DC Trade Solicitations for August/September 2016 - Arrow: Dark Archer, Batman: Bloom, Omega Men, Superman: Lois & Clark

Friday, April 29, 2016

I admit I'm feeling a little impatient working my way through the post-Convergence, pre-Rebirth "DC You" material now, knowing that Rebirth is on the way. At the same time, I'm eager to read a couple different storylines, including Scott Snyder's Batman: Superheavy and the finale of that run, and also the Superman: Truth books. So, the DC Comics hardcover and trade paperback collection solicitations for August/September 2016 (posted April 2016) seem a bit short of the main event, but neither do I write them off entirely.

Among other cool stuff is the collection, finally of Tom King's Omega Men; Dan Jurgens's Superman: Lois & Clark (a bridge between Convergence and Rebirth that shows what an interesting period this was); the next Superman and the Justice League book; and Robin and Superman/Batman books that collect previously-uncollected material.

Let's jump in and take a look.

Arrow: The Dark Archer TP

The digital tie-in comics to the DC television series have disappointed enough times (with either lack of plot or plots later contradicted by the shows) that I'm not quick to pick them up any more. That said, a tangent story about Malcom Merlyn, and co-written by John Barrowman, is a fine and interesting concept, and maybe telling one long story will read better than the sometimes-choppy digital shorts.

Batgirl Vol. 3: Mindfields TP

Collecting issues #46-52, this ends the "Burnside" Batgirl series before "Rebirth."

Batman Vol. 9: Bloom HC

Solicits still say that this collects issues #46-50, so Vol. 10 containing just issues #51-52 still seems to be the plan. But the solicitation for Vol. 9 also says it contains the Detective Comics #27 story, which earlier solicitations had also put in Vol. 10, so it further remains to be seen what fills a full trade for Vol. 10.

• Coloring DC: Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad Vol. 1 TP

Strange to find this on the collections page; I wonder, among other things, what will turn out to be the binding, and how easy or difficult it will be to open it flat to color on (though, when you're already coloring in the book, I guess preserving the binding isn't that much of a big deal).

Deathstroke Vol. 3: Suicide Run TP

Collects Deathstroke #11-16, with heavy presence by Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad. Do we know if Deathstroke is in the Suicide Squad movie, or is this just a matter of Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad's general popularity being used to bolster this title?

There's still four issues, apparently, until this title is cancelled before "Rebirth." And release notes say Deathstroke #20 doesn't come out until July, which is well after a bunch of the "Rebirth" specials. Is that right or am I reading the wrong thing?

Earth 2: Society Vol. 2: Indivisible TP

The solicitation says this collects #8-12, but since Earth 2: Society ends with issue #14, I'm guessing either issues #13-14 will be here too, or maybe they'll be collected with the first Earth 2 "Rebirth" issues (not sure if the creative team remains the same).

Harley Quinn Vol. 5: The Joker’s Last Laugh HC

Clearly I'm not paying enough attention. The Joker is in Harley Quinn? Do I take it this is besides continuity and not anything related to Endgame? Collects issues #22-25, so there's one more collection before "Rebirth," though of course here's another that could collect pre- and post-"Rebirth" issues together.

Justice League Vol. 8: The Darkseid War Part 2 HC

Collects issues #45-50 and the Darkseid War special. So whereas it's speculation for other titles, this is one that I think we'll definitely see pre- and post-"Rebirth" issues collected together in the next trade,

Green Lantern Vol. 8: Reflections HC

Collects issues #47-52, ending the series before "Rebirth."

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Four Vol. 2 HC

Issues #8-12 plus the Annual #1. Now, Injustice was in Convergence, so I believe this means Injustice now has to go on the DC TPB Timeline ...

Omega Men: The End Is Here TP

It's taken a while, but Tom King's Omega Men should be done by May, with the collection to follow in August.

Supergirl Vol. 2: Breaking the Chain TP

Collects the end of the controversial Joe Kelly "Bad (Super)girl" run, plus (compounding the controversy) the Amazons Attack tie-in issues by Tony Bedard. That's issues #11 and #13-22 plus a story from the Infinite Holiday Special (incorrectly dubbed the Infinite Crisis Christmas Special in the solicits). Excluded is issue #12, the Terra issue (tie-in, eventually, to Power Girl) by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti.

So, whereas issues #10-19 and the special were collected in Supergirl: Identity, this new collection skips #12, but it newly collects issues #20-22 that were never collected before.

Robin, Son of Batman Vol. 2: Dawn of the Demons HC

Collects issues #7-13, the end of Robin, Son of Batman before "Rebirth."

Robin Vol. 3: Solo TP

I'm pleased to see some uniform trade dress on these Chuck Dixon Robin collections and the common one-word subtitles (so far). After two nice collections of the Robin miniseries and some related Batman and Detective stories, this is the first new collection of the main Dixon series itself.

The contents, Robin #1-6, have been collected before, and need stories from Showcase '94 #5-6 -- the latter aren't mentioned but are hopefully included. Never before collected and included here are Annuals #1-2, an Eclipso: The Darkness Within and Bloodlines tie-in respectively.

Telos TP

The sole collection of Jeff King's Telos collects issues #1-6. Admittedly I'm less excited about this after Convergence didn't quite meet expectations; at the same time, the presence of a variety of characters from DC's multiverse here might have me flipping through (also the ties to the current Green Lantern series). If the trade arrives; this is one of those, with the series having done so well, where there's a fair chance the trade won't be published or will only be published in digital.

Teen Titans Vol. 3: The Sum of Its Parts TP

This is said to collect Titans #14-19, but with just three more regular issues before "Rebirth," I wouldn't be surprised if issues #20-22 were added in, too. Includes stories by Scott Lobdell, Will Pfeifer, and Greg Pak, and a "Robin War" tie-in.

Superman Vol. 2: Return to Glory HC

Gene Luen Yang's second Superman collection includes issues #45-52 and Annual #3, collecting up to the "Rebirth" relaunch.

Superman: Lois & Clark TP

Collects the Dan Jurgens miniseries bridging Convergence and "Rebirth"

Superman/Batman Vol. 4 TP

Collects Superman/Batman Vol. 6: Torment and Vol. 7: Search for Kryptonite. "Torment," by Alan Burnett with Dustin Nguyen, is a New Gods story with some interesting developments for characters Orion and Bekka, though its ill-fitting ties to Countdown to Final Crisis harmed it (maybe it'll read better now than then). Michael Green, Mike Johnson, and Shane Davis's "Search for Kryptonite," however, is really fantastic, a study of Superman's Kryptonite weakness that I still hold in high regard. Also included is the never-collected Superman/Batman #43 by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning with Mike McKone.

Superman and the Justice League of America Vol. 2 TP

The second collection of Dan Jurgens's Justice League America run (one of my favorite Leagues) starts with the "Death of Superman" tie-in issue. Later stories include a surprisingly violent encounter with a classic League villain, plus the origin of Bloodwynd.

Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot TP

I had mistakenly thought these Suicide Squad: Most Wanted books were team-ups, but given separate Deadshot and Katana collections coming, I recognize now that they're not. Collects the Deadshot half of the six-issue miniseries.

• Wonder Woman Vol. 9: Resurrection HC

The final Meredith Finch volume before "Rebirth" (and the coming of Greg Rucka).

Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Box Set

An impressive box set that includes the first volumes of the runs by George Perez, Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, and Brian Azzarello. I wouldn't change this necessarily, but if I had to add in any, I'd have included one Phil Jimenez volume and one William Messner-Loebs volume (and after that, maybe John Byrne or the new Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison).

In the run-up to Rebirth, what catches your interest ... ?

Review: Convergence: Infinite Earths Book Two trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Convergence tie-in book I was least excited about was Convergence: Infinite Earths Book Two. It seemed to me to present a "catch-all" week, miniseries about pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths alternate Earths unconnected to one another by continuity and relating to no particular DC "event." As compared to the return of characters lost in Flashpoint, how could these multiple-Earth miniseries hold up?

The answer is that Infinite Earths Book Two comes off surprisingly well. Though other books may have had stronger individual miniseries, the presence of five consistently good miniseries in one book here ranks the second Infinite Earths fairly high. Jeff Parker and Evan Shaner's Shazam is bar none; Simon Oliver and John McCrea offer perhaps the best rendition of Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters in recent memory; Brian Buccellato and Phil Winslade's Crime Syndicate is surprisingly touching.

Review: Convergence: Infinite Earths Book One trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, April 25, 2016

I've been remiss not to mention that the Convergence tie-in trades have been for the most part very nicely organized. Related miniseries have tended to appear together in the same book, whether tied by common antagonists or affiliated heroes. This has made for books that feel part of the same tapestry even if built from separate miniseries. Convergence: Infinite Earths Book One is a good example, with the five miniseries each involving a different aspect of the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Earth-2 Justice Society universe and with subtle ties between them.

The stories themselves leave something to be desired. They all feel a bit rushed, with niggling problems as to characters or art or both. In some ways, the various non sequiturs and repetition evoke the Silver and Bronze Age from which these characters sprung, but not definitively enough to overcome the needs of modern sensibilities.

Review: Convergence: Crisis Book Two trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Convergence: Crisis Book Two lives up to the high standard set by the first volume. The Wonder Woman story that starts the book threatens to go off the rails a bit, setting a bad precedent for the rest, but a bevy of stronger stories builds it back up again -- Swamp Thing, New Teen Titans, and then a surprisingly strong Flash Barry Allen tale. As I said before, these Crisis on Infinite Earths-era miniseries were not necessarily the ones I most looked forward to, but in total the two volumes have offered some of the best of the Convergence tie-ins so far.

[Review contains spoilers]

The various Convergence tie-in books have used their respective eras for better or worse. The Flashpoint-era Superman sticks out as using that timeframe well; alternatively the Zero Hour books were a morass of continuity confusion. The Crisis Book Two books succeed; Dan Abnett's Flash uses Barry's impending death to much greater emotion than Marv Wolfman did Supergirl's in Adventures of Superman, and Len Wein's Swamp Thing literally branches right off of Alan Moore's Crisis tie-in. Though not directly tied to Crisis, legendary Titans writer Wolfman does a seamless job projecting how the Titans' lives would have evolved after a year under the Convergence dome, such that one could even believe this to be a "real" and not "divergent" continuity.

Review: Captain America: Sam Wilson Vol. 1: Not My Captain America trade paperback (Marvel Comics)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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

It's unfortunate that Nick Spencer's Captain America: Sam Wilson Vol. 1: Not My Captain America isn't coming out alongside Al Ewing's Loki, Agent of Asgard. Both titles are defined by the numerous callbacks to '80s Marvel classics; before the title launched, Spencer confirmed Mark Gruenwald's influence. Like Ewing and his love of Simonson's The Mighty Thor, Spencer uses SamCap (as I like to call it) to bring back some long-vanished characters, especially reinvigorating Captain America's rogues gallery. At least one of those revivals led to major news coverage and political outrage.

Review: Convergence: Crisis Book One trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, April 18, 2016

After a disappointing end to the Convergence Zero Hour tie-ins, I was delighted to find strong showings in Convergence: Crisis Book One. Due perhaps to the fact that these stories of Bronze Age characters branch from fairly stable runs, the stories themselves come off solid and assured, most notably Batman and the Outsiders and Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. I'd happily read ongoing series starring those characters from the respective miniseries's creative team.

[Review contains spoilers]

The best of this book is Batman and the Outsiders, not necessarily because of the characters (whom I like but have no significant affection for), but because of writer Marc Andreyko (Manhunter). Andreyko's gift for characterization is on display here; he has the unenviable task of spinning the plights of six different characters under the Convergence dome in just two issues, but manages to give every one of them emotional depth. Not every story has addressed what under-the-dome, de-powered life is like for the heroes, but Andreyko thinks it through for every character, especially the now-human Metamorpho.

Review: Convergence: Zero Hour Book Two trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

It's not often I'm actually bored by a comic book, but I found myself impatiently flipping pages a couple times in Convergence: Zero Hour Book Two. This is unfortunate, both because I enjoyed much of the previous Zero Hour book, and also because there were plenty of classic 1990s properties I was eager to revisit here: the Matrix Supergirl and Steel John Henry Irons circa Reign of the Supermen, Azrael Jean Paul Valley as Batman around Knightfall, and Parallax Hal Jordan and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner from Emerald Twilight/Zero Hour itself. Unfortunately, each of these was formulaic, at the least, if not also derisive of or oblivious to the source material; even the lone interesting story, the Aquaman miniseries, had little to do with the actual Aquaman of the period.

DC Trade Solicitations for July/August/September 2016 - Death of Superman, Suicide Squad: Janus Directive, Absolute Batman Year One, Aquaman: Sub-Diego Vol. 2, Elseworlds Justice League

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Plenty to say about DC Comics: Rebirth with new details coming out all the time -- and I'll get back to that soon -- but I'm setting that aside for the moment to look at the DC Comics hardcover and trade paperback collection solicitations for July/August/September 2016 (posted late in April 2016). No big surprises in this month, though a couple of exciting volumes -- Aquaman: Sub-Diego Vol. 2 is an impressive, unexpected follow-up, and of course Suicide Squad Vol. 4: The Janus Directive brings a notable post-Crisis crossover back into print.

Also, just in time for Superman to return to the big screen, DC reprints the "Death of Superman" saga, the modern age's best-known Superman story, in an unprecedented five volumes. This splits Reign of the Supermen from Return of Superman, and then also collects the follow-up Doomsday miniseries together for the first time. There's only a little bit here that hasn't been collected before, but it's always nice to see DC re-collecting things toward more and more completeness.

Let's jump in, shall we?

Absolute Batman: Year One HC

You can read it in the solicitation, but for those who asked me, the way Batman: Year One will make up a whole Absolute volume is that it'll be two books in a slipcase, both the recolored and original versions of Batman #404-407, plus bonus material including all extras from previous collections. Most interesting to me is that the original-colored version will be printed on a paper kind of like the original "newsprint" paper.

Batman Noir: The Killing Joke HC

Similarly, rounding out the black-and-white Batman: Killing Joke reprint is, fittingly, Brian Bolland's (digital-first?) Batman: Black and White story.

Batman/Superman Vol. 5: Truth Hurts HC

This looks to be the second-to-last volume of Batman/Superman before "Rebirth," collecting issues #21-27 and the story from Convergence: Booster Gold. This would mean the final volume collects issues #28-32, which is a three-part story plus two parts of "Super-League." Depending on how you collect, a hardcover for three independent issues might be problematic.

Batman: The Brave and The Bold -- The Bronze Age Omnibus HC

Issues #87-122 of Brave and the Bold, spanning 1970 to 1975. Plenty of good team-ups here though I didn't necessarily see anything historically significant, referenced a lot later, etc.; if I missed something, let me know.

Batgirl Vol. 2: To the Death TP

Collects issues #13-25 of the Cassandra Cain series, which are parts of the A Knight Alone and Death Wish collections, including Joker's Last Laugh and Batman: Murderer/Fugitive crossover issues.

Batman: The Road to No Man's Land Vol. 2 TP

Whereas the Batman: Road to No Man's Land Vol. 1 collection actually collected the "Aftershocks" stories that followed Batman: Contagion, this collection actually collects the "Road to No Man's Land" stories proper that preceded No Man's Land (which is great! I'll take both!).

Superman: The Death of Superman TP [New Edition]
Superman: Funeral for a Friend TP
Superman: Reign of the Supermen TP
Superman: The Return of Superman TP
Superman: Doomsday TP

A new series of 5(!) volumes collecting the "Death of Superman" storyline. Included for the first time is the Newstime magazine issue and also the Supergirl and Team Luthor special. We also get the Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey and Doomsday Wars miniseries in one volume. The only omission I see in these books is that Justice League #69 isn't collected, a fairly important "Death of Superman" issue from Dan Jurgens's run. Chances are this is being collected over in the new Superman and the Justice League collections, but arguably it probably should (and maybe will) be here too.

Aquaman: Sub-Diego Vol. 2 TP

As unexpected (but welcome) as was the original Sub-Diego collection, I'm surprised and thrilled to see another, which moves beyond the Will Pfiefer run to stories by John Ostrander and John Arcudi, with art continuing by Patrick Gleason. This collects issues #23-29; a third volume could collect #30-39 by the same team, finishing out this series before Infinite Crisis.

Daring New Adventures of Supergirl Vol. 1 TP

Collects the first twelve issues of the last Supergirl series before Crisis on Infinite Earths. The solicits highlight a Doom Patrol appearance; I'd be happy to see this collection also include the Lois Lane backup stories.

Flash Vol. 8: Zoom HC

The second-to-last Flash collection before "Rebirth" collects issues #41-47 and the Convergence: Detective Comics story; next volume would presumably be issues #48-52.

DC Elseworlds: Justice League Vol. 1 TP

Collects League of Justice (fantasy-based), Justice Riders (Western; recently in Convergence), Elseworld's Finest (Superman/Batman pulp noir), Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl (unrelated to the earlier Elseworld's Finest, but introduces a Supergirl and Batgirl who also appeared in Countdown to Final Crisis and Convergence), Titans: Scissors Paper Stone (manga-influenced), and Wonder Woman: Amazonia (Wonder Woman vs Jack the Ripper in Victorian England).

Demon Vol. 2: The Longest Day TP

The second new collection of Garth Ennis's Demon collects issues #49-58 (possibly also the Zero Month issue after Zero Hour), the final issues of that series.

Green Arrow Vol. 8: The Nightbirds TP

Second-to-last Green Arrow collection before "Rebirth," collecting issues #41-47, the annual, and the story from Convergence: Speed Force.

• Lobo Vol. 3: Paid in Blood TP

I wasn't keen on the first new Lobo collection, but this one's crossover with Sinestro and Green Lantern ahead of "Rebirth" will probably have me picking it up eventually. Also Lobo hunts "the last of the Red Lanterns" here, which given the end of my favorite Red Lanterns, I'm curious who exactly that means.

New Teen Titans Vol. 5 TP

Collects issues #28-34 and Annual #2, within the previously-collected Terra Incognito era.

New Suicide Squad Vol. 3: Freedom TP

Solicitations say this collects issues #13-18, but with #20 being the last issue before "Rebirth," I wouldn't be surprised if it sweeps clean to the end.

Suicide Squad Vol. 4: The Janus Directive TP

A major late 1980s crossover, "Janus Directive" brought together all of DC's gritty spy-espionage series of the time -- Firestorm, Captain Atom, Manhunter, and Suicide Squad and Checkmate, the latter of which double-shipped during this time. This is an exciting collection of post-Crisis DC Comics history.

Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Vol. 1 TP

The solicitation of this collection -- quite a while back -- certainly makes more sense now. This first volume collects Rucka's Down to Earth and Bitter Rivals, plus the Hiketeia graphic novel. Remaining would be Eyes of the Gorgon, Land of the Dead, and Mission's End; likely parts of Superman: Sacrifice will be included too.

What's caught your eye? More thoughts on "Rebirth"?

Review: Convergence: Zero Hour Book One trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Three of the five miniseries collected in Convergence: Zero Hour Book One take place in one way or another in the shadow of "Death of Superman" and the destruction of Coast City. Though 1990s comics don't always get their due, this evokes compelling memories of that era of DC Comics, when the Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Flash, and New Titans titles were all toward the top of their games. This collection of miniseries is a mixed bag, as might be expected, but the highs are high -- Suicide Squad by Frank Tieri and Catwoman by Justin Gray. Only, unfortunately the miniseries I most looked forward to, Superboy, disappoints, shirking some of the very continuity I had hoped it would take up.

Review: Convergence: Flashpoint Book Two trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Among the return of pre-Flashpoint characters, those of the Convergence tie-in Book One like Superman, the Question, and Nightwing and Oracle were the ones I was more looking forward to reading than the Atom or Harley Quinn. But there were some fun reads in Convergence: Flashpoint Book Two from unexpected directions -- Harley Quinn for one, Titans for two -- that delivered a bit of what I wanted from the Convergence tie-ins. At times this book stretches what my definition of pre-Flashpoint would be, but I enjoyed spending time with these characters nonetheless.

More on Secret Wars (Marvel Comics)

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

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

The character choice for Secret Wars provides some insight into how Marvel is reorganizing itself as the Cinematic Universe's audience grows. Some of the survivors are not at all surprising, such as Spider-Man ... both of them. Miles Morales is able to escape the Ultimate Universe by stowing away in the Cabal's ship and the duo work together to uncover the mystery of Molecule Man. They're collectively the book's comic relief, but it suits the characters. The female Thor has a role, but Captain America and Iron Man are nowhere to be found.

Review: Convergence: Flashpoint Book One trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, April 04, 2016

Convergence: Flashpoint Book One may have the most important job to do of all the Convergence miniseries collections. Letting alone that this book contains the sole two-parter to continue directly into its own post-Convergence miniseries, I'd argue the Flashpoint characters are who fans most want to see. The pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths characters are long since gone (or have themselves been resurrected) and the Zero Hour characters for the most part continued after the fact. It's the Flashpoint characters, half of whom appear here, who truly disappeared from continuity and who the fans have been asking for.