Review: Justice League Vol. 5: Legacy (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Rebirth Justice League Vol. 5: Legacy brings to a close Bryan Hitch's 30-plus-issue run on Justice League, impressive I think for the extent to which Hitch told one related story over these six volumes (including Justice League America: Power and Glory). These books have not been without their flaws, including considerable repetitiousness and also, with this last volume, a rush to completion that leaves a number of aspects unresolved. But the children of the Justice League introduced here are a hoot, certainly capable of carrying their own series, and Hitch delivers some great character moments in the middle as the present League confronts their future. As mentioned, it's in the denouement, when too neat a bow tries to be tied on it, that Legacy feels less cohesive.

Review: Green Lantern Vol. 8: Reflections hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Robert Venditti delivers another good one with Green Lantern Vol. 8: Reflections. The book turns away surprisingly from much of what was set-up in the previous volume, but at the same time Venditti writes among his first Earth-set Green Lantern stories in forty issues and they were worth the wait. It remains hard to tell to what extent Venditti is following his own plan here and to what extent he's being buffeted about by the demands of the larger DC Universe, but impressively it doesn't matter. Despite that storylines here sometimes feel unfinished, Venditti continues to shock and entertain. Venditti's Green Lantern remains among the most consistent of DC Comics's titles and I'm eager to follow him into Rebirth.

DC Trade Solicitations for May 2018 - Final Crisis Omnibus, Superman: Zero Hour, Aquaman: Tempest, DC/Young Animal: Milk Wars, Mystik U, Elseworlds: Batman, Deathstroke by Daniel Omnibus

Thursday, February 22, 2018

In a month where considerable else is happening in the DC Universe, including DC Nation #0 and two Superman specials to wrap up the previous team runs before Brian Michael Bendis comes on, plus a couple of notable cancellations and/or hiatuses, the fact that DC Comics May 2018 trade paperback and hardcover solicitations also include five omnibuses (!) is pretty amazing.

It's a good but not totally astounding month otherwise, with (not "Rebirth" any more, so I guess we just say "new") collections of Detective Comics, Flash, Green Lanterns and Hal Jordan, Justice League, and New Super-Man (plus the Super Sons of Tomorrow crossover and Mystik U). On reprints, nothing long-awaited, but this Aquaman: Tempest book remains a nice surprise (hope for Garth in the Aquaman movie or the Teen Titans TV show, or both?), as is Superman: Zero Hour. That the new Final Crisis omnibus includes lesser-regarded tie-in aspects of the story like the "Dark Side Club" books is, for the completist in me, a real thrill, and I'm glad those stories now end up being "canon" in a Final Crisis book.

Guess we should take a look-see ...

Aquaman: Tempest TP

As I mentioned before, this is an exciting surprise, an unexpected boon of the Aquaman movie. Collects Teen Titans Spotlight #10 and #18 (the latter is also a Millennium tie-in), a story from Aquaman Secret Files #1, and most notably, Phil Jimenez's four-issue Tempest miniseries. I have enjoyed seeing Tempest back in Titans again but I wish Dan Abnett would fill in his new/old origin either in Titans or Aquaman.

Batman by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale Omnibus HC

A truly impressive omnibus, and certainly a treat if you've made it this far and haven't read these stories yet. Collects Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special, Batman: Madness, Batman: Ghosts, Batman: The Long Halloween, Batman: Dark Victory, Catwoman: When in Rome, and stories from Superman/Batman Secret Files 2003, Superman/Batman #26, and Solo #1.

Batman: A Lot of Li'l Gotham TP

For those keeping track at home, this is the first full collection of the digital-to-print Li'l Gotham series, previously collected in two separate trades.

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 6: Fall of the Batmen TP

Collects just the "Fall of the Batmen" story, issues #969-974 (previous solicitations had this a little longer). We now know James Tynion is leaving this title with issue #981, so probably just one more trade of Tynion's run to go.

Batman: The Arkham Saga Omnibus HC

At first I thought this was going to be a big collection of those Batman: Arkham villains collections that have continued to impress, but instead these are the video game miniseries (I'd think they might do something like this with Injustice, too): Batman: Arkham Knight #1-12, Arkham Knight Annual #1, Arkham Knight: Batgirl Begins #1, Arkham Knight: The Road to Arkham #1, Batman: Arkham City #1-5, Arkham Unhinged #1-20, Batman: Arkham Knight Robin Special #1, Arkham Knight – Genesis #1-6, Batman: Arkham Knight – Batgirl and Harley Quinn #1, apparently among others.

Batman: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book Two HC

Collects issues #16-32 and the Annual #1, so Vol. 3 I Am Bane, parts one and three of The Button, and Vol. 4 War of Jokes and Riddles.

DC/Young Animal: Milk Wars TP

Includes Justice League/Doom Patrol, Doom Patrol/Justice League, Shade, the Changing Girl/Wonder Woman, Mother Panic/Batman, and Cave Carson/Swamp Thing.

Deathstroke by Tony S. Daniel Omnibus HC

The best part about this news is that it gives hope that there might be a Deathstroke by Christopher Priest omnibus to follow. I have read the entirety of this second New 52 Deathstroke series and it is a poor showing. A lot of Deathstroke running around chasing false leads that he ought be smart enough to recognize, a lot of Deathstroke naively fighting a bunch of other DC characters due to misunderstandings, and a cadre of forgettable (and often loosely or inconsistently motivated) antagonists -- plus the pleasure of Red Hood repeatedly calling Slade Wilson "Douchestroke." Co-writer James Bonny comes on early and remains after Tony Daniel leaves, making even the "by Tony Daniel" moniker suspect. It's a good thing that Deathstroke is a hot commodity, but this is by far not the best representation of his exploits.

Elseworlds: Batman Vol. 3 TP

I'm surprised and impressed we're already at volume 3 of the Elseworlds: Batman collections. Clearly we need dedicated collections of both the 1994 Elseworlds annuals and also the 1996 Legends of a Dead Earth annuals, too. This includes Batman: Brotherhood of the Bat (future set), Batman: Knight Gallery (alternate costumes related to Brotherhood), Batman: Scar of the Bat (1920s gangsters), Batman: Masque (based on Phantom of the Opera), and Batman: Dark Knight of the Round Table (King Arthur). I'd think the two-issue League of Batmen would be here, a sequel to Brotherhood.

Final Crisis: The 10th Anniversary Omnibus HC

What an incredible omnibus (I seem to be saying that a lot this month), which not only includes Final Crisis and its branded tie-in miniseries, but also looser stuff like the "Dark Side Club" stories from Birds of Prey, Flash, Teen Titans, even Terror Titans. That's a deep dive even for Final Crisis, evidence of DC going the extra mile for this edition. Collects Batman #676-683 and #701-702, Birds of Prey #118, DC Universe #0, DC Universe: The Last Will and Testament #1, Final Crisis #1-7, Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #1-5, Final Crisis: Requiem #1, Final Crisis: Resist #1, Final Crisis: Revelations #1-5, Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge #1-3, Final Crisis Secret Files, Final Crisis: Submit #1, Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1-2, Flash #240-241, Teen Titans #59-60, and Terror Titans #1-6. (Lacking unfortunately are the Infinity Inc. issues.)

Flash Vol. 6: A Cold Day in Hell TP

I've been unhappy with the Rebirth Flash series, but obviously a title like "Cold Day in Hell" suggests the inclusion of a certain Rogue who's been among the best parts of this series so far. The mention of "the turmoil of [Barry Allen's] personal life doesn't please me," but here's hoping. Collects issues #34-38. I will say some suggestion of continuity-fixing in the upcoming "Flash War" gives me hope.

Green Lantern/Green Arrow: Hard-Traveling Heroes Deluxe Edition HC

Deluxe edition of Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams's Green Lantern/Green Arrow #76-87 and #89, and Flash #217-219 and #226.

Green Lanterns Vol. 6: A World of Our Own TP

Issues #33-39 by Tim Seeley, taking over from Sam Humphries.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 5: Twilight of the Guardians TP

Issues #30-35. Guest-starring Superman; I assume this ties in to recent issues of Peter Tomasi's Superman title? I enjoyed Robert Venditti's DC You Green Lantern issues that I recently read, and I'm glad to see Venditti still chugging along on this title.

Harley Quinn by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti Omnibus Vol. 2 HC

At least another Harley Quinn omnibus or so to go, since this only collects through the end of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti's New 52 run, before Rebirth. Collects Harley Quinn #17-30, Harley Quinn Road Trip Special #1, Harley Quinn: Be Careful What You Wish For Special Edition, Harley Quinn and Her Gang Of Harleys #1-6, and Harley Quinn’s Little Black Book #1-6.

Justice League Vol. 6: The People vs. The Justice League TP

This still says issues #34-39, but since Christopher Priest is on until issue #43, when the series ends or pauses for "No Justice," I'd bet they'll collect his whole run. Art by Pete Woods and also now apparently Philippe Briones.

Legion by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning Vol. 2 TP

After the last collection of the "Legion of the Damned" storyline, this is Legion Lost #1-12. Those issues have been collected before in hardcover but not, as now, in paperback. It'll be nice if DC can get to a third collection with some of the never-collected Legion Worlds specials.

Mystik U TP

I've not heard hide nor hair of this so far, and it seems to have gone to trade very quickly. The three-issue miniseries will apparently fill a 160-page trade; maybe some other stories will pad this out?

New Super-Man Vol. 3: Equilibrium TP

Issues #13-18, just before the book becomes New Super-Man and the Justice League of China.

Super Sons of Tomorrow TP

This is bittersweet now that we know Super Sons is ending. Though, I like the concept and characters but was lukewarm on the first trade, so maybe a relaunch, or re-placement as a DC Zoom or DC Ink series, wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Notably this crossover will be collected outside of any of the individual series, at least in the initial paperback. Collects Super Sons #11-12, Superman #37-38, and Teen Titans #15. Obviously this is the way DC has collected Rebirth-era crossovers so far but I had still thought this would end up a Super Sons collection proper.

Superman: Zero Hour TP

This is a fun series that DC is now apparently releasing, following the previous Batman: Zero Hour collection. There's unfortunately not a lot of other series that had multi-part Zero Hour tie-in stories that would also make good collections, though the Justice League titles are certainly one. Collects the Zero Hour tie-in issues Man of Steel #37, Superman #93, Adventures #516, and Action #703, Steel #8 and Superboy #8, and the Zero Month (#0) issues of the same. Among the Zero Hour time-lost elements are a gaggle of alt-Batmen, Jor-El and Lara, the hero Alpha Centurion, and Superboy meets Superboy. The Zero Month issues introduce Conduit Kenny Braverman, an interesting-enough villain that I'm surprised no one ever used him again after the "Death of Clark Kent" story that followed.

Wonder Woman/Conan HC

Gail Simone writing Wonder Woman is always notable, and with her Wonder Woman-run artist Aaron Lopresti, too. Simone and Walter Geovani on Red Sonja again with Red Sonja/Tarzan is no slouch either; I loved their Red Sonja books.

Going back in for another edition of Final Crisis? Getting your feet wet with Aquaman: Tempest? Sound off in the comments and tell me what you're buying.

Review: Titans: The Lazarus Contract (Rebirth) hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

After two so-so editions of the Rebirth Titans and a so-so edition the Rebirth Teen Titans, but three fantastic volumes of the Rebirth Deathstroke, I was optimistic for a good turnout in the crossover Titans: The Lazarus Contract. Unfortunately, the result is underwhelming, a story without much in terms of content, a truly anticlimactic ending, and which largely ducks the very questions about Titans history that it was ostensibly meant to answer. I give the gathered writers points for a story that does finish with consequences for all three of the teams, but hardly does this crossover live up to the greater story that its title alludes to.

Review: Deathstroke Vol. 3: Twilight (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Christopher Priest's Rebirth Deathstroke Vol. 3: Twilight is insane. Priest spins an entertaining, dysfunctional family saga, surely the most complex and mature title of DC Comics's inaugural Rebirth line. I'm not sure to what extent this book still tracks as "Deathstroke" any more, but there is so much fantastic mayhem here it hardly matters. Whatever brought Christopher Priest out of retirement, DC Comics needs to hold on to him tight; I hope we see Priest on Deathstroke for a very long time.

[Review contains spoilers]

Only a scant couple issues ago did Jericho Joey Wilson team up with Superman to send his father, Deathstroke Slade Wilson, to prison; now with no animosity Deathstroke is phoning Jericho for a mid-battle assist and later attending his wedding -- a wedding to a double-agent that Slade is also sleeping with. Joey dismisses much of this back-and-forth as "between my mom and pop" (he wrongly believes his fiancee is working for his government spy mother) with only the barest hint of concern.

Review: Green Lantern Vol. 7: Renegade hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Given the the unenviable task of following Geoff Johns's historic run on Green Lantern, Robert Venditti has penned an interesting, exciting take on the franchise, faithful to what came before but tonally different. (In this, Venditti is Johns to Johns's Mark Waid on Flash.) The design for the Green Lantern Vol. 7: Renegade DC You's Hal Jordan is terrible -- all the more so because of the great Billy Tan sketches in the back of this book for what could have been -- but in this unusual chapter of Venditti's Green Lantern saga, he's got another winner. Whether by plan or by fiat, Venditti delivers a quieter Green Lantern story here than he's been able to do so far, with an unusual cast of characters that offer something distinct from what we're used to.

Review: Deathstroke Vol. 2: The Gospel of Slade (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Christopher Priest's Rebirth Deathstroke Vol. 2: The Gospel of Slade builds well on the volume that preceded it. With this book, Priest further demonstrates his intention to tell this story in his own way and at its own pace; Gospel actually includes the final chapter of the "Professional" story from the previous book plus the two-part "Professional" epilogue and concludes with a one-off issue set outside the book's main timeline. This makes "Professional," with prologue and epilogue, a nine-part story that bobbed and weaved rather significantly, bucking the six-issue "trade and done" trend — and in all of that, Priest has only moved Deathstroke's present action by inches.

All of this conveys a literary sensibility and a willingness to "go weird" as the title calls for it, a hallmark of some of the best series, and I'm certainly interested in what Priest is going to do as Deathstroke ramps up for its first crossover.

Review: Teen Titans Vol. 1: Damian Knows Best (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Teen Titans, which should be one of DC Comics's flagship titles, has had a rough time of it lately, surely since the beginning of the New 52 but really probably for more than a decade. Benjamin Percy's Rebirth Teen Titans Vol. 1: Damian Knows Best marks a slight uptick, if at least because these Titans are no longer rebels or misfits, but rather teen-ish heroes in their own right who decide to fight crime together. But Percy's got nothing new or groundbreaking here, and rather there's a fairly boilerplate conflict that could have fit into another volume of Robin, Son of Batman rather than here -- nor does the book's art hold up to its original promise. Percy gets points for an aspirational take on the Titans, but he'll have to do more to hold my interest.

Review: Deathstroke Vol. 1: The Professional (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, February 04, 2018

After four volumes of the DC You-era Deathstroke title I felt some Deathstroke fatigue, and I wasn't sure if even Christopher Priest's lauded Rebirth Deathstroke series was going to be enough to solve that. It was, fortunately, a sure sign of which is that even though I found Deathstroke Vol. 1: The Professional far from flawless, clearly enough thought has gone into it that I'm enthused to keep reading more. Certainly Priest's down-to-earth Deathstroke plot is a big improvement over the meandering "fight of the month" we've been living with for almost the entirety of the last go-round.

Trade Perspectives: Reactions to Forbes on Brian Michael Bendis, Superman news

Thursday, February 01, 2018

On Thursday Mark Hughes released on Forbes a surprisingly in-depth and far-ranging interview with new DC Comics-exclusive writer Brian Michael Bendis. (At what point business magazine Forbes began covering comics-writer shakeups I'm not sure, but I guess when comics goes mainstream, comics goes mainstream.)

Kudos to Hughes for an interview with as many twists and turns as any good superhero epic; probably my mouth hasn't hung open as much reading about DC's upcoming plans since their live Rebirth roll-out. As I noted on Twitter, there's a lot to unpack here, and indeed I'd like to do just that in a "quick hits" (or "not-so-quick-hits") format -- snag some quotes from the Hughes interview and offer my reactions as a starting point for further conversation. Again, you can read the full interview over at Forbes.

"Award-winning fan-favorite writer Brian Michael Bendis ... will be taking over writing duties on DC Comics' monthly Superman and Action Comics titles."

That's a bomb dropped right in the first sentence, because of course this means the exit of Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, and Patrick Gleason (except Gleason is staying with Bendis on Action). I'm not totally bummed about this because I have not been thrilled by Action's direction since "Oz Effect," and while I haven't been keeping as close an eye on Superman, my sense is Tomasi and Gleason have been keeping it light in deference to the big events in Action. So it's not as though either team is killing it, though I am eager to see where Tomasi and Gleason go, being a powerhouse duo in their own right.