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

KEY

* Blood

^ Yellow bile

% Black bile

§ Phlegm

¢ Web-fluid

July 8:

* % ¢ AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #636

The Grim Hunt storyline gets grimmer, the Kraven backup gets more... no, "craven" isn't what I'm looking for... and Stan Lee and Marcos Martin's "Sunday strip" keeps... stripping? Oh the heck with it. Preview.

* AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE #1

The return of Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung's Young Avengers--a nine-issue miniseries that will apparently be bimonthly to avoid the deadline problems of their initial series. Preview.

^ % § BATMAN AND ROBIN #13

After his superb turn on "The Return of Bruce Wayne" #2, Frazer Irving comes on board for the three-part "Batman and Robin Must Die" storyline, which Grant Morrison has described as "R.I.P. as farce." I cannot wait.

* BATMAN: ODYSSEY #1

Wow, Neal Adams hasn't drawn a Batman story since "Batman" #255 back in 1974. And now he's writing and drawing this 12-issue miniseries! Or actually, as it's currently being solicited, two six-issue miniseries. Wow, Neal Adams hasn't drawn twelve consecutive issues of a comic since "Green Lantern/Green Arrow" in 1970-1972. And it's monthly! Wow, Neal Adams hasn't drawn six consecutive full issues of a monthly series since... actually, I'm pretty sure he never has. Well, this should be interesting.

% BRIGHTEST DAY: THE ATOM SPECIAL

Jeff Lemire's first superhero comic--a lead-in to the backup Atom series he's going to be doing with artist Mahmud Asrar in "Adventure Comics." In further comics-named-after-Green-Lantern's-oath news, this week sees the first wave of "Blackest Night" hardcovers: the mothership miniseries, and separate volumes devoted to the simultaneous issues of "Green Lantern" and "Green Lantern Corps" (which don't make much sense without interspersed chapters of "Blackest Night" itself, but that's how the trade biz works, I guess). In further especially tricky people news, the ninth and final issue of the ten-issue limited series "The Great Ten" comes out this week too.

% § CASANOVA #1

The series that made Matt Fraction's reputation, and was a big part of artists Fabio Moon and Gabriel Bá's ascent--an impossibly tightly packed, over-the-top Michael Moorcock-via-"Dangerous Visions" explosion in a science fiction factory--now reprinted, colorized and expanded. Preview. Also in the Moon-and-Bá department this week: the paperback collection "BPRD Vol. 13: 1947," written by Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart.

* % I, ZOMBIE #3

Mod eats brains. Chris Roberson/Mike Allred. Preview.

^ % MARVELMAN FAMILY'S FINEST #1

Reprints of the vintage black-and-white Mick Anglo stories from the '50s, which sure sounds like code for "we're still hoping we can reprint the Alan Moore stuff at some point."

* SCARLET #1

Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev launch their new, allegedly bimonthly-and-alternating-with-"Powers" ongoing series about a revolutionary from Portland.

* % SHADOWLAND #1

The new paradigm for "contained events" begins here: five issues of this Andy Diggle/Billy Tan miniseries, six of "Daredevil," two of "Thunderbolts," four each of "Shadowland: Blood on the Streets" and "Shadowland: Power Man," three each of "Shadowland: The Daughters of the Shadow" and "Shadowland: Moon Knight," one-shots dedicated to Bullseye, Elektra, Ghost Rider and Spider-Man, and that's it until more mission creep turns up. Come on, you know every event comic should have a tie-in miniseries called "Blood on the Streets."

^ THOR: THE MIGHTY AVENGER #1

With a Thor movie due next year, Marvel's starting to rev up the content-generating machine. So we're now getting a second monthly Thor series, written by the mighty Roger Langridge (of "Art D'ecco" and "The Muppet Show"), and drawn by Chris Samnee. I suspect it's my idea of a good time, although the preview gives us a lot more of Jane Foster than of Thor. Asgardophiles may wish to note that the "Siege" hardcover's out this week too. Fans of comics about mythological figures may wish to note that so's the second issue of Bob Layton and Ron Lim's "Hercules: Twilight of a God," which is more a follow-up to Layton's earlier Hercules projects than a tie-in with "Incredible Hercules" and its related miniseries.

¢ ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN VOL. 1: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO PETER PARKER

The paperback edition of what would otherwise be "Ultimate Spider-Man" volume 23, by Brian Michael Bendis and David Lafuente. I can't think of a more consistent superhero comic running right now--there are others with higher highs, but none that deliver the goods quite as dependably.