Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 4/18/12

<i>By <a href=>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p>As you might have been able to tell from the glut of stories on the main page over the weekend, Newsarama attended C2E2 in Chicago, and we've got the panel reports and interviews to prove it. <P>While your mind is still processing the influx of information, get ready for even more, because there's another New Comic Book Day on Wednesday, and not to sound repetitive, but it's a big one. <p>We've sorted through Diamond's list of releases, and here's our weekly look at 10 of the most newsworthy new single issues and collected editions. Click "start here" in the upper-left corner to begin. <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>


In the past year, Nick Spencer has been focused on creator-owned work and Marvel series like <i>Ultimate Comics X-Men</i>, but he's also been wrapping up one of the series that first found him success, <b>T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents</b>, over at DC. <p>The sixth and final issue of the second <b>T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents</b> volume is out this week, featuring a back-up story written by Michael Uslan a producer on every Batman film from Tim Burton's original 1989 movie to this summer's <i>Dark Knight Rises</i>.


For many, the alternative rock of the '90s was something special, with memories of Mudhoney and Screaming Trees still as crisp as the bee girl's dance moves in the "No Rain" video. <p>Ardden's new series <b>Mixtape</b> written by Brad Abraham and illustrated by Jok-Gervasio aims to celebrate that era, with a story about five friends coming of age around those tunes.


Thanks to his antagonist role in <i>The Dark Knight Rises</i>, Bane's currency is at an all-time high right now at C2E2 this past weekend, circa <i>Batman the Animated Series</i> era Bane action figures were a more common sight at vendor booths since, well, they first came out, probably. <p>As a result of Baneamania, DC's reprinting <b>Batman: Venom</b>, the <i>Legends of the Dark Knight</i> story that introduced the addictive steroid that fuels Bane. The story's written by prolific Batman scribe (and long-time editor) Denny O'Neil.


Rick Remender may be known as one of Marvel's biggest names right now thanks to the success of <i>Uncanny X-Force</i>, <i>Secret Avengers</i> and <i>Venom</i> but he has deep roots in the world of creator-owned comics. <P>His <b>Fear Agent</b> series wrapped up last year, and the final act is collected in the "Out of Step" trade paperback featuring art from Mike Hawthorne, Tony Moore and John Lucas.


<b>Dark Horse Presents</b> has been on a crazy streak of presenting high-quality work from high-profile creators, and it continues this month, as former <i>Black Panther</i> artist Francesco Francavilla debuts his new pulp-noir hero, The Black Beetle. (Not to be confused with DC's more cerulean hero; <a href=>interview here</a>.) <p>Among those also contributing to the issue: Carla Speed McNeil, Steve Niles, Evan Dorkin, Neal Adams; plus a story from the noteworthy team of Andrew Vachss and Geof Darrow.


Comic book critics have heaped all sorts of favorable words on <b>Wolverine & The X-Men</b>, the new mutant book launched last fall in the wake of <I>X-Men: Schism</i> that set up Wolverine as the headmaster of the newly founded Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. <p>If you haven't checked it out yet, embrace the fun for yourself with the first collection of the series containing issues #1-#4 written by Jason Aaron and with art from Chris Bachalo and Nick Bradshaw. It's aimed at X-Men fans both new and old, presenting a fresh start along with familiar elements like Kraoka, The Living Island; from way back in <i>Giant-Size X-Men #1</i>.


Peter Bagge, the mind behind <i>Hate</i>, is back with a new series borne out of his distinct sensibilities. <p><b>Reset</b> is a four-issue series from Dark Horse in which writer/artist Bagge presents Guy Krause, a man with the opportunity to relive the major moments of his life a scenario which presumably goes in uniquely Bagge-ian directions from that point.


While it's true that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's <b>Batman</b> makes the Wednesday Watch list quite often, this week's issue is particularly newsworthy. <p>It's the prelude to "The Night of The Owls," the Batman-line event that's been building since The New 52 launch last September. Specifically, it's the start of new back-up stories explaining the history of The Court of Owls, illustrated by Snyder's <i>American Vampire</i> cohort Rafael Albaquerque.


OK, can we make it through this write-up without an allusion to "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" Wait, did that count? Dang. <p>In any event, Garth Ennis is writing pulp hero <b>The Shadow</b> for Dynamite, an intriguing concept if only for the inherent appeal in seeing the noted <i>Punisher</i> writer return to gun-toting vigilantes. <p>What does Ennis like about the character? We <a href=>asked him that</a>: "Nice sense of mystery, and of danger you're never sure exactly how much he knows, or how far he'll go in pursuit of his aims."


Walt Simonson returning to monthly comics at Marvel is really shocking that this is No. 1 for the week? <p>Long-time <b>Avengers</b> writer Brian Michael Bendis gets to fulfill a long-held personal dream in his final arc of the series, teaming with the legendary creator known for his seminal run on <i>The Mighty Thor</i> (among many other works). <p>It's also the start of the book's tie-in to <i>Avengers vs. X-Men</i>, and it only stands to reason that <i>AvX</i> would have a major impact on the flagship book of the first half of that equation. <p>Also out, <i>AvX</i>-wise, this week: <i>Avengers vs. X-Men #2</i> and <I>Wolverine & The X-Men #9</i>.

Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 4/18/12

Date: 16 April 2012 Time: 09:09 PM ET