DC Trade Solicitations for February 2021 – Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood Joker War tie-ins, Dark Nights: Death Metal Deluxe, Who’s Who Omnibus, Constantine: Rise and Fall by Taylor, Morrison’s Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 3

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Dark Nights Death Metal Issue 1

It's the DC Comics February 2021 trade paperback and hardcover solicitations. My reading of these was tinged with concern given all the goings on at DC right now. I will say it's an auspicious thing to have a female, experienced comic book editor, Marie Javins, at the head of DC, and by all accounts Javins loves DC and isn't looking to, say, slash the output down to a couple reprint anthologies every month. At the same time, a lot of good people are getting let go and that's naturally worrisome, especially when we're on our third month of fill-in miniseries with no idea what DC's superhero line is going to look like when it all starts up again.

Also I just finished HBO's Watchmen (behind the times, I know), which was superb and frankly breathed new life into Watchmen: The Original for me, and when I see such good superheroic adventures on the screen, I can't help but be frustrated with the conclusion of something like "Year of the Villain"/Justice League Vol. 5: Justice/Doom War, which was barely an ending, really shirked most of the character development it had set up, and served in the end mainly as an advertisement for another comic (Dark Nights: Death Metal) whose collection won't be available until April of next year. It feels like excellence shouldn't be as hard to achieve as it seems to be, and now more than ever mainstream superhero comics seems to be more about making a buck than telling a good story. The layoffs at DC don't do much to assuage those concerns.

That said, if all else were equal this would be a pretty good month for DC Comics collections. Following the Batman: Joker War collection out in February, this coming March sees the Batgirl, Detective Comics, Nightwing, and Red Hood: Outlaw tie-in collections to "Joker War," all of which I'm a sucker for ('cause who knows when we might have a Bat-family event again?!) — if I'm seeing it all right, the only thing missing at this point is where Joker War Zone is going to be collected other than in the Joker War Saga book.

Also, hardly second fiddle, this month sees the solicitation for the aforementioned Dark Nights: Death Metal collection, with its tie-in books soon to follow. I talk a good game but I am excited to read this one. I know the Who's Who Omnibus is a big deal to some, and also I expect I'll enjoy Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 3 when I get around to reading it. Batman & the Outsiders and Justice League Odyssey, two series that improved over time, see their final collections, too.

Well, let's jump into it ...

Absolute Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals HC

This seems cool, George Perez's Wonder Woman #1-14 collected in Absolute edition; it's not often we see "regular series" get the Absolute treatment. Surely this is due to the movie, though it makes me thing Superman: Man of Steel maybe deserves the same (Batman: Year One's already been there).

Batgirl Vol. 8: The Joker War HC

Coming in March, the final issues of Cecil Castellucci's run on Batgirl, issues #45-50, with ties to "Joker War" and also the first comics appearance of new CW Batwoman Ryan Wilder. In hardcover, a switch for this series.

Batman & the Outsiders Vol. 3: The Demon's Fire TP

Final collection by Bryan Hill, with issues #13-17. I wasn't too enthusiastic about the first volume, Lesser Gods, but found the second one, League of Their Own, to be an improvement. The conclusion will be high on my reading pile.

Batman Beyond Vol. 8: The Eradication Agenda TP

The final collection of the Dan Jurgens series, collecting issues #43-50. Booster Gold makes an appearance, and this didn't connect for me before but that means Jurgens writing Booster again.

Batman's Grave: The Complete Collection HC

Hardcover of the 12-issue series by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch.

Batman/Superman Vol. 2: World's Deadliest HC

Issues #7-15 and the Annual #1, including Zod and Ra’s al Ghul, the Atomic Skull, and a Batwoman/Steel team-up (I assumed John Henry Irons, but now I wonder if it’s Natasha. Ooh, don’t spoil it for me!).

Batman: A Death in the Family: The Deluxe Edition HC

Deluxe-size hardcover collection of "Death in the Family," the death of Robin Jason Todd, and "A Lonely Place of Dying," the arrival of Robin Tim Drake. Being Batman #426-429 and #440-442 and New Teen Titans #60-61. The solicitation claims this inclues "several never-before-published pages that show what would have happened if Jason Todd had lived" — traditionally that's a page by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo that appeared in the Batman Annual #25 and other Death in the Family collections, so I'm not sure if "never-before-published" is really accurate.

Batman: Arkham: Talia al Ghul TP

Among other things, it’s nice that this collection acknowledges Talia’s graduation to a Batman villain separate from her father Ra’s. Collects Batman #232, Batman #656, Detective Comics #411, Batman: Son of the Demon #1, Batman: Death and the Maidens #9, President Luthor Secret Files #1, Batman Villains Secret Files 2005 #1, Red Hood: The Lost Days #1, Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #23, Batman and Robin #12, Batman Incorporated #2, Batman Incorporated #13 (the solicitation says #2-13 but that's got to be a typo), and Batman #34-35. I love that President Luthor is in there; I really enjoyed Joe Kelly writing Talia as a foe for Superman in his Action Comics run, and I’m glad that gets an acknowledgment.

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 5: The Joker War HC

In harcover in late March, tying in to "Joker War" and collecting Detective Comics #1020-1026, a story from Detective Comics #1027, Batman: Pennyworth R.I.P., and Detective Comics Annual #3, by Peter Tomasi and company.

Black Canary: Bird of Prey TP

Collection of Black Canary’s Golden Age adventures, including Adventure Comics #399, Adventure Comics #418-419, Brave and the Bold #61-62, Flash Comics #86-88 and #90-104, DC Special #3, and Comic Cavalcade #25.

Dark Nights: Death Metal: Deluxe Edition HC

Coming at the beginning of April, it's the direct-to-deluxe edition of Dark Nights: Death Metal. Can't help but notice this only contains issues #1-7, which causes a ruckus back with Metal proper; hopefully the series is structured this time such that issues #1-7 make a whole story without any of the tie-ins.

DCeased TP

Paperback collection of DCeased #1-6 and DCeased: A Good Day to Die #1.

Final Night TP

New collection of the 1996 DC crossover event that included a major step in Green Lantern/Parallax Hal Jordan's return to the mainstream. Includes Final Night #1-4, Parallax: Emerald Night #1, Green Lantern #81, and Final Night Preview #1.

Flashpoint: The 10th Anniversary Omnibus HC

Ten years since Flashpoint. It hardly seems that much, and if you want me up on my soapbox, I think in part that’s because we’ve been through two continuities since then and DC’s history remains very, very muddled — that is, it’s been 10 years, but mostly that reminds me we haven’t come all that far in 10 years.

That said, this is assuredly the completest complete collection of Flashpoint you’re going to find; I’m curious whether the editors will try to slot in the various miniseries in their relative right places between the Flashpoint miniseries or just shunt all the ancillary material to the end.

I should also say, ignoring what came before and after, I thought Geoff Johns had some fine writing here, and I can clear a room discussing how this book relates to years and years of Johns writing Batman and Flash prior. As a matter of fact, here's my Flashpoint review.

This is (deep breath) Booster Gold #44-47, Flash #9-12, Flashpoint #1-5, Flashpoint: Reverse-Flash #1, Flashpoint: Abin Sur the Green Lantern #1-3, Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #1-3, Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance #1-3, Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #1-3, Flashpoint: The World of Flashpoint #1-3, Flashpoint: Deadman and the Flying Graysons #1-3, Flashpoint: Deathstroke & the Curse of the Ravager #1-3, Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #1-3, Flashpoint: The Outsider #1-3, Flashpoint: Secret Seven #1-3, Flashpoint: The Canterbury Cricket #1, Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #1-3, Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost #1-3, Flashpoint: Project Superman #1-3, Flashpoint: Frankenstein & the Creatures of the Unknown #1-3, Flashpoint: Green Arrow Industries #1, Flashpoint: Grodd of War #1, Flashpoint: Hal Jordan #1-3, Flashpoint: The Legion of Doom #1-3, and material from Absolute Flashpoint.

JLA: The Tower of Babel The Deluxe Edition HC

Collects a number of Mark Waid's JLA stories, including issues #18-21, #32-33, and "Tower of Babel," issues #43-46. At some point a solicitation had said that Len Kaminski and Jason Orfalas' "JLApe" JLA Annual #3 would be in here, but that has become, more sensibly, two of Mark Waid's stories from JLA Secret Files #3.

John Constantine, Hellblazer Vol. 2: The Best Version of You TP

The second and final collection by Si Spurrier, issues #7-12, of what’s been said to be a return to form for the title. That does it for Sandman Universe short of the Dreaming miniseries, I believe.

John Constantine, Hellblazer: Rise and Fall HC

In hardcover, collecting the three-issue Black Label miniseries by Tom Taylor. I tell you what, one side-effect of following Taylor on Twitter these days to find out about the next Injustice project is seeing a lot of praise for his Suicide Squad, which I'm eager to read. Taylor's star is on the rise and I'm optimistic for his Hellblazer as well.

Justice League Odyssey Vol. 4: Last Stand TP

Final collection of the Dan Abnett series, issues #19-25. Justice League Odyssey Vol. 3: Final Frontier was really great and I’m eager to see Abnett stick the landing.

Nightwing: The Joker War HC

Also in hardcover, also a change for this title. Ties in to "Joker War" and collects Nightwing #70-77 and Nightwing Annual #3, which brings us right up to the "Future State" break. Coming in early March.

Red Hood: Outlaw Vol. 4: Unspoken Truths TP

Collects issues #43-50 by Scott Lobdell. These are Lobdell’s final issues of the series, but I haven’t seen an official announcement that the book is cancelled necessarily.

Revolver TP

Paperback reprinting of the 2010 graphic novel by Matt Kindt, in which a man seems to travel between two realities each time he goes to sleep.

Sheriff of Babylon TP

Paperback collecting issues #1-12 of the Sheriff of Babylon miniseries by Tom King and Mitch Gerads, with the extras from the recent Deluxe edition. The Deluxe was the first time the two original trades had been collected together.

Superman Adventures: Lex Luthor, Man of Metropolis TP

Collects issues #27, #54-55, and #65-66 of the animated tie-in series.

Superman Vol. 3: The Truth Revealed TP

Paperback, following the hardcover, of Brian Michael Bendis' Superman #16-19, and the Heroes and Villains specials.

Superman vs. Shazam TP

Collects a variety of Superman and Captain Marvel team-ups (or face-offs), including Superman #216, The Power of Shazam! #46, Kingdom Come #4, DC Comics Presents #33, #34, and #49, All-New Collectors' Edition #C-58, and DC Comics Presents Annual #3.

Who's Who Omnibus Vol. 1 HC

This is assuredly something that should exist, what seems like it’s going to be a collection of all of DC’s Who’s Who series, though this particular volume is the original post-Crisis Who’s Who, updates, and material from the annuals, ending before the loose-leaf Who’s Who that we’ll probably see in the second volume.

Like ... this is cool, and it definitely should be preserved in collections. I can’t necessarily imagine reading this whole thing now, given how far the characters are from what’s portrayed here (and once upon a time, I did read this kind of thing forward and backward and forward again). Mostly it makes me feel disenchanted, as with the Flashpoint Omnibus, that we’re so far from cohesion these days that a new Who’s Who hardly seems possible.

Collects Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #1-26 (1985), Who's Who Update 1987 #1-5, Who's Who Update 1988 #1-4, and the Who’s Who pages from Action Comics Annual #2, Batman Annual #13, Blackhawk Annual #1, Detective Comics Annual #2, Dr. Fate Annual #1, Flash Annual #3, Green Arrow Annual #2, Justice League Annual #3, New Titans Annual #5, Question Annual #2, Secret Origins Annual #3, Swamp Thing Annual #5, and Wonder Woman Annual #2.

Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 3 HC

The next and final volume in Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette's Wonder Woman: Earth One series. Seeing as how this has Max Lord in it, hopefully by March of next year the Wonder Woman 1984 movie will finally be out. Volume 1 of this came out in 2016, volume 2 in 2018; I'm going to have to reread so I remember what's going on. DC has published an Earth One box set but it's surprising they haven't taken some of these trilogies (Superman: Earth One, basically) and reprinted as one single volume — that'd make a good, large, cohesive book.

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5 comments:

  1. WW: Earth One, Flashpoint Omnibus, JLO4 for sure. Maybe on Final Night and JLA Deluxe by Waid (I have all of JLA in trades, not sure I like this sequencing in concert with the Morrison omni).

    Regarding Death Metal (and maybe you'll recall I loved Dark Nights:Metal), DM has the same structure where there was a skip month with a pretty necessary non-Capullo one-shot by Snyder that probably ought to be read between issues 3 and 4 (Trinity Crisis). The solicits also have one more "Snyder + Johns" issue that I'm betting is pretty relevant between 6 and 7 (not unlike DN:M's Snyder/Morrison issue). I say "probably ought to" because the story is such a mess that I cannot get up the energy to say it matters if that part of the story makes sense or not. I apologize in advance for my comments in April when your review Death Metal

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  2. Concerning Red Hood and the Outlaws, it has not been cancelled as Issue 51 was solicited with a new creative team and retitled (I think) Red Hood.

    Also I find it funny that we get Black Canary: Bird of Prey about a year after getting the movie-branded Birds of Prey: Black Canary.

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  3. The Black Canary book is actually Golden, Silver, and early Bronze Age tales. Its contents are the same, as far as I can tell, as the Black Canary Archives from years ago. Although the only Bronze Age tale is the one from Adventure Comics with art by the great Alex Toth. I wish we had more of her Bronze Age solo material, or even her pairings with Green Arrow outside of the Green Lantern book.

    Yeah, all this stuff at DC is depressing. I'm not interested in much that DC is putting out now. Metal was ok, but just not interested in Death Metal. And none of the existing titles are grabbing me right now, with the exception of the Legion, and that only barely. Although that Spurrier Hellblazer looks interesting.

    Hopefully Javins can straighten out DC. It needs a kick in the pants, badlyh.

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  4. The Who's Who omnibus is a definite as it will be placed alongside the Crisis box set. I wish DC would include the DC Comics Presents material from Superman vs. Shazam! In the forthcoming third (and final) World's Mightiest Mortal volume. I'm on the fence about the Black Canary: Bird of Prey trade as it is a reprint of the Archives volume. Maybe if they were to add her origin story from a Secret Origin of Super-Heroes issue of DC Special Series #10 or her team-ups with Batman in The Brave and the Bold. Were there any other solo Black Canary stories in the '70s? I can't think of any that didn't also feature Green Arrow.

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