Review: Deathstroke Vol. 2: Lobo Hunt trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, March 31, 2014

If you want to read a book with a lot of Deathstroke in it, one of those books is Deathstoke Vol. 2: Lobo Hunt.

That's faint praise, but I don't think anyone is going into a book that starts off with four issues about Deathstroke and Lobo written and drawn by 1990s superstar Rob Liefeld and expecting to find Art Spiegelman. This not by far the worst New 52 collection I've read, nor do writers Liefeld, Joshua Williamson, and Justin Jordan do particularly badly by Deathstroke Slade Wilson, but this is certainly a collection of stories with a heavier emphasis on action than character or even plot intrigue.

And yet, while I enjoyed some parts of this trade a little more and some a little less, I was ultimately surprised at how underwhelmed I was by the whole thing. I had really been hoping for some "out there" mania, but all in all this book is relatively tame.

DC Trade Solicitations for June 2014 - Absolute Batman: Haunted Knight, Batman: Fugitive, Brightest Day Omnibus, Batman and Joker 75th Anniversary, Green Lantern Corps to paperback, Vibe

Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm still catching my breath over here from the mass of DC Comics Fall 2014 trade solicitations that came out not too long ago, and in addition, I didn't see all that much to comment on in the DC Comics June 2014 trade paperback and collections solicitations -- a lot of stuff I'm interested in, but not so much to talk about. So we'll take this one a little quicker than normal, though I'm still curious to hear what made your buying list for June.

Absolute Batman: Haunted Knight HC

This is a quick turnaround, hitting the solicitations just weeks after it was announced as part of DC's Fall 2014 lineup. To me what still puts this one over the top, aside from the great Legends of the Dark Knight specials, is the inclusion of Catwoman: When in Rome.

Animal Man Vol. 6: Flesh and Blood TP

Continues Jamie Delano's run on the "classic" Animal Man series with issues #51-63. Delano writes the title to issue #79, so they could maybe-kinda finish Delano's run with the next trade if they increased the issue count a little. Writer Jerry Prosser comes after, completing the series at issue #89.

Batman - Bruce Wayne: Fugitive (New Edition) TP

As you've no doubt heard by now, DC Comics announced plans to recall and reprint the Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer collection, which we all very much appreciate. It remains that the contents solicited for this Batman: Fugitive trade aren't correct, at the least because some of the issues solicited for this volume actually appear in the Murderer trade. I can understand that DC has to solicit their books far in advance of publication and so the solicitations may not always be accurate; I am surprised that once a book has been finalized, there's not at least a mechanism where they post the final contents on their website -- right now the website shows the same incorrect contents as the solicitation. Even so, DC has shown a dedication this week to getting their collections right, so I'm optimistic about the Fugitive trade.

Batman Unwrapped: The Court of Owls HC

Sure it's interesting that this book collects Court of Owls with uninked, uncolored pencils by Greg Capullo, but what I think is even more notable here is that it's the entirety of the "Court of Owls" saga, the Batman Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 collections, in one volume. Those of you hoping for omnibus or Absolute editions of Scott Snyder's Batman work might take this first composite edition as a sign of what's to come.

Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years HC
Joker: A Celebration of 75 Years HC

As a mostly Modern Age fan, my interest in these Batman and Joker anniversary books is in what modern issues we might find collected that haven't been collected before. In the Batman book, I notice Mike Barr's Detective #574, "My Beginning and Probable End"; also the book has one-off modern era issues by Chuck Dixon and Greg Rucka. The Joker book includes Detective #726, which was labeled as an "Aftershock" issue following Cataclysm.

Batwing Vol. 4: Welcome To The Family TP

I actually thought this title had already been canceled, but new issues are solicited at least as far as June. I haven't heard great things about the book, but its longevity makes me wonder if I'm missing something.

Birds of Prey Vol. 4: The Cruelest Cut TP
Talon Vol. 2: Fall of The Owls TP

The Birds of Prey collection includes issues #18-24, 26, and Talon #9; that Birds of Prey #25 can be found in the upcoming DC Comics:Year Zero collection, and we can probably guess other trades will similarly skip collecting that tie-in issue. The Talon collection finishes off the Talon series with issues #8-17 and Birds of Prey #21, so the Birds of Prey and Talon collections each duplicate an issue from the other.

Brightest Day Omnibus HC

I'm curious about the audience for this one, since the events of Brightest Day was one of the first victims of the New 52 relaunch. Did anyone miss Brightest Day the first time around and are picking up the omnibus now? I guess this'll probably work well, and fill in some gaps, next to the Green Lantern by Geoff Johns omnibuses when they get around to this point.

Flash Vol. 4: Reverse HC

Along with issues #20-25, this includes the Villains Month Reverse Flash issue.

Green Lantern Corps Vol. 4: Rebuild TP

Appears that with this collection and the new creative team, Green Lantern Corps has switched to paperback, as has Green Lantern: New Guardians.

Justice League of America’s Vibe Vol. 1: Breach TP

Resolicited; this collection now includes issues #1-10, the complete series. I guess with the loss of the Green Team, Teen Trillionaires trade, we really can't be sure any trade is going to "make it," though my guess is that "Justice League" in the title will keep this collection safe enough.

Nightwing Vol. 4: Second City TP
Teen Titans Vol. 4: Light and Dark TP

The Nightwing and Teen Titans books mark the second-to-last volumes for each of these series; presumably the next volume of Titans will collect seven issues, #24-30, and the Nightwing volume will collect six issues, #25-30.

Supergirl Vol. 4: Out of The Past TP

Includes Supergirl #21-26, the Action Comics/Cyborg Superman Villains Month issue, and also Superman #25, part of the "Return to Krypton" storyline (remains to be seen if this will be the whole issue or just the Supergirl parts).

Superman Vol. 4: Psi-War HC

Solicitations say this collects Superman #18-24 and Superman Annual #2. I could've sworn Action Comics #24 was also part of this -- anyone know, and anyone know how it'll read without it?

Swamp Thing By Brian K. Vaughan Vol. 2 TP

This volume, collecting issues #11-20, completes the collections of Brian Vaughan's Swamp Thing.

OK, that's what I'm thinking about. What will you be ordering for the month?

Review: Green Arrow Vol. 4: The Kill Machine trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The New 52 Green Arrow character has to this point been both billionaire playboy and costumed avenger. Though the execution has been hit or miss, the concept is interesting, a turn from the hero-disguised-as-socialite like both Batman Bruce Wayne and former iterations of Green Arrow Oliver Queen himself; here's been a hero who both enjoys his wealth and his crimefighting, instead of using one as simply a means to the other.

But this is a model that could not last, not in the least because it flies in the face of conventional superheroics, but also because of the juggernaut Arrow television series that takes more the tone of Mike Grell's post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Green Arrow series than Ann Nocenti's recent run. And so a creative dream-team of Animal Man's Jeff Lemire and I, Vampire's Andrea Sorrentino take over with the newest volume, Green Arrow Vol. 4: The Kill Machine.

DC Comics to recall, reprint Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer new edition printing

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Last week Collected Editions reader Kirk Kiefer (Tumblr) posted online that the new edition of the Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer trade lacked issues and had other misprints. In an email exchange, Dan DiDio replied to Kirk that DC would be"taking steps to recall and correct the Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer collection." Today this message went out to comics shops:
Retailers, DC Entertainment has learned that the BATMAN: BRUCE WAYNE: MURDERER? TP NEW EDITION was printed with errors. DC is currently prepping new, corrected copies of this title that will include DETECTIVE COMICS #768 and BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #29. In addition, the running order of the contents will be corrected and the table of contents will be updated. DC asks that you destroy all copies of this title currently in stock, and that you accept returned copies from your customers.
Excellent, excellent news. I think we all owe Kirk a round of applause for bringing this to light in the first place, and also we have to acknowledge that it's exceptionally classy for DC to so quickly appreciate the problem and get it corrected. Corrected version is currently scheduled to be in stores May 14. Batman: Murderer/Fugitive is a good Bat-verse collection, and I'm pleased there will indeed be definitive versions of the trades.

Review: Cyber Force: Tin Men of War trade paperback (Top Cow/Image Comics)

[Review by Doug Glassman, who Tumblrs at '80s Marvel Rocks!]

Picking which “classic” Image book to review has been one of the most difficult things I’ve done for Collected Editions. I specifically wanted to review a book which tied into Deathmate, which removed half of Image’s creators from consideration. I reviewed a WildC.A.Ts story not too long ago in Stormwatch: Final Orbit and the wasted potential of Grifter makes it too depressing to read the old version. Linkara has already taken apart the first issues of Youngblood in a more thorough manner than I ever could; Brigade doesn’t exist in trade form, thank God. I was all set to review the first Gen13 trade, but Deathmate was actually their first appearance, plus I want to contrast that with Gail Simone’s version in a later review. That left Cyber Force (or Cyberforce, I’ve seen it parsed both ways) as the default option.

Review: Green Arrow Vol. 3: Harrow trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, March 24, 2014

I started reading Green Arrow Vol. 3: Harrow with surprising optimism. I hadn't initially enjoyed Ann Nocenti's Green Arrow Vol. 2: Triple Threat, finding it too flip and scattered; in the interim, however, I read Nocenti's Catwoman Vol. 3: Death of the Family, and came to understand that scattered, at least, seems to be the charm of Nocenti's writing style. Armed with better expectations, I read Triple Threat again and enjoyed it more (if not "entirely"), especially Nocenti's "royal screw-up with a kind heart" Green Arrow. My hope was those good feelings would carry over to the third volume.

Unfortunately, in this oddly-shaped third volume Nocenti only really gets two issues to herself (plus the Hawkman: Wanted crossover issue), and if I was on the fence about Nocenti's scattershot aesthetic in Greeen Arrow, Harrow pushes me to the unfavorable side. One too many absurd or nonsensical moments spoiled the book for me. Also Nocenti loses artist Harvey Tolibao in this volume, replaced with Freddie Williams; whereas Tolibao's art had a smoothness that made some of Triple Threats bizarre moments more realistic, Williams offers all-out wacky cartoonyness that makes the silly parts seem even sillier. This book is a far cry from Mike Grell's Green Arrow and the Arrow TV show, as evidenced by a certain cameo at the end of this book and the switch to a new creative team with the next volume.

Trade Perspectives: New Batman: Murderer trade contents not what were solicited

Saturday, March 22, 2014

UPDATE (2): DC Comics has issued a recall for this collection.

I consider the Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer/Fugitive collections a pretty seminal part of DC Comics trade history. These four total books were something of an experiment in which DC cut-and-pasted the relevant parts of a Batman crossover together (omitting irrelevant individual series stuff), such to make a sort of collage graphic novel. At a time when not every comic automatically went to trade, this kind of mixing and matching of tie-ins into a collective whole was revolutionary (though in reading it was a bit disjointed).

However, there were a number of comics left out of these trades for various reasons. Some weren't specifically labeled as tie-ins, but since the event affected the general status quo of the whole Batman line, most everything spoke to Murderer/Fugitive, even if in minor ways. One of the most notable was Batman #604, which served as a turning point in Fugitive but wasn't included in the trades.

Review: Criminal Vol. 6: Last of the Innocent trade paperback (Marvel Comics)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

[Guest reviewer Zach King blogs about movies as The Cinema King]

I've thoroughly enjoyed the past five trades in the Criminal series, so there's an air of the bittersweet to my encounter with the final (for now) volume in the series. Criminal Vol. 6: The Last of the Innocent is a bit of an oddball as endings go, setting aside most of the Center City trappings that have been the hallmark of the series. Instead of a densely interconnected entry in a larger web of stories, The Last of the Innocent is a largely insular volume in the best standalone tradition, tonally different from the five volumes that preceded it.

But that difference, as has been the case throughout my reading of the series, works in the book's favor; rather than fit comfortably into a particular niche -- highly original though that niche may be -- Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips team up one more time for a trade that is an engaging read and a powerful examination of themes that Criminal has flirted with but never fully confronted.

Review: X-O Manowar: Retribution paperback (Valiant Entertainment)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

[Review by Doug Glassman, who Tumblrs at '80s Marvel Rocks!]

When exploring the rise, fall and resurrection of the Valiant characters, one of the natural places to start is X-O Manowar. As much as I enjoy Archer & Armstrong, very little of its original run is collected affordably, while X-O Manowar: Retribution clogs comic book store shelves and vendor bins to this day. Some copies even come with a free copy of the X-O Database, an Iron Manual-style guide to the armored hero. The Retribution trade was published a few years into the title’s run, as evidenced by a two-page spread in the middle featuring all the characters who had appeared in the title so far. These include bionic dinosaurs who sadly don’t make an appearance here.

Review: Savage Hawkman Vol. 2: Wanted trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Savage Hawkman Vol. 2: Wanted is the second I'm reviewing in what one might call the "Liefeld trilogy," those books that Rob Liefeld inherited from previous creative teams and that, for a short moment until Liefeld left DC with much hoopla, comprised essentially their own Liefeld corner of the DC Universe. (The first being Grifter Vol. 2, the next being Deathstroke Vol. 2: Lobo Hunt.)

Hawkman is not high art by any stretch, but it's a better book from Liefeld and company than Grifter was. At thirteen issues for twenty dollars, it's a thick book with a lot of value for your dollar, at least in terms of story pages (when something isn't good, the sheer fact of their being a lot of it sometimes mitigates this, for better or worse).

Nightwing by Dixon, Absolute Batman Inc, Green Lantern by Johns, Zero Year and Five Years Later Omnibuses, Death of the Family Mask, Gordon of Gotham, Showcase Presents Blue Beetle, more in DC Fall 2014 solicitations

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring may be on its way, but it's beginning to feel a lot like the holidays with news of DC Comics's Fall 2014 trade paperback and hardcover collections. There are many, many of these, so I'm just going to list them alphabetically with commentary where applicable, but here's some highlights:

Nightwing: Bludhaven, the start of a new collection of the Chuck Dixon Nightwing series. Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Omnibus. Batman: Death of the Family Mask and Book Set (ew!). Absolute Batman Incorporated. Absolute Batman: Haunted Knight. A black-and-white reprint of Batman: The Long Halloween. Batman: Gordon of Gotham. A proper collection of Batman: Dark Night, Dark City. Secret Six Vol. 1: Villains United, the start of a new set of Secret Six collections. DC Zero Year and Five Years Later Omnibuses. More Mike Grell Green Arrow volumes, and more John Ostrander Martian Manhunter and Spectre volumes. Showcase Presents: Blue Beetle from the 1980s. A Gotham Sirens collection. A Flash (classic) Omnibus, and Flash and Teen Titans anniversary volumes. JLA Vol. 6 with Joe Kelly material. And more, and more.

[Be among the first to get news like this by following Collected Editions on Facebook and Twitter.]

All of this information is subject to change, so if you see something that doesn't quite please you, possibly it'll be fixed before publication.

Absolute Batman Incorporated

Collects the entire Batman, Inc. saga -- pre-Flashpoint, post-Flashpoint, the works. Maybe I'm naive but I'm surprised to see this so quickly after the series wrapped (though, probably best that DC struck while interest in this series is still high). Given how Batman, Inc. ultimately didn't affect the DCU that much, I'm a little sorry I didn't wait for this volume.

Absolute Batman: Haunted Knight

Not only does this collect a couple of Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale Batman specials that ultimately inspired Long Halloween and Dark Victory (and which I've enjoyed for a while), this also includes Loeb and Sale's Catwoman: When in Rome miniseries. As both a prelude and bookend to Long Halloween and Dark Victory, I'm thinking this would look good on my shelf.

Adventures of Superman Vol. 2

All Star Western Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Ame-comi Girls Vol. 3: Earth in Crisis

Animal Man Vol. 5: Evolve or Die! (The New 52)

Animal Man Vol. 7: Red Plague

Another collection of the previous 1990s Animal Man series; I'm so pleased to see DC mining this era with Animal Man and also Martian Manhunter, Spectre, Nightwing, and etc. Collects issues #64-79.

Aquaman and the Others Vol. 1

Aquaman Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Authority Vol. 2

Batgirl Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Batman - Detective Comics Vol. 5: Gothtopia (The New 52)

Collects Detective Comics #25-29, so not the tie-in chapters of "Gothtopia," but it does include the extra-sized Detective Comics #27.

Batman Adventures Vol. 1

Collects the Batman Adventures comic #1-10 by Kelley Puckett and Ty Templeton.

Batman and Robin Vol. 5: The Big Burn (The New 52)

The next Batman and Robin collection includes Batman and Robin #23.1: Two-Face, and then also issues #24-28.

Batman Arkham Asylum 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

In deluxe format for the first time, I think. There will also be a 25th anniversary paperback.

Batman Noir: The Long Halloween

In my opinion, one of the coolest things on this list is this Batman Noir: Long Halloween collection, which reprints the Long Halloween series in black and white. It's a great story to start, and reading it in black and white on nice paper sounds like a great experience.

Batman Vol. 5: Zero Year-Dark City

Collects issues #25-31. There's still some uncollected issues from between the end of Death of the Family and the beginning of Zero Year, but I'm still confident those will be collected somewhere eventually.

Batman: Blink

Collects Legends of the Dark Knight #156-158 and #164-167, written by Dwayne McDuffie and drawn by Val Semeiks.

Batman: Dark Night, Dark City

Written by Peter Milligan with art by Kieron Dwyer, the popular "Dark Night, Dark City" story inspired Grant Morrison's Batman RIP stories. We saw the three-part story (Batman #452-454) in a DC Comics Presents volume a couple years back, but now it's getting a proper collection alongside five Detective Comics issues, #629-633, also by Milligan.

Batman: Death of the Family Mask and Book Set

I understood the Batman: Night of the Owls book and mask set -- the owls wore masks, the mask was a pretty simple design, etc. But I can't even imagine what the mask of the Joker's mutilated face is going to look like, and I can't imagine wanting to put that on my own face, unless you're reenacting that Suicide Squad scene with Deadshot and Harley Quinn. Enjoy, folks.

Batman: Eternal Vol. 1

Collects issues #1-20 of the weekly series.

Batman: Gordon of Gotham

Collects a couple of Commissioner Gordon-focused miniseries from the late 1990s: Batman: Gordon of Gotham, Batman: GCPD, and Batman: Gordon's Law, written by Dennis O'Neil and Chuck Dixon. I think we can credit a certain upcoming show for this one.

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Vol. 3

Batman: The Dark Knight Unwrapped: David Finch

Collects David Finch's work from the pre- and post-Flashpoint Batman: Dark Knight series in black and white, plus the Batman: The Return one-shot.

Batman/Superman Vol. 2 (The New 52)

Batwing Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Batwoman Vol. 5: Webs (The New 52)

Birds of Prey Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Catwoman Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Constantine Vol. 3 (The New 52)

DC Comics - The New 52: Five Years Later Omnibus
DC Comics: Zero Year (The New 52)

Two new omnibuses on their way: one collects the upcoming September 2014 Five Years Later event (following Villains Month, Zero Month, and so on); the other collects the issue #25 tie-ins to Batman's Zero Year, including Action Comics, Flash, and etc.

DC Universe Vs. Masters of the Universe

DC: The New Frontier

A paperback collection of Darwyn Cooke's DC: New Frontier, including the Justice League: The New Frontier special that was not collected in the Absolute edition.


Dream State: The Collected Dreaming Covers
Dust Covers: The Collected Sandman Covers

These two books collect the Dreaming and Sandman covers, (obviously) with commentary by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean.

Earth 2 Vol. 4: The Dark Age (The New 52)

Flash Omnibus Vol. 1

Flash Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Flash: A Celebration of 75 years

In time for the Flash's 75th anniversary, the omnibus collects Showcase #4, 8, 13, and 14 and Flash #105-132, going along with the classic Green Lantern Omnibus released not too long ago (not a Flash by Waid omnibus, sorry). No word yet on the contents of the 75 Years volume.

Forever Evil
Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. (The New 52)
Forever Evil: Arkham War (The New 52)
Forever Evil: Blight
Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion (The New 52)

Collecting the various Forever Evil miniseries. The Arkham War book includes Batman #23.4: Bane, Detective Comics #23.3: Scarecrow, and Batman and Robin #23.1: Two-Face, along with the miniseries. Rogues Rebellion includes the Flash villain issues #23.1: Grodd and 23.3: Rogues (Flash #23.2: Reverse-Flash is in the Flash Vol. 4: Reverse collection).

Gotham City Sirens Book One

This is a strange one, but Paul Dini, Tony Bedard, and Guillem March's Gotham City Sirens collection gets a new collection of issues #1-13. I think Final Crisis, Flashpoint, etc. overshadowed it, but at some point there was an interesting corner of the Bat-verse between Sirens, Detective Comics, and Streets of Gotham; if DC was going to reprint all of those, I might take a look.

Green Arrow Vol. 2: Here There Be Dragons

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who went out and voted with their wallets for the new collections of Mike Grell's 1980s Green Arrow series. We get a second collection, issues #7-12.

Green Arrow Vol. 5: The Outsiders War (The New 52)

Green Lantern by Geoff Johns Omnibus Vol. 1

You knew this would come around one of these days -- beginning an omnibus collection set of Geoff Johns's Green Lantern work. This one appears to collect Rebirth and Green Lantern issues #1-25, Green Lantern Corps #1-5, and some extras and specials -- so basically the beginning up through Sinestro Corps War. I know this description omits the Green Lantern Corps issues of Sinestro Corps War; let's wait and see if those don't end up in there after all.

Green Lantern Corps Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Green Lantern Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Green Lantern: New Guardians Vol. 5: God Killers (The New 52)

Harley Quinn Vol. 1

Harley Quinn: Vengeance Unlimited

The next and final collection of the 2000s Harley Quinn series, finishing it up with issues #26-38.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Vol. 4

JLA Vol. 6

The paperback JLA collections continue, with what I thought was a superlative run on JLA by Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke. This volume collects issues #61-76, so from the beginning of Kelly's run through "The Obsidian Age"; there's still fifteen or so issues for a follow-up volume, maybe also with some JL Elite material.

JSA Omnibus Vol. 2

Finishes up Geoff Johns's run on JSA with issues #26-81. Indeed this does not collect the Paul Levitz issues, #82-87, that closed out the series, but I wouldn't say those were that notable; DC could maybe collect those, Johns's Justice Society of America series that followed, JSA All-Stars, and JSA Presents, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Justice League 3000 Vol. 1: Yesterday Lives

Justice League Beyond: Power Struggle

Justice League Dark Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Justice League of America Vol. 2

Justice League Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Larfleeze Vol. 2 (The New 52)

Martian Manhunter: Rings of Saturn

Thank you, thank you, thank you a second time for buying enough copies of the first John Ostrander/Tom Mandrake Martian Manhunter collection that DC has now solicited a second one. Collects issues #10-17 -- pre-order as soon as you can.

Movement Vol. 2 (The New 52)

The concluding collection of Gail Simone's Movement.

New Teen Titans Vol. 1

This collects DC Comics Presents #23 and New Teen Titans #1-8. Because this is likely being published solely because of the 50th anniversary celebration (see farther down), I wouldn't get too excited that this is going to lead to a string of "complete" Titans trades, much as I might like that.

Nightwing Vol. 1: Bludhaven

The collection that will probably make most of our regular readers the most happy, it's a new set of Nightwing collections; this one collects the post-Prodigal miniseries by Dennis O'Neil, and then the first eight issues of Chuck Dixon's Nightwing series. I would love, love, love to see this collection series continue and fill in the big gap of uncollected Nightwing material -- this is another one to pre-order.

Nightwing Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Red Lanterns Vol. 5: Red Daughter of Krypton (The New 52)

Collects the Green Lantern/Red Lantern #28 flipbook, Red Lanterns #27 and #29-31, and also Supergirl #28-30. The fifth Supergirl collection only inclues issues up to #25, so it remains to be seen if Supergirl Vol. 6 will duplicate some of these contents or not.

Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition

So you know, looks like the first collection of Sandman: Overture drops in March 2015.

Scooby-Doo Team-Up

Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination

Secret Origins Vol. 1

Secret Six Vol. 1: Villains United

It took me a while to get in to Gail Simone's Secret Six, but by the end I absolutely loved it. I don't think most realize how psychologically complex (and socially progressive) the series is, and I've yet to see something else like it from DC since. This new collection of trades under the Secret Six banner, collecting the Infinite Crisis/Villains United specials to start, shows the series hasn't been forgotten by DC, either.

Showcase Presents Unknown Soldier Vol. 2
Showcase Presents: Batman Vol. 6
Showcase Presents: Blue Beetle
Showcase Presents: Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew
Showcase Presents: The Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 5

Chiefly I'm interested here in the Blue Beetle collection, which collects the entirety of Len Wein's 1980s Ted Kord/Blue Beetle series (only too bad it's not in color).

Sinestro Vol. 1

Smallville Season 11 Vol. 5: Olympus

Spectre Vol. 2: Wrath of God

Thank you, thank you, thank you a third time for picking up the first new John Ostrander/Tom Mandrake Spectre collection; this is another one I've wanted to see collected for a while. The third volume includes issues #13-22, including Phantom Stranger, Etrigan the Demon, John Constantine, Eclipso, and Superman.

Suicide Squad Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Superboy Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Supergirl Vol. 5: Out of the Past (The New 52)

Superman - Action Comics Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Superman for All Seasons Deluxe Edition

I really like this Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale story of Clark Kent in Smallville, and I'm rather surprised to see it doesn't have a deluxe edition already.

Superman Unchained Vol. 1 (The New 52)

Superman Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Superman: Return to Krypton (The New 52)

Superman: The Power Within

This is an odd one, but taken from the same era as the recent Superman: Dark Knight Over Metropolis collection, so I'm glad to see it coming out. It collects Superman stories from Action Comics Weekly #601-641, and then what seems to be one or two parts of "The Sinbad Contract" storyline that saw Superman and Lex Luthor vying over a Middle Eastern boy with super-powers (his ethnicity wasn't a major factor in the story, but later Chris Roberson would want to use Sinbad in Superman: Grounded but the issue was yanked by DC). I'm pretty sure the tie in all of this is that they're all written by Roger Stern and drawn by classic Superman artist Curt Swan.

Superman/Batman Vol. 2

Superman/Wonder Woman Vol. 1

Swamp Thing Vol. 5: The Killing Field (The New 52)

Tales of the Batman: Len Wein

Teen Titans Vol. 5: The Trial of Kid Flash (The New 52)

Teen Titans: A Celebration of 50 Years

No word on the contents yet, but I'd be curious to see if the latest New 52 incarnation gets a nod or not.

Trinity of Sin - Phantom Stranger Vol. 3: The Crack in Creation (The New 52)

Trinity of Sin: Pandora Vol. 2 (The New 52)

Wonder Woman Vol. 5 (The New 52)

Worlds' Finest Vol. 4 (The New 52)

Well, I'm exhausted. You? Congrats to everyone who's been waiting years for new Chuck Dixon/Nightwing collections. What's at the top of your pre-order list?

Review: Wonder Woman Vol. 4: War hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A preponderance of Cliff Chiang's artwork buoys this fourth volume of Brian Azzarello's Wonder Woman, especially as the story moves to some more exotic DC Universe locales. But despite some nice character interaction, the plot that binds Wonder Woman Vol. 4: War is rather thin. The conclusion of this book would seem to be the point to which Azzarello was traveling all along, and while it portends an interesting story to come, I'm not convinced it required four volumes to get there.

[Review contains spoilers]

The fourth Wonder Woman volume mainly involves the Olympian gods trying (once again) to steal the baby under Diana's protection, before Diana's band encounters and fights the big bad First Born, retreats, then returns to fight the First Born again. There is not much to it, and everywhere there are echoes of elements already seen in these books -- the First Born fights Poseidon again at the beginning of this volume, when he already fought Poseidon at the end of the last volume, which was itself reminiscent of Diana's battle with Poseidon in the first book. Diana fights Artemis again, just like she did before; the climax of the book is a fight between the same characters split into two parts. The danger in a story as long as Azzarello's is repeating oneself, and that's a present danger here.

Review: Black Beetle Vol. 1: No Way Out hardcover (Dark Horse Comics)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's the first-ever Collected Editions Co-Review! In a co-review, another reviewer and I read the same book and the "review" is our discussion about it. Today, Collected Editions contributor Doug Glassman ('80s Marvel Rocks!) joins me for a look at Francesco Francavilla's new Dark Horse collection, Black Beetle Vol. 1: No Way Out.

Collected Editions: This may be besides the point, but one of the first things that struck me in reading Black Beetle Vol. 1: No Way Out, as alluded to in Darwyn Cooke's introduction, is that after the first and second chapters (issues #0 and #1), we don't know the Black Beetle's identity. I struggled to think of another example of this in modern comicsdom, where the audience doesn't know the basic facts of the main protagonist's life early on, and I couldn't come up with any examples; heck, the New 52 even gave the Phantom Stranger an identity straightaway. Probably Francesco Francavilla is hearkening here to radio dramas like The Shadow, where the "hero" was more a force of nature than a character with his own identity.

Review: Worlds' Finest Vol. 2: Hunt and Be Hunted trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, March 10, 2014

A major DC Comics character gets his first prolonged screen-time in the New 52 at the end of Worlds' Finest Vol. 2: Hunt and Be Hunted, and seeing what happens with him, Power Girl, and Huntress next will -- Lord help me -- probably bring me back for the third volume. But while Hunt has some interesting moments, they fall amidst a mostly muddled story and way too many artists, and like the first volume this book feels like more filler than plot. Paul Levitz doesn't write a bad Power Girl and Huntress -- in fact, he writes a very good one -- but neither does he quite seem to know what to do with them.

[Review contains spoilers]

The book's first two chapters are essentially an excuse to put Huntress and Robin Damian Wayne on the same page, and they're likely the best of the book. Levitz could have gone the route of many writers when Damian guest-stars, positing Robin as a foul-mouthed kid who shows up or is shown up by the title character. Instead, Levitz digs deeper into this idea of Earth 2 as a parallel earth, to the point where Damian is nearly able to discern Huntress's origins solely by the similarities between their fighting styles during their initial tiff. The sequence is subtle and organic, and ought prove a good model for how other DC heroes might react when they finally meet their Earth 2 counterparts.

Review: Criminal Vol. 5: The Sinners trade paperback (Marvel Comics)

Thursday, March 06, 2014

[Guest reviewer Zach King blogs about movies as The Cinema King]

I've commended the Criminal series for continuing to innovate and expand the shared universe of Center City with compelling standalone stories, with the three "one-shots" in The Dead and the Dying standing out as ostensibly the high point of the series.

The back cover of Criminal Vol. 5: The Sinners recalls one of my favorite lines from Grant Morrison's The Invisibles -- "And so we return and begin again" -- when it lets us know that "CRIMINAL's most popular character, TRACY LAWLESS returns in THE SINNERS." In an era of reboots and remakes, a deviation from the highly original work being done by Criminal ought to give any comics fan pause.

Review: Archer and Armstrong Vol. 1: The Michelangelo Code trade paperback (Valiant Entertainment)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

[Review by Doug Glassman, who Tumblrs at '80s Marvel Rocks!]

For about the last year or so, I’ve been railing on DC for rebooting its characters and focusing on retelling origin stories. As a result, I feel a little hypocritical for enjoying the relaunch of Valiant Comics (now Valiant Entertainment) to the point of near-addiction. The key difference is that DC keeps throwing away potentially great concepts and titles while Valiant is using its comparatively limited resources to put together the best line-ups possible. That’s not taking purely business-related factors into account, of course. Valiant’s titles had to be rebooted due to the original company’s messy end, a situation I’ll be looking into over the next few weeks.

When assembling the initial line-up for the relaunch, the Valiant's editorial and marketing teams made some interesting choices. It was logical to bring back three of the old publisher’s biggest titles: the flagship book Harbinger, popular vigilante Bloodshot, and the one with perhaps the highest level of visibility, X-O Manowar. Putting Archer & Armstrong in as the fourth title was a bold move. While the original book was well-regarded, it was also launched later in the publisher’s life and often relied on crossovers (in fact, it launched during the first Valiant crossover, Unity). This decision has paid off as the series' first collection, Archer & Armstrong Vol. 1: The Michelangelo Code, is easily the best book of the new Valiant, followed closely by X-O Manowar and Quantum and Woody.

Review: GI Combat Vol. 1: The War That Time Forgot trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, March 03, 2014

The stories collected in one of DC Comics's final "Edge" line titles, GI Combat Vol. 1: The War That Time Forgot, seemed to me to be an attempt to grab the audience that didn't quite cotton to Men of War by telling war stories with a little more superheroics than Men of War had. "War That Time Forgot," "Unknown Soldier," and "Haunted Tank" are all war concepts with a twist, and as someone who enjoys faux reality superhero titles like Checkmate and Gotham Central, I held some optimism for GI Combat.

Even as the writers here are accomplished -- JT Krul, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, and Peter Tomasi is a good group -- GI Combat never quite emerges as a cohesive package. It is at times too flip, at times too brief; it is constantly dark and bloody; and it's also adrenaline-soaked ad nauseam. Maybe this is the aesthetic of war comics and war comics just aren't for me, but I couldn't recommend this volume.