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

KEY

* The Greeks had a word for it

¢ Truthiness

§ Arachnids

¥ Ex-military types



Dec. 23:

¥ CRIMINAL: THE SINNERS #3



More bad people doing bad things for internally but not externally defensible reasons, as drawn by Sean Phillips, which means everything looks like it's about to pry itself off the page, scuttle out of the comic and embed itself in your skin.

* ¥ DETECTIVE COMICS #860



The conclusion of Batwoman's origin, and apparently the last J.H. Williams III-drawn Batwoman story we're going to be seeing for a little while (a three-parter drawn by Jock starts next issue). Feast your eyes.

¢ ¥ FOOTNOTES IN GAZA



Joe Sacco's masterpiece to date--a phenomenal piece of comics journalism, in which he attempts to reconstruct what happened in two massacres in Gaza in 1956 (and explains, along the way, a lot of what's going on there now). There's anextended preview at the Macmillan site.

* INCREDIBLE HERCULES #139

Oh no! It's going to be ending in a year! Or not! Or something! Well, maybe throwing some guest stars in will get a few more people to read this perpetually entertaining series about Greek mythology colliding with Norse mythology and monomythic archetypes, co-starring "the seventh smartest person in the world." Preview, including a typically amusing recap page. Admirers of co-writer Fred Van Lente's should note that this week also sees the release of "More Than Complete Action Philosophers," an omnibus edition of his and Ryan Dunlavey's explanation of a few dozen philosophers' lives and thought; previews here.

* IRREDEEMABLE VOL. 2

In some ways, you can think of this series as a variation on "The Walking Dead"--a horror story that normally has a clear ending made scarier by turning it into an ongoing series. Except instead of zombies, there's Superman. Also out this week: the ninth issue of the series itself.

§ MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN #58



Paul Tobin and Matteo Lolli's all-ages-style Spider-Man reboot has been appropriating all sorts of under-appreciated bits of the Marvel universe; this issue, we get the Blonde Phantom Detective Agency! Preview.

§ ¥ MARVEL MASTERWORKS: NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. VOL. 2 HC

$55 gets you a fancy hardcover reprint of almost all the Nick Fury stories that Jim Steranko drew in the late '60s, covering "Strange Tales" #154-168 and "Nick Fury" #1-3--a James Bond ripoff that gradually became the vehicle for Steranko to draw a bridge from Jack Kirby (with whose layouts he'd initially worked) to hardcore psychedelia. There's a bit of preview materialhere.

¢ THE ORIGINAL JOHNSON VOL. 1 GN

Trevor Von Eeden was a hotshot young artist who drew a ton of comics in the late '70s and early '80s; he co-created Black Lightning as a teenager, and drew the first eight issues of a bizarre, wonderful series called "Thriller" in 1983-1984. His comics work has been increasingly sparse over the last 15 years or so (and he got to tell his side of the story in a recent and kind of jaw-dropping "Comics Journal" interview). For the last few years, he's been working on this biography of boxer Jack Johnson. It's hit some speed bumps along the way, and in fact it was supposed to be out a year ago, but here it is at last; you can read at least the bulk of it here.