Savage Critic and "Reading Comics" author Douglas Wolk runs down the hottest comics and graphic novels coming out this week.


* Flashbacks

% Sense of smell figures prominently

† Creepy intergenerational romance

£ Quicksilver (or relatives thereof)

¥ Nine impossibidillion

^ Creators have had staple-bound work published by Fantagraphics


Dash Shaw's massive, frantic graphic novel about future communities, telepathy, psychedelic drugs and contact sports involving ten-sided dice was initially serialized at his Web site; the print version is substantially revised. It's also a beautiful object, with a radioactive-looking metallic cover design, a spine that opens at the top, printing on the edges of the pages, maps on the inside covers that open out for easy reference, etc. As usual with Shaw's comics, about 2/3 of his ideas don't actually work at all, but the remaining third are fresher and cleverer than everything else being published this month combined.


The light! My eyes! Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi and Fernando Pasarin pick up where Blackest Night left off, with the dozen characters resurrected at the end of the story. This 26-issue miniseries--initially described as biweekly, now revised to "twice a month," which provides a little more wiggle room--looks like it's going to be another attempt at the "spine of the line" premise first attempted with Countdown; a lot of DC series will be spinning out of or directly tied into it. So why is this issue #0, rather than #1? Maybe because that way there can be two first issues. Cunning! Anyway, it's 56 pages for four dollars.


A new volume of Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar's sprawling fantasy epic, this time collecting two French volumes from its dystopian late-in-the-timeline subseries, respectively drawn by Kerascoët (the duo best known over here for Miss Don't Touch Me) and Obion.

* £ THE FLASH #1

And speaking of "Brightest Day," here's the first of those tie-ins: Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul, having jumped ship from Adventure Comics after four issues, reunite to return Barry Allen to the title that got along very well without him for 25 years or so. I would also like to point out that, unless I'm miscalculating, Johns now becomes only the second person to write a Barry Allen series since, like, 1972--did Cary Bates miss any issues between #218 and #350?


A one-off "breather" issue of Mark Waid's Superman-hates-us-all series, with three short stories written by Waid and drawn by Paul Azaceta, Emma Rios and Howard Chaykin--the last of those actually appears to be an Incorruptible-related origin story rendered by the Chaykinotron 3000.


I don't know why Boom! split the original volume into two hardcovers--it was just fine the original way--but I'm very fond of Don Rosa's tribute to the complicated chronology Carl Barks deliberately-and-accidentally created for Uncle Scrooge's background. Now, what I really wish somebody would do is put together a nice fat volume of Rosa's Scrooge (and Donald Duck) stories that don't appear in either Life and Times or the now-out-of-print Life and Times Companion. It'd be nice to be able to point people toward "Son of the Sun," you know?


Hope Larson's new one, a young-adult graphic novel about multiple generations of teenage girls in Nova Scotia and the history that ties them together. Larson's design sense is wonderful--I don't think there's anyone else in American comics doing the same sort of drawing she is right now. There's a preview up.


Peter Bagge's first original graphic novel plays with the idea of what people have to go through to create new identities for themselves--both temporary and permanent--and filters it through a satire on Second Life. Do people still use Second Life? Is it one of those "no one goes there any more, it's too crowded" situations? Anyway, there's a preview of this over at Techland.


A cute, short story by Gene Luen Yang, originally serialized in the New York Times Magazine.


Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon's mean, gruesome, blacker-than-black-comedy take on the Punisher continues with the introduction of their version of Bullseye.


There are various Kraven the Hunter-related comics coming down the pike right now (including the Grim Hunt Kraven Saga freebie that's out this week); this one is a reprint of Amazing Spider-Man #15 and #34, with fancy "remastered" color and a new framing sequence, for four bucks. I'm a little nervous to see what modern color looks like over Steve Ditko's artwork, but then again the modern color techniques of 1984 looked kind of fantastic over Ditko's artwork in Doctor Strange Classics, and two Lee/Ditko comics for four bucks always seems like a good deal.


This is the relaunch of Marvel Adventures Super Heroes: a version of the Avengers that's set in the continuity Paul Tobin established in the old title, although you wouldn't guess from this one that there were earlier episodes. I admire the fact that Tobin's basically established his own pocket Marvel universe. The backup starring Zabu--yes, Ka-Zar's sabretooth tiger--appears to be the justification for the four-dollar cover price. Here's a preview. Also this week: ten bucks gets you the Tobin-written Marvel Adventures Spider-Man digest, "Peter Parker Vs. the X-Men."