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Don’t Ask! Just Buy It!: Oct. 21: Iron Man, Legion of Three Worlds, Spider-Woman, Underground

Savage Critic and “Reading Comics” author Douglas Wolk runs down the hottest comics and graphic novels coming out this week:


^ Fists
% Science


In which Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca wrap up their excellent 12-part “World’s Most Wanted” serial, and the price gets jacked up a dollar. Here’s hoping there’s some extra content to justify that. Preview here. Also out this week, for Fractionphiles: a new edition of “The Five Fists of Science,” a 2006 graphic novel by Fraction and Steven Sanders about Nikola Tesla that’s reappearing just in time for the steampunk convention this weekend in Seattle. Just don’t confuse it with “Two-Fisted Science,” a more factually-based book (written by Jim Ottaviani) that’s also getting a new printing this week.


Gilbert Hernandez sure can design a cover. Preview here; its scribbles-for-shading and floating heads in space keep reminding me of latter-day Steve Ditko.


Remember when soldiers of fortune used to hang around at the Berlin Olympics, and sometimes wore hats? Howard Chaykin does.


A hardcover collection of Geoff Johns and George Pérez’s very slowly serialized five-parter in which the Legion of Super-Heroes’ three incarnations join forces with each other and Superman for a really, really, really big fight. It’s only very peripherally a “Final Crisis” story (for trainspotters: it can serve as a bridge between the end of “Superman Beyond” #2 and the beginning of “Final Crisis” #6, although neither story is ever addressed directly in its pages), but it’s enormously entertaining in a let’s-see-how-many-characters-we-can-cram-onto-each-page way. Mostly, it’s a nexus of the Johnsverse–all his favorite franchises show up in one form or another, especially Superboy-Prime (who gets a couple of absolutely wonderful scenes, including the volume’s concluding body-slam directed toward angry fanboys), and several dead characters return to life through sheer hand-waving. It’s energetic, that’s for sure.


The part of me that enjoys genre-based comics is glad that there’s a currently modish non-spandex genre that has all these fine creators–Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Dean Motter, David Lapham, Paul Grist and many more–closely associated with it. The part of me that specifically admires Brubaker’s crime stories wishes someone would bring his early semiautobiographical collection “A Complete Lowlife” back into print. Here’s a preview of the anthology.


Remember: you can see all of the Spider-Woman motion comic free on Hulu now. Or you can spend three bucks for the fungible motionless version. Preview here.


…But not quite the Nightwing and Flamebird who are appearing in “Action Comics” these days. The first team by that name was Superman and Jimmy Olsen, taking on Batman-and-Robin-like roles in Kandor; for a little while in the ’70s, the Nightwing and Flamebird identities were taken by a couple of Kandor natives, and their adventures ran in “Superman Family” for a year or so. This is a collection of that material, including what I remember as a particularly nice-looking Marshall Rogers-drawn story; writer Paul Kupperbergdescribes Rogers’ art as “truly better than the writing deserved.”


The final four-dollar installment of the serialized, recolored, maybe-quietly-touched-up-a-bit version of the Lee/Kirby “Tales of Asgard” backups, this time covering stories from “Thor” #137-145.


Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber’s spelunking thriller continues. Will there be claustrophobia? You bet your bippy. Preview here.

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