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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – January 18, 2012: Umbrellas Assemble

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

KEY:
* Brushes
^ Fur
% Tech

^ DAREDEVIL #8
Mark Waid writes the second half of the Amazing Spider-Man crossover; Kano’s the guest artist on this one.

* ^ FEAR ITSELF: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY HC
The Loki serial that Kieron Gillen’s been writing is one of Marvel’s low-key (aargh, sorry) gems of the moment–a tour of the peculiar Norse-myth-via-various-superhero-writers cosmology that’s accrued in Thor and elsewhere over the past few decades. This volume’s a $20 collection of the first storyline, drawn by Doug Braithwaite.

* ^ % KRAMERS ERGOT 8
I kind of don’t know what to make of the new ($33 hardcover) issue of Sammy Harkham’s art-comics anthology, which swings a big wrecking ball at “consistency.” It includes pieces by a bunch of my favorite contemporary cartoonists (Kevin Huizenga, Gabrielle Bell, Gary Panter and others), as well as some stuff that I find tedious or actively repulsive, other pieces that barely seem to have anything in common with comics-as-they’re-usually-understood, and a few apropos-of-nothing reprints of the ’70s-era Penthouse series “Oh, Wicked Wanda!” It’s generally safe to assume that Harkham’s editorial impulses are way ahead of the curve, so let’s go with that.

% INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #512
Has any other superhero title had as many issues by its current creative team as Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca have produced of this series? Anywhere near?

^ % LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #5
Paul Levitz and Walter Simonson get together for a Legion story every decade or two: they collaborated first on Superboy and the Legion #237 back in 1978, then on a 12-pager on Legion of Super-Heroes #100 in 1998, and now this. Maybe drawing a billion characters in one story is Simonson’s way of gearing up for his Avengers run? Speaking of which: Brian Michael Bendis and Daniel Acuña’s Avengers #21 is out this week too.

% STEED AND MRS. PEEL #1
And speaking of “The Avengers,” kind of, this is about the other popular series with that name: the ’60s British espionage TV show. This Grant Morrison/Ian Gibson miniseries was first published back in the early ’90s; Boom! is apparently splitting each original two-story issue in half to spin it out over six issues. That means that there’ll be two issues written by Anne Caulfield, rather than Morrison, for what that’s worth.

* ^ % STEVE CANYON VOL. 1
The conventional wisdom, I believe, is that “Terry and the Pirates” was Milton Caniff’s best work, but I love the early years of the bold, wordy, good-humored post-war adventure strip that followed it. (And the first week is a particularly clever piece of work, keeping the hero offstage until Caniff’s good and ready.) The new hardcover IDW reprints begin with this $50 volume, covering 1947-1948; the selling point for people who read it in the Kitchen Sink magazine reprints in the ’80s is that the Sundays are in color.

* ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #6
I miss the consistent look-and-feel of the Brian Michael Bendis/Mark Bagley era, but the artists over the past couple of years have been pretty terrific; this issue brings in Chris Samnee, who’s been doing graceful, eye-catching work on Thor the Mighty Avenger and Captain America and Bucky. (If you’re wondering where Caniff’s influence has gone in comics, I see a bit of it in Samnee’s line.)

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