Review: Star Trek: New Frontier: The Returned Book One ebook novel (Pocket Books)

Monday, December 28, 2015

By the end of Peter David's Star Trek: New Frontier: The Returned Book I, the in-story relevance of "returned" isn't quite clear, but the extra-story relevance certainly is. Pocket Books's new three-book New Frontier ebook series is the first New Frontier release in about four years; given New Frontier's almost twenty-year publication history, the four year gap doesn't seem quite so long comparatively, but it felt long. Moreover for a time it seemed David didn't have a contract to write more New Frontier books and that perhaps the series was done with (and with New Frontier Captain Mackenzie Calhoun having just suffered an uncommon defeat, no less!). In this way, what's "returned" here is clearly New Frontier itself.

Friday Talkback for 12-25-15

Friday, December 25, 2015

I hope you've had a great year and a happy holiday season. If you've put down the merry and fired up your computer, here's a Collected Editions open thread for your reading pleasure.

Topics of the day: What was your favorite comics (or otherwise) present this holiday? Your favorite collected comics of the year? Or anything else you want to talk about.

Health and happiness to everyone.

Review: Sinestro Vol. 1: The Demon Within trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Green Lantern universe of titles is set to contract after the next chronological series of volumes, but for the moment it expands once again with Cullen Bunn's new Sinestro series, the first issues of which are collected in Sinestro Vol. 1: The Demon Within. Bunn surely gets right the morally-ambiguous Sinestro, one of DC Comic's best villains since Geoff Johns redefined him some ten years ago. At the same time, the book ventures quickly into too-familiar territory and there's hints at times of the wrong turns that the Red Lanterns title took. Sinestro is enjoyable but I hope the current premise is just a stepping stone to something greater.

DC Trade Solicitations for March/April/May 2016 - DC/Aliens, Elseworlds Batman, Superman: Supergirl Saga, Black Lightning

Monday, December 21, 2015

It's our final solicitations look of the year with DC Comics's March/April/May 2016 DC Comics hardcover and trade paperback collection releases (posted December 2015). Ending a year of truly remarkable trade solicitations -- Wonder Woman: War of the Gods! Superman and the Justice League! Starman Omnibus Vol. 3! -- is one more, a collection I didn't think DC would ever release, Superman: Man of Steel Vol. 9. More on that below; there's also more details on the first of these cool Elseworlds collections DC is releasing, a DC/Dark Horse Aliens collection, Tony Isabella's Black Lightning, John Ostrander's Suicide Squad and more. Read on ...

DC Comics/Dark Horse: Aliens TP

A collection begging for Doug Glassman to review, this apparently collects the DC Comics/Dark Horse crossovers Batman/Aliens, Batman/Aliens 2 (supposedly just the first two issues of each, but I'm sure it's both), and WildCATS/Aliens. There's no Vol. 1 listing here to suggest a Vol. 2, though there's two Superman/Aliens stories that could still be collected plus Green Lantern/Aliens, and Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predator, though most of not all of this has been collected before. Notable here is the WildCATS story, which bridged Stormwatch and Authority, which was excluded from the recent Stormwatch hardcover but was collected in previous Stormwatch volumes.

Elseworlds: Batman Vol. 1 TP

Said to collect Batman: Holy Terror (the first Elseworld labeled as such, an alternate history in which America remains under British rule), Batman: Dark Allegiances (Batman before World War II, by Howard Chaykin), Batman: Dark Joker – The Wild (fantasy setting by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones), Batman: In Darkest Knight (Batman/Green Lantern mash-up by Mike Barr) and Robin 3000. And more?

Superman: The Man of Steel Vol. 9 TP

For a very long time I didn't think these Superman stories would ever be collected; just my supposition, but one good thing to come out of the Man of Steel movie is I think it freed DC to bring these out. This is Superman #19-22 and Adventures of Superman #441-444, the "Supergirl Saga," in which Superman meets Supergirl (later Matrix) on a parallel earth and has a significant run-in with General Zod, leading eventually to the "Exile" storyline.

This collection also has appearances by the Doom Patrol, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and Psi-Phon and Dreadnaught, an annual with the Guardian and the Newsboy Legion, and a short story that, progressive for its time, addresses Maggie Sawyer's sexuality.

This collects the end of John Byrne's run on Superman, so inasmuch as this collection might have been in doubt, it'll be interesting to see if there's another. This would be a "good" stopping place for this series (but I hope they won't); if it continues, sky's the limit as to how far into the post-Crisis Superman era this could collect.

Superman: Sacrifice [New Edition] TP

I had wondered why DC was reprinting this, a good story but significantly of its time; however, the solicitation line "The story that forever altered the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman" might be the hook, between their current DCU relationship and also the Dawn of Justice movie. Contents appear the same as the original printing.

Suicide Squad Vol. 3: Rogues TP

Not that I'm not excited about this latest John Ostrander Suicide Squad collection -- issues #17-25 and the first annual -- but I'm equally excited to see this collection series succeed so that we get the rumored Suicide Squad Vol. 4 collection that includes the "Janus Directive" crossover with Checkmate, Manhunter, Captain Atom, and Firestorm. Included in this volume is an Invasion! tie-in issue.

Nightwing Vol. 4: Love and Bullets TP

What had been Nightwing Vol. 3: Love and Bullets in the original collections is now Vol. 4 (with the addition of the miniseries and such back at the beginning), and the contents here span the original Vol. 3-Vol. 4. We also get the DC One Million issue, the first time it's been collected outside the big omnibus.

Secret Six Vol. 4: Caution to the Wind TP

This new collection of Gail Simone's original Secret Six series spans Vol. 3, Reptile Brain, and Vol. 4, Darkest House, with the Action Comics and Blackest Night tie-in Doom Patrol issues, finishing out the series.

Black Lightning TP

As part of renewed relations between Tony Isabella and DC Comics, this is all the issues of the original 1970s Black Lightning series, plus the Cancelled Comic Cavalcade issue.

Flash by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar TP

Collects the two previous collections Flash: Emergency Stop and Flash: The Human Race, but it includes this time the other parts of the "Three of a Kind" crossover with the Green Lantern and Green Arrow series of that time. Not mentioned is Grant Morrison's Secret Origins story that was previously in Human Race.

Gotham by Midnight Vol. 2: Rest in Peace TP

Collects the final issues and first annual of the Ray Fawkes series, as well as the preview story from Convergence: Catwoman.

Green Lantern Corps: The Lost Army TP

The six-issue miniseries by Cullen Bunn and Jesus Saiz, precursor to Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion.

Invasion! [New Edition] TP

Equally hard to place why there's a "new edition" (as opposed to just a reprint) of the DC mega-crossover Invasion! by Keith Giffen (with some art by Todd McFarlane), but neither am I complaining that it's still in print. The book does include appearances by the currently-popular Omega Men, come to think of it.

Lobo Vol. 2: Beware His Might TP

This is said to only include Cullen Bunn's Lobo #7-9, the annual, and the preview story from Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax, though that seems like not a lot of issues. These issues are related to Sinestro, but maybe not specifically a crossover, so it's hard to say if maybe some of those will be slotted in here.

Wonder Woman Vol. 8: A Twist of Fate HC

Collects issues #41-47 of the Meredith Finch series.

As 2015 comes to a close ... what's on your to-buy list for this month? Your holiday wish list? Safe and happy and all best!

Review: Batman/Superman Vol. 4: Siege hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Batman/Superman Vol. 4: Siege takes place in the shadow of the recent Superdoom event. While titles like Superman immediately moved on from the chaotic crossover, Siege sits with it a bit and offers the crossover a little context (before, of course, most of the Super- and Bat-titles move on to a new status quo post-Convergence). In this way, writer Greg Pak pens a Superman story that bridges, even, what's happening in Geoff Johns's Superman: Men of Tomorrow, and checks in one more time with the Super-universe before everything changes again.

Review: Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 1: Vader trade paperback (Marvel Comics)

Monday, December 14, 2015

I stated earlier that the best part of Jason Aaron's Star Wars Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes was the Luke material, but that overlooks the other side of that coin -- the best part is the parallel Luke and Darth Vader material. And indeed Kieron Gillen's Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 1: Vader, collecting the first issues of that series running parallel to Aaron's, is the better of the two. Whereas Aaron tells a functional but familiar Star Wars story, Gillen's is atmospheric and expansive, including a moment at the end that all but recontextualizes Darth Vader all the way through to the end of Return of the Jedi. That's no easy feat, and it marks Gillen's Vader as one worth watching.

Review: Harley Quinn Vol. 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Either Harley Quinn's getting funnier or, more likely, it was funny all along and I'm getting better attuned to its humor. After a rough first volume, I liked Harley Quinn Vol. 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab a lot, and in different ways than I did the second volume (probably closer to the authors' intentions). Harley isn't laugh-out-loud funny so much as the puns are occasionally happily groan-worthy, and in her misadventures there's a certain joy simply in watching Harley run around like a Looney Tune. That might not be my everyday fare, but set as it is in the DC Universe (and featuring a Batman appearance, this time), it's a refreshing change of pace.

Entry Plug: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Vol. 2: Garma hardcover review (Vertical)

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

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

Franchises rise and fall as the years go on. With Transformers in a bit of a slump in various departments (with the exception of some of the comics), my attention turned back to another giant robot series from long ago. I was a big fan of Gundam Wing back in the early 2000s. My return to Gundam coincides with the debut of the fantastic Iron-Blooded Orphans anime and news of several other animated projects. One of these is an adaptation of several chapters of the highly-regarded Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin manga. Over the past few years, the entire series has been published in hardcover form, a rare publishing style known as an "Aizouban" that is closer to American comic book sentiments.

Review: Star Wars Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes trade paperback (Marvel Comics)

Monday, December 07, 2015

So much about Star Wars: The Force Awakens has captured my interest. It's not just anticipation for the movie itself but also the greater suspense of, if the movie is well-received, how much bigger the Star Wars advertising empire might grow than it already is, and if it is not well-received, what might happen to a decade's worth of future movie plans that all hinge on this one film. There's also the ways the Star Wars franchise under Disney has bravely inserted itself into efforts toward greater diversity in popular science-fiction, which will also be dealt a victory or a hindrance based on the reception of the movie.

Starman Omnibus Vol. 3 is coming, Aquaman by Geoff Johns Omnibus, DCU by Neil Gaiman, Batman Noir: Killing Joke, Supergirl digital series, Sandman Mystery Theatre, Elseworlds: Justice League, more in DC Comics Summer 2016 solicitations

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

It's DC Comics's Summer 2016 trade paperback and hardcover collections! This list is now complete and updated with my comments, barring any late-breaking additions.

We've recently seen a bunch of these listed online including Greg Rucka's Wonder Woman and Checkmate, new Suicide Squad and Elseworlds collections, Batman: Shadow of the Bat, a new edition of Superman: Panic in the Sky and others.

But now we have catalog listings for a bunch more, and they include ... a real, honest-to-gosh Starman Omnibus Vol. 3 listing! I know some of you have been waiting for that a long time. Also a "noir" (black and white) Killing Joke, an omnibus of Geoff Johns's Aquaman, the first hints of an upcoming digital series based on the Supergirl TV show, Matt Wagner's Sandman Mystery Theatre collections, Joe Kelly and company's JLA Vol. 8, Elseworlds: Justice League as well as the Superman book, DC Universe by Neil Gaiman, and still more after that! Read on!

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

Note that all of this information is subject to change before publication. Not all links may yet be functional.

UPDATE (12/4/15):

Aquaman: Sub Diego Vol. 2
Static Shock Vol. 1
Superman and the Justice League of America Vol. 2

A couple of exciting updates. Aquaman: Sub Diego Vol. 2 seems to collect issues #23-29 of that series, which is after the Will Pfiefer run (which is what I think we all thought they were collecting) and into the John Arcudi run, still set in the sunken Sub Diego. The common denominator there is art by Damian: Son of Batman's Patrick Gleason. More Gleason art is never a bad thing and a second collection is exciting when I never expected the first.

Static Shock collects issues #1-22 of the Dwayne McDuffie Milestone series, to go along with the new Icon collection. Only four issues of the original Static series were ever collected, so this is also exciting; included here are parts of the "Worlds Collide" Superman crossover.

Finally, we can stop speculating, there's also a Superman and the Justice League Vol. 2 collection by Dan Jurgens, said to include issues #69-77. This goes through the Justice League parts and into a fairly frightening, alternate reality story ahead of its time; I'm pleased and impressed to see these good stories collected even though Superman's not "there."

End update ...

52 Book 1

Issues #1-26, whereas the first paperback collected issues #1-13, so this would seem to be a new collection of 52 in two volumes instead of four.

Absolute Preacher Vol. 1

All-Star Section Eight

American Vampire Vol. 8

Aquaman By Geoff Johns Omnibus

There was previously a solicitation for an Aquaman by Geoff Johns deluxe edition, which was then cancelled ("deluxe" being a larger size hardcover; "omnibus" usually denoting a whole slew of issues). The issues listed for this one, just like that one, are Aquaman #0-16, Justice League #14-16, which goes through "Throne of Atlantis" but omits #17-25, "Death of a King." I would think, especially for an omnibus, that this will end up collecting all the Johns issues.

Arrow Season 2.5 Vol. 2

Astro City Vol. 13

Batgirl Vol. 3

Batgirl: Cassandra Cain Vol. 2

I acknowledge this is a head-scratcher because Vol. 1 in these reprints of the Kelley Puckett series seems to have just been cancelled. If released, this is supposed to collect issues #13-25, of which issues #15, #16, #21 (a "Joker's Last Laugh" tie-in) have never before been collected.

Batman & Robin Eternal Volume 2

Batman Arkham Vol. 4: Killer Croc

So, so curious what will be in this. No word so far.

Batman Noir: The Killing Joke

A black and white printing of Killing Joke sounds like a cool and scary read to me. Includes the graphic novel and a story from Batman: Black and White.

Batman: Arkham Knight Vol. 2

Batman: Arkham Knight Vol. 3

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 7

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 8

Batman: Earth One Vol. 2

Batman: New Gotham

Said to be Greg Rucka's Detective Comics #742-753, which includes all the previously-released Evolution plus a Poison Ivy story, though this is not even close to all of Rucka's Detective work. If you don't know, this is Rucka's run with Shawn Martinbrough using distinct, muted color palettes -- a great read, a visual treat, and it sets the groundwork for both Checkmate and Gotham Central.

Batman: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 2

Batman: The Golden Age Vol. 1

Batman/Superman Vol. 4

Batman/Superman Vol. 5

Pairs the "DC You" Superman with the new armored Batman, by Greg Pak and Adrian Syaf.

Batman/TMNT Vol. 1

Best of Looney Tunes Vol. 1

Best of Vixen

Checkmate By Greg Rucka Vol. 1

Said to collect Rucka's Checkmate #1-12, which goes right up to the crossover with Judd Winick's Outsiders. Rucka's run (with Eric Trautmann) goes to issue #24 and the start is as good as the finish, so I'm hopeful for a volume 2.

Clean Room Vol. 1

Constantine: The Hellblazer Vol. 2

Daring Adventures of Supergirl Vol. 1

Said to be issues #1-12 of the 1980s series. That book went to issue #23 before Crisis on Infinite Earths (retitled just Supergirl after issue #12), so I'm hopeful there's another collection to follow.

Dark Night: A True Batman Story

The autobiographical graphic novel by Paul Dini coming from Vertigo.

DC Super Hero Girls

DC Universe By Neil Gaiman

Said to include Batman #686 and Detective Comics #853, the Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader stories, plus selections from Secret Origins and Batman: Black and White (also included in the Caped collection), as well as Green Lantern/Superman: Legend Of The Green Flame and a story from Wednesday Comics (shrunk down?).

DC: The New Frontier

Demon: The Longest Day

Issues #49-58 of the Garth Ennis run, with, the solicitation promises, lots of Hitman appearances.

DMZ Book Two

Doom Patrol Book Two

Collects Grant Morrison's previous Doom Patrol collections "Down Paradise Way" and "Musclebound," issues #35-50.

Elseworlds: Justice League Vol. 1

No contents listed but the cover (subject to change) suggests Justice Riders, at the least.

Elseworlds: Superman Vol. 1

Again, no contents listed, but here's the description: "Reimagined with different histories and in different settings, these alternate reality tales see Superman take up Batman’s mantle and a cyberpunk Man of Steel." That's Speeding Bullets, at least (one of my personal favorites); can anyone place the other?

Flash Vol. 7

Flash Vol. 8

Flash: Season Zero Vol. 2

Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Gary Frank

Grayson Vol. 3

Green Arrow Vol. 8

Green Arrow: A Celebration of 75 Years

Green Lantern: The Silver Age Vol. 1

Green Lantern/Green Arrow Vol. 2

Harley Quinn Book & Mask Set

A Harley Quinn ... mask? And now I totally want a Harley Quinn/The Mask crossover.

Harley Quinn Vol. 3

Harley Quinn Vol. 4

Icon Vol. 1

Said to be issues #1-21, which includes the Icon parts of the Superman crossover "Worlds Collide." Which will read kind of weird without the other parts, but I'll take it. The only other Icon collection went to issue #8, so this is a big one, and another collection of this size could capture the rest of the series, which ended at issue #42.

Injustice Gods Among Us Year Four Volume 1

Injustice Gods Among Us Year Four Volume 2

Jacked Vol. 1

JLA Vol. 8

Said to be issues #94-106, so Chris Claremont, John Byrne, and Jerry Ordway's Tenth Circle, and Chuck Austen's Pain of the Gods (which I liked even though I don't think anyone else did). Also Joe Kelly, Doug Mahnke, and Tom Nguyen's JLA #100, which pits the JLA against the Elite and lead into Kelly's Justice League Elite miniseries, though I don't as yet see that that's in here.

John Constantine: Hellblazer Vol. 14

Justice League of America Vol. 1

Justice League United Vol. 3

Justice League Vol. 8: Darkseid War Part 2

Legends 30th Anniversary Edition

Appears for the moment just to be the John Ostrander/John Byrne crossover miniseries and no extra issues, which is fine but one can dream.

Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Vol. 3

Lucifer Vol. 1

New Romancer Vol. 1

New Suicide Squad Volume 3

New Teen Titans Vol. 5

For those keeping track of how far these New Teen Titans paperbacks collect, this is up to issue #34, in the Terra Incognito period and still well within what's already been collected.

Northlanders Book 1

Omega Men: The Complete Series

The Tom King miniseries.

Prez: The First Teen President

Said to collect "all the appearances of Prez since his 1973 debut," including Neil Gaiman's Sandman #54, Ed Brubaker's Vertigo Visions: Prez, the first issue of Frank Miller's Dark Knight Strikes Again, a story from Cancelled Comics Cavalcade, and Supergirl #10.

Red Thorn Vol. 1

Robin Vol. 3

Said to collect Chuck Dixon's regular series Robin #1-6 and the Annuals #1-2. There's a crossover here with Showcase '94 and I'd be surprised if those issues weren't in there, too. The annuals are an Eclipso: The Darkness Within tie-in (!) and a Bloodlines tie in (!!).

Roots of the Swamp Thing Vol. 2

Sandman Mystery Theatre Book 1

A new collections run of the series, said to start with issues #1-12, so that would be previous collections The Tarantula and The Face and the Brute.

Scalped Deluxe Edition Book Five

Shadow of the Bat Vol. 1

Said to be issues #1-12 of the series, so that's the previously collected #1-4, "Last Arkham," and ends a couple issues before Knightfall starts.

Slash & Burn Vol. 1

Starman Omnibus Vol. 3

I didn't want to get too excited about the resurrection of the previously-cancelled Starman Omnibus Vol. 3 until it looked more official ... but now it's looking more official. Solicited contents are right in line with what was in the Vol. 3 omnibus hardcover. I don't have to tell you to pre-order if you don't want to get stuck in the exact same position with volume 4.

Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot

Suicide Squad Vol. 4

Very exciting, if the John Ostrander Suicide Squad collections keep coming out to this point, this one will include all the issues of the Janus Directive crossover: Checkmate #15-18, Suicide Squad #27-30, Manhunter #14, Firestorm #86, and Captain Atom #30.

Suicide Squad: The Silver Age

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures of the 8th Grade (New Edition)

Supergirl: Digital First Vol. 1

No information on writers yet, but I'm hoping for at least some stories by former Supergirl scribe Sterling Gates, who also wrote for the Flash: Season Zero digital comic.

Superman - Action Comics Vol. 7

Superman - Action Comics Vol. 8

Superman: American Alien

The collection of the Max Landis series.

Superman: Lois & Clark

Superman: Panic in the Sky (New Edition)

No contents additions, it doesn't seem, but this remains one of my favorite "Triangle Titles" stories, in which almost all the DC Universe heroes of the time appear without this being the big multi-title affair it would be now. Leads into the recently-solicited Superman and the Justice League collection by Dan Jurgens.

Superman: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 2

Superman/Wonder Woman Vol. 3

Superman/Wonder Woman Vol. 4

Swamp Thing Vol. 3: Trial By Fire

Collects Mark Millar's issues #161-171. It's a little hard to keep up with all these Swamp Thing collections but I don't think this material has ever been collected before.

Teen Titans: Earth One Vol. 2

Jeff Lemire's first Teen Titans: Earth One volume was great, but the whole story was prologue to the real action getting underway. The description sounds very exciting: "Picking right up after the cliffhanger ending to the first volume, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Terra and Aqualad are in desperate straits -- they’re homeless, destitute, and on the run from Cadmus ... Unfortunately, Cadmus has more surprises up its sleeve ... and a whole new set of teenage weapons, with none of the bothersome morals of the originals!"

Telos Vol. 1

Titans Hunt Vol. 1

Unfollow Vol. 1

Wonder Woman '77 Vol. 1

Wonder Woman By George Perez Vol. 1

There had been a solicitation for a second Wonder Woman by George Perez omnibus, collecting previously uncollected material, that now seems to have disappeared. This paperback volume is said to collect issues #1-14, so short of the issues #1-24 in the first omnibus. We can hope maybe this paperback series will eventually get to uncollected material, but it'll be a while.

Wonder Woman By Greg Rucka Vol. 1

Said to collect Rucka's Wonder Woman issues #195-#213, which is Down to Earth, Bitter Rivals, and Eyes of the Gorgon. Rucka's whole run goes to issue #226, so one more volume should do it. Wonder Woman meets West Wing; this is one of my favorite total runs and highly recommended.

Y: The Last Man Book Five

I know you're all excited for that Starman book. What else grabs your attention on the list? Sound off in the comments and let me know!

Review: Avengers: Ultron Forever trade paperback (Marvel Comics)

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

For a mini-series thoroughly rooted in Marvel history and trivia, Al Ewing and Alan Davis's Avengers: Ultron Forever was in a sense an outreach to new fans. It was released to coincide with the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie and features familiar faces from the films, but moreover, it was also separate from Secret Wars. By moving it out of time and space, Ewing was able to tell the story he wanted while the rest of the Marvel universe exploded. At the same time, Doctor Doom does feature as a major villain, and his plans seem vaguely similar to Secret Wars's events. The release of Ultron Forever came on the fifteenth anniversary of its namesake, Avengers Forever, and it's a shame that Ewing and Davis didn't have a full twelve issues to tell their tale.

Review: Multiversity deluxe hardcover/paperback

Monday, November 30, 2015

A song gets stuck in your head. A book makes you cry. Great entertainment -- or a multiversal monster taking control of your mind?

In Final Crisis, Grant Morrison implicated the reader in the unwitting near-destruction of the multiverse due to our need for tightly-defined comics continuities. In The Multiversity, Morrison takes it a step farther, positing the reader as the ultimate villain responsible for every indignity any hero has ever faced. When Doomsday beats Superman to death or Bane breaks Batman over his knee, the superheroes have you to blame. And now they know it.

Ask Collected Editions #7: Batman: Long Halloween and the DC Timeline

Thursday, November 26, 2015

For your holiday reading, I thought I'd answer another letter from the Collected Editions mailbag. As always, if you have a question for "Ask Collected Editions," send an email to the Yahoo account or post it on the Collected Editions Facebook wall, and your question could be used in a future segment.

Reader cinemazing asks:
When I look at other timelines, specifically a Batman chronological timeline, Batman: Haunted Knight, Long Halloween and Dark Victory are fairly early in continuity as opposed to here. Why is that?

DC Trade Solicitations for February/March/April 2016 - Coloring DC, Batman: Contagion, Wonder Woman: War of the Gods, Robin War, Gotham Central Omnibus

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Scratch two items off my ultimate collections wishlist with DC Comics's February/March/April 2016 DC Comics hardcover and trade paperback collection releases (posted November 2015). This month we see Wonder Woman: War of the Gods by George Perez, the crossover collection I really never thought I'd see, and then also Superman and the Justice League of America by Dan Jurgens, a strong "Triangle Titles"-era run that I wouldn't have thought was even considered for collection. Not unusual, I question whether the contents of that latter book have been solicited 100% right, but I'm still glad to see it getting collections recognition (and more collections of Robin by Chuck Dixon, Batman: Contagion, the Gotham Central Omnibus).

But before we dive in, I want to acknowledge what seems some really good news coming from DC this month, that Grayson's Tim Seeley is joining Suicide Squad and Action Comics's Greg Pak is joining Teen Titans. Seeley and Pak are two of DC's leading writers right now, and Suicide Squad and Teen Titans are two titles that ought be among DC's highest-profile series but aren't. Both are titles that I'd all but written off after failed relaunches, and I'm very excited by the prospect of the books becoming readable again.

Now, then, did someone say "War of the Gods" ... ?

UPDATE: Two notable collections just hit the online retailers. They are:

Batman: New Gotham (Greg Rucka)
Best of Vixen

Continuing what seems like a resurgence of Greg Rucka collections from DC, "New Gotham" was the umbrella name for the Batman line after No Man's Land, but specifically the Detective Comics work that Rucka did with Shawn Martinbrough and specific color palettes for each issue. Issues #743 to #750 were collected in Batman: New Gotham Vol. 1: Evolution, but sadly most of the rest of Rucka's run (to issue #775, and including the introduction of Checkmate's Sasha Bordeaux) has not been collected. Hopefully this is is, which'll dovetail well with the listed Checkmate by Greg Rucka collection.

"Best of ..." isn't a common DC collections title, so I imagine this will change, but nice to see Vixen getting some recognition (maybe will collect some Action Comics, some Suicide Squad, some Justice League). I can't see the CW Seed series made much of a splash, but with Flash and Arrow introducing new heroes left and right, I'd be surprised if Vixen didn't make the jump to a show. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming ...

Batman: Contagion TP

As I suspected, the solicitations for what was once Batman: Legacy/Contagion continue to get themselves worked out. Here's a solicitation for Batman: Contagion that actually includes the "Contagion" issues. A fun story from when "outbreak" tales were big, the success of "Contagion" is arguably responsible for every Bat-crossover you've ever read since. The subsequent collection of Batman: Legacy isn't solicited yet; I don't want to say sales of one might influence the other, but that's not far off.

Coloring DC: Batman – Hush Vol. 1 TP
Coloring DC: Batman Adventures – Mad Love TP

If there's anyone out there who had never touched a coloring book before in their adult life who got into it via the current adult coloring book fad, I'm curious to hear what got you into it. Personally it seems to me so many different places are jumping on the coloring book bandwagon boom that I can't imagine it won't bust pretty soon. These two Batman books have considerably different artists, between the narrow spaces of Jim Lee's pencils and the wider animated ones of Bruce Timm's; equally curious what might pull a reader to choosing one versus choosing the other.

Gotham Central Omnibus HC

Reposted mainly for a signal boost at this point; a deserving book worthy of this format and no doubt you're convinced as you'll ever be by now to pick it up. I am glad this seems to indicate a resurgence of Greg Rucka collections at DC, assuming the early solicitations hold. Also this makes me miss NYPD Blue, for which there is not a good network cop show replacement.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Four Vol. 1 HC
Injustice: Gods Among Us Year One – The Complete Collection TP

I ended up liking the Injustice books that I've read more than I thought I would -- as viewed through a veil of amoral superhero fun -- and I'd venture Tom Taylor's complete Injustice: Year One wouldn't be a bad read all together. I hadn't realized Brian Buccellato is now on what's Injustice: Year Four, and that also lends some credebility to the series.

Justice League: Darkseid War – Power of The Gods HC

We see now "Darkseid War" in at least three volumes, Justice League Vols. 7 and 8 and now this collection of the specials. I'm still expecting a Darkseid War Omnibus before it's all said and done. Good for DC, though, for keeping this story all in the Justice League title and specials and not into any of the regular series.

Robin Vol. 2 TP

The early Chuck Dixon stories of Robin Tim Drake were once collected out of order, with a collection that included Tim donning the costume and the first Robin miniseries coming before a collection that included a Tim story prior to when he wore the costume and then the second miniseries. That's all sorted now, with the Batman and Detective stories and the first miniseries in Vol. 1, and this collection set to include the second and third miniseries, Cry of the Huntress, the latter of which has never before been collected. The first six issues of the regular series have been collected once before, so it'll either be late in Vol. 3 or into Vol. 4 before we have more previously-uncollected material.

Superman and the Justice League of America Vol. 1 TP

I'm sorry to see that it looks like the recently-solicited Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus Vol. 2 and also my beloved Titans: Total Chaos both seem to have been pulled before solicitation; however, we still have this Superman and the Justice League of America collection by Dan Jurgens, collecting material around "Death of Superman." This book apparently stops short of the actual "Death of Superman" tie-in issues, however (Justice League Spectacular and issues #61-67, whereas "Death" is issues #69-70ish). This is listed as Vol. 1 and I'd be happy for DC to collect the rest of Jurgens's run, #68-77, though it's hard to call it "Superman and ..." when Superman is dead for the majority of the issues. If DC expanded this book to include through #70 and then stopped, I'd be satisfied.

Superman/Batman Vol. 3 TP

I'm glad to see these Superman/Batman collections continuing beyond the (very good) Jeph Loeb material. This one collects issues #27-36 and the first annual, which is Mark Verheiden's entire run on Superman/Batman, both Enemies Among Us and then a three-part Metal Men story never before collected. The annual is by Joe Kelly with artists including Ed McGuinness.

Wonder Woman: War of The Gods TP

The beginning of the end of George Perez's run on Wonder Woman and also one of DC Comics's last big line-wide in-title crossovers for a couple years. The story was good if not necessarily great, and the crossover was marred by mis-branded issues, issues shoehorned into the crossover, etc., but it's also fantastically reminiscent of the era and wonderfully nostalgic, including appearances by a couple of Crisis on Infinite Earths characters. I have wanted a War of the Gods collection forever and I'm so glad it's almost here.

World’s Funnest TP

An interesting collection of issues, not just Evan Dorkin's Superman and Batman: World's Funnest, but also an issue from Karl Kesel's World's Finest miniseries, Mitefall, and Bat-Mite's first appearance, Detective Comics #267, weighting the book rather heavily toward Bat-Mite.

Blackest Night Unwrapped HC

Not my bag necessarily but I'm sure a black-and-white Blackest Night will be nicely creepy.

Aquaman Vol. 7: Exiled HC

As we saw last month, these new post-New 52 "DC You" collections include the Convergence preview stories, specifically here Aquaman issues #41-48 and the preview from Convergence: Suicide Squad. This collects Cullen Bunn's entire Aquaman run.

Batman & Robin Eternal Vol. 1 TP

A nicely sizable collection of Batman and Robin Eternal, issues #1-12, suggests the whole series should be collected in two volumes.

Batman Beyond Vol. 1: Brave New Worlds TP

The first six issues plus the Convergence: Batman and the Outsiders story. I've read the preview of this, and there's a distinct lack of reference to the events of Futures End, including who Batman Beyond is supposed to be working with. That concerns me, and seems to defeat the "at least Batman Beyond continues the Futures End story" theory. Is this supposed to be a Convergence time shift, or something?

Black Canary Vol. 1: Kicking and Screaming TP

Issues #1-7 and the Convergence: Blue Beetle story.

Cyborg Vol. 1: Unplugged TP

Issues #1-6 and the Convergence: Crime Syndicate story.

Doctor Fate Vol. 1: The Blood Price TP

Issues #1-7 and the Convergence: Aquaman story.

Earth 2: Society Vol. 1: Planetfall TP

Issues #1-6 and the Convergence: Justice League preview.

Gotham Academy Vol. 2: Calamity TP

Issues #7-12 and the story from Convergence: Green Lantern Corps (which seems a very odd match-up).

Green Lantern Vol. 7: Renegade HC

"Renegade, renegade, living like ..." Oh, um, issues #41-46, the Convergence: Atom story, and what's listed as Annual #1 but should actually say Annual #4.

Harley Quinn and Power Girl TP

The six-issue miniseries. I go back and forth on my enjoyment of the Harley Quinn series but her previous team-up with Power Girl was pure fun.

Justice League 3001 Vol. 1: Déjà Vu All Over Again TP

Collects the last two issues of Justice League 3000 (#14-15), League 3001 #1-6, and the Convergence: Justice League International preview.

Red Hood/Arsenal Vol. 1: Open For Business TP

Issues #1-6 and the preview from Convergence: Titans.

Starfire Vol. 1: Welcome Home TP

Issues #1-6 and the Convergence: Green Arrow preview. I liked Emanuela Lupacchino's art on Supergirl and I'm curious to see it here on Starfire, even if Lupacchino recently announced her departure from the series.

Teen Titans Vol. 2: Rogue Targets TP

To search online for Teen Titans Vol. 2 reveals a long history of Titans, many of which I've read or reviewed: Teen Titans Vol. 2: Family Lost, Teen Titans Vol. 2: The Culling, not to mention New Teen Titans Archives Vol. 2. This latest volume 2 includes issues #8-12, the Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes preview, and Annual #1 (confusingly, the second Annual #1 of the post-Flashpoint era).

We Are Robin Vol. 1: The Vigilante Business TP

"We are Robin, bum bada-bum bada-bum bum bum!" (I can't be the first to make that joke.) Issues #1-6 and the Convergence: New Teen Titans preview. "Robin War," collected elsewhere this month, crosses over with this title right after this trade, with issue #7.

• Robin War HC
Near as I can tell, the entire Robin War crossover collected in one book (and not multiple volumes, which is refreshing). Now whether you can read Robin War #1-2 in any other collection or if you'd have to get this for it remains to be seen ...

What are you buying this month? (War of the Gods!)

Review: New 52: Futures End Vol. 3 trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Rarely have I been so frustrated with a comic as when I finished reading New 52: Futures End Vol. 3, and surely I should know better.

There's often debate regarding shared comic book universes as to whether every comic must "matter," or if there's room for mostly-disconnected shared-universe comics that "just" tell a good story. Err on the side of stories being too connected and you end up with something like Trinity War, an event whose main purpose turned out to be to itself lead in to other events. Err on the other side, however, and you get Futures End, which does also lead into Convergence, but in the main tells a variety of stories unlikely to be picked up anywhere else but that also don't end very conclusively here. One must believe very ardently that the journey is the thing, because Futures End is a lot of journey with little destination, and that feels very unsatisfying.

Entry Plug: Black Lagoon Vol. 1 review (VIZ Media)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

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

For all of my newfound enthusiasm about manga, I'm not much of an anime watcher. It's only within the last few months that I've found a solid hour-long anime block: the excellent adaptation of One Punch Man and what might be the best modern Gundam show, Iron-Blooded Orphans. I'm not opposed to going back and watching anime based on the manga I've reviewed for "Entry Plug," as this week's subject got me very interested in the Black Lagoon anime. I only mention this as a disclaimer -- I can't directly compare the manga to the anime as I haven't watched the latter yet.

Comic Book Gift Guide 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

With the holidays just around the corner (and stores starting to gear up earlier and earlier), I've started to think about what I want on my gift list and maybe what you might want, too. Here's my annual Collected Editions top trade paperback and graphic novel gifts recommendations, the books I (and contributor Doug Glassman) find noteworthy or interesting coming out about this time or that might make good gifts.

And as you peruse these potential presents, I've organized some gift packages for you of books that go together and net you free shipping, to maybe make some buying for your favorite comics fan a little easier.

For additional ideas don't miss my 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007 lists for more gifting suggestions.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Mini-Comic Collection

If you ever enjoyed the toy-advertising juggernaut that was Masters of the Universe, then you no doubt also read the mini-comics that came with each figure. As the cartoon couldn’t always keep pace with the wide and wacky universe of He-Man figures, sometimes the mini-comics were the only place to see the newest characters in action. This is a heavy, hardcover collection at over 1,000 pages; no question you’ll have the power of Grayskull giving this as a gift this year.

Pair the He-Man book with any two of the Star Wars titles for free shipping and a package sure to please any child of the 1980s.

Star Wars Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes
Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 1
Star Wars: Princess Leia
Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire
Star Wars: Kanan: The Last Padawan Vol. 1

Sales reports have shown Marvel killing it with their new Star Wars series, and with The Force Awakens arriving just before Christmas, no doubt Star Wars will be the hot commodity this holiday season. And Marvel’s got a book for every Star Wars fan — in the classic era there’s Star Wars, Darth Vader (both of which are set to cross-over soon), and Princess Leia; for a young or old Rebels fan, there’s the Kanan: The Last Padawan book; and then fan-favorite Greg Rucka has the lead-in title to the new movie, Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire. All five of these make an impressive package and come in at just over $50 with free shipping.

Multiversity Deluxe Edition
Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition

Among DC Comics’s big releases for the holiday season is a deluxe (oversized) edition of Grant Morrison’s acclaimed Multiversity miniseries. This includes all the issues, the Multiversity Guidebook, and art including by Morrison’s All-Star Superman collaborator Frank Quitely and Batgirl’s Cameron Stewart. Taking place on a variety of alternate Earths, an encyclopedic knowledge of DC Comics isn’t necessary to enjoy this book, but a love of Morrison’s mind-bending superheroics is; this is a must-have for any Morrison fan’s shelf.

And whereas Multiversity deals with alternate realities, Convergence was DC Comics’s much-anticipated summer event that brought together decades worth of DC’s mainstream continuities in one grand mash-up. No true DC fan will want to have missed Convergence, and it arrives too with eight (count ‘em, eight!) companion collections, so you might just get your holiday shopping done with Convergence alone.

If that’s not enough, this holiday season also finally sees the release of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: Overture deluxe collection, almost two years after the first issue came out, with art by Batwoman’s JH Williams. More than the origin of the Sandman and how he came to be imprisoned at the start of the lauded series, Overture is an equally winding, multiversal tale, surely right for any fantasy fan.

Multiversity pairs with either of these other DC Comics collections to earn free shipping.

Killing and Dying

Killing and Dying is a graphic novel work of short stories by Optic Nerve’s Adrian Tomine, interconnected and set against the backdrop of modern America. Your favorite comics fan likely needs no reminder that the medium is for more than just superheroes, but this work of comics literature would be a great gift as something different or a good gateway perhaps for someone you’re trying to get into comics.

Pair Killing and Dying with Southern Bastards for two realistic graphic novels that expand the definition of comics.

Southern Bastards Deluxe Hardcover Volume 1

A great jumping-on point to Jason Aaron’s Image series Southern Bastards arrives with this deluxe hardcover collection of the first two paperbacks. Called a “seminal southern-fried crime series,” Southern Bastards involves a small Alabama town run by a high school coach and crime boss, and the sheriff’s son who opposes him. Southern Bastard’s Jason Aaron is also the writer of Marvel’s Star Wars; combine these two maybe with one or two of the children's books suggested below to keep or give away, and all of that will add up to free shipping.

Bitch Planet Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine

Acclaimed Captain Marvel writer Kelly Sue DeConnick presents Bitch Planet, turning the sci-fi women exploitation genre on its head. Definitely for the grown-up reader in your life (Doug calls it “Orange is the New Black … in spaaaace!”) this is another boundary-pushing Image series for fans of Saga or Sex Criminals.

Value priced, Bitch Planet can ride along with Southern Bastards and Killing and Dying for free shipping, or pair with Jessica Jones, Princess Leia, and DC Super Friends: Flower Power (a kid's book featuring Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Poison Ivy) for a gift set with woman power.

Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 1

Netflix’s Daredevil series was a tad intense for me and I’m concerned Jessica Jones will be even harder to watch … but I’ll still be binging as soon as November 20 rolls around! The series is based heavily on Brian Michael Bendis’s Marvel MAX series Alias, conveniently collected, and if you’ve got a Marvel TV fan with a stronger disposition than mine, they’ll no doubt enjoy this look at the original material.Jessica Jones matches the mature themes of Bitch Planet, and add in SHIELD for your favorite Marvel TV fan.

SHIELD Vol. 1: Perfect Bullets

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, despite lack of stellar ratings, is a show not easily dismissed, having grown in its second season and already offering surprises in its third. Popular writer Mark Waid heads this new series of SHIELD characters set in the ongoing Marvel universe, with emphasis on Agent Phil Coulson. For a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe who hasn’t quite gotten in to the comics yet, this might be a good starting point.

The first volume of SHIELD and the first Jessica Jones collection would be a nice package for your fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in all its iterations.

Squadron Supreme

Marvel’s bringing back Squadron Supreme in 2016 in a series spotlighting all the multi-dimensional iterations of this team, originally featuring analogues of DC Comics heroes. If you’ve seen copies of Marvel’s Secret Wars around the house, or for fans of Authority, Watchmen, or Kingdom Come, Doug recommends this collection of the 1980s Squadron Supreme miniseries as the Squadron takes control of the government.

Pair old Marvel and new, Squadron Supreme and SHIELD, for an accessible Marvel package and free shipping.

Complete Peanuts 1995-1998 Gift Box Set

If your favorite comics fan has already Peanutized themselves, that’s probably a hint they’re looking forward to the new “3-D” Peanuts movie. The animators have taken pains to adhere to the spirit of Charles Schultz; meanwhile Fantagraphics continues their collections series of every Peanuts strip ever published. No knock against the earliest material, but these later volumes — including the just-released box set of Vols. 23 and 24 — collect the more modern material that will be familiar to most fans (and moviegoers). There’s just one more volume after this to collect the final 1999-2000 strips.

Add Peanuts to any other item on this list and shipping is, well, peanuts (free, even)!

Jem and the Holograms: Showtime

The new Jem movie seemed to please essentially no one, but if you’ve got a young reader in your life whose interest was piqued, IDW has just released the first collection of their well-received ongoing series. Author Kelly Thompson is also writing the popular Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps for Marvel.

For a younger reader, pair perhaps with the main Star Wars book, and then for much younger readers one or two of the DC or Marvel kid's books (like the Wonder Woman/Batgirl DC Super Friends: Flower Power or Avengers: The Kree-Skrull War).

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem

A Hanukkah present for your grown-up comics reader — or for any horror fan who’s surely familiar with 30 Days of Night’s Steve Niles — Breath of Bones collects the three-issue Dark Horse miniseries. It’s the traditional Jewish folktale of the Golem, but set against World War II and with Niles’s inimitable sensibilities.

Fans of mature titles might also enjoy Jessica Jones, Bitch Planet, and Southern Bastards.

Grendel vs. the Shadow

A heavy dose of noir when Matt Wagner’s Grendel time travels to the 1930s and faces off against the Shadow. It’s an atmospheric period piece that would appeal, for instance, to fans of Boardwalk Empire, not to mention that it heralds Wagner’s return to the Grendel character he created. Doug calls it “an artistic triumph, very accessible to new readers for both franchises.”Grendel vs. the Shadow pairs with Southern Bastards for free shipping and a whole lot of atmosphere.

Gundam SEED: Astray Vol. 1

Doug’s manga suggestion is Gundam SEED: Astray, a spin-off of the popular Gundam series and featuring a top-secret mechanized suit. If you’re dipping your toes into manga or trying to encourage someone else to, consider Gundam SEED, and also check out the first in Doug’s “introduction to manga” “Entry Plug” series. Doug says, “I’ll be covering more Gundam stories in future ‘Entry Plug’ articles, and if you’re not up for spending a lot on the $30 Gundam: Origin hardcovers, you might want to try this inexpensive action romp.”

DC Super Friends: Flower Power
DC Super Friends: Flying High
DC Super Friends: Battle in Space!
Spider-Man: Spidey’s New Costume
Avengers: The Kree-Skrull War

It’s a Collected Editions tradition to include low-priced children’s books on this list; there’s always some fun ones out there (Flower Power teams Wonder Woman and Batgirl against Poison Ivy, and who can resist Kree-Skrull War for kids?!). For some of the collection pairings listed above, one of these kids' books is a cheap way to put you at free shipping, but you’re also encouraged to donate them to your local library or Goodwill to get the next generation of comics readers started too.

And now it's your turn! What are some of the best collections of 2015? What else is on your wish list for the holidays? (Special thanks to contributor Doug Glassman of '80s Marvel Rocks! for his suggestions.)

I'm so glad to have spent another year with you at Collected Editions! This site would not exist without everyone who stops by and participates. Thanks to all of you for making this so fun.

(Lots of bloggers have affiliate links like the ones above, and when you do your holiday shopping after clicking these links, the blogger gets a few cents. This year, if you’re buying gifts online, consider clicking on someone’s link before you buy -- when I buy online, I always try to click through a blog before I do. There are lots of hard-working bloggers out there [see blogroll], and this is a great, easy way to support them. Thanks!)