Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 4/4/12

<i>By <a href=>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p>Miss out on Mega Millions? Bracket busted? It's OK: Plenty of riches await this Wednesday in the first New Comic Book Day of April. <p>What's out? As usual, a lot, including the first issue of <b>Avengers vs. X-Men</b> which, if your store is holding a launch party on Tuesday night, can actually be obtained a day early. <p>What else? Plenty more, and we've searched through the Diamond release list for April 4, 2012, and assembled our picks of the 10 single issues and trade paperbacks most worth paying attention to this week. <p>Arm yourself with invaluable new comic book knowledge by clicking "start here" in the upper-left corner. <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>


It worked for Batman, Punisher and many other comic characters, and now '80s toy/cartoon icon Voltron is getting the "Year One" treatment from Dynamite. It's written by Brandon Thomas, of Dynamite's main <b>Voltron</b> series, and illustrated by newcomer Craig Cermak. <p>"These are slightly younger incarnations of the original Voltron Force Keith, Lance, Sven, Hunk, and Pidge and this series is all about digging into what they were up to before re-discovering Voltron, and providing a hard justification for why their team of Space Explorers were sent after the Defender of the Universe and no one else," Thomas <a href=>told Newsarama in January</a>.


Back in the early '90s, Archie met the Punisher. The publisher attempted to trump that in recent months with "Archie Meets KISS," pairing comics' perennial teenager with the '70s rock icon. <p>Written by Alex Segura and illustrated by Dan Parent, it was one of Archie's growing string of positive PR-gaining moves, and the collected edition is out this week. <p>Make that edition<i>s</i>: Two of them, a hardcover with 48 pages of extras (if you own a KISS coffin, that might be the version for you), and a more streamlined softcover release.


It's been 15 years since <b>Thunderbolts #1</b>, and the series is still going not too many other late '90s launches can stay the same, and it's even more impressive when you consider some of the left turns the series has gone through over the years. (See: The "Fightbolts" era.) <p>The anniversary is celebrated with "Thunderbolts vs. Thunderbolts," featuring the current team traveling into the past to interact with the originals whatever ends up happening looks to have a major event on the series, as it's being retitled "Dark Avengers" in June, with writer Jeff Parker and artists Declan Shalvey and Kev Walker remaining on board. <P>Also from Parker this week: anniversary issue <i>Hulk #50</i>, launching the "Haunted Hulk" arc.


Sidekicks have been a part of the superhero genre since nearly the beginning, and have frequently gotten their own spotlight in everything from <i>Young Allies</i> to the current animated series <i>Young Justice</i>. <p>Image's new series <b>Danger Club</b> features a group of all-new sidekicks that have been orphaned by their superheroes, and, well, that's not great news for anybody. <p>"When the adults fail to return and the reality of all that entails begins to sink in, things fall apart quickly," series writer Landry Walker <a href=>told Newsarama</a>. "The sidekicks seek to establish a new social order amongst themselves through the way they've been always been taught: violence."


Sam Humphries is the latest comic book star to come from seemingly nowhere, though, as usual, that's not quite accurate. Previous credits from the impending <i>Ultimate Comics Ultimates</i> writer include <i>CBGB</i> for BOOM! Studios, and he's returning to the publisher for <i>Fanboys vs. Zombies</i>. <p>The series sees a zombie invasion in one of the worst/best places in the world for such a thing to happen Comic-Con. Whether or not a Zombie Slave Leia makes an appearance remains to be seen, but you probably don't want to get stuck in Hall H when the dead rise.


<b>Swamp Thing</b> has been one of the biggest critical hits of DC's New 52 relaunch, and the title character has a new look to go along with all the critical buzz. <p>This week brings <b>Swamp Thing #8</b>, and writer Scott Snyder is clearly excited about the design: "This is the warrior king Swamp Thing," he <a href=>said to Newsarama</a>. "It's supposed to be the greatest Swamp Thing of all time. For me, he's really a character who is the destiny of Alec Holland, even though he's been running away from it."


The current volume of <b>Daredevil</b> has only been going on for less than a year, but that still might be preventing some new folks from checking it out even despite all of the critical acclaim it's gotten. <p>Well, new folks, here's your chance: <b>Daredevil #10.1</b>, part of Marvel's new reader/lapsed reader-friendly initiative. In a <a href=>recent interview with Newsarama</a>, series writer Mark Waid made it clear that he's rolling out the red carpet for folks who might not be familiar with the character. <p>"I made a list for myself of "everything you would need to know about Daredevil if you've never read the series before" everything from his name to his profession to Foggy's name to the reasons why he does what he does to his every superpower and so on and so forth and then I very carefully and very deliberately laced all that information into a story that shows DD in action and sets the stage for the next story arc," Waid said.


A new comic written by Alan Moore? Well, kind of. <p>The revival of Rob Liefeld's Extreme Studios titled continues with <b>Supreme</b>, and <i>Savage Dragon</i> creator Erik Larsen illustrating a long-lost story by the <i>Watchmen</i> writer from his '90s run on the series. <p>"Iwas literally a no-brainer to give Erik the keys to the cars, there is so much conceptually that Alan presented with the concept of the Supremacy that can be challenged and twisted in great new direction," <a href=>Liefeld said to Newsarama</a>.


After many, many years in limbo, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's <i>Flex Mentallo</i> an early collaboration by the <i>New X-Men</i> and <i>All-Star Superman</i> team is collected in a hardcover from DC Comics. <p>A <i>Doom Patrol</i> spinoff, the four-issue 1996 miniseries has been mired in some murky legal waters due to the character's status as a parody of the Charles Atlas ads that were ubiquitous in old comic books. It looks like that has all been resolved, as the hardcover is out this week, and we can confirm it exists DC was giving it out as prizes during their panels last month at WonderCon. <p>Also from Grant Morrison this week: <b>Action Comics #8</b>, the climax to his initial arc on the series.


Following last week's issue #0, <b>Avengers vs. X-Men #1</b> is out this week, kicking off Marvel's summer (and beyond) event. <p>Twelve issues and all, the biweekly series has an ultimately simple premise Avengers fighting the X-Men but there are still multiple questions going into the first issue, specifically which side characters like Wolverine, both an Avenger and an X-Man, will end up on. <P><b>Avengers vs. X-Men #1</b> is also the first comic to utilize Marvel's AR app, and a purchase print or digital of the issue comes with a free copy of the inaugural, digital-only Infinite Comics release, a one-shot Nova story by Mark Waid and Stuart Immonen designed specifically for tablets and smartphones.

Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 4/4/12

Date: 02 April 2012 Time: 09:03 PM ET