Review: Justice League: The Darkseid War: Power of the Gods hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Geoff Johns's Justice League: The Darkseid War begins well, with plenty of action and revelations in its first part. Given what a widescreen romp the story seems to be, I was eager to dive in to the Darkseid War specials collected in Justice League: The Darkseid War: Power of the Gods, spotlighting the individual Leaguers. Not to mention that the book itself offers work from some of DC Comics's newest stable of heavy-hitters, including Peter Tomasi, Tom King, Steve Orlando, and Francis Manapul.

Unfortunately, having read the first half of Darkseid War and now this book, Power of the Gods emerges as rather unnecessary. There is Tom King's good Green Lantern story here with art by Doc Shaner, and Peter Tomasi gets to team up again with Detective Comics and Green Lantern Corps's collaborator Fernando Pasarin, but by and large the stories are ineffectual and reductive. It's admirable, perhaps, that DC makes these specials optional reading instead of stretching out Darkseid War over another dozen or so mandatory parts, but the pains to which the writers go not to overturn the main story's apple cart makes these stories rather simplistic. Honestly I wish I'd skipped these on my first read and only read them after I'd finished Darkseid War proper.

More DC Comics Early 2018 Collections - Justice League Task Force, Batman: New Gotham, Superman: Exile Omnibus, Wonder Woman: Forgotten Legends

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Here's a dedicated collection of Justice League Task Force are words I never thought I would say, and more evidence DC's really been killing it lately with their deep dives into their uncollected history. I really hope this actually gets published for what a forgotten gem it is, with its weird mash-ups of DC heroes, spotlight on Martian Manhunter, and also its use of Gypsy in the spiritual aftermath of Justice League Detroit. Atlantis Chronicles and now I might hold in my hands a collection of Justice League Task Force? What a world.

The DC Comics Spring 2018 catalog seems a little slow to fully unroll, but in the meantime Justice League Task Force is only the start of another spate of solicitations that's turned up from online vendors. There's plenty of Rebirth releases here, and I covered earlier what we can learn here about Action Comics #1,000, but also we see now a potential replacement for the cancelled Superman: Man of Tomorrow books, details on what the Batman: New Gotham collections will turn out to be, details on the new Green Lantern: Earth One, early post-Crisis Aquaman and Wonder Woman material, and more.

The new listings are below, and don't miss my first list of DC Comics's Early 2018 trades, including Hawkworld and Peter David's Aquaman.

Justice League Task Force. As I live and breathe ...

All-Star Batman Vol. 2: Ends of the Earth

Paperback release of the hardcover, due out the same time as the hardcover of Scott Snyder's All-Star Batman Vol. 3. Collects issues #6-9, with art by Jock, Tula Lotay, and Giuseppe Camuncoli, plus the "Cursed Wheel" backups.

All-Star Batman Vol. 3: First Ally

Collects issues #10-14, the final volume of Scott Snyder's All-Star. This is the "First Ally" Alfred spotlight story with art by Rafael Albuquerque.

Aquaman: The Legend of Aquaman

Though I tend to think of Peter David's Time and Tide as the post-Crisis origin of Aquaman a la Longbow Hunters and Road Home, it's probably actually Robert Loren Fleming and Keith Giffen's Aquaman special and five-issue miniseries, with art by Curt Swan. I'll say this for the various Justice League movies, we sure are getting a lot of collections of long-lost material.

Batgirl: Stephanie Brown Vol. 2

The second volume of the new "omnibus" collections of Bryan Q. Miller's Stephanie Brown Batgirl series collects stories from the Flood and Lesson trades, issue #13-24, including a Supergirl, Squire, and Klarion guest appearances and the superlative final issue. Newly included now is the Bruce Wayne: The Long Road Home: Batgirl special.

Batgirl Vol. 3: Summer of Lies

The third Rebirth volume by Hope Larson collects issues #12-17 and includes an appearance by Catwoman.

Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77

The six issue miniseries by Marc Andreyko and Jeff Parker.

Batman Arkham: Hugo Strange

Hugo Strange is a Batman villain used so rarely, and sometimes so inconsistently, that I'm always riveted when he's on the scene. Certainly Gotham has done the character a good turn lately, as did Rebirth. I'll be curious to see what's collected here; there's some Gotham Knights material to mine, I think.

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 5

The fifth volume of James Tynion's Detective Comics collects issues #963-968, the two-part "Longer Chains" Spoiler story, plus "A Lonely Place of Living" that takes place concurrent to Superman's "Oz Effect."

Batman by Neal Adams Book One

I'm pretty sure most of what's collected here has been collected before, but I'm not sure if this is in some way spotlighting something different for Neal Adams or if it's a new edition of an already-published book. Collects Batman #219, Detective Comics #395, 397, 400, 402, 405, and 407, The Brave and the Bold #79-86, and World's Finest Comics #175-176.

Batman: New Gotham Vol. 2

It would seem then that the Batman: New Gotham collections are just going to collect Greg Rucka's Detective Comics (not that there's anything wrong with that), as this includes issues #755-765. That jumps over issue #754, not included in the last volume -- the individual part of Officer Down -- and continues with Rucka's work from there. It runs right up into Batman: Murderer/Fugitive, after which Rucka left the title (until his Batwoman work), so I'd bet that's probably it for this collection series.

Batman Noir: The Dark Knight Strikes Again

Admittedly it's been a long time since I read Dark Knight Strikes Again, I didn't really get it the first time, and it basically put me off the whole Dark Knight saga. I have a sense that's probably true for most people. I wonder how this might read differently without the bold, sometimes purposefully-absurd coloring.

Batman: Tales of the the Man-Bat

This collects Chuck Dixon and Flint Henry's Showcase '94 #11 and Man-Bat miniseries, and then Bruce Jones's unrelated Man-Bat miniseries from about ten years later that involved the Gotham Knights-era Hush.

Bug! The Adventures of Forager

Collects issues #1-6 of the Young Animal series by Lee Allred and Mike Allred. I'm not grooving on this one necessarily; I'm leaning more toward the Shade and Mother Panic urban horror than some of Young Animal's wackier material.

DC Comics: The Art of Darwyn Cooke

No word on the contents yet but we know it's going to be gorgeous.

DC Universe by Brian K. Vaughan

No question why it behooves DC to have as many collections out there with Brian K. Vaughan's name on it as possible, but this is a pretty eclectic collection. There's Titans #14, a Tempest story; Sins of Youth: Wonder Girl from the middle of that fifth week event; Young Justice #22, a "day in the life" story; the JLA Annual #4 from the 2000 "Planet DC" event; and parts, but not all, of the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern: Circle of Fire story.

Flash by Mark Waid Book Four

Solicitations have issues #80-94, which is the contents of Book Three. I'm still thinking something like #95-107, which will collect "Terminal Velocity" and go right up to the "Dead Heat" crossover with Impulse.

Flash Vol. 5

Collects issues #28-32 and #34, skipping the DC Metal tie-in issue #33.

Future Quest Presents Vol. 1

Collects issues #1-7 of Jeff Parker and Ariel Olivetti's new Future Quest series.

Green Lantern: Earth One Vol. 1

Here's the solicitation as listed:

Hal Jordan yearns for the thrill of discovery, but the days when astronaut and adventure were synonymous are long past. His gig prospecting asteroids for Ferris Galactic is less than fulfilling -- but least he's not on Earth, where technology and culture have stagnated. He might be a nobody, but he's in space.

When Jordan finds a powerful ring, he also finds a destiny to live up to. There are worlds beyond his own, unlike anything he ever imagined. But revelation comes with a price: the Green Lantern Corps has fallen, long since murdered by ruthless killing machines known as Manhunters. The odds against reinstating the Corps are nearly impossible ... but doing the impossible is exactly what an astronaut like Hal Jordan was trained to do.

From creator Gabriel Hardman, the critically acclaimed author of INVISIBLE REPUBLIC, comes a soaring new epic original graphic novel in the tradition of the best-selling WONDER WOMAN: EARTH ONE VOL. 1 by Grant Morrison and BATMAN: EARTH ONE VOL. 1 by Geoff Johns! GREEN LANTERN: EARTH ONE VOL. 1 is a radical look at the Lantern mythology and a great entry point for new readers.

Green Lanterns Vol. 5

Collects issues #22-27. Issues #22-25 are the "Lost in Space" storyline, and issues #26-27 are the first parts of the ongoing "Out of Time" story. That doesn't end until issue #31, so maybe they're splitting it between two volumes.

Hawk & Dove: The Silver Age

Collects Showcase #75, Hawk and Dove #1-6, and Teen Titans #21 from the 1960s, with work by Steve Skeates, Steve Ditko, Gil Kane, Neal Adams, and Dick Giordano.

Hellblazer Vol. 3

Issues #13-18 sees John Constantine framed for murder -- unless he's the murderer himself!

Justice League of America: The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 2

I tend to find Bronze Age material more readable than Golden and Silver Age, so this piques my interest. Collects Justice League of America #114-146 and DC Super-Stars #10, including team-ups with the Marvel Family, the Freedom Fighters, and the Justice Society.

Justice League of America Vol. 3: Panic in the Microverse

You've got to love a book called "Panic in the Microverse." Steve Orlando's Rebirth JLA gets small in the third collection, issues #12-17.

Justice League: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 2

The second deluxe hardcover collection of Bryan Hitch's Justice League includes issues #12-25, the third and fourth paperbacks. Hitch, if you hadn't heard, is leaving Justice League, though he's still on the book through issue #31 at least.

Justice League Task Force Vol. 1

I have truly now seen everything. This should collect JLTF issues #1-12 with material by such notable writers as David Michelinie, Chuck Dixon, Michael Jan Friedman, Dennis O'Neil, Peter David, and Jeph Loeb. These wonderfully oddball stories of a Justice League of rotating members led by the Martian Manhunter includes appearances by Nightwing and the "Bloodlines" New Bloods, a tie in to Batman: Knightquest, and an all-female Justice League -- including J'onn J'onzz! With issue #13-14, JLTF was part of the "Judgment Day" crossover that should be collected in the next Wonder Woman and the Justice League collection, and after that this becomes more of a "farm team" Justice League title, though notably with the Ray on the team, and written by Mark Waid and Christopher Priest.

Justice League Vol. 5: Legacy

Collects issues #26-31; as stated before, possibly this could be Bryan Hitch's final volume of the series. DC is really pushing the Justice League movie in these solicitations.

Kamandi by Jack Kirby Omnibus

Collects all 40 issues of Jack Kirby's Kamandi run now in one omnibus instead of two.

Planetary Book Two

Collects issues #15-27, Planetary/JLA, and Planetary/Batman. These have been collected plenty of times before but if you haven't seen it, DC's got a nice new "Wildstorm Classic" trade dress for their newest Wildstorm collections.

Suicide Squad Vol. 5

Collects issues #21-25 of the Rob Wiliams Rebirth series.

Supergirl Vol. 3

The third collection of Steve Orlando's Supergirl includes issues #12-14, with appearances by the Legion of Super-Heroes' Emerald Empress and New Super-Man Kong Kenan.

Superman: Action Comics Vol. 5
Superman: Action Comics Vol. 6

As I detailed earlier, the fifth Rebirth Action Comics collection is said to have issues #993-999, and the sixth should have issues #1,001-1006(!). That skips #985-992 between Vols. 4-5, and also of course skips Action Comics #1,000, but now at least we know DC will continue the title's numbering after #1,000.

Superman: Exile Omnibus

I was sorry to see the Superman: Man of Tomorrow collection cancelled some months ago, which seemed to collect the post-John Byrne proto-"Triangle Titles" stories on the way to "Death of Superman" and beyond. We see now thankfully a new hardcover collection, dubbed Superman: Exile Omnibus, though the contents are still uncertain. This is supposed to be Superman #23-27, Adventures of Superman #445-459, Action Comics #643-646, and Action Comics Annual #2; that's the "Exile" story and then some for Adventures and Action, but Superman should be through about issue #36 to keep up with the rest. (Man of Tomorrow had Superman through #27, like this, Adventures through #450, and no Action).

This book would end kind of in the middle of things, so maybe we can hope that DC is ditching the Man of Tomorrow Book One, Book Two, etc. for a series of individual, sequential volumes, like the next one might be Superman: Day of the Krypton Man Omnibus or Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite.

Superman Vol. 5: Imperious Lex

No contents on the fifth Rebirth Superman volume, but it ought start with issue #27 and the "Imperious Lex" storyline goes through at least issue #33.

Superman: The Many Worlds of Krypton

Collects Superman #233, #236, #238, #240, #248, #257 & #266, Superman Family #182, World of Krypton (1979) #1-3, and World of Krypton (1987) #1-4. Paul Kupperberg writes and Howard Chaykin draws the earlier miniseries; John Byrne and Mike Mignola did the latter.

Wonder Woman: Forgotten Legends

Another uprooting of popular post-Crisis on Infinite Earths mythos, this collects the Legend of Wonder Woman miniseries by Kurt Busiek and Trina Robbins that bridged the gap between the end of Crisis and George Perez's seminal run. Robbins here also became the first woman to draw Wonder Woman for publication. Also Busiek's Wonder Woman #318, another by Robbins from Wonder Woman Annual #2, and Wonder Woman Gallery.

Wonder Woman by George Perez Vol. 3

The next paperback collection of the George Perez series collects issues #25-35, within the midst of the Omnibus Vol. 2.

Justice League Task Force! Can you believe it? What're the collections you're most looking forward to these days?

Trade Perspectives: Action Comics #1,000 - DC Comics Spring 2018 Trade Solicitations Offer First Hints

DC Comics has begun releasing details for their Spring 2018 trade collections online, and with those are our first hints about the Rebirth Action Comics #1,000.

The big news is that it looks like DC will continue Action Comics's four-digit numbering past the issue #1,000 mark. An online description of the Superman: Action Comics Vol. 6 paperback lists the contents as issues #1,001-1,006. That puts to rest any speculation that DC might have restarted Action Comics's numbering after the #1,000 mark.

But all is not yet totally clear. The listing for Dan Jurgens's Action Comics Vol. 4 says it includes issues #977-984 (which makes sense, following the Superman Reborn crossover with Peter Tomasi's Superman), but the listing for Action Comics Vol. 5 has issues #993-999 and again the listing for Action Comics Vol. 6 has issues #1,001-1,006.

That skips Action Comics #985-992, which we might've expected in Action Comics Vol. 5. Of those, issues #987-992 are parts of the "Oz Effect" story, which'll be published with lenticular covers. It's conceivable that DC might release Oz Effect as its own collection, likely hardcover, either with or without Action Comics #985-986. If they did that, this would mark the first time in the Rebirth era that DC would publish a special un-numbered volume in the midst of a series without a crossover being involved -- but that could be what's at play here.

Notably, Action Comics #1,000 itself is missing from these solicitations. Personally I'd love to see Action Comics #1,000 turn out to be a single trade-sized issue released on its own, a la Fables #150. But we'll also be in the midst of Geoff Johns's 12-part Doomsday Clock by the time Action Comics #1,000 comes out, something a lot of coverage of Doomsday Clock has overlooked, and maybe Action Comics #1,000 will tie-in or be collected with that.

Here's the solicitations we have right now for Action Comics Vols. 4, 5, and 6. Note that these may not be final; the DC description for Vol. 4 matches the issues collected, while the vendor listing actually seems to describe material from Vol. 3 (leading into Superman Reborn); Vol. 5 describes the "Revenge" storyline from the issues in Vol. 4; and Vol. 6 talks about the aftermath of "Oz Effect," which would be in Vol. 5.

Superman: Action Comics Vol. 4: The New World

DC solicitation: As Superman’s allies gather to address the looming threat of Mr. Oz, another Squad seeks revenge against the Man of Steel—one that includes Eradicator, Cyborg Superman, Metallo, Mongul and Zod! Tying directly into recent events in SUICIDE SQUAD, Zod takes command of the Revenge Squad—but his real motives may have grave consequences for Superman!

Online solicitation: The road to the epic "Superman Reborn" starts here in SUPERMAN: ACTION COMICS VOL. 4!

With Superman and Lex Luthor back on Earth, the Man of Steel turns his attention to uncovering the mystery of the human Clark Kent living and working in Metropolis. But there's something off about this guy, and Superman better figure out just what that is before it's too late!

And, as the mystery of the human Clark Kent unravels Lois stalks Clark's trail, but all signs point to something big on the horizon. Even the relative safety of their upstate farm can't protect Superman and his family from the threat they never expected: Clark Kent?!

Classic Superman scribe Dan Jurgens (THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN) continues his return to the Man of Steel in SUPERMAN: ACTION COMICS VOL. 4, collecting issues #977-984.

Superman: Action Comics Vol. 5

Following the status quo-shattering events of "Superman Reborn", the Man of Steel is not done fighting for his life ... not by a longshot.

Superman's greatest adversaries have united to defeat the Man of Steel once and for all--the Superman Revenge Squad is back with a vengeance! With the combined might of Cyborg Superman, Eradicator, Metallo, Mongul, Blanque and the new acquisition of General Zod, alliances will be tested, families forged and the DCU will never be the same again!

Classic Superman scribe Dan Jurgens (THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN) continues his epic return to the Man of Steel in SUPERMAN: ACTION COMICS VOL. 4, collecting issues #993-999.

Superman: Action Comics Vol. 6

Following the world-shattering events of THE OZ EFFECT, the Man of Steel must come to terms with a new status quo in SUPERMAN: ACTION COMICS VOL. 6!

Superman has never faced a challenge like this--how will it change his relationship with Metropolis? And more importantly, with his wife, Lois Lane, and his super son, Jonathan?

Classic Superman scribe Dan Jurgens (THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN) continues his epic return to the Man of Steel in SUPERMAN: ACTION COMICS VOL. 6, collecting issues #1001-1006.

It's hard to believe Action Comics #1,000 is on the way, and it's so strange to see the #1,000 numbering in print! What are your hopes for the landmark issue?

Review: Flash Vol. 3: Rogues Reloaded (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

With Flash Vol. 3: Rogues Reloaded, Joshua Williamson finally breaks the Rebirth Flash title out of its funk, with stories that are intelligent, suspenseful, and feel relevant to Barry Allen's ongoing story. Though story and art occasionally have trouble working together, the contributions of three main artists are solid throughout, and the writing is the best it's been so far. Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico especially land a particularly emotional moment for this title that demonstrates it trending up.

[Review contains spoilers]

A good handle on the Rogues is key for a Flash writer; especially after Geoff Johns's sharp Rogues work. Williamson's Captain Cold came off a tad loose in his cameo appearance last volume, but here I felt I could hear Wentworth Miller in all Cold's dialogue, an important benchmark indeed. Williamson also offers a smart take on the Rogues as family, giving the Rogues a clever plan and a logical, heartbreaking reason why that plan fails in the end. Barry also does a fun bit of sleuthing to track down the Rogues, something we haven't seen as much of in this title as I might have liked. Top Rebirth Flash artist Di Giandomenico offers gorgeous scenes of the Flash hurtling through explosions or standing amidst the rubble. Things get occasionally chaotic in the action sequences where it's not quite clear what the characters are reacting to, but overall the four-part "Rogues Reloaded" storyline is about the best the Flash title has been so far.

Review: Justice League Vol. 7: The Darkseid War, Part 1 hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Justice League Vol. 7: The Darkseid War, Part 1 would seem to be the start of Geoff Johns's magnum opus, at least until Doomsday Clock comes around. This is gutsy work by a writer who's earned his confidence, starting with the fact that Johns goes almost 30 pages in this book before he brings the Justice League on the scene and continues from there. And before Rebirth was a glimmer in the reader's eye, at least, Darkseid War is in many ways a gauntlet thrown into the midst of the New 52, cementing the DC Universe's timeline from pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths to now many months before Rebirth codified it.

It is not seamless. As the finale of the Justice League title, the first part of Darkseid War does not succeed, eschewing character development for big action sequences and cosmic revelations. To that end, perhaps Darkseid War is poorly served by being split up into two volumes (a fact that'll be rectified with the upcoming Justice League: Darkseid War omnibus), as this volume feels like a whole bunch of setup with little satisfactory resolution -- understandable, perhaps, but problematic in the reading experience nonetheless.

Review: Superman Vol. 2: Return to Glory hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Within the confines of the Superman: Savage Dawn crossover, Gene Luen Yang's Superman stories bugged me a little bit. I ultimately liked Yang's "Mythbrawl" stories (under the "Truth" heading) that lead in to Savage Dawn, but within Savage Dawn I noted that Yang's issues kept pulling Superman one way while the other writers kept pulling him another. While just three of the ten full issues in Yang's Superman Vol. 2: Return to Glory (with Peter Tomasi) are only collected in this book, and six are parts of the Savage Dawn and Final Days of Superman crossovers (the first, fourth, seventh, tenth, and then first and eighth parts respectively), Yang's shared issues do come off better when read laterally like this. I wouldn't recommend anyone read those crossovers in this disjointed of a manner, but there are ultimately some throughways in this mix-and-match pre-Rebirth Superman book.

DC Trade Solicitations for October 2017 - Aquaman: Atlantis Chronicles, Detective Comics and Justice League of America Rebirth Deluxe, Titans: Lazarus Contract, Odyssey of Amazons, Two-Face: 75 Years, Batwoman Rebirth

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mostly Rebirth reprints on DC Comics's October 2017 list of trade paperback and hardcover solicitations, though nothing to sneeze at necessarily, when we've got new volumes of Superman, Flash, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, both Justice League books, and the dedicated collection of Titans: The Lazarus Contract. As I mention below, the speed with which DC is releasing their Rebirth collections these days really thrills me; I finish a book I really like and the next one is right there on the schedule waiting for me.

Of course, let's not overlook that an especially significant item coming out this month is Aquaman: The Atlantis Chronicles, a deluxe edition of Peter David's sweeping history of the underwater city. Atlantis Chronicles has been on my list of books I wished DC would collect for a long time, and I thought it had the best chance mainly because it was a miniseries; I did not think DC would be following it with a seemingly-ongoing collection series of David's Aquaman series itself, which they are. Hopefully all the hoopla around the Aquaman movie gives this one a bump, but I can't overemphasize that pre-ordering is your friend in these situations.

Take a look with me at this month's list.

Aquaman: The Atlantis Chronicles Deluxe Edition HC

We have waited a very long time for DC to collect Peter David's masterwork of Aquaman mythology, and the best news is that this is only the start, because DC plans to follow it with a collection of Peter David's hook-handed Aquaman stories proper.

Batman Year Two 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition HC

Getting a lot of play, apparently, because there's also a Dark Knight Detective trade series coming up that will collect the same material, this is Mike W. Barr's "Year Two" from Detective Comics #575-578 plus the Full Circle sequel.

Batman: Detective Comics: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book One HC

It seems DC is releasing some but not all of the Rebirth titles in two-trade deluxe hardcovers. Among them, Detective Comics is a great read (including the "Night of the Monster Men" issues) and Eddy Barrows's art is going to look fantastic in deluxe format.

Batwoman Vol. 1: The Many Arms of Death TP

Marguerite Bennett's first Batwoman collection sees a paperback trade, collecting the Rebirth special and issues #1-6.

Flash Vol. 4: Running Scared TP

Green Arrow Vol. 4: Blood and Oil TP

I've had a look at what's coming up in both Flash and Green Arrow and I couldn't be more excited for November to get here for these books. The Flash trade, of course, follows the "Button" crossover with Batman. The Green Arrow book is on the short side, just three issues and an annual, but lately Benjamin Percy's been knocking it out of the park so I'm not even going to worry about it.

Gotham Academy Second Semester Vol. 2: The Ballad of Olive Silverlock TP

Collects the issue #4 interlude and issues #9-12.

Justice League of America Vol. 2: Curse of the Kingbutcher TP

Justice League of America: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book One HC

November sees both the second collection of Steve Orlando's Justice League of America series and also the first deluxe hardcover. Usually these deluxes come out along with the third volume, but it seems DC's counting the Road to Rebirth collection; Vol. 2 has issues #7-11 while the deluxe has all the specials plus issues #1-6. Between Lobo, Ray, Lord Havoc and the Extremists, and a title like "Curse of the Kingbutcher," Orlando seems to be riffing on a 1990s vibe that I'm excited about even as I haven't cracked the book yet.

Justice League Vol. 4: Endless TP

The next collection of Bryan Hitch's Justice League collects issues #20-25.

New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 2 HC [New Edition]

This new edition of the omnibus doesn't totally map to what came before, at least as far as the solicitations can be believed; this collects issues #21-41, the first two annuals, and Batman and the Outsiders #5, but lacks from the previous book the third annual and Tales of the Teen Titans issues #42-44.

Odyssey of the Amazons TP

I've really heard nothing about the Kevin Grevioux series since its original announcement, which makes me wonder whether many people picked it up and whether it has been a success for DC or not. A smart marketing person would probably slip James Robinson a note and ask him to drop a reference to it into an upcoming issue of Wonder Woman; otherwise I'm not quite sure what ongoing life this will have.

Superman Vol. 4: Black Dawn TP

Superman: Action Comics Vol. 4: The New World TP

Admittedly I am someone given to feeling enthusiastic about what's coming out of DC Comics, but I've been reading some really good Rebirth releases lately, and now here we have DC releasing the next volumes of Action Comics and Superman -- the fourth volumes, each following Superman Reborn -- both in the same month. Not only are these books coming out fast, but they're also good -- what more could you ask for?

Superwoman Vol. 2: Rediscovery TP

The second Superwoman collection includes a "Superman Reborn" tie-in, the last issue written by Phil Jimenez.

Titans: The Lazarus Contract HC

The dedicated "Lazarus Contract" collection is said to collect Titans #11, Teen Titans #8, Deathstroke #19-20, and Teen Titans: The Lazarus Contract Special. This still leaves Titans #12 missing, neither collected here nor in Titans Vol. 3, though I'm sure DC is going to pick it up somewhere.

Two-Face: A Celebration of 75 Years HC

The credits mention Peter Tomasi and Greg Rucka, among others, which probably means material from Tomasi's Batman and Robin: The Big Burn and either Gotham Central or something from Rucka's Detective Comics. The promotional cover, though, shows Batman Annual #14, a superlative origin of Two-Face by Andrew Helfer that details the abuse Harvey Dent suffered as a child. That annual has only been reprinted once before in a now out-of-print volume, and it was not included in the Batman: Arkham: Two-Face collection, so I'm hoping that we do see it here.

A Very DC Universe Rebirth Christmas TP

A curious exercise in repackaging, this is the DC Rebirth Holiday Special plus just the Batman Annual #1 and Harley Quinn #10. At the same time I'm not sure if that Batman annual is collected anywhere else, so maybe I'm going to get suckered in.

Wonder Woman Vol. 4: Godwatch TP

Collects issues #16, #18, #20, #22, #24, and Greg Rucka's story from the first annual, marking the final volume of Rucka's latest run on Wonder Woman.

Bunch of Rebirth event collections coming out soon -- which one are you most looking forward to? Superman Reborn, Button, Lazarus Contract, or another?

Review: Robin, Son of Batman Vol. 2: Dawn of the Demons hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Patrick Gleason gets top billing in Robin, Son of Batman Vol. 2: Dawn of the Demons, but in fact all but one of the seven issues collected here are written or co-written by Ray Fawkes (Constantine) with art by Ramon Bachs. Arguably Fawkes's book takes a step back from Gleason's first volume if only because Fawkes basically does again a second (and even a third) time what Gleason has already done; at the same time, Fawkes finds in Damian some interesting metaphors that help make the character more relatable. Artist Ramon Bachs too has the difficulty of simply not being Gleason, but his art is fun and attractive (and not wholly dissimilar from Gleason's), and I wouldn't mind seeing Bachs on another DC title in Rebirth.

Review: Shade, the Changing Girl Vol. 1: Earth Girl Made Easy trade paperback (DC Comics/Young Animal)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Unless Cave Carson is unexpectedly spectacular, Cecil Castellucci's Shade, the Changing Girl Vol. 1: Earth Girl Made Easy may turn out to be the best of Gerard Way's Young Animal debuts. Emerging somewhere between Heathers and Edward Scissorhands with a heavy aesthetic of 1980s teen movie, Shade is strange and fun, effortlessly shifting between the serious, mundane, and absurd, from alien moonscapes to psychedelic art to high school classrooms. Castellucci and artist Marley Zarcone create a weird, immersive world that goes perhaps to Young Animal's mandate of distinct art styles more than any of the imprint's other titles I've read so far.

DC Comics Early 2018 Collections - Hawkworld, Green Lantern Corps, Aquaman by Peter David, Batman: Legacy Vol. 2, DC Meets Looney Tunes

Monday, July 10, 2017

We've probably got a month or so until DC Comics releases their Spring 2018 catalog, but some exciting collections have popped up online in the meantime. Most notably we've got new collections of John Ostrander and Tom Truman's Hawkworld, the post-Crisis Green Lantern Corps, and Peter David's Aquaman, plus 1980s and 1990s Batman (including a really solid Batman: Legacy Vol. 2), Black Lightning, Marv Wolfman's Deathstroke, David's Young Justice, and more. In all of this I see DC's continuing dedication to releasing "new classic" material from the last 30 years -- I mean, Hawkworld collections?! That's exciting stuff.

Here's what I noticed:

Adam Strange: The Man of Two Worlds Deluxe Edition

As I understand it, this post-Crisis Adam Strange miniseries was controversial for a number of reasons, not in the least that it suggests Adam Strange's wife Alanna's father Sardath assaults her, and much of this story was later smoothed out and retconned in JLA among other places. However, like Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, Green Lantern: The Road Back, and others, this is another one of those post-Crisis origin books that becomes a fixture of the era and therefore likely deserves collecting; art, in addition, is by Andy Kubert.

Aquaman by Peter David Book One

As we were hoping when DC solicited the long-awaited collection of Peter David's Atlantis Chronicles, here comes a collection series of David's Aquaman run. Whether you agree the hook-handed look was a good one for Aquaman or not, it was certainly recognizable, and David's tenure ran almost 50 issues. This first collection is supposed to collect David's Time and Tide miniseries and issues #1-10, but the Zero Month zero issue following Zero Hour ought also be in there too. With appearances by Superboy, Lobo, and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, this continues DC's recent spate of 1990s-era collections.

Batman: The Dark Knight Detective Vol. 1

We've seen this one pop up a couple times, apparently collecting Detective Comics #575-578, Mike W. Barr's Year Two story, plus the sequel prestige format story Batman: Full Circle. That means no new material collected here, though the hope is that this becomes a collection series of the 1980s immediately-post-Crisis Batman stories.

Batman: Legacy Vol. 2

After delaying their collection of the "Legacy" crossover for a while, DC has delivered well with a Vol. 1 trade that collects a lot of prelude and interstitial material (basically, along with the recent Contagion trade, collecting all Batman material published in this era) and a Vol. 2 that not only collects the rest of "Legacy," but also the related titles Batman: Bane of the Demon #1-4 and Batman: Bane. The issue Catwoman #36 is either missing from these solicitations or was included in Vol. 1 and I just didn't notice it, but I'm sure DC will get that worked out, and in all I am very, very pleased. It was worth the wait, because these are the definitive Legacy collections.

Batman and the Outsiders Vol. 2

A second full-color collection of Mike W. Barr's Batman and the Outsiders series from the 1980s, with art by both Jim Aparo and Alan Davis. The next collection should be able to get through issue #32, after which the book became Adventures of the Outsiders.

Batman: Super Powers

There's not likely much to see here; this reprints Batman Confidential #50-54, a title that seemingly existed mostly to release sub-continuity stories for the trade, but that never much made a very big splash. The selling point is that the story is by Arrow's Marc Guggenheim, but I don't think I'll be picking this up very quickly.

Black Lightning Vol. 2

In time for the new CW television series, this second collection of Tony Isabella's Black Lightning moves from the 1970s series to the 1990s series, collecting issues #1-13. I picked up a lot of this at the time, actually, in part because the Superman Triangle Titles' Gangbuster Jose Delgado was a supporting cast member.

Deathstroke the Terminator Vol. 4

Though not given a title, this collection can't be called anything but "World Tour," since it collects Marv Wolfman's issues #27-34 "World Tour" storyline, plus the Bloodlines Annual #2. This gritty 1990s series was Slade Wilson at his best, and an eight-part story sounds like something to really sink ones teeth into. This title becomes Deathstroke, the Hunted with issue #41-47, so conceivably if the next volume went a little large then it could collect all of "Hunted," and then it might be just one or so volumes after that until the title ends with issue #60, except there's a couple Titans and etc. crossovers here and there that we'll have to see how DC collects.

Deathstroke Vol. 4 (Rebirth)

Christopher Priest's fourth volume collects issues #21-26, so immediately following the "Lazarus Contract" crossover with Titans and Teen Titans (the third Rebirth Deathstroke collection stops at issue #18, putting the "Lazarus" issues only in the Lazarus Contract book proper if a deluxe Rebirth Deathstroke hardcover doesn't come around.

Doom Patrol Book Four

Continues the collection of Rachel Pollack's Vertigo run with issues #64-74, Doom Patrol Annual #2, and Vertigo Jam #2. Pollack's run ends with issue #87 so it should be just one more volume to finish this up.

Doom Patrol Vol. 2

We know some issues of Gerard Way's Young Animal Doom Patrol had been delayed, but this collects issues #7-12, scheduled to come out by April 2018.

Green Lantern Corps: Beware Their Power Vol. 1

This new collections series appears to collect Steve Englehart and Joe Staton's post-Crisis Green Lantern Corps series, starting with the Legends tie-in issue #207 through #215 and the Annuals #2-3. It's kind of funny to start with #207 and not #201, when this series changed from Green Lantern to Corps, but issues #201-206 are in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 3, and issues #172 to #200 are in the Sector 2814 trades. So I applaud DC for not making us double-dip even though the collection series name has changed, as has been their custom previously, and I'm eager to see this one play out. The series ends with issue #224, so one more collection should do it (and that one ought include a Millennium tie-in).

Hawkworld Book One: The Byth Saga

Again, no lack of good stuff on this list, as DC finally starts collecting John Ostrander and Tim Truman's 1990s Hawkworld series. As troubled as Hawkman's continuity has become, Thanagarian police officer Katar Hol looks better all the time. Ostrander and Truman's take is gritty and sharp, and I'm excited for this collection and also for it to continue into some later issues where Katar and Shayera interact with more of the DC Universe.

DC Meets Looney Tunes

For those who didn't pick up Batman/Elmer Fudd the first time around, the DC Meets Looney Tunes collection is due out in February 2018. Collects Batman/Elmer Fudd, Jonah Hex/Yosemite Sam, Legion of Superheroes/Bugs Bunny, Lobo/Road Runner, Martian Manhunter/Marvin the Martian, and Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil, plus the more animated Superman/Bug Bunny #1-4 from 2000 by Mark Evanier and Joe Staton.

New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract Deluxe Edition

A deluxe-size collection of "Judas Contract," though the contents hew to the most barebones of "Judas" collections, Titans issues #39-44 and the Annual #3. Still nice to see the book in this format and retaining popularity after all this time.

New Teen Titans Vol. 2 Omnibus New Edition

Still hard to say whether these new editions of the New Teen Titans omnibuses are mapping to the originals or not. The solicited contents for this are a little short of the original omnibus, omitting a Tale of the New Teen Titans Annual and issues #42-44. Because that's right in the middle of "Judas Contact," I don't think they'd leave those out; the only possibility, we can hope, is DC might collect this second volume differently so as to make the third omnibus an actual sequential book instead of a writer/artist spotlight volume.

Nightwing Vol. 7: Shrike

This seventh volume of Chuck Dixon's Nightwing is still within what's been previously collected, though it does collect the previously-uncollected Nightwing: Our Worlds at War and Nightwing: The Target books. Dixon wrote NIghtwing through issue #70 (and then again from issue #101-106), but this volume, collecting issues #54-60, does finish out what's been previously collected for this series. Eager for the next one!

Superman: Action Comics: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 2

The second deluxe hardcover collection of the Rebirth Action Comics includes issues #967-984, so including the "Superman Reborn" crossover issues that were omitted from the paperback.

Superman: President Luthor

For some reason DC thinks a collection of stories about businessman Lex Luthor becoming president might be of interest right now. A previous collection of these stories came out in 2003 (part of a nice series of collections of the Jeph Loeb et al run); the solicitations for this new edition seem to omit some of that book's issues, which I hope is just an oversight, but the better thing is that this collection includes James D. Hudnall and Eduardo Barreto's prestige format one-shot Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography, which I still think is one of the greatest post-Crisis Lex Luthor stories ever told.

Teen Titans Vol. 2 (Rebirth)

Collects issues #6-7, #9-11, and #13 of Benjamin Percy's Rebirth series, omitting the "Lazarus Contract" issue #8 and the Dark Nights: Metal tie-in issue #12. Granted this is not actually a Dark Nights collection, but it's heartening that books coming out around Metal will be here as soon as January.

Titans Vol. 3 (Rebirth)

The third of Dan Abnett's Rebirth Titans collections includes issues #13-16, which means both issues #11 and #12 are omitted between the second and third volumes. That's interesting because only issue #11 is a "Lazarus Contract" tie-in, while issue #12 is an aftermath issue. It's not listed for the Lazarus Contract collection either, so possibly there's an adjustment coming to one solicitation or the other.

Young Justice Book Two

Collects issues #8-18 of Peter David's Young Justice series (at last!), plus the Secret Files and the 80-Page Giant. Among other things there's a crossover with David's Supergirl series here (the Supergirl issue doesn't seem to be collected, but I don't recall it being all that essential to the story; also those issues should be along in the fourth Supergirl by Peter David collection). There's also a "Day of Judgment" tie-in issue here; the next collection should also include the Sins of Youth event issues. (Solicitation for this book, curiously, seems to be riffing on issue #10 of the Young Justice cartoon tie-in comic.)

That's just a start -- I think we'll have much, much more in a couple weeks. What's going to be on your pull list?

Review: Batman/Superman Vol. 6: Universe's Finest hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Of all the individual trades that tie into the Superman events "Savage Dawn" and "Final Days of Superman," Batman/Superman: Universe's Finest may be the one you will most, or least, want to pick up. Of the eight issues collected in this book -- including an annual -- only two are crossover issues reprinted elsewhere; the other six are "exclusive" to this book, including two issues and the annual that do actually just appear in the collection and were never released in monthly form.

But at the same time, in something of the style of Superman/Batman titles past, the three-part "Universe's Finest" and "Criss Cross" stories found here fall outside the mainstream ongoing DC Universe storyline, if not outside continuity entirely, and to that end one has to gauge on their own whether these are worth picking up versus other material. Given that what else is here is (the second and fifth) parts of Final Days of Superman, however, at least one thing in this book's favor is to enjoy two "average" team-ups in the lives of the New 52 Superman and Batman before, well, you know.

Review: Superman: The Final Days of Superman hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Peter Tomasi's Superman: The Final Days of Superman earns its "Road to Rebirth" moniker, as it reads mainly as a backdoor pilot for a number of Rebirth series. In this way, Final Days comes off somewhat scattered, pursuing red herrings for most of the story. Also I wouldn't say that the threat here quite meets the level of what's necessary for a "Superman's last battle"-type story; "Whatever Happened to the Man of Steel" this isn't. That said, Tomasi does bring the emotion when needed, offering especially touching moments between Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and that makes this a unique "Death of Superman" story that stands distinct from its predecessors.

Review: New Super-Man Vol. 1: Made in China (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Gene Luen Yang's Rebirth New Super-Man Vol. 1: Made in China reminds of Karl Kesel's Superboy, featuring a brash young Super-analogue who only occasionally takes his superheroing seriously. That'll be a nice change of pace for some, though in all the first volume of New Super-Man came off a little light for my taste. Also, though there's political struggle at the center of New Super-Man, Yang couches it in a lot of fancifulness and metaphor that mitigates the Chinese political situation; I didn't come away feeling I'd learned much nor that Yang really explicated daily life in China for the reader. Giving this book not only its own Superman but also its own Chinese Justice League straightaway is a smart move by Yang, and it seems to me that how strong or weak the book's ties are to the greater DC Universe will largely decide whether this outlying title continues.