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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – December 14, 2011: A Very Norse Yule

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

KEY:
* Arithmetic
^ Geometry
% Music
@ Astronomy

* ^ % @ ABSOLUTE PROMETHEA VOL. 3
Collecting #24-32 of Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III’s “did I say I was doing a Wonder Woman knockoff? I was kidding. Actually, I’m just going to explain my personal cosmology here” series, as an oversized hardcover, for a Ben Franklin. This edition is augmented with Tom Strong #36 and the Eric Shanower-drawn “Little Margie” stories. It’d be nice if it included a poster-sized version of the final “puzzle”/”multiple sequences” issue as well, but I’m not holding my breath. In further Williams news, his and W. Haden Blackman’s Batwoman #4 is out this week too.

* @ HITMAN VOL. 5: TOMMY’S HEROES
The reprint program covering Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s late-’90s-era superpowered-hitman project bulks up. The original Vol. 5 (the final previous collection) was Who Dares Wins, collecting #23-27; this version goes from #23 up to #36, and also includes #1,000,000. Which means it includes #34, the one where Tommy Monaghan and Superman hang out and talk on a rooftop–one of the peaks of the series. Superman might be the only straightforward superhero I’d ever want to see Ennis write at length. (I don’t know if anybody noticed the monologue Ennis wrote for him at the end of the JLA/Hitman miniseries, but it’s lovely.) Thirty bucks.

^ % @ JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #632
Kieron Gillen writes, Mitch Breitweiser draws, the Norse gods star, and the preview suggests that Christmas is celebrated… as the Norse gods do. What a fine series this is. Fine and fit!

^ @ NEW AVENGERS #19
Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato start the sprint toward Bendis’s wrap-up of his very long run.

^ % ROGER LANGRIDGE’S SNARKED! #3
My favorite kids’ serial comic that’s running at the moment (not that it’s a huge field): a very clever fantasia on the Lewis Carroll universe. And I’m glad to see Langridge’s name is officially part of its title. I would like him to be recognized as a cultural star.

@ S.H.I.E.L.D. #4
Jonathan Hickman/Dustin Weaver. Apparently Marvel’s solicitation writers still don’t know how to spell Isaac Newton’s first name.

^ @ THE SIGH
I wouldn’t have expected a new Marjane Satrapi graphic novel to appear from Archaia, and in fact this isn’t quite new (or a graphic novel). It’s a text-plus-illustrations book for children, and as far as I can tell her most recent book, originally published in France in 2004 (after Persepolis, Embroideries, Chicken with Plums and Monsters Are Afraid of the Moon).

* TALES OF THE BATMAN: DON NEWTON VOL. 1
A $40 hardcover with stories from Batman, Detective Comics and The Brave and the Bold, ca. 1980. Rarely have a superhero cartoonist’s gifts and inclinations been so far apart–Newton was a fantastic Batman artist in the post-Neal Adams mode, all rippling contours and heavy chiaroscuro, and as far as I can tell what he really wanted to draw was Captain Marvel. He died in 1984, at the age of 49; I don’t see him talked about much, but I’ve always liked his work, and I’d like to see him rediscovered. This week also sees Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 5, black and white reprints of Detective Comics #391-407 and Batman #216-228. It’s 1969-1970 material: Dick Grayson heads off to college, Man-Bat is introduced, Adams draws a bunch of stories.

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