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

KEY

* Beck

^ Television

& Bauhaus

@ Bob Dylan

% ABBA

& % A.B.C. WARRIORS: THE MEKNIFICENT SEVEN

A weird, crabbed, half-satirical, hyper-dense series about military robots from the early years of "2000 A.D." Pat Mills (who'll actually be at Comic-Con!) writes; Kevin O'Neill, Brendan McCarthy, Dave Gibbons, Carlos Ezquerra and others draw.& ALAN MOORE'S NEONOMICON #1

This one's been in the works for a very long time--it's the miniseries whose title Moore, interviewed a few years ago, couldn't remember. And there was already the "Neonomicon Hornbook" back in January--the first nine pages as drawn by Jacen Burrows, plus a bit of script, for two bucks. But whatever: how many more new Alan Moore-written comic books are there going to be, anyway? Four issues of this Lovecraft Homage, a couple more "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" projects, the "Moon & Serpent Bumper Book of Magic" one of these decades, and I don't know if anything else is even on the docket.

^ AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #638

Sing it: "Ooooonne... moment in tiiiiime..." Joe Quesada and Paolo Rivera move toward tying some several-years-old dangling plot threads, and Marcos Martin keeps drawing that gorgeous Stan Lee-written backup feature. Preview. Also out this week: "Web of Spider-Man" #10--has anybody noticed that the current storyline (by Fred Van Lente and Javier Rodriguez) is basically about Spider-Man fighting Steve Ditko? (Or, fine, a variation on Mr. A. But still.) Preview. Plus: "Amazing Spider-Man Presents: American Son" #3, in which Brian Reed and Philipe Briones tackle the leftover Osborn-family plot threads from the "Sins Past" and "Dark Reign" eras, apparently on the grounds that ASM proper's got enough on its plate right now. (Weirdly, Patrick Olliffe drew what looked like a few last- minute additions last issue.) Preview.

% AVENGERS #3

Oh good: John Romita Jr. finally gets to draw what looks like a solid issue of super- people hitting each other! That's very good news. Preview. Also out this week in the Bendis-written Avengers-franchise department: "New Avengers" #2, drawn by Stuart Immonen, and the paperback editions of "New Avengers: Powerloss" (with #55-60) and the rather skimpy "Dark Avengers: Molecule Man" (with #9-12). Wouldn't it be nice if Marvel could space this stuff out?

^ CBGB #1

On the one hand, as somebody who went to CBGB itself rather a lot Back in the Day and even played there a couple of times, I don't know how thrilled I am that there's a comics miniseries reinforcing its legend: it really was just another rock club with a better-than-average sound system and even-more-horrible-than-average bathrooms, it was Hilly Krystal's booking skills rather than something about the place itself that made it special, and for its final six or seven years it was mostly pretty embarrassing. On the other hand, Jaime Hernandez cover! (And a pretty good Kieron Gillen story inside!)

^ THE CEREBUS GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING EXPANDED REGULAR EDITION

If you have a preferred ritual for bracing yourself for new Dave Sim work, now's the time. The original $4 self-publishing guide from 1997 has been enlarged, expanded (to 160 pages), and marked up (to $18). According to the solicitation, this edition has been "[u]pdated with new material assessing the pros and cons of the computer revolution..." ...by a man who, as far as I know, still doesn't use e-mail. With a grain of salt, I think is the solution here.

& DC UNIVERSE LEGACIES #3

Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, that's why. (And Dave Gibbons, too.)

% ESSENTIAL DEFENDERS VOL. 5

Reprinting the early-'80s issues #92-106, plus some spin-offs. I always enjoyed how proudly off-brand "Defenders" was; almost every issue in this period has multiple inkers and fill-in artists and such, but you can kind of tell that J.M. DeMatteis has figured out that nobody's paying attention and decided that that gives him the right to write whatever the hell he feels like.

% FROM THE SHADOW OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS VOL. 2

The second volume of this anthology of Swedish art-comics. The scene, as documented by editor Johannes Klenell, seems very similar to its American kin in a lot of ways (a few contributors here seem to have particular American analogues, in fact). I did enjoy David Liljemark and Ruben Dahlstrand Vargas's "Pornographic Saxophones," though--I can't resist the charms of an X-rated story that namedrops Borbetomagus repeatedly.

^ HEROIC AGE: PRINCE OF POWER #3

Amadeus Cho and Thor play Find-the-Object. Greg Pak/Fred Van Lente/Reilly Brown. Preview.

@ RASL #8

It wouldn't be a Comic-Con without a new issue of Jeff Smith's freewheeling/free- floating interdimensional jewel thief/alternate history series. Also out this week: the "pocket edition" of the first trade, collecting #1-7. I bet it looks great at any number of sizes.

* SCOTT PILGRIM'S FINEST HOUR

Psst--this is actually out the 20th. I have a feeling I'm going to be going on at length about the final volume of Bryan Lee O'Malley's series elsewhere, so I'll just say "rating: awesome."

^ TIME MASTERS: VANISHING POINT #1

In the absence of a Grant Morrison Batman comic this week, we get Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund's "Return of Bruce Wayne" tie-in. In further spin-offs-of-Morrison- projects action, this week also sees the paperback edition of Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins' surprisingly ace "Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge" collection.

@ TINY TITANS #30

This is billed as "The Big Curly Hair Issue!" Who doesn't like big curly hair?

* WELCOME TO TRANQUILITY: ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE #1

Gail Simone's WildStorm project returns. Y'all are reading Simone's Tumblr, right? There's a lot of insight into the way she handles her characters there.