meeting the Teen Titans and issues of membership and such, we just went through that in the last volume of Super Sons, and so it hardly seems so novel. The "of Tomorrow" bit of this book, the most exciting part, fails to live up to the hype, hamstrung in significant ways similar to how a whole lot of other Rebirth books are hamstrung.

Maybe this book has implications for Teen Titans (though I struggle more and more to care about that title the way I once did), but for a "event" crossover, Super Sons of Tomorrow doesn't really seem to do all that much.

Review: Justice League Vol. 6: The People vs. the Justice League trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

In comics there's a genre of story comprised of the five or six issues written by a guest team between two major teams' runs. Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso's Batman: Broken City is an example, coming between Jeph Loeb and Judd Winick; more recently we saw Shea Fontana's Wonder Woman Vol. 5: Heart of the Amazon, being five issues between Greg Rucka's and James Robinson's runs.

Christopher Priest's Justice League Vol. 6: The People vs. the Justice League is another one of these, filling the space where Justice League might otherwise just not be published between Bryan Hitch's Rebirth run and Scott Snyder's post-Dark Nights: Metal No Justice and Justice League series. At the same time, Priest gets 10 issues, what we might actually charitably call a "run" these days, and it's enough room that Priest even ducks the "one arc and done" format for something harder to quantify.

Review: Dark Nights: Metal: The Resistance trade paperback (DC Comics)

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Sunday, July 08, 2018

I still appreciate Dark Nights: Metal's restraint; when you consider Blackest Night had seven hardcovers, three for Metal is downright austere. Still I did note in my review of the tie-in Dark Knights Rising a little sense of crossover-itis; surely some of what was in that book was good and necessary for the telling of the overall Metal story, but not all of it. That holds true for Dark Nights: Metal: The Resistance, too; some parts are stronger than others, and some parts seem worthwhile storytelling (even aside from the crossover tie-in) and some seem entirely unnecessary, representative of the kind of excesses we keep wishing crossover events would avoid. And though the lower cost is nice, making this the sole paperback of the four is a questionable choice.

Ten Thoughts About Batman #50

Thursday, July 05, 2018


Spoilers follow for Tom King's Batman #50 ...

Review: Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 6: Fall of the Batmen trade paperback (DC Comics)

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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

James Tynion's Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 6: Fall of the Batmen is a controversial penultimate chapter in this saga. Parts of this run, and even this very volume, have had me singing for joy; yet the events of this volume are right up there with the most problematic developments this series has had to offer. I am not averse to writers making these character suffer in dramatic and cogent ways, and given that this is indeed Tynion's penultimate volume, I have some sense maybe things are darkest here before a very intentional dawn. So I would not rail against Tynion for his treatment of this or that character (much); rather I'm just fervently hoping for a satisfactory resolution a couple of months from now.

Review: Batwoman Vol. 2: Wonderland (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Nearly all of the Rebirth Batwoman Vol. 2: Wonderland happens in a dream sequence. This book is a gorgeous and well-deserved spotlight for artist Fernando Blanco, who draws lush landscapes and topsy-turvy grotesques with equal aplomb — but it's a five-issue trade in which the bulk of four issues involves Batwoman Kate Kane fighting one villain and bopping around through scenes the audience knows are hallucinations, plus one issue done by a guest team. Very little, nigh nothing, happens here, and though writer Marguerite Bennett certainly has Batwoman's psychology down pat, this is a poor showing for a Batwoman book, especially when the next volume marks the end of this particular run.