DC Trade Solicitations for January 2020 - Superman: Man of Steel Omnibus by Byrne, Legion of Super-Heroes: Road to Legion by Bendis, Justice League Quarterly TP, Tales from Dark Multiverse, Harley Quinn & the Gotham Girls, Batman: White Knight Deluxe

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Unusual for a solicitations month (but maybe not so unusual for a January), the DC Comics January 2020 trade paperback and hardcover solicitations are really short on "regular series" books, hewing mostly (but not entirely) toward collections of older materials.

Still, there is some cool stuff here — kind of a "something for everyone" month. I know plenty of you are interested in the just-announced Superman: The Man of Steel by John Byrne Omnibus Vol. 1. These are great stories, some of my favorites, and I'm glad they're being re-collected even if the omnibus doesn't hold much draw for me; also, if these do just encompass the Superman: The Man of Steel paperbacks, then it's probably just one more volume to make the complete omnibus set, which is always a good thing.

There's also Justice League: Corporate Maneuvers, for which the best I can think of is maybe the hook is supposed to be "Booster Gold's own super-team," because otherwise I don't know. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see DC collecting issues of Justice League Quarterly, and I'd like it even more if these were part of a finally-full non-omnibus collection of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis' "Justice League International" era. But I don't necessarily see the obvious draw (though you can't beat Chris Sprouse art) and that makes me worry if the book is going to make it to print.

In terms of "actual" "regular series" books, the two current continuity books of most interest to me this month are the Legion of Super-Heroes: The Road to Legion book, kicking off Brian Michael Bendis' new series, and the collection of the Tales From the Dark Multiverse specials. Nice to see Batman: The Dark Knight Detective Vol. 3 back officially on the schedule, though that half of the series has a little catching up to do to reach the Batman: The Caped Crusader books. Also Sean Murphy's Batman: White Knight in deluxe, the previously reprinted Silver and Bronze Age Spectre stories now in color, and another Wonder Woman by George Perez paperback.

Let's dig in to the details.

Absolute Fables Book One HC

Collects Fables #1-29 and Fables: The Last Castle, being the Legends in Exile, Animal Farm, Storybook Love, and March of the Wooden Soldiers trades, and part of Mean Seasons. That's five collections down, 17 more to go, so potentially a four-ish volume Absolute set.

Animal Man by Grant Morrison Book One TP

You know there's only about a dozen pre-Crisis Animal Man appearances before the Grant Morrison series? DC should find a reason to collect those. Of course, Morrison's Animal Man is also great (see my reviews), and this cut-down of the recent omnibus collects issues #1-13 and the story from Secret Origins #39. There's 26 regular issues total, so one more paperback should do it.

Batman: Broken City New Edition TP

A weird, noir, almost non-continuity Batman story dropped in between "Hush" and the return of Jason Todd, but 100 Bullets' Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. I was particularly impressed with "whodunit" in this one.

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 1: Mythology TP

Paperback of Peter Tomasi's first, pre-Detective #1000 story, collecting issues #994-999. After you read it, here's my thoughts on Detective Comics Vol. 1: Mythology.

Batman: The Dark Knight Detective Vol. 3 TP

Includes issues #592-600 in the collection series of immediate post-Crisis Batman stories. Includes appearances by Cornelius Stirk and Joe Potato, plus an Invasion! tie-in and the three-issue "Blind Justice" story by Sam Hamm that introduced Henri Ducard to the Batman mythos. Subtly, if not necessarily overtly, these stories take place in the aftermath of Jason Todd's death in "A Death in the Family."

Batman: White Knight: The Deluxe Edition HC

I really enjoyed Batman: White Knight, a smart and surprisingly political Batman "Elseworlds." This has been collected a way or two already, but here it is "deluxe"; one wonders if the inclusion of "Sean Murphy's original inked pages" means this is the uncensored "director's cut" version.

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! Book One TP

The first twelve issues of the young readers series by Mike Kunkel, Art Baltazar, and Franco; this continued to issue #21. Previously only issues #1-12 were collected in two paperbacks.

Ex Machina Compendium One TP

Issues #1-25 and two Ex Machina specials by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and others, now as DC Black Label. That's First Hundred Days, Tag, Fact v. Fiction, March to War, and Smoke Smoke, the first five collections, with five left to go.

Famous First Edition: New Fun #1 HC

Hardcover reprinting of New Fun #1, the first comic from National Allied Publications, the once and future DC Comics. The black-and-white comic is accompanied by a variety of essays; though recent anniversary books for Superman and Batman have done well, I am skeptical there's sufficient audience for this.

Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus Vol. 1 New Edition HC

New printing of the first volume of the Geoff Johns omnibus series, collecting Flash #164-191, the Flash: Our Worlds at War and Flash: Iron Heights specials, and the Flash Secret Files #3.

Flash of Two Worlds Deluxe Edition HC

A deluxe edition of the DC Comics Classics Library volume from 2009, "Flash of Two Worlds," collecting the 1960s issues Flash #123, #129, #137, #151, #170, and #173. That original volume had an introduction by Geoff Johns, but the solicitation doesn't mention including it here.

Green Arrow: Year One: The Deluxe Edition HC

Deluxe-size collection of the six-issue miniseries by Andy Diggle and Jock.

Harley Quinn and the Gotham Girls TP

Collection of the 2003 five-issue miniseries (then just called "Gotham Girls"), based on the animated web series, by Paul Storrie and Jennifer Graves.

House of Whispers Vol. 2: Ananse TP

Issues #7-12 of the Sandman Universe series by Nalo Hopkinson.

Jack of Fables: The Deluxe Edition Book Three HC

Final deluxe edition of Jack of Fables by Bill Willingham and Lilah Sturges, issues #36-50.

Justice League: Corporate Maneuvers TP

In a list of most unlikely collections ever, a collection of Keith Giffen and J.M. Dematteis's Conglomerate story, a team of really second-rate heroes led by Booster Gold, from Justice League Quarterly #1, would be really high on that unlikely list. Maybe the hook here is meant to be Booster Gold, but if so, perhaps "Booster Gold and the Justice League International" might be a better-selling (if wordy) start to the title?

Also, this is said to collect Justice League Quarterly #1-4, but the Conglomerate only appeared in issue #1. Issue #2 was a G'nort et al. story and a Fire/Ice team-up; issue #3 sees the team shrunk and time-hopping; and issue #4 has a B-list Injustice League, a Guy Gardner/Ice date gone wrong, and tales of Power Girl's cat (!?). I'm really unsure about this book ...

Legion of Super-Heroes: The Road to Legion TP

I'm excited for this, but if I may, it kind of seems like DC needed something to collect with Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium, so here we get the two issues plus Superman #14-15 and Supergirl #33. Advance solicitations have Brian Michael Bendis' Superman Vol. 2 ending with issue #14 and his Superman Vol. 3 picking up with issue #16, so maybe there will be other issues here that aren't collected anywhere else, though I'm skeptical.

Preacher: The 25th Anniversary Omnibus Vol. 1 HC

Collects Preacher #1-33, plus the Saint of Killers four-issue miniseries and the Cassidy — Blood & Whiskey special. The series went 66 issues, so probably one more volume.

Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion New Edition TP

New collection of Billy Tucci's six-issue 2009 miniseries, with a story from the DC Holiday Special '09.

Spectre: The Wrath of the Spectre Omnibus HC

Collects the Silver and Bronze Age appearances of the Spectre beginning in the 1950s, including Showcase #60, 61, and 64; Spectre #1–10; Adventure Comics #431–440; Brave and the Bold #72, 75, 116, 180, and 199; Ghosts #97–99; and DC Comics Presents #29, all previously collected in black-and-white as Showcase Presents: The Spectre.

Superman: The Man of Steel Omnibus by John Byrne Vol. 1 HC

I know a lot of you wanted this, and indeed I am very happy for you. For my money, the Byrne Superman and on through for many years is the definitive Superman, so no disrespect for these stories and I'm glad they live on and that more people will get to read them. That said, if only because I've read all these stories plenty times before and own the trades, I'd really prefer more collections of the post-Byrne Superman rather than re-collecting (probably in a new set of paperbacks, too) what's already been collected. But anyway, yes, do enjoy.

This collects Byrne's Man of Steel #1-6, Action Comics #584-593, Action Comics Annual #1, Adventures of Superman #424-435 (which is actually by Marv Wolfman and Jerry Ordway, not Byrne, but of course these should be included), Adventures of Superman Annual #1, Legion of Super-Heroes #37-38, Superman #1-11, and Superman Annual #1. This collects through the first five Superman: The Man of Steel collections and about half of Byrne's run, so possibly this can be finished off in just one more volume.

Swamp Thing: Tales From the Bayou TP

Interestingly, this now appears to be all of Tim Seeley and Joelle Jones' Swamp Thing stories from the Walmart 100-page giants, plus material already released in the Swamp Thing: Roots of Terror deluxe edition hardcover, being the stories by Tom King, Brian Azzarello, and Mark Russell from Cursed Comics Cavalcade, Swamp Thing Winter Special, Swamp Thing’s Halloween Horror, and Young Monsters in Love.

Tales From the Dark Multiverse HC

Solicited for the end of February, the Dark Multiverse takes on "Knightfall," "Death of Superman," "Blackest Night," "Infinite Crisis," and "Judas Contract."

Weird Western Tales: Jonah Hex HC

Previously titled Jonah Hex: The Bronze Age Omnibus, this resolicited, more intriguingly titled volume is Hex's 1970s appearances, including All-Star Western #10-11, Weird Western Tales #12-14 and #16-38, Jonah Hex #1-17, and Justice League of America #159-160 ("Crisis from Yesterday," with the Justice Society, Enemy Ace, and more).

Wonder Woman by George Perez Vol. 4 TP

Continuing the cut-down of the Wonder Woman by George Perez omnibuses, this is issues #36-45 and the Annual #2, finishing out the second omnibus (so one more to go, or likely two more paperbacks).
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11 comments:

  1. The Road to Legion book reminds me of the Road to Metal collection - equally frustrating that DC can't just put the two prologue issues in the first/main collection. C'mon!

    I'm excited about the Dark Multiverse collection, although I'm once again confused about the lack of Wonder Woman. DC should want a WW story in there, shouldn't they?

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    1. Wonder Woman: The Contest, but if Artemis had remained Wonder Woman? (Wait, what continuity are we in?) Or surely there's something Brian Azzarello could revisit.

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    2. The Contest was my first thought - either what you said or Diana wins initially, dies, then Artemis is super vengeance-y WW.

      I'm going to die on the hill that Metal would have been ten times better if two of the Dark Knights one shots had been WW nightmares instead. The brief glimpse in issue 6(?) of her nightmares was tantalizing

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  2. Glad to see Dark Knight Detective Vol 3 & finally a Man of Steel Omnibus. Does anyone know if the Geoff Johns Flash Omnibuses will have material not previously printed in any of the 3 previous printed volumes? I'll get Justice League: Corporate Maneuvers if they don't cancel it. Preacher Omnibus, I've been waiting for this. I'm hoping this Spectre Omnibus leads to an Omnibus of the Ostrander/Mandrake material.

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    1. Re: Flash by Johns, not that I can tell. I'm not sure what else is out there to include that hasn't already been included in the previous editions.

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    2. Maybe Barry Flash? Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge, Flash Rebirth, Blackest Night: Flash, Flash 1-12 and Flashpoint?

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    3. That'd be my guess for a b3, followed by a Flashpoint omni with all the minis. Basically, the Perez WW format

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  3. Where the heck is the omnibus to follow the Superman: Exile one? This is literally how I am reading Superman in order and it's frustrating there's been nothing. I already have all the Byrne trades...I read them before the Exile omnibus...

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  4. I've been wanting an omnibus of the John Byrne Superman material for years. So I'm very, very happy.

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  5. Looking forward to "White Knight," but there's no justifiable reason for that price point. Historically - and recently - books of that page count and format have had much more reasonable prices, generally topping out near $35. The sole exception is "Hush Deluxe," but at least that had 50% more material included (12 issues, rather than 8).

    This book has also been made available in multiple formats quite recently, further adding to my befuddlement. Clearly, many of the target audience are going to be asked to double dip here.

    Given "White Knight" and Murphy's popularity, this feels like nothing more than simple price gouging on a popular story to take advantage of the superfandom - and all for a book being released in the format it should have been released in initially.

    Shame on DC.

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  6. Yeah, THE SPECTRE: THE WRATH OF THE SPECTRE OMNIBUS HC make it basically a color, oversized, hardcover version of 2012's SHOWCASE PRESENTS THE SPECTRE, but that was only a 592 page book. Even with the addition of the three stories that Michael Fleisher wrote in 1975 but Jim Aparo didn't draw until 1988's WRATH OF THE SPECTRE #4, the page count would only be approximately 633.

    If 786 pages for the omni is correct -- admittedly a very big if -- I'd suggest including JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #46, 47, 82, 83, 123, and 124 which would add another 140 or so pages. These are all JLA -JSA team-ups where Spectre plays a big role (usually at the end).

    And since that leaves a few pages for extras, I'd opt for Cary Burkett's article from AMAZING WORLD OF DC COMICS #16 which does a pretty good job of reconciling the ADVENTURE and B&B stories into the continuity of the Earth-2 Spectre. DC should also include the Peter Sanderson text pages from the WRATH OF SPECTRE reprint series.

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