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

KEY:

* Gonna get you with my pleasant Nazis

% The gang is down to fight, yeah

^ Have I brought this chicken for us to thaw?

% ^ ACTION COMICS #899

Paul Cornell and Pete Woods' Lex Luthor serial hits its penultimate installment, in which Lex meets Brainiac. Also this week: the first half of the serial is collected as Superman: The Black Ring, which is a pretty funny title for a book without Superman in it, and Nick Spencer and RB Silva's Jimmy Olsen story, which began as an Action backup feature, is collected and completed as an 80-page, $6 special.% AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #657

Dan Slott and Marcos Martin get to offer the Spider-Man side of his joining the FF last week. Also this week: Paul Tobin and Matthew Southworth's Spider-Girl #5.

% ^ BATMAN AND ROBIN: BATMAN REBORN

If you missed this Grant Morrison-written story on its first couple of go-rounds, it's now a paperback. With some distance, it's clearer that the first half, drawn by Frank Quitely, is a 76-trombones wonder of thrills and economy, and the second half, the Red Hood story drawn by Philip Tan, is one of Morrison's intermittent train-wrecks, a potentially interesting idea hampered by overreaching execution and terrible visual storytelling.

* ^ CAPTAIN AMERICA #616

The first issue of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's Captain America Comics was cover-dated March 1941, meaning that this is probably slightly later than the character's actual 70th anniversary, but this is when we're getting to celebrate it anyway. No complaints on getting 104 pages of material for $5, especially when it includes a Howard Chaykin story.

% ^ SCARLET #5

Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. Portland is groovy, kill the pigs, etc. Also this week in the Bendis department: Avengers #11, drawn by John Romita Jr. and continuing the bizarrely paced but entertaining Infinity Gauntlet storyline.

^ STRANGE TALES II

Last year's incarnation of the "indie cartoonists do weird versions of Marvel superheroes" title, collected. As far as I know, the only new element here is the Paul Hornschemeier-designed cover with a Kate Beaton image, but that's pretty great. And there were some serious winners in this batch: Gilbert Hernandez's Iron Man story, Farel Dalrymple doing the Silver Surfer, James Stokoe's Galactus, Kevin Huizenga's fantastic metafictional "Fight or Run" piece, Rafael Grampá's Wolverine short--I'd love to see Grampá drawing an issue or ten of The Best There Is, come to think of it.

* X-9: SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN VOL. 2

1969-1972, i.e. the continuation of the Archie Goodwin/Al Williamson years. Fifty bucks from IDW.