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

KEY:

* Soda pop

^ Magic mushrooms

% Weed

@ Tiger tea

¢ Booze

£ Synthi-caf

§ Braaaains

* ADVENTURE COMICS #524

Last month's opening episode of Paul Levitz, Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning's Legion Academy serial was an odd duck--Jimenez's art was as shiny as ever, but the plot felt like Levitz was once again in his 1984 position of writing both the primary and secondary Legion of Super-Heroes comics, and this one's definitely the secondary one. (Even the dialogue recalled the days when "Baxter paper" was a big thing.) I'm curious to see where it goes, though.

* AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #656

All you have to say is "Marcos Martin is drawing it," and I'm there. Dan Slott writes. There's some kind of new armor or something. But really: Marcos Martin is drawing it.

* DC COMICS PRESENTS: BATMAN--IRRESISTIBLE

Tom Peyer/Tony Harris comics, reprinted: three issues of Legends of the Dark Knight and one of Hourman.

^ DODGEM LOGIC #7

It's good that Alan Moore has an outlet to express himself, even now. Is that a Kevin O'Neill... Christmas cover? (On the Midtown Comics list of new releases, but not the Diamond list.)

^ % DUNGEON QUEST BOOK TWO

Joe Daly's D&D/stoner/sword-and-sorcery semi-parody epic continues. Opening caption: "In their ongoing mystical quest to find the missing parts of the Atlantean resonator guitar our heroes find themselves wandering through the primeval gloom of Fireburg Forest in an attempt to find the prophet and poet, Bromedes, and return his borrowed penis sheath..." That about sums up the aesthetic here. (On Midtown's list, not Diamond's.)

* FEAR ITSELF: BOOK OF THE SKULL

Ed Brubaker and Scot Eaton's prologue to the big Marvel spring-and-summer event. Sign that I am very old: I remember, back in 1984, reading Captain America #300, in which the Red Skull dies, and seeing a note in the letter column to the effect that yeah, the Red Skull was gone for good now, that it was really time to move past that particular battle and that Cap had so many more possibilities.

* ICEMAN AND ANGEL #1

Selling point #1: this one-shot is drawn by Juan Doe, who hasn't drawn a lot of interior comics art, but what he's done is really gorgeous--check out this gallery of his covers. Selling point #2: the story, by Brian Clevinger, involves GOOM, the Thing from Planet X.

¢ INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #502

Last month's issue of this steady-rolling Matt Fraction/Salvador Larroca series was one of the best yet (and reinforced my suspicion that Invincible Iron Man is actually a stealth Spider-Man series)--not least because Larocca busted out a significantly different drawing style for the flashback sequences. Mostly, though, I love the idea of Tony Stark dropping some AA wisdom on Doctor Octopus. This issue wraps up the two-parter. Also in this week's Fraction department: Casanova: Gula #3, reprinting #12-13 of the original series (with, I imagine, some typically impressive backmatter).

§ iZOMBIE VOL. 1: DEAD TO THE WORLD

In the Misfits' repertoire, next to the "Death Comes Ripping"/"Green Hell"/"Skulls" stuff that punk and metal bands that came after them seized on, there was an anomaly: a cover of "Ratt Fink," Allan Sherman's parody of the Ames Brothers' "Rag Mop." Chris Roberson and Michael Allred's adorable monsters-a-go-go series occupies roughly the same place in the horror-comics pantheon: a braineater comic that's five parts Melvin Monster to one part The Walking Dead.




£ JUDGE DREDD: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES VOL. 17

The new volume covers about half of 1992--the period when Garth Ennis had all but entirely taken over writing Dredd, both in his weekly 2000 A.D. adventures (#776-803 are here) and in the biweekly Judge Dredd Megazine feature (#2.01-2.11). John Wagner turns up for a three-parter, "Texas City Sting," but otherwise it's Ennis's show. The longest story here, the 20-part zombie-attack piece "Judgement Day," was a crossover between the two series, guest-starring Johnny Alpha of Strontium Dog; it's one of the only Dredd stories to have appeared in the States in the first decade of the 2000s, thanks to the 2004 Rebellion/DC reprint. (On Midtown's list, not on Diamond's.)

* KNIGHT AND SQUIRE #6

My, this Paul Cornell/Jimmy Broxton miniseries about the British Batman and Robin certainly ended up considerably less good-timey than it looked like it was going to be at first.

@ KRAZY AND IGNATZ 1919-1921: A KIND, BENEVOLENT AND AMIABLE BRICK

The next-to-last volume of Fantagraphics' reprint of all of George Herriman's miraculous "Krazy Kat" Sunday strips. I could go on about this stuff all day, so I won't start, except to say: not for fast quaffing, for slow sipping.

* § XOMBI #1

John Rozum, who's wriring the new incarnation of this supernatural/high-tech thriller, co-created the original mid-'90s version too. It was my favorite of the original Milestone lineup, but I wouldn't have thought it'd be the most likely candidate for a 15-years-later revival. Not that I am complaining. At all. Especially since it's being drawn by the godlike Frazer Irving, whose work on Batman and Robin last year was flabbergastingly excellent.