author Douglas Wolk runs down the hottest comics and graphic novels coming out this week.
* From the people who brought you "X-Ships"
^ Sex panic
* % ACTION COMICS #10
Grant Morrison and Gene Ha open their three-part summer story with "Clark Kent Is Dead"--G.Mo seems to have a particular set of story premises that he keeps circling back to lately. Loved last month's "what if Superman were sold to a corporation with not-particularly-commendable motives?" story, though.
% BACK ALLEYS AND URBAN LANDSCAPES
I love Michael Cho's high-contrast, two-tone images of everything from street scenes to superheroes. (Have a look at his blog
.) This book is much more the former--drawings he's done around his home town of Toronto.
* ^ BEFORE WATCHMEN: MINUTEMEN #1
I've never seen a Darwyn Cooke comic that wasn't at least a pleasure to look at. But I also can't think of many comics about which I've felt this intensely conflicted, and beyond the obvious maddening things about this project (among them the fact that Watchmen
is a hermetically perfect sphere that doesn't need anything not already present on the page), I would really, really love to see Cooke work on something that was entirely his own creation. In circumstantially related releases, Chris Roberson and Mike Allred's iZombie
#26 is out this week too.
* % DARK AVENGERS #175
The Brian Michael Bendis/Mike Deodato incarnation of Dark Avengers
was essentially a continuation of the Warren Ellis/Deodato period of Thunderbolts
--they've got very similar concepts, in some ways--and with this issue, Jeff Parker and Declan Shalvey's Thunderbolts
changes its title to get in on the still-apparently-golden Avengers franchise.
* DIAL H #2
I wasn't totally convinced by the first issue of China Miéville and Mateus Santolouco's revival of what's arguably DC's most naff superhero franchise, but I trust Miéville's writing enough that I'm still very curious to see where this goes.
% DMZ VOL. 12: THE FIVE NATIONS OF NEW YORK
The wrapup of Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli's little Vertigo title that could. DMZ wasn't an easy series to love--it didn't offer the obvious pleasures of, say, Y: The Last Man
, or the consistency and goal-directedness of 100 Bullets
. But it was a very smart series, with an incredibly strong aesthetic, and it's the best American comic about the Iraq war so far. I think it'll be a fascinating period piece to come back to in future decades.
* ^ EARTH 2 #2
When I got off an airplane last Friday, there was a message waiting for me from a cable TV network that said they'd really like to interview me about Green Lantern was coming out. I wrote back and explained that this was not the first gay superhero or the first gay comic book character, and that the Green Lantern in question was not the first one most people would think of when you said "Green Lantern" (or the second, or the third), and had really only been a minor supporting character for the past 60 years or so, and that, as with so many things, It's Complicated. James Robinson writes, Nicola Scott draws. Also this week: Earth 2
's companion title, Worlds' Finest
#2, by Paul Levitz, George Pérez and Kevin Maguire--I really enjoyed the first issue, although it has one of the worst logos I've seen recently.
^ % ED THE HAPPY CLOWN
This is, I believe, the fifth iteration of Chester Brown's early masterpiece--specifically, a totally bonkers, super-scatological, sexually and religiously confused, deeply felt early masterpiece, originally serialized in Yummy Fur
in the '80s, collected twice before (with different endings), and re-serialized a couple of years ago. This version is a $25 hardcover, with a new foreword and notes (presumably the notes from the recent serial version).
* GREEN ARROW #10
Written by Ann Nocenti, drawn by Oliver Nome--the latter of whom is currently trying to raise money for a life-saving operation
. If you like his work, maybe think about buying a page or two of his original art.
* JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #639
Kieron Gillen and Richard Elson (I believe) launch a new storyline, two weeks after the last issue, and one week after the conclusion of "Exiled." Just go ahead and make Gillen's J.I.M.
a weekly, Marvel! That would totally work! Speaking of comics-making machines, this week also sees Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca's Invincible Iron Man
#518, as well as Fraction and John Romita Jr.'s Avengers Vs. X-Men
^ % MAGGIE THE MECHANIC
So you hear people talking all the time about Jaime Hernandez and how he's one of the most amazing cartoonists working in the English language and all that, and there are so many Love and Rockets
collections in so many formats, and where do you start? If you're one of the people who prefers to start at the beginning, there is a new printing of this stout little paperback out this week, which collects his earliest, sci-fi/punk-type "Locas" and "Mechanics" stories, as well as a new printing of the second volume, The Girl From H.O.P.P.E.R.S.
, in which he hits the groove in which he's stayed most of the time since then. I never get tired of re-reading these.
* POPEYE #2
Roger Langridge writes; Ken Wheaton draws one story, the mighty Tom Neely the other (involving Sappo, and let me just say that it takes a hardcore E.C. Segar fan to ever want to write a Sappo story). I don't know how many people noticed in the first issue that Popeye's first line of dialogue here was the same as his first line from "Thimble Theatre" ("D'ja think I'm a cowboy?"), but it put me at ease right away.