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

KEY

* Underground

^ On the ground

% Above the ground

@ Out in space


@ ADVENTURE COMICS #12

Paul Levitz takes over writing this odd, premiseless hot potato of a series (which will reassume its original numbering in a few months), recasting it as a "Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes" title. Kevin Sharpe draws. % A GOD SOMEWHERE

Death-Of-The-Comics-Periodical Watch: having failed to interest many people in the serialized incarnations of perfectly good comics like "Mysterius the Unfathomable" and "Red Herring," Wildstorm shrugs its shoulders and releases this John Arcudi/Peter Snejbjerg project (i.e. creator-owned, no marquee names attached, no characters connected to anybody's universe) as a paperback original graphic novel, despite the fact that it was clearly created as a limited series (tell-tale sign: chapter breaks every 22 pages). Curious.

% AVENGERS PRIME #1

Brian Michael Bendis and Alan Davis collaborate on a bimonthly five-issue miniseries about how awesome the awesomely awesome Avengers triad of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor are, and why they were all pals again by the end of "Siege." Squabblefest preview!

* BULLETPROOF COFFIN #1

The debut of a six-issue series by David Hine and the mighty Shaky Kane, whose artwork generally looks like some kind of terrifying three-way hybrid of Jack Kirby, Moebius and Frank Quitely filtered through DMZ (not the one below, the one from "Infinite Jest"). Fun!

^ DMZ VOL. 8: HEARTS AND MINDS

A collection of #42-49 of Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli's series about living in Baghdad during the Iraq war, thinly disguised as a story about living in Manhattan during a civil war; this is the storyline in which journalist protagonist Matty Roth screws up about as badly as it's possible to screw up.

@ FINAL CRISIS

Grant Morrison, J.G. Jones and Doug Mahnke et al.'s big DC event miniseries-plus, now in paperback. I posted a guide for prospective readers over at Techland, so I'll just note that this is twenty bucks for about 350 pages of really good, very densely packed superhero comics, which is not a bad deal at all.

@ HERALDS #1

I'm a fan of Kathryn Immonen's writing, so I'm happy to see that she's got two books out this week--her "Hellcat" miniseries was distinctly unlike any other superhero comic I've seen lately (although in certain ways her tone reminds me of Christopher Priest's). She and Croatian artist Tonci Zonjic collaborated on a fun short piece in the recent "Superman 80-Page Special," and they're re-teamed for this five-issue weekly series about various Marvel heroines. Preview. Also, it's three bucks an issue, which is a welcome change for a Marvel miniseries these days.

@ HERCULES: TWILIGHT OF A GOD #1

While Hercules is briefly off the table and Amadeus Cho gets to take the spotlight in "Prince of Power," Bob Layton (who wrote and drew a couple of entertaining Hercules miniseries in the '80s) returns to write and ink the character for this whimsical mini. Ron Lim pencils. Preview.

* iZOMBIE #2

The first issue of Chris Roberson and Michael Allred's monsters-a-go-go girl-detective brain-eating series was a lot of fun. Here's a preview of the second.

^ MOVING PICTURES

Kathryn Immonen sighting #2: a very sharp little graphic novel, drawn by her husband Stuart Immonen and originally serialized online (but no longer available on their site), about the relationship between two people and the artwork in the Louvre during the Nazi occupation of Paris.

^ THE MUPPET SHOW #6

If we're to believe the solicitations, Roger Langridge is writing this series again, as well as drawing it. We'll see.

@ STAR WARS OMNIBUS: A LONG TIME AGO... VOL. 1

A fat, $25 collection of the first 26 issues of Marvel's "Star Wars" series--in color, it appears. The adaptation (in the first six issues) was a legendary rush job, and the series suffered from licensed-property-itis, but a lot of very interesting artists worked on it: Howard Chaykin, Carmine Infantino, Walt Simonson and Gene Day, among others.

^ STUCK RUBBER BABY

Howard Cruse's 1995 graphic novel about a semiautobiographical character growing up gay in the deep South during the civil rights movement was way ahead of its time. It's a really special piece of work--I remember (but can't find a reference to) Paul Levitz once saying that it was one of the things he was proudest of having published at DC. This new edition has an introduction by Alison Bechdel. Recommended reading: Cruse's history of the four years he spent writing and drawing the book.

@ THE THANOS IMPERATIVE #1

The official launch of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's new Marvel-cosmic miniseries (following the "Ignition" one-shot last week); this one's going to be a six-issue monthly rather than their usual quasi-weekly, multiple-series setup. It's at least sort of clever that the premise has all the good guys fighting on the side of death. Miguel Sepulveda draws; preview here.

@ X-MEN FOREVER GIANT-SIZE #1

Chris Claremont and Mike Grell--not exactly a teaming anybody was expecting, but it's nice to see them getting the nonexistent band back together. This one-shot (previewed here) seems to be a tribute to Grell's mentor-of-sorts from his "Legion of Super-Heroes" days, Dave Cockrum, and also includes a reprint of the first post-Cockrum issue of "Uncanny X-Men" (a.k.a. John Byrne's first), #108.