When comic book heroes go nuts, the readers winS

In this week's comics haul, the sanity of two big-league comic protagonists — Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead and Billy Butcher of The Boys — hits a breaking point. When our lead characters go bonkers, we're all the richer for it.

Let's start with Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's superhero hit squad saga, The Boys. In past issues of The Boys, the highlight was watching Billy Butcher and his gang kick the crud out of thinly veiled analogues of classic capes. In recent arcs however, we've been seeing that Butcher hasn't been 100% all there for a while — this Wednesday's issue (The Boys 43, Dynamite) promises a face-off between Butcher and his teammate, Mother's Milk, the most sane member of his squad.

Similarly, Rick Grimes of The Walking Dead has recently settled into a survivor community where firearms are outlawed. Rather than accept a nice, bucolic, zombie-free existence, Rick immediately conspires to get his guns back. This is why you can't have nice things, Rick.

What other issues come out this week?

Predators 2 (Dark Horse): The Marc Andreyko and David Lapham's prequel to this summer's crab-face blockbuster continues.

Fables 96 (DC/Vertigo): Bill Willingham delves into Rose Red's past as this venerable series approaches 100. Feeling extremely old right now.

New Avengers 1 (Marvel): Although there's nothing particularly new about this team, it does rejigger Marvel's "comic book comfort food" squad that was oh-so popular in the mid-Aughts.

DMZ 54 (DC/Vertigo): In the conclusion of the "M.I.A." story arc, Matty must face the truth about his one-time confidante, Paco Delgado.

Deadpool Merc With A Mouth 12 (Marvel): Arthur Suydam's covers for this series deserve their own coffee table book.

When comic book heroes go nuts, the readers winS

As for trades, there's Peter Porker: The Spectacular Spider-Ham (Marvel; you're either the target demographic or you ain't), Punisher: MAX Kingpin (Marvel; a collected hardcover of Jason Aaron's remodeling of The House that Ennis built), and the Meatcake trade paperback (Fantagraphics; this collection of Dame Darcy's twisted fairy tale saga was out-of-print and gets a much deserved resurrection, replete with her collaboration with Alan Moore).

There's also DC's Seven Soldiers of Victory Volume 1 hardcover and Batman R.I.P. trade paperback for all you Grant Morrison completists, and or 1980s nostalgia fans out there, Marvel's reprinting The Avengers: The Contest hardcover, which follows Grandmaster's manipulations of Earth's Mightiest Heroes (plus the "international" heroes like China's goofier, Communist Jamie Madrox, The Collective Man).

When comic book heroes go nuts, the readers winS

When comic book heroes go nuts, the readers winS

What's MY PICK OF THE WEEK? The Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird hardcover (Fantagraphics) by the one and only Tony Millionaire. Tony's mostly known for his work on Maakies and its televised spin-off, Adult Swim's The Drinky Crow Show. In the Billy Hazelnuts all-ages series, Millionaire spins the yarn of Billy, a garbage-homunculus, and the family who loves him. In this installment, the bizarre Billy must return a baby owl to the woods. Rampant weirdness ensues. You can read a preview of the book here.

You can find the rest of the week's releases here and your neighborhood comic store here. Happy reading, gang!