Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 4/11/12

<i>By <a href=>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p>It's officially spring, and as seems appropriate for a season associated with rebirth and renewal, a lot of stuff is happening. Baseball season is underway. Summer blockbusters are rapidly approaching. Chicago's C2E2, one of the biggest comic book conventions of the year, is just a few days away. <p>But New Comic Book Day knows no season, happening 52 (or 53, as the stars align) Wednesdays a year. As things happen, though, this April 11 is actually packed with new series launches, from Image Comics, Dark Horse, DC, Dynamite and Marvel's Icon imprint. <p>So in the spirit of embracing new, we've picked a new series-heavy list of 10 comics and collections to check out this week. Click "start here" in the upper-left corner to get all the pertinent info on the most noteworthy of this week's new releases (but hey, don't forget this week's big #2s, like <i>Saga</i> and <i>Saucer Country</i>). <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>


Over the past few months, DC has made a habit of releasing a few series on their digital apps first, then presenting them in print a few months later first, <i>Batman Beyond Unlimited</i>, and soon, <i>Smallville Season 11</i>. <p>Another such series is <b>Batman: Arkham Unhinged</b>, a video game spinoff of the phenomenally popular <i>Batman: Arkham City</i> video game. If you haven't read it yet, this is your chance to find out more about the game's Catwoman/Two-Face relationship. If you have, here's your opportunity to read it again in a printed form. (Comic books on paper it just might catch on.)


Dynamite has been publishing <i>Bionic Man</i> comics for a while now, based on Kevin Smith's unproduced treatment for a feature film adaptation of <i>The Six Million Dollar Man</i>. <p>So what's next? <b>Bionic Woman</b>, of course, written by Paul Tobin recently of Marvel's <i>Spider-Girl</i> and illustrated by Leno Carvalho. It's a spinoff of the <i>Bionic Man</i> comic, as opposed to the 1970s TV show (or the mostly forgotten 2007 revival).


Much of Spider-Man's '90s adventures were of the "love it or hate it" variety y'know, Clone Saga and all that but one series that was pretty much universally embraced by anyone that encountered it was <b>Untold Tales of Spider-Man</b> by Kurt Busiek and Pat Oliffe, a series that presented early Spidey adventures that fit neatly in between Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's stories. <p>With a new Spider-Man film out this July, once again adapting his early days, Marvel is giving <b>Untold Tales of Spider-Man</b> the omnibus treatment, collecting all 25 issues of the series and more including an incredibly fun annual illustrated by Mike Allred and guest-starring the Fantastic Four.


Novelist Caitl&#237;n R. Kiernan who wrote <i>Sandman</i> spinoff <i>The Dreaming</i> for Vertigo is returning to comics this week with the first issue of the five-part miniseries <b>Alabaster: Wolves</b>, starring her character Dancy Flammarion. <p>The series is illustrated by Steve Lieber, a comics veteran who collaborated with Greg Rucka on <i>Whiteout</i>.


IDW's second <b>Infestation</b> event once against brought together disparate properties this time around including Dungeons & Dragons, 30 Days of Night and Danger Girl. <p>Things reach a climax in this week's <b>Infestation 2 #2</b>, from writer Duane Swierczynski and artist David Messina which means it's time to start daydreaming about who might get involved in an <i>Infestation 3</i>.


Marvel's latest Point One entry is <b>The Mighty Thor #12.1</b>, featuring series writer Matt Fraction presenting a new reader-friendly adventure of the Thunder God, mere weeks before the character's turn in the live-action <i>Avengers</i> feature film. <p>"It's sort of like a clip show, almost, but there's also a meta-adventure happening, leading us towards a big finale," <a href=>Fraction told Newsarama</a> of the issue. "It's a lot of fun. Just a great, 'everything I love about Thor condensed to 20 pages,' kind of story."


Jonathan Hickman's work-for-hire future may be in flux he's stepping away from <i>Ultimate Comics Ultimates</i>, <i>Fantastic Four</i> and <i>FF</i> in the near future, and readers don't yet know his next project at Marvel but his creator-owned slate looks to be pretty full, having recently debuted <i>The Manhattan Projects</i>. <p>This week he's adding another new Image series, <b>Secret</b>. Here's what Hickman <a href=>told Newsarama</a> about the two books last month: <P>"<i>Manhattan Projects</i> is a grand epic in every sense of the word, and <b>Secret</b> is this complex, character/plot puzzle that to be satisfying needs a more room to breathe," Hickman said. "Structurally, they are both really different, but just happen to have the same 'real estate' needs."


If you're lamenting the lack of kid-appropriate series from Marvel and DC, this week brings good news: The launch of two all-ages books based on the publishers' popular animated series. <p>DC is debuting <i>Green Lantern: The Animated Series #1</i>, spinning out of the recently launched series that's part of the "DC Nation" block. Over at Marvel, they've got <i>Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes #1</i>, an ongoing series set in the world of the cartoon that's now in its second season. Later this month, Marvel launches a book based on the other "Marvel Universe" show, the animated <i>Ultimate Spider-Man</i>.


Mark Millar's busy spring continues, with another creator-owned "Millarworld" series hitting just one month after the premiere of <i>Supercrooks</i>. <p><b>Secret Service</b> sees Millar paired with <i>Watchmen</i> artist Dave Gibbons, a collaboration Millar has described as the fulfillment of a long-held aspiration. The book looks to deal with some pretty heavy material "<b>Secret Service</b> is the ramifications of [how] America is struggling on the world stage," Millar said in the first issue's solicitation.


British talk show host Jonathan Ross is one of the biggest celebrities in the UK, and he also happens to be a major comic book fan. He took that fandom to the next level a couple years back with <i>Turf</i>, and is returning to the medium with a six-issue miniseries called <b>America's Got Powers</b>, set in the world of, you guessed it, reality television. <p>Joining Ross on the series is <i>Ultimates</i> artist Bryan Hitch. While it's not yet clear when his "Age of Ultron" issues for Marvel will be released, here's a sooner chance to check out his work once again.

Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 4/11/12

Date: 09 April 2012 Time: 07:43 PM ET