DC Trade Solicitations for October 2019 - Year of the Villain Omnibus, Batman 1989 Movie Adaptation Deluxe, Flash: Year One, Books of Magic 30th Anniversary, Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis Vol. 1, Wonder Twins

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

DC Comics' October 2019 trade paperback and hardcover solicitations arrived at just about the same time as their Spring 2020 catalog; I'll look at the solicitations today and the catalog within the next week. Some listings that seem not-quite-right in the catalog are illuminated by these solicitations, so the two go well together.

In terms of headlines, a collection of older material I'm excited for is Kurt Busiek's Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis Vol. 1, a "One Year Later" title that DC started collecting over ten years ago but never finished. The Batman: The 1989 Movie Adaptation is a nice artifact, too. I'm sure DC hopes the DCeased hardcover will be a big seller (I'm guessing this won't be the last we see of the "DCeased" universe); there's also the DC's Year of the Villain Omnibus, though if these are just unrelated one-offs, I'm not so sure how this'll read in omnibus form necessarily.

Other books I have my eye on are the second volumes of Brian Michael Bendis' Action Comics and Superman, Scott Lobdell's next Red Hood: Outlaw, and a new collection(s) of the original Books of Magic miniseries to feed my growing "Sandman Universe" obsession.

Let's dig in and take a look at it all.

Absolute Fourth World by Jack Kirby Vol. 1 HC

Though the DC Comics Spring 2020 catalog (review forthcoming) says this collects essentially Jack Kirby's entire Fourth World saga, the fact that this says "Vol. 1" makes these October solicitation contents much more probable: just Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #133-145 (supposedly)New Gods #1-6, Forever People #1-6, and Mister Miracle #1-6. On the Jimmy Olsen, issue #140 was reprints and not written by Kirby, so my guess is it's actually #133-139 and #141-145, with #146-148 next time around. Kirby's art in Absolute size ought be pretty cool.

Adventures of the Super Sons Vol. 2: Little Monsters TP

Issues #7-12 by Peter Tomasi and Carlo Barberi.

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis Vol. 1 TP

Only six issues of Kurt Busiek and Jackson Guice's swords-and-sorcery take on a young Aquaman were ever collected; though the direction didn't last, I enjoyed what I read of it. This collects Aquaman #40-49 of that post-Infinite Crisis era; Tad Williams went on to write another eight issues, which'll likely be collected in Book Two. I'm getting this, no question.

Batman: The 1989 Movie Adaptation Deluxe Edition HC

Hardcover of the well-regarded comics adaptation of Tim Burton's 1989 Batman by Dennis O'Neil and Jerry Ordway, along apparently with black-and-white scans of the original art. Dare we hope this might set the stage for someone to do a Batman '89 mini?

Books of Magic 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition HC
Books of Magic New Edition TP

The upcoming introduction of John Constantine to the Sandman Universe books has piqued my interest enough to want to go back and get some background and then read the first year of these series. That makes these collections of the original Books of Magic miniseries well timed; the only choice is between paperback or deluxe hardcover.

DCeased HC

Hardcover of the six-issue zombie apocalypse book by Tom Taylor, plus the DCeased: A Good Day to Die special. Already this has spawned a series of variant covers; action figures and statues are a lock, and I'll be curious to see how else this bleeds over to the mainstream DCU if it continues to be successful. Taylor writing Injustice vs. DCeased would be brilliant.

DC Holiday Nightmares TP

DC Nuclear Winter Special, Harley Quinn #55, and a story from Swamp Thing Winter Special, by Tom King, Mark Russell, Steve Orlando, Tom Taylor, Paul Dini, Jason Fabok, Jerry Ordway, and Phil Hester, among others.

DC Poster Portfolio: Year of the Villain TP

Covers from the seemingly-increasingly-a-big-deal "Year of the Villain" event.

DC's Wanted: The World's Most Dangerous Super Villains HC

A collection of the 1970s Wanted: The World's Most Dangerous Villains series, issues #1-9, which was itself reprints of earlier villain tales from the 1940s and 1950s — so a reprint of reprints, essentially. For every Joker and Captain Cold here, there's a Signalman and Puppeteer; this seems a less obvious sell than some others. Among issues included are Action Comics #57 and #69, Batman #25, #84 and #112, World’s Finest Comics #6 and #111, Flash #114 and #121, Adventure Comics #72 and #77, Green Lantern #1 and #33, Wonder Woman #36, Sensation Comics #66 and #71, More Fun Comics #65, #73, and #76, Flash Comics #86, #90, and #100, All-American Comics #61, Kid Eternity #15, and Doll Man Quarterly #15.

DC's Year of The Villain Omnibus HC

DC seems pretty all in on "Year of the Villain"; I guess I didn't realize it was an event story per se so much as one of those themed months like they've done before (starring villains, even). In those earlier cases, the all-in-one omnibus didn't quite come together to make a compelling story; curious to see if this will be different given that there doesn't seem to be a designated finale issue, for instance (yet).

Collects Action Comics #1017, Aquaman #54, Batgirl #41, Batman and the Outsiders #7, Batman #82, Batman/Superman #4, Black Adam: Year Of The Villain #1, Catwoman #17, DC’s Year of the Villain #1, Deathstroke #49, Detective Comics #1015, The Flash #82, Harley Quinn #67, Hawkman #18, The Joker: Year of the Villain #1, Justice League #35, Justice League Dark #17, Justice League Odyssey #15, Lex Luthor: Year of the Villain #1, Nightwing #66, Red Hood: Outlaw #40, Riddler: Year of the Villain #1, Supergirl #36, Superman #17, Teen Titans #36, The Terrifics #22, Wonder Woman #82, among others.

Death of Superman: The Wake TP

Collects the digital series that tied in, I believe, with the newest animated movie (I don't think this is a revisiting of the actual original "Death of Superman," but tell me if I'm wrong), by Louise Simonson.

Flash Year One HC

Collecting the story from within Joshua Williamson's Flash ongoing, with art by Howard Porter. I can see why it would behoove DC to have books with "Year One" in the title for all their major properties and recently they rebranded Greg Rucka's inaugural Rebirth Wonder Woman run accordingly. But if this will be semi-tied to current events, like Tom King's Batman Vol. 4: War of Jokes and Riddles, then I'd have preferred they put a volume number on it. Said to be issues #70-75.

The Flash: 80 Years of the Fastest Man Alive HC

Includes Flash Comics #1 (Jay Garrick), Showcase #4 (Barry Allen), Flash #110, #123, and #275 (Wally West, "Flash of Two Worlds," and the death of Iris Allen), and more, plus essays by Mark Waid, Roy Thomas, and Francis Manapul, among others.

Hellblazer by Garth Ennis Omnibus HC

In hardcover, at about 1,300 pages, collecting Hellblazer #41-50, #52-83, and #129-131, Vertigo Jam #1, Hellblazer Special #1, Heartland #1, and Vertigo: Winter’s Edge #2.

Justice League Odyssey Vol. 2: Death of the Dark TP

I'm rather shocked to see that Dan Abnett has taken over this title already from Joshua Williamson; five issues was a pretty short tenure. This collects issues #6-12 by Abnett with Carmine Di Giandomenico and others.

Justice League Vol. 4: The Sixth Dimension TP

Issues #19-28 in paperback, getting in to "Year of the Villain" before "Justice Doom War."

Luthor TP

Black Label edition of the five-issue miniseries from 2005 by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo.

Man and Superman Deluxe Edition HC

This one, originally released as a "100-Page Special," confused me because I thought it was one of the Walmart exclusives, but apparently it wasn't. Now in deluxe hardcover instead of periodical, by Marv Wolfman.

Nightwing: Burnback TP

Listed as written by Dan Jurgens, Scott Lobdell, and Zack Kaplan. Curiously, the solicitation for Burnback describes what seems to be the plot of Nightwing #57-58, with Joker's Daughter, by Lobdell and Kaplan, and says it collects issues #57-62. Meanwhile, over in the DC Spring 2020 solicitations is the book Nightwing Vol. 1: The Gray Son Legacy, pitched as the start of Jurgens' run and collecting issues #59-64. Hopefully, issue-wise at least, the October 2019 solicitation is correct, and DC isn't skipping over issues #57-58. Secondly, I'd as soon they not start renumbering the collections, but I'm more concerned about all the issues being collected.

Red Hood: Outlaw Vol. 2: Prince of Gotham TP

Previously said to collect issues #32-38, now #32-26 and the Annual #3. Ties in to "Year of the Villain."

Robin: The Bronze Age Omnibus HC

College-age adventures of Dick Grayson, including Batman #192, #202, #203, #227, #229-231, #234-236, #239, #240-242, #244, #245, #248, #250, #252, #254, #259, #333, #337-339, and #341-343; Detective Comics #390-391, #394, #395, #398-403, #445, #447, #450, #451 and #481-485; Batman Family #1, #3 and #4-9, and 11-20; World's Finest Comics #200, and DC Comics Presents #31 and #58. Much (all?) of this is before Dick joined the Marv Wolfman-era New Teen Titans; many of these stories were previously reprinted in black-and-white in Showcase Presents: Robin - The Boy Wonder.

Superman: Action Comics Vol. 1: Invisible Mafia TP

Paperback of Brian Michael Bendis and Patrick Gleason's Action Comics #1001-1006.

Superman: Action Comics Vol. 2: Leviathan Rising HC

Brian Michael Bendis' Action Comics #1007-1011 and the Leviathan Rising special.

Superman: City of Tomorrow Vol. 1 TP

For Superman fans like myself who thrilled to "Dark Night Over Metropolis," "Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite," "Death of Superman," and then one day found ourselves with "Millennium Giants" (if you were there, you'd know), Jeph Loeb and company's Superman was a giant breath of fresh air. Collects Superman #151-154, Superman: Y2K #1, Superman: The Man of Steel #95-98, Adventures of Superman #573-576 and Action Comics #760-763, the Superman: No Limits and Superman: Endgame trades.

Superman Vol. 2: The Unity Saga: House of El HC

Superman #7-14 by Brian Michael Bendis, featuring you-know-who.

Superman: Year One HC

Hardcover of Frank Miller and John Romita's Black Label series.

Teen Titans Go!: Weirder Things TP

Issues #31-36 by Sholly Fisch.

Wonder Twins Vol. 1: Activate! TP

Issues #1-6 of Mark Russell and Stephen Byrne's Wonder Comics series.

Young Justice Book Four TP

Post-"Sins of Youth," this is issues #20-32, which sees the team at the Olympics in Zandia, out in space, and meeting the Forever People, plus a silent issue and an appearance by Spoiler.

So, what are you reading this month?

Review: Wonder Woman Vol. 9: The Enemy of Both Sides trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Steve Orlando's works have been hit or miss for me, thought I've always appreciated his enthusiasm for DC Comics (and some of our comics touchstones in common). But his quick stint in Wonder Woman Vol. 9: The Enemy of Both Sides is really great, surprising and compelling, as well as fleshing out important Wonder Woman-related material from another title. I'll give G. Willow Wilson's upcoming run on this title a chance, but Enemy strongly makes me think Orlando should get a turn as well.

[Review contains spoilers]

"Enemy" proper is a couple of stories in one. It starts with Orlando's new take on Grant Morrison's Aztek (late of Orlando's Justice League of America) recruiting Wonder Woman and Red Hood and the Outlaws' Artemis to stop the machinations of the shadow god Tezcatilipoca in two parts, but then ends with Diana involved in political upheaval among Artemis' exiled Amazons, the Bana-Mighdall. The first two chapters are strong in a good story and art, especially, by Orlando's Midnighter collaborator Aco; the second two chapters have a great political dilemma and real conflict for Diana, pair Wonder Woman and Artemis (together again for the first time since a previous continuity), and pick up strongly from Scott Lobdell's Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 2: Who Is Artemis? Orlando's is a Wonder Woman story that works quickly in a really small amount of space, and DC should be taking note.

Review: Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 3: Bizarro Reborn (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

After what felt like stalling for a couple of volumes, Scott Lobdell's Rebirth Red Hood title finally gets moving with Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 3: Bizarro Reborn. As is appropriate at the start of the second year of a title, Reborn is largely concerned with the Outlaws encountering other superheroes and finding their place in the world; as such, there's a bunch of fun guest stars this time around.

Lobdell certainly brings emotion to the Outlaws' central "Bizarro" conflict, and it's all altogether compelling the way in which Lobdell shows how a certain amount of positive growth on the part of the Outlaws is leading them toward a negative conclusion. My main complaint is that Lobdell at times shows more than he tells about how these characters feel about one another, making these connections more logical than emotional; still, a good outing all around.

Review: The Green Lantern Vol. 1: Intergalactic Lawman hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp's The Green Lantern Vol. 1: Intergalactic Lawman is a treat for Morrison fans, utilizing many of the concepts from Morrison's earlier runs as the author is wont to do. At the same time, given Morrison's charming penchant for esoterica, I often take for granted what a meat-and-potatoes continuity wonk he is, and indeed Intergalactic Lawman also dovetails with recent events in the Green Lantern titles quite seamlessly. I'm not predicting a 50-issue run here, though I'd be happy if it was; the relative smaller scale of this book feels like a miniseries, but it's nice to see a Hal Jordan title shrunk down for a while after so many years of expansiveness.

[Review contains spoilers]

Hype for The Green Lantern ahead of time billed the book as a police procedural. I'd be more than happy to read a Green Lantern book done by way of Law and Order or Gotham Central, though this isn't it. Sure, there's a bit of following leads and questioning suspects in the beginning, a scene of "good cop, bad cop," but that falls away prior to halfway through the book once Hal Jordan goes up against God and then infiltrates an alien cult. All of which is enjoyable, don't get me wrong, but I don't think the "procedural" label wholly fits.

Review: Terrifics Vol. 2: Tom Strong and the Terrifics trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

I don't have much basis for Tom Strong, so while I realize that the Strong family's presence in The Terrifics Vol. 2: Tom Strong & the Terrifics is supposedly a big deal, I'm not sure I felt the oomph of it that writer Jeff Lemire meant for me to. Nor am I sure this book's "Challengers of the Multiverse" aesthetic is used quite as strongly in the beginning as it could be.

Fortunately, this book's second story redeems that, using the Multiverse exceptionally well and also introducing some new characters with interesting story potential. Unfortunately, this volume also marks the end of Lemire's tenure on the title just as it was getting good. Gene Luen Yang comes on next time; I did like Yang's New Super-Man, though the tones of these books — while similar — are not the same. I have some concerns about how that's all going to shake out, but that's a conversation for the next review.

Review: Green Lanterns Vol. 9: Evil's Might trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Dan Jurgens' Green Lanterns Vol. 9: Evil's Might is a nice surprise, a lot better than I thought it was going to be. It is not a perfect Green Lanterns specimen, as the work done here with star characters Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz is quite imperfect (especially for the last volume of their solo title); however, when it gets down to it, this book sees Jurgens returning to a particular well with particular significance, and that's notable, interesting, and well-done. Perhaps if somehow this has been the final volume of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps and not necessarily the final volume of Green Lanterns (and if Baz, particularly, had been treated better), this might have ranked up there as truly fine filler before Grant Morrison takes over the franchise.

Review: Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 2: Who Is Artemis? (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Scott Lobdell's Rebirth Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 2: Who Is Artemis? could have courted trouble by running afoul of a continuity pit or two; thankfully, it does not. Ultimately, everything makes sense and we end the book with a viable Artemis, a fine mix of the old and the new.

The problem is that, for the second book of this Rebirth series, representing the culmination of almost a year's worth of stories, Artemis works perhaps too hard to be uncontroversial. Within, the Outlaws war with themselves for only the barest of seconds; otherwise the good guys are right and the bad guys are wrong and they're dispatched with alacrity. Lobdell, as usual, makes good use of Red Hood Jason Todd's long history for a particularly notable sequence, but again there doesn't seem quite enough here for a book that should be farther along than it is.

Review: Hawkman Vol. 1: Awakening trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch's Hawkman Vol. 1: Awakening is an auspicious start for the new series. What the book lacks in coherency, it more than makes up for in intrigue and cool concepts, not to mention six issues of Hitch's art. Venditti offers Hawkman fans of all eras the ability to have their cake and eat it too, surpassing even in that manner Geoff Johns' last good Hawkman take. Just as Venditti did the impossible following Johns on Green Lantern and creating something that felt equally fresh and workable, so too does Venditti seem on the right track here.

[Review contains spoilers]

Among Venditti's contributions to the Hawkman mythos is to posit that original Hawkman Carter Hall has been reincarnated across both time and space, and as pal Atom Ray Palmer says, possibly not even chronologically. This not only suggests that Carter may have been many more past "Hawkmen" than he originally thought — not just earthbound, human DC western heroes and the Egyptian Prince Khufu, but also a Rannian Hawkman and a Kryptonian Hawkman, among others. Still another of those lives seems to be revealed as Katar Hol, the popular but perpetually continuity-challenged Hawkman of the post-Crisis era.

Review: Nightwing: Knight Terrors trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

I ... didn't hate it. This alone will be a controversial take for some on Nightwing: Knight Terrors, but perhaps because of the so much bad press I'd heard going into this book, I was expecting much worse. I have read embarrassingly bad comics and this is not an embarrassingly bad comic. Ill-conceived and in that way kind of mind-boggling, yes, but not embarrassingly bad. Maybe that's the best one can hope for right now.

[Review contains spoilers]

Knight Terrors tells the story of an amnesiac Dick "Ric" Grayson who doesn't want to go back to the hero life, a team of Bludhaven first responders who become "Nightwings" in his stead, and how Dick begins to realize that his extraordinary gymnastic and fighting abilities mean he must get involved against the Scarecrow — that with great power comes great responsibility, in essence. Writers Benjamin Percy initially and then for the greater part Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza deliver a Dick Grayson who's circus childhood is all he's known, and so conceivably what you get is a "what if" tale of Dick becoming a superhero without ever being raised by rich guy Bruce Wayne. It's an earthier, grittier take on a pseudo-Elseworlds Dick Grayson, and that's interesting at least for a short spin. A bunch of strong art by Travis Moore, Chris Mooneyham, and Patch Zircher, among others, also helps considerably.