Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 2/22/12

<i>By <a href=>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p>It's a busy time of year. Presidential primaries. Oscar season. Linsanity. And perhaps the biggest issue dominating our nation's dialogue: Comic books. <p>This week's New Comic Book Day provides all sorts of various goodies, from the conclusion of a seemingly far-fetched crossover, the latest issue of a creator-owned sensation and a conspicuous appearance by a central character in one of this summer's biggest movies. <p>For Newsarama's picks on 10 of the most noteworthy single issues and collected editions out this Wednesday, click "start here" in the upper-left corner to peruse our list. <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>


Dark Horse's revived anthology title has been overflowing with notable creators since its inception, and the latest issue is no different, complete with a Lobster Johnson cover by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. <p>Other than Mignola, the issue also contains contributions from Paul Pope, Neal Adams, Brian Wood, Caitlin R. Kiernan and more. Oh, and also a prose piece written by Andrew Vachss (<I>Batman: The Ultimate Evil</i>) with illustrations from Geof Darrow. The starpower in this book is so bright, you've got to wear shades, or some such.


When first announced, "Archie Meets KISS" might have sounded like a silly idea, but it's exactly a lovable amount of silliness that has generated the amount of attention the story has gotten. <p>Archie's latest publicity and goodwill-endearing story ends this week with <b>Archie #630</b>, the finale to the four-part story. Could "Archie Meets GWAR" be far behind? (Yes.)


Die-hard old-school DC fan, but still not on board with The New 52? <p>Well, the publisher is putting out something this week that very well may soothe your soul: <b>DC Universe: Secret Origins</b>, a hardcover featuring Silver Age stories telling the origins of Wonder Woman, The Flash, the Justice League of America and more as of a couple of reboots ago, at least.


Image's latest series launch is a riff on <i>The Wizard of Oz</i>, except with "bizarre unexplained murders," a Dorothy character named "Dee" and much more visible bra on the cover to the first issue than we remember being in the original story. <p><b>No Place Like Home</b> is by writer Angelo Triotto and artist Richard Jordan, both relative newcomers to the industry. This is the week of the inaugural Image Expo in Oakland, and far from the only big release from the publisher this week (more on those later).


IDW's "Artist's Edition" series has been the talk of comic book art aficionados, with Walt Simonson's <i>Thor</i>, John Romita's <i>The Amazing Spider-Man</i> and <i>The Rockteeer</i> getting the treatment an oversized hardcover reproducing the original art. <p>This week sees the release of <b>Wally Wood's EC Stories</b>, the latest in the series, featuring 144 pages from the legendary cartoonist and to be joined in May by <i>David Mazzucchelli's Daredevil Born Again: Artist's Edition</i>.


Originally titled <i>Spider-Man: The PSAs</i>, this was a collection that seemed too weird to exist: A gathering of random oddities like "Heroes vs. Plaque: When Plaque Attacks." <p>Turns out, it was. Kind of. Marvel dropped multiple stories from the book and redubbed it <b>Spider-Man Fights Substance Abuse</b>, but it's still got plenty of lesson-filled tales from the past, including "Fast Lane" and "Amazing Spider-Man: Skating on Thin Ice!"


Ted McKeever the artist behind <i>Metropol</i>, <i>The Extremist</i> and more left-of-center material including several DC Elseworlds titles is back, with a new miniseries at Image Comics. <p><b>Mondo</b> is a three-issue, Golden Age-sized series by McKeever, and with phrases like "accidentally tripped up by a loose chicken" and "a roller-skating weapon-toting chick named Kitten Kaboodle" in the solicitation for the first issue, it's a good bet this is something far from the norm. (We didn't even get to the part about "tattooed babies.")


<i>Wolverine and the X-Men</i> and <i>Uncanny X-Men</i> have been getting a lot of press coming out of the "Regenesis" relaunch last fall and rightly so but a much quieter book is the Christos Gage-written <b>X-Men: Legacy</b>, which he recently took over from long-time writer Mike Carey. <p>This issue looks to be a big one, as it promises the first post-<i>Schism</i> face-to-face meeting between Team Cyclops and Team Wolverine and, not unsurprisingly, "explosive results."


After slipping off schedule a tad, Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma's <b>Morning Glories</b> appears to be back on the monthly track, with issue #16 out this week following the January release of #15. <p>The book, one of the most buzzed-about creator-owned titles in the past couple years, looks to continue its momentum with part four of "P.E." The solicitation doesn't provide many clues, though, simply reading: "'P.E.,' Part Four." (Well, yeah.)


Compared to the warm reception to its suffix-less sister title <i>Batman</i>,<b>Batman: The Dark Knight</b> hasn't gotten a lot of critical love, and is also facing an imminent creator change, with writer Paul Jenkins leaving the book and Gregg Hurwitz coming on board with June's issue #10. <p>So what rates <b>The Dark Knight #6</b> at the top of this week's list? It features, as the cover clearly indicates, the first New 52 appearance of Bane, one of the primary antagonists of this summer's film <i>The Dark Knight Rises</i>. Will Bane be dramatically changed from when readers last saw him in <i>Secret Six</i>? How much will Christopher Nolan's interpretation of the character influence the comic book version? Will his dialogue be similarly difficult to ascertain? Those answers are less than 24 hours away.

Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 2/22/12

Date: 21 February 2012 Time: 02:23 PM ET