This is hardly a banner week for comic stores, and no, that's not a pun to tie in with the upcoming Incredible Hulk movie. While there may be lots of new books coming out, it's fairly light on ones that'll grab your attention unless you're looking to read up on this summer's big movie heroes before hitting the theaters. If that's your plan, though, then you can expect a Hulk-themed look at family and gender issues, the best of The Dark Knight's bad guys, and a hero with a red right hand, waiting for you under the jump.
Marvel Comics leads the movie tie-ins with a couple of Hulk-related books. The wonderfully-named Hulk: Raging Thunder brings back Thundra (A superstrong Amazon who hated anything with a penis but had a crush on the Fantastic Four's Ben Grimm, making you wonder about his particularly rocky manhood, and no, I promise I'm not making this up) and gives her a large green specimen of the less fair sex to beat up on. Gender issues have rarely been this violent, true believer! Luckily, the second gamma-irradiated launch this week deals with much more traditional superhero fare, like absent fathers and aliens having stupid names: Skaar, Son of Hulk spins out of the year-long "Planet Hulk" storyline and stars the half-alien bastard son of Bruce Banner's alter ego, a teenager with green skin and smashing on his adolescent mind as he deals with life in outer space. How can you resist?
(Marvel's really concentrating on the SF this week – They're also putting out an anthology of Secret Invasion-related shorts called Who Do You Trust?, the first issue of a new series based on Jack Kirby's awesome Eternals, a trade of the first half of Kirby's run on that title, and a collection of the recent, zen, Silver Surfer series, In Thy Name. There's also a hardback collection of the last Marvel Zombies series, as well. Yes, they are trying to bankrupt you.)
Dark Horse are also concentrating on the tie-in dollar, with a raft of Hellboy product. If the first issue of a new series starring Hellboy's (former) employers, the BPRD, isn't enough for you (It's called War on Frogs, which should really be all you need to know), then there's also a set of three miniature plastic figures of characters from the series. There's also the Hellboy Book and Figure Set, putting together a Hellboy action figure and hardback digest version of Hellboy's first adventure to make the perfect gift for the Guillermo Del Toro fan in your life.
DC, meanwhile, are throwing their weight behind The Joker: The Greatest Stories Ever Told (a collection of stories from the history of Heath Ledger's favorite Bat-villain.) Plus the first issue of the comic book version of NBC's Chuck, proving that… well, they're not really all about the multimedia this week after all. Much more interesting from Superman's home team is the hardcover collection The Question: The Five Books of Blood, bringing Greg Rucka's lesbian noir hero into her own for all of you faceless fetishists out there. She used to be on the Batman cartoon, do you think that counts…?
As ever, the full list of this week's releases can be found here, with your very own low-tech comic store GPS being found here. Just remember, make sure that you're only buying something that has at least an option taken out on it.