This week, it's giants, vengeance, and dogs and cats, living together ...

Welcome to another edition of Can't Wait for Wednesday, our stroll through the new releases list for the week. Kevin's handed over the reins to this particular stagecoach to me; he'll still be along for the ride to share his thoughts on the week's books, but I'll be putting everything together, which means I get to write up the intro every week.

And what a week we've got. Dark Horse has two projects I've really been looking forward to this week: Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson's animals-turned-supernatural-investigators book Beasts of Burden miniseries and Matt Kindt's follow-up to Super-Spy, 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man. DC, meanwhile, has some notable creative team changes this week, as JMS begins his run on The Brave and the Bold, while Philip Tan takes over the art chores on Batman & Robin. And Marvel's Dark Reign moves into humorous territory with a M.O.D.O.K. tie-in, but Moon Knight and Dark Reign The List: Daredevil make sure that's only a brief side trip.

To see what Kevin, Chris and I have to say about this week's releases, read on, and let us know what you're picking up in the comments section.

Kevin Melrose's pick of the litter week: Beasts of Burden #1 (of 4)

From that moment in 2003 when I finished reading "Stray" in The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings -- the first of four annual horror anthologies -- I'd hoped Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson one day would present their occult-fighting dogs, and cat, in a longer format. Graphic novel, miniseries -- I didn't care. Well, six years, and three additional short stories, later it's here: a four-issue miniseries called Beasts of Burden (a nod to Burden Hill, the not-so-tranquil community in which the pets live, and battle supernatural forces).

As enamored with Dorkin's writing and Thompson's lush watercolors, and the fascinating belief system the two have created for the animals -- burial rites, superstitions, etc. -- I've resisted learning too much about the miniseries. I want to be surprised, much as I was when I first read "Stray." I know this story's called "The Gathering Storm," and that there's a "bizarre disturbance," apparently involving frogs falling from the sky. Other than that, I'm blissfully unaware of what to expect. (Dark Horse)

JK Parkin's pick of the week: 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man

Matt Kindt killed it a couple of years ago with Super Spy, his collection of interwoven short stories about the lives of spies during World War II. It was fun not only because of the plot, but also the storytelling techniques Kindt used to tie all the stories together.

Kindt returns with his follow-up, which details the "secret history" of Craig Pressgang, who kept growing when the rest of the world stopped. I like that the idea behind this one is that it is an "unauthorized" account of his life as told by three different women, versus the fictional "official" CIA biography, "Giant Man: Pillar of America," that plays a role in the story. Kindt's a very creative guy who we'll be seeing more from in the coming months, and I personally can't wait. (Dark Horse)

Chris Mautner's pick of the week: Pluto Urasawa X Tezuka Vol. 5

Kevin has been citing Naoki Urasawa's remix of Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy every month or so, and with good reason. While it's not my current favorite Urasawa series (that would be 20th Century Boys) it's a smart, thrilling manga that harkens back to the original work without overly reverential or unable to stand on its own feet. Even if you don't read manga, you should be reading this. (Viz)

Will Eisner's Spirit Archives hardcover, Vol. 1

Chris: Huh. I'm a little surprised DC isn't publishing this, but I guess Dark Horse snapped this up quickly at the Kitchen Sink fire sale. Anyway, it collects a number of Spirit stories published during the late 90s by well regarded folk whose names are not Will Eisner. They include: Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Neil Gaiman, Eddie Campbell, Paul Chadwick and so forth and so on. I remember this being pretty decent, if a little too slavishly faithful to the original. (Dark Horse)

Batman and Robin #4

JK: This issue begins an arc drawn by Phillip Tan, as a new dynamic duo, Red Hood and his sidekick Scarlet, set their sights on B & R. (DC)

The Brave and the Bold #27

JK: J. Michael Straczynski's run on the book finally kicks off, teaming Batman with Dial H For Hero's Robby Reed. (DC)

Showcase Presents: The Warlord, Vol. 1

Kevin: Mike Grell's Edgar Rice Burroughs pastiche about an Air Force pilot-turned-scantily clad protector of an underground world gets a phone book-thick collection. If you're a fan of Grell, or mid-'70s sword and sorcery, this trade paperback's for you. (DC)

The Alcoholic softcover

Chris: Johnathan Ames tells of his besotted, drug and alcohol addicted adolescence and adulthood, with Dean Haspiel handling the art chores. Now in softcover. (DC/Vertigo)

Captain America: The Man With No Face trade paperback

Kevin: The release of this trade paperback, collecting Issues 43-48, serves as a reminder that I've fallen behind on this stellar series by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting and Co. (Marvel)

Marvel Zombies Return #3

Kevin: Horror novelist and sometimes-comics writer Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero) takes his turn on the third one-shot in this miniseries. He's joined by artist Jason Shawn Alexander for a story focusing on Wolverine and some kind of underground fight club. People still write stories about underground fight clubs? Huh. (Marvel)

M.O.D.O.K.: Reign Delay #1

JK: Ryan Dunlavey's humorous take on M.O.D.O.K., which ran on Marvel's Digital Comics Unlimited service, gets collected into print this week. Check out my interview with Dunlavey here. (Marvel)

Thor Annual #1

Kevin: This is another placeholder designed to keep the title on the shelf while everyone waits for the next issue by J. Michael Straczynski and Marko Djurdjevic. Of course in this case, the next issue -- the awkwardly named Thor: Defining Moments Giant Size #1 -- is also those creators' last. This annual, by Peter Milligan, Tom Grindberg and Mico Suayan, pits Thor against the Egyptian pantheon, and tosses in a reprint of Journey Into Mystery #83 for good measure. (Marvel)

Ultimate Comics Armor Wars #1 (of 4)

Kevin: Speaking of cumbersome names, I'm already tired of typing "Ultimate Comics." Anyway, this new miniseries, by Warren Ellis and Steve Kurth, has Tony Stark trying to save his company and stop the theft of his Iron Man arsenal. He really should look into a LoJack or something. (Marvel)

Vengeance of Moon Knight #1

JK: The not-so-dark knight returns to New York City to -- as the title might imply -- lay out the vengeance on somebody, in this case Norman Osborn. (Marvel)

Johnny Boo Book 3: Happy Apples

Chris: James Kochalka provides another oh-so adorable kids' story about a little ghost. I honestly haven't read any of these yet. Are they any good? Do kids like them? I'm not trying to be snide here, I'm honestly curious. (Top Shelf)

Locke & Key: Head Games, Vol. 1 hardcover

Kevin: IDW Publishing releases the second hardcover collection of the horror series -- or, rather, series of miniseries -- by bestselling author Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez. (IDW)

Nancy: Volume One (John Stanley Library)

Chris: I know, you're saying "But I thought Ernie Bushmiller created Nancy. And that this collection was coming out next year." Relax. This is a collection of Nancy comic bookk tales done by the great Mr. Stanley and collected here for your amusement. A sure buy for me. (Drawn and Quarterly)

Oishinbo Vol. 5 Vegetables

Chris: More frenetic cooking manga, this time about ... well, look at the title. I believe this series isn't doing too well, which is a shame, cause we could always use more cooking manga. Or at least I could. (Viz)

Vietnam War hardcover

Chris: A graphic novel style history of the war with Dwight Jon Zimmerman handling the words and Wayne Vansant handling the pictures. It's not really very good, although it does provide a good overview of the various events. A good studying aide perhaps. Not much else. (Hill and Wang)

The full list of items arriving in stores this week can be found here.

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