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


* Speaking in code

^ Young soul rebels

% The hammer of the gods

^ % FABLES #100

Vertigo does throw a lot of ideas at the wall, but sometimes they stick, as with this durable take on fairy tales and mythology. Its centennial issue is 100 pages involves a bunch of bonus features--I'm becoming a big fan of Chrissie Zullo, so I'm happy to see that she's drawing a backup, and I'm kind of delighted that Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham are going to be switching their usual writer and artist roles for another piece.* % IRREDEEMABLE VOL. 5

It's a little odd that this superman-gone-mad series is more expensive in paperback collections than as individual issues, and the four-issues-per-collection pace seems a little chintzy, frankly, considering how quickly it darts along. But the tone of Mark Waid's story--in which things get worse and worse and worse--is awesomely cruel, kind of like that "you're a mean drunk, Superman" joke cranked up as high as it's ever gone.


The British Batman and Robin battle the return of Richard III in this rather silly-looking Paul Cornell/Jimmy Broxton story.Preview.


Brian Michael Bendis/Stuart Immonen. Luke and Jessica find a nanny. Will it be Agatha Harkness? Also this week in the Avengers department: Paul Tobin and Scott Koblish's Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #9.


Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan, the reliable Demo duo, team up again for a one-off installment of Wood's Viking comic book.

^ POLLY AND HER PALS 1913-1927

The original plan for this $75 volume, the first in IDW's very handsome-looking, oversized series, was that it would reprint all of Cliff Sterrett's 1925-1927 Sunday strips--the period when the strip was hitting its prime and starting to play with crazy Art Deco ideas. Then it turned out that Sterrett had actually taken half of 1925 off--so now the volume includes a long biographical essay and a couple of representative examples of the Sunday strip from every year since its beginning in 1913. Even better! Artist I would not particularly have expected to write an introduction to a "Polly and her Pals" collection, but who does so anyway: P. Craig Russell.


The penultimate issue (sigh) of the Roger Langridge/Chris Samnee all-ages series. May Langridge and Samnee be reunited on something soon. Also this week: vol. 1 of what I assume will be two collections of the series, The God Who Fell To Earth, with what I'm guessing is the first four issues, padded out with a couple of the early Lee/Kirby Thor stories from Journey Into Mystery. Plus! Matt Fraction & Pasqual Ferry's Thor #618.


The second volume of Fantagraphics' Blake Bell-edited reprints of Ditko's early material collects the pieces he banged out for Charlton Comics in 1957, and I do mean banged out: that year alone, he drew around 450 pages for them (as well as a few pieces elsewhere, some of which appear here too). Ayn Rand's acolytes always seem to have a curious relationship with the idea of a work ethic. Preview.


A sweet little picture book for sad children, reprinted by Drawn and Quarterly as part of their efforts to collect all of Tove Jansson's Moomincartooning.


Most of these eight-dollar, 100-page one-shots have collected previously unreprinted material; this one has two-thirds of the contents of the Crossing Worlds collection, which is to say Planetary/The Authority: Ruling the World and Planetary/JLA: Terra Occulta. Warren Ellis writes; Phil Jimenez and Jerry Ordway, respectively, draw. Also this week in this format: DC Comics Presents: Brightest Day #3, reprinting a Steve Englehart/Trevor Von Eeden Batman/Aquaman story from Legends of the DC Universe and a Gail Simone/Rob Liefeld story from Teen Titans: odd couples!

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