DC Trade Solicitations for May 2019 - Batman: Damned, Detective Comics #1000 Deluxe, Hawkman, Nightwing: Knight Terrors, Red Hood: Outlaw Vol. 1, Sandman Universe: Dreaming and Lucifer, Injustice Omnibus, Old Lady Harley

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

It feels like a smaller month looking at DC Comics' May 2019 trade paperback and hardcover solicitations. Sure there's a couple of regular series releases -- Nightwing, Red Hood, Terrifics, Titans, and my most anticipated book of the month, Robert Venditti's new Hawkman -- but not a whole lot else. DC keeps churning out these paperback Essential Editions and rebranded Black Label editions, which is good if you're a new reader trying to catch up but doesn't exactly get my own blood pumping.

At some point we had heard that Geoff Johns' Killing Zone imprint was supposed to launch in May 2019, but there's no hint of that here. I wonder if that's forthcoming or indicative of some change in plans.

Let's take a look at this month's offerings ...

Absolute Swamp Thing by Alan Moore Vol. 1 HC

Previously solicited and cancelled, this is now resolicited for October of 2019 (which is why sometimes I take cancellations with a grain of salt). Alan Moore's Swamp Thing #20-34 and Annual #2 in Absolute format. Brand new coloring, too — I think that's new coloring exclusive to this edition.

Batman: Year One New Edition TP

Black Label paperback.

Batman: Damned HC

The hardcover of the first original Black Label book is offered alongside its own final issue, though the final issue comes out in May and this comes out in September. To answer your question, the solicitation contains this note, which surely you can read between the lines: "The DC Black Label collected edition is available in comic shops September 4 with an unabridged narrative and revised periodical art."

Batman: The Black Glove Saga (DC Essential Edition) TP

This Essential Edition of Grant Morrison's run was first solicited as "Batman and Son," now changed to "The Black Glove Saga." This had been said to be Batman #665-658 and #663-666, the contents of the Batman and Son collection, now expanded to include Batman: The Black Glove, ending just before Batman RIP (which surely deserves an Essential Edition of its own). Also included are stories from 52 #30 and #47, which tie in to these issues, and the summary of the "Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul" crossover drawn by Chris Burnham for the Batman by Grant Morrison Omnibus Vol. 1.

Batman/The Flash: The Button TP

The deluxe hardcover of Batman/Flash: The Button came out in October 2017, and twenty months (till June 2019) seems like a long time to wait for the paperback. I wonder if this is timed for Doomsday Clock progressing a little farther, the recent second Batman/Flash crossover, or that, given Doomsday Clock's delays, this story never made quite the splash it was expected to (see also Oz Effect).

DC Comics: The Art of Jim Lee Vol. 1 HC

Previously solicited as "Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Jim Lee," this new name certainly seems to brand it better. Said to collect work from Wildstorm on down to today.

DC Poster Portfolio: Frank Cho TP

Twenty covers, with Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman among others. Granted Cho engenders a lot of controversy, but some of his cross-hatch Harley Quinn covers have been particularly impressive.

Detective Comics #1000 Deluxe Edition HC

Three months after the issue itself, it's the deluxe edition of Detective Comics #1000. Bonus material here is a new story by Robert Venditti and Steven Segovia; this doesn't seem to me the most poignant creative team choice for a bonus story, but at least the deluxe has something to differentiate it.

The Dreaming Vol. 1: Pathways and Emanations TP

I am tempted, mainly due to this book spinning off from Dark Nights: Metal, but I'd want to be prepared and I don't really have the time to do a full Sandman read. I read Dreaming back in the day, but then it was mostly side tales; I haven't really had a sense enough is happening in this book to make the investment worth it. Collects the first six issues plus the Sandman Universe Special.

Hawkman Vol. 1: Awakening TP

Due out now apparently in June, when previously it seemed to be August. I have really high hopes that Robert Venditti can be the one to make a Hawkman relaunch stick this time.

Imaginary Fiends TP

Vertigo series by Tim Seeley and Stephen Molnar. Though I'm not headed there very quickly, I have enjoyed most of what I've read by Seeley.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Omnibus Vol. 1 HC

Just in time for Tom Taylor's DCeased, a 1,000+ page collection of the first three years of the Injustice digital-first series.

JLA: Tower of Babel (DC Essential Edition) TP

Paperback by Mark Waid and Howard Porter collecting JLA #43-46 and stories from JLA Secret Files #3. Pretty much all of JLA is rife for Essential Edition; "Rock of Ages," at least.

Lucifer Vol. 1: The Infernal Comedy TP

Collection of the first six issues of the new Sandman Universe series, also including the Sandman Universe special.

Luthor 10th Anniversary Edition TP

Tenth anniversary edition of the five-issue miniseries by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo. With new story pages, apparently; I'm curious what that entails.

The Man of Steel by Brian Michael Bendis TP

Paperback of the six-issue miniseries and DC Nation #0 story, less than a year after the hardcover came out (so doing better than Batman/Flash: The Button).

Nightwing: Knight Terrors TP

Well, online stores have this as Nightwing Vol. 1: Knight Terrors, while this solicitation is just Nightwing: Knight Terrors, no number. It seemed Nightwing was being renumbered with the arrival of new writer Benjamin Percy, but we know the title's gone through some changes since then, settling finally on Zack Kaplan Dan Jurgens (after two issues by Zack Kaplan). I'm hoping for Vol. 8, myself. This is said to collect issues #50-56 (up from #55 as previously announced) by Scott Lobdell and company, ending just before Kaplan's arrival.

Old Lady Harley TP

Paperback collection of the five-issue miniseries and Harley Quinn #42 by Frank Tieri.

Powers Book Five New Edition TP

Issues #19-30 and the Annual #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming.

Red Hood: Outlaw Vol. 1: Underlife TP

Scott Lobdell's Red Hood and the Outlaws is a book I've enjoyed in its various iterations, but I haven't had a chance to read the Rebirth series yet though I've heard good things about it. In skimming the solicitations, I had guessed this "Outlaw" turn was just a storyline and Jason Todd would reunite with his team eventually; I'm surprised to see this getting new trade numbering even though the series numbering continues -- that makes this seem like more than just a phase. Anyway, I'll check this out eventually. The solicitation notes it includes Annual #2, issues #26-31, and "a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes artwork."

The Sandman Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones 30th Anniversary Edition TP

The solicitation notes this as the "longest-ever Sandman story." Should be issues #57-69 and a story from Vertigo Jam #1.

Superman: Action Comics: The Oz Effect TP

Collects issues #985-992, also more than a year after the original hardcover.

The Terrifics Vol. 2: Tom Strong and the Terrifics TP

Still said to collect Terrifics #7-12, even though Jeff Lemire's last issue is #14.

Titans Vol. 6: Into The Bleed TP

The second and final collection with Dan Abnett's new team, minus Nightwing but gaining another (alt-continuity) Titan. Issues #29-36; surely I expect Titans to be relaunched before long.

The United States vs. Murder, Inc. Vol. 1 TP

Six-issue miniseries by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming.

Wonder Woman: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 4 HC

1940s stories from Sensation Comics #70-89, Wonder Woman #26-34, and Comics Cavalcade #23-29.

In other DC news, apparently the Walmart 100-pagers are coming to comics shops and the original stories will be collected in trade. Are these 100-pagers of any use to you or have you already read most of the stories before?

Review: Green Lanterns Vol. 5: Out of Time (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Rebirth Green Lanterns Vol. 5: Out of Time is light fare, the finale to Sam Humphries' thirty-two-issue run that solidifies this as a failed experiment. We've got an astounding four more volumes (under different creative teams) before this book comes to an end, so maybe this title still has a shot at redemption yet. But with a boilerplate paint-by-numbers plot, Time takes what ought have been Green Lanterns most climactic moment so far and squanders it.

[Review contains spoilers]

Of the six issues collected here, five are part of "Out of Time" and they unfold like this: 1) an issue of Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz establishing they've been sent back in time, 2) an issue of the ancient original seven Green Lanterns fighting one another, 3) an issue of Jessica and Simon training those Green Lanterns, 4) an issue of the Lanterns fighting the villain Volthoom, and 5) an issue of Simon and Jessica fighting Volthoom. Humphries takes the story step by step by step in very predictable ways, and the "first Lanterns" emerge as so much fluff, figures on the page for the sole purpose of fighting one another or fighting Jessica and Simon or fighting Volthoom to pad out a story that's ultimately not made of all that much.

Review: Hellblazer Vol. 1: The Poison Truth (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

I hadn't intended to start reading the recently cancelled Rebirth Hellblazer series any time soon, having found the initial Rebirth special too light and comedic for my John Constantine tastes. I was actually catching up on my Green Lanterns, but then looking ahead I saw that writer Tim Seeley is bringing Constantine to Green Lanterns at the same time Seeley was writing Constantine in Hellblazer. It seemed worthwhile enough to be able to compare/contrast Seeley's two Constantine portrayals to go ahead and read the Rebirth Hellblazer first, and for that matter to begin at the beginning with Simon Oliver's run. So here we are.

I ultimately liked Hellblazer Vol. 1: The Poison Truth more than I thought I would. This is not the gritty Hellblazer I'm looking for, though between the madcap DC You version (see Constantine: The Hellblazer Vol. 2: The Art of the Deal) and Constantine's growing inclusion in TV's Legends of Tomorrow, it's possible straight horror Hellblazer is a thing of the past.

Review: New Challengers trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, February 17, 2019

As with a number of books in the essentially now defunct "New Age of Heroes" line, I liked New Challengers presentation of new characters and thought writers Scott Snyder and Aaron Gillespie integrated them with the existing DC Universe well. The writers, and artists Andy Kubert and V Ken Marion, use the conceit of doppelgangers and the constraints of the comics medium to good effect here; there's some surprising turnarounds and reversals late in the book.

But whether New Challengers was always meant as a six-issue miniseries or whether that was a late-made decision, the end comes on the book fast, and it's far from satisfactory. Optimally the end of a story like this leaves you wanting to know more (as with Immortal Men); here, the end is tidy enough and lacks sufficient suspense as to be a good jumping-off point. New Challengers definitely entertained, but in the final tally it failed to impress; I'd as soon see Brimstone again, or Sideways or the Immortal Men, than these new Challengers of the Unknown.

Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 7: Darkstars Rising trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Congratulations to Robert Venditti for a masterful conclusion to his Green Lantern run. Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 7: Darkstars Rising hits lots of the right notes, paying deference to some of the best parts of this series before it ends. If the previous volume was too action-focused, Darkstars has exactly the right balance of action in service of character moments, sending this series out on a high note.

[Review contains spoilers]

This nine-issue collection comprises one long story, but split into three parts: the two-part "Darkstars Rising" prelude, the four-part titular story itself, and the three part "Last Charge." Though assuredly containing the most compelling title, "Darkstars Rising" itself is not actually the climax of this book; rather "Rising" involves Earth's four main Green Lanterns (absent Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz) seeking unexpected allies in their fight against the Darkstars, before they face off against the Darkstars in "Charge." Though "Charge" is thrilling in its own right, "Rising" is the jewel of this book, stalling in some respects the forward action of the story for some welcome character moments.

Review: Batwoman Vol. 3: Fall of the House of Kane trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Marguerite Bennett sticks the landing in the finale of her Batwoman Vol. 3: Fall of the House of Kane. With its aspirational ending, Bennett brings this Batwoman chapter to a strong close, in many respects more of a long-form Batwoman miniseries than a full-fledged series. That's fine, as it was nice to have a visit with Kate Kane at this point in the Rebirth juncture, and assuredly with the Batwoman TV pilot on the horizon, we'll see Kate in comics again one day. Bennett's series would make a great all-together omnibus (or large-form paperback Essential edition), and if nothing else, Bennett has proven that someone other than Greg Rucka and J. H. Williams can write a viable Kate Kane after some previous false starts (a nod also to James Tynion's Batwoman work in Detective Comics).

Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 6: Zod's Will trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Robert Venditti's Rebirth Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps series began with the premise of the joined Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps trying to work together. That offered suspense for a while, some strong character moments and political stories, through to when the partnership imploded in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 4: Fracture. But since that time, through the fifth volume and into Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 6: Zod's Will, it feels as though little is happening in this book, with minor developments only coming at the tail end of action-focused plots. I had hoped for more from the penultimate volume of Venditti's long Green Lantern run; one never wants to see a good run peter out, but this volume plus the one before make me think the time is right for the switchover to Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp's The Green Lantern.

Review: Nightwing Vol. 7: The Bleeding Edge trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, February 03, 2019

After a dynamic run on Green Arrow with lots of character and heart, Nightwing would seem a sure thing for writer Benjamin Percy, a logical next step in his DC Comics career. We know, however, that Nightwing Vol. 7: The Bleeding Edge ended up being Percy's sole solo Nightwing outing, with Scott Lobdell quickly taking over in the next book. Thus this is the beginning of the Nightwing title in a quandary, what should be a solid seller for DC about to be mired in a poorly regarded amnesia storyline and wanting for a regular creative team.

Bleeding Edge seems rather good Benjamin Percy material and problematic Nightwing, if you will. The techno-terror found here is quite in line with Percy's The Dark Net novel and his Green Arrow Vol. 8: The Night Birds, among others, revisiting themes very much in Percy's wheelhouse. At the same time, Nightwing Dick Grayson is far from the Luddite protagonist Percy needs for this story, and his attempts to shoehorn Nightwing into that role ring false. Especially after we have just seen how well a writer new to this title can spin a fresh story while using what came before, the lack of much to center this specifically as a Nightwing story is glaring.