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

KEY

* King of America

^ Brutal Youth

& This Year's Model

* ACTION COMICS #892

Paul Cornell and Pete Woods' Lex Luthor story is one of the most entertaining things happening in mainstream comics right now. This issue involves Deathstroke; preview. Also in the Lex department, the sixth issue of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's nifty "Superman: Secret Origin" staggers across the finish line eleven months after the first, meaning it was actually slightly slower than bimonthly. (Preview.) Anyone want to place a bet on when their "Batman: Earth One" will be coming out?

^ AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS: AMERICAN SON #4

Still no issue of "Amazing Spider-Man" proper this week, but we do get the conclusion of Brian Reed and Philippe Briones's cruel little miniseries wrapping up the age-old "oh hey guess what Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy totally got it on and like had a kid" plot thread from "Amazing." Preview.

& AVENGERS #4

Man, why didn't Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita, Jr. take on an ongoing series together before? At last Bendis is working with an artist who specializes in crazy high-impact mayhem, and after a slow start he's giving him lots of Romita-friendly over-the-top mayhem to draw. Let's just say that Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy show up in the preview. Characters who've been out of circulation for a while are supposed to get a grand re-introduction in comics called "Avengers" #4, right?

* ^ BATMAN #702

Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel conclude their "missing chapter" of "Batman R.I.P.," which is basically "Final Crisis" told from Batman's perspective. The preview explains how Batman was able to find an appropriate weapon to fire the God-Bullet...

^ THE COMPLETE PEANUTS VOL. 14: 1977-1978

I always forget what a smart strip "Peanuts" was. I just opened this volume to a random page to remind myself of what the vibe of this period of "Peanuts" was like, and there was a joke about Christo. What comic strips were making Christo jokes in 1978?

* HARRY 20 ON THE HIGH ROCK

Featuring some of Alan Davis's earliest published artwork, this 1982-1983 "2000 A.D." serial's concept boils down to "Cool Hand Luke in outer space"--the kind of "tack on 'in outer space' and let it rip" story that writer Gerry Finley-Day specialized in. I haven't read it since it came out, but I remember it being good, stupid fun; I also remember some story Alan Moore wrote around the same time that seemed like a merciless parody of "Harry 20."

& HEROIC AGE: PRINCE OF POWER #4

The final installment of this Reilly Brown-drawn incarnation of Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente's Hercules-and-Amadeus-Cho series, which now seems to have switched to a series-of-miniseries format. (The five-issue incarnation that starts in October is "Chaos War," which I wouldn't have guessed from its title; maybe it's not such a brilliant marketing move.) There's a preview.

* JUDGE DREDD: MEGA-CITY MASTERS VOL. 1

Not a bad answer to the "where the hell do I start with 'Judge Dredd'" question: a 240-page, twenty-dollar monster spotlighting some of the more interesting artists who've worked on Dredd, including Brian Bolland, Jock, Brendan McCarthy, Glenn Fabry, Steve Dillon, Simon Bisley, Dave Gibbons, etc. (Volume 2, due out later in the year, will focus on big-name writers.)

^ LITTLE LULU VOL. 24: THE SPACE DOLLY AND OTHER STORIES

It's a really good time to be a John Stanley fan, isn't it?

^ & MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN #5

I love that the Blonde Phantom has become a recurring character in this Spider-Man-in-high-school series. Preview.

^ & THE MUPPET SHOW #9

Roger Langridge is drawing this series again as well as writing it, and last issue was pretty inspired (its premise was that everyone thinks Gonzo has become a vampire). It appears this entire storyline is monster/Halloween themed.