The two best graphic novels out this week have to do with superheroes teaming up in the crazy-quilt DC Comics universe. And they both have the loopy "Silver Age" anything-can-happen feeling that DC used to be famous for. The only difference is that The Saga Of The Super Sons really is from the early 1970s, while Brave and the Bold Vol. 1: The Lords of Luck just pays tribute to that era. They're both super-demented.
Brave and the Bold Vol. 1 is jammed with the weird-ass plot twists, but writer Mark Waid keeps the characters solid and believable. Even when a superweapon somehow merges Batman with Deathlok, a cyborg from the 31st century, into a single creature, you never quite think of it as pure camp. Each chapter of the story teams up two heroes who are as different as possible, yielding some weird chemistry. But the real purpose of the book is to let artist George Perez create many eye-popping visuals as possible. It starts out in Las Vegas, where aliens are seeking a weapon that alters probability, and then quickly veers to an entire gambling planet, which is like Vegas on acid AND steroids.
Before you know it, a story that starts out as aliens who want to cheat at gambling turns into an interstellar war involving a device that could destroy the entire universe. The story never slows down, but it also never spins off into pure zaniness without substance.
You can't quite say the same for The Saga Of The Super Sons, which is genuine Silver Age cheese. In this alternate-universe story, collected from a dozen different comics, Superman and Batman both have college-age offspring. Batman Jr. and Superman Jr. decide to carry on their dads' legacies, but they're just too groovy for their square dads. All four superheroes go to a men's retreat to try and repair their relationships, but the dads just make things worse with their uptightness:
The best single comic this week is probably Buffy #9: Brian K. Vaughn finishes up his story about Faith, the rogue slayer, who has to battle an even more rogue slayer to the death. In England.
With fancy dresses and hot tubs. Also, some sites are reporting Vaughn's sequel to Michael Chabon's Kavalier and Clay will be out in hardcover this week. But other sites say you won't see The Escapists in hardcover until next week. It's worth keeping your eyes open in case it turns up early.