A lot of comics come out every week. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of #1s and dramatic new status quos as they crash. That’s why I’m here. Whether you said you’d revisit checking that series out when it was collected in trade or you simply never noticed the announcement of that awesome OGN, whether you’re just waiting for that hardcover to be published as a trade or have been longing for a collection of your favorite stories since childhood, Tradewaiting is here for you, with the complete Diamond list of graphic novels and collections as well as some recommendations to scoop up.
This is a big week for trades and collections, so let’s quit dawdling. It’s time to look at the releases for December 18th, 2019.
Loki: Agent of Asgard
This week Marvel is collecting one of the best stories of one of their best characters in full and I couldn’t be more excited to tell you so. After the tremendous success of Kieron Gillen’s work on the character in Journey into Mystery and Young Avengers, the god of lies found himself looking for a new way to live and any way to live with himself. Enter Al Ewing, still relatively new to Marvel and already full of brilliant ideas, and Lee Garbett.
Loki: AoA was (debatably) Ewing’s big break at Marvel and saw the titular schemer taking on the dirtiest missions that the pragmatic but redemptive new administration of the All-Mother could task him with. Having been killed, reborn, unraveled and hijacked by his former self, and tortured by the guilt of what he’d done, Loki[kol] discovers that his legend is darker and stranger than he could have predicted as he struggles to gain control of his fate and determine what being given a second chance means to a god whose very domain is falsehood.
A masterful comic, funny, tragic, thoughtful, epic, and heartfelt in equal measure, AoA really does kind of have it all. When this series released I worried that its new, twenty-something Loki would be an unnatural attempt to capture the blandest interpretation of Tom Hiddleston’s zeitgeist, but, far from it, this series truly got Loki, personally, mythically, and in the full and wonderful context of all of Marvel’s stories before it. It’s not often that a series can claim to be largely accessible to new readers, full of affection for classic Asgardian tales, and in any way mythologically consistent, but Agent of Asgard really synthesized all of it into a wonderful whole. It’s Loki as James Bond! As Aladdin! As Doctor Who! As folk hero, as redemption seeker, as out and out villain one last time! As sinister, as betrayed, as really trying this time, as vulnerable, as a god and a symbol, as a person. The book’s overwhelming charm and ability to unify its desperate tones were well represented in its eclectic cast, and none more so than the breakout original creation of the series, Verity Willis.
Loki: Agent of Asgard has been made available before but never all in one place and with all the supplemental material so easily accessible. Readers can now pick up all 22+ issues of this incredible series for just $39.99, which, while nothing to sneeze at, is a steal compared to the cost of the four trades it used to be spread across (Agent of Asgard vols. #1-3 and Original Sin: Thor & Loki – The Tenth Realm by Ewing, Jason Aaron, Simone Bianchi, and Garbett). I cannot recommend this series enough (even more so if you enjoyed Journey Into Mystery) and Verity even just appeared in the latest Loki series, making this the perfect time to go back and get familiar.
Animal Man by Jeff Lemire Omnibus
The New 52 was a fractious initiative. Many of the series felt like padding, while some escaped from its gravity to be remembered as notable runs outside the context of the reboot. DC’s most familiar faces were left alone while their second string were reduced to zero, leaving fans to wonder what still counted, ironically making the launch alienating to some new readers. And, while heroes known around the world threw the baby out with the bathwater, desperately seeking to fit the company’s biggest heroes into a one-size-fits-all mold, some of the forgotten names and genres in DC’s toybox got a chance to do something truly different.
Through the fullness of time, the New 52 has lost something of its significance though. DC even acknowledged in their Rebirth initiative that previous attempts had failed to connect. Eight years later, many stories have been papered over while its offenses have diminished with distance and perspective. Regardless, a few of its series really have stood the test of time.
At the time, Animal Man was almost certainly the biggest success of the New 52–though the meteoric rise of Scott Snyder has admittedly led his Batman run to supplant it for many. Building on the relatable, metatextual foundation that Grant Morrison’s acclaimed run had established some twenty years before, Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman showed us exactly how an ordinary man deals with being the champion of flesh and sinew.
Rather than focus on fourth wall breaking or animal abilities, this was the series that front-lined The Red, the concept of an organic, animalistic force that ties kingdom animalia together in the DC Universe. A counterpoint to Swamp Thing’s Green, The Red was immediately horrifying and visceral in the most literal fashion. Most animals on this planet share a basic body plan and Animal Man was all too happy to show us not only how those bodies were connected by veins and chitin but how they could cease to be and how afraid we are of our very bodies. And it would only grow worse once The Rot took hold.
A family epic that mixed tender moments between parent and child with some ghastly attempts by death to masquerade as life, Lemire and Foreman’s Animal Man took the character (and his family) to the height of their fame and set the tone for the DCU going forward. Throughout the New 52 characters were tied to The Red and The Green, the series hosted one of the first and largest crossover events of the New 52, and DC’s horror landscape has been deeply tied to their parliaments ever since. Despite this, the intimate family focus of the original run has always been the most celebrated manner in which these concepts have been explored.
Lemire’s touching writing and Foreman’s monstrous but controlled art revived the ‘superhero as horror comic’ tone that made the classic proto-Vertigo titles so effective. The series has long been collected in five individual trade paperbacks, but now DC is offering it all in one place with this beautiful (if unfairly named) omnibus collection. If we’re being honest, it’s actually still cheaper to pick up all five trades at full price than to grab this behemoth, but, if you want to be a very generous gift giver your $99.99 gets you the entire saga, all in one place at an increased size, including the previously collected “Rotworld” crossover, an original introduction, and 80+ pages of behind the scenes back matter. Especially if someone loves this series or the distinctive tone it brought to DC, this has certainly been positioned as the premier way to enjoy one of DC’s most unique and celebrated runs of the last decade.
Lemire and Foreman’s Animal Man has faded from memory a bit since it took over the comic book news back in 2011, but whether you’re looking to upgrade or want to let someone experience the story for the first time in its most impressive format, the omnibus provides a reminder of why.
With Christmas week traditionally reserved for only the most seismic releases, there are a lot of comics coming to your LCS ahead of the holiday rush. DC, in particular, are offering hardcover volume 2s of several big monthly series alongside trades of the first chapters and Marvel is hitting hard as well. But, though I’ve focused on the Big Two this week, there are plenty of options from smaller publishers, from licensed journies to the worlds of Samurai Jack and Magic: The Gathering to releases of American indie hits like Bone Parish and Sonata. And, of course, there is no shortage of manga coming to stores near you this week. Especially if you’re looking for last minute gifts, there are a lot of options and it’s hard to get someone something they already have if it just came out. Take a look at Diamond’s complete listings to pick out that perfect choice.
ICE CREAM MAN TP VOL 04 TINY LIVES (MR) $16.99
OUTER DARKNESS TP VOL 02 (MR) $16.99
SONATA TP VOL 01 (MR) $19.99
DARK HORSE COMICS
DRIFTERS TP VOL 06 $14.99
GEARS OF WAR OMNIBUS TP VOL 02 $24.99
MAGIC THE GATHERING CHANDRA TP VOL 01 $15.99
MARVEL ACTION BLACK PANTHER TP BOOK 01 STORMY WEATHER $9.99
NOCTURNE WALLED CITY TP VOL 02 TRILOGY $39.99
SAMURAI JACK LOST WORLDS TP $15.99
ANIMAL MAN BY JEFF LEMIRE OMNIBUS HC $99.99
AQUAMAN HC VOL 02 AMNESTY $24.99
AQUAMAN TP VOL 01 UNSPOKEN WATER $17.99
BATGIRL TP VOL 06 OLD ENEMIES $16.99
BATMAN TP VOL 11 THE FALL AND THE FALLEN $17.99
FEMALE FURIES TP $16.99
GREEN LANTERN HC VOL 02 THE DAY THE STARS FELL $29.99
GREEN LANTERN TP VOL 01 INTERGALACTIC LAWMAN $17.99
SUPERMAN THE GOLDEN AGE OMNIBUS HC VOL 01 NEW ED $99.99
WATCHMEN COMPANION HC $39.99
AVENGERS DEFENDERS WAR TP NEW PTG $19.99
DEAD MAN LOGAN TP VOL 02 WELCOME BACK LOGAN $17.99
DEATHS HEAD TP CLONE DRIVE $15.99
DEFENDERS EPIC COLLECTION TP END OF ALL SONGS $39.99
IRON MAN INVINCIBLE ORIGINS TP $15.99
LOKI AGENT OF ASGARD COMPLETE COLLECTION TP $39.99
MARVEL STRIKE FORCE HC ART OF GAME $50.00
MARVEL VISIONARIES TP JOHN ROMITA JR $34.99
MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR TP VOL 08 YANCY STREET LEGENDS $17.99
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TP VOL 02 OTTO-MATIC $17.99
UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL GN TP POWERS OF A SQUIRREL $12.99
UNCANNY ORIGINS GN TP MYTH & MAGIC $12.99
X-MEN MILESTONES TP PHALANX COVENANT $39.99
X-MEN SUMMERS AND WINTER TP $14.99
ART & MANY MISTAKES ERIC POWELL HC $49.99
BONE PARISH TP VOL 03 $14.99
HEX VET ORIGINAL GN VOL 02 FLYING SURGERY $9.99
JIM HENSON STORYTELLER SIRENS HC $24.99
SNOOPY BEAGLE OF MARS ORIGINAL GN PEANUTS $9.99
COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS
AGAIN GN VOL 12 (MR) $12.99
AS MISS BEELZEBUB LIKES GN VOL 08 $13.00
BAD BAD PLACE HC GN $19.99
BAD GIRLS SC GN $19.99
BROTHER STORY OF AUTISM $12.99
BUNGO STRAY DOGS GN VOL 13 $13.00
CASE STUDY OF VANITAS GN VOL 06 $13.00
DEAD MOUNT DEATH PLAY GN VOL 03 (MR) $13.00
DIRTY PAIR OMNIBUS GN (MR) $18.99
DRIFTING DRAGONS GN VOL 01 $12.99
FANTOMAH TP VOL 01 UP FROM THE DEEP (RES) $12.99
GENIUS PRINCE RAISING NATION DEBT TREASON NOVEL SC VOL 02 (C $15.00
GO WITH CLOUDS NORTH BY NORTHWEST GN VOL 03 $12.95
GOBLIN SLAYER SIDE STORY YEAR ONE GN VOL 03 (MR) $13.00
HEAVENLY DELUSION GN VOL 01 (RES) $12.95
ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS GN $9.99
KONOSUBA EXPLOSION WONDERFUL WORLD GN VOL 03 $13.00
LOST IN SPACE COUNTDOWN TO DANGER HC GN VOL 03 $17.99
LOUD HOUSE GN VOL 08 LIVIN LA CASA LOUD $7.99
LOUD HOUSE HC VOL 08 LIVIN LA CASA LOUD $12.99
LYTTLE LIES STINKY TRUTH SC $7.99
NATHAN HALES HAZARDOUS TALES HC VOL 09 MAJOR IMPOSSIBLE $13.99
O MAIDENS IN YOUR SAVAGE SEASON GN VOL 05 $12.99
PACIFIC RIM AMARA GN $9.99
PLUNDERER GN VOL 03 $22.00
PRINCELESS DLX HC VOL 03 $19.99
ROBOTECH TP VOL 06 EVENT HORIZON $16.99
SAINT YOUNG MEN HC GN VOL 01 (MR) $23.99
SEEKER GN $10.00
SHADOW STUDENT COUNCIL VP GIVES HER ALL GN VOL 01 (MR) $15.00
SHIBUYA GOLDFISH GN VOL 06 $15.00
SILVER SPOON GN VOL 12 $15.00
SLEEP GAS GN (MR) PI
SWORD ART ONLINE HOLLOW REALIZATION GN VOL 05 $13.00
TO YOUR ETERNITY GN VOL 11 $12.99
UBEL BLATT GN VOL 11 (MR) $20.00
VAL X LOVE GN VOL 07 (MR) $13.00
VINLAND SAGA GN VOL 11 (MR) $22.99
WITCHS PRINTING OFFICE GN VOL 01 $15.00
YOUR NAME ANOTHER SIDE EARTHBOUND GN VOL 02 $13.00