DC Trade Solicitations for April 2019 - "New Justice" Justice League Vol. 2, Justice League Odyssey Vol. 1, Wonder Woman and the Justice League Dark: Witching Hour, Batman: Faces in the Shadows Essential Edition, Outsiders by Winick Book One

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

DC Comics's April 2019 trade paperback and hardcover solicitations has a selection of interesting books in it, the second volume of Scott Snyder's "New Justice" Justice League and the first volume of Joshua Williamson's Justice League Odyssey, plus the hardcover of the Wonder Woman and the Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour crossover. We also see a DC Essential Edition of Batman: Hush just as news arrives that the Batman: The Hush Saga Omnibus has been cancelled. All this and the start of expanded collections of one of my all-time favorite series, Judd Winick's Outsiders, and Batman: Faces in the Shadows, an Essential Edition that isn't all it seems ...

Read on for more about this month's books.

Absolute Art of Adam Hughes HC

I'm updating this as news of some high-profile layoffs at DC is spreading. I tend to let these kinds of things shake out before speculating too much, but for a company that says it's going back to its roots, I wonder what place books like an Absolute edition of Adam Hughes' covers has. Certainly, if this is your thing, by all means enjoy, but clearly this is a book for a reader with a more studious interest in comics than just whether Batman will marry Catwoman, and again I wonder how profitable that is and what place it holds in the modern "superheroes as mass media" landscape. I do think books like this are important, but also I just lost my Batman: Hush Omnibus, so what do I know.

Astro City: Aftermaths HC

Hardcover collection of the final issues of the latest Vertigo Astro City series by Kurt Busiek, #47-52.

Batgirl Vol. 5: Art of the Crime TP

Collects issues #26-29, the Annual #2, and a story from issue #25, being the first collection of the new run by Mairghread Scott and Paul Pelletier.

Batman: Faces in the Shadows (DC Essential Edition) TP

The DC Essential Edition line has so far been paperback collections of major DC events or storylines, sometimes in slightly expanded or newly combined editions. The so-called Faces in the Shadows, however, is an interesting beast, being a combination collection of Tony Daniel's New 52 Detective Comics Vol. 1: Faces of Death and Detective Comics Vol. 2: Scare Tactics. The hook is good, and it's obvious why DC would want to make sure this one is perennially out there -- this is the story in which the Joker has his face cut off, ahead of Scott Snyder's best-selling Death of the Family -- but that's only the first four issues of this.

From there, as my reviews linked above attest, Daniel's Detective run becomes wildly uneven, with stories melodramatic, broken, and confused -- in one story a character is erroneously referred to by different names, in another Daniel tries halting to reconcile pre- and post-Flashpoint continuity, and there's also a Two-Face story completely out of step with anything. One issue picks up from events in David Finch's Dark Knight Vol. 1: Night Terrors; another is a "Night of the Owls" tie-in issue.

All of that is to say, while the initial Joker issues are actually great, there's a lot more going on in this book than just that, and a lot of it problematic. I don't recall seeing another Essential Edition book like this, which is not one whole story but rather a collection of multi-part stories. They are stripped down and continuity-light (mostly just Batman, Commissioner Gordon, and Alfred), and maybe that would appeal to the Essential Editions' audience, but this seems to me stretching the perceived definitions of this line.

Batman: Hush (DC Essential Edition) TP

Far more logical for DC Essential Edition paperback format is Batman: Hush, the perennial Jeph Loeb/Jim Lee story, now released in another format. To be sure, this is a piece of DC canon and well-deserves to remain in print.

I'd be remiss however not to mention that word just came down of the cancellation of the Batman: The Hush Saga omnibus. Sad day, though I tend not to attribute this to the current shakeups at DC so much as that there was not as much interest as I had hoped among the general pre-ordering public for a large collection of Hush's lesser-regarded cackling appearances in the pages of Gotham Knights. I'm disappointed but I can't say I'm terribly surprised.

But we've been conditioned of late not to see an omnibus cancellation as the end, so I very much look forward to a "Hush Saga" paperback set, separating out the Loeb/Lee stories from AJ Lieberman's and Paul Dini's, with matching spines a la the newest "Death of Superman" and "Knightfall" paperbacks.

Challengers of the Unknown by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale TP

Trade of the Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale miniseries, which I admit I've never read. Aside from being by Loeb and Sale, the Challengers aren't exactly a known quantity, and I'm somewhat surprised DC keeps it so constantly in print unless it's just that good. This is the paperback release of last year's hardcover but I don't see that this has any additions from earlier collections, except for the more market-friendly title vs. the original title, "Challengers of the Unknown Must Die!"

Cover Vol. 1 TP

Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack's miniseries about comics creators recruited to the intelligence community, apparently based on a true story (sounds a bit like Argo), now collected.

The Flash by Mark Waid Book Six TP

Collects Flash #119-129, Flash/Green Lantern: Faster Friends #1-2, Flash Plus Nightwing #1, and a story from DC Universe Holiday Bash. These are kind of interstitial Flash/Waid stories, coming after "Dead Heat" and "Race Against Time" and leading up to when Grant Morrison and Mark Millar took over for ten or so issues, before Waid returned for his final twenty-ish issues (for then). There's a tie-in to Final Night and a sequel to Waid's Underworld Unleashed, and I'm very glad to see some of these specials and miniseries included too.

Frank Miller's Ronin TP

Black Label trade of the six-issue miniseries, with promotional art and fold-out pages.

Green Lantern: Earth One Vol. 1 TP

Paperback of the Earth One OGN by Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko.

Green Lantern/Green Arrow: Hard-Traveling Heroes New Edition TP

The classic Green Lantern/Green Arrow #76-87 and #89 and the backups from Flash #217-219 and #226. No word on anything special here aside from a new printing.

Green Lanterns Vol. 9: Evil's Might TP

The final volume of the Green Lanterns series, collecting issues #50-57, by Dan Jurgens.

Harley Quinn by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti Omnibus Vol. 3 HC

Collects issues #1-34 of the Harley Quinn Rebirth series, plus the Harley Quinn 25th Anniversary special. This may be the end of this omnibus series, as all the New 52 material and most of the miniseries and specials seem to be in the first two volumes, unless I'm overlooking something.

Hitman Book One TP

A new set of more-issues Hitman collections by Garth Ennis; this is Hitman #1-8, the Demon Annual #2, Hitman Annual #1, and a story from Batman Chronicles #4, having been the Hitman Vol. 1: A Rage in Arkham and Hitman Vol. 2: Ten Thousand Bullets collections.

House of Secrets: The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 2 HC

The 1970s House of Secrets #112-154.

Justice League Odyssey Vol. 1: The Ghost Sector TP

The new cosmic "New Justice" series by Joshua Williamson, collecting issues #1-5. This is also said to include a behind-the-scenes art section by Stjepan Sejic; at some point Sejic had to redraw two issues due to some kind of problem and Sejic has shared "lost" art from that time, so it'll be interesting to see if this is some of that art.

Justice League Vol. 2: Graveyard of Gods TP

Collects Justice League #8-12, Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1, and Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1, in paperback. I'd feel there's some restraint here in DC not plastering Aquaman's name at the top, except of course last month just saw the solicitation of Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth in hardcover, being the same two specials, Justice League #10-12, and the Aquaman and Titans tie-in parts.

This is either good news or bad news, depending on whether the Aquaman and Titans issues are also collected in their own independent trades. If you can find all the disparate parts of the hardcover also in paperback, then it's all good and read it how ever you want. But if the Aquaman and Titans issues are only available in the hardcover (and my guess is, the Titans issue will appear in its own trade, but the Aquaman issues are up in the air), then it's double-dip city and nobody likes that.

Legends of the Dark Knight: Michael Golden HC

In hardcover; includes Batman Family #15-20, Batman #295 and #303, DC Special Series #15, Detective Comics #482, Batman Special #1, and Batman: Gotham Knights #22, plus cover work.

Lucifer Omnibus Vol. 1 TP

Collects Sandman Presents: Lucifer #1-3, Lucifer #1-35, and the Lucifer: Nirvana special, by Mike Carey. The series continues to issue #75, followed by a second series by Holly Black and others, and a new "Sandman Universe" series. It remains to be seen if these omnibuses will only collect the Mike Carey run or all of it.

The Outsiders by Judd Winick Book One TP

Among my all-time favorite series, Outsiders by Judd Winick is what Titans series are always striving to be -- hip, mature, smart, and character-driven. This is Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #1-3, Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files #1, and Outsiders #1-7 (being the Graduation Day and Outsiders: Looking for Trouble trades).

Pearl Vol. 1 TP

Collects issues #1-6 of the new series by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos.

Raven: Daughter of Darkness Vol. 2 TP

I am not enthused by DC collecting this twelve-issue miniseries in two volumes, and I didn't hear much praise for Marv Wolfman's first iteration of this ("Daughter of Darkness" is the sequel to the first six-issue miniseries). But, the pairing of Wolfman's Raven and his Night Force creation is inspired, one of those things that's astounding it didn't happen sooner, and that piques my interest for this a bit more.

Sandman Vol. 8: Worlds' End 30th Anniversary New Edition TP

Issues #51-56 with a new introduction by Joe Hill.

Scooby Apocalypse Vol. 5 HC

Collects issue #25-30; this series will be ending with issue #36, so probably one more trade after this.

Shazam!: The World's Mightiest Mortal Vol. 1 HC

Collects issues #1-18 of the 1970s series with Dennis O'Neil, Otto Binder, Elliot S. Maggin, E. Nelson Bridwell, C.C. Beck, and Dave Cockrum, among others. This series went 35 issues, so maybe one more volume after this. Do I need to say "Where is Power of Shazam?"

The Silencer Vol. 2: Hell-Iday Road TP

Collects issues #7-12 and Annual #1. Silencer is one of the few "New Age of Heroes" titles still going strong, and I'd like to think it'll last at least until Brian Michael Bendis' "Leviathan" event.

Suicide Squad Vol. 8: Legerdemain TP

Collects the final issues of John Ostrander and Kim Yale's Suicide Squad, issues #59-66, including a War of the Gods tie-in issue (which guest-stars Grant Morrison as a character). After so many collections series cancelled before their time, I'm glad this one made it (also Mike Grell's Green Arrow).

Superman: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book Four TP

The solicitation for this volume describes the events of Superman Vol. 6: Imperius Lex as well as Superman Vol. 7: Bizarroverse, but the Imperius Lex issues were in the last Rebirth volume, so clearly they're not here. This is then issues #37-45, Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason's Superman Special, and their story from Action Comics #1000, which is a couple single issue stories from Vol. 6 plus the entirety of Vol. 7 and two parts of the "Super Sons of Tomorrow" crossover.

Swamp Thing: Protector of the Green (DC Essential Edition) TP

This is Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette's New 52 Swamp Thing series. The solicitation says issues #1-10, the Annual #1, and Jeff Lemire's Animal Man #12 and #17. Those latter issues, however, are part of the "Rotworld" crossover, tying in around the end of Snyder's run, issues #12-18. I'd guess this is the entirety of Snyder's run; indeed the 2015 deluxe edition was all of those issues and the Animal Man ones.

Takio New Edition TP

The first Takio graphic novel about two super-powered siblings, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming.

Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Book Three TP

Issues #20-26, #29-31 of the Geoff Johns run, with Outsiders #24-25 (Teen Titans #27-28 were a Hawk and Dove story by Gail Simone and Rob Liefeld. This starts with an Identity Crisis tie-in and goes right up to Infinite Crisis.

Wonder Woman and the Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour HC

People, we haven't even talked about the fact that the first Justice League Dark trade collects issues #1-3 and #5-7 of that series, and for issue #4 (and Wonder Woman #56-57 and Justice League Dark/Wonder Woman: The Witching Hour #1 and Wonder Woman/Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour #1 [!]), you have to go to this hardcover instead.

It is not even that the first volume is in paperback and the crossover is in hardcover (so if you wait for the paperback, you'll probably have to wait another year to fill in that gap), so much as that there is that gap in the first place. I don't mind crossovers, even crossovers in other volumes, but pulling the fourth issue from a book seems inconvenient; I'd as soon they put the "Witching Hour" issues in the first volume and save #5-7 for the second.

Omitting the crossover issues didn't work recently, for instance, with Teen Titans Vol. 3: The Return of Kid Flash, where reading all the way through, Titans Tower is suddenly destroyed because of events in Super Sons of Tomorrow; I fear the same kind of thing here.

Anyone who's read Justice League Dark in single issues, will omitting the crossover from the trade affect my reading of issues #5-7?
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20 comments:

  1. Nooooo I was super pumped for the Hush Saga Omni :(

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    1. Me too. One of those long-shots I didn't think would ever be collected ... and now it's not. Unless they revive it in another format.

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  2. So still no new collect for Denny O Neil's Question run? What the bloody hell are they doing at DC?! We get a hundred different bat collections, but they can't even be bothered to release a new collection of the Questions 80s on going?!

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    1. I know there were some collections; did they ever finish? Are you hoping that they finish or just that they run the out-of-print ones again?

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    2. I want dc to release the whole series in new trades. It has been years now and it is ridiculous

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    3. they did collect them all. The problem is vol. 1 is very out of print and sells regularly for three figures on ebay and/or amazon.

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  3. I've seen it speculated that the Hush Omni was cancelled so it can be resolicited in tandem w/the Hush DC animated movie.

    I am not in a hurry to pick up the JL collections (I'll get them all - it's just not a priority), so I'll wait out everything being in paperback.

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    1. Well, that would be a good outcome. How far out is the Hush movie?

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  4. The fact that Justice League Vol. 2 will include the "Drowned Earth" bookends might be a departure from how DC's been collecting crossovers since Rebirth started, but I think it's justified because they were written by Tynion and Snyder, and this crossover is a relevant part of their run. However, I don't see Aquaman #41-42 getting collected outside of the crossover's HC, simply because there's nothing left of Abnett's run to be collected with this issue. Titans #28, on the other hand, works fine as a stand-alone read and leads right into the "Marooned" arc, so I think leaving it out of Titans Vol. 6 would be a mistake.

    What I can't agree with is the fact that they didn't make an exception for "The Witching Hour" as well. That crossover is integral to Justice League Dark, irrelevant to the Wonder Woman series and entirely written by Tynion, so there's no reason why it shouldn't be collected in JLD Vol. 1 along with issues #1-3, just like you suggested.

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    1. Other advice I'm getting says issues #5-7 of JLD, at least, do ignore the events of the crossover. When you say "integral," do you dispute whether it carries over to #5-7, or are you just saying it's integral going forward?

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    2. I meant "The Witching Hour" is integral to the series' overall storyline about the Justice League Dark fighting the threat of the Otherkind. The beginning of issue #5 features a brief mention of something that happened in the crossover, but it's nothing you can't gloss over. Still, I'd say it's preferrable to read the whole thing between issues #3 and #5.

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  5. The Witching Hour was a great story but I think you can read Justice League Dark #5-7 and not be lost if you've read #1-3. #5-6 are a two-parter involving Blue Devil and might be of more interest if you've read the old Shadowpact series that BD and Detective Chimp were a part of. #7 is a stand-alone issue with short stories.

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    1. God bless James Tynion, shouting back to Shadowpact.

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  6. Excited to see the second volume of the House of Secrets BA Omni. I was afraid we'd only get vol 1, and then the House of Mystery vol 1, and now a HoS vol 2. Hope these keep going, as they're pretty damn great. I'm hopeful also that we'll eventually see Sgt Rock, Weird War, and other DC war books collected!

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  7. Thanks for all the data!
    FYI, missing a word in the intro --
    "We also see a DC Essential Edition of Batman: Hush just as news arrives that the Batman: The Hush Saga Omnibus."

    PS: Does the Bendis 'Leviathan' have anything to do with the recent Leviathan from Grant Morrison back in Batman & Robin?

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    1. Yes, same Leviathan from Batman Incorporated. They've also been very prominent in The Silencer.

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  8. As excited as I am that we're getting a collection of the '70s Shazam!, I'd be more excited if it was a collection of stories beginning with issue 25 and continuing through #35, World's Finest, and Adventure Comics. Would love to have a Power of Shazam! collection too.

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    1. I'd have gone the cheaper trade paperback route and collected #s 1-10 (the C.C. Beck issues) in Vol. 1, #s 11-20 in Vol. 2; [issues #21-24 were all 1950s reprints]; #25 (the 6 pages they're allowed to reprint) and #26-34 in Vol. 3, and (saving the best for last) #35 and the stories from World's Finest #253-282 & Adventure Comics Digest #491-492 (all of those collectively representing the fine run of artist Don Newton on the Marvel Family - a total of 346 pages) in Vol. 4.

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  9. Challengers of the Unknown by Loeb & Sale is a work of genius. It surpasses their Batman (and other work) because they have infinitely more freedom with the material. Part of that was also that Loeb was cutting his comic book teeth and thus wasn't playing to any kind of expectations. The result is kind of like early Vertigo (like Gerard Jones' Green Lantern: Mosaic, which unfortunately might never be rediscovered because of Jones), but still more or less integrated (or never officially considered Vertigo, having happened after the imprint took on its own dressing) into the DC landscape.

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    1. OK, you've sold me on putting it on the (long) reading list.

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