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.
So, without further ado, here’s what’s coming to the bookshelves of your LCS this fine week of February 20, 2019.
Black Lightning: Brick City Blues
The resulting series was fraught and cut short by behind the scenes maneuvering, perhaps explaining why it remains a largely forgotten part of the character’s legacy. And that’s a shame as the first eight issues hold up, continuing the the strong characterization and socially thoughtful trend that the original Black Lightning run possessed and playing it all a little more seriously, without the need for a Bronze Age veneer of wacky pulp adventure. I admit that at times this leans a little too far into the “Dark Age” thinking of the 90s – it can certainly lack for memorable supervillians or traditional brawling heroics at times – but it tackles the realities of urban decay and systemic neglect with a quality and respect that was basically unheard of in mainstream comics at the time.
What has always stood out to me as the heart of Black Lightning is the degree to which he fights not only villains but systems. There are a lot of shallow takes about how Batman doesn’t fix anything and just beats up the mentally ill, but even acknowledging that many superheroes do more to try to fix the status quo than people give them credit for, Black Lightning has always explicitly attacked the poverty, cynicism, and outright bigotry that keeps people, especially people of color, trapped in fear and in powerlessness just as much as he does supervillians or drug dealers.
This series sees Jeff setting up shop as Black Lightning in the “Brick City”, the undeserved black neighborhood of an unnamed major Midwestern city. At first there’s no 100, there’s no single force controlling every aspect of the city’s crime, there’s just the pointless, hopeless reality of life in the Brick City and some clever musings on how the presence of superheroes could inflame the real world tensions that afflict underprivileged communities.
It all builds to the spectacular issue #5, where Isabella, Eddy Newell, Joshua Myers, and Digital Chameleon deliver an absolute masterclass, reflecting upon the nature of death in the DC Universe, taking full advantage of Jeff’s everyman hero self-image, channeling and displaying real anger for social good, and showing readers a beautiful (if still tragic) gay romance in a time when that was still incredibly rare.
As I implied, Black Lightning #5 was not only wonderfully written, but a visual powerhouse. Eddie Newell’s scratchy, heavily inked pages carry a huge amount of weight in each issue he draws. And issue #5’s mixture of vicious, muddy artistry and monochrome realism is jaw-dropping.
It’s not a perfect series by any measure, but getting more of Isabella’s Black Lightning is a gift that should never be overlooked, especially considering that this is the first time that this series has ever been collected! Brick City Blues collects all thirteen issues of of the series, including those after Isabella was replaced with Dave deVries, plus Isabella’s Kwanzaa story from DC Holiday Bash #2 and retails for $19.99. Honestly having easy, mass market access to Black Lightning #5 is almost worth the price of admission right there, but getting the entire series for around $1.50 an issue is a pretty good deal on its own. Grab this one, folks, it’s one of those unexpected forgotten collections you thought would never come.
The DC Universe by Len Wein
Though he might be best known as the man who created Wolverine, Len Wein was a comic book legend in almost every sense of the word. A prolific writer who created huge numbers of iconic characters at both DC and Marvel, Wein was also a talented editor who served as Marvel’s editor-in-chief and edited Watchmen. Over a forty-nine year career that ended with his death last fall, Wein changed the comics landscape over and over in a remarkable assortment of ways. So it’s neither unearned nor surprising that DC has collected 23 of Wein’s greatest stories for them in their “The DC Universe By…” line of graphic novels.
This collection strives to encapsulate the vast range and length of Wein’s career at DC, while also prioritizing completion. That means that, while there’s no classic Swamp Thing to be found here, readers will see Wein’s first published comic, Teen Titans #18, as well as Wein’s acclaimed “Unknown Soldier of Victory” anniversary arc from Justice League of America, the complete Action Comics run of The Human Target, the original Warworld Trilogy, the retro-themed DC Retroactive: Green Lantern – The 80s, and more. Wein’s long and storied career also ensures that this is a who’s who of classic DC artists the likes of Jim Aparo, Dick Giordano, Kelley Jones, Neal Adams, Carmine Infantino, and beyond.
This 384-page hardcover is a fantastic opportunity to look back on both the greatest hits of one of comics’ most influential talents and explore some lesser known titles who’s influence ripples all the way to the present day. The book retails for $34.99.
I chose to give these two books the close-up treatment, but there were plenty to choose from. There are new printings of classics like Transmetropolitan, collections for new comics like The Beauty and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ run on Captain America, and tons of manga. Here’s Diamond’s complete listing of collections and graphic novels for this week.
BEAUTY TP VOL 05 (MR) $16.99
BULLY WARS TP VOL 01 $12.99
BURNOUTS TP (MR) $16.99
DAYS OF HATE TP VOL 02 (MR) $17.99
HIGH CRIMES TP (MR) $19.99
Dark Horse Comics
BEDTIME GAMES TP $17.99
DISNEY PIXARS INCREDIBLES 2 TP VOL 01 CRISIS MIDLIFE & OTHER $10.99
STARCRAFT TP VOL 01 $17.99
BATGIRL YEAR ONE DELUXE ED HC $34.99
BLACK LIGHTNING BRICK CITY BLUES TP $19.99
DC UNIVERSE BY LEN WEIN HC $34.99
ELSEWORLDS JUSTICE LEAGUE TP VOL 03 $34.99
HE MAN & THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE OMNIBUS HC $150.00
TRANSMETROPOLITAN TP BOOK 01 (MR) $19.99
WONDER WOMAN REBIRTH DLX COLL HC BOOK 03 $34.99
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN BY NICK SPENCER TP VOL 02 $15.99
BLACK PANTHER EPIC COLL TP REVENGE BLACK PANTHER $39.99
CABLE & X-FORCE TP ONSLAUGHT $39.99
CAPTAIN AMERICA TP VOL 01 WINTER IN AMERICA $17.99
DEADPOOL MPGN TP SECRET AGENT DEADPOOL $14.99
GHOST RIDER TP BOOK 01 WAR FOR HEAVEN $34.99
OLD MAN HAWKEYE TP VOL 02 WHOLE WORLD BLIND $17.99
PUNISHER TP VOL 01 WORLD WAR FRANK $15.99
UNCANNY X-MEN BY GILLEN COMPLETE COLLECTION TP VOL 01 $39.99
WEST COAST AVENGERS TP VOL 01 BEST COAST $17.99
ADVENTURE TIME MARCELINE PIRATE QUEEN ORIGINAL GN $14.99
LUMBERJANES TO MAX ED HC VOL 05 $39.99
Comics and Graphic Novels
ACCA 13 TERRITORY INSPECTION DEPT GN VOL 06 $15.00
ALICE & ZOROKU GN VOL 05 $12.99
ARCHIE VARSITY ED HC VOL 01 $34.99
BARAKAMON GN VOL 17 $15.00
BEST OF STAR WARS INSIDER TP VOL 08 SAGA BEGINS $24.99
CAPTAIN HARLOCK CLASSIC COLLECTION GN VOL 03 $27.99
CHI SWEET ADVENTURES GN VOL 03 $11.95
COMPLETE CABALLISTICS INC TP $24.99
DIMENSION W GN VOL 13 $13.00
DURARARA RE DOLLARS ARC GN VOL 04 (MR) $13.00
FIRE FORCE GN VOL 14 $10.99
FORBIDDEN SCROLLERY GN VOL 06 $13.00
FUTARIBEYA MANGA GN VOL 03 ROOM FOR TWO $12.99
GABRIEL DROPOUT GN VOL 06 $13.00
GIRLS LAST TOUR GN VOL 06 $15.00
GOLDEN KAMUY GN VOL 08 (MR) $12.99
GRAND BLUE DREAMING GN VOL 04 (MR) $12.99
HAKUMEI & MIKOCHI GN VOL 04 $15.00
HATSU HARU GN VOL 05 $13.00
INCAL OVERSIZED DLX LTD ED $125.00
INFINITY 8 HC VOL 03 GOSPEL ACCORDING TO EMMA $19.99
IS WRONG PICK UP GIRLS DUNGEON FAMILIA LYU GN VOL 02 MANGA $13.00
KAKEGURUI TWIN GN VOL 01 (MR) $15.00
LAID BACK CAMP GN VOL 05 $13.00
LETTERS TO SURVIVORS GN $15.95
LONG ROAD TO LIQUOR CITY GN (MR) $19.99
MADE IN ABYSS GN VOL 05 $13.99
MISS KOBAYASHIS DRAGON MAID ELMA DIARY GN VOL 01 $12.99
MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM THUNDERBOLT GN VOL 10 $14.99
OVERLORD GN VOL 09 (MR) $13.00
PANDORA IN THE CRIMSON SHELL GHOST URN GN VOL 11 (MR) $12.99
PASSOVER HAGGADAH GRAPHIC NOVEL $19.95
PRISON SCHOOL GN VOL 12 (MR) $20.00
RAN & GRAY WORLD GN VOL 02 $14.99
RE ZERO SLIAW LIGHT NOVEL SC VOL 09 $14.00
RWBY OFFICIAL MANGA ANTHOLOGY GN VOL 04 $12.99
SCHOOL LIVE GN VOL 10 $13.00
SHIBUYA GOLDFISH GN VOL 03 (MR) $15.00
SHUT IN SHOUTAROU KOMINAMI TAKES ON THE WORLD GN VOL 01 $30.00
SILVER SPOON GN VOL 07 $15.00
SWORD ART ONLINE HOLLOW REALIZATION GN VOL 02 $13.00
TALES OF WEDDING RINGS GN VOL 05 (MR) $15.00
THOUGH YOU MAY BURN TO ASH GN VOL 04 (MR) $13.00
TOKYO GHOUL RE GN VOL 09 $12.99
TRINITY SEVEN 7 MAGICIANS GN 15.5 (MR) $13.00
TRUTH IS FRAGMENTARY TRAVELOGUES & DIARIES GN $19.99
URUSEI YATSURA GN VOL 01 $19.99
VAL X LOVE GN VOL 05 (MR)