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



KEY

* Hearts

^ Diamonds

@ Spades

¢ Clubs

¢ ACTION COMICS #891

Paul Cornell and David Finch's first issue of their run on "Action Comics"--or "Super-Villain Punch-Up," as Cornell joked that he's calling it--was one of the most pleasant surprises of last month's comics, and an incredibly clever approach to the nearly impossible remit of writing a Superman comic without Superman in it. I'm in for the duration.


* ^ AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS BLACK CAT #2

The regular title's been pushed back once again--no wonder it's going twice-monthly after "Origin of the Species." But at least we get this Jennifer Van Meter/Javier Pulido "Grim Hunt" tie-in this week, several weeks after "Grim Hunt" has ended. (Preview.) And the final issue of "Peter Parker," reprinting a previously web-only Tom Peyer/Todd Nauck Spider-Man/Thing team-up that doesn't seem to be connected to the serial of the previous four issues. (Preview.) And "Marvel Adventures Spider-Man," in which Bullseye is still walking around unpunctured. Somebody's gotta puncture that guy. (Preview.)

@ ¢ BATMAN: THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #4

Now that we know Bruce is returning to run a franchise, we get to see what Grant Morrison has him do in Jonah Hex's era. This was the issue that was solicited as being drawn by Cameron Stewart, but is now being drawn by Georges Jeanty.



* ^ GLAMOURPUSS #14

Dave Sim, being Dave Sim.

^ @ JON SABLE FREELANCE OMNIBUS VOL. 1

Thirty bucks gets you 452 pages of writer/artist Mike Grell's most '80s creation, a dude-with-gun-for-hire with the worst mask ever.

¢ THE MUPPET SHOW #8

Roger Langridge is drawing as well as writing it again! Also in the Langridge department this week: "Thor: The Mighty Avenger" #2, which he wrote but didn't draw. (Preview.)

@ SHOWCASE PRESENTS SGT. ROCK, VOL. 3

Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert's badass kills the hell out of the enemy, circa "Our Army At War" #149-180.

^ ¢ SUPERMAN: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW?

The hardcover version was at least oversized; with the paperback, $15 gets you four stories, three of which are excellent, and all of which appear in the $20 paperback "DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore." A curious marketing decision, that.



* ¢ THE THIN BLACK LINE: PERSPECTIVES ON VINCE COLLETTA

The subject of Robert L. Bryant's book, notable for his work on various romance comics and Jack Kirby's "Thor" as well as a ton of other comics that needed to be inked overnight, damn the torpedoes, is what you might call a "controversial" figure, if controversy consists of some people saying "oh God he ruined everything he touched" and other people saying "actually he wasn't really as bad as all that." Big defender of Jim Shooter, too, and VERY angry. I'm very curious to see what this book has to say about him.

* @ ¢ X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX SAGA

An oversized $75 hardcover with #129-138, plus four extra related stories. It's been thirty years, and the X-franchise is still grappling with what the then-unstoppable Chris Claremont/John Byrne/Terry Austin team did here (and in the five issues that followed, which I think are even better, but that's an argument for another time). Also, #138 is the best clip-show comic book ever produced.