Review: Superman: Son of Kal-El Vol. 1: The Truth hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

I’ve been reading comics long enough to know that even despite Jon Kent being called “Superman” here, taking ownership of some pretty big shoes, one day his father will take over the mantle again — that we’ll only go so long, even, with Superman’s identity made public, with his job at the Daily Planet seemingly all but forgotten, before something reels us back to the status quo. As it’s been before, it will be again.

But in the meantime, in Superman: Son of Kal-El Vol. 1: The Truth, writer Tom Taylor makes a very compelling case for new Superman Jon Kent, a Superman who does things differently than his predecessor not out of angst or rebellion, but because of the changing attitudes of the world. Both here and in Nightwing, Taylor depicts the optimistic hero, the activist hero, and Taylor appears to have cracked the code such that his heroes are actively, in-story activists, not just espousing such as a narrative aesthetic. Has Taylor captured the post(ish)-pandemic superhero zeitgeist? Will it spread? Can it last?

I’m not sure, but the list of characters I’d like to see Taylor tackle just keeps getting longer.

Dark Crisis, Young Justice, Tales From Dark Crisis collections, Batman: One Bad Day hardcovers, Batman/Superman: World's Finest by Waid, Detective Chimp, Batman vs. Robin, Steel 30th Anniversary, Gotham Academy compendium, more in DC Comics Spring 2023 solicitations

Saturday, August 27, 2022

It was a nine-month wait between the DC Comics collections catalog two seasons ago and the last most recent one; I’m very glad that it was only five months between that one and the DC Comics Spring 2023 trade paperback and hardcover catalog solicitations. Hopefully that means we’re back on track.

Big news of course this time around is the Dark Crisis hardcover, coming June 2023; that’ll be accompanied by the Dark Crisis: Young Justice and Tales From Dark Crisis collections. I’ve been purposefully trying to steer clear of Dark Crisis details, so I don’t know if that’s all the event-branded material that needs collecting or not — if they do get it down to three collections, that’s a lot of restraint. And yeah, that’s a long time to wait, especially since I think Dark Crisis wraps early next year; we’ll have to see what happens there.

Another curiosity is that apparently DC will be re-releasing the Batman: One Bad Day single-issue one-shots as hardcovers — so far one a month beginning in February 2023 and kicking off with Batman: One Bad Day: The Riddler. That’s weird, and what seems like something of a money grab, taking 64-page comics and simply publishing them again as individual hardcovers — I could only hope some notable story about each of the villains is included to pad these out. At the same time, had DC just started there, and been releasing standalone Batman villain spotlight original graphic novels one a month for 2023, I’d have been all over this as a great idea and a win for trade-waiters. So I’m a bit excited about this nonetheless.

As I mentioned for the DC Fall 2022 catalog, what I notice in these listings is almost no collections of anything older than early post-Crisis on Infinite Earths material with few exceptions; there is nothing specifically branded with Golden or Silver Age. And no, that other collections series is not continuing yet, and not that one either. All of this I know will be quite concerning to some. DC is still pumping out regular series collections, but by and large the plan seems to be selling collections as another way to read the regular series, not collections as particularly archival or bringing uncollected material into the modern light.

Whether that is still a symptom of global supply shortages or DC’s new normal (by choice or necessity), it might be too soon to tell, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Let’s take a look at the full list.

Absolute Death Metal

Collects issues #1–7 of the Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo event, in Absolute format.

Adam Strange: Between Two Worlds

I rather wish DC would do more like this for their "minor" characters. As far as the description goes, this seems to be Richard Burning and Andy Kubert's three-issue Adam Strange: The Man of Two Worlds 1990 post-Crisis miniseries, Mark Waid's JLA #20-21 from 1998, and Andy Diggle and Pascal Ferry's eight-issue Adam Strange: Planet Heist from 2004. Three different creative teams separated by years, but picking up from one another to tell a related story. It's not by any stretch the full modern history of Adam Strange, but it's a good overview of his pre-Flashpoint years. Martian Manhunter could use a collection like this, Red Tornado, etc.

Aquaman & The Flash: Voidsong

Movie star meets movie star in paperback by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing.

Aquaman: Andromeda

Ram V writing a DC Black Label horror story starring Aquaman feels like about all I could want write now. Glad to see Black Label branching out beyond just Superman, Batman (and Harley Quinn and the Joker), and Wonder Woman. In hardcover in February.

Batgirls Vol. 2

The second collection by Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad, in paperback in March.

[See the latest DC trade solicitations.]

Batman Vol. 1: Failsafe

In hardcover in March, the first collection by Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez. Should start with issue #125.

Batman Vol. 5: Fear State

Paperback collection of James Tynion’s issues #112–117.

Batman vs. Robin

In hardcover in July by Mark Waid, spinning out of Batman/Superman: World’s Finest and the latest Robin series.

The Batman Who Laughs Deluxe Edition

Deluxe-size hardcover collection of the miniseries and specials by Scott Snyder and Jock.

Batman: Beyond the White Knight

In hardcover in June 2023, collecting Batman: Beyond the White Knight #1–8 and Batman: White Knight Presents: Red Hood #1–2.

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 1: The Neighborhood

Paperback collection of Mariko Tamaki’s issues #1034–1039.

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 2: Fear State

Paperback, following the hardcover, of Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora’s Detective Comics #1040–1046 and Batman: Secret Files: Huntress.

Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 4 Riddle Me This

Issues #1059-1061 by Mariko Tamaki and marking the end of Tamaki’s run on the series, ahead of Ram V.

Batman: Fear State Saga

Paperback of the comprehensive collection, including Batman #112-117, Batman Secret Files: The Gardener #1, Batman Secret Files: Peacekeeper #1, Batman Secret Files: Miracle Molly #1, Batman: Fear State: Alpha #1, and Batman: Fear State: Omega #1.

Batman: Fortress

In hardcover, collecting the eight-issue miniseries by Gary Whitta and Darick Robertson. Can’t say I really understand what this is about, but Batman manning the Fortress of Solitude is enough of a start for me.

Batman: Gotham Knights – Gilded City

In hardcover in July 2023 by Evan Narcisse and Abel, leading in to the Gotham Knights video game and apparently introducing Runaway, the Batman of the 1800s.

Batman: One Bad Day: Bane

Another of the One Bad Day one-shots in hardcover, in July 2023, by Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter.

Batman: One Bad Day: Catwoman

In hardcover in June 2023 by G. Willow Wilson and Jamie McKelvie.

Batman: One Bad Day: Mr. Freeze

Arriving in hardcover in May 2023 by Gerry Duggan and Matteo Scalero.

Batman: One Bad Day: Penguin

In hardcover in April 2023, Other History of the DC Universe's John Ridley and Giuseppe Camuncoli on Penguin.

Batman: One Bad Day: The Riddler

So it seems like DC intends to take each of the "Batman: One Bad Day" 64-page one-shots and re-release them as individual hardcovers, starting with this one. The page count says 88 pages; not sure if that's simply the title page and variant covers or if DC might include like the character's first appearance or some other definitive story in these books. Not like we haven't seen issues like Action Comics #1000 go straight from single issue to collection, but this seems a little strange; might've been cool to see DC release these as hardcover "trades" right off. This one's by Tom King and Mitch Gerads.

Batman: One Bad Day: Two-Face

In hardcover in March 2023, by Mariko Tamaki and Javier Fernandez.

Batman: Reptilian

Paperback of the six-issue miniseries.

Batman: The Dark Knight Detective Vol. 7

Collects Batman #474, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #27, Detective Comics #634-638, #641, and #643, and Detective Comics Annual #4. Batman and Legends are in there as part of the "Destroyer" crossover, which introduced a new-look Gotham in line with the first Tim Burton movie; the annual is an "Armageddon 2001" tie-in. Stories written by Kelley Puckett, Louise Simonson, Peter Milligan, and Alan Grant.

Just for comparison, Detective issues #639-640 that aren’t included here are in the Batman: The Caped Crusader Vol. 5 collection; issue #642 is in the Caped Crusader Vol. 6 collection. Meanwhile, Batman #474, collected here, would have fallen between Caped Crusader Vols. 5 and 6. Caped Crusader Vol. 6 was, I’m pretty sure, the final volume of that series, ending just before the Prelude to Knightfall collection. I’m guessing Dark Knight Detectivehas one more volume to go to end before "Knightfall" and Detective #654.

Batman: The Detective

Paperback of Tom Taylor and Andy Kubert’s six-issue miniseries, following the hardcover.

Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham (New Edition)

New paperback printing of the Lovecraft-ian 2000 Elseworlds miniseries written by Mike Mignola, who also drew covers, with art by Troy Nixey.

Batman: The Imposter

Paperback, following the hardcover, of the Batman-movie adjacent miniseries by Mattson Tomlin and Andrea Sorrentino. I reviewed Batman: Imposter and thought it was pretty well done.

Batman: The Knight Vol. 1

Interesting that the hardcover for Chip Zdarsky and Carmine Di Giandomenico’s Batman: The Knight is listed as Vol. 1, even though it seems to collect the whole 10-issue miniseries. Coming in July 2023, after Zdarsky’s Batman Vol. 1: Failsafe arrives in March.

Batman: Urban Legends Vol. 5

Not much in the way of contents listed, but we’re somewhere in the late teens of this title by now, including appearances by fellow movie stars Aquaman, Black Adam, and Flash; possibly also Etrigan the Demon and the newest incarnation of the Outsiders.

Batman/Superman: World's Finest Vol. 1

In hardcover by Mark Waid and Dan Mora, coming in March.

Birds of Prey: The End of the Beginning

Following the recent Birds of Prey: Whitewater, this is another larger-page-count collection of the original Birds of Prey series. Said to include issues #113-#127, so the original Birds of Prey: Metropolis or Dust and Platinum Flats, give or take a couple issues from elsewhere. Mostly written by Tony Bedard with a couple issues by Sean McKeever; this was after Gail Simone departed with issue #108 and before Simone returned for the second series.

Black Adam Vol. 1

In paperback, surprisingly, by Christopher Priest and Rafa Sandoval, coming in May.

Blood Syndicate: Season One

In hardcover, collects issues #1–6 of the relaunched series by Geoffrey Thorne and ChrisCross.

Blue Beetle: Jaime Reyes Book Two

Second expanded collection of the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle series. Solicitation is talking about issues from the middle of the Rebirth run when the first book didn't even finish the pre-Flashpoint material, letting alone the New 52 run, so probably that's not right. And at this point I think this volume's publication depends a lot on whether the Blue Beetle movie still goes ahead.

Catwoman Vol. 2

Second volume by Tini Howard, in paperback in May.

Dark Crisis

In hardcover in June 2023, so we only have to wait … about another year for this one to arrive. Collects the seven-issue event by Joshua Williamson.

Dark Crisis: Young Justice

In hardcover, currently scheduled for June 13, 2023, the week before the actual Dark Crisis hardcover (so that might change), collecting the six-issue tie-in by Meghan Fitzmartin.

DC Pride 2022

Said to collect DC Pride 2022, featuring a Teen Justice story by Danny Lore and Ivan Cohen, and also the DC Pride: Tim Drake special, which itself I believe collected the Tim Drake stories from Batman: Urban Legends #4–6 and #10 with a brand-new story. In hardcover in May.

DC Universe by Dwayne McDuffie

Collects a variety of Dwayne McDuffie's non-Milestone DC work, including Action Comics #847, Demon #26-29, Impulse #60, JLA Showcase 80-Page Giant #1, Batman: Gotham Knights #27, Sins of Youth: Kid Flash/Impulse #1, and Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #33-35.

DC vs. Vampires Vol. 2

Second hardcover collection by James Tynion, Matthew Rosenberg, and Otto Schmidt; collects issues #7–12.

DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War

Hardcover collection of the six-issue companion miniseries by Matthew Rosenberg and Neil Googe.

DC: Mech

In hardcover in July, collecting the six-issue miniseries by Kenny Porter and Baldemar Rivas.

Deathstroke Inc. Vol. 1

Paperback, following the hardcover, and collecting issues #1–7 and a story from Batman: Urban Legends #6.

Deathstroke Inc. Vol. 2

In paperback in February, the second series collection by Joshua Williamson.

Detective Chimp

Well here’s a collection that seems too long in coming. Collects Amazing World of DC Comics #1, DC Comics Presents #35, DC Special #1, Tarzan #231 and #234–235, Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #4 and #6–46, and Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #6. I wouldn’t have balked at something a little more modern in there. Dig the one-line summary, “Bruce isn’t the only sleuth who knows how to swing across Gotham!”

Doom Patrol by Gerard Way and Nick Derington: The Deluxe Edition

Wouldn't mind seeing one of these for each of the Young Animal series. This is the Young Animal Doom Patrol #1-12 and Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #1-7 by Gerard Way and Nick Derington, like it says on the tin.


Hardcover collection of the six-issue Duo Milestone miniseries by Greg Pak and Khoi Pham, reimagining the classic Xombi series as part of the new Milestone's "Earth-M" line.

The Flash Vol. 18

In paperback in late June. Exact contents aren’t given, but the placeholder cover suggests this will include the Dark Crisis tie-in issues.

The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive

As time until the Flash movie grows longer, if it’ll ever come out at all, this collects the three-issue miniseries in paperback that bridges the Justice League movie and Flash. Wouldn’t you call this comics' first foray into the Snyderverse?

Flashpoint (2023 Edition)

Doesn’t seem to be anything new in this paperback, just reprinting the collection.

Future State: Gotham Vol. 3

In paperback in April, the next Future State: Gotham collection by Dennis Culver.

Gotham Academy

Scant on details but it sure would be great if this were all the issues of Gotham Academy and Gotham Academy: Second Semester in one volume, plus whatever extras they want to throw in there. I first reviewed Gotham Academy back in 2015.

Harley Quinn Vol. 3

Issues #13–17 and some/all of the Harley Quinn 30th Anniversary Special by Stephanie Phillips and Riley Rossmo.

History of the DC Universe

The original and still the best attempt to present DC’s history as a cohesive whole. In hardcover in June.

I Am Batman Vol. 1

Paperback, following the hardcover, collecting issues #0–5.

I Am Batman Vol. 2

In hardcover in March, the second collection by John Ridley and Christian Duce.

Icon & Rocket: Season One

In paperback, following the hardcover, and collecting issues #1–6 by Reginald Hudlin and Doug Braithwaite.

Infinite Frontier

Paperback of the six-issue miniseries by Joshua Williamson, following the hardcover.

The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox

Paperback, following the hardcover, of the mystery series by Matthew Rosenberg and Jesus Merino.

The Joker Vol. 2

In paperback in July, following the hardcover, this is issues #6–9 and the 2021 annual.

The Joker Vol. 3

Likely collecting the final issues by James Tynion before the series relaunch, coming in February in hardcover.

JSA by Geoff Johns Book Five

The fifth large-page-count collection of Geoff Johns' JSA, collecting Hawkman #23–25 and JSA #46–58, being the Princes of Darkness and Black Reign collections.

The Jurassic League

Daniel Warren Johnson and Juan Gedeon’s inspired Justice-League-as-dinosaurs miniseries, in hardcover in April.

Justice League Vol. 1: Prisms

In paperback in April, following the hardcover, and collecting Brian Michael Bendis' issues #59–63.

Justice League Vol. 3

Brian Michael Bendis' final Justice League issues. This seems most likely to be issues #72-74 and the Justice League 2022 Annual.

Legends of the Dark Knight: Jose Luis Garcia Lopez

In hardcover in April and said to collect Batman #272, #311, #313, #314, #318, #321, #336-337, and #353, Batman '66: The Lost Episode #1, Batman Confidental #26-28, Batman: Family #3, Batman: Dark Knight of the Round Table #1-2, Batman: Gotham Knights #10, Batman: Reign of Terror #1, DC Comics Presents #31 and #41, DC Special Series #21, Detective Comics #454, #458-459, #483, and #487, Best of the Brave and the Bold #1-6, Brave and the Bold #164 and #171, Joker #4, Untold Legend of the Batman #1-3, and World's Finest Comics #244, #255, and #258.

Legends of the DC Universe: Carmine Infantino

In hardcover in March and said to collect All-American Comics #95, All-Star Comics #40, Comic Cavalcade #28, Danger Trail #1-4, DC Comics Presents #73, DC Special #1, Detective Comics #327 and #332, Flash Comics #86, #90, and #92, House of Mystery #296, Mystery in Space #3, Secret Hearts #8, Secret Origins #17, Sensation Comics #87, Showcase #4, Strange Adventures #205, Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #89, Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #4, Brave and the Bold #49, Flash #112 and #123, and Western Comics #73.

Multiversity: Teen Justice

It's very fun to see DC using Grant Morrison's "Multiversity" moniker for other stories and letting the concept see light with other creators. Here's Danny Lore's Flash and Teen Justice stories from Multiversity: Teen Justice #1-6 and DC Pride 2022; that last one's also by Ivan Cohen, who wrote the included Teen Justice story from DC's Very Merry Multiverse #1. There's one other Flash Kid Quick story in DC Pride 2021 by Lore that they ought include here too. In paperback in March.

Naomi Season Two

In hardcover, the six-issue Season Two miniseries by Brian Michael Bendis, David Walker, and Jamal Campbell.

The New Champion of Shazam!

In hardcover in May, collecting the four-issue miniseries by Josie Campbell and Doc Shaner.

The Nice House on the Lake Vol. 2

Wait, wait. Did this slip? Not coming in December, but rather in March? That is just too cruel. Being the second collection of the horror series by James Tynion and Álvaro Martínez Bueno.

Nightwing Vol. 3

The third series collection by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo, in hardcover in April.

Nightwing: Fear State

In paperback, following the hardcover, and collecting issues #84–88 and the Nightwing 2021 annual.

Poison Ivy

In hardcover (how far Poison Ivy has come!) by G. Willow Wilson and Marcio Takara, collecting the first six-issues of the expanded-to-12 miniseries.

Power Girl: Power Trip

Not particularly sure what prompted this hereabouts, but due in March is a collection of the first 12 issues of the Power Girl series by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, along with the four-issue arc from JSA Classified with Geoff Johns.

Robin Vol. 3

Seemingly the final volume of the Joshua Williamson series, in paperback in March. Should collect issues #13–17.

The Sandman Book Five

Collects the Sandman Mystery Theatre crossover special, Sandman Midnight Theatre, Sandman: Endless Nights, and one or more editions of Sandman: Dream Hunters.

The Sandman Mystery Theatre Compendium One

All right, now we’re talking. No contents listed, but this is a paperback, coming out in March, and “compendium” usually means lots of issues — like, maybe they could do 35 issues a book and get this out in two. Very hopeful.

The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country Vol. 1

Glad to see Sandman Universe isn’t dead yet, and you’d think with the new TV show that DC ought find even more to do with it. Yes, I’d read Corinthian written by James Tynion, thank you.

Shazam and the Seven Magic Lands

In time for the new movie, paperback of the 12-issues by Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham.

Shazam: The Power of Hope

Also in time for the movie, new hardcover printing of the illustrated prose story by Paul Dini and Alex Ross.

Shazam!: The Monster Society Of Evil

Also also in time for the movie, in hardcover, collecting the four-issue miniseries by Jeff Smith.

Static: Season One

Paperback, following the hardcover, collecting all six issues by Vita Ayala.

Static: Shadows of Dakota

The next six issues of Vita Ayala’s Static series (“Season Two”), in hardcover in June. I wonder what the internal conversation is where DC finds serial “season” miniseries do better than, say, ye olde Robin, Robin II: Joker’s Wild, Robin III: Cry of the Huntress, etc.

Steel: A Celebration of 30 Years

This seems a highly worthy collection for a great character with a lot of staying power. Now, what’d really be great would be if we could get some new collections of the Steel run by Christopher Priest or even a new Christopher Priest series, but hey, it’s a start. Collects Action Comics #4 (Grant Morrison’s New 52 Steel), Adventures of Superman #500 (if not the whole book then John Henry Irons' pre-“Reign of the Supermen” debut), Convergence: Superman: Man of Steel #1–2, JLA #17, Justice League Unlimited #35, Steel_ #1, Steel #34, Suicide Squad #24, and Superman: The Man of Steel #22, #100, and #122.

Suicide Squad: Get Joker!

Paperback, following the hardcover, of the Black Label miniseries by Brian Azzarello and Alex Maleev.

Superman: Action Comics Vol. 3

The next collection by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Daniel Sampere, in paperback in February.

Superman: Son of Kal-El Vol. 1: The Truth

Paperback collection of the first six issues by Tom Taylor and John Timms, following the hardcover.

Superman: Son of Kal-El Vol. 3

Hardcover by Tom Taylor, coming in May. Anecdotally, looking at this list, it seems like DC’s hardcover-to-paperback rates have slipped a bit — the paperback of the previous volume used to arrive with the hardcover of the next volume, and now it’s more like the paperback from two volumes back arrives with the next hardcover.

Superman: Space Age

I don't know what this is, except it's Mark Russell and Mike Allred, it takes place during Crisis on Infinite Earths, and it seems to follow Superman through U.S. history. I'm in. In hardcover collecting the three-issue miniseries.

Superman: The 85th Anniversary Collection

Seemingly a reprint volume, maybe in lieu of a collection of new stories.

The Swamp Thing Volume 3: The Parliament of Gears

Likely the final collection of the limited series by Ram V and Mike Perkins, in paperback in February.

Sword of Azrael

Wow, who’d have thought we’d ever have a new Sword of Azrael miniseries? And not even Batman branded. Collects the miniseries by Dan Watters and Nikola Cizmesija, in paperback in July.

Tales From Dark Crisis

In hardcover on June 20 (same day as the Dark Crisis collection itself). No word on contents, but possibly this is the “World Without” specials or some other of the various regular-title tie-ins.

Task Force Z Vol. 2: What's Eating You?

Second hardcover collection by Matthew Rosenberg and Eddy Barrows, most likely finishing out the miniseries.

Teen Titans Academy Vol. 2: Exit Wounds

Paperback, following the hardcover, due in June and said to collect issues #6–12. There’s only 15 issues total, so I wonder if we’ll come to find that the hardcover (due in October) contains a little more than solicited.

Teen Titans: Robin

Next in the popular YA Teen Titans series by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo. Dick Grayson and Damian are actual brothers here?

Top 10 Compendium

Collects America's Best Comics Special, Smax #1-5, Top Ten #1-12, Top Ten: 49'ers, Top Ten: Beyond the Farthest Precinct #1-5, and Top Ten: Season 2 #1-4 by Alan Moore, Zander Cannon, and Gene Ha.

Wonder Woman Vol. 3: The Villainy Of Our Fears

In paperback in February by Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad.

Wonder Woman: Who Is Wonder Woman? The Deluxe Edition

This is far enough outside the mainstream that I don't quite understand DC's constant reprinting it, but neither is there anything particularly wrong with it, written by Allan Heinberg and drawn by Terry and Rachel Dodson. I reviewed Who Is Wonder Woman? back in 2008.

Young Justice: Targets

In paperback in July, collecting the six-issue animated-series tie-in comic by Greg Weisman and Christopher Jones.

Review: Joker: The Deluxe Edition hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

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Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Given the long runway that both comics and movies have before arriving in the world, it’s hard to say if either Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo’s Joker or Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, released the same year, had any influence on one another, or if each was just reflecting the same cultural zeitgeist.

Either way, there’s considerable reflection of the late Heath Ledger’s performance in Azzarello and Bermejo’s baggy-pantsed, scar-faced, mob boss Joker. To my eye, this Joker is not so much insane as he is just sadistic and impulsive, and with a strict (if self-serving) moral system — valuing loyalty, abohorring weakness, punishing without mercy.

Moreover, Azzarello and Bermejo’s Joker is shockingly “real” — not a mythical cackling devil, but a mortal man whose erraticness might be partially explained by all the drugs he’s shown doing here. Brutal, frightening — if you want Joker horror, here it is. The Joker is a “prince of crime” in this book, but hardly a “clown.”

DC Trade Solicitations for November 2022 - Batman: Killing Time, Batman/Catwoman, Detective Comics: Shadows of the Bat, Dark Nights: Metal Omnibus, Justice League vs. Legion, Suicide Squad: Blaze, Earth-Prime, Nubia: Queen of Amazons, Deathbed, Joker's Asylum

Sunday, August 21, 2022

All right, so with the DC Comics November 2022 trade paperback and hardcover solicitations (for collections mostly coming in December), we’re back to a more Batman-and-family-focused month, give or take. But at the same time, DC is continuing their new tradition of dropping two books of Tom King goodness on us for December, so I’ll take it that they’re both Bat-related. Can’t wait. That’s Batman: Killing Time and Batman/Catwoman, plus last December’s Rorschach and Strange Adventures also arrive in paperback if you’re enjoying these a year behind.

Two other big Bat-releases are the Batman: Shadows of the Bat companion volumes House of Gotham and The Tower. Be not confused — these aren’t Shadows of the Bat, the old series, but rather an event in which, amazingly unbeknownst to me, Detective Comics went weekly for three months. The creative teams on these titles seem to have come and gone quickly (possibly exhausted from a three-month weekly event!), but still there’s some Bat-family in here and I’m interested to see how it shakes out.

Quick hits: Justice League vs. the Legion of Super-Heroes seems fun to me — at this point it seems clear this’ll have no bearing on the larger DCU but it’s one last hurrah from Brian Michael Bendis. Speaking of last hurrahs, I don’t expect much from Earth-Prime but at least it’s the CW Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow one last time. I’m curious about Deathbed from Joshua Williamson just given how high Williamson’s star has risen at DC of late; I have high hopes for the DC Black Label Suicide Squad: Blaze (reminds me I have “Get Joker” sitting around to read). Nightwing Vol. 2: Get Grayson, Flash Vol. 17: Eclipsed (jeepers, one of the few times I wonder why don’t they restart the trade numbering!), and Nubia: Queen of the Amazons all also on my list.

Let’s dig in …

Batman & Robin by Tomasi and Gleason Omnibus (2022 Edition)

New collection of the stories by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason. Includes Batman & Robin #20–22, Batman & Robin #0–40 (including #23.1) (New 52), Batman & Robin Annual #1–3, Robin Rises: Omega #1, Robin Rises: Alpha #1, a story from Secret Origins #4, and apparently Detective Comics #27 — I’m guessing that’s the New 52 version, maybe Tomasi’s future-set story without Gleason or maybe Gleason’s pin-up from the issue.

Batman vs. Ra’s al Ghul

Paperback collection of the six-issue Neal Adams miniseries, following the hardcover.

Batman: Joker’s Asylum

I recall these one-shots being a pretty easy pass in the late 2000s, outside mainstream events and without particularly mainstream creative teams (though with the benefit of time I see now we have Kelley Jones on Clayface and Guillem March on Poison Ivy). Most relevant I think is that what was once two paperbacks is now one, coming in December. Collects Joker’s Asylum: Joker #1, Joker’s Asylum: Penguin #1, Joker’s Asylum: Poison Ivy #1, Joker’s Asylum: Scarecrow #1, Joker’s Asylum: Two-Face #1, Joker’s Asylum II: The Riddler #1, Joker’s Asylum II: Harley Quinn #1, Joker’s Asylum II: Mad Hatter #1, Joker’s Asylum II: Killer Croc #1, and Joker’s Asylum II: Clayface #1. That’s a full deck!

Batman: Killing Time

It’s pretty awesome to see Tom King back on Batman so soon after the end of Batman/Catwoman; glad that was not the end of the two’s shared history. In hardcover in December, collecting the six-issue heist caper.

Batman: Shadows of the Bat: House of Gotham

If I’m understanding correctly, among the 12-part “Shadows of the Bat” story that recently ran weekly in Mariko Tamaki’s Detective Comics #1047–1058, this is the dedicated collection of the “House of Gotham” backup stories by Matthew Rosenberg with art by Fernando Blanco.

Batman: Shadows of the Bat: The Tower

Collects the main story from the weekly “Shadows of the Bat” event that ran through Mariko Tamaki’s Detective Comics #1047–1058, in hardcover in December, shipping on the same day as the companion House of Gotham collection.


In hardcover in December (same as Tom King’s Batman: Killing Time), collecting the 12-issue miniseries by King and Clay Mann, plus the Batman/Catwoman special and material from Batman Annual #2, Catwoman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1, and Detective Comics #1027 (so all of King’s “imagined” Batman/Catwoman future-set stories in one place, which is great).

Batman/Spawn: The Classic Collection

Just in time for the new pairing, this collects Batman/Spawn: War Devil by Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, Alan Grant, and Klaus Janson, and Spawn/Batman by Frank Miller and Todd McFarlane. In hardcover in November.

Dark Nights: Metal Omnibus

The big Dark Nights: Metal omnibus you’ve been waiting for, this collects Dark Nights: Metal #1–6, Dark Days: The Forge #1, Dark Days: The Casting #1, Batman: The Red Death #1, Batman: The Devastator #1, Batman: The Merciless #1, Batman: The Murder Machine #1, Batman: The Drowned #1, Batman: The Dawnbreaker #1, Dark Nights: The Batman Who Laughs #1, Batman: Lost #1, Hawkman: Found #1, Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1, Nightwing #29, Flash #33, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #32, Green Arrow #32, Suicide Squad #26, Teen Titans #12, and Justice League #32–33.

Deathbed (2022 Edition)

New collection of the 2018 Vertigo miniseries by Joshua Williamson and Riley Rossmo.


In paperback in January, collecting the six-issue CW TV miniseries. What feels like a nice good-bye to a few of these.

The Flash Vol. 17: Eclipsed

Issues #772–779 starring Wally West, by Jeremy Adams. This ends just before the War for Earth-3 crossover.

Harley Quinn Vol. 1: No Good Deed

In paperback, following the hardcover, collecting issues #1–6 by Stephanie Phillips and Riley Rossmo and a story from Batman: Urban Legends.

House of El Book Three: The Treacherous Hope

Continuing the graphic novel series by Claudia Gray and Eric Zawadzki.

Justice League vs. the Legion of Super-Heroes

Premiering in paperback(?!), the six-issue miniseries by Brian Michael Bendis and Scott Godlewski, arriving in December.

Nightwing Vol. 1: Leaping Into the Light

By Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo, in paperback following the hardcover, collecting issues #78–83.

Nightwing Vol. 2: Get Grayson

Following the Nightwing: Fear State collection, this is Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s Nightwing #87–91, plus Taylor’s Superman: Son of Kal-El #9. In hardcover.

Nubia: Queen of the Amazons

The same titled miniseries, at least, but otherwise contents aren’t listed for this volume, coming in hardcover.


Paperback of the 12-issue Tom King miniseries, in December. I reviewed Rorschach last December and very much enjoyed it.

Strange Adventures

Paperback collecting of the 12-issue miniseries by Tom King, following the hardcover. I enjoyed Strange Adventures, though I liked the contemporaneous Rorschach better.

Suicide Squad: Blaze

At this point there’s just no DC Black Label title I’ll say no to, and I’m so impressed with the sometimes-stuffy DC for being willing to lend their mainstream IP to more mature material. Of course the Suicide Squad is a perfect fit, and while I’m a bit leery of what seems like a Squad made up of all new characters, I’m up for it nonetheless. The three-issue miniseries by Simon Spurrier and Aaron Campbell, in December in hardcover. I rather hope Superman villain Blaze makes an appearance, but I'm doubtful.

Superman Red & Blue

Paperback of the six-issue miniseries, following the hardcover.

Review: Sandman: Overture: 30th Anniversary Edition trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Sandman: Overture is a more than satisfactory return to Neil Gaiman’s vaunted series. I don’t think even Gaiman himself would claim that Overture is exactly the beginning imagined at Sandman’s outset (rather the original beginning is indeed its beginning), but this is a fine imagining of the beginning as seen from the end. The extent to which the whole of Sandman changes by virtue of this prologue-epilogue is negligible, but Gaiman succeeds in shoehorning enough effects to make them seem convincingly like causes.

[Review contains spoilers]

Never, I think, has Sandman dallied so long in science-fiction as it does here. As such, it’s hard to regard this an overture (and it’s not, of course). Even if it adequately foreshadows the themes, it only charitably foreshadows the tone and aesthetic. Not that JH Williams' art here isn’t magnificent — it is — and not that Sandman hasn’t always been a multi-genre series. But that it enters a new genre here makes Overture an outlier, not a prelude.

Review: Superman and the Authority hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Common questions I might ask myself when starting a review include, at their most basic, “Did I enjoy the book?” and “Was it good?” In regards to Superman and the Authority, anachronistically Grant Morrison’s final DC Comics story for the time being, the answers are complicated.

Did I enjoy it? Yes. Morrison pulls on strings here from a variety of DC eras and continuities, bringing any number of things full circle. As such, Authority has an air of “the last Superman story” to it, even as it doesn’t ultimately present itself that way. Not to mention that, in the weird ways comics fold in on themselves, Morrison’s very presence amidst certain of these characters carries its own “never thought we’d see the day” baggage. In all those ways, Superman and the Authority is a trippy, entertaining venture.

Review: Batman: The Long Halloween: Catwoman: When in Rome: The Deluxe Edition hardcover (DC Comics)

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

I was excited when Jeph Loeb and the late Tim Sale re-teamed last year for a new Batman: The Long Halloween special. Wanting to be fully versed in the mystery ahead of reading the special, I stuck the new, timed-for-the-animated-movie deluxe editions of Long Halloween and its sequels on my reading list. I had never read Catwoman: When in Rome, an oversight that seemed all the more glaring given my enjoyment of Long Halloween and Dark Victory, so this seemed an opportunity to accomplish a couple goals at once.

Sadly, in the interim, Sale passed away, which makes this endeavor bittersweet; what seemed a new beginning for the “Long Halloween-verse” is now most likely, understandably, its end. If there were more from Long Halloween — if DC did as they did with Tom King’s Batman/Catwoman Special, where other artists completed John Paul Leon’s unfinished artwork in tribute — I would certainly buy it. But, no artist’s work looks quite like Tim Sale’s, and it’s rather hard to imagine stories set around Long Halloween without him.

Review: Sandman: The Deluxe Edition Book Five hardcover (DC Comics)

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Sandman: The Deluxe Edition Book Five is an odd volume, consisting as it does of the short “The Wake” storyline and Sandman series proper epilogues, and then most of writer Neil Gaiman’s subsequent Sandman projects. These are “The Last Sandman Story” from Dust Covers: The Collected Sandman Covers, Sandman: Endless Nights, and both the prose and comics versions of Sandman: Dream Hunters, all published within a decade or so after Sandman ended.

It is not so noticeable that there is a gap in real-world time between Sandman #75 and the rest, but neither is it completely opaque. There’s an uncomfortable sense of moving without fanfare from what is devoutly Sandman to what is apocrypha1 that I think specifically underserves “Wake.” I’d as soon have seen “Wake” and the other final issues shoved into Sandman: The Deluxe Edition Book Four (longer and heavier as it would make that tome) and have left Book Five for what followed after. Notably the recent 30th anniversary Sandman collections included Gaiman’s Sandman: Overture, which these deluxe editions omit (maybe because Overture already has its own deluxe edition?). Had I my druthers, “Wake” would be there and Overture would be here.

Review: Superman: Action Comics Vol. 1: Warworld Rising trade paperback (DC Comics)

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

After an uncertain start with Superman: The One Who Fell, new Action Comics writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson comes out strong with Superman: Action Comics Vol. 1: Warworld Rising. Great showings for the Super-family; an entire, fascinating culture created for the eponymous Warworld; perhaps the most life given to Superman villain Mongul in a while; and a surprisingly direct and defined Superman himself all contribute to an exceptionally gripping read. Looks like Johnson is sticking around for a while, and I’d be happy to see more (almost) like this.

[Review contains spoilers]

There are a lot of ways a Superman depiction can go, especially by a new Superman writer — friendly, heroic, but at the outset usually mild. Johnson’s Superman threatening in Superman: The One Who Fell that he and Amanda Waller will “have a conversation you won’t like,” which, as a matter of fact, never manifests, is an example of this kind of “not so direct as to offend” Superman. It’s the understandable kid gloves with which a writer might treat the DC Universe’s most powerful hero as they get their feet under them.