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

KEY:

*Island nations

^ This is a really great week for coloring aficionados

% Franchises

£ Not franchises

* ^ % £ 2000 AD #1754

The best British comic book is finally available weekly in the U.S., as of this issue. (And no, it won't kill you to pick up a series beginning 1754 issues in.) I'm really enjoying the serials running right now--John Wagner and Henry Flint's "Judge Dredd: Day of Chaos" (a long, slow-burning story that's clearly leading up to something huge), Ian Edginton and Simon Davis's "Ampney Crucis Investigates: The English Assassin," Kek-W and John Burns' "Angel Zero" and Rob Williams and D'Israeli's ridiculous "Low Life: The Deal." This issue's also got a one-off story by Simon Spurrier and John Davis-Hunt that's essentially a joke about 2000 AD's tradition of one-off stories. Diamond also lists the September 2011 2000 AD Pack this week; I believe it contains #1750-1753.* % AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #672

Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos, wrapping up "Spider-Island" proper, although there's an epilogue next issue. Also this week: the third and final issues of the Spider-Girl, Cloak & Dagger and Deadly Hands of Kung Fu tie-in miniseries.

% AVENGERS SOLO #1

Attention, fellow fans of Jen Van Meter's writing: she and Roger Robinson have a Hawkeye solo serial that begins here.

* ^ £ COLOR ENGINEERING

Yuichi Yokoyama's color comics (and paintings), from Picturebox. His stuff is Not Like Anyone Else's: not particularly narrative, more interested in physical structures than in people's actions, pop delight filtered through inexplicable abstraction. To quote a @mattseneca tweet from a couple of days ago: "i know what the color adds to Yokoyama's work. In b+w it's fascinating, whereas in color it's outright THRILLING." (On the Midtown list, not the Diamond list.)

^ % DAREDEVIL #5

Mark Waid and Marcos Martin continue their incredibly good-looking collaboration (seriously, that sequence with the confetti last time? I just stared at it for a while) with a story involving the old "one honest man" gambit.

^ % FLASH #2

Speaking of visually attractive superhero comics, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato's collaboration on the first issue of this--Manapul draws, Buccellato colors, they co-write--looked fantastic. If there's a character who needs both artists and writers who think a lot about representing time vs. space on a page, that would be the Fastest Man Alive, right?

* % JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #630

Is Kieron Gillen's Loki/Asgard/Marvel-Universe-theology serial weekly now? I wouldn't mind that one bit. (It's not. But I still wouldn't mind.) Rich Elsin draws this issue, in which Volstagg narrates his version of "Fear Itself."

* ^ % JUDGE DREDD: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES VOL. 18

The stories reprinted here are from the 1992-1993 period (2000 AD #804-829 and Judge Dredd Megazine 2.12-2.26). In the weekly, Garth Ennis was just settling into the fact that the Dredd feature was effectively his to control, and developing his mature voice; in the Megazine, John Wagner was writing the first two "Mechanismo" serials--both of which take place in a single day, but set up plot threads he'd be following for years to come. Really nice art in this period, too (by John Burns, Colin MacNeil, Greg Staples and others); I don't know if the editorial budgets were high enough to get artists to spend a little more time on each page, or if there was some other reason everyone was on their A-game.

^ £ SPACEMAN #1

Nice to see that Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso keep collaborating on very different projects, post-100 Bullets. This miniseries is a science fiction thing, whose first issue costs a buck and involves a lot of Clockwork Orange-style argot in lieu of exposition.

£ STEVE DITKO: ANGRY APES 'N' LEAPIN' LIZARDS

An oddly titled collection of Steve Ditko's sci-fi and horror Charlton comics; the hook is that this material was produced during the same period as his Amazing Spider-Man run. Although I'm betting Spider-Man paid considerably better per page. (On the Midtown list, not the Diamond list.)

% SUPERMAN #2

George Pérez and Jesus Merino's Superman is more retro than futurist, but it's fun to see exactly how much Pérez can cram into a single issue. Also out this week: a new printing of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's Absolute All-Star Superman hardcover, which disappeared very quickly on its initial release last year.

* % TANK GIRL: CARIOCA #1

The first of a three-issue (or six-issue? accounts vary) miniseries written by co-creator Alan Martin and drawn by the great and perpetually surprising artist Mick McMahon. Tank Girl will probably look "off-model," yes. Bring it.

* ^ £ THARG'S TERROR TALES PRESENTS NECRONAUTS & A LOVE LIKE BLOOD

A collection of two horror-themed serials drawn by Frazer Irving a decade ago, the former written by Gordon Rennie and the latter by John Smith. Weirdly, "A Love Like Blood" was reprinted in the U.K. a few years ago in another Irving-centered collection, Storming Heaven. How hard would it be to get all this stuff in one place? (On the Midtown list, not the Diamond list.)