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.