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<em>Night</em>'s end: DC Entertainment comic-book solicitations for March 2010

I go into the March DC solicitations a little sadder, not because my self-esteem is tied to Roy Harper’s, but because I actually think I’m going to miss seeing what’s next every month for Blackest Night. It has been such an over-the-top series, in both good and bad ways, that this batch of solicits feels more hollow without a nominal amount of miniseries and other tie-ins.

Nevertheless, in the wake of the big Green Lantern-centered event are a handful of smaller character-centric storylines, with March showcasing Brainiac’s return and a whole new set of woes for Team Arrow.

All that plus the usual comings, goings, and collections, so let’s get right to it!

NICE PLANET YOU HAVE HERE, SHAME IF ANYTHING WERE TO HAPPEN

A bit of petty semantics first: although Last Stand Of New Krypton’s title parallels the title World Of New Krypton, I still think it should be called either Last Stand On New Krypton, or New Krypton’s Last Stand. (It’s the People’s Judean Front versus the People’s Front of Judea!)

Ahem. With Blackest Night wrapping up, it’s good that there are enough Superman books to warrant a new tote board:

3/3: Adventure Comics #8 3/10: Last Stand Of New Krypton #1, Action Comics #887 3/17: Supergirl #51 3/24: Superman #698 3/31: Adventure Comics #9

The storyline itself looks both straightforward (Brainiac attacks New K as General Zod makes his move!) and complicated (because it pulls together countless subplots from across the four Superman titles). Regardless, it looks like the final fate of New Krypton will be addressed, just in time for the spring’s “War of the Supermen.”

Nightwing and Flamebird both appear on War of the Supermen #0's cover, but had I not seen it I’d be worried they wouldn’t survive Action Comics #887. There’s a tradition of star-crossed lovers going out in a big blaze of glory, and if they don’t meet their destiny in Action #887, I don’t know that they make it to August 2010.

By the way, somehow I don’t think we’ll ever see the big DC dry-erase board which explains how all the various Events (big and small) have tied into each other over the past six or so years. Basically the solicit for Adventure Comics #s 8-9 reminds readers that DC may well be plotting its books almost four years in advance. That may not elicit as much admiration as they think.

ALL THE OBVIOUS HEADLINES WERE EXTREMELY TASTELESS

You know, after reading about the Winter Soldier and his artificial limb for the past few years, I have to say the impact of Arsenal losing an arm isn't as hard as I'd have thought. Still, Bucky was never a junkie (was he?).

In any event, here is the Green Arrow/Red Arrow tote board:

3/10: Justice League: The Rise And Fall #1 3/17: Green Arrow #31, Titans #23 3/24: Justice League: The Rise Of Arsenal #1 3/31: JLA #43

That’s a lot of bridgework for an incident which just happened. It means the subplot won’t be resolved in Cry For Justice, it’ll probably be another few months before it’s addressed in the main Justice League title, and by then it will have gone through four titles the reader of Justice League may not have otherwise bought. Again, it’s too bad we’ll never get a good look at that dry-erase board.

THIS AND THAT

There have been a lot of books delayed in the past few years, but Superman: Secret Origin #5 is the first one in a while that I’ve seen resolicited. I think that’s progress.

DC’s rearrangement of its co-features starts in March, with Booster Gold #30, Doom Patrol #8, and Green Arrow #31 going back to $2.99. Meanwhile, JSA All-Stars #4 adds a co-feature (and sees its price increase accordingly), while the co-feature in The Shield changes to "The Fox."

Neither have co-features, as far as I can tell, but both First Wave and Rise Of Arsenal debut at 40 pages for $3.99. It’s not clear to me whether the expanded format is just for the first issue, or whether they’ll continue for the duration. Justice League #43 is 40 pages for $3.99, but it may only be a special extra-sized story.

DC doesn't feel the need for so much speed: the latest “20 Answers With Dan DiDio” (careful of the sound!) reveals that both the Kid Flash ongoing and the Flash book's “Wally West” co-feature are currently on hold. Accordingly, enjoy the glimpses of Bart and Wally in The Flash Secret Files & Origins 2K10, because the main book will be all Barry for a while.

“Earth One” may be getting all the attention, but the March solicits include the original Jonah Hex graphic novel No Way Back and Joe Kubert’s latest OGN, Dong Xaoi, Vietnam 1965, both scheduled for May 5.

Although I didn’t think the Final Crisis Aftermath miniseries sold all that well, apparently Escape pleased enough people to warrant this Nemesis: The Imposters follow-up. Good for Nemesis, I say, especially after being dumped by Wonder Woman.

Andy Clarke joins Batman And Robin for three issues starting in March; and starting with The Shield #7, Michael Avon Oeming draws the aforementioned “Fox” co-feature. Meanwhile, has Nicola Scott left Secret Six? She’s pencilling Wonder Woman #42 (after pencilling WW’s Blackest Night miniseries) and hasn’t drawn an issue of S6 since October’s #14.

Neither R.E.B.E.L.S. #14 nor Warlord #12 are designated “final issues,” but both sound rather final to me. At least the Warlord solicit talks about “the coming months.”

COLLECTIONS

DC catches up on some old business, I think, with a couple of collections scheduled for next spring. A couple of years ago, the publisher advertised Showcase Presents The Great Disaster Featuring The Atomic Knights, a black-and-white collection which would also have included Hercules Unbound and other mid-‘70s post-apocalyptic stories. While royalty issues are apparently keeping that volume on hold, the upcoming Atomic Knights hardcover is something of a trade-off: the original Atomic Knights stories from Strange Adventures in a color hardcover. It costs about twice as much for about half of what the Showcase Presents would have reprinted in black-and-white, but it is in color and the stories are supposed to be pretty decent.

Crisis On Multiple Earths Volume 5 was also advertised a few years back, and I presume that royalty issues were similarly at the heart of its holdup. It reprints the Justice League/Justice Society team-ups from 1978 (the “heroes of yesterday”), 1979 (Mr. Terrific’s murder), and 1980 (the New Gods), along the way transitioning from Dick Dillin’s pencils to George Pérez’s. I’m already making room on my bookshelf.

Speaking of Showcase Presents, the latest Silver Age series to get the treatment is Dial ‘H’ For HERO. This book isn’t listed as “Volume 1,” although the series was revived in the early ‘80s, well after the House Of Mystery stories collected here.

The first Power Girl collection is scheduled for April 14, and I bought the first three issues when they were published over the summer. I’ve heard enough good things about this series that I’ve wanted to catch up with it, but because of what I’ve already spent I may seek out the back issues. For the rest of you, though, this paperback is probably the better way to go.

The Sparta: USA and American Vampire series sound intriguing enough for me to check out the first issues. On balance I’m more curious about Sparta. Vampires are so played out, and Sparta looks like it’s chock-fulla good old-fashioned revenge.  (Plus there's the chance of a big fight at the old comic-book printing plant!)  Still, you have to think that the American Vampire folks want to reclaim their monsters from the Twihards.

TEAM-UP THOUGHTS

The final Blackest Night tote board is pretty simple: Green Lantern Corps #46 on March 17, Green Lantern #52 on March 24, and BN #8 on March 31.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the end of Blackest Night should wrap up the latest “event cycle.” Specifically, it would be the first time in almost four years that the next big event hadn’t already been announced. I’m reluctant to say that BN will be the last big event for the foreseeable future, because its success almost certainly has the publisher’s brain trust working overtime on a follow-up. However, in the pipeline so far are character-specific storylines like “War of the Supermen,”The Return Of Bruce Wayne, and the various Green Arrow/Red Arrow escapades. Therefore, unless all of those are supposed to flow into a larger event later in 2010, the new year may not see quite the level of cosmic catastrophe to which we have become accustomed.

Speaking of crossovers, all this talk of First Waves, Earth Ones, and assorted events has got my own little lizard brain a-thinkin’. Back in 1998, DC published Guns Of The Dragon, a 4-issue miniseries written and drawn by Tim Truman.  Set in 1927 on what would become Dinosaur Island, it pitted Enemy Ace, Biff Bradley (brother of Sam), and an aging Bat Lash, against Vandal Savage and assorted obscure DC pulp-type villains. The quasi-pulp genre is now apparently being handled by the First Wave project, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be other DCU crossovers and/or team-ups based on the non-superhero characters. For example, Jonah Hex’s recent “Six Gun War” (collection scheduled for April) featured several other Western characters, and Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion teamed Easy Company with the Haunted Tank and Johnny Cloud.  There are other such examples, I'm sure.  (And indeed, these solicits include a Sandman Mystery Theater collection guest-starring Blackhawk.)

Anyway, I’d love to see an epic World War II miniseries which combines all of DC’s wartime characters with as many other Golden Agers as might logically fit: not just Rock and the Haunted Tank, but Mlle. Marie, the Unknown Soldier, and the Blackhawks, Losers, Creature Commandos, Boy Commandos, etc. The Spear of Destiny generally kept the Justice Society out of the European theater, and so would keep the superheroes generally out of this story; but seeing a couple of them here and there might be fun.  Just something to think about, you know? Big events need not always be set in the present, especially when you’re selling titles set in the past.

At least DC could collect Guns of the Dragon....

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