Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 5/2/12

<i>By <a href=>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p>We say it every week: "This is a big New Comic Book day. Lots of notable new releases out." <p>But honestly, this week? It's really big. <p>So big, that we couldn't quite narrow it down to just 10 for this week's Wednesday Watch as you can see, there are a couple of ties, but the books sharing space are at least thematically linked. <p>Also, keep in mind that this is only counting comics coming out on Wednesday not the avalanche of material out this Saturday for Free Comic Book Day (which we'll write more about in the days ahead). <p>Prepare for the onslaught of this week's New Comic Book Day 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>


<b>Smallville</b> ended its 10-season run on TV last spring with Clark Kent finally becoming Superman, abandoning the series' long-held "no tights, no flights" rule by indulging, albeit fleetingly, in both. <p>So... what happened after that? In the tradition of Dark Horse's <i>Buffy the Vampire Slayer</i>, DC is picking up with with the show left off, in a series penned by Bryan Q. Miller, a veteran of the <b>Smallville</b> writing staff. The comic, illustrated by Pepe Perez, was originally published on DC's digital app, and is now coming to print for those looking for physical pages to turn. It's also the first <b>Smallville</b> comic material from DC in years, since a bimonthly series that ran from 2003 to 2004.


While the <b>Garfield</b> comic strip has long been the recipient of criticism and good-natured mockery see "Garfield Minus Garfield" there is plenty of fond nostalgia out there for <i>Garfield and Friends</i>, the late '80s/early '90s Saturday morning cartoon starring Garfield, Odie and the <i>U.S. Acres</i> gang. <p>Mark Evanier known for <i>Groo the Wanderer</i> and <i>The DNAgents</i> wrote extensively for that series (and the current <i>The Garfield Show</i>), and is returning to the Jim Davis creation for a new comic book from BOOM! Studios. It's illustrated by Gary Barker, who works on the comic strip. (Warning: Presence of Nermal on the cover might prompt you to mail comic to Abu Dhabi.)


Historical fiction novelist David Liss made an impact in the comic book world in recent years with <i>Mystery Men</i> and <i>Black Panther</i> at Marvel. <p>His latest project is <b>The Spider</b> at Dynamite, reviving a long-running pulp fiction hero. <p>"I think The Spider is hugely influential and has shaped a lot of what we consider standard elements of comic book heroes and villains, but the character's influence has held up better than the character itself," <a href=>Liss told Newsarama</a>. "I'm very excited to have the chance to reintroduce readers to a very cool hero who they ought to know if they don't already."


<a href=>Click here for a preview!</a> <p>Ever-popular mutant Wolverine chose to follow Captain America in the opening beats of <b>Avengers vs. X-Men</b>, but it looks like that partnership might not last the course of the 12-part story. <p>As evidenced by this cover, they're getting into it in a big way in <b>Avengers vs. X-Men #3</b>, by Ed Brubaker and John Romita Jr., over the best way to tackle the Hope Summers issue that being the fact that she's currently becoming more and more controlled by an unstoppable force of destruction (and rebirthm but the "destruction" part poses a more pressing problem). <p>Also <b>AvX</b> this week: <b>Avengers Academy #29</b>, showing the effect the conflict has on both the Academy students and the Generation Hope crew.


<a href=>Click here for a preview!</a> <p>In Earth 23, Superman is Calvin Ellis, the African-American president of the United States, one not entirely dissimilar from a head of state that you might find familiar. <p>From Grant Morrison and Gene Ha, <b>Action Comics #9</b> coming less than a year after the debut of Miles Morales, Marvel's half-black, half-Hispanic Ultimate Spider-Man is a comic that will likely get some attention, even if it's a standalone story that takes place in a parallel universe (don't they all?). <p>Superman isn't the only DC icon with a big week ahead of him, though...


After months of build-up, DC's "Night of the Owls" crossover begins for realsies this week, in both <b>Detective Comics #9</b> and <b>Batwing #9</b>. <p>Here's what Batman editor Mike Marts <a href=>told Newsarama</a> about the crossover: "The fact that we started this storyline so well in advance, we weren't really interrupting storylines that writers already had in place. So it was a real organic, natural way of setting up the shared storyline."


Following announcements, interviews, press releases and teaser images, the official return of Valiant Comics is here, with this week's <b>X-O Manowar #1</b>. <p>From writer Robert Venditti and artist Cary Nord, the character, one of Valiant's flagship heroes, is getting a new interpretation aimed to attract new readers and please old ones. <p>"We're staying true to the original concept," <a href=>Venditti told Newsarama</a>. "But we're definitely expanding on that and introducing new characters and themes, and updating some things so that we feel like it's something modern-day readers will be able to related to."


Long associated with Marvel first in their marketing department, then as the writer of books like <i>Hawkeye & Mockingbird</i> Jim McCann made an impressive showing outside the company in 2010 with his Eisner-winning Archaia graphic novel, <i>Return of the Dapper Men</i>, illustrated by Janet K. Lee. <p>The psychological thriller <b>Mind the Gap</b>, his first creator-owned ongoing series, debuts at Image Comics this week. <p>"My goal from the beginning is to have a thriller mystery with a beginning, middle and end where everybody has a role to play," <a href=>McCann said in an interview with Newsarama</a>. "For every question that is answered, it raises up two new questions."


In the years since the first <b>Fury MAX</b> series written by Garth Ennis, the legend around the book has grown, with tale that George Clooney backed out of playing Nick Fury in a planned live-action film due to the content of the comic. (Given Samuel L. Jackson's portrayal of the character in the Marvel Studios productions, it's safe to say things still worked out.) <p>Ennis returns to Nick Fury with a new <b>Fury MAX</b>, a six-issue series starting this week. Unlike the original, which took place in the modern day, this picks up after World War II, and places Fury in a variety of post-war settings. Goran Parlov, who worked with Ennis on <i>Punisher MAX</i>, is on art duties for the book. <p>It's been 11 years since the original <b>Fury MAX</b>, and it should be interesting to see what Ennis has in store for an encore.


DC made headlines all over the place last year when they announced The New 52, a relaunch of their entire line consisting of 52 new ongoing series. <p>Well, sometimes comic books get canceled, and six of the original New 52 lineup are now no more. But in their place are six new titles, and DC is coming out with four of them this week. <p>They are: <b>Dial H</b>, <b>Earth 2</b>, <b>G.I. Combat</b> and <b>Worlds' Finest</b>; all reinventions of existing DC concepts. <b>Batman, Incorporated</b> and <b>The Ravagers</b> launch later this month. <p>Time will tell what kind of impact DC's line refresh (we've been using a lot of re- words) will have on the industry, but some like <b>Dial H</b>, written by fantasy novelist China Mi&#233;ville already have been attracting buzz. (<a href=>Interview here</a>.)

Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 5/2/12

Date: 30 April 2012 Time: 09:06 PM ET