What's got us most excited about Marvel's new Heroic Age status quo? Ed Brubaker's Secret Avengers. With an oddball cast of espionage experts and military masterminds, this title looks to give Marvel's flagship superteam a pulpy twist.

We interviewed Brubaker this spring, and he promised an Avengers title with super-spy trappings and Lovecraftian themes. Add a curious cast of heroes that includes Beast, Moon Knight, and Nova, and you have the makings of a utilitarian superteam that won't get bogged down by its own pomp and circumstance.

Other noteworthy titles this week include:

- Batman: Return Of Bruce Wayne 2 (DC): After meeting up with Vandal Savage in prehistory, Bruce is transported to 1765 to fight some supernatural nasties. Booster Gold, Superman, and GL are hot on his tracks through the timestream.


- Dazzler One Shot (Marvel): Dazzler stars in this blood-spattered one-shot. It's Ali Blair versus her rogues gallery (Dr. Doom? Rogue?) and her evil sister. This has the potential to be absolutely ridiculous, but it can't be anymore absurd than The Apple.

- Thanos Imperative Ignition (Marvel) 1: Who looks like an evil California Raisin, won't stay dead, and isn't Darkseid? This guy!


- GI Joe Hearts And Minds 1 (IDW): Max Brooks of World War Z fame and Howard Chaykin deliver the backstory of Cobra's Major Bludd.

- Thunderbolts 144 (Marvel): T-Bolts get another revamp; this time, the team of scoundrels will be rehabilitated by the indomitable Luke Cage. I frankly don't think T-Bolts has much of a place in the current Marvel status quo, but the line-up (Juggernaut, Crossbones, Ghost, Moonstone, and Man-Thing) has the potential for rough-and-tumble weirdness.

- Green Lantern 54 (DC): After being stuck in the Vega System for millennia, Larfleeze won't leave Earth. This is bad for Hal Jordan, but good for readers. Larfleeze was one of my favorite things to come out Blackest Night. What happens when you give an ADD-afflicted pack-rat the powers of a god?


- Sarah Palin Rogue Warrior One Shot (Antarctic Press): This comic is selling itself on the promise of cheesecake pin-ups of the 2008 Republican veep nominee/gadfly. Really?

- Mystery Society 1 (IDW): A new series about a guy-and-gal "skullduggery duo [who] spend their time and money righting wrongs committed in the world's underbellies." It's co-created by Steve Niles and Ashley Wood.


- Superman War Of The Supermen 4 (DC): DC's Planet Krypton mega-event comes to a head in this issue.

As for trades, we have Air Vol 3: Pureland (DC/Vertigo; this recently canceled series is collected in its penultimate trade); Captain Marvel: Death Of Captain Marvel (Marvel; Jim Starlin's tale of the doomed Kree hero gets a new hardcover treatment. Aren't you glad his legacy stayed intact after his "reintroduction" during Civil War?); The Boys Vol 6: Self-Preservation Society hardcover (Dynamite; this book collects the arcs starring Payback, the faux-Avengers and, more importantly, the immensely readable origin stories of The Boys. Mother's Milk and The Female's stories are notably heart-breaking).


What's MY PICK OF THE WEEK? DC's Wednesday Comics hardcover. It includes stories by such creators as Neil Gaiman and Brian Azzarello, artwork by Paul Pope and Joe Kubert, and the book's the size of a small child. Add new stories that weren't included in the series' original run (Plastic Man by Evan Dorkin!), and you have the coffee table accoutrement of 2010.

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