DC Trade Solicitations for August 2021 — Justice League: Death Metal, Next Batman: Second Son, Batman: The World, Batman Vol. 4: Cowardly Lot, Detective Comics Vol. 6: Road to Ruin, Suicide Squad: Greatest Shots

Saturday, May 29, 2021

There are 13 Batman collections in the DC Comics August 2021 hardcover and trade paperback solicitations, plus at least three other “Batman-adjacent collections,” roughly a full third of DC’s output for that month.

That’s it, that’s all I wanted to say about that.

Y’know, this is better than the July 2021 solicitations in that at least we’ve got some regular-series material here, most notably Justice League: Death Metal, though arriving disturbingly later than the rest of the Death Metal trades. And then, as mentioned, Batman, both Batman Vol. 4: The Cowardly Lot (no longer, interestingly, listed as “Part 1” of that storyline) and Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 6: Road to Ruin (Peter Tomasi’s finale). And then of course also The Next Batman: Second Son, as we see Future State loom ever larger.

That is about it — I didn’t say it was an overwhelming month, just that it was more “whelming” than July. I’m curious about Batman: The World — having enjoyed a couple of Bat-special-anthologies lately, I’m curious to see what some international interpretations of Batman are like. And maybe I’m just eager to see Sandman on TV, but I’ve been thinking about picking up the Hill House books (solicited in paperback this month) for a dose of comics horror — anyone enjoy these? Any of them that were particularly any good?

So, a little more to discuss (are these really Batman’s “greatest mysteries”?), but I’ll go ahead and get to it now, and we can pick up in the comments. Enjoy!

Basketful of Heads

Paperback collection of the seven-issue miniseries by Joe Hill and Leomacs, following the hardcover.

Batman Arkham: Catwoman

Said to collect Batman #1 and #355 (original series, first appearance and a well-regarded issue from the 1980s), Catwoman #1–4 (four-issue late-1980s mini by Mindy Newell, following Batman: Year One and often collected as Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper), Catwoman (1993) #54 (by Devin Grayson and Jim Balent, published in 1998, which has been reprinted before), Catwoman #25 (New 52 “Zero Year” issue), Catwoman Secret Files #1 (from the Ed Brubaker run; if I had to guess, it’s either “The Many Lives of Selina Kyle” or “Why Holly Isn’t Dead”), Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #70–71 (hypnotized Lois becomes Catwoman’s partner and Superman is transformed into a cat[?!], from the 1960s). No longer listed in the solicitation, but mentioned before, was the Catwoman entry from Who’s Who Update '87#2.

Batman Black & White

Hardcover collection of the new series, collecting issues #1-6. With James Tynion, Andy Kubert, John Ridley, Mariko Tamaki, Jorge Jimenez, Joshua Williamson, and more.

Batman in the Fifties

Collects Batman #59, #62, #63, #81, #92, #105, #113, #114, #121, #122, and #128; Detective Comics #156, #168, #185, #187, #215, #216, #233, #235, #236, #241, #244, #252, #267, and #269; and World’s Finest Comics #81 and #89. No small amount of Black Casebook material here, including the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, plus Deadshot, Batwoman Kathy Kane, Mr. Zero (the future Mr. Freeze), and Bat-Mite.

Batman Vol. 4: The Cowardly Lot

Hardcover by James Tynion and Jorge Jimenez. This solicitation doesn’t have issue numbers, but earlier it was Batman #106-111, plus apparently some/all of Infinite Frontier #1 (and not Infinite Frontier #0, unless that was a misprint).

Batman: Arkham Asylum: The Deluxe Edition

Another deluxe-size collection of the story by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean; notably we also saw a recent 25th anniversary deluxe edition.

Batman: Curse of the White Knight

Paperback collection of the eight-issue miniseries by Sean Murphy, plus the Batman: White Knight Presents Von Freeze special.

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 6: Road to Ruin

Peter Tomasi's final Detective Comics collection (and the final collection before Future State and Mariko Tamaki's run); this is issues #1028-1033, seeing Damian Wayne return to the title. In hardcover (previously listed as paperback) in October.

Batman: His Greatest Mysteries

I’m not super-impressed with the contents of this trade, if this is what they turn out to be:

Batman #404 ("Year One," part 1) and #610 ("Hush," part 3), Detective Comics #822 and #824 (two from Paul Dini's run), Batman Annual #2 ("Zero Year"? "Date Night"?, Batman Universe #1, and the story "Alone" from Batman: Secret Files #2 (Riddler story by Mairghread Scott). Maybe fine for the uninitiated, but I don’t need disparate parts of multi-issue storylines.

Batman: Li'l Gotham: Calendar Daze

Collects the recent Li'l Gotham #1-6 by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs. (Update: There's some question whether this is the 2013 series or a more recent series ... or was there a more recent series?)

Batman: No Man's Land Omnibus Vol. 1

Collects the equivalent of the first two (of four) No Man's Land "complete" editions, being Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #116-121, Azrael: Agent of the Bat #51-57, Batman #563-568, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #83-88, Detective Comics #730-735, Catwoman #72-74, Robin #67, Batman Chronicles #16-17, Nightwing #35-37, Batman: No Man's Land #1, and Young Justice in No Man's Land #1. (Previously listed as included, but not in this solicitation, is the Batman: No Man's Land Gallery #1.)

Batman: Noel

New hardcover printing of the graphic novel by Lee Bermejo.

Batman: The Long Halloween Deluxe Edition

Deluxe edition of the 13-issue miniseries by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, along with behind-the-scenes material.

Batman: The World

Hardcover, so I guess we call this a trade, coming in September. 160-page book featuring stories from creators across the world; the U.S.-associated team is Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo.

Batwoman Omnibus

Collects Detective Comics #854-863 (not through #864 as previously solicited), Batwoman #0 (New 52), Batwoman #0-24, and Batwoman Annual #1, being Greg Rucka, JH Williams, and W. Haden Blackman's work on the character, stopping before Marc Andreyko's less-well-regarded run (short of the annual where Andreyko finished up Williams' unfinished run).

One does wonder what effect (the very endearing) Ryan Wilder on TV will eventually have on the DC Universe’s own Kate Kane.

Birds of Prey: Fighters by Trade

Collects Gail Simone's Birds of Prey #81-91, so spanning the Battle Within and Perfect Pitch trades. That issue #91 is by Jim Alexander, Brad Walker, and Jimmy Palmiotti and I don't believe it’s been collected before.

The Books of Magic Omnibus Vol. 2 (The Sandman Universe Classics)

Second omnibus by Peter Gross, including Books of Magic #33-75, Books of Magic Annuals #1-3, Books of Faerie #1-3, Vertigo: Winter’s Edge #1-3, Hellblazer/Books of Magic #1-2, and Books of Faerie: Molly’s Story #1-4. Mentioned in a previous solicitation, but not here, was Vertigo Secret Files: Hellblazer #1. Should have a new foreword by John Ney Rieber and a new introduction by Gross, too. I wouldn't mind seeing these as a set of more affordably priced paperbacks.

Daphne Byrne

Paperback of the six-issue Hill House miniseries by Larua Marks and Kelley Jones, following the hardcover.

DC Comics: Girls Unite! Box Set

Includes four recent animated-series comics trades: Batman Adventures: Cat Got Your Tongue?, Supergirl Adventures: Girl of Steel, Batman Adventures: Batgirl: A League of Her Own, and Justice League Unlimited: Girl Power.

The Dollhouse Family

Issues #1-6 by Mike Carey and Peter Gross in paperback, following the hardcover.

Hill House Box Set

Box set including Basketful of Heads, Low, Low Woods, Dollhouse Family, Daphne Byrne, Plunge, and Sea Dogs, in paperback. Now if DC could find a way to release all of these in one volume sans box, I might pick it up.

Justice League: Death Metal

Justice League #53–57 by Joshua Williamson and Xermanico and others, tying of course into Death Metal and being the final storyline before “Endless Winter,” Future State, and the Brian Michael Bendis run of the title. Coming in September in paperback, well after the rest of the other Death Metal material.

The Low, Low Woods

Paperback collecting issues #1-6 of the Hill House miniseries by Carmen Maria Machado, following the hardcover.

The Next Batman: Second Son

In hardcover, collecting the digital series by John Ridley and Tony Akins, spinning out of (into?) Future State.


Six-issue miniseries by Joe Hill and Stuart Immonen, in paperback following the hardcover.

Saga of the Swamp Thing Box Set

Box set of six Alan Moore Swamp Thing collections. Not sure if these are hardcover or paperback but I’m pretty sure they won’t use the infamous sticky glossy covers.

Sensational Wonder Woman

Collects issues #1-6 of the digital first series with contributions from Stephanie Phillips, Alyssa Wong, Meghan Hetrick, Bruno Rodondo, and Eleonora Carlini.

Suicide Squad Case Files 1

Stories featuring first or major appearances by Bloodsport, Mongal, Polka-Dot Man, King Shark, Weasel, and the Thinker — can these all possibly be in the James Gunn movie? It’s Superman #4 and #170, Detective Comics #300, Superboy #9, Fury of Firestorm #38, Suicide Squad Vol. 4 #25, Vigilante #36, and Suicide Squad: Amanda Waller #1.

Suicide Squad Case Files 2

Stories focusing on Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Rick Flag, Ratcatcher, Savant, Javelin, and Blackguard. Collects Suicide Squad #44, Secret Origins #14, Detective Comics #585, Birds of Prey #58, Batman: Harley Quinn #1, Green Lantern #174, and Booster Gold #1.

Suicide Squad: Their Greatest Shots

All of these Suicide Squad books are, of course, timed for the new James Gunn movie. Good that DC already has all of John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad series collected, though indeed that seems to leave us with just anthologies left when DC needs new Suicide Squad books. This collects Suicide Squad #10 (1987) (emphasis on Waller vs. Batman), Suicide Squad #15 (2012) (”Death of the Family” tie-in), Suicide Squad #22 (2013) (including Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and King Shark), Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 (2016), Suicide Squad #16 (2017) (vs. Lex Luthor), Suicide Squad #20 (2017) (Harley leads the Squad), Suicide Squad #47 (2018) (Captain Boomerang spotlight), and Suicide Squad Special: War Crimes #1 (2016) (John Ostrander special timed to the first Suicide Squad movie).

Superman: The Man of Steel Vol. 4

DC’s solicitation describes the Superman: The Wedding Album deluxe edition that’s already been solicited. There was earlier a listing for a fourth Superman: The Man of Steel volume, so I’m assuming this is that. That book was said to collect Superman #16-22, Adventures of Superman #439-444, Action Comics #598-600, and the Superman Annual #2. I imagine it should also have the crossover issue Doom Patrol #10, which was included in the original Man of Steel paperbacks.

Notably Superman #22 is where John Byrne's run ended, as well as the original Man of Steel paperbacks — whether these books continue on from here or not would really be telling.

Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace Vol. 1: Global Guardian

Collects 11 chapters of the digital series by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, pitting Wonder Woman, Etta Candy, and Steve Trevor against Cheetah, Deadshot, Penguin, and more (plus a Harley Quinn team-up!).

Wonder Woman: Blood and Guts: The Deluxe Edition

The first 12 issues of the New 52 series by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. We have also already seen this reprinted as an Absolute.

Wonder Woman: Who Is Wonder Woman? The Deluxe Edition

This was a kind-of notable post-Infinite Crisis Wonder Woman story which, as its main claim to fame, brought some of the super spy Diana Prince trappings back to Wonder Woman, but all of that was short-lived. To be sure, DC's draw for reprinting this now is that writer Allan Heinberg also wrote the screenplay for the first recent Wonder Woman movie. Collects Wonder Woman #1-4 and the Wonder Woman Annual #1 of that era.

Review: Justice League Vol. 7: Galaxy of Terrors trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

We’re in this place now where we occasionally get to, at the end of one DC storyline era and just before the beginning of another, where sometimes titles go on even as they naturally should have stopped. We saw this, for instance, with Christopher Priest’s short stint on Justice League after Bryan Hitch’s run, as the book waited out Dark Nights: Metal and Justice League: No Justice. And we see it again now, both with the previous volume and Justice League Vol. 7: Galaxy of Terrors, a collection of interstitial tales published so that the Justice League title doesn’t miss a month even if it has nothing to do.

It’s unfortunate that the fact that Justice League is just marking time isn’t better hidden. “The Rule” writer Simon Spurrier offers a legitimately complex metaphor for imperialism and nation-building and what happens when one is a better warrior than governor. But he does so at cost of the League coming off buffoonish at best, far out of character (or, charitably, Spurrier is writing the cartoon Justice League Unlimited under the guise of Justice League). Jeff Loveness' Black Mercy story is better than expected given the glut of Black Mercy and similar stories over the years, though it still can’t totally escape that we’ve seen this all before.

Review: Batman: The Movies trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, May 23, 2021

[Guest reviewer Zach King blogs about movies as The Cinema King. Don’t miss his month-long Bat-May review of the Batman movies at the site.]

When I reviewed Universal Monsters: Cavalcade of Horror back in March, I opened with a fairly lengthy preamble about the nature of comic book adaptations and their impact on my hobby (some say addiction) of collecting comics. Perhaps I should have saved some of that preface for this review, because the adaptations collected in Batman: The Movies were downright seminal in my childhood.

These were the days, I remind you, before home video. While I have very vivid memories of seeing Batman Forever in theaters in 1995, I can equally recall poring over the prestige format comic book adaptation, reliving the action again and again, committing the dialogue to memory like so much gothic scripture. I bought the Joel Schumacher adaptations from the stands of my local comic shop, scooping up the two Tim Burton comics much later, but all the same I was elated (as most readers may be) to discover that these four one-shots were collected in a trade paperback. It makes for easier reading than fishing through my longboxes, to be sure, but the collection of these comic book curios help to preserve what was for many Bat-fans a major venue connecting their fandom to the big screen.

Review: Flash Vol. 14: The Flash Age trade paperback (DC Comics)

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

I admire very much that before all is said and done, Joshua Williamson will surely have written at least 100 Flash issues, and clearly there is effort going in to new villains and additions to the Flash mythos. The amount of material Williamson has come up with that’s almost immediately made its way over to the CW television show (from Bloodwork to Godspeed to the new forces) itself tells the tale.

Yet, even the auspicious promise of a villain called Paradox who can wage multiversal war on the Flash ends up unfortunately humdrum in Flash Vol. 14: The Flash Age. What any reasonable person would take the premise to mean is that since Paradox knows all about Barry Allen’s forgotten history, then some of that, 14 volumes down and one until the end, would finally come into play this time around. But it largely does not, nor does defeating Paradox prompt any startling revelations for the Flash, nor is Paradox even all that distinguished or original as an antagonist.

Review: Swamp Thing: The Dead Don't Sleep trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, May 16, 2021

I was looking around the other day for something a little quicker to read, and came upon Swamp Thing co-creator Len Wein and Kelley Jones' miniseries from 2016, Swamp Thing: The Dead Don’t Sleep. Only after I finished reading and sought out a little context did I realize this DC You-era book was essentially an offshoot of Wein and Jones' Convergence: Swamp Thing (collected in Convergence: Crisis Book Two) and meant to lead in to a new Swamp Thing series by the pair before Wein’s death. The book Swamp Thing: Roots of Terror is more specifically billed as containing Wein’s final Swamp Thing story, but Dead Don’t Sleep is pretty close.

I can see in retrospect how Dead follows from Convergence: Swamp Thing, but it’s been a good five years since I read that story and I didn’t find myself lost here. The six-issue miniseries — a two-part story and a four-part story — is just right for a casual Swamp Thing fan, maybe someone who got into Swamp Thing via the streaming TV series. A lot of familiar elements are here, but at its heart this is 140+ pages of a big green muck monster battling his way through a variety of other hulking grotesqueries, all done in Jones' inimitable style. If that sounds like a fun way to spend an afternoon — and it should — this is a book for you.

Review: Batman/Superman Vol. 2: World's Deadliest hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

This latest iteration of Batman/Superman outlived its event-based purpose even faster than this title normally does. However, Joshua Williamson’s Batman/Superman Vol. 2: World’s Deadliest is plenty enjoyable, positioned well at the crossroads of the goings-on in various other titles as befits a team-up book. Williamson, with the benefit of a cadre of good artists, finishes off his run strongly before this title is interrupted by the triumvirate of Death Metal, Future State, and Infinite Frontier; what difficulties arise are unfortunate but relatively minor overall.

World’s Deadliest is far from “necessary”; it’s unlikely, with the creative team changing and all of continuity moving on, that anything that takes place here will have great effect in the future. This Batman/Superman title was born from the need for a “Year of the Villain” tie-in story, and that could’ve been a six-issue Batman/Superman miniseries without tacking on nine more issues and an annual. Still this title has fared far worse in the past as it’s rooted for purpose.

Review: Wonder Woman #750: The Deluxe Edition hardcover (DC Comics)

Sunday, May 09, 2021

The hardcover Wonder Woman #750: The Deluxe Edition came out a couple months ago, but as with similar deluxe reprint volumes like Detective Comics #1027 and Flash #750, I held off reading it until the regular Wonder Woman series caught up with the #750 mark. Wonder Woman #750 actually serves as a full issue of the main series along with a number of celebratory short stories, whereas Detective Comics #1027 was more anniversary-focused with one small “main series” “Joker War” backup. The Wonder Woman “main story,” part three of Steve Orlando’s “Wild Hunt” storyline, was included in Wonder Woman Vol. 4: The Four Horsewomen, so this review will focus mainly on the ancillary tales.

[Review contains spoilers]

A notable difference between Wonder Woman #750 and 2016’s Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special1 is that this one has relatively fewer (by a small margin) alt-history or World War II-set Wonder Woman stories than the previous did. My guess is this has to do with the earlier book’s proximity to the first Wonder Woman movie versus now; perhaps reflecting Wonder Woman 1984’s more modern-ish sensibilities, #750’s are largely in line with current continuity. Cheetah appears twice, which shouldn’t be a surprise; more surprising is that Max Lord doesn’t appear at all, though the Wonder Woman title’s next story to be collected (written by Mariko Tamaki, who also contributes a sharp story here) features him prominently.

Review: Suicide Squad: Bad Blood hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo are clearly a force to be reckoned with. The best news of all is that they’re sticking together into a new Nightwing run, letting alone that we might see more of the characters from Suicide Squad: Bad Blood from them again.

That Bad Blood works so well right from the start is a testament to the creative team, given what becomes apparent not long into it — that this is not a Suicide Squad book at all, that really Taylor has used the “Suicide Squad” name and mainly just Deadshot and Harley Quinn in order to introduce his team of all-new characters under the radar. It works magnificently, and what loose threads this story has are wholly overshadowed by the prowess of writing and art. Separate from the Squad, whether Taylor can defeat the market aversion to new characters remains to be seen, but I’d be happy to watch him try.

Review: Wonder Woman Vol. 4: The Four Horsewomen trade paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Steve Orlando's Wonder Woman Vol. 4: The Four Horsewomen has some important bits in common with Grant Morrison's recent Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 3. We have, to an extent, the fantasy (the "Elseworlds" Earth One) and the reality, the rather major changes that Orlando makes, or at least tries to make; how much of this will stand certainly remains to be seen.

Four Horsewomen is not great, and surely not as good as I wanted it to be given that I enjoyed Orlando's previous short go-round on Wonder Woman (not to mention Orlando's spectacular Martian Manhunter: Identity in the interim). There is, at least, a lot of it, 13 issues collected here including two extra-sized annuals. Where the book is good, it is good, often in Orlando's conception of Diana, her powers, and her place in the world.