Cowboys, ninjas, vikings, presidents and King rule in this week's comics

Well, I guess technically three of those five run rampant in one comic this week -- the aptly named Cowboy Ninja Viking #1, due this week from Image. Also debuting in comic shops this week is a new Azrael title from DC, another Stand miniseries from Stephen King and Marvel, and the Talisman miniseries from Del Ray, based on the Stephen King/Peter Straub book of the same name.

Other notable floppy releases include DC's Justice League #38, the first issue by James Robinson and Mark Bagley, and Oni's Resurrection #4, where a former president joins the cast. Hey, at least they didn't try to jump on the already overloaded Obama bandwagon. There's also a handful of second issues I'm personally looking forward to -- Beasts of Burden, Underground and Spider Woman.

And trade waiters have a lot to look forward to this week as well: Legion of Three Worlds, Garth Ennis's series of Battlefield miniseries, the Vertigo Uncle Sam series, Wolverine Noir and Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers get the hardcover treatment, while softcovers of recent issues of Jonah Hex, Superman, Thunderbolts, Echo and War Machine arrive. And comic strip fans can scratch their Family Circus itch with the first of IDW's mammoth collections of the series.

To see what Chris, Kevin and I have to say about this week's loot, read on.

Chris Mautner's pick of the week: What a Wonderful World Vol. 1 & 2

Chris: I wasn't crazy about Asano Inio's Solanin, but it certainly showed enough life and skill to make me interested in this big two-volume collection of interconnected short stories. The scantillation crowd, especially Dirk Deppey, had real positive things to say about this series, which blends the everyday with the fantastic.

I suppose some of the faults that tripped up Solanin could show up here, but considering that was an early work, I'm willing to be persuaded that Wonderful World carries the game a couple of rungs up the ladder. (VIZ)

JK Parkin's pick of the week: Underground #2

JK: If you had told me I'd be recommending a book about park rangers trying to save a cave from corrupt businessmen in this week's Can't Wait for Wednesday, I probably would have said, "Hey, is Jeff Parker writing it? Because I'm all over that."

Parker and his artistic partner, Steve Lieber, really pulled me in with the first issue of their new creator-owned series from Image, where two park rangers try to protect a cave that the local town wants to turn into a tourist attraction. What I like about it is that it's not such a black and white issue; the town is really struggling, and they make a good case for how it could help the local economy. And what could have been a boring, after school special on Why Caves Are Important is actually a great comic filled with engaging characters, sexual tension and even an explosion or two. (Image Comics)

Kevin Melrose's pick of the week: Noir, Vol. 1

Kevin: This anthology would be difficult to pass up even if I weren't a fan of the crime genre. I mean, look at the creative lineup: Brian Azzarello, Gabriel Ba, Eduardo Barreto, Ed Brubaker, Rick Geary, Paul Grist, David Lapham, Jeff Lemire, Fabio Moon, Dean Motter, Sean Phillips ...

Seriously. How can that not be my pick of the week? (Dark Horse)

Beasts of Burden #2

Kevin: Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson's ragtag pack of dogs (and a cat) -- the "spook squad" -- follow the trail of some missing pups and end up uncovering a bigger, and more horrific, mystery. I still haven't read the first issue, so don't tell me what happens! (Dark Horse)

Sugarshock One-Shot

JK: Dark Horse is releasing several stand-alone one-shots over the next few months as a way to introduce readers to their various properties, starting with last week's Star Wars: Invasion #0. Like that one, Sugarshock doesn't sound like it actually has a new story in it, though -- based on the solicitation, it sounds like it collects the material that was presented online on MySpace, along with 14 pages of sketches and other bonus material. But it's a good story that's worth checking out if you missed it the first time around. (Dark Horse)

DCU Halloween Special

Kevin: The 80-page themed issue features more than a dozen new stories by Billy Tucci, Rags Morales, Joe Prado and others. DC hasn't released many details, but the holiday specials are generally pretty decent. (DC Comics)

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds

JK: I'm still not sure exactly what this had to do with Final Crisis, other than the fact that it came out around the same time, but this collects the Geoff Johns/George Perez miniseries that pits the Legion --actually, three different Legions -- against an army of super villains led by the evil Superboy from our dimension. I really dug it. (DC Comics)

Justice League of America #38

JK: James Robinson and Mark Bagley come aboard as the book's new creative team, kicking off "a new era," according to the solicitation text. The new team isn't introduced until issue #41, though, so this is likely a "bridge the gap" issue between what came before and what Robinson and Bagley ultimately wnat to do with the book. In any event, the headline here is that the guy behind Starman and Cry for Justice is writing, and the guy who drew Ultimate Spider-Man and Trinity is on art. If I can just ignore certain elements of Cry for Justice, I'm optimistic about this. (DC Comics)

Showcase Presents: The House of Secrets, Vol. 2

Kevin: Nearly 500 pages of horror from the 1970s, featuring the talents of John Albano, Jim Aparo, Sergio Aragones, Michael Kaluta, Sheldon Mayer, Tom Palmer, George Tuska, Bernie Wrightson and others. (DC Comics)

Cowboy Ninja Viking #1

Kevin: A.J. Lieberman (Batman: Gotham Knights) and Riley Rossmo (Proof) team up for this series about a "rogue psychotherapist/covert op/DJ" who uses patients with multiple personality disorder to create a counter-intelligence unit known as the Triplets. (Sure, why not.) Things go awry, of course, and the titular character is called in to rein in the other agents. You can check out a preview here. (Image Comics)

The Five Fists of Science (new printing)

Kevin: Before Matt Fraction made a name for himself with titles like Casanova, The Immortal Iron Fist and Invincible Iron Man, he created this steampunk adventure with Steven Sanders starring Nikola Tesla, Mark Twain and Bertha von Suttner. They battle the likes of Thomas Edison, J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie. Yes, it's glorious. (Image Comics)

Dark Avengers #10

JK: Kicking off a new storyline that features "on an Avengers style mission, with all the twists and turns that entails." Plus, the Molecule Man. Cool. (Marvel)

Dark Reign The List: Hulk One-Shot

JK: So far I've been enjoying the various one-shots that Marvel has been putting out that have Norman Osborn trying to knock a few "to do" items off his wish list. It's helped that the creative teams have been strong. In this issue, Greg Pak and Ben Oliver pit Osborn and friends against Bruce Banner and his boy, Skaar. (Marvel)

Invincible Iron Man #19

JK: Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca wrap up their long-running and quite good "World's Most Wanted" story arc. (Marvel)

Marvel Masterworks: The Inhumans, Vol. 1 hardcover

Kevin: I like The Inhumans as much as the next guy -- okay, probably not -- but I have to wonder how much of a demand there is for a $55 collection like this. Sure, that money gets you classic tales by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Neal Adams, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Gene Colan and others, but ... The Inhumans? Eh. (Marvel)

Comic Diorama One-Shot

Chris: From Top Shelf comes this collection of short, surreal stories by Grant Reynolds involving mermaids, alcoholics and the planet Pluto. There's a preview here. (Top Shelf)

Robotika: For a Frew Rubles More Double-Sized #3 & #4Robotika, Vol. 1 hardcover with dust jacket

Kevin: Alex Sheikman's "steampunk sushi samurai Western" is one of those instances where I feel I missed the boat. That whole "steampunk sushi samurai Western" thing? I should've been all over that. But was I? Nope. Here's my chance to make up for that oversight with the collection of the original 2006 series and the latest double-sized issue of the current volume. (Archaia)

Angel vs. Frankenstein

Chris: John Byrne offers a one-shot story about the TV vampire and his 18th-century battle against Frankenstein's Monster. IDW sent me a preview copy of this and, you know, I don't know a blessed thing about Angel. I've never watched the show, nor any episode of Buffy. And yet? I had absolutely no problem following this story. It wasn't necessarily my kettle of fish, but I certainly appreciated the clarity and grace of its storytelling. Considering the quality some of the comic book spin-offs that end up in my mailbox, I'm supremely grateful for those aspects alone. (IDW)

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid HC Vol. 04

Chris:While all the big boys at the comics table brag about how many hundreds or tens of thousands of copies their pamphlets sold this little sorta-comics/sorta-not kids book will rocket to the top of the best-seller charts and sell a couple of million copies before the year is even out. Just wanted to provide a little bit of perspective there. (Abrams)

Family Circus Library Vol. 1

Chris: These days the Family Circus is synonymous with all things safe and saccharine on the comics page, but surely back in the day it must have been worthy of praise, right? I dunno. We'll have to buy this $40 collection of the first two years of Bill Keane's strip to find out. (IDW)

Garth Ennis’ Battlefields Volume 1

JK: This collects all of the recent Garth Ennis Battlefields comics into one gigantic hardcover, including The Night Witches, Dear Billy and The Tankies. (Dynamite)

Resurrection #4

JK: This issue of Marc Guggenheim's post-alien invasion series adds a new and notable cast member -- former President Bill Clinton. According to the good folks at Oni, "This is not a publicity stunt, this is not a one-off, this is the 42nd President of the United State as a full time cast member." Check out a preview here. (Oni)

Talisman Road Of Trials #0

Chris: Peter Straub and Stephen King adapt their fantasy novel to comics. OK, not really. Actually it's Robin Furth, Tony Shasteen and Massimo Carnevale who provide this $1 preview of the upcoming series. A quick flip-through didn't do much for me, but if you're a fan of the book you'll probably want to check this out. (Del Ray)

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My

Chris: This is an adorable picture book, the first in Drawn and Quarterly's Enfant line, featuring Tove Jansson's Moomin characters and using die-cuts to move the story along. It's not really a comic per se, but if you've been enjoying D & Q's collection of Moomin strips, or if you're looking for a nice picture book for your kids, then you really should pick this up tomorrow. (Drawn and Quarterly)

The Waiting Place

Kevin: The well-regarded 1997-2002 series that established Sean McKeever's credentials as a writer of teen drama gets an omnibus edition courtesy of IDW Publishing. The collected volumes feature art by Brendan Fraim, Brian Fraim, Mike Norton and David Yurkovich. (IDW Publishing)

Talking Lines hardcover

Chris: I really like the work of R.O. Blechman, as I've said before numerous times on this blog. So I'm very please to see Drawn and Quarterly make an effort to start reprinting his work. This is a rather nice collection of short stories Blechman has done for various publications, including Humbug, The Nation and the New York Times. Blechman's line is about as simple as it gets, and his stories trade heavily on satire and metaphor, but they're a delight to read nevertheless and I strongly recommend checking this out. (Drawn and Quarterly)

Dread & Superficiality: Woody Allen as Comic Strip hardcover

Chris: Between 1976 and 1984 a cartoonist by the name of Stuart Hample produced a daily newspaper strip about Woody Allen. Abrams collects the best of the run in this largish book. You can read my review of it here. (Abrams)

To see everything that's arriving in comic shops this week, check out the Diamond Comics website. And let us know what you're getting in our comments field.

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