DC Trade Solicitations for July 2021 – Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point HC, Absolute Fourth World Vol. 2, Starman Compendium, Aquaman 80th, Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity HC, Batman: Court of Owls Deluxe

Sunday, April 25, 2021

I had been feeling satisfied with the DC Comics July 2021 hardcover and trade paperback solicitations — looks like there’s some nice Fourth World collections in there, couple good Scott Snyder Batman collections, the hardcover of the super-popular Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point HC (which can only be followed by DC Universe/Fortnite), big collections of Christopher Priest’s Deathstroke by Christopher Priest Omnibus, the New 52 Justice League Dark, and DC’s even giving James Robinson’s Starman another collections shot. And then I noticed …

There is one — count ‘em, one — mainstream continuity collection in this entire month, just one book that takes place in the here-and-now of the DC Universe. And even then, it’s not even a regular-series collection, it’s Steve Orlando’s Gotham City Monsters — which did get a mention during Batman: The Joker War, but is hardly I think the kind of linchpin series like Brian Michael Bendis’ Justice League or Grant Morrison’s Superman and the Authority are.

I am not very, very worried quite yet (maybe only one “very”). It’s summer and collections do seem traditionally to be lighter over the summer (see August 2020, which had the same traits — not actually sure where July 2020 went), so every reason to believe this is just a temporary blip. At the moment I’m mostly excited to think about, if I get all my regular series reading caught up, what series I might go back and binge — Gail Simone’s second Secret Six that I never read, or DC You series I never finished like Martian Manhunter, Catwoman, Gotham by Midnight, Gotham Academy, We Are Robin, or Earth 2: Society, etc., etc. So right now I’m looking at this as an opportunity.

Besides, it’s really hard to quibble with a DC that in one month is giving us both the Blue & Gold miniseries by Dan Jurgens (it’s really astounding there’s never been a specific Beetle/Booster mini before) and a “Batgirls” backup in Batman: Urban Legends with Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown together again (though I’m not sure the Mimi Yoon cover is doing the characters any favors). Any concerns I had about DC leaving behind lesser-known fan-favorite characters in the wake of Dan DiDio’s departure and all the turnover are being swiftly assuaged each month.

A weird month, to be sure, but with some things going for it. Let’s take a look …

Absolute Fourth World by Jack Kirby Vol. 2

Second and final volume, collecting Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #146–148, Forever People #7–11, New Gods #7–11, Mister Miracle #7–18, Jack Kirby’s New Gods (Reprint Series) #6, DC Graphic Novel #4: The Hunger Dogs, and “On the Road to Armagetto,” the original draft that became Hunter Dogs, as well as what’s said to be never-before-collected essays by Kirby.

Aquaman: 80 Years of the King of the Seven Seas: The Deluxe Edition

Another of DC's anniversary hardcovers. More Fun Comics #73; Adventure Comics #120, #137, #232, #266, #269, #437, and #475; Aquaman (1962) #11, #35, #46, #62; Aquaman (1986) #1 (part one of a four-part miniseries by Neal Pozner); Legend of Aquaman Special #1 (by Keith Giffen, Robert Loren Fleming, and Curt Swan); Aquaman (1994) #0, #37 (by Peter David, from the hook-handed era, a Zero Month origin issue and a Genesis tie-in with Parademons); Aquaman (2002) #17 (pretty sure this is Aquaman teamed with Martian Manhunter, but Will Pfeifer and Patrick Gleason, in the “Sub Diego” era); Aquaman (2011) #1 (Geoff Johns' New 52 debut); Aquaman (2016) #25 (the start of the “Underword” storyline by Dan Abnett and Stjepan Sejic); JLA: Our Worlds at War #1 (not, I wouldn’t say, the strongest Aquaman story, but with a notable moment); and Outsiders: Five of a Kind – Metamorpho/Aquaman #1 (by G. Willow Wilson, Tony Bedard, and Josh Middleton; this is weird one, featuring the Sword of Atlantis-era AJ Curry, though notably drawn by Middleton who does so many iconic Aquaman variant covers).

Batman Adventures: Cat Got Your Tongue?

Collection of Catwoman stories set in the DC animated universe — Adventures in the DC Universe #2 and #19; Batman: Gotham Adventures #4, #24, and 50; and Batman Adventures #10.

Batman: The Brave And The Bold The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 3

Brave and the Bold #157-200 from the 1980s, with Batman teaming up with Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Black Lightning, Superboy, Swamp Thing and more. Foreword by Scott Beatty.

Batman: The Court of Owls Deluxe Edition

Deluxe-size hardcover collection of issues #1-11 of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman.

Batman: Zero Year

In paperback, collecting both of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s “Zero Year” collections in one volume, being Batman #21-27 and #29-33.

Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point HC

In hardcover, collecting the miniseries by Christos Gage and Reilly Brown. Also includes a bonus code unlocking seven DC-themed Fortnite digital items.

DC Poster Portfolio Jim Lee Vol. 2

Coming in December.

DC Poster Portfolio: Dark Nights: Metal

Covers just from the miniseries, which is really wild and unprecedented when you think about it. With work by Greg Capullo, Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, and Francesco Mattina, among others.

Deathstroke by Christopher Priest Omnibus

What I would call one of the best comics series of the past decade, a really wild and uncompromising take on Deathstroke where every friend is a foe and every foe is a friend (and both are family!) depending on the day. If you didn’t read this the first time around, no excuses for skipping it now. Collects Deathstroke: Rebirth #1, Titans #11, Teen Titans #28-29,Deathstroke #1-50, Titans: The Lazarus Contract Special #1, DC Holiday Special 2017 #1, Deathstroke Annual #1 (being among other things the “Lazarus Contract” and “Terminus Agenda” crossovers with two different iterations of Titans).

Fables Compendium Three

In paperback, collecting Fables #83-113, Jack of Fables #33-35, The Literals #1-3, and Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland. Said to be the third of four compendiums.

Fourth World by Jack Kirby Omnibus

New printing of the omnibus containing the entirety of Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” saga, being also the contents of the four original omnibus volumes (so if you don’t want it Absolute size, here’s another, albeit heavy, option). I’d darn well hope this won’t be cancelled just because of the unfortunate news about the New Gods movie.

Gotham City Monsters

In paperback, Steve Orlando's six-issue miniseries including Frankenstein, Killer Croc, Lady Clayface, Orca, and I, Vampire's Andrew Bennett. Some great characters in there; I'm looking forward to this.

John Constantine, Hellblazer Vol. 25: Another Season

The penultimate collection of the classic Hellblazer series, collecting issues #276–291 by Peter Milligan and Giuseppe Camuncoli, and the previously uncollected story “Exposed” from DC’s 9/11 anthology.

Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity HC

I’ve heard good things about this DC Black Label series. Collecting in hardcover Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #1–8 and the Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity Secret Files by Kami Garcia and Mico Suayan.

Justice League Dark: The New 52 Omnibus

What I'd say is pretty notable here is that this collects not just Peter Milligan's slow start to the New 52 series and Jeff Lemire's fantastic shot in the arm (with Mikel Janin), but also all of the "Trinity of Sin" crossover with the other Justice League books of the time and also the "Forever Evil: Blight" crossover between a bunch of DC's magic books.

You should read my review of Blight, by the way, which makes the Herculean effort of trying to encapsulate this giant 18-issue crossover (about which I wrote, "As befits the menagerie of magical characters who populate the story, Blight is in part a wonder to behold and in part total chaos"). The oddly structured "Blight" is actually two stories, one 10 issues and one eight, the latter of which having nothing to do with the "Blight" of the first even though it shares the title. The quality waxes and wanes, but is for the most part good, and the old adage holds that even if it's not great, there's certainly a lot of it here. Oh my god you will have your fill of Constantine, Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Deadman, and the rest by the time you finish this.

Anyway, this is I, Vampire #7-8, Justice League Dark #0-40, Justice League #22-23, Justice League Dark Annual #1-2, Justice League of America #6-7, Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #14-17, Constantine #9-12, Trinity of Sin: Pandora #6-9, and Justice League Dark: Futures End #1.

Starman Compendium One

New collection of James Robinson's Starman, collecting about half the series and then some: Starman #0-42, Starman 80-Page Giant #1, Starman Annual #1-2, Starman Secret Files #1, Showcase ’95 #12 (Shade), Showcase ’96 #4-5 (Dr. Fate and the Shade), Power of Shazam! #35-36, and The Shade #1-4.

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (Tabloid Edition)

A reprint of what was originally published as All-New Collectors' Edition #C-55, a new Legion story by Paul Levitz and Mike Grell printed in tabloid 10" x 14" size, featuring the wedding of Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad.

Superman & Lois Lane: The 25th Wedding Anniversary Deluxe Edition

I don't think what I'm about to say is particularly controversial, but apologies in advance if I offend anyone: the entire 1990s Superman: The Wedding Album storyline was not very good.

We all know the story that the Triangle Titles Super-team wanted to marry Clark and Lois much earlier but were asked to hold off to mesh with the Lois & Clark TV show, which — to the benefit of all of us — ended up netting us "Death of Superman." But when the TV wedding did come, apparently it was without much notice for the comics teams. They had to scramble under inopportune circumstances — not only had Clark and Lois inartfully broken up at this time, but Superman currently had no powers (in the most high-profile storyline he'd probably see outside "Death") on account of the fallout from the Final Night crossover.

While artist Stuart Immonen gets a romantic reunion sequence in, this was not a strong tiem for the Triangle Titles artists overall — neither the Wedding Album nor the issues that followed are good-looking books overall. The larger story sees Clark and Lois going off on their honeymoon and running afoul of an international terrorist. Again, we're talking about a pretty high-profile Superman story here that by and large doesn't involve the superhero Superman nor any of his best-recognized enemies.

Strange as it sounds, I rather always hoped DC might re-do this story one day; it's a pretty big dropped football and squanders a lot of the good work that the earlier Triangle Titles teams did going in to the Lois/Clark engagement.

Happy 25th anniversary! Collects Superman #118, Adventures of Superman #541, Action Comics #728, Superman: The Man of Steel #63, and Superman: The Wedding Album #1.

Swamp Thing: New Roots

In paperback, collecting the Walmart exclusive and digital-first Swamp Thing series — Swamp Thing Giant Direct Market Edition #1–4, Swamp Thing Giant #5, Swamp Thing: New Roots #6, and Swamp Thing: New Roots #9 by Mark Russell and others.

Sweet Tooth: The Return

Issues #1-6 of the new miniseries by Jeff Lemire.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven

Middle-grade graphic novel by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo.

Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story

Cool to see relatively new character Jessica Cruz getting the spotlight in this immigration-focused YA graphic novel by Lilliam Rivera and Steph C. I appreciate that DC’s mining new classic characters for these as well as old favorites.

Wonderful Women of the World

Young adult graphic novel featuring illustrated biographies of prominent women, edited by Laurie Halse Anderson.

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7 comments:

  1. I'm excited for Brave and the Bold Volume 3 omnibus. Anyone know if DC Special Series #8 (Brave and the Bold Special with Batman, Deadman, and Sgt. Rock) will be included? It's not listed in the contents, but it should be included as it was released as a B&B special and it did star Bats. (It should have been in volume 2 between issues 139 and 140, but Grand Comics Database doesn't include it in the contents.)

    Also, what's the consensus on the Compendium format? I'd rather have Starman collected in the Deluxe Edition or current Omnibus formats, but I'm not sure either format is a given for future release.

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    1. I like Image's implementation of the Compendium format, and it sounds like DC's is similar. You get omnibus level page counts for half the price. It's not perfect, but given all the fits and starts trying to collect Starman recently, I think it's the best we can hope for

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    2. I'm pretty excited just to finally have my own copy of Starman, regardless of the format, even if I would also have preferred an Omnibus (one was previously solicited but cancelled. Presumably this is the same contents in a smaller paperback and they're hoping the significantly lower price point will draw in those that didn't pre-order the omnibus)

      Also, Hooray for Batgirls! I really love both of those characters and hope someday we get a Cassandra Cain Batgirl omnibus... I'll even settle for a compendium. (That cover really is questionable though.)

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    3. I'm not quite certain what compendium is yet. Paperback omnibus? Or paperback half-an-omnibus (and how is that different from like the new New Teen Titans or Man of Steel big paperback collections)? With that many pages, is the paperback flopping all around or how's the reading experience?

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  2. When are they going to release the William Messnor loeb run on the flash?

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  3. Probably not seeing any modern collections due to Future State - modern books were halted for several months in spring, so modern collections are halted in summer.

    Not too keen on the "Court of Owls" Deluxe. I want nothing more than to have Snyder/Capullo's story arcs in complete hardcovers (not split across two hardcovers, like Court of Owls/Zero Year/Superheavy all are), but the current solicitation leaves out Issue #12 and the first Annual (collected in the "City of Owls" hardcover). If I replaced my two standard Court/City hardcovers with the Deluxe, I'd lose those issues. And I'm not putting the Deluxe on a shelf right next to the "City of Owls" hardcover - that's a lot of redundancy for a supposed upgrade. So it looks like I'll be passing on the "Court of Owls" Deluxe, unless DC shows committment to collecting the entire run in the format, and not just the most popular stories that are easiest to sell.

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    1. I thought the same thing. Probably just a skip month due to Future State. I wouldn't really worry about it unless there aren't any current releases by September solicits.

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