Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 1/11/12

<i>By <a href=>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p>The second week of 2012 has already been a newsworthy one in the comic book industry, with <a href=>Walt Simonson joining Brian Michael Bendis on <i>Avengers</i></a>, and DC <a href=>expanding their number</a> of $3.99/30 story page titles. <p>This week's New Comic Book Day looks to keep the momentum going, with a return from a noted name at Image Comics, a big-time '90s character comeback, original graphic novels and an anniversary issue for one of Marvel's icons. <p>To peruse our picks for 10 new releases worth your time, click "start here" in the upper-left corner to begin the countdown. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>


<a href=>Click here for a preview!</a> The New 52's first-ever (and surely not the last) crossover wraps this week with <b>Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #5</b>, continuing from last week's <i>O.M.A.C. #5</i>. <p>Here's what <b>Frankenstein</b> and <i>Animal Man</i> writer Jeff Lemire <a href=>told Newsarama</a> about the crossover: <p>"The O.M.A.C. crossover is really fun, but it's by no means just a one-off. There's actually a lot of stuff in there that will have implications for the Frankenstein series down the road. So it's not just a stand-alone, throw-away thing. There's a lot of stuff coming that will really build the history of the character and of S.H.A.D.E."


<a href=>Click here for a preview!</a> <p>Following the 73-issue run of Mike Carey, <i>Avengers Academy</i> writer Christos Gage takes on <b>X-Men: Legacy</b> along with artist David Balde&#243;n, with the setting moving to Wolverine's Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. In October, <a href=>Gage talked to Newsarama</a> about the gig, and the continued focus on Rogue as a main character. <p>"I think Legacy was a pretty good team book, especially lately... for me it will be a team book, but one with a focus character," Gage said. "A main protagonist, who continues to be Rogue."


A big part of Archaia's success has been with their books released in partnership with the Jim Henson Company including <i>Fraggle Rock</i> and the recently released <i>Jim Henson's Storyteller</i>. <p>The latest Henson book from Archaia is <b>The Dark Crystal</b>, the first of a planned trilogy of graphic novels based on the 1982 film and with contributions from Brian Froud, the movie's primary concept artist.


<a href=>Click here for an advance review!</a> <p>Last month's one-shot <i>Transformers: The Death of Optimus Prime</i> was a lead-in to two new Transformers ongoing series from IDW: <b>Transformers: More than Meets the Eye</b> and <b>Transformers: Robots in Disguise</b>, both capable of getting the '80s theme song stuck in your head. <p>The first of the two to debut, <b>More than Meets the Eye</b>, starts this week, and IDW is looking to reach fans with a 12-part teaser campaign spread across the web <a href=>Newsarama's image is here</a>.


Dark Horse looks to capitalize on the recently released MMO <i>Star Wars: The Old Republic</i> with this five-issue miniseries, dubbed by the publisher, "the perfect entry point into the <i>Star Wars</i> galaxy." <p>The series is written by frequent Newsarama contributor (and <i>Star Wars</i>comic book veteran) John Jackson Miller he of <a href=>Comichron</a> fame and illustrated by Andrea Mutti.


Though The New 52 is what's gotten the bulk of DC's promotional attention for the past seven months, there are still projects from outside that milieu worth a look. <p>Case in point: <b>Batman: Through the Looking Glass</b>, a hardcover original graphic novel written by Bruce Jones and illustrated by Sam Kieth. As the title suggests, it's a Mad Hatter story, and from two creators who haven't been heard from too much lately: Jones, who had an acclaimed run on <i>The Incredible Hulk</i> in the early 2000s; and Kieth, the creator of <i>The Maxx</i>.


<i>I, Vampire</i> writer Joshua Hale Fialkov boards IDW's ongoing <b>Doctor Who</b> series with this arc, titled "As Time Goes By." <p>That reference is no accident: In the story, The Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves within the setting of film classic <i>Casablanca</i>. And with no new episodes in the foreseeable future following the recent Christmas special, the time my well be right to scratch your <b>Doctor Who</b> itch in comic book form.


<a href=>Click here for a preview!</a> <p>An ongoing series in 2012 starring Kaine the imperfect Spider-Man clone from the infamous '90s "Clone Saga" seemed pretty unlikely at one point. <p>But then the character got rejuvenated quite literally in "Spider-Island," and is now the protagonist of a new series by writer Christopher Yost and artist Ryan Stegman, complete with catchy tagline, "All of the power, none of the responsibility." Kaine's now the new <b>Scarlet Spider</b>, taking up the mantle from another Peter Parker clone, Ben Reilly. (No hoodie, though so far.)


Jonathan and Joshua Luna collectively known as the Luna Brothers attracted readers last decade with creator-owned books like <i>Ultra</i>, <i>Girls</i> and <i>The Sword</i>. <p><b>Whispers</b> is the solo debut from Joshua Luna, who's writing and drawing the six-issue series. Here's how Image describes the book: <p>"A mentally troubled man is suddenly empowered with the ability to leave his physical body in ghost form and manipulate people in strange and disturbing ways. With this incredible power, will he control his demons...or discover even more?"


<a href=>Click here for a preview!</a> <p>Three-hundred issues of the <b>Wolverine</b> solo title (<a href=>no matter how you get there</a>) would be a conspicuous release by itself, but this one has added weight due to the fact that it's the beginning of writer Jason Aaron's last arc on the book, and the character he's been writing for years. (Fear not, he's still on <i>Wolverine and the X-Men</i>.) <p>Issue #300 illustrated by Adam Kubert, Steven Sanders and Ron Garney places Wolverine back in Japan, introduces a new Silver Samurai and features the newly resurrected Sabretooth. <p>"It seemed a good time to end some things I've been doing for really the whole course of my career. People seem to like my Wolverine stuff, and you want to leave while people still feel that way, rather than stay a year or two too long," <a href=>Aaron said in December</a>.

Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 1/11/12

Date: 10 January 2012 Time: 09:25 PM ET