A smooth, original, unbeatable, irresistible week of comics

Welcome once again to Can't Wait for Wednesday, our weekly look at what you can expect to find in your local comic shop tomorrow. To see what Kevin, Chris and I have to say about this week's comics, read on ...

Kevin Melrose's pick of the week: Afrodisiac hardcover

Street Angel creators Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca roll out their high-energy, mind-boggling mash-up of blaxploitation films and 1970s Marvel comics like Masters of Kung Fu and Son of Satan. Alan Diesler is Afrodisiac, "a mysterious man from a far-away land -- the original, unbeatable, irresistible, smooth dark-chocolate brother," who, when not surrounded by foxy ladies, faces the likes of Dracula, Hercules, giant monsters and, perhaps worst of all, Richard Nixon.

Afrodisiac has previously appeared in an issue of Street Angel and in several anthologies, including Project: Superior, Meathaus: SOS and Popgun, Vol. 2. This 96-page hardcover collects all of those appearances and features new stories. You can read a preview and watch the trailer here. (Adhouse Books)

Chris Mautner's pick of the week: Hotwire Comics Vol. 03

Here's another hefty sampling of edgy, in-your-face alternative comics, edited by Glenn Head, who provides the cover as well as a couple of interior stories as well. This volume boasts a rather impressive A-list of contributors, including Mary Fleener, Michael Kupperman, R. Sikoryak, Mack White, Johnny Ryan and more. The Sikoryak story in particular -- a mash-up between Dennis the Menace and Hamlet -- is worth checking out, as is the great, surreal tale from White. If nothing else, I'm grateful to Head for giving folks like White a place to get their comics published, as they're the kind of artists we don't seem to see enough of these days. (Fantagraphics)

JK Parkin's pick of the week: Fall of the Hulks: Red Hulk #1

Three words: Cosmic. Hulk. Robot. 'nuff said, I think. (Marvel)

Batman and Robin #7

Kevin: Grant Morrison is joined by Seaguy and Seven Soldiers of Victory collaborator Cameron Stewart for a three-issue arc called "Blackest Knight" (hehe!), which features, of course, British vigilantes Knight and Squire, plus -- in this issue, at least -- Batwoman. (DC Comics)

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #12

Kevin: It's Captain Marvel versus his evil mirror image Niatpac Levram -- and Mr. Mind! (DC Comics)

Detective Comics #861

Chris: JH Williams provides only the cover for now, no doubt stepping aside to prepare for the upcoming Batwoman series. That leaves the one-name artist known as Jock to take over for the next couple of issues. I'll be honest -- I've never been the biggest fan of Jock's work, though just about anyone would be a tough act to follow Williams' stellar work on the series. Still, curiosity will no doubt impel me to plunk down $4 for this. (DC)

Green Lantern #50

JK: Hal Jordan goes one-on-one with a Black Lantern version of the Spectre. (DC Comics)

Justice League: Cry for Justice #6

JK: There are train wrecks, and then there are train wrecks ... and then there's this series. I thought after the first issue it really couldn't get any worse, but I eagerly read the second issue to see if it could somehow maintain, or even build on, that momentum. I think that was the issue where Hal and Oliver had their awkward "threesome" conversation. And of course, in the last issue, Red Arrow's arm was ripped off in a scene that reminded me of the time Hannibal Lector ate pieces of that guy's brain while he was still alive (and watching as his brains cooked in a skillet, no less). I was the only one in the theater who was laughing, because, well, Come on. It was ludicrous.

But I keep buying Cry for Justice, and I keep reading it, and I keep shaking my head at everything that happens in it ... but I love it, in the same way I love stuff like the second Crank movie. Stuff that really shouldn't exist but I just want to watch it to see how far they'll go. I like the fact that I get to follow up everything that happens in Cry for Justice with the thought, "Wow, that seemed a bit over the top, didn't it?" or "I don't know if that makes sense ..." or "Huh, why is [insert random DC character] suddenly popping up in the story? Ah, just go with it." I couldn't even tell you what the plot is, or what anyone in it is trying to accomplish -- something about Prometheus, I think, who is on the latest issue's cover. But then again Captain Marvel Jr. and Supergirl made out on the cover of the last issue but never seemed quite that intimate in the book, so who knows? And who cares? Logic be damned, just give us more drama. (DC Comics)

The Losers: Volumes 1 and 2

Kevin: Vertigo smartly re-releases in one 304-page trade paperback the first storylines of Andy Diggle and Jock's 2003-2006 espionage-thriller, in plenty of time for the April debut of the film adaptation. (DC/Vertigo)

Chew #8

Kevin: The surprise hit of 2009 -- the highly recommended first trade paperback is a New York Times bestseller -- marches on with the "International Flavor" storyline. You can read a preview here. (Image Comics)

The Avengers: World Trust Premiere Hardcover

Kevin: I started reading comics again in 2002, around the time Geoff Johns was kicking off his largely underrated run on The Avengers. Or perhaps it was simply overshadowed by Brian Michael Bendis' disassembling of the title shortly afterward. Whatever the case, it was one of the few titles I could find on a regular basis at the really terrible local comic store, and I liked it quite a bit. The Avengers, not the store. This hardcover collects the first five issues of Johns' tenure, which paired him with artists Kieron Dwyer, Gary Frank and Rick Remender for a story in which the capitals of every country on Earth have mysteriously disappeared. (Marvel)

Captain America: Reborn #6 (of 6)

Kevin: And so with this finally concluded, we can return to our regularly scheduled Captain America, already in progress. (Marvel)

Fantastic Four #575

JK: Kicking off a storyline called "Prime Elements," Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesmith take the FF to the hidden city of the High Evolutionary, bring back the Mole Man and, oh yeah, there's something about Galactus, too. (Marvel)

Kick Ass #8

Chris: Oh, hey, haven't seen one of these in awhile. Here's the final issue in Mark Millar/John Romita Jr's superhero slash-em-up that will be dismembering criminals at a cinemaplex near you. Hopefully this means the trade collection is only a month or two away, and I can finally read this series (yes, I'm horrible, I know). (Marvel/Icon)

New Avengers #61

JK: With the Siege in full swing, Steve Rogers returns to the Avengers. (Marvel)

Ultimate Comics Enemy #1 (of 4)

Kevin: I know nothing about this miniseries other than what the solicitation tells me: It's by Brian Michael Bendis and Rafa Sandoval (Avengers: The Initiative), and that it's apparently the Ultimate Universe all-stars against "the face of true evil" in said universe. (Marvel)

Wolverine: Wendigo #1

JK: This collects a couple of stories that originally appeared on Marvel's Digital Comics Unlimited site. Written by Frank Tieri, the first features Wolverine's first foe, the Wendigo, as well as art by Paul Gulacy, while the second features Wolverine and Thor, with art by Paco Diaz. (Marvel)

Barefoot Gen Vol. 09Barefoot Gen Vol. 10

Chris: The effects of the atomic bombing on Hiroshima continue to resonate many years later in these two volumes of Keiji Nakazawa's gripping manga. I believe Vol. 10 is the final book in the series, but don't quote me on that. (Last Gasp)

Dirty Dishes

Chris: From Drawn and Quarterly comes this collection of paintings, drawings and comics from Canadian Amy Lockhart, who frequently palls around and collaborates with her fellow Canuck cartoonist Marc Bell.

Wizard's Tale

JK: IDW releases a "remastered" version of Kurt Busiek and Dave Wenzel's story about a wizard who is supposed to be evil, but can't help but be a nice guy. It was originally published by Wildstorm in the late 1990s after its original publisher, Eclipse, went under before it was published; the new edition has been relettered and color-corrected by Wenzel. (IDW)

What are you getting this week? Check out the Diamond site to see what's arriving in stores, and let us know in the comments below.

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