Review: Superman: Action Comics Vol. 2: Leviathan Rising hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Brian Michael Bendis' Superman: Action Comics Vol. 2: Leviathan Rising is pretty astounding, about the best this title has been in a very, very long time. If you figure that the Superman titles were hitting the skids shortly before the New 52 came about, and then that decline continued (with occasional bright spots) through the New 52, and then the initial Rebirth run gave it a good shot but never ultimately quite came together — then Leviathan Rising's fairly straightforward and unironic use of Clark, Lois, Jimmy, and Perry is about as close to the classic days as we've seen in almost a decade.

Not to mention how well Bendis weaves in a bevy of cameos, making this Super-title feel distinctly on the front lines of the DC Universe (even despite the lead-in to a crossover event), and not to mention that Superman barely raises his fists the whole book, a throwback to Joe Casey's notable run or the "reporter first, superhero second" of ye olde Lois & Clark. For me, it doesn't get much better than what Bendis is channeling here, extended dialogue and weirdo Silver Age-y twists and all. Brian Michael Bendis is the best thing to happen to Superman in years.

Review: Deathstroke: Arkham (Vol. 6) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

In memory of Tom Spurgeon

It's been a minute since we last joined Christopher Priest's Deathstroke; I read Deathstroke Vol. 5: The Fall of Slade last December and what came out in the meantime was Priest's Batman vs. Deathstroke, a miniseries-within-a-series set outside the present action. So, as I imagined in my Fall review, Slade Wilson has been stewing a relative while when we pick up with him in Deathstroke: Arkham (the series' volume 6, as it were).

Indeed Arkham is a nice initial dip back into the Deathstroke waters. It is on the one hand a rather compact story, with Slade returning to his small padded cell at the start of every issue (depicted claustrophobically well by Fernando Pasarin and company), and the action rarely strays too far outside Arkham's walls, a change from Slade's otherwise globe-hopping adventures. On the other hand, the book is representative of Priest's Deathstroke run so far in all the best ways — dopplegangers, uncertain identities, questions of real or imagined realities, not to mention Priest's swift mid-page scene cuts.

Review: Teen Titans Vol. 2: Turn It Up trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

To some extent the newest Rebirth Teen Titans seem almost an afterthought now that Young Justice is back, given that Teen Titans is now comprised largely of newcomers and duplicative, less well-established sidekicks (why, for a certain subset of the population, would you want Robin Damian Wayne when you can have Tim Drake, or the New 52 Kid Flash when you can have Impulse?). And yet, writer Adam Glass continues to present perhaps the most viable yet of DC Comics' recent, troubled Teen Titans relaunches, working better from Marv Wolfman and George Perez's playbook than most have been able to.

There's not a real villain of note in Teen Titans Vol. 2: Turn It Up as much as this volume is mostly character- and origin-focused. From a team that at the outset seemed like it might be too "hip" for its own good, Glass has managed to find the right balance of new characters, especially, that are both irreverent and likable, and this feels like a feat in just two short volumes. With Young Justice on the rise, the waters are likely only to get choppier for Glass's title, but I came away from this volume rooting for Glass to continue.

Review: Naomi: Season One hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

I remember Damage, and I remember Anima, and Scarlett, and also Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (the movie) and Flight of the Navigator and Escape to Witch Mountain. So I have a lot of appreciation for the genre of Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker's Naomi: Season One, and it seems to me if Bendis' Wonder Comics is supposed to recapture the magic of those Damage/Anima/The Ray days, then Naomi is pitch-perfect. Not to mention the need for more new characters in the DC Universe, especially a young, female, African American character in the DC Universe, and for a book that, for the most part, is less about superheroes fighting and more about parents and children and how people in a small town relate to one another.

Review: Justice League Dark Vol. 2: Lords of Order trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Though James Tynion's Justice League Dark isn't blessed to shape the entire DC Universe in the manner of Scott Snyder's Justice League, it continues to demonstrate itself as the stronger of the two books. To say that Dark is more character-focused while League is more event-focused is a misnomer, because indeed it more often feels like the world could end any moment — and horribly — in Dark than in League proper.

What Tynion demonstrates here — building on the skills displayed with Detective Comics — is how to tell a team story with both epic scope and small character moments, and also a healthy dose of horror. That's tough to do. Justice League Dark Vol. 2: Lords of Order upholds and improves on the legacies of the Justice League Dark and Shadowpact that came before.

Review: Wonder Woman Vol. 1: The Just War hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

G. Willow Wilson's Wonder Woman Vol. 1: The Just War ends better than it begins, but this is still a halting start to the writer's run. Wilson ventures into familiar, ambitious territory with "Just War" proper, the kind of thing a Wonder Woman writer shouldn't try unless guaranteed success, and here Wilson doesn't quite make it. The final story, "The Grudge," shows more promise, but this feels like largely the cache of Wilson using other writers' notable characters than the writing itself. In the middle, Wilson tries to do some world-building, but for me the first story hadn't drawn the reader far enough in to make the middle story work.

I'm hoping for better coming up, but also I know Steve Orlando's already scheduled to replace Wilson. Orlando's done great work on this title before, so one volume in to Wilson's run and this already feels like placeholder.

Review: Heroes in Crisis: The Price and Other Stories hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

I hope you won't be surprised to hear it, but books like Heroes in Crisis: The Price and Other Stories make me eager for Joshua Williamson's non-Flash work — particularly, since there's something of a lead-in here, his forthcoming Batman/Superman series. Though Williamson's Flash consistently rubs me the wrong way (see, recently, his Flash Vol. 10: Force Quest), when dealing with the Flash in partnership with other heroes (and perhaps specifically Batman), I'm frequently pleased.

The Price is really just a collection of side-stories, poking (as these kinds of things do) at the edges of the Heroes in Crisis event without really affecting it in any way. And really, knowing the outcome of Heroes in Crisis, much of this book is just prologue to the real fallout, which might've been collected in this book but will end up I'm not really sure where. But again, it's enjoyable, and Williamson comports himself well — as do, by the way, Julie and Shawna Benson and Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, respectively, on the Green Arrow stories included here. I reviewed the Bensons' contribution in Green Arrow Vol. 7: Citizen's Arrest and I'll look at Kelly and Lanzing's in Green Arrow Vol. 8, so most of my attention here will be on "The Price" proper.

DC Trade Solicitations for January 2020 - Superman: Man of Steel Omnibus by Byrne, Legion of Super-Heroes: Road to Legion by Bendis, Justice League Quarterly TP, Tales from Dark Multiverse, Harley Quinn & the Gotham Girls, Batman: White Knight Deluxe

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Unusual for a solicitations month (but maybe not so unusual for a January), the DC Comics January 2020 trade paperback and hardcover solicitations are really short on "regular series" books, hewing mostly (but not entirely) toward collections of older materials.

Still, there is some cool stuff here — kind of a "something for everyone" month. I know plenty of you are interested in the just-announced Superman: The Man of Steel by John Byrne Omnibus Vol. 1. These are great stories, some of my favorites, and I'm glad they're being re-collected even if the omnibus doesn't hold much draw for me; also, if these do just encompass the Superman: The Man of Steel paperbacks, then it's probably just one more volume to make the complete omnibus set, which is always a good thing.

There's also Justice League: Corporate Maneuvers, for which the best I can think of is maybe the hook is supposed to be "Booster Gold's own super-team," because otherwise I don't know. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see DC collecting issues of Justice League Quarterly, and I'd like it even more if these were part of a finally-full non-omnibus collection of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis' "Justice League International" era. But I don't necessarily see the obvious draw (though you can't beat Chris Sprouse art) and that makes me worry if the book is going to make it to print.

In terms of "actual" "regular series" books, the two current continuity books of most interest to me this month are the Legion of Super-Heroes: The Road to Legion book, kicking off Brian Michael Bendis' new series, and the collection of the Tales From the Dark Multiverse specials. Nice to see Batman: The Dark Knight Detective Vol. 3 back officially on the schedule, though that half of the series has a little catching up to do to reach the Batman: The Caped Crusader books. Also Sean Murphy's Batman: White Knight in deluxe, the previously reprinted Silver and Bronze Age Spectre stories now in color, and another Wonder Woman by George Perez paperback.

Let's dig in to the details.

Absolute Fables Book One HC

Collects Fables #1-29 and Fables: The Last Castle, being the Legends in Exile, Animal Farm, Storybook Love, and March of the Wooden Soldiers trades, and part of Mean Seasons. That's five collections down, 17 more to go, so potentially a four-ish volume Absolute set.

Animal Man by Grant Morrison Book One TP

You know there's only about a dozen pre-Crisis Animal Man appearances before the Grant Morrison series? DC should find a reason to collect those. Of course, Morrison's Animal Man is also great (see my reviews), and this cut-down of the recent omnibus collects issues #1-13 and the story from Secret Origins #39. There's 26 regular issues total, so one more paperback should do it.

Batman: Broken City New Edition TP

A weird, noir, almost non-continuity Batman story dropped in between "Hush" and the return of Jason Todd, but 100 Bullets' Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. I was particularly impressed with "whodunit" in this one.

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 1: Mythology TP

Paperback of Peter Tomasi's first, pre-Detective #1000 story, collecting issues #994-999. After you read it, here's my thoughts on Detective Comics Vol. 1: Mythology.

Batman: The Dark Knight Detective Vol. 3 TP

Includes issues #592-600 in the collection series of immediate post-Crisis Batman stories. Includes appearances by Cornelius Stirk and Joe Potato, plus an Invasion! tie-in and the three-issue "Blind Justice" story by Sam Hamm that introduced Henri Ducard to the Batman mythos. Subtly, if not necessarily overtly, these stories take place in the aftermath of Jason Todd's death in "A Death in the Family."

Batman: White Knight: The Deluxe Edition HC

I really enjoyed Batman: White Knight, a smart and surprisingly political Batman "Elseworlds." This has been collected a way or two already, but here it is "deluxe"; one wonders if the inclusion of "Sean Murphy's original inked pages" means this is the uncensored "director's cut" version.

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! Book One TP

The first twelve issues of the young readers series by Mike Kunkel, Art Baltazar, and Franco; this continued to issue #21. Previously only issues #1-12 were collected in two paperbacks.

Ex Machina Compendium One TP

Issues #1-25 and two Ex Machina specials by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and others, now as DC Black Label. That's First Hundred Days, Tag, Fact v. Fiction, March to War, and Smoke Smoke, the first five collections, with five left to go.

Famous First Edition: New Fun #1 HC

Hardcover reprinting of New Fun #1, the first comic from National Allied Publications, the once and future DC Comics. The black-and-white comic is accompanied by a variety of essays; though recent anniversary books for Superman and Batman have done well, I am skeptical there's sufficient audience for this.

Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus Vol. 1 New Edition HC

New printing of the first volume of the Geoff Johns omnibus series, collecting Flash #164-191, the Flash: Our Worlds at War and Flash: Iron Heights specials, and the Flash Secret Files #3.

Flash of Two Worlds Deluxe Edition HC

A deluxe edition of the DC Comics Classics Library volume from 2009, "Flash of Two Worlds," collecting the 1960s issues Flash #123, #129, #137, #151, #170, and #173. That original volume had an introduction by Geoff Johns, but the solicitation doesn't mention including it here.

Green Arrow: Year One: The Deluxe Edition HC

Deluxe-size collection of the six-issue miniseries by Andy Diggle and Jock.

Harley Quinn and the Gotham Girls TP

Collection of the 2003 five-issue miniseries (then just called "Gotham Girls"), based on the animated web series, by Paul Storrie and Jennifer Graves.

House of Whispers Vol. 2: Ananse TP

Issues #7-12 of the Sandman Universe series by Nalo Hopkinson.

Jack of Fables: The Deluxe Edition Book Three HC

Final deluxe edition of Jack of Fables by Bill Willingham and Lilah Sturges, issues #36-50.

Justice League: Corporate Maneuvers TP

In a list of most unlikely collections ever, a collection of Keith Giffen and J.M. Dematteis's Conglomerate story, a team of really second-rate heroes led by Booster Gold, from Justice League Quarterly #1, would be really high on that unlikely list. Maybe the hook here is meant to be Booster Gold, but if so, perhaps "Booster Gold and the Justice League International" might be a better-selling (if wordy) start to the title?

Also, this is said to collect Justice League Quarterly #1-4, but the Conglomerate only appeared in issue #1. Issue #2 was a G'nort et al. story and a Fire/Ice team-up; issue #3 sees the team shrunk and time-hopping; and issue #4 has a B-list Injustice League, a Guy Gardner/Ice date gone wrong, and tales of Power Girl's cat (!?). I'm really unsure about this book ...

Legion of Super-Heroes: The Road to Legion TP

I'm excited for this, but if I may, it kind of seems like DC needed something to collect with Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium, so here we get the two issues plus Superman #14-15 and Supergirl #33. Advance solicitations have Brian Michael Bendis' Superman Vol. 2 ending with issue #14 and his Superman Vol. 3 picking up with issue #16, so maybe there will be other issues here that aren't collected anywhere else, though I'm skeptical.

Preacher: The 25th Anniversary Omnibus Vol. 1 HC

Collects Preacher #1-33, plus the Saint of Killers four-issue miniseries and the Cassidy — Blood & Whiskey special. The series went 66 issues, so probably one more volume.

Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion New Edition TP

New collection of Billy Tucci's six-issue 2009 miniseries, with a story from the DC Holiday Special '09.

Spectre: The Wrath of the Spectre Omnibus HC

Collects the Silver and Bronze Age appearances of the Spectre beginning in the 1950s, including Showcase #60, 61, and 64; Spectre #1–10; Adventure Comics #431–440; Brave and the Bold #72, 75, 116, 180, and 199; Ghosts #97–99; and DC Comics Presents #29, all previously collected in black-and-white as Showcase Presents: The Spectre.

Superman: The Man of Steel Omnibus by John Byrne Vol. 1 HC

I know a lot of you wanted this, and indeed I am very happy for you. For my money, the Byrne Superman and on through for many years is the definitive Superman, so no disrespect for these stories and I'm glad they live on and that more people will get to read them. That said, if only because I've read all these stories plenty times before and own the trades, I'd really prefer more collections of the post-Byrne Superman rather than re-collecting (probably in a new set of paperbacks, too) what's already been collected. But anyway, yes, do enjoy.

This collects Byrne's Man of Steel #1-6, Action Comics #584-593, Action Comics Annual #1, Adventures of Superman #424-435 (which is actually by Marv Wolfman and Jerry Ordway, not Byrne, but of course these should be included), Adventures of Superman Annual #1, Legion of Super-Heroes #37-38, Superman #1-11, and Superman Annual #1. This collects through the first five Superman: The Man of Steel collections and about half of Byrne's run, so possibly this can be finished off in just one more volume.

Swamp Thing: Tales From the Bayou TP

Interestingly, this now appears to be all of Tim Seeley and Joelle Jones' Swamp Thing stories from the Walmart 100-page giants, plus material already released in the Swamp Thing: Roots of Terror deluxe edition hardcover, being the stories by Tom King, Brian Azzarello, and Mark Russell from Cursed Comics Cavalcade, Swamp Thing Winter Special, Swamp Thing’s Halloween Horror, and Young Monsters in Love.

Tales From the Dark Multiverse HC

Solicited for the end of February, the Dark Multiverse takes on "Knightfall," "Death of Superman," "Blackest Night," "Infinite Crisis," and "Judas Contract."

Weird Western Tales: Jonah Hex HC

Previously titled Jonah Hex: The Bronze Age Omnibus, this resolicited, more intriguingly titled volume is Hex's 1970s appearances, including All-Star Western #10-11, Weird Western Tales #12-14 and #16-38, Jonah Hex #1-17, and Justice League of America #159-160 ("Crisis from Yesterday," with the Justice Society, Enemy Ace, and more).

Wonder Woman by George Perez Vol. 4 TP

Continuing the cut-down of the Wonder Woman by George Perez omnibuses, this is issues #36-45 and the Annual #2, finishing out the second omnibus (so one more to go, or likely two more paperbacks).

Review: Flash Vol. 10: Force Quest trade paperback (DC Comics)

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Among strong things that writer Joshua Williamson has done in his Rebirth Flash tenure is introduce a variety of interesting new speedsters, a new Team Flash (sometimes with morally gray motivations) when we've lacked such for a while. In that way, Flash Vol. 10: Force Quest, an overseas trip for Flash Barry Allen to find new users of the "companion" forces to Flash's Speed Force, holds a lot of promise.

The results are mixed, as they often are with Williamson's Flash. At times Force Quest is rather compelling; at other times, it gets downright ridiculous. At key points, Barry is often the dumbest guy in the room, trailing behind both his allies and the reader; Williamson also keeps up Barry's constant internal monologue of self-pity, even when those around him recognize things are not so bad. Williamson's got a bunch of good, auspicious, interesting things on the way — a Heroes in Crisis tie-in and Batman team-up, "Flash: Year One," and a hundredth issue looming on the horizon — and it's a shame Flash struggles page to page in this manner.

Review: Saga: Book Two hardcover (Image Comics)

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The end of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' Saga: Book Two does not as such mark the midpoint of the series; the last chapter of this volume, issue #36, is neither the halfway point of the first 54 issues of Saga (that would be #27) nor of the planned 108-issues as a whole (that'd be #54 itself). So to see Book Two as a sort of Empire Strikes Back-esque second chapter in the "first Saga trilogy" is patently incorrect.

[Review contains spoilers]

And yet, viewing Book Two as the penultimate piece of a trilogy interests me because, as in the Star Wars model, the second part of a trilogy (and especially its conclusion) ought be the part where things go terribly, terribly wrong. Indeed, given the particularly violent first arc of Book Two, which also suggests Alana and Marko potentially splitting up, and an ending in which it seems quite certain someone is going to die, things going terribly, terribly wrong seems inevitable.

Review: Young Justice Vol. 1: Gemworld hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

To the extent one actually ever considered we might see a Young Justice revival, Brian Michael Bendis' Young Justice Vol. 1: Gemworld is pretty darn good. I'm not sure "perfect" was attainable, and what hampers this book, if anything, are the giant continuity hoops that Bendis has to jump through that keeps this highly esoteric and prevents the book from just plain getting on with it. But this is still very entertaining and undoubtedly what the DC Universe needs right now, and I hope Bendis continues on the title at least as long as the original.

[Review contains spoilers]

Gemworld, as the name implies, takes place almost entirely on the Gemworld of Amethyst fame. That is to say, though the core Young Justice team gets back together here, there's no return to the base, no camping trip, etc., and the continuity foibles are far from explained. Which is fine, in some respects — Bendis surely wants to give the people what they want without aping Peter David entirely — but at every turn this book feels caught in what it can't say or can't address. That extends to the setting, and also to the fact that it seems this team still isn't headed home at least for another volume after this one.

Review: Red Hood: Outlaw Vol. 1: Requiem for an Archer trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

After writing close to a hundred issues give or take about Red Hood Jason Todd and his various "Outlaw" teammates, Scott Lobdell goes a different route in Red Hood: Outlaw Vol. 1: Requiem for an Archer. I can't blame Lobdell for switching things up, and the book's new direction is interesting, though surely controversial.

The new Red Hood threatens to become what in some respects it's always deconstructed, another bloody vengeance book along the lines of Deathstroke or Punisher. But Lobdell doesn't hesitate to get weird, for one, and for two, the book is rife with unexpected moments of grace. I'm not sure how long this title works, how long another "solo former Robin" book lasts without the team component (because I don't think "Nightwing but an anti-hero" is differentiated enough), but I'm certainly interested for as long as it does.

Review: Green Arrow Vol. 7: Citizen's Arrest trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, October 06, 2019

I was only so-so about Julie and Shawna Benson's run on Birds of Prey so I wasn't quite sure how I'd like their Green Arrow. As it turns out, they're only on for a volume anyway, Green Arrow Vol. 7: Citizen's Arrest, which mainly just involves continuity-keeping between Green Arrow, Scott Snyder's Justice League, and Heroes in Crisis. There was not much here that I thought suggested a new direction or paradigm for the Green Arrow franchise, perhaps intentionally, but the Bensons' is a familiar but effective story. The characters are on point (so to speak) and Citizen's Arrest is never boring, and it addresses what it needs to such to reaffirm that Green Arrow takes place alongside the rest of the DC Universe.

Review: Batman Vol. 10: Knightmares trade paperback (DC Comics)

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Wednesday, October 02, 2019

If the premise was that, sometime after Tom King's Batman run is all said and done, that King would get back together with some of the pivotal artists in and around his run and revisit some of the key moments from a "no holds barred," Elseworlds perspective, I think we might look kindly on that. (It feels as though Sandman has already done this once if not a number of times.)

It is weird, no doubt, to do that mid-story, as Batman Vol. 10: Knightmares does, but when has this abstract, post-modern take on Batman not been weird? Knightmares has received some bad press, as I understand it, but there seems little benefit in trying to wish this volume into something it's not. Alright, it's a bit impressionist, but look, here's a collection of continuity-light Batman stories written by Tom King and with art by Mitch Gerard, Mikel Janin, Lee Weeks, Amanda Conner, and Yanick Paquette, for gosh sakes, ranging from horror to comedy, and with a couple of guest stars I think you'd otherwise love to see in a Batman book. Whatever the reason for Knightmares — writer needs a break (though these are surely writer-intensive stories), let events catch up in other books, or King's Batman is just an odd one — I can't find much to be upset about here.

Review: Heroes in Crisis hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Tom King's Heroes in Crisis is a deeply flawed story, which is unfortunate because it's probably also one of the most important stories of the current era. This is a book about depression and trauma that I think reads very true, and the basic motivation of the book's antagonist is brilliantly tied in to a very relatable pathology of mental illness. Of course, tying mental illness to murderous impulse (inasmuch as Heroes in Crisis does or does not do that) is problematic, and that's only one of a number of places I wish Crisis would've zigged where it zagged. But I'd far from dismiss this book entirely.

Heroes in Crisis arrived just as DC Comics began to transfer out of its successful Rebirth era and into its also successful New Justice era of Scott Snyder's Dark Nights: Metal and Justice League. While DC seems to be going strong overall, the late releases of Doomsday Clock, and the Justice League and Superman titles getting ahead of Doomsday's big returns, suggests Rebirth petering to a close. I wouldn't speculate which creators like or side with whom behind the scenes, but only say that within its pages, Heroes in Crisis contains a sharp reprimand of some of Rebirth's central tenets, one that I think is highly correct and long overdue. Coming as it does in Rebirth's final days, this too makes Heroes in Crisis highly interesting.

Review: Justice League Vol. 3: Hawkworld trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Scott Snyder and company's Justice League Vol. 3: Hawkworld is an interesting book. It is most of all a much-needed come-down from the heightened antics of Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth (and before that, Totality and No Justice), wonderfully more character focused than this book has been.

Which is not to say it's uneventful — there's more revelations here that rock the direction of this book than there were in all of Drowned Earth. Snyder and James Tynion commit a variety of slights of hand that tie together the lore of these characters in previously unrevealed (or previously uninvented) ways, and it creates a very rich tapestry from which to continue to tell this story. Understanding now some of the hows and whys of these characters' motivations gives Snyder's Justice League a depth that wasn't originally apparent.

Review: Aquaman Vol. 1: Unspoken Water hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Kelly Sue DeConnick's Aquaman Vol. 1: Unspoken Water is an unusual take on the character. The book is new-reader friendly to be sure, with the title character only knowing small bits about his own identity and scant references to past continuity; it's a book anyone could pick up and know what's going on. Unfortunately, while I realize that DeConnick is a "get" for DC Comics, this Aquaman was too disconnected from the elements that make him Aquaman for my enjoyment. I will be curious to see how or if DeConnick can integrate what she's set up here into a more traditional Aquaman book.

[Review contains spoilers]

Unspoken Water finds Aquaman Arthur Curry, late of Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth, deposited amnesic on the shores of "the Village of Unspoken Water," what's ultimately revealed to be a Lost-esque island to which various water deities have been exiled. Though DeConnick does well using a variety of indigenous gods rather than those of Greek and Roman mythology that usually populate superhero comics, the plot is fairly direct and uncomplicated — Arthur is asked to broker peace between these gods and another, Arthur goes to do so, a superhero fight ensues. The good guys are good here, the bad guys are bad, and many of the cliffhangers involve Arthur rediscovering his water powers — a surprise to Arthur, perhaps, but not particularly to the reader.

DC Trade Solicitations for December 2019 - Birds of Prey Movie Tie-Ins, Batman: Arkham: Black Mask and Zsasz, Gotham Knights, Green Arrow by Grell Omnibus, Bat and Cat: 80 Years, Harleen by Sejic, Injustice Vs. Masters of the Universe

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Solicitations toward the end of the year do tend to slow down a little, so it's not a big surprise not to see a whole lot of note in the DC Comics December 2019 trade paperback and hardcover solicitations. It's not that there's nothing here, but consider we've got something like five-six books of entirely re-collected material to tie into the new Birds of Prey movie, and then books like Omega Men by Tom King Deluxe, Nightwing by Peter Tomasi, and Aquaman: Death of a Prince Deluxe — all good books, all worthy of being collected, but all stuff I got when it was collected the first time around.

Two books, related, that I am happy about are Batman: Gotham Knights: Transference and Batman: Arkham: Zsasz. Gotham Knights collects 12 issues of the Devin Grayson-lead, post-"No Man's Land" title, that era's "Batman Family" title long before James Tynion's Detective Comics was a glimmer in anyone's eye, and representative of a very specific Batman era — Nightwing, Oracle, Robin Tim Drake, and Batgirl Cassandra Cain. Then the Zsasz book, along with collecting stories of one of my favorite Bat-villains, has a story by Grayson originally scheduled for Gotham Knights but cut for being too gory; I'm excited to see this finally make print.

Weirdly, we also get another new reprinting of the first issues of the 1980s Justice League International. This is worrisome because it's probably based off the recent omnibus, and the omnibus didn't collect the whole series, so I'm concerned another paperback run of this series might end prematurely again. It's surprising even to see this being collected again; I can't imagine we'll get another shot if this doesn't make it.

Then of course there's new Flash and Green Arrow and other stuff on my regular buying list. Let's take a look at the whole slate:

Adventures of Superman: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez Vol. 2 HC

Includes DC Comics Presents #41 (Superman and the Joker, with Martin Pasko), Realworlds: Superman #1 and Superman, Inc. #1 (both with Steve Vance), Superman: Kal #1 (with Dave Gibbons), and Superman #347, World’s Finest Comics #244, #255 and #258, and Action Comics #1000, along with cover art and more.

Aquaman: Death of a Prince Deluxe Edition HC

Reprinting the 2011 paperback, now in hardcover, of the 1970s stories by David Michelinie, Jim Aparo, Mike Grell, and Don Newton, in which Aquaman's infant son is murdered by Black Manta. Collects Adventure Comics #435-437, #441-445 and Aquaman #57-63 (the end of his solo series at the time).

The Bat and the Cat: 80 Years of Romance HC

Hardcover collection of Batman/Catwoman team-ups; still no contents to speak of.

Batman and the Outsiders Vol. 1: Lesser Gods TP

Collects the new Batman and the Outsiders #1-7, by Bryan Hill and Dexter Soy. Some of these issues bore the "Year of the Villain: The Offer" branding.

Batman Beyond Vol. 6: Divide, Conquer and Kill TP

Issues #30-36 by Dan Jurgens, including apparently a guest appearance by the future Flash.

Batman by Neal Adams Book Three TP

This cutdown of the omnibus includes the stories from two book and record sets with art by Adams, plus Batman #232, #234, #237, #243-245, #251, and #255, including "Daughter of the Demon" and "Night of the Reaper."

Batman: Arkham: Black Mask TP

In connection with the upcoming Birds of Prey/Harley Quinn movie, this collects Batman #386-387 and Detective Comics #553 (crossover, Black Mask's first appearances, by Doug Moench and Tom Mandrake on Batman and Moench and Klaus Janson on Detective), #484-485 (by Moench and Tom Grindberg, not so far off from "Knightfall"), #648 (an issue from Judd WInick's Red Hood-focused run, with Doug Mahnke), and Catwoman #16 (Selina's definitive confrontation with Black Mask, by Ed Brubaker and Cameron Stewart) and #83 (later Blackest Night tie-in by Tony Bedard) — as well as, new to this solicitation, the equally just-in-time-for-the-movie Black Mask: Year of the Villain special, credited to Tom Taylor, Cully Hamner, and Mitch Gerads.

Batman: Arkham: Victor Zsasz TP

Pretty notably, this now contains a previously-unpublished story by Devin Grayson and Roger Robinson, which was originally pulled from Gotham Knights for being too gory.

We also get Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1-4, the debut story by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle; Batman: Streets of Gotham #10-11 by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen; a story from Batman Chronicles #3, again by Grant with Jennifer Graves; Batman: Batgirl #1, a "Girlfrenzy" issue by Kelley Puckett and Jim Balent; Detective Comics #815-816, by Shane McCarthy and Cliff Chiang, as Zsasz goes after Alfred; a story from the New 52 Detective Comics #18 by John Layman and Jason Fabok; and a pin-up by Matt Wagner from Rogues Gallery #1.

One of my favorite Zsasz stories is Batman #493, from "Knightfall," a spooky, slasher flick-inspired tale, and I rather wish it was in there.

Batman: Gotham Knights: Transference TP

The first twelve issues of Devin Grayson's Bat-family book Gotham Knights, ending (for context) just before "Officer Down." With appearances by Nightwing, Oracle, Batgirl Cassandra Cain, Robin Tim Drake, Huntress, and Hugo Strange. Grayson's run goes to #32 and I hope very much this gets another volume. Issue #12 was by Jen Van Meter; the story that was originally supposed to appear there, but was pulled, will be in the Batman: Arkham: Zsasz collection.

Batman: The Golden Age Vol. 6 TP

Batman #21-25, Detective Comics #82-92, and World's Finest #12-14, where among other things Batman and Robin stop cattle rustlers. In paperback for the first time.

Batwoman by JH Williams III Omnibus HC

I'm glad to see this omnibus, well-deserved for the character, and it makes me excited for what the new CW show could bring for Kate Kane. Granted, I'm not sure the other CW shows have done anything for their respective characters' comics profiles, but to have Batwoman in the public consciousness now like Oliver Queen, Barry Allen, and Kara Zor-El are would be a great thing indeed.

Interesting that this is called "by JH Williams" when there's at least a couple issues in there not by Williams, but certainly it's better that this is a complete omnibus of Batwoman's first couple years than not. I don't disagree with stopping this at #24, but I wouldn't have minded Marguerite Bennett's Rebirth series being in there too.

Birds of Prey: Black Canary TP

Tying in to the new Birds of Prey movie, a collection of Brendan Fletcher and Annie Wu's entire DC You Black Canary series (previously collected in two trades), in which Dinah goes on the road as a rock star.

Birds of Prey: Harley Quinn TP

Appears to reprint the first issues of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti's New 52 series, issues #1-7, the Harley Quinn: Futures' End tie-in, and the Harley story from Secret Origins #4. In comparison, Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City was issues #0-8 and the two ancillary issues were collected in Harley Quinn Vol. 2: Power Outage.

Birds of Prey: Murder &Amp; Mystery TP

Collects issues #56-67 of the original Gail Simone run, being the Of Like Minds and Sensei & Student collections, minus the one-off issue #68.

Birds of Prey: The Huntress TP

Greg Rucka's six-issue Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood miniseries with Rick Burchett, in the wake of "No Man's Land."

Books of Magic Vol. 2: Second Quarto TP

Collects issues issues #7-13 (previously listed as #7-12) of the Sandman Universe series by Kat Howard and Tom Fowler; this is the end of "year one" and the next volume should start "year two," with John Constantine joining Sandman Universe.

Damage Vol. 3: Monstrous TP

Issues #13-16 and Annual #1, the final issues of Robert Venditti's "New Age of Heroes" series, guest-starring the Justice League.

The Dreaming Vol. 2: Empty Shells TP

Issues #7-12 of the Sandman Universe series by Simon Spurrier and Bilquis Evely.

The Flash Vol. 11: The Greatest Trick of All HC

The collection immediately following the Heroes in Crisis-related "Price" crossover with Batman and preceding Joshua Williamson's new Flash: Year One, collecting issues #66-69 and Annual #2.

This has switched to hardcover now, and it's volume 11. DC has historically been shy about having trades numbered up this high, fearing customers will be intimidated to start, so it'll be interesting to see if changes are afoot anytime soon.

Green Arrow by Mike Grell Omnibus Vol. 1 HC

What'll probably be a two-volume omnibus set, this collects Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1-3, Green Arrow #1-50, and a story from Secret Origins #38, with introduction by Mike Grell and afterword by Mike Gold. Grell's run went to #80, so 30 more issues for the next book plus Grell's Green Arrow: The Wonder Years miniseries.

Green Arrow Vol. 8: The End of the Road TP

Issues #39-42 and #48-50 by Mairghread Scott, Jackson Lanzing, and Collin Kelly, tying in to Justice League: No Justice and Heroes in Crisis and bringing the series to a close. Issues #43-47 by Julie and Shawna Benson were in Green Arrow Vol. 7; issues #45 and #48-50 will be in the Heroes in Crisis: The Price and Other Tales collection.

Harleen HC

Collects the three-issue DC Black Label miniseries by Stjepan Sejic.

Hellblazer Vol. 22: Regeneration TP

Collects Hellblazer #250-260 and Hellblazer Special: ChasThe Knowledge #1-5, by Peter Milligan and Simon Oliver, respectively, and others.

High Level TP

Collects the six-issue miniseries by Rob Sheridan and Barnaby Bagenda. Previously published under the relaunched Vertigo, the trade will be branded with DC Black Label.

The Huntress: Origins TP

A direct reprinting of the Huntress: Darknight Daughter trade from a few years back, collecting Paul Levitz's original 1970s stories about the Earth-2 Helena Wayne. With DC Super Stars #17, Batman Family #18-20, and Wonder Woman #271-287, #289, #290, #294, and #295.

Infinite Crisis Omnibus New Edition HC

A fine and well-deserved omnibus, though it doesn't appear that this "new edition" contains anything different than the previous printings. Being Action Comics #826 and #829, Adventures of Superman #639 and #642, Countdown To Infinite Crisis #1, Day of Vengeance #1-6, Day of Vengeance Infinite Crisis Special #1, JLA #115-119, Infinite Crisis #1-6, Infinite Crisis Secret Files 2006 #1, The OMAC Project #1-6, The OMAC Project Infinite Crisis Special #1, Rann-Thanagar War #1-6, Rann-Thanagar Infinite Crisis Special #1, Superman #216 and #219, Villains United #1-6, Villains United Infinite Crisis Special #1, and Wonder Woman #219.

Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe TP

Tim Seeley and Freddie Williams' six-issue miniseries.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five: The Complete Collection TP

Issues #1-20 and the Annual #1 by Brian Buccellato.

Justice League International Book One: Born Again TP

A cutdown, it would seem, of the recent Justice League International Omnibus. Notably, there's yet to be a second omnibus volume, so that's not complete; hopefully DC will actually one day collect the entirety of the involved series.

Collects Justice League #1-6, Justice League International #7-17, Justice League Annual #1, Justice League International Annual #2 and Suicide Squad #13. The last set of paperbacks went up to Justice League International/America #35 and Justice League Europe #11 before cutting off; the omnibus only collected through League #30 and Europe #6. This new trade collects through about the middle of the third smaller trade.

Justice League: Origin Deluxe Edition HC

Issues #1-12 of the New 52 series, being the Origin and Villain's Journey collections, following the 2017 Absolute edition.

Legends of the Dark Knight: Steve Englehart HC

Detective Comics #439 and #469-476, Batman: Dark Detective #1-6, Legends of the Dark Knight #109-111, Legends of the DC Universe #26-27 (Joker and Aquaman, playing on Englehart's "Joker Fish" story), and a story from Batman Chronicles #19.

The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol. 3 HC

Adventure Comics #361-380, Action Comics #378-392, Superboy #147, and Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #106.

Lucifer Vol. 2: The Divine Tragedy TP

Issues #7-13 (not #7-12 as previously solicited) of the Sandman Universe series.

Nightwing by Peter J. Tomasi TP

Nightwing #140-153, shortly before Nightwing took the mantle of the Bat in the Grant Morrison era, by new Detective Comics writer Peter Tomasi. Being the Freefall and Great Leap trades, I enjoyed these very much at the time.

Omega Men by Tom King Deluxe Edition HC

Well deserved to be finally in hardcover; if you didn't buy this before, go and buy it now. An instant classic by Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda.

Scooby Apocalypse Vol. 6 TP

Issues #31-36 by Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis, the final issues of the series. Solicitation suggests it also includes the Atom Ant backups.

Scooby-Doo Team-Up: It's Scooby Time! TP

Collects the final issues of Sholly Fisch's Scooby-Doo Team-Up series, issues #44-50, with Mister Miracle and Big Barda, Black Lightning, and the Flash.

Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth HC

Hardcover of the painted prose story by Paul Dini and Alex Ross.

World's Finest: Guardians of the Earth HC

Collects World's Finest Comics #195-214, 1970s team-ups between Superman and Green Lantern, Aquaman, Batman, Hawkman, Green Arrow, the Atom, and the Diana Prince-era Wonder Woman.

Review: The Batman Who Laughs hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Despite the supposed end to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Batman collaboration with Batman: Last Knight on Earth, on stands now, in many respects it feels like Snyder's second act with Batman is just getting started. Sure, Snyder's writing the whole Justice League now, but with books first like Dark Nights: Metal and then leading in to The Batman Who Laughs, it's clear Snyder's League has a lot of basis in his Batman work and in his Batman mythos.

Indeed, too, it's not just the presence of artist Jock that hearkens back to Snyder's earliest Batman work, Batman: The Black Mirror, it's the story as well; Snyder has written a sequel. It's subtle — one need not have read Black Mirror (now shockingly almost a decade old) to enjoy this book, but the connections are there (plus shades, too, of The Killing Joke). Also there are connections to the themes of Snyder's New 52 Batman run, placing Batman Who Laughs firmly in the Snyder canon — more so, even, than Dark Nights: Metal, since Laughs is set firmly in the Gotham that looms so large in Snyder's books.

Review: Review: Justice League Vol. 2: Graveyard of Gods trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

DC Comics collections gets in this kind of quandary once in a while, where a title like Scott Snyder and company's Justice League Vol. 2: Graveyard of Gods and Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth share five issues in common and only differ by two in one book, three in the other.

Independent to Graveyard are Justice League #8-9 and independent to Drowned are Aquaman #41-42 and Titans #28; both books share Justice League #10-12 and the Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1 and Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1 specials. Optimally DC might've stuck the two books together, adding just two more issues to the Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth collection; collecting it all together, essentially, so no one has to double-dip. Justice League issues #8-9 are far from unrelated, with sub-plots that specifically set up Drowned Earth.

Review: Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 1: Mythology hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

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Sunday, September 08, 2019

Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke's Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 1: Mythology debut is problematic. I finished the book surprised and disappointed — in part because I mistakenly believed the story tied in to Tomasi's post-Detective Comics #1000 Arkham Knight story — and it was only my realization five minutes later that Mythology is a run-up-to-Detective-#1000 story (the event, not any particular plot point) that redeemed it for me.

It is not badly written, and indeed Tomasi brings the drama and Mahnke the pizazz that will surely serve them well in their Detective run. It's simply that, wow, to tell a story like Mythology in this day and age and without working some aspect of "1000" into it to tip off readers (trade readers, at least) as to how to interpret this story is gutsy in the extreme. As well, though it's somewhat hard to discern, what one might take here as hints to the direction of Tomasi's Detective run also gives me pause. Time will tell for Tomasi's tenure, but I'm curious to what extent others found Mythology controversial, too.

Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

With the Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth crossover, we find ourselves firmly in the post-Dark Nights: Metal era; "outrageous as the norm" has become not the exception but the rule. That's not bad necessarily; the best of Metal's cosmic loftiness on top of cosmic loftiness is here too, undercut with admirable "we're all in it together" humanism. But if Metal was too much for you, with Justice League: No Justice right after it, consider jumping ship now, as Drowned Earth suggests such tone wasn't an accident and there's probably more to come.

Drowned Earth is a pretty grand Aquaman story, certainly beautifully illustrated. Inasmuch as one is occasionally reminded of Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, it's nice to see an Aquaman event where the conflict isn't Atlantis versus the land or vice versa — that Arthur Curry can star in stories other than where his loyalties are called into question. It is not perhaps the best end to Dan Abnett's Aquaman series run, in that Abnett doesn't get much room to do his own thing, but there are ways we can read between the lines that speak to some of Abnett's themes.

Review: Suicide Squad Vol. 8: Constriction trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Rob Williams' Rebirth-era Suicide Squad ends with Suicide Squad Vol. 8: Constriction; with a second movie in the works, it's almost assured that this iteration is being cancelled to make way for a relaunch.

Williams' take has been quite good — probably among the best Suicide Squad interpretations in a while, at least given the length of time that Williams' wrote the series and not counting other writers' good single volumes here or there. It's unfortunate that Constriction lacks almost all of the series' signature punch, perhaps due — I can only guess — to the book's cancellation. Suicide Squad Vol. 7: Drain the Swamp was among the high points, and it's a shame the title couldn't have been allowed to quit while it was ahead. Constriction delivers a middling end.

Review: Aquaman/Suicide Squad: Sink Atlantis trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Aquaman/Suicide Squad: Sink Atlantis is a workable crossover as it goes, hearkening back to the good old days (somewhat back in favor now) when titles used to cross-over without the need for additional event bookends. This is an unusual mash-up, though enjoyable in its strangeness, an effort to bring two of DC's prominent movie-property franchises together, though right at the point where the Suicide Squad comic is about to be cancelled and the Aquaman comic is about to get a new creative team.

That makes this a somewhat inopportune time for an event, though the dual presence and hard work of writers Dan Abnett and Rob Williams is extremely evident; rarely does it seem like one book's cast steals the spotlight over the other's regardless of which title we're in. If anything, the Aquaman title takes a minor hit in that I think an important event gets elided for purposes of rushing to the crossover. In all, however, this is a good example of how a crossover can be done simply and straightforwardly.

Review: Hellblazer Vol. 4: The Good Old Days (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

As yet another attempt at reintegrating John Constantine into the DC Universe comes to an end, Tim Seeley finally gets it right with the Rebirth Hellblazer Vol. 4: The Good Old Days. It is, of course, too late, and most of this series would best be forgotten, but at least we got one good Constantine story out of it. Hopefully, now that DC's deciding to give it another go, Seeley's last story of this series might serve as a model. Devils and demons abound here, but Seeley finds the right mix of supernatural and human evil to spin a Constantine tale that doesn't feel watered down for the DC Universe.

[Review contains spoilers]

The high concept of Good Old Days is that Seeley teams Constantine with the New 52/Rebirth version of "Matron" Huntress Helena Bertinelli, created by Seeley and Tom King for Grayson. A street-level hero feels more apt for Hellblazer, grounding the action, than when Constantine had a punch-out off-panel with Superman in Hellblazer Vol. 2: The Smokeless Fire, for instance. Helena hunts an old flame of Constantine's who's possessed by the ghosts of mobster brothers; again, there are demons and hellscapes aplenty, but Seeley's basing the story in terrestrial (or pseudo-terrestrial) villains goes a long way toward upping the realism, danger, and suspense.

DC Trade Solicitations for November 2019 - Wonder Woman: War of the Gods Omnibus, Mister Miracle by Englehart and Gerber, Justice League by Snyder Deluxe, Morrison's The Green Lantern Vol. 2, Batman Vol. 11

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Following on the heels of DC Comics' Spring 2020 catalog, some of those books have now arrived in their November 2019 trade paperback and hardcover solicitations. In terms of fan favorites, I wholly support the big chunk of 1990s comics that is the Wonder Woman: War of the Gods Omnibus, including a slew of never-before-collected issues and also continuing DC's slow creep toward collecting their event crossovers all in full.

Another one, just in terms of surprise, is the Mister Miracle by Steve Englehart and Steve Gerber collection. Due probably in no small part to the upcoming New Gods movie, it's cool to see DC releasing further Fourth World adventures — not just the classic stuff, but the ways in which other authors continued the saga and integrated the New Gods into the DC Universe proper.

Other than that, most of my picks are just for regular series; over the summer, it's seemed like DC's release of regular-series trades has shrunk to a trickle, so I'm excited to see a selection of "read right away" books on this list. For me, those include Peter Tomasi's Detective Comics Vol. 2 and Tom King's Batman Vol. 11; Marc Andreyko's Supergirl Vol. 2; Grant Morrison's The Green Lantern Vol. 2; the hardcover collection of Teen Titans/Deathstroke: The Terminus Agenda; Robert Venditti's Hawkman Vol. 2, and the first Dial H for HERO collection. Those of you who were collecting the Rebirth Deluxe Editions will probably be happy with Justice League by Scott Snyder Deluxe Edition Book One, too (though no guarantees on matching spine designs!).

Check out all of this month's offerings below.

Absolute Swamp Thing by Alan Moore Vol. 2 HC

Collects Swamp Thing (nee Saga of the Swamp Thing) issues #35-50, being the Saga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 3 and Saga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 4 collections. Includes the first appearance of John Constantine, a Crisis on Infinite Earths tie-in, and a significant event in the life of Zatara.

Note the solicitation names this Absolute Edition as coming out of DC Black Label.

Aquaman Vol. 1: Unspoken Water TP

Paperback of the start of Kelly Sue DeConnick's run, issues #43-47, with art by Robson Rocha.

Aquaman Vol. 2: Amnesty HC

Issues #48-52 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha, in hardcover.

Batgirl Vol. 6: Old Enemies TP

Issues #30-36 by new team of Mairghread Scott and Paul Pelletier.The previous volume came out in May and this one's scheduled for December; feels like a long time.

Batman Vol. 11: The Fall and the Fallen TP

Issues #70-74 and Batman Secret Files #2 by Tom King, due now in December (previously listed as January).

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 2: Arkham Knight HC

Detective Comics #1001-1005, the annual #2, and a story from Detective Comics #1000 by Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke. Tomasi's first Detective Comics volume was not what I expected; I'm eager for the "real start" here.

Black Orchid New Edition TP

Apparently a Black Label release, according to the solicitation, of of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's four-issue pre-Sandman miniseries.

Blackhawk: Blood & Iron HC

Collecting the three-issue 1988 miniseries by Howard Chaykin that reimagined the team in World War II, following the end of their originally numbered series in 1984, alsong with stories from Action Comics Weekly #601-608, #615-622, and #628-635 (by Mike Grell among others), and Secret Origins #45, all of which followed the miniseries continuity.

DC Poster Portfolio by Joshua Middleton TP

Well-deserved; I am not usually one for variant covers, but Middleton's work always catches my eye, especially what he's done on Aquaman and Batgirl.

Dial H for Hero Vol. 1: Enter the Heroverse TP

Issues #1-6 from Brian Michael Bendis' Wonder Comics imprint, by Sam Humphries.

Famous First Edition: New Fun #1 HC

Hardcover of DC's first comic, black and white and tabloid size (10.5 x 15.125), with essays by Roy Thomas and Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson, grand-daughter of Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, founder of National Allied Publications (precursor to DC).

Female Furies TP

Cecil Castellucci's six-issue modern take on the Female Furies, with Adriana Melo, plus Jack Kirby's Mister Miracle #9, inspiration for the story.

The Green Lantern Vol. 2: The Day the Stars Fell HC

Issues #7-12 in hardcover by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp. This is the end of the first volume of Morrison's Green Lantern saga, before the three-issue Green Lantern: Blackstars miniseries by Morrison and Xermanico.

The Green Lantern Vol. 1: Intergalactic Lawman TP

Paperback of issues #1-6 by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp.

Green Lantern: Rebirth Deluxe Edition HC

Deluxe-size edition of the six-issue Geoff Johns miniseries plus material from Green Lantern Secret Files and Origins #1.

Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey TP

Ahead of the movie, collects Detective Comics #831 (Harley Quinn story by Paul Dini), Nightwing/Huntress #2, Gotham Central #6 ("Half a Life," part one), Batman #567 (first appearance of Cassandra Cain, during "No Man's Land"), Catwoman #16 (from the 2002 series by Ed Brubaker, the end of "Relentless" and a significant Catwoman/Black Mask story) and a story from Showcase ’96 #3 (Birds of Prey story with Black Canary, Oracle, and Lois Lane).

Hawkman Vol. 2: Deathbringer TP

Second collection by Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch, issues #7-12.

Injustice 2 Vol. 6 TP

Issues #31-36 and Annual #2, the final collection of the series. Bring on Injustice vs. DCeased!

Justice League by Scott Snyder Deluxe Edition Book One HC

Demonstrating that the "Rebirth Deluxe" hardcovers are not gone, just changed, this is issues #1-12 of the "New Justice" series, the "Totality" and "Graveyard of the Gods" trades plus the two "Drowned Earth" one-shots.

Mister Miracle by Steve Englehart and Steve Gerber HC

Issues #19-25, The Brave and the Bold #112, #128, and #138, and DC Comics Presents #12. This title picked up the numbering from the Kirby run but started after a three-year hiatus. Brave and the Bold are Batman team-ups; DC Comics Presents has Superman.

Pearl Vol. 2 TP

Issues #7-12 by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos.

Promethea Deluxe Edition Book Two HC

Issues #13-24 by Alan Moore and J. H. Williams, in deluxe size with sketches, variant covers, and other bonus material.

Super Friends: Saturday Morning Comics Vol. 1 HC

The original Super Friends cartoon tie-in comics, Super Friends #1-26, plus the promo Aquateers Meet the Super Friends #1, and stories from Limited Collectors’ Edition #C41 and #C-46, y E. Nelson Bridwell and others.

Supergirl Vol. 2: Sins of the Circle TP

Issues #27-33 (previous solicitation said to #32) by Marc Andreyko, spinning off from Brian Michael Bendis' Superman series, with an appearance by the Omega Men.

Superman: For Tomorrow: 15th Anniversary Deluxe Edition HC

Deluxe edition of the Brian Azzarello/Jim Lee arc from the early 2000s. I believe this is the first time all 12 issues have been collected together in one volume in hardcover outside of the Absolute edition (and a paperback compendium).

Superman: Secret Origin Deluxe Edition HC

Deluxe hardcover edition of the post-Infinite Crisis series by Doomsday Clock's Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.

Superman/Batman Omnibus Vol. 1 HC

Issues #1-43, which goes way past the Jeph Loeb run to stories by Mark Verheiden, Alan Burnett and Dustin Nguyen, and Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, plus Superman/Batman Annual #1-2, and stories from Superman/Batman: Secret Files #1. Includes the fall of Luthor as president and the return of Supergirl Kara Zor-El.

Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age Vol. 2 TP

Following Len Wein's initial run, this collects David Michelinie's Swamp Thing #14-24, the end of the first series, plus appearances in Brave and the Bold #122 and #176 (both with Batman), DC Comics Presents #8 (with Superman and Solomon Grundy), and Challengers of the Unknown #81-87 (or is it #82-87?). Also includes art from the unpublished Swamp Thing #25, victim of the DC Implosion, in which Swamp Thing was meant to have teamed up with Hawkman.

Teen Titans/Deathstroke: The Terminus Agenda HC

The new-new Teen Titans/Deathstroke crossover by Christopher Priest and Adam Glass, collecting Deathstroke #41-43 and Teen Titans #28-30.

Watchmen Companion HC

DC previously solicited and cancelled a Road to Watchmen: The Question & Blue Beetle collection; none of what was going to be in there will be in here, but this seems in a somewhat similar spirit. Includes Watchmen: Watching the Watchmen and Watchmen: Taking out the Trash game modules, along with the Watchmen Sourcebook, part of the 1990s DC Heroes role-playing game, as well as pages from Who’s Who in the DC Universe featuring the Watchmen and Minutemen characters, The Question #17 with Rorschach coming to Vic Sage in a dream, and the first appearance of the Watchmen cast in print in a promotional page from DC Spotlight #1 from 1985.

Wonder Woman: The War of the Gods Omnibus HC

The scope of the War of the Gods story is really astounding; if at one point inter-title crossovers seemed an annoyance given the number of titles they interrupted, almost 30 years later the amount of characters this touched makes for a glorious historical document.

Collected here we have George Perez's War of the Gods#1-4 and Wonder Woman #58-62, Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove's Superman: Man of Steel #3 (the solicitation says #58 but that's not right; this predates "Death of Superman"), John Ostrander's Hawkworld #15 and #16, Starman #38 (Will Payton), L.E.G.I.O.N. ’91 #31 (with Captain Marvel vs. Lobo), Hawk and Dove #28 (final issue before Armageddon 2001, Captain Atom #56 and #57 (also by Ostrander, also final issues before Armageddon 2001), Doctor Fate #32 and #33 (Inza Nelson, and by William Messner-Loebs), Flash #55 (also by William Messner-Loebs), Justice League Europe #31, Batman #470 (Maxie Zeus, Alan Grant, and Norm Breyfogle), Suicide Squad #58 (Black Adam, Ostrander, Kim Yale, and a guy who looks like Grant Morrison), Demon #17 (Grant), and New Teen Titans #81 (Marv Wolfman, toward the end of "Titans Hunt").

At one point DC solicited a Legends book like this, but it never came out. We have however seen the similar Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion volumes. Again, what a great way to look at DC's history by seeing all the tie-ins to event crossovers. Hopefully this book is successful; I'd like to see Legends, Armageddon 2001, Eclipso: The Darkness Within, and Bloodlines get similar treatments.

Will War of the Gods win the war for your shelf? Leave a comment and let me know what's on your buy list.