Whether you're looking for superpowered pets, non-moving motion comics, classic tales retold or spelunking adventure the way you want it, there's only one place to look this week: Your local comic book store. Why, yes: These are comics we crave.
Fans of Marvel Comics' ongoing Dark Reign storyline will be happy this week. In addition to Dark Reign: The List - X-Men, there's also Dark X-Men: The Confession (which, in the mighty Marvel tradition, ties into Dark Reign, X-Men and the recently completed Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia) and Dark Reign: Made Men, which looks at what's happening for the villains not in the center of Norman Osborn's scheme to villainize America.
For those who prefer a brighter Marvel Universe, Joss Whedon's entire X-Men run gets a collection in the Astonishing X-Men Omnibus. And the X-Men Origins hardcover brings together some beautifully illustrated retellings of the earliest days of the mutant franchise. Spider-Woman #1 is the paper version of the motion comic, but the oddest release from Marvel this week is Pet Avengers Classic Vol. 1, which offers up an anthology of stories about Marvel's Mightiest Pets. Yes, really.
DC aren't the kind of publishers who'd pull a lame stunt like pet superheroes (Well, apart from the Legion of Super-Pets, and Krypto and Streaky and, okay, never mind). DC would much rather pull lame stunts like phone votes to decide the fates of long-running characters, and in the DC Comics Library: A Death In The Family hardcover, you can relive that bold, classy experiment that ended with Robin being blown up by the Joker. Prouder moments of classic comics get collected in the first volume of Flash Chronicles, reprinting (again) the first appearances of the Silver Age Flash. And the Push trade paperback collects the comic book prologue that was much better than the movie it tied into.
Luckily, and unusually, the two best books of the week are both single issues, allowing you to sample both before running back in a month for seconds. (And they're openings of mini-series, so you don't have to worry about making a long-term commitment.)
Superman: Secret Origin lets Geoff Johns and Gary Frank go to town on the Man of Steel, taking six issues to tell the story of how a baby rocketed from a dying planet could grow up to make the tights and cape combo work in a way that will doubtless entertain and hint at what's to come in the character's future.
Underground brings together the obscenely talented Jeff (X-Men First Class, Agents of Atlas and countless other wonderful books) Parker and Steve (Whiteout, which I promise is better than the movie) Lieber for a series that makes up in adventure and fun what it lacks in science fiction. Check out a preview of the first issue here to be convinced.
As always, all of these books and more can be found on the official Diamond shipping list for the week, and your local comic store can be found using your friendly neighborhood Comic Shop Locator. Just promise us that you'll believe that a man can fly and go underground all at the same time, huh?