Crooked Men And Futuristic Slayers In This Week's Comics

And here's another way in which DC Comics isn't celebrating Superman's birthday - There's only one Superman comic this week. How could they hate him so mu - Oh, wait, it's just a scheduling thing? Oh, alright. And there's also a Supergirl comic for those who absolutely have to have their S-Shield fetish fulfilled? Well, that's pretty good, I guess. And there's an incredible amount of other books coming out this week, including new Hellboy and Joker. Oh, and Buffy fans? Fray returns.

I guess we should start with the only comic featuring the 70-year-old Man of Steel, huh? That would be Superman: Last Son, a hardcover collection of the much-delayed storyline that brought Richard Donner to comics - he co-writes the book alongside Geoff Johns - as well as returned General Zod and the Phantom Zone to current DC continuity. I could tell you more about the story, like the fact that Superman adopts a son, but I know that all you'll really care about is that there's a special 3-D section midway through the book. That Phantom Zone is trippy, man.

Crooked Men And Futuristic Slayers In This Week's Comics

Elsewhere in the DC line this week, Superman's oldest rival Captain Marvel gets a new series, with the first issue of kid-targeted Billy Batson And The Magic of Shazam. Less friendly for little tykes, the Dark Knight tie-ins start properly with the first issue of The Joker's Asylum, which makes Heath Ledger's alter-ego into your host as he narrates stories about the other inmates over at Arkham Asylum. Or maybe you want even darker still, with Hellblazer: The Fear Machine collecting some of the earliest stories of magician, former punk and all-round bastard John Constantine from the 1980s, when it was cool to turn yuppies into demons.

More nostalgia comes in the form of the imported Doctor Who: The World Shapers, which brings together the little-seen mid-80s run of Grant Morrison on the British Who comic. On the one hand, yes, it's the Colin Baker Doctor, but on the other, rare Morrison... It's a tough one. Equally tough is Star Trek: Mirror Images, a new mini-series that explores one of the greatest Star Trek concepts ever, the Mirror Universe. IDW's Trek comics have been somewhat hit and miss, so the potential for disappointment here is, sadly, great. But it is the Mirror Universe. I mean, goateed Spock...what could go wrong?

If you're looking for things that will make you much less conflicted, I can heartily recommend the following three books: Boom!'s Station is a murder mystery set on the international space station right as things start to go wrong and it looks like everyone might end up dead. If you liked Greg Rucka's Whiteout, chances are you'll enjoy it. Mike Mignola gets slightly ahead of the movie curve this week with a new Hellboy series, The Crooked Man, illustrated by comics legend Richard Corben. So expect the same great writing and slightly off-putting stumpy figures (I kid because... well, because I can, really. But you'll know what I mean when you pick it up).

Crooked Men And Futuristic Slayers In This Week's Comics

Pick of the week, however, is easily Buffy The Vampire Slayer #16, which sees Joss Whedon return as writer, as well as the return of his futuristic slayer, Fray. For everyone who hasn't read the Fray series and wonders why this is a big deal, all I have to say is this: Imagine Faith, but from the far future, and with an even worse attitude. I foresee carnage and futuristic cursing that you can get away with in comics, as well as quite a few battles over that weird scythe that both of them think they own.

As is the case every single week, you can see the complete list of everything hitting comic stores this week here, and find out where your local comic book store is by clicking here. Do it because Clark Kent would want you to.