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

KEY

* Hero vs. the supernatural

% Hero vs. technology

^ Hero vs. thing with tentacles

¢ Hero vs. Japanese culture

† Hero vs. Telescope Gun Cop



† AXE COP VOL. 1

The viral online hit by Malachai Nicolle and his brother Ethan comes to print: arguably the best comic ever written by a pre-teen, with the possible exception of some Legion of Super-Heroes stories.

* AGE OF BRONZE #31

The wheels of Eric Shanower's Trojan War epic turn slowly, but they do turn--this is always a thrilling, thoughtful, gorgeously drawn series, and last issue was the most compelling one yet.

^ % ¢ BATMAN INC. #2

The first issue of Grant Morrison's new addition to the Batman franchise was enormously fun, and significantly different from the vibe of Morrison's Batman and Batman & Robin. This issue, also drawn by Yanick Paquette, wraps up that story. Too bad it now looks like we don't get #3 until February. Speaking of delayed Morrison projects, while we're waiting for the currently unscheduled final issue of Joe the Barbarian, Sean Murphy's drawn this week's one-shot Teen Titans: Cold Case. Also out this week: Batman Annual #28, wrapping up the David Hine/Agustin Padilla two-parter. I'm enjoying how Hine has been carving out a continuity of his own across various Bat-books.

^ HITMAN VOL. 3: LOCAL HEROES

Garth Ennis and John McCrae's long-out-of-print Hitman series has slowly been creeping back into print--this volume collects #9-14, which is where the series really started to click, with a mercilessly funny takedown of Kyle Rayner and the "Zombie Night at the Gotham Aquarium" two-parter.

* % THE INCAL CLASSIC COLLECTION

If your appetite for Alejandro Jodorowsky/Moebius collaborations was whetted last week, and you've got $100 burning a hole in your pocket, here's an oversized version of what appears to be the original '80s-era science fiction series (i.e. notBefore the Incal, After the Incal or Final Incal).

% INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #33

The oversized conclusion to Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca's "Stark: Resilient"; next issue, the numbering jumps to #500. What's the last Marvel Universe book that's had 33 consecutive issues by the same writer/artist team, anyway? (Since that disqualifies Ultimate Spider-Man.) Preview.

* ^ NEONOMICON #3

Jog's remarkable essay about the second issue of this ultra-creepy Alan Moore/Jacen Burrows miniseries made me go back and pay a lot more attention. And guess what: it rewarded that attention.

¢ PEEPO CHOO VOL. 3

Felipe Smith's culture-clash "what's up with 'Western manga' anyway?" series continues.

% SUPERMAN/BATMAN #79

Chris Roberson and Jesus Merino, returning to the world of DC One Million. Apparently this is the story that got Roberson the Superman gig.

* ZATANNA #8

Artwork by Cliff Chiang = automatic look-at-this, as far as I'm concerned. Preview.