Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 6/6/12

<i>By <a href=>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p>It's E3 week, meaning that there will be a lot of video game news coming from Los Angeles in the next few days. <p>But that doesn't mean that the comic book world is taking a break, and in fact, the first Wednesday in June is fairly huge including the kick-off to the very controversial, very hyped prequel to one of the most famous comic book stories of all time (hmm, what could we possibly be referring to?). There's also the follow-up to last week's big DC Comics news, a movie adaptation and an actual book. (Weird, right?) <p>For our list of the 10 most newsworthy new releases out New Comic Book Day, June 6, click "start here" in the upper-left corner to begin the countdown. <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> <p>


We start this week's Wednesday Watch with a book. That's right, a <i>book</i>, like with lots of words and not a lot of pictures. <p>But it's OK! This book is based on Marvel's <i>Civil War</i> story from 2006, one of the biggest events in comic book history. As you may recall, it paired the Iron Man-led "pro-registration" camp those in favor of superheroes becoming official with the government and Captain America's side, who wanted no part of it. <p>The original comic was by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven; this adaptation is from writer Stuart Moore, a former Marvel editor with strong ties to the prose world, who most recently wrote <i>Namor: The First Mutant</i>.


With a franchise as storied and expansive as Star Wars, there have naturally been multiple and varied interpretations of the characters and mythology over the years. <p>Few are quite as unique as the stories found in this volume, collecting the mid-'80s comics from Marvel's Star imprint based on the <i>Star Wars: Droids</i> and <i>Star Wars: Ewoks</i> animated series.

SPAWN #220

Image Comics celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year, so, naturally, Spawn one of the original series from the creator-owned collective is also marking two decades. <p><b>Spawn #220</b> is the official anniversary issue (as clearly evidenced by the cover), and the occasion brings back series creator Todd McFarlane to the series, writing and illustrating the cover. Also out this week: The "20th Anniversary Collector's Special," a black-in-white edition limited to 2,500 copies and boasting additional content.


Dynamite double-downs on the crossover ante this week with the first issue of seven-part <b>Prophecy</b>, written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Walter Geovani. <p>The 2012 Mayan doomsday prophecy provides the impetus for the self-contained story, which contains disparate characters including: Vampirella, Red Sonja, Dracula, Dorian Gray and Pantha. Yup.


The once-obligatory movie adaptation has becoming something of a lost art in recent years, but Marvel is getting back into the game for <b>Amazing Spider-Man</b> which, as the rights to Spidey belong to Sony, isn't even a Marvel Studios film. <p>Written by Tom Cohen and with art from Neil Edwards, the first part of the two-issue adaptation is out this week, for those who don't want to wait until July 3 to find out more about the film. (Spoilers! Probably!)


Image is all about creator-owned comics, and they're putting that right in the title with new series <b>Creator-Owned Heroes</b>. <p>The first issue features "American Muscle," by Steve Niles and Kevin Mellon; plus "Triggergirl 6," from Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Phil Noto (Palimotti and Noto collaborated a decade ago on <i>Beautiful Killer</i>). The issue also includes an interview with Neil Gaiman, and more extra features.


The Valiant revival continues with the second ongoing series in the lineup, the new <b>Harbinger</b> by Joshua Dysart (<i>Violent Messiahs</i>) and Khari Evans. <p>"The idea of really getting a chance to dig in and build an epic mythology populated by a fully-realized cast of characters, all centered around Jim Shooter and David Lapham's original premise, is super-exhilarating to me," <a href=>Dysart said</a> of the book.


<i>Thunderbolts</i> is now <b>Dark Avengers</b>, keeping the numbering, creative team and much of the cast but adding some new elements mainly, Norman Osborn's most recent crew of Dark Avengers, who vexed Luke Cage in <i>New Avengers</i> and are now back in his life, whether he likes it or not (and it looks like he doesn't like it). <p>"It's a very natural transition," <a href=>series writer Jeff Parker said to Newsarama</a>. "I'm not interested in stopping a storyline cold; I think it's more rewarding to have a new title grow out of what came before."

EARTH 2 #2

As you may have heard, <a href=>original Green Lantern Alan Scott is gay</a>. The newly relaunched version of the character, formerly portrayed as straight and one of the stars of DC's <b>Earth 2</b> series, will be revealed to be openly gay in this week's issue #2, in a highly publicized move. <p>"As for why not just create a new gay character, I just wanted to do this," <a href=>series writer James Robinson told Newsarama</a>. "I mean, it's one thing if you're creating a new team with new characters, but that isn't what the Justice Society is. It's me rebooting existing characters."


No matter your opinion on the entire "Before Watchmen" initiative, there's little doubt that the first entry in the line Darywn Cooke's <b>Minutemen</b> is the most newsworthy comic book of the week, and arguably, the past few years. <p>The very existence of "Before Watchmen" remains a point of contention between folks unhappy with DC for acting against original <i>Watchmen</i> writer Alan Moore's wishes and those who say that the company is just doing the right thing for business. The conversation around "Before Watchmen" has launched a broader debate on creator's rights within the comic book industry, with reports of writers and artists pulling out entirely of work-for-hire comics at DC and Marvel in its wake. <p>What is much less controversial than the nature of "Before Watchmen" is the notion that Darwyn Cooke makes really good comic books, and that he's choosy with his projects. Him writing and drawing a six-issue series would be a big deal no matter what, and the fact that it's this series whether or not it's something you're looking to personally support makes it an even bigger one.

Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 6/6/12

Date: 04 June 2012 Time: 08:10 PM ET