Review: Superman: The Unity Saga Vol. 2: The House of El hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, December 08, 2019

There's an impressive amount packed in to Superman: The Unity Saga Vol. 2: The House of El. It is a nine-issue trade, collecting Superman #7-15, so maybe some heft goes without saying. But by my count writer Brian Michael Bendis packs at least three different "acts" into this one ongoing story, making it feel perhaps even fuller than full. I was down on Bendis' first Superman volume, finding it a rehash of his Man of Steel miniseries, but here Bendis' Superman forges its own way, is emotional, and distinguishes itself smartly from Bendis' Action Comics while being no less interesting. We're in an era of good Superman stories, and it's so exciting.

[Review contains spoilers]

Peter Tomasi's Rebirth Superman, as I've said, never quite coalesced for me. I recognize the strength of his Kent family by way of Norman Rockwell, but the implicit implication that everything would always be all right for Clark, Lois, and son Jon took away a lot of the suspense for me. Bendis, to his credit, creates drama without angst; where other writers would create division between Clark, Lois, and Jon about the newly returned Jon's abuse at many hands in space, Bendis keeps the Kents totally forgiving, even as they each individually question their own decisions and mourn the time lost. Though the events are based around tragedy, these characters are far more interesting when faced with real adversity, and seeing them treat each other with understanding is more what I ultimately expect from Superman and his family than other depictions across the years.

Legion 5YL Omnibus again, Justice League International Omnibus Vol. 2, King's Batman: City of Bane Part 2, Arrowverse Crisis Deluxe, Flash & Wonder Woman #750 Deluxe, Year of the Villain, Priest's Deathstroke RIP, more in DC Comics Summer 2020 solicitations

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

The new DC Comics Summer 2020 hardcover and trade paperback catalog has 92 books in it. In comparison, the Fall 2019 catalog had about 160 books in it and the Spring 2020 catalog had about 130 books in it. Again, I was skeptical about those slowdown rumors once upon a time, but now things are getting spooky.

Not to mention, there's not much that's really new and notable among these releases. Some books that I'm excited about, sure, but we're not quite in the days of "I can't believe they're finally collecting that!" Some of that is due to the wealth of goods we've seen in previous years, but some of that is also that these listings seem a little sleepy.

We already heard about a month or so ago about the Superman: The Man of Steel by John Byrne omnibus series; I am glad you all are excited about it, though given I've got those books already, it just doesn't move me that much. I have been enjoying the start of "Year of the Villain" in a couple books I've read, so for that reason titles like the Flash #750 Deluxe Edition, the Wonder Woman #750 Deluxe Edition, Wonder Woman Vol. 3: Return of the Amazons, Aquaman Vol. 3, Batgirl Vol. 7: Oracle Rising, Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen, and Year of the Villain: The Infected are all of interest to me, but I don't think anyone thought those wouldn't be collected.

Other notable volumes — still no big surprises, but — include Batman Vol. 13: The City of Bane Part 2, the end of Tom King's run on Batman proper, and Deathstroke R.I.P., which I think probably collects the end of Christopher Priest's superlative, nuanced run on Deathstroke. Apparently the Arrowverse is getting a couple of Crisis on Infinite Earths comics tie-ins, which is tons of fun. The release of the Justice League International Omnibus Vol. 2 was previously in doubt, so that's good, though we don't quite know what's in it yet. Also the Legion of Super-Heroes: Five Years Later Omnibus Vol. 1 is back; that's great, though greater if it hadn't already been solicited once and cancelled.

So let's see what else we've got. All of this information is subject to change before publication. Not all links may be functional yet.

Absolute Swamp Thing by Alan Moore Vol. 2

Slipcased hardcover Absolute edition collecting Saga of the Swamp Thing #35-49 with new coloring, by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben, Rick Veitch, and others. Moore's run goes to issue #64.

Aquaman Vol. 2: Amnesty

Paperback of Kelly Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha's second collection, issues #48-52.

Aquaman Vol. 3

Hardcover of Kelly Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha's third volume, collecting issues #54-58 and the Aquaman Annual #2 and featuring Aqualad, apparently (but which one?).

Aquaman: Deadly Waters The Deluxe Edition

Continuing and finishing the Steve Skeates/Jim Aparo run with issues #49-56, following the previous Search for Mera volume; #56 would end that series. Three years after these issues, Aquaman would appear in back-up stories in Adventure Comics and then regain his own series numbered starting with #57, which would be the storyline collected in Death of a Prince

Authority Book One

Collects issues #1-12, Planetary/Authority: Ruling the World, and the new story from Wildstorm: A Celebration of 25 Years — so, the contents of a recent Absolute edition, now in paperback.

Batgirl Vol. 7: Oracle Rising

Tie-in to "Year of the Villain" with new writer Cecil Castellucci, following Mairghread Scott.

Batman & the Outsiders Vol. 2

Issues #8-12 of the Bryan Hill series.

Batman Beyond Vol. 7

Collecting issues #37-42 by Dan Jurgens, and introducing the Batwoman Beyond.

Batman by Grant Morrison Omnibus Vol. 3

Said to contain Batman Incorporated #18, Batman: The Return #1, Batman Incorporated #0-13, Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes #1, and Batman Incorporated Special #1. I'm not quite sure what that Batman Incorporated #18 is supposed to be unless I'm just blanking on it (no iteration of the series went up to #18, so that's either a misprint altogether or some other issue). Update: As Bob and Aymeric pointed out, that's issues #1-8 of the original run of the series.

Batman Vol. 13: The City of Bane Part 2

Issues #80-85, the end of Tom King's run on the main Batman title.

Batman Vs. Ra's Al Ghul

Collecting the latest six-issue miniseries by Neal Adams.

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 2: Arkham Knight

Paperback, following the hardcover, collecting issues #1001-1005 of the Peter Tomasi/Doug Mahnke run and Tomasi's story from Detective Comics #1000.

Batman: The Deluxe Edition Book 5

Issues #58-63, #66-69, the Batman Annual #3, and Batman Secret Files #1, being the Batman Vol. 9: The Tyrant Wing and Batman Vol. 10: Knightmares collections.

Batman: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 8

Collects stories or covers from Batman #67-75, Detective Comics #175-191, and World’s Finest Comics #54-62, including Joker, Two-Face, Catwoman, and Penguin.

Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? Deluxe 2020 Edition

No different contents that I can see — Batman #686, Detective Comcis #853, plus other contributions by Neil Gaiman to the Batman mythos — Secret Origins #36, Secret Origins Special #1, and Batman Black and White #2.

Batwoman Omnibus

Being the Greg Rucka Detective Comics run, issues #854-863, the New 52 Batwoman #0, and then the Batwoman (New 52 regular series) #0-24 and Annual #1 — Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams' run, stopping before the Marc Andreyko run.

Birds of Prey: Blood & Circuits

The solicitation says "Gail Simone’s ... Birds of Prey is reprinted for the first time ever," but indeed Blood & Circuits has been reprinted (in the sense of "collected") before, issues #96-103, same as this. And this is neither the start nor end of Simone's Birds of Prey run, but rather something in the middle, so it'll remain to be seen what this is exactly.

Books of Magic Vol. 3

Issues #14-18 and, I believe, the Sandman Universe Presents Hellblazer special.

Collapser

Collecting of the Young Animal series by Mikey Way; pretty sure this is a six-issue miniseries and done.

Crisis on Infinite Earths (Arrowverse) Deluxe Edition

Like, what the what?! As if I weren't excited enough for the Arrowverse Crisis, apparently we're getting tie in comics by Marv Wolfman and Marc Guggenheim with Tom Grummet and others. (From the Crisis Giant books, maybe?) This deluxe edition has excerpts from Crisis (the original) and DC Universe: Legacies #6.

Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child Deluxe Edition

Collecting the miniseries by Frank Miller and Rafael Grampa.

DC Poster Portfolio: James Jean

Props to a book that, at least temporarily, has Batgirl Cassandra Cain and Robin Stephanie Brown on the cover.

DC Poster Portfolio: Stanley "Artgerm" Lau Vol. 2

Apparently the first one sold so well they're doing it again.

DC Super Hero Girls: Weird Science

New DC Super Hero Girls graphic novel by Amanda Deibert and Yancey Labat, spotlighting Zatanna.

DC Through the 80's: The End of Eras

Previously solicited as "DC Through the Decades: 1980s," we still don't have contents for this Paul Levitz-led volume. What the solicitation suggests, as I noted before, are selections from Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Man of Steel, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and Watchmen; I'm still hoping also for 1980s flip-side of some of that grim and gritty stuff like Justice League International or Ambush Bug.

DCeased: The Unkillables

Collects Tom Taylor's second six-issue "DCeased" miniseries, in hardcover. I'm pleased to see more "DCeased" but I wonder about the decision to set it during the events of the first; this seems similar to a decision made for subsequent Injustice miniseries (retelling the same events from Harley Quinn's perspective) that made the franchise kind of drag for me. But again, good for Taylor that "DCeased" isn't quite over.

Deadman Omnibus

Collects Strange Adventures #205-216; The Brave and the Bold #79, #86, #104 and #133; Aquaman #50-52; Challengers of the Unknown #74 and #84-87; Justice League of America #94; World's Finest Comics #223 and #227; The Phantom Stranger #33 and #39-41; Superman Family #183; DC Super-Stars #18; DC Special Series #8; Adventure Comics #460-466; DC Comics Presents #94; Detective Comics #500; Deadman #1-4 (1986); Secret Origins #15; and covers from Deadman #1-7 (1985).

Deathstroke R.I.P.

Following the Teen Titans crossover "Terminus Agenda," this is presumably issues #44 through #50, "Year of the Villain"-branded issues and also the end of Christopher Priest's run (sob!).

Dreaming Vol. 3: One Magical Moment

Issues #13-18 by Si Spurrier.

Flash #750 Deluxe Edition

Deluxe collection of the story that begins "The Flash Age" by Joshua Williamson, plus stories by Geoff Johns, Michael Moreci, Marv Wolfman, Francis Manapul, and artists Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Scott Kolins, Stephen Segovia, David Marquez, Bryan Hitch, Francis Manapul, and Riley Rosssmo.

Flash Forward

The six-issue Wally West miniseries by Scott Lobdell, in paperback.

Flash Vol. 11: The Greatest Trick of All

Flash #66-69 and the Flash Annual #2 by Joshua Williamson, which follows the "Price" crossover with Batman and precedes Flash: Year One.

Flash Vol. 12

This is listed as issues #76-81 plus a backup from issue #75; the solicitation describes "Flash: Year One," but I think this will actually be the "Death and the Speed Force" storyline.

Flash: United They Fall

Gail Simone's stories from Flash Giant #1-7 and Flash Giant #1-5.

Flash: Year One

Flash #70-75 by Joshua Williamson, in paperback.

Forever People by Jack Kirby

Collects the 11 issues of Jack Kirby's Forever People. The solicitation makes reference to "black and white"; I have a dim recollection that this series was collected that way once before, but my guess is that's an error and this won't, I wouldn't think, be black and white.

gen:LOCK

Based on the web show, the comic is written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly and drawn by Carlo Barbieri.

Green Arrow by Mike Grell Omnibus Vol. 1

In an unusual reversal, this omnibus of Mike Grell's definitive Green Arrow run follows a set of nine paperbacks — which thankfully all made it to print, and it makes me wonder if there's a Suicide Squad by John Ostrander Omnibus series on the way now, too. Ultimately Green Arrow will be 80 issues plus the three-issue Longbow Hunters and the four-issue Wonder Years; my guess is two omnibus volumes total.

Green Lantern Vol. 2: The Day the Stars Fell

Issues #7-12, ending the first "season" of the Grant Morrison/Liam Sharp series.

Green Lantern: 80 Years of the Emerald Knight

Anniversary hardcover.

Green Lantern: Earth One Vol. 2

Been a while since we've seen an Earth One volume; here's a sequel to Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko's Green Lantern: Earth One, due out in June. Manhunters and Yellow Lanterns and John Stewart and Guardians — oh my!

Harley Quinn Vol. 5

The solicitation mentions both "Year of the Villain" and also a trip to Los Angeles; my sense is this one is about the latter and not the former (I think Harley Quinn Vol. 4 was the "Year" tie in). Collects Harley Quinn #67-72.

Hawkman Vol. 3: Darkness Within

Hawkman #13-18 by Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch, delving into Carter Hall's past lives.

He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse

Collecting the six-issue miniseries by Tim Seeley.

Heroes in Crisis

The Tom King miniseries in paperback. If you can avoid spoilers till August 2020, I'd love to know your secret.

Infinite Crisis Omnibus (2020 Edition)

Love 'em for keeping this in print, but not seeming to collect anything different than the other umpteen volumes of this omnibus.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Three: The Deluxe Edition

Issues #1-12 and the annual, in deluxe hardcover.

JLA by Grant Morrison Omnibus

No contents listed, but it doesn't say "Vol. 1," so I'm guessing all 41 issues (give or take) plus the Earth 2 graphic novel and other relevant tie-ins.

John Constantine: Hellblazer Vol. 1

The first five issues of the new Sandman Universe series by Si Spurrier, plus the Sandman Universe Presents: Hellblazer special.

Joker: Killer Smile

The three-issue miniseries by Green Arrow team Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino.

Justice League International Omnibus Vol. 2

No contents listed yet, but the previous omnibus collected the first five paperbacks, through Justice League International/America #30 and Justice League Europe #6, so this should pick up with the sixth paperback, which was America #31-35 and Europe #7-11 and on from there. "Breakdowns," the end of Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis' run, is in the early America #60s/Europe #30s, so there's some chance this could be finished out maybe by the third volume.

Justice League Odyssey Vol. 3: Final Frontier

Third collection of the Dan Abnett series.

Justice League of America by Brad Meltzer: The Deluxe Edition

Collects Brad Meltzer's post-Infinite Crisis Justice League of America, both "The Tornado's Path" and "The Lightning Saga," the latter of which was a crossover with Geoff Johns' Justice Society of America and also included the Legion of Super-Heroes, way at the start of the lead-in to Countdown to Final Crisis. These stories themselves were very good; Meltzer was followed on Justice League by Dwayne McDuffie.

Legends of the Dark Knight: Matt Wagner

Contents include Batman #626-641 and #54 (2016), Batman and the Monster Men #1-6, Batman Black and White #3, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #28-30, Batman: The Mad Monk #1-6, Detective Comics #647-649, Robin II: Joker's Wild #1 and Batman: Riddler — The Riddle Factory, though some of that I know is just covers. It's rather astounding however that Wagner's written-and-drawn "Monster Men" and "Mad Monk" have never been collected together, so nice that this corrects that. (One wonders if Wagner's Trinity ought be in here too.)

Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1

Collects Brian Michael Bendis' Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1-2 and Legion of Super-Heroes #1-6. On the assumption that Superman #14-15 and Supergirl #33 will be collected independently, this negates the need to pick up the recently solicited Legion of Super-Heroes: Road to the Legion collection that's also supposed to collect Millennium.

Legion of Super-Heroes: Five Years Later Omnibus Vol. 1

Previously solicited a year ago and back on the schedule again, this is Keith Giffen and Tom and Mary Bierbaum's vision of the future Legion's darker future. Collects Legion of Super-Heroes (1989) #1-39, which collects up to where Giffen departed the title, plus Adventures of Superman #478, Who's Who #1-11, #13, #14, #16, Timber Wolf #1-5, and Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1-3.

Legion of Super-Heroes: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol. 3

By Jim Shooter and Curt Swan, among others, collecting Adventure Comics #361-380, Action Comics #378-392, Superboy #147, and Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #106.

Lois Lane and the Friendship Challenge

If I might be a complete curmudgeon, that Grace Ellis and Brittney Williams are producing a Lois Lane graphic novel for young readers is fantastic, and the only thing I don't like about it is that it seems very far away from "Lois Lane" as a concept. I'm not sure if Lois' "social media video channel" is kid journalism or not and there's no mention of Metropolis; I'd be enthusiastic about "Lois Lane, girl reporter" but I'm less sure about just plain "Lois Lane, girl."

Lucifer Vol. 3: The Wild Hunt

Issues #14-19 of the Sandman Universe series.

Martian Manhunter: Identity

The 12-issue miniseries by Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo (the solicitation says eight issues, but I think it's 12). I have faith in Orlando but I'm still hoping the dark origin of J'onn J'onzz alluded to here doesn't turn out to be actually true.

Nightwing: Supercop

Beginning a collection of Devin Grayson's Nightwing run with issues #71-83; Grayson's run goes to #117 with a couple of gaps. I know this run was controversial and I'm pleased that DC is willing to collect it, though I do feel a little "wait and see" as to whether they'll really collect the whole thing.

Nightwing: Year One Deluxe Edition

Deluxe-size collection of Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty's Nightwing #101-106.

Plastic Man: Rubber Banded

Way back when, the first trade of Kyle Baker's Plastic Man, "On the Lam," was collected with these rubbery covers that felt weird and wouldn't sit right next to other trades on the shelf. Let's not do that again. Ultimately only 14 of Baker's 20 issues from the early 2000s were collected, which is a shame given the brilliant "laughing on the outside, crying on the inside" aesthetic of the book. This hardcover should collect the whole thing.

Preacher: The 25th Anniversary Omnibus Vol. 1

A previous solicitation said this 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.

Primer

Young readers graphic novel about a teen who gets super-powers from scientifically engineered paints meant as a military weapon. I'm glad DC's serving a younger audience in general, but I think creating new heroes for that audience is even better, another way to infuse the DCU with new characters. By Jennifer Muro, Thomas Krajewski, and Gretel Lusky.

Promethea: The Deluxe Edition Book Three

Issues #24-32, the final issues, by Alan Moore and J. H. Williams.

Red Hood: Outlaw Vol. 3: Generation Outlaw

Issues #37-41 by Scott Lobdell, tying in to "Year of the Villain."

RWBY

By Marguerite Bennett, based on the anime series.

Sandman: The Deluxe Edition Book One

I also just finished collecting the 30th anniversary Sandman paperbacks, and now here comes a hardcover collecting both "Preludes & Nocturnes" and "Doll's House" (issues #1-16) plus an issue of Sandman Mystery Theatre (supposedly, though I wonder if it's the Sandman Midnight Theatre special, since that would make more sense to go with "Preludes & Nocturnes"). Anyway, sorely tempted to double-dip on this, too.

Spectre: The Bronze Age Omnibus

It's questionable what this one will be called, since it was recently solicited as Spectre: Wrath of the Spectre Omnibus, and here it's still "Bronze Age." This is actually both 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.

Suicide Squad Vol. 1

Issues #1-6 of the Injustice team of Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo. Coming in hardcover in August 2020.

Super Friends: Saturday Morning Comics Vol. 1

This was solicited back in August but never came out, I guess? In hardcover, it's the original Super Friends cartoon tie-in comics, Super Friends #1-26, plus the promo Aquateers Meet the Super Friends #1, and stories from Limited Collectors’ Edition #C41 and #C-46, by E. Nelson Bridwell with art by Ramona Fradon and others.

Superboy: A Celebration of 75 Years

An awfully nice cross-section, collecting adventures of the original Superboy (More Fun Comics #101, Superboy #10 and #89, Adventure Comics #210, #247, and #271), Superboy with the Legion of Super-Heroes (Adventure Comics #369 and #370, Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #233 and #259), Superboy Prime (!) (DC Comics Presents #87 and Infinite Crisis #6) Conner Kent (Adventures of Superman #501, Superboy #59, Teen Titans #24, Adventure Comics #2, Young Justice #3), and Jon Kent (Superman [2016] #6, #10, and #11).

Supergirl: Being Super

Paperback of the four-issue miniseries by Mariko Tamaki and Joelle Jones.

Superman: The City of Tomorrow Vol. 2

Following the "Superman Y2K" stories by Jeph Loeb and company, this is Superman #155-159, Adventures of Superman #577-581, Action Comics #764-768, and Superman: The Man of Steel #99-103, the 'Til Death Do Us Part and Critical Condition collections (plus a couple uncollected issues, I think). Next up would be the "Emperor Joker" storyline.

Superman: The Man of Steel Vol. 1

Not too long ago I finished collecting the John Byrne Man of Steel collections, which goes through the entirety of Byrne's Superman run and related titles. This book alone, in hardcover, collects those first five paperbacks — Action Comics #584-593, Action Comics Annual #1, Adventures of Superman #424-435, Adventures of Superman Annual #1, Legion of Super-Heroes #37-38, Superman #1-11, Superman Annual #1, and The Man of Steel #1-6. I am super-tempted to double-dip. There's nine of those paperbacks total, so they can probably seal this up in one more volume.

Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow Deluxe 2020 Edition

Hardcover of Action Comics #593 and Superman #423 by Alan Moore, plus Superman and Swamp Thing from DC Comics Presents #85 (with art by Rick Veitch) and "For the Man Who Has Everything ..." from Superman Annual #11 (with art by Dave Gibbons).

Superman's Greatest Team-Ups

From the 1980s, collects DC Comics Presents #5, #9-12, #14, #19, #28, #30, #35, #38, #39, #45, #50, #58, #63, #67, #71, and #97 by Martin Pasko, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Steve Englehart, Dan Mishkin, Steve Gerber, Gary Cohn, and more. In these stories, Superman teams up with Wonder Woman, Bizarro, Aquaman, Sgt. Rock, Hawkman, Mister Miracle, Batgirl, Man-Bat, Black Canary, Plastic Man, Amethyst, Firestorm, the Flash, Elongated Man, Robin, and apparently even Santa Claus, vs. Mongul and the Atomic Skull, among others.

Teen Titans Go! to Camp

This seems a smart idea, an original Teen Titans Go! graphic novel as opposed to a collection of series issues. The Titans visit to Camp Apokolips (where Granny Goodness is the lunch lady), written by Sholly Fisch.

Teen Titans/Deathstroke: The Terminus Agenda

Paperback of the latest crossover; collects Deathstroke #41-43 and Teen Titans #28-30 by Christopher Priest and Adam Glass.

Tiny Titans Vol. 1

Seemingly a new set of collections of the Art Baltazar and Franco series, though this volume only seems to have issues #1-6, same as the original first collection, Welcome to the Treehouse. Arriving just post-Infinite Crisis, this kids' series was a riot in the way the creators delighted in putting multiple versions of the same character on the page together when the mainstream DCU couldn't.

Titans: Burning Rage

Stories by Dan Jurgens and Scot Eaton from Titans Giant.

Wonder Woman #750 Deluxe Edition

Deluxe reprinting of the anniversary issue, including a "Year of the Villain" tie-in and stories by Colleen Doran, Mariko Tamaki, Teen Titans: Raven's Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo, plus Gail Simone and Greg Rucka.

Wonder Woman Vol. 1: The Just War

Paperback of G. Willow Wilson and Cary Nord's first collection, issues #58-65.

Wonder Woman Vol. 3: Return of the Amazons

Hardcover collection of issues #74-81 by G. Willow Wilson, tying in to "Year of the Villain."

Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed

YA Wonder Woman origin story by Laurie Halse Anderson and Leila del Duca.

Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia Deluxe Edition

Deluxe-size hardcover collection of the graphic novel by Greg Rucka and J. G. Jones.

Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen

Collecting the five-issue miniseries pitting Lex Luthor against The Batman Who Laughs.

Year of the Villain: The Infected

Collects the four Infected specials tying in to "Year of the Villain."

You Brought Me The Ocean: An Aqualad Graphic Novel

DC YA graphic novel about Aqualad Jake Hyde, by Alexander Hitz-Sanchez and Julie Maroh.

Young Justice Book Five

The final collection of Peter David's Young Justice, issues #33-55. This includes tie-ins to "Our Worlds at War" and "Joker's Last Laugh," as well as the "World Without Young Justice" crossover with Impulse #85, Superboy #99, and Robin #101 (these are not listed in the solicitations, but also aren't essential for understanding the storyline).

Young Justice Vol. 2: Lost in the Multiverse

Second hardcover collection by Brian Michael Bendis, collecting issues #7-12.

Review: Justice League Vol. 4: The Sixth Dimension trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, December 01, 2019

It's one of those heady times in the DC Universe — Heroes in Crisis just ended and Event Leviathan and "Year of the Villain" are beginning, not to mention the semi-related machinations of the Batman Who Laughs. We are just at the beginning and (perhaps because of that) this latest DC era feels rife with possibility. Many times in the past when DC titles were not necessarily all rowing in the same direction, but were at least all rowing in one of a couple of directions (which would then sometimes overlap), DC had great success; Infinite Crisis is a prime example of this, and also the often-overlooked tight continuity of DC You.

Scott Snyder, Jorge Jimenez, and James Tynion's Justice League Vol. 4: The Sixth Dimension is a tight rubber band, stretching out to the point of near absurdity and then snapping back together to make sudden, unexpected sense — there are aspects of Dark Nights: Metal that suddenly coalesced for me with this book, some four-plus volumes down the road of Snyder's Justice League. This is the non-calm before the storm; there is no lack of intrigue or connections to the grand conflagration coming next time that this series has been leading up to all along (and that'll mark Snyder's exit from the title), but at the same time if you snip a thread here or there, this also reads like one last, great standalone Justice League story. There's also a marked amount of grace here, akin to some moments in Justice League Vol. 3: Hawkworld; Snyder is doing interesting stuff, and he's left upcoming writer Robert Venditti with big shoes to fill.

Review: Saga: Book Three hardcover (Image Comics)

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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Breaking the fourth wall a moment, I'm delighted to be all caught up on Saga. Given that I read the first two collections six years ago and all that time the book's been continuing apace, that I never did manage to spoil it for myself and that there are no more spoilers now — that with the conclusion of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' Saga: Book Three, I'm just as caught up with the series as anyone else — gives me a good feeling of accomplishment.

I have a pretty bad track record of finishing these long-form-but-finite Vertigo-esque series (of which I started but never finished Sandman, Y, The Last Man, Fables, and Mind MGMT, plus others). In part that's because I have to be in the right mood to pick such a series up. Also in part that's because, given all the ones I listed have ended, it's hard to find the time amidst the unceasing drumbeat of the DC superhero comics that I read to step out of that river and into another for the length it would take to read the series as a whole — because at this point if I'm going to read one of those series, I might as well binge.

DC Trade Solicitations for February 2020 - Event Leviathan, Batman: Universe by Bendis, Alfred Pennyworth TP, Batman: Creature of the Night by Busiek, Year of the Villain Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman: Cheetah, Batman by Marv Wolfman

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Again we've got a pretty small month with the DC Comics February 2020 trade paperback and hardcover solicitations, a few books smaller even than last month's "small month." Brian Michael Bendis' Event Leviathan is my big one this time, but then aside from the "Year of the Villain"-tied Harley Quinn Vol. 4, there's nearly nothing in terms of "regular series" collections. Bendis' Batman: Universe is also of interest, but in the main, not a whole lot here.

I thought previous rumors about DC winnowing down their collections output might have been overblown, but indeed things have more sparse than usual at the start of 2020.

Let's take a look ...

Absolute Gotham by Gaslight HC

This volume collects Brian Augustyn's Gotham by Gaslight, considered the first Elseworld (and now an animated movie), along with the sequel, Master of the Future. Also included is the Countdown Special: The Search for Ray Palmer: Gotham by Gaslight Special, from the much maligned "Countdown to Final Crisis" era (though written by Augustyn), and Convergence: Shazam! #1-2 (pretty good, written by Jeff Parker and drawn by Doc Shaner, but with the "Gaslight" characters as the antagonists).

Batman: Alfred Pennyworth TP

Well, that's a spoiler in the solicitation, eh? Anywho, this collects Batman #16 (first appearance of "Alfred Beagle") and #31, Detective Comics #83 (more traditional look), #356 (Alfred as "The Outsider"), #501-502 ("The Man Who Killed Mlle. Marie!"), and #806-807 ("Regnum Defende," an Alfred story by Scott Beatty and Jeff Parker), Untold Legend of the Batman #2 (Alfred origin), Batman Annual #13 (post-Crisis, 1989), Batman: Shadow of the Bat #31 (Zero Hour tie-in, with the Alfreds of many eras), Batman: Gotham Adventures #16, Batman Eternal #31 (Alfred teams with Bane), and the Batman Annual (2016) #1 and #3.

Batman: Arkham Asylum New Edition HC

Hardcover by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean, with remastered artwork (as previously seen in the Absolute edition).

Batman: City of Crime Deluxe Edition HC

Collects David Lapham's story from Detective Comics #800-808 and #811-814, which commenter Bob Hodges called "one of the bleakest and weirdest Batman stories I've ever read."

Batman: Creature of the Night HC

Hardcover of the four-issue miniseries by Kurt Busiek and John Paul Leon, a "spiritual companion" to Busiek's Superman: Secret Identity.

Batman: Tales of the Demon HC

Hardcover of the classic Tales of the Demon book, collecting Detective Comics #411, #485, and #489-490, Batman #232, #235, #240, and #242-244 and DC Special Series #15.

Batman: Universe HC

I'm curious to read Brian Michael Bendis' first "now at DC" take on Batman, and of course we know this collection of the Walmart-first stories also introduces Young Justice's Jinny Hex. Due out in hardcover in March; there's something to be said for stories first appearing shelved in the "and all the rest" aisle in Walmart now being collected in hardcover.

DMZ Compendium Vol. 1 TP

Collects issues #1-36 of the Brian Wood series.

Doom Patrol: The Silver Age Vol. 2 TP

Collects Arnold Drake's 1960s Doom Patrol #96-107, including crossovers in Challengers of the Unknown #48 and Brave and the Bold #65 (Flash).

Event Leviathan HC

Collects Event Leviathan #1-6 and also the Superman: Leviathan Rising special — some but not all of the later was collected in Superman: Action Comics Vol. 2: Leviathan Rising, so it's good that we get the whole thing here. The only bummer is having to wait until March for this one. (Hopefully then Year of the Villain one-shot short story is in here, too.)

Harley Quinn Vol. 4: The Final Trial TP

By Sam Humphries and Mark Russell, collecting Harley Quinn #64-69 and the Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year special, tying in to the "Year of the Villain" event.

Justice League of America: A Celebration of 60 Years HC

Includes Brave and the Bold #28 (first Silver Age appearance); Justice League of America #29-30 ("Crisis on Earth-Three with the Justice Society and Crime Syndicate), #79 ("Come Slowly Death, Come Slyly!"), #140 ("No Man Escapes The Manhunter!"), #144 ("The Origin of the Justice League – Minus One!"), and #200 ("A League Divided"); Justice League of America Annual #2 (Aquaman launches Justice League Detroit), Justice League #1 (1987, by Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis), JLA #1 and #43 (Grant Morrison and Mark Waid respectively); Justice League of America #1 (2006, by Brad Meltzer); Justice League #1 (2011, by Geoff Johns), and Justice League #1 (2018, by Scott Snyder).

Justice League of America: The Nail — The Complete Collection TP

Paperback collection of Alan Davis' Elseworlds miniseries JLA: The Nail and JLA: Another Nail.

Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe Book One TP

Previously collected in three paperbacks and an omnibus, this is a longer paperback, probably requiring just two volumes to finish. Included are Just Imagine Stan Lee with Dave Gibbons Creating Green Lantern #1, Just Imagine Stan Lee with Jerry Ordway Creating JLA #1, Just Imagine Stan Lee with Jim Lee Creating Wonder Woman #1, Just Imagine Stan Lee with Joe Kubert Creating Batman #1, Just Imagine Stan Lee with John Buscema Creating Superman #1, and Just Imagine Stan Lee with Kevin Maguire Creating Flash #1.

Robin: Year One TP

New collection of the Chuck Dixon/Scott Beatty miniseries. The solicitation says this takes place after the events of Batman: Dark Victory, as I think the collection gods would desperately like this book to be associated with that bestseller, though I am relatively sure the two stories don't match up.

Superman Vol. 2: The Unity Saga: The House of El TP

Paperback, following the previous hardcover, collecting issues #7-15.

Tales of the Batman: Marv Wolfman HC

In hardcover, collecting Batman #328-335 (assorted stories and the "Lazarus Affair" four-parter), #436-439 ("Batman: Year Three"), Detective Comics #408 ("The House That Haunted Batman," with Len Wein and Neal Adams), The Brave and the Bold #167 (team up with Blackhawk), World's Finest Comics #288 (team up with Superman), and New Teen Titans #37 and Batman and the Outsiders #5 (crossover between the two titles).

Wonder Woman: The Cheetah TP

Clearly the Batman: Arkham and Flash: Rogues books must be doing well; probably no coincidence too that Cheetah's about to be in the next Wonder Woman movie. Collects Wonder Woman #6 (1943) (first appearance, Priscilla Rich), #274, #275 (1980) (first appearance, Deborah Domaine), #9 (1987) (first major appearance, Barbara Minerva), The Flash #219 (2005), Wonder Woman #214 (2005) (crossover with Flash), Justice League #13-14 (2012) (New 52 two-parter), Wonder Woman #23.1 (2013) (New 52 Villains Month issue by John Ostrander), Wonder Woman #8 (2016) (Rebirth origin by Greg Rucka). Previously listed among the contents was Who's Who in the DC Universe #4 (1990) (Priscilla Rich by Trina Robbins), but that may no longer be included.

Review: Superman: Action Comics Vol. 2: Leviathan Rising hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Brian Michael Bendis' Superman: Action Comics Vol. 2: Leviathan Rising is pretty astounding, about the best this title has been in a very, very long time. If you figure that the Superman titles were hitting the skids shortly before the New 52 came about, and then that decline continued (with occasional bright spots) through the New 52, and then the initial Rebirth run gave it a good shot but never ultimately quite came together — then Leviathan Rising's fairly straightforward and unironic use of Clark, Lois, Jimmy, and Perry is about as close to the classic days as we've seen in almost a decade.

Not to mention how well Bendis weaves in a bevy of cameos, making this Super-title feel distinctly on the front lines of the DC Universe (even despite the lead-in to a crossover event), and not to mention that Superman barely raises his fists the whole book, a throwback to Joe Casey's notable run or the "reporter first, superhero second" of ye olde Lois & Clark. For me, it doesn't get much better than what Bendis is channeling here, extended dialogue and weirdo Silver Age-y twists and all. Brian Michael Bendis is the best thing to happen to Superman in years.

Review: Deathstroke: Arkham (Vol. 6) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

In memory of Tom Spurgeon

It's been a minute since we last joined Christopher Priest's Deathstroke; I read Deathstroke Vol. 5: The Fall of Slade last December and what came out in the meantime was Priest's Batman vs. Deathstroke, a miniseries-within-a-series set outside the present action. So, as I imagined in my Fall review, Slade Wilson has been stewing a relative while when we pick up with him in Deathstroke: Arkham (the series' volume 6, as it were).

Indeed Arkham is a nice initial dip back into the Deathstroke waters. It is on the one hand a rather compact story, with Slade returning to his small padded cell at the start of every issue (depicted claustrophobically well by Fernando Pasarin and company), and the action rarely strays too far outside Arkham's walls, a change from Slade's otherwise globe-hopping adventures. On the other hand, the book is representative of Priest's Deathstroke run so far in all the best ways — dopplegangers, uncertain identities, questions of real or imagined realities, not to mention Priest's swift mid-page scene cuts.

Review: Teen Titans Vol. 2: Turn It Up trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

To some extent the newest Rebirth Teen Titans seem almost an afterthought now that Young Justice is back, given that Teen Titans is now comprised largely of newcomers and duplicative, less well-established sidekicks (why, for a certain subset of the population, would you want Robin Damian Wayne when you can have Tim Drake, or the New 52 Kid Flash when you can have Impulse?). And yet, writer Adam Glass continues to present perhaps the most viable yet of DC Comics' recent, troubled Teen Titans relaunches, working better from Marv Wolfman and George Perez's playbook than most have been able to.

There's not a real villain of note in Teen Titans Vol. 2: Turn It Up as much as this volume is mostly character- and origin-focused. From a team that at the outset seemed like it might be too "hip" for its own good, Glass has managed to find the right balance of new characters, especially, that are both irreverent and likable, and this feels like a feat in just two short volumes. With Young Justice on the rise, the waters are likely only to get choppier for Glass's title, but I came away from this volume rooting for Glass to continue.

Review: Naomi: Season One hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

I remember Damage, and I remember Anima, and Scarlett, and also Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (the movie) and Flight of the Navigator and Escape to Witch Mountain. So I have a lot of appreciation for the genre of Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker's Naomi: Season One, and it seems to me if Bendis' Wonder Comics is supposed to recapture the magic of those Damage/Anima/The Ray days, then Naomi is pitch-perfect. Not to mention the need for more new characters in the DC Universe, especially a young, female, African American character in the DC Universe, and for a book that, for the most part, is less about superheroes fighting and more about parents and children and how people in a small town relate to one another.

Review: Justice League Dark Vol. 2: Lords of Order trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Though James Tynion's Justice League Dark isn't blessed to shape the entire DC Universe in the manner of Scott Snyder's Justice League, it continues to demonstrate itself as the stronger of the two books. To say that Dark is more character-focused while League is more event-focused is a misnomer, because indeed it more often feels like the world could end any moment — and horribly — in Dark than in League proper.

What Tynion demonstrates here — building on the skills displayed with Detective Comics — is how to tell a team story with both epic scope and small character moments, and also a healthy dose of horror. That's tough to do. Justice League Dark Vol. 2: Lords of Order upholds and improves on the legacies of the Justice League Dark and Shadowpact that came before.