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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It! – May 2, 2012: Time is Actually Speeding Up

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

* Don’t say the name
^ Retro-novelty
% The myth about the microphone

I’m guessing this is the pamphlet-form comic book of this week that people are most likely to gasp at discovering a few decades from now: David Hine and Shaky Kane’s loosely coherent salute to weird old comic books goes fully fragmentary, with 84 panels that connect to the ongoing iconography of the project but not, directly, to each other.

In which Grant Morrison and Gene Ha bring back the black President Superman character from the opening scene of Final Crisis #7 (and Ha’s cover owes a bit to Alex Ross’s Obama-as-Superman painting). Also in the Morrison department: the paperback version of Batman And Robin Must Die!, reprinting B&R #13-16 and Batman: The Return #1. There’s some remarkable Frazer Irving artwork in those Batman and Robin issues.

Ed Brubaker and John Romita, Jr. do the honors this time–although Romita’s artwork in the preview looks like he’s in his “I had to draw this in a heck of a hurry” mode. Meanwhile, Romita’s former Daredevil collaborator Ann Nocenti writes this week’s Green Arrow #9, drawn by Harvey Tolibao.

Wait, wasn’t there one of these just last week? Anyway, this is by Mark Waid and new apparently-regular artist Chris Samnee–hooray!–and has another incredibly good Paolo Rivera cover. But something does seem to be a little screwy about Marvel’s scheduling this week. Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca’s Invincible Iron Man has consistently appeared the third week of every month for a good long while, so it’s a head-scratcher to see #516 coming out two weeks after #515 (Fraction and Victor Ibanez’s Defenders #6 is also out this week, two weeks after #5). Is something in AvX going to Change Everything? Or is Marvel just trying to push out a bunch of new issues before Free Comic Book Day?

% ^ DIAL “H” #1
The novelist China Miéville has been publishing award-winning “weird fiction” for a decade or so, but as far as I know he hasn’t published any comics before this one (despite a near-miss with Swamp Thing a year or so ago)–a revival of a grade-Z DC franchise about a magic rotary telephone dial that turns people into different superheroes every time it’s used. Apparently, Miéville just really, really likes that idea. The interior art is by Mateus Santoluoco, although the covers by Brian Bolland are a welcome connection to the look of The Invisibles.

% ^ EXILED #1
A one-shot by Kieron Gillen, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Carmine Di Giandomenico, kicking off a “mini-crossover” between Journey Into Mystery and New Mutants–two issues of each will follow, I believe.

I’m going to keep jumping up and down and pointing excitedly at Langridge’s all-ages, Lewis Carroll-inspired series until more people start paying attention to it, in part because by “all-ages” Langridge means that there are incredibly entertaining things here for kids -and for their parents. I believe this is the first four issues plus the material from #0, but don’t quote me on that. Also in the nicely crafted all-ages comics department, there’s a Skeleton Key one-shot, collecting the three stories Andi Watson wrote and drew in color for the online incarnation of Dark Horse Presents.

Giant “Neil Gaiman” plastered across the front of this new paperback edition. Eight artists’ names in tiny, tiny type. That said, Marc Hempel is really the star of this volume–it has a specific, haunting look to it, more than any other volume of the original run of Sandman taken as a whole.

This is one of those titles that really only makes sense to people who’ve been reading superhero comics for a very long time. World’s Best Comics #1 appeared in early 1941, and changed its title to World’s Finest Comics with the next issue. It was initially an anthology with a bunch of ongoing superhero features; from 1954 to its final issue in late 1985, it was the Superman/Batman team-up series, aside from a couple of years in the early ’70s. There have been a few miniseries and one-shots with World’s Finest or similar titles since then (e.g. World’s Funnest), usually having to do with the Batman/Superman dynamic in one way or another. Now the apostrophe has moved over a letter (because it’s a parallel-worlds story, see) for a new ongoing series about the distantly Superman- and Batman-related characters Power Girl and the Huntress, written by Paul Levitz and drawn by George Pérez and Kevin Maguire.

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