Review: Batman Vol. 9: Bloom hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

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Thursday, December 08, 2016

After over seventy-five years of Batman stories, it's not unreasonable to ask why we still need yet another, and another. The answer is that in the retellings, in the interpretations, as we learn more about Batman and see him from a myriad angles, in the process learn more about ourselves.

There's a wonderful push-and-pull in Scott Snyder's Batman Vol. 9: Bloom, as in one powerful chapter Snyder makes an impassioned argument for the importance of Batman's return, and then just a chapter or so later equally demonstrates why Batman does not matter nearly as much as the people who read about him. As if bringing to close a play, Snyder's got his key players on the stage, and there are issue-long soliloquies that may go on to define for decades some of Batman's most notable allies and foes.
Collected Editions 2016 Comic Book Gift Guide

Review: Batman Vol. 8: Superheavy hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

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Monday, December 05, 2016

Batman Vol. 8: Superheavy continues the wild, twisting saga of Scott Snyder's Batman. This all began routinely enough with the exceptional but arguably traditional Night of the Owls books, followed also by the relatively traditional Death of the Family. But somewhere toward the end of Death of the Family, as perhaps the iconography of Snyder's Joker even more so than the story reached ubiquity and the notoriety of this run became something else, so did Snyder's run itself.

With Zero Year, Snyder reached escape velocity from the grim and gritty of Frank Miller's Batman that pervaded for decades, even into Grant Morrison's run. In the fourth volume Snyder's Batman achieved a new level of fluorescence and flamboyance, a Batman who operates in the sun. Snyder's Batman fights, in some respects, scarier and more real-world terrors than the Batman who fought macabre terrors in the shadows. And with Superheavy, Snyder's Batman has in some respects reached the apex and beyond of what this Batman can be -- a Batman who fought the Joker in public view, a Batman whom Gotham City believes gave his life for them, and further, a Batman they've now tried to replace with a gaudy robotic suit. In part one of Snyder's denouement, he's no doubt purposefully stretched these concepts as far as they will go.

DC Rebirth Deluxe Hardcovers, Batgirl Stephanie Brown, Batman Year Two, Zero Year, Batwoman by Rucka, Wonder Woman by Byrne, Aquaman by Johns, Justice League of America: Road to Rebirth, more in DC Comics Summer 2017 solicitations

Friday, December 02, 2016

The weather outside is frightful, but inside it's DC Comics's Summer 2017 trade paperback and hardcover collection solicitations!

As we just learned the other day, DC will be collecting the first two volumes of their Rebirth paperbacks in hardcover on the same day as the third volumes are released -- Superman, Batman, Justice League, Hal Jordan and the Green Lanterns, Flash, and Action Comics are all listed below.

There's not a lot on this list that I found very surprising, but we do see the next reprint collections of Dennis O'Neil's Azrael, Marv Wolfman's Deathstroke, the Terminator, Chuck Dixon's Nightwing and Robin, and the post-Crisis Green Lantern series, as well as Supergirl books both from the Peter David run and the later Kara Zor-El stories, and the next volume of Greg Rucka's pre-Flashpoint Wonder Woman.

There's also a new collection of John Byrne's Wonder Woman, a Batman: Zero Hour collection, new collections of Stephanie Brown as Batgirl and Greg Rucka's complete Batwoman stories, more post-Crisis Batman, the end of the "Sub Diego"-era Aquaman stories, Jack Kirby's Super Powers, and a Legion Lost collection that also includes the "Legion of the Damned" issues.

So not a bad take altogether. Let's take a look!

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Note that all of this information is subject to change before publication. Not all links may yet be functional.

Adam Strange: Planet Heist (New Edition)
Adam Strange: The Silver Age Omnibus

I liked this Adam Strange miniseries when it came out, a prelude to Infinite Crisis's Rann-Thanagar War, by Andy Diggle and Pasqual Ferry, though the miniseries both other creative teams that followed fizzled after a while. This plus the Silver Age Omnibus and Death of Hawkman suggests to me some new emphasis on Adam Strange coming up in Rebirth, maybe a dedicated cosmic DC title besides the Green Lantern franchise.

Aquaman by Geoff Johns Omnibus

Solicitations still have this book collecting issues #0-16 plus Justice League #14-16, through "Throne of Atlantis." That's surely the most notable part of this run, but to call this an "Aquaman by Geoff Johns Omnibus," it would seem most logical to also include issues #17-25, Johns's "Death of a King" storyline.

Aquaman Vol. 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition (Rebirth)

As discussed, this is a hardcover collection of the first two paperback volumes of the Rebirth series. Solicitations say issues #1-12 and the Rebirth special, which probably isn't right because that doesn't match the contents of the original collections themselves. This does arrive in stories at the same time as the third paperback volume, and includes "variant covers, concept sketches and other bonus material."

Aquaman Vol. 3 (Rebirth)

Said to collect issues #11-16. Please tell me the villainous organization here isn't really called NEMO.

Aquaman: Kingdom Lost

The "Sub Diego" era of Aquaman was most notable, I think, for the initial Will Pfiefer/Patrick Gleason story and not for what came after, though for completeness I'm glad that DC is continuing through the John Arcudi run that ends this series where it collided with Infinite Crisis, with issues #32-39. It only troubles me a bit that there's now just ten issues of this series never collected, issues #5-14 by Rick Veitch (the last two by John Ostrander); not wholly well-remembered, but it leaves a hole where completeness is concerned.

Azrael Vol. 3

We're still not sure on the contents of these, but if Azrael Vol. 2: Requiem went to issue #12, then this could collect issues #13-20, a slightly large trade but it would collect the "Demon Time" story (with Nightwing), the Contagion crossovers, and the four part "Angel in Flames." Barry Kitson continues on art with Dennis O'Neil until issue #28, which is when this eccentric series was at its best; upcoming stories will tie in to Cataclysm, No Man's Land, Day of Judgment, Joker: Last Laugh, and Bruce Wayne: Murderer/Fugitive.

Batgirl: Stephanie Brown Vol. 1

Finally, a collection of Bryan Q. Miller's superlative run on Batgirl starring former-Spoiler Stephanie Brown, among the most entertaining and tonally perfect series I've read about a teen vigilante superhero. This is said to collect issues #1-13, so the Batgirl Rising and Flood collections, with the next volume presumably reprinting the Lesson collection (which ended with the Flashpoint/New 52 changeover).

Batman Arkham: Clayface

Batman Beyond Vol. 1: The Return (Rebirth)

The first six-issues of the Rebirth series by Dan Jurgens, plus the Rebirth special.

Batman by Azzarello & Risso Deluxe Edition

Collects "Broken City," plus their Flashpoint miniseries, Wednesday Comics, and a black-and-white story from Gotham Knights #8.

Batman by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo Box Set 2

The second box set collects Vols. 4-6, Zero Year: Secret City and Dark City plus Graveyard Shift. Obviously Snyder and Capullo's Batman doesn't divide evenly by three, but Vol. 10 is short so I suspect the next box set will have the final four volumes. Other runs you all think deserve this box set treatment?

Batman in The Court of Owls: An Adult Coloring Book

Batman Noir: Dark Victory

Batman The Caped Crusader Vol. 1

Collects Mike W. Barr's Batman: Year Two and the sequel Full Circle graphic novel. Being "Vol. 1," my hope is that this continues to collect the immediate-post-Crisis Batman issues, which are only collected spottily and especially on the Detective Comics side. Year Two isn't everyone's cup of tea but I liked it, and it directly inspired one of the best Batman movies ever, the animated Mask of the Phantasm.

Batman Vol. 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition (Rebirth)

Batman Vol. 3: I Am Bane (Rebirth)

Batman -- Detective Comics Vol. 9: Gordon at War

Batman: Haunted Knight (New Edition)

Batman: The Golden Age Vol. 3

Batman: Year One (New Edition)

Batman: Zero Hour

As we had suspected, this is a collection both all the Zero Hour tie-ins across the Batman line and then also the "Zero Month" issues from the same. Sort of a random collection, but a nice slice of history at the same time. The Zero Hour issues feature a time-lost Batgirl Barbara Gordon at the time she was still Oracle, the Golden Age Alfred, and Robin Tim Drake meeting Robin Dick Grayson. The "Zero Month" issues will serve as a cute, short primer on Batman, though of course not a few continuities removed at this point.

Batman/Superman Vol. 6

Batman/TMNT Vol. 1

Batwoman by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III

Most notable about this collection of Greg Rucka and JH WIlliams's Detective Comics Batwoman stories is, with no offense to Williams, the three previously uncollected issues drawn by Jock and Scott Kolins, "Cutter." This completes the pre-Flashpoint collection of Batwoman stories in her "own" title.

Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye Vol. 1: Going Underground

Cave Carson: The Silver Age

This appears to be listed as already cancelled.

Checkmate by Greg Rucka Vol. 2

The first volume was supposed to collect issues #1-12, but seems actually to have the lead-in OMAC Project material. If this has #1-12, then again it would be the original Vols. 1 and 2, A King's Game and Pawn Breaks, with issues #16-22 left to essentially reprint the original Vol. 3, Fall of the Wall.

Cyborg Vol. 2 (Rebirth)

Daring Adventures of Supergirl Vol. 2

The second volume of Daring Adventures of Supergirl collects issues #14-23, which is actually when this title became just Supergirl around the Helen Slater movie. This collection includes an Ambush Bug appearance; also shortly after the end of this series is when this Supergirl would die in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

DC Comics/Dark Horse: Batman vs. Predator

Collects the first, second, and third Batman vs. Predator miniseries.

DC Covergirls: An Adult Coloring Book

DC Horror: House of Secrets Vol. 1

Collects House of Secrets #92-97, including the first appearance of Swamp Thing.

DC Spotlight: Wonder Girl

The cover art shows Cassie Sandsmark, but this "Spotlight" collection seems to equally favor some classic and current Donna Troy adventures. A curious collection -- I wonder if we'll see some other DC Spotlight collections soon or if this also suggests some major happening for one Wonder Girl or another.

DC Super Hero Girls: A Kids Coloring Book

DC Super Hero Girls: Summer Olympus

Deadman by Kelley Jones: The Complete Collection

By Mike Baron with art by Kelley Jones, this is Deadman: Love After Death and Deadman: Exorcism. I wish they had also included Deadman's Batman appearances from about this time by Doug Moench and Jones.

Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love

Death of Hawkman

Deathstroke The Terminator Vol. 4

Collects issues #27-34, the "World Tour" storyline, by Marv Wolfman and penciller Steve Erwin, plus the "Bloodlines" tie-in annual that introduced Gunfire, a New Blood heroes who actually got his own thirteen-issue series.

Deathstroke Vol. 2 (Rebirth)

Doom Patrol Vol. 1: Brick by Brick

Doom Patrol: The Silver Age Omnibus

Earth 2: Society Vol. 4

This will be the final collection of the New 52 Earth 2: Society series.

Elseworlds: Justice League Vol. 2

Collects Conjurors #1-3, Flashpoint #1-3 (a Flash Elseworlds, not the reality-changing event), JLA: Act of God #1-3, Superman’s Metropolis, Batman: Nosferatu, and Wonder Woman: Blue Amazon.

Elseworlds: Superman Vol. 2

The solicitation has the contents of Vol. 1, so it remains to be seen what will be here.

Flash by Francis Manapul Unwrapped

Flash Vol. 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition (Rebirth)

Flash Vol. 3: Rogues Reloaded (Rebirth)

Flash Vol. 9

Flash: The Silver Age Vol. 2

Gotham Academy: Second Semester Vol. 1

Issues #1-6 and the Annual #1.

Graphic Ink: Eduardo Risso

Also already listed as cancelled.

Green Arrow Vol. 3 (Rebirth)

Green Lantern: Hal Jordan Vol. 2

These books fill a nice previously-uncollected hole. The first volume was the two Emerald Dawn miniseries and this is issues #1-12 of the immediately post-Crisis series. These issues follow Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and G'nort, following the events of Cosmic Odyssey. At this point, the Green Lantern Corps title had been cancelled; Green Lantern: Mosaic, for which I still hope for a collection, began concurrent to issue #25 of this series. The next collection of this series would reflect the events of Justice League International: Breakdowns.

Green Lantern: The Silver Age Vol. 2

Green Lanterns Vol. 3 (Rebirth)

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 1 & 2 (Rebirth) Deluxe Edition

Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps Vol. 2 (Rebirth)

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 3 (Rebirth)

Harley and Her Gang of Harleys Vol. 2

... How does this have a second volume?

Harley Quinn Vol. 2: Joker Loves Harley (Rebirth)

Harley Quinn Vol. 6: Black, White and Red All Over

Hawkman by Geoff Johns Book One

The flip side of the Adam Strange collections here is that this maybe suggests we're going to get a more recognizable Johns-era Hawkman Carter Hall back.

He-Man/Thundercats

House of Mystery: The Bronze Age Vol. 1

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Vol. 2

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Vol. 3

Injustice: Ground Zero Vol. 1

It's a Bird...(New Edition)

Jack Kirby's Kamandi Omnibus

Collects Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth in what seems to be an omnibus format similar to the Jack Kirby's Fourth World omnibuses.

Justice League of America Vol. 1 (Rebirth)

The first six issues of the Steve Orlando series spinning out of Justice League vs. Suicide Squad.

Justice League of America: The Road to Rebirth (Rebirth)

Collects the Justice League of America: Rebirth, Ray: Rebirth, Vixen: Rebirth, Atom: Rebirth, and Killer Frost: Rebirth specials.

Justice League Vol. 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition (Rebirth)

Justice League Vol. 3 (Rebirth)

This collection of Bryan Hitch's Rebirth Justice League issues #12-17 includes issues #12-13 that tie into Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, and also apparently a story that continues from Hitch's New 52 Justice League series.

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad

As someone here pointed out, the fact of this in hardcover further suggests that DC's event collections will be hardcover-first. This collects the six-issue miniseries plus Suicide Squad #8-10 and Justice League #12-13. The individual Justice League and Suicide Squad collections each include their own issues but not the event miniseries, suggesting that one would most likely have to double-dip to read the miniseries event proper.

Justice League/Power Rangers

Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Vol. 3

Legion Lost: The Complete Saga

Collects the superlative Legion Lost miniseries by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, plus for the first time the "Legion of the Damned" lead-in issues. This is a great read, no doubt, but a miniseries called Legion Worlds followed Legion Lost's somewhat uncertain ending, and I wouldn't have minded if those were included too (DC pre-solicited a Legion Worlds collection in 2013 but later cancelled it).

Legion of Super Heroes: The Silver Age Omnibus

Looney Tunes: Greatest Hits Vol. 3

Midnighter and Apollo

Apparently I mistakenly thought this miniseries was drawn by Midnighter's Aco, when it's actually Fernando Blanco. I believe Blanco's style will probably work here but it's still a disappointment not to get more Aco.

Midnighter: The Complete Wildstorm Series

For whatever reason this one has come through before, but here it is again, and this time the listing really does look more "complete," with issues #1-20 of the Wildstorm series plus Midnighter: Armageddon from the Wildstorm crossover series. The solicitation just mentions Garth Ennis but there's plenty other writers here, including Brian K. Vaughn, Christos Gage, Keith Giffen, Justin Gray, and Jimmy Palmiotti. All of this has been collected before, though not together.

Mother Panic Vol. 1: Work in Progress

I recognize that as a mature imprint, the Young Animal books are separate, but it seems too good an opportunity to have Mother Panic in Gothan and not have Batman show up.

New Super-Man Vol. 1: Made In China (Rebirth)

New Teen Titans Vol. 1 Omnibus (New Edition)

A new printing of the omnibus but the contents seem the same (this listing omits the New Teen Titans Annual #1, but I'd bet it's in there). The real question is whether they'll reprint the next volumes and if Vol. 3 will remain as is or collect sequential issues instead.

New Teen Titans Vol. 7

Collecting "Judas Contract," these paperbacks are still within material that's been collected before.

Newsboy Legion Vol. 2

Nightwing Vol. 2: Bludhaven (Rebirth)

Nightwing Vol. 6

Issues #47-60, so parts of the Big Guns and On the Razor's Edge collections. This does mark the end of the previously-collected Chuck Dixon material; issues #61-99 by Dixon and then Devin Grayson are uncollected, so anything beyond this point will be new to trade.

Planetary Book One

Issues #1-12, including material from the Absolute edition.

Robin Vol. 4

Said to be Robin #0, #7-13, and the Annual #1. Not sure how that'll read in trade; it's the Robin parts of "Knightsquest" and "Knightsend," a Zero Hour tie-in and "Zero Month" story, and then the Robin parts of "Prodigal." The Annual is an Eclipso: The Darkness Within tie-in.

Shade the Changing Girl Vol. 1: Earth Girl Made Easy

Sixpack & Dogwelder: Hard Travelin' Heroz

Suicide Squad Vol. 2 (Rebirth)

The Justice League vs. Suicide Squad tie-in issues are here, though not the miniseries itself.

Suicide Squad: A Celebration of 30 Years

Glad to see this. Well deserved. And absolutely no disrespect meant to John Ostrander. But this does weirdly mark the Squad's beginning at 1987 rather than 1959 with Brave and the Bold #25 by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru, even if that iteration is somewhat removed from the present one.

Super Powers (Backlist)

Collecting all three of the Super Powers miniseries that Jack Kirby took part in. As the solicitation said, this is Kirby's only work with the Justice League; I'm surprised frankly this isn't listed for hardcover.

Super Powers Vol. 1

The new Art Baltazar and Franco series, which looks awesome and happily follows the Superman Family Adventures continuity.

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1

Supergirl Book Three

Happily, more of the Peter David/Leonard Kirk Supergirl series. Issues #21-32 delve into the mystery of Comet (former super-horse) and include appearances by the Matrix Supergirl and the Female Furies.

Supergirl Vol. 3

Additionally, a collection of Kara Zor-El's modern adventures in Action Comics #850 and Supergirl #23-33 by Kelley Puckett (of Batgirl Cassandra Cain fame). This reprints the Beyond Good and Evil and Way of the World collections just before Sterling Gates's run.

Supergirl: The Silver Age Vol. 1

Superman For All Seasons (New Edition)

Superman Reborn

As we now know, the first post-Rebirth Superman crossover, with Superman #18-19 and Action Comics #975-976. A short crossover at that, one month and weekly I think, which is kind of nice, though being collected in a $25 hardcover.

Superman Vol. 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition (Rebirth)

Superman Vol. 3: Multiplicity (Rebirth)

Superman -- Action Comics Vol. 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition

Superman -- Action Comics Vol. 3

Superman-Action Comics Vol. 9

Superman: Savage Dawn

Superman: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 4

Superman: The Golden Age Vol. 3

Tales of the Batman: Gerry Conway

Teen Titans Vol. 1: Damian Knows Best (Rebirth)

Teen Titans: Rebirth and issues #1-6.

Teen Titans: Earth One Vol. 2

Teen Titans: The Bronze Age Omnibus

Sandman: The Golden Age Vol. 1

Also apparently already cancelled.

Trinity (New Edition)

This is a new paperback edition of the Matt Wagner out-of-continuity miniseries.

Trinity Vol. 1: Better Together (Rebirth)

Wasteland Vol. 1

Watchmen: The Annotated Edition

Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Vol. 2

Collects issues #206-217, the Eyes of the Gorgon and Land of the Dead collections. Strange how this keeps happening, but the final volume should basically just reprint the Misson's End trade in full, maybe with the addition of Rucka's Blackest Night: Wonder Woman miniseries.

Wonder Woman by John Byrne Book One

Here's something unexpected, a collection of John Byrne's Wonder Woman, written and drawn, issues #101-113. This run is notable not just for the Wonder Woman work but also for introducing Wonder Girl Cassie Sandsmark, for revising Donna Troy's origin, for teaming Hippolyta with the Justice Society, appearances by Darkseid, and for leading into the Genesis event. Issues #101 to #112 are previously collected, but #113 is not; Byrne's run went to issue #136.

Wonder Woman Vol. 3: The Truth (Rebirth)

Wonder Woman: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 2

Absolute Y: The Last Man Vol. 3

American Vampire Vol. 9

American Way 10th Anniversary Edition

Clean Room Vol. 3

Dark Night: A True Batman Story

Frostbite

House of Secrets Book One (Vertigo)

Lost Boys Vol. 1

Lucifer Vol. 3

Sandman Mystery Theatre Book 3

DC calls this a "re-cut collection," which is maybe what these new Nightwing, Robin, etc. books are. This is issues #25-36 and the Sandman Midnight Theatre special, which spans the original Vol. 5 and Vol. 6 collections with "Night of the Butcher," "The Hourman," and "The Python."

Scalped Book One

Unfollow Vol. 3: Stop Following Me

Trade Perspectives: DC Rebirth Deluxe Series Hardcovers

Thursday, December 01, 2016

You've probably seen that a lot of new solicitations for DC Comics's Summer 2017 collections have started to pop up online, which means the new catalog is right around the corner.

I'm going to set those aside right now until the big list comes out, but I did want to dig in to one piece of news, that at least some of the Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 of the DC Rebirth paperbacks will be re-released as deluxe hardcovers.

Arriving in July and August are:

July 4, 2017
Superman -- Action Comics Vol. 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition - $34.99

July 18, 2017
Justice League Vol. 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition (Rebirth) - $34.99

August 1, 2017
Batman Vol. 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition (Rebirth) - $34.99

August 22, 2017
Aquaman Vol. 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition (Rebirth) - $29.99

Superman Vol. 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition (Rebirth) - $29.99

All of this information is, of course, subject to change. Given that DC is releasing eight Rebirth Vol. 1 trades in January and a majority of them by the end of the first quarter of 2017, I doubt we're only going to see five hardcover releases in July and August, but rather there's more to come.

Each of these are said to include the first twelve issues of each series and their Rebirth special, except for Action Comics, which collects issues #957-968. This gives us further indication that some of these details will probably change, since for instance Aquaman Vols. 1 and 2 together are said to collect through issue #15, and Action Comics Vol. 2 is currently solicited at just issues #963-966 plus Justice League #51 (Titans: Rebirth tie-in issue, so probably that's not right either and they really mean issue #52).

Rebirth trades seem to be averaging about $16.99 per volume, so the $34.99 price (about the cost of two of the paperbacks) doesn't seem to be adding a premium per se, and of course discounts abound.

I glanced at a DC Universe: Rebirth deluxe hardcover the other day, and I'm pretty sure it didn't have a jacket, but rather a shiny printed exterior like the old Superman/Batman hardcovers. I personally liked those better because there wasn't a jacket to keep track of or to get damaged or warped, and I wonder if DC will have these combination deluxe editions follow suite.

The good news is that these should be spiffy collections befitting the hardcover form (though I hope they're not "deluxe" height, just "deluxe" in that they collect two books, because the deluxe size is hard to shelve). The bad news of course is that wait-for-hardcover-traders will have to wait all the way until the summer before they get their books.

What do you think? Approve or disapprove? Any way you think DC could be collecting Rebirth better?

(Thanks to all the Collected Editions readers who emailed to make sure I saw this news. I appreciate it!)

Review: Midnighter Vol. 2: Hard trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, November 28, 2016

That Steve Orlando's Midnighter Vol. 2: Hard includes both issues #8-12 of the series plus two issues from the Wildstorm series and a story from Young Romance: The New 52 Valentine's Day Special was initially concerning. Five issues on their own isn't unheard of for a trade, and the addition of the supplementary material suggests, as it has in other books, something lacking in the main content. Happily however that's not the case here, as Orlando's "Hard" stands on its own as a fine coda to the first volume, Out, and the additional material serves as a "just because" bonus. Even as this volume marks the cancellation of (this iteration of) the Midnighter series, there's a sense of celebration here, including the extra material not out of necessity but just because Orlando's take on the Midnighter character deserves it.

DC Trade Solicitations for February 2017 - Wonder Woman by Perez Vol. 2, Wonder Woman and JLA, Rebirth Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Titans

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wonder Woman wins the day in DC Comics's February 2017 hardcover and trade paperback solicitations, with much anticipated collections of both her early post-Crisis on Infinite Earths and circa-Zero Hour Justice League days. There's also new reprints of Supergirl and Deathstroke, the Terminator (again!), and a slew of first volume Rebirth collections.

Whether you're reading this with turkey on the mind or not, let's take a look at what's coming soon.

Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus Vol. 2 HC

Rumored for a while, the best news this month is that for the first time, DC will continue collecting George Perez's run on the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Wonder Woman with issues #25-45 and Annual #2. This isn't it, mind you, as there would still need to be one more volume to complete Perez's issues, including parts of the recently-collected War of the Gods.

Wonder Woman and the Justice League of America Vol. 1 TP

I find equally very exciting this collection of Dan Vado's Justice League America, titled Wonder Woman and the Justice League of America, which not only has Wonder Woman leading the Justice League and a Bloodlines crossover annual, but also a lot of material with Captain Atom, the Ray, Maxima, Blue Beetle, and Booster Gold, leading into the instant classic Extreme Justice. This collection of issues #78-85 stops just short of the "Judgment Day" crossover, but goes so far as to include a Guy Gardner issue(!) for the "Trouble with Guys" crossover, so I'm hopefully the next volume would collect "Judgment Day" in full. If DC really wants to keep going with this, there's plenty of good Gerard Jones material to collect after Zero Hour.

Supergirl by Peter David Book Two TP

Whereas previous collections of Peter David's Supergirl series have focused mainly on the issues drawn by Gary Frank, this second new collection finally gets into the never-collected issues by Leonard Kirk, who would go on to draw most of the series' 80 issues. Included here are issues #10-20, including "Genesis" and "Millenium Giants" cross-over issues, as well as the "Pulp Heroes" Annual #2.

Deathstroke, the Terminator Vol. 3: Nuclear Winter TP

Off and on and on and off the schedule, here again is the Deathstroke: Nuclear Winter collection, reprinting both the great "Nuclear Winter" arc that saw Deathstroke and Arsenal Roy Harper pitted against Cheshire, but also the Deathstroke chapters of the (loose) "Total Chaos" crossover with New Titans.

Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside TP
Cyborg Vol. 1: The Imitation of Life TP
Deathstroke Vol. 1: The Professional TP
Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Die Laughing TP
Hellblazer Vol. 1: The Poison Truth TP
Suicide Squad Vol. 1: The Black Vault Part One TP
Titans Vol. 1: The Return of Wally West TP

Of these Rebirth collections, Batgirl collects issues #1-6, Cyborg collects the Rebirth special and issues #1-5, Deathstroke collects the Rebirth special and issues #1-5, Harley Quinn collects issues #1-7, Hellblazer collects the Rebirth special and issues #1-6, and Titans collects the Rebirth special and issues #1-6.

The Suicide Squad collection includes the Rebirth special and just issues #1-4, which I assume includes the back-up stories, and touts a new Jim Lee cover.

Justice League of America: Power and Glory HC

Collects issues #1-4 and #6-10 of the Bryan Hitch series, skipping the issue #5 Martian Manhunter one-shot by that series's team. You'd have to tell me whether issue #10 ends on a cliffhanger and how this'll read necessarily if issues #11-12 aren't published.

Batman by Brian K. Vaughan TP

This collection of Batman #588-590, Detective Comics #787, Wonder Woman #160-161, and a story from the Batman: Gotham City Secret Files is the same contents as Batman: False Faces, just re-branded. For those playing at home, the Batman stories come in the midst of Ed Brubaker's run (filling a hole in the Batman by Ed Brubaker Vol. 1 collection), just after "Officer Down"; the Detective issue also falls in a Brubaker run, a little bit before Paul Dini's run parallel to Grant Morrison's Batman; and Wonder Woman #160-161 is between Eric Luke's and Phil Jimenez's runs. The Gotham City Secret Files introduces a villain called the Skeleton, but Vaughan never had a chance to follow up on that story.

Batman: Ego and Other Tails Deluxe Edition HC

A deluxe-size reprint of the Darwyn Cooke collection, which includes Cooke's graphic novel Batman: Ego, Catwoman: Selina's Big Score, backup stories from Gotham Knights #23 and #33, plus a Batman/Catwoman story from Solo #1 written by Cooke and drawn by Tim Sale, and Cooke's Solo #5.

Flintstones Vol. 1 TP
Wacky Raceland TP

Hey, I liked Mark Russell's Prez. You say Flintstones is brilliant social commentary, I believe you, though you had to admit it's about the craziest thing anyone's said this year (well, maybe not this year, but you know what I mean).

JSA: The Golden Age Deluxe Edition HC

There's been some talk of whether this one was cancelled or not, so I wanted to point out the deluxe edition of the four-issue miniseries is back on the schedule.

Zatanna by Paul Dini TP

Some time ago this was touted as "all" of Paul Dini's Zatanna stories. Here, it is indeed Zatanna #1-16, the Zatanna series just prior to the New 52, the Everyday Magic graphic novel, a story from the DC Infinite Halloween Special, and a story from the DC Universe Rebirth Holiday Special, which makes this awfully timely (though I thought Dini's story from that book is supposed to be a Harley Quinn story). Missing however is Black Canary/Zatanna: Bloodspell, and you can decide how you feel about that.

I am thankful for you being a loyal reader of Collected Editions. What's your comics-related gratitude for the year? What looks good to you on this list?

Review: Midnighter Vol. 1: Out trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, November 21, 2016

With Midnighter Vol. 1: Out, Steve Orlando cements himself as worthy of standing with Tom King and Tim Seeley as the newest crop of top tier writers at DC Comics. Orlando takes on the unenviable task of crafting an entire series around a vigilante who's by definition almost unbeatable, and does so by offering that as much as Midnighter shines on the battlefield, he's equally befuddled by matters of the heart. Orlando's story is deep and emotionally complex, and brings with it some genuine surprises to boot. Constantine's Aco's trademark vignette paneling brings to life Midnighter's "visualize all possibilities" powers, and his pages are as good-looking as this book is smart.

[Review contains spoilers]

Orlando demonstrates to the reader early on that despite (or because of) Midnighter's crime-fighting prowess, his personal interactions aren't so easy. In short order he manages to scare off new flame Jason after marking him with a "super GPS"; in flashback we see his inability to be honest with Stormwatch's Apollo lead to their breakup; and Midnighter can only initiate a team-up with Dick Grayson by kidnapping him. Out's ending twist comes off even more tragic on second-read, as Matt, the one guy who actually seems to appreciate Midnighter for who he is, turns out to be the book's mystery villain.

Review: Constantine: The Hellblazer Vol. 2: The Art of the Deal trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Surprising as it is, in the final tally it seems John Constantine's immediate post-Flashpoint adventures may turn out to have been the best of those since his return to the DC Universe proper. Constantine: The Hellblazer Vol. 2: The Art of the Deal cements the "DC You" iteration of the title as failing to live up to our Vertigo-esque expectations; Ray Fawkes's Constantine series previous might have been perhaps too superhero-esque, but at least it was at moments genuinely scary.

Ming Doyle and James Tynion's Hellblazer has been largely a series of heist stories, often semi-comedic; Simon Oliver's Rebirth special that ends the book looks to continue this tone. Given that, I probably won't be running to read the "Rebirth" The Hellblazer; I'm not getting what I want from these John Constantine books and so it's probably time to be done for a while.

Comic Book Gift Guide 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It's time for the 2016 edition of the Collected Editions top trade paperback and graphic novel gifts recommendations! This year I've crowd-sourced our listings ahead of time to include books that have been on my radar, what the helpful folks on the Collected Editions Facebook page have recommended, and also what you've all emailed to me.

As always, I've organized some gift packages for you of books that go together to maybe make some buying for yourself or the comics fan in your life a little easier.

For additional ideas don't miss my 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007 lists for more gifting suggestions.

Batman by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo Box Set
Batman Vol. 10: Epilogue

The final volume of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's epic run on Batman, Vol. 10: Epilogue, comes out just before the end of the year. If by some bizarre chance you know a Batman fan who hasn't been reading it for the past five years, surely the whole ten volume set wrapped together would impress. If you're looking for a smaller investment, there's the three-book slipcase box set of Snyder and Capullo's first three volumes, including the "Court of the Owls" saga and a fight with the Joker.

DC Universe: Rebirth Deluxe Edition

I'd be remiss if this list didn't give some deference to DC Comics's juggernaut "Rebirth" initiative this year. This single issue DC Universe: Rebirth Deluxe Edition hardcover is the perfect way for your favorite fan to commemorate "Rebirth"'s kickoff. Includes the issue itself plus behind-the-scenes material.

Omega Men: The End is Here

Considered perhaps the best book DC Comics has released in recent memory, Tom King's Omega Men is not only an action-packed sci-fi space romp, but also a complex treatise on war, violence, terrorism, and religion, full of complex paneling by artist Barnaby Bagenda. For fans of Watchmen or Saga or just good comics that might have overlooked this one, Omega Men is a complicated book that's sure to please.

Superman: American Alien

For more "traditional" superheroics with a twist, consider Max Landis's Superman: American Alien. Another Superman origin is a hard sell to me, but Landis has fashioned a smart, twenty-first century Superman story that reimagines a variety of the mythos concepts in astute ways, and each chapter also features art from a different, prominent artist, including Francis Manapul, Jae Lee, and Jock. Superman fans might've passed this up, but it's worth a read.

Doctor Strange Omnibus Vol. 1
Doctor Strange Epic Collection: A Separate Reality
Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph & Torment
Doctor Strange: The Flight of Bones
Doctor Strange: The Oath
Doctor Strange Vol. 1: The Way of the Weird

Timely is always a good way to go for a gift, and if you know a comics fan who enjoyed Marvel's latest blockbuster, you might consider one or more Doctor Strange collections. As recommended on Facebook, here's a variety of options.

For starting at the beginning, consider the newly-released Doctor Strange Omnibus or Epic Collection, which include some of the first Doctor Strange stories from the 1960s and 1970s.

Triumph and Torment collects the graphic novel of that name from the late 1980s plus related issues, with a spotlight on the creepy art of Mike Mignola. Equally the 1990s Flight of Bones "Marvel Knights" miniseries has Starman's Tony Harris's art and sees Strange in the role of detective.

Among more recent collections are The Oath by Saga's Brian K. Vaughan; the miniseries both revitalized the Dr. Strange character and focuses as much on the supernatural as on Strange's role as an actual medical doctor. Way of the Weird is the first collection of the most current Doctor Strange series by Jason Aaron (Star Wars).

Star Wars: Kanan Omnibus

Marvel's certainly made a splash with their Star Wars comics, now about to enter a "phase two" of sorts; there's a couple of good collections of both the Star Wars and Darth Vader titles out now that collect a couple volumes each of the previous trades. But a Star Wars title I really enjoyed this year was Kanan, aka "The Last Padawan," a loose Rebels tie-in that details the plight of Kanan, aka Jedi Padawan Caleb Dune, after Order 66 and the decimation of the Jedi. In a story legitimately hair-raising at times, former Rebels producer Greg Weisman details the sometimes-questionable actions young Caleb had to take to survive. This omnibus collects the entire twelve issue series.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe

An extra-sized graphic novel by the monthly Unbeatable Squirrel Girl team of Ryan North and Erica Henderson. In the current popular semi-comedic, semi-animated style, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe is a romp with heart, a loving lampooning of the Marvel Universe. For fans of the recent "Burnside" Batgirl series, Black Canary, Luberjanes, Gotham Academy, and so on, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe is a self-contained primer on the monthly book.

Vision Vol. 1: A Little Worse Than a Man

Another Tom King book on this list (such that you could pair it with Omega Men for a gift set), Vision has been referred to as "the Breaking Bad of the Marvel Universe"; the robotic Vision builds himself a family and settles in suburbia, and as these things do when a robot builds themselves a family, terrible events ensue. Knowing Tom King's Omega Men, I can only imagine the emotion King brings to what's apparently an exceptionally claustrophobic, harrowing read.

Klaus by Grant Morrison

Not too long ago I recommended Grant Morrison's Christmas story/crime-drama-with-a-cartoon-blue-horse Happy! for the holidays, and I'm glad for this suggestion of another from Morrison, BOOM! Studios's Klaus. Described by Morrison as an All-Star Superman/Batman: Year One-esque take on Santa Claus, the book has a decidedly swords-and-sorcery tone (side note, also great, Gail Simone's three Red Sonja books). Though not necessarily all-all-ages, apparently this one isn't so adult that you might consider it for your favorite superhero action fan.

Paper Girls Vol. 1

Another work by Brian K. Vaughan for the list, with art by Wonder Woman's Cliff Chiang, Paper Girls sees four newspaper delivery girls solving an "otherworldly" mystery in their suburban town just after Halloween 1988. Shades here no doubt of both Stranger Things and X-Files, this makes a fine gift for fans of both; both the first and second volumes retail for under $10.

The Fade Out

Hard to go wrong with Gotham Central's Ed Brubaker and Criminal collaborator Sean Phillips. Fade Out is a crime noir miniseries set in Hollywood 1948, perfect for any mystery fan. Pair this with something like a couple volumes of Scott Snyder's Batman, or heck the Gotham Central collections are always the right size, or the Batman by Ed Brubaker book, and you've got a ready-made gift set.

Walt Disney's Donald Duck (Carl Barks) Christmas Box Set

This wouldn't have been on my radar but a reader recommended this new box set that includes Fantagraphics's fifth and sixth volumes in their Carl Barks Library series, which just in time for the holidays includes "Christmas on Bear Mountain" and "The Old Castle's Secret." Fun for kids and nostalgic for adults, these stories reprint Scrooge McDuck's first and second appearances (just in time for that DuckTales revival!).

DC Super Hero Girls: Hits and Myths
Superman Family Adventures Vol. 1

Currently taking the merchandising world by storm, DC Super Hero Girls is novels, comics, cartoons, action figures, and just about everything else DC can put them on. Most recently released is Hits and Myths, which sees a focus on Wonder Woman with Supergirl, Batgirl, and others at DC Super Hero high school, a follow-up to the earlier Finals Crisis. At under $10, this is a fine book for the young superhero fan in your life, or to pad out an order for free shipping and donate to your local school or Goodwill.

Special mention also of Art Baltazar and Franco's Superman Family Adventures collections, also for the youngest readers, which aside from being adorable and entertaining went pretty well nuts with continuity, and is continuing into DC's upcoming Super Powers series.

So what did I miss? What are your favorite collections of 2016? What else is on your wish list for the holidays? (Thanks again to the wise voices of the Collected Editions Facebook page for their suggestions.)

Thank you all for your comments and contributions to Collected Editions! This site is such a joy for me and it wouldn't be the same without each and every one of you.

(Lots of bloggers have affiliate links like the ones above, and when you do your holiday shopping after clicking these links, the blogger gets a few cents. This year, if you’re buying gifts online, consider clicking on someone’s link before you buy -- when I buy online, I always try to click through a blog before I do. There are lots of hard-working bloggers out there [see blogroll], and this is a great, easy way to support them. Thanks!)