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

KEY

* "Summer Babe (Winter Version)"

^ "Fight This Generation"

% "Gold Soundz"

† "Embassy Row"

& "Grounded"

¢ "Unseen Power of the Picket Fence"

* ¢ AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #641

At longish last, the conclusion to "One Moment in Time"--Joe Quesada writes, Quesada and Paolo Rivera draw. Preview. And, because "Amazing" has now fallen so far behind schedule, this week we also get #642, the first chapter of Mark Waid and Paul Azaceta's five-part, Brand New Day-ending "Origin of the Species"--the second time we've gotten two issues in a single week in the last couple of months. No wonder the series is switching to twice-monthly soon. Preview, in which Azaceta's Peter Parker looks weirdly off-model. Stan Lee and Marcos Martin's backup continues in both issues. Also this week: the "Spider-Man: Fever" paperback, collecting Brendan McCarthy's three-part miniseries and the Steve Ditko-drawn Spider-Man/Dr. Strange team-up that inspired it.* ¢ BATMAN: ODYSSEY #3

Whoops, guess the schedule slipped a week. Oh well--Neal Adams is usually pretty good at meeting deadlines, right? Preview.

* † ¢ BATMAN AND ROBIN #14

That was a hell of a cliffhanger to miss a month after, but Frazer Irving's artwork on this arc is by far the best "Batman and Robin" has seen, and when "by far the best" encompasses work by Frank Quitely and Cameron Stewart, we're getting into the stratosphere. Seriously, that panel last issue where Damian responds to the Joker's mind game is probably my favorite superhero-comics moment of the year. Preview.

% † COMPLETE HARLEM HEROES

Before Dave Gibbons was Dave-Gibbons-of-"Watchmen," he was the guy who drew this crazy late-'70s "2000 A.D." serial about a team in a futuristic, airborne, rather bloody sport--in the second half of the book, mostly drawn by the underrated Massimo Belardinelli, most of the characters get very abruptly killed off one by one. Weird, violent, curiously charming.

% DANTE'S DIVINE COMEDY

Seymour Chwast--of Push Pin Studios and "New Yorker" fame--draws the Inferno/Purgatorio/Paradiso sequence in this hardcover; he doesn't go quite as deep as Gary Panter's "Jimbo's Inferno"/"Jimbo in Purgatory," but there's some mighty nice graphic design on display here.

† DAYTRIPPER #10

The end of Fabio Moon and Gabriel Bá's nifty little serial about how the meaning of someone's life changes over time. This will probably read better as a collection, but I liked the episodic pace of the comic book, too.

% GLAMOURPUSS #15

I'd be happier if Dave Sim just stuck to the "History of Photorealism" stuff that occupies the most interesting pages of this series every issue, but he's not really in the business of making me happier, I suppose.

¢ GREEN LANTERN #57

That's right: the male Star Sapphire, the embodiment of love as an emotion, is called the Predator. I heart subtlety. But what does that heart make me? Preview.

¢ INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #30

The preview of the new episode of Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca's "Stark Resilient" includes what I suspect is the most awesome sex scene I've seen in a Marvel title in recent memory. Also this week: "Stark Resilient" vol. 1, collecting #25-28. Couldn't they just wait and do the whole thing?

% † ¢ JUDGE DREDD COMPLETE CASE FILES VOL. 16

The 1991-1992 stories reprinted here are from the period where master Dredd writer John Wagner apparently thought he was more or less retiring from the series, following the massive one-two punch of "Necropolis" and "America"; his only significant piece in here is a four-episode passing of the torch called "The Devil You Know," in which he wraps up a longstanding plot thread. His replacement was hungry young Garth Ennis, who writes most of this volume. (Ennis's crazy "Judgement Day" crossover storyline is coming up next time, it looks like.) The ten episodes from the initial run of "Judge Dredd Megazine" that fill out the volume are written by Wagner's former partner Alan Grant. The art during this period was in a bit of a transitional phase--"2000 A.D."'s artists were still working out how to do full-spectrum color work that didn't look muddy on the page--but there are some terrific artists here, including Sam Kieth, Charlie Adlard and Glenn Fabry.

^ † & LOUIS RIEL: A COMIC STRIP BIOGRAPHY

A new edition of Chester Brown's magnificent book about the 19th-century French Canadian rebel--an intensely eccentric and formally brilliant work of comics and of biography. Preview.

& LUCKY IN LOVE: A POOR MAN'S HISTORY

Stephen DeStefano--remember him from "'Mazing Man"?--and George Chieffet's graphic novel is the first of a two-volume project about a young man finding his way in the political and sexual world during World War II. It's a smart, discursive little story, and really nicely drawn, in a kind of grand post-Milt Gross style that one doesn't see very often these days. Here's apreview.

* † ¢ NEW AVENGERS #4

Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen. Marvel just puts these out in random weeks, I think. Preview. Also this week: the "Siege: Dark Avengers" hardcover, collecting the end of Bendis and Mike Deodato's awesomely cruel series.

^ † & WEIRD WAR TALES

The one-shot return of the venerable DC war anthology title, featuring three stories; the selling point is that one of them (as well as the cover) is by Darwyn Cooke.

% & THE WILD KINGDOM

A new, pocket-sized hardcover by the mighty and sui generis Kevin Huizenga--actually the latest iteration of a piece he's published in a few forms over the past decade. It's more lyrical than narrative, and it builds to the loudest crescendo I've ever seen in art comics.