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

KEY:

* Bring on the bad guys

^ Bring on the dancing horses

% Bring on the night

¢ Bring on the rain

* AVENGERS ACADEMY GIANT-SIZE #1

This Paul Tobin/David Baldeon project was on and off the schedule, initially as Avengers Academy Annual, Spider-Girl Annual and Young Allies Annual, a three-part story called "Game On" in which they'd take on Arcade and Murderworld, then as a miniseries called Arcade: Death Game; it turned out the whole thing was just being telescoped into a $8 one-shot. Sounds like a good deal.
^ % BAT BOY: THE WEEKLY WORLD NEWS COMIC STRIPS BY PETER BAGGE

Like it says. Bagge's strip--based on a WWN gag that was funny the first time and then got run deep into the ground--isn't his best work by a long shot, but it did have its moments over its two-year run, and apparently this $18 IDW collection is reproduced at close to original size.

^ DC COMICS PRESENTS: SON OF SUPERMAN

The Howard Chaykin shutout continues: this $8 one-shot reprints a prestige format thing from 1999, written by Chaykin and David Tischman and drawn by J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray--I believe it was Williams and Gray's last major collaboration before Promethea.

% ¢ DMZ VOL. 10: COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT

In which Brian Wood's fairytale of Baghdad via New York moves toward its endgame, with several artists. Nathan Fox draws one issue!

^ ¢ GARDEN

You know how Matthew Barney basically makes movies to show off his sculptures? Yuichi Yokoyama seems to make comics to have a venue for his ideas about architecture and landscape. This is a 320-page narrative with characters and dialogue that are basically just there to explain what Yokoyama is drawing. Very striking; very, very odd. Yuichi Yokoyama. (On the Midtown Comics list, not the Diamond Comic Distributors list.)

^ GREEN LANTERN SUPER SPECTACULAR

A magazine-format, ten-dollar thing with four reprints in it, notably Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's much-reprinted "Tygers" and John Broome and Gil Kane's much-referenced Green Lantern #40.

% ¢ iZOMBIE #13

Mike Allred returns to drawing this Chris Roberson-written series for a new storyline called "5 Brains, 5 Months."

% MOON KNIGHT #1

So Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev are going to attempt to do Moon Knight monthly and Scarlet bimonthly? At the same time? Bendis, not a problem: I think he's only writing those two plus Avengers and New Avengers and Ultimate Spider-Man (which, uh, may not have too much longer to run) and Takio and allegedly Powers; that's nothin'. But I will be pleasantly and strongly surprised if Maleev can draw 18 issues a year.

^ % THE NEXT DAY

A "graphic novella," written by Paul Peterson and Jason Gilmore and drawn by the great John Porcellino, adapting interviews with four survivors of near-fatal suicide attempts. I don't know anything else about it, but "John Porcellino" is the magic phrase.

* ^ % SECRET SIX #33

I love that one of the plot devices of this series--which apparently comes to fruition in this Gail Simone/J. Calafiore issue--is that there is a card that will literally get someone's soul out of Hell free.

¢ SPIDEY SUNDAY SPECTACULAR

Remember how I was all psyched about that Spider-Man: New York Stories trade a few weeks ago, on the grounds that it included the Stan Lee/Marcos Martin backup strips from Amazing Spider-Man? This is a $4 collection of just those. Odd that they'd be publishing it this way now, but no complaints: this is an exceptionally well-drawn comic book.

* TASKMASTER: UNTHINKABLE

$15 collection of a Fred Van Lente/Jefte Paolo miniseries that several people have described to me as being "unexpectedly good."