Savage Critic and "Reading Comics" author Douglas Wolk runs down the hottest comics and graphic novels coming out this week, using this helpful key:
Military types in trouble ^
Holy consumption ¥
Howling at the moon †
"It felt, Artemis said, like he was having an origin" %
Contains elements alluded to in The Fall's "Shoulder Pads"
% POWERS #1
Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming's superhero/cop series relaunches again, with the promise that it will be monthly this time, honest and for true.
Incidentally, Marvel's January and February solicitations each include seven Bendis-written titles: "Siege," "New Avengers," "Dark Avengers," "Ultimate Comics Enemy," "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man," "Spider-Woman" and "Powers."
* ^ BIG QUESTIONS #13
Anders Nilsen's saga about little birds and confused people trapped in the food chain reaches what he estimates is its antepenultimate issue, which is twice as long as the previous one and following it more closely than any previous pair of issues, I believe. Promising two-page preview here
* CRIMINAL: THE SINNERS #2
Or: when very bad people do fairly-to-very bad things for deeply questionable reasons. By Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, whose "Incognito" is also out in paperback this week. * † % DETECTIVE COMICS #859
Part two of the new Batwoman's origin story, and yet another excuse for J.H. Williams III to do some absolutely stunning superhero art. In lieu of an actual preview, feast your eyes
on some earlier Williams pages from this story. ¥ GANGES #3
The most recent installment in Kevin Huizenga's occasional, deliciously inventive series, whose ongoing theme seems to be self-reflection. "Huizenga" is as much information as I needed to grab a copy--he's the remarkable talent behind "Fight or Run" and "Curses," too--but if you doubt that a story about someone trying to fall asleep could be fascinating to read and look at, do yourself a favor and have a look at it. I reviewed it here
; preview here
. * GREEN LANTERN #48
Probably the only Blackest Night tie-in cover with sunlight, birdies and waterfalls on it. Well played, Doug Mahnke.
* † INCREDIBLE HERCULES #138
Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente and Rodney Buchemi, at play in the fields of Greek mythology. With this issue (actually with the "Assault on New Olympus" preview a couple of weeks ago), "Agents of Atlas" joins it as a backup strip. Preview. * % INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #20
Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca's "Stark Disassembled" arc begins. Their last year or so on this book has done an amazingly thorough job of reestablishing Tony Stark as a sympathetic character after the previous few years' worth of continuity made him an impossibly powerful jerk; no idea where it might go next, but it's going to be interesting to find out. ¥ % MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN #57
Paul Tobin's all-ages, done-in-ones-but-with-internal-continuity Peter-Parker-in-high-school series continues with artist Chris Samnee and a couple more bin-digging guest stars, notably Werewolf By Night
. Preview. ^ SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING BOOK 2
Looking back at the Alan Moore-written issues collected in this hardcover ("Saga of the Swamp Thing" #28-34 and Annual #2, originally published in 1984 and 1985, when Moore was basically just an obscure cult figure in America), it's amazing to see how hard he was pushing every month at the walls of what had been a pretty straightforward monster comic just a year earlier. In the space of four months, he gave us his "Orpheus in the underworld" story, his "Pogo as a group of marooned aliens trying to get home" story, his "oh God the new issue isn't going to be ready in time so let's just wrap a new framing sequence around a reprint of the original Wein/Wrightson 'Swamp Thing' short and by the way invent Vertigo's cosmology while we're at it" story, and his "please brace yourself because this entire issue is devoted to a woman taking psychedelics and having sex with a plant, and I am not kidding about that" story. A real treat, if you haven't read this stuff already in one of its many incarnations.
¥ SHADE THE CHANGING MAN VOL. 2: EDGE OF VISION
At last, the second volume of Peter Milligan and Chris Bachalo's crazy, day-glo 1990 reinvention of one of Steve Ditko's weirder characters; their take was all about madness and the unreliability of reality, with a bunch of sex and hallucinations thrown in. Volume 1, "The American Scream," is out in a new edition this week too. The first issue can be downloaded here
† % SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN #3
Geoff Johns, Gary Frank; Clark Kent moves to Metropolis and meets Lois Lane. Preview A
, preview B
* THE WINTER MEN
Brett Lewis and John Paul Leon's delay-plagued miniseries about superhumans in the former Soviet Union has gotten some excellent reviews
; I'm looking forward to reading it all in one place.