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


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Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato bring us more New vs. Dark Avengers fighty-fight action, and if you suspect we just got one of these two weeks ago, we did. You can look at that in a few possible ways. One is that New Avengers is scrambling to catch up before it has to fall into lockstep with a bunch of other titles when Avengers vs. X-Men launches a month from now. Another is that, now that both Marvel and DC are getting much better at shipping everything on schedule--well, everything except some of Bendis's titles, Icon material, and Justice League, which just happens to be by the two DC creators who are probably exempt from the "no, seriously, it needs to ship on time" rule--mainstream comics have developed a small outbreak of their old fifth-week problem. Back in the early '80s, if there were five release dates in a given month, almost nothing would come out the fifth week. In the late '90s and early 2000s, there were often special events (clusters of linked one-shots, etc.) scheduled for those weeks, and the four monthly Superman series were augmented by a fifth, quarterly series, Superman: The Man of Tomorrow, just to make sure there was a new Superman comic every week. That kind of practice seems to have been forgotten with the loosy-goosey release dates of recent years. Considering this week's relatively slim pickings, it might be time to resume it.


Speaking of extra issues, Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos squeeze in this month's third issue of Amazing (counting the .1 from a couple weeks back)--this one involves Spider-Man in space, which is a really weird thing in theory, but technically he's been doing it since #1.


So that's where the wonderful Dustin Nguyen has been keeping himself: he's drawing the Justice League Beyond material in here! And the Batman story's drawn by Norm Breyfogle, who's also been keeping a low profile in superhero comics other than his reunion with Alan Grant for that Batman Retroactive one-shot a little while ago.


People I respect keep telling me how much fun Adam Warren's superhero parody series is; this package is one way of catching up for people with sixty bucks burning a hole in their pocket, a collection of the first three volumes and some other material as a 700-page hardcover.

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