Nov 23rd 2010 By: Douglas Wolk
Savage Critic and "Reading Comics" author Douglas Wolk runs down the hottest comics and graphic novels coming out this week.
% ^ ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY VOL. 20
F.C. Ware's "Lint"--part of which appeared as "Jordan Wellington Lint" in that Zadie Smith-edited anthology The Book of Other People
a while back--is already getting called the comic of the year by a few people of my acquaintance. It's right up there for sure: a formal tour de force, emotionally devastating and, in some ways, a real breakthrough for Ware. It demands multiple, very slow readings, far from distractions. I wrote about it at somewhat greater length here
¢ ACTION COMICS #895
Paul Cornell and Pete Woods' Lex Luthor serial continues, as does the Nick Spencer/RB Silver Jimmy Olsen backup; both are immensely entertaining in a way that certain minor DC titles often seem to have license to be. And it's a little strange to think of Action as a minor DC title, I have to say. Also written by Cornell this week: Batman and Robin #17, the first of a three-part insta-fill-in drawn by the very fast Scott McDaniel. (Preview.)
¢ BATMAN: ODYSSEY #5
Okay, this series is just weird, and not just because of its mile-a-minute plotting and writerly eccentricities (Neal Adams' idea of cover dialogue is really not at all like anyone else's). Mostly, for me, it's interesting to see how Adams' artwork now looks exactly like it did decades ago: he developed his thing, and by God he's sticking to it. Deadman guest-stars.
% ¢ BATWOMAN #0
J.H. Williams III returns to the character he drew so spectacularly in Detective Comics, now co-writing with W. Haden Blackman and co-drawing with Amy Reeder (they'll be alternating arcs of the monthly series when it launches in a few weeks). Apparently, this will be picking up a bit after the Detective story, rather than resolving it, exactly; Williams has noted that the Alice plot thread is being left open in case Greg Rucka feels like returning to it at some point.
* BERLIN #17
Jason Lutes returns (after a prolonged absence) to his superb serial about Germany before the war. This was actually on the Diamond list a few weeks back, but I missed it then, so I'm taking advantage of its appearance on the Midtown list to make up for my oversight.
* DETECTIVE COMICS #871
Scott Snyder and Jock start their heavily intro-fanfared Batman run; Snyder and Francesco Francavilla's Commissioner Gordon backup starts too, and after the Minor DC Implosion at the end of the year, it'll be appearing in repertory with Batman until the two plot threads join up at some point. Wouldn't it have been more fun if the two features coming together had been a surprise rather than a selling point? Oh well.
* % EX MACHINA VOL. 10: TERM LIMITS
Final collection of the Brian K. Vaughan/Tony Harris series, in which everything goes wrong for our politically independent hero.
* INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #32
Another installment of Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca's Detroit Steel storyline.
* ¢ MAD SPECIAL: SPY VS. SPY #1
This six-dollar, 56-page one-shot could be great or awful--the specs are that it includes work by Antonio Prohias (who created the Spies and drew their wordless Cold War follies from 1961 to 1987) and Peter Kuper (who's been doing pretty great stuff with the feature since 1997), as well as "new Spy stories from some of today's hottest cartoonists." But who? Who knows?
^ MARVEL MASTERWORKS: DOCTOR STRANGE VOL. 1
Now in paperback: a collection of the initial Stan Lee/Steve Ditko run on Dr. Strange's appearances in Strange Tales. This is probably my favorite Ditko work ever--Dormammu may be the most effectively terrifying character design in the history of comics, and the whole Dark Dimension sequence is just out-of-control thrilling. It might actually have Lee's best dialogue, too: the weird stylized rhythms of his writing sound absolutely great in the context of unearthly mysticism.
% MISS DON'T TOUCH ME VOL. 2
The third and fourth French volumes of Hubert and Kerascoet's crime-thriller about a young woman working in a brothel in 1930s Paris. I didn't love the story in the first American volume the way other people did, but the looseness and stylishness of this series' art is pretty wonderful--as Steve Duin put it, "you keep waiting for a comedy to break out."
^ * SPECIAL EXITS
Joyce Farmer's fictionalized memoir of dealing with her parents' final years is incredibly powerful and sad; it's also got some fascinating stylistic ties to her underground work from the '70s (you can see where that kind of post-Binky Brown aesthetic has ultimately led her).
^ THOR THE MIGHTY AVENGER #6
The impending demise of Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee's fine little Thor series (this issue featuring Langridge favorite Fin Fang Foom)--together with Joe Quesada's suggestion that cancelling it wasn't his call--makes me wonder who does make the call to cancel stuff. I suspect that some of this series' marketing difficulties could've been resolved by making it clearer who it was actually aimed at, but I'll miss it.
¢ ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #150
A big anniversary issue--104 pages, some of them reprinted, for six bucks--by Brian Michael Bendis and, supposedly, most or all of the artists who've worked on the series before. Also out this week: Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos' Amazing Spider-Man #649 and Paul Tobin and Roberto Di Salvo's Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #8. Those three comics technically star three different characters, incidentally. Mainstream comics, man.