Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 6/20/12

<i>By <a href=>Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer</a></i> <p>According to the calendar, summer starts officially this Wednesday, June 20, with the orbital event known as the summer solstice. <p>Now, most parts of the country would say that summer started weeks ago, so that date might be ultimately irrelevant but in any event, something else big is happening on June 20: New Comic Book Day. <p>We've got a wedding, a return of a long-dormant '90s character, more <b>Before Watchmen</b> and a veritable plethora of other interesting things happening. For our picks of the 10 most noteworthy new releases out this week, click "start here" 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>


In the early days of The New 52, <b>Red Hood and the Outlaws</b> writer Scott Lobdell drew heated criticism and a lot of it for his sexually charged portrayal of long-time DC character Starfire. <p>In what could potentially be viewed as a response to his detractors, this week's <b>Red Hood and the Outlaws #10</b> by the incoming <i>Superman</i> team of Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort</i> explores a different side of Starfire, specifically showing her as "one of the most respected and feared commanders in all of space," defending her homeland of Tamaran.


Last year, <b>Chew</b> made a bold move by jumping into the near future and publishing issue #27 between issue #17 and #18. <p>The series has now caught up to that point in time, so Image Comics is re-offering #27 but it's not simply a reprint. The creative team of John Layman and Rob Guillroy has "jam-packed" the comic with "extras and supplemental material," in an effort to make this second helping a unique experience instead of, to extend the metaphor, leftovers. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)


The latest Dan Slott-written Spider-Man multi-part story, "Ends of the Earth," ended in last week's <i>Amazing Spider-Man #687</i> on something of an abrupt note; leaving the fate of two major characters in doubt. <p>This week's <b>Avenging Spider-Man #8</b>is billed as an "Ends of the Earth Epilogue," featuring a story starring Spidey, Doctor Strange, Silver Sable and Doctor Doom which may shed some insight on the matter. (And if not, it's by Slott, Ty Templeton and Matthew Clark, so it should still be a good time.)


Jeff Lemire's recent work at DC Comics from Vertigo's <i>Sweet Tooth</i> to The New 52's <i>Animal Man</i> and <I>Justice League Dark</i> has helped make him a mainstream comic book superstar, but it was his work on the independent scene that first got him notice in the industry. <p>His graphic novel <b>Lost Dogs</b> was self-published back in 2005, and is now receiving a "newly remastered edition" from Top Shelf. And for folks who think digital editions should be cheaper than print comics, it's a $3.99 download versus a $9.99 hard copy.


Image's <b>Saga</b> isn't just Brian K. Vaughan's return to the comic book medium, it's also lovingly illustrated by Fiona Staples. <p>It's hitting issue #4 this week, and takes the action to the tantalizingly named planet "Sextillion." Plus, the answer to Alana's pointed question from last issue: "Who the f*ck is Gwendolyn?"


So, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Colossus and Magik are the "Phoenix Five." Now what? <p>That question will be at least partially answered by Jonathan Hickman and Olivier Coipel in <b>Avengers vs. X-Men #6</b>, the official start to the second act of the 12-part story. What are the Phoenix Five going to do with all of that power? How will the Avengers react? Is Hope bummed that she's missing out on the fun? Will we get a better look at the Phoenix Five's new outfits? The answers, presumably, lie in the panels ahead.


For a 50-year-old trading card series, <b>Mars Attacks</b> has had real staying power (the fact that the original set was illustrated by Wally Wood probably is a major part of that). <p>It's inspired a 1996 Tim Burton movie, and is now being turned into a comic book series from IDW, written by <i>Chew</i>'s John Layman, joined by <i>Hitman</i> artist John McCrea. (It is not, though, being turned into a Broadway musical, as an April Fools' prank this year claimed. Not yet, at least.)


The first two <b>Before Watchmen</b> series to debut both featured the work of Darwyn Cooke, and featured more of a retro flavor than seen in the original 1986 series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. <p>It's a good bet that <b>Comedian #1</b>, by <i>100 Bullets</i>' Brian Azzarello and <i>Wanted</i>'s J.G. Jones, will break from that pattern both due to the creative team and the character, who is, as you may be aware, a pretty terrible guy.


Dark Horse's <i>Ghost</i> reboot is getting a miniseries starting in September, but the story starts now in <b>Dark Horse Presents #13</b>, the first part from the opening story by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Phil Noto. <p>"The really lovely thing about this artificial break of going from the DHP series to the miniseries, is this opportunity we've got to shift perspectives," <a href=>DeConnick explained to Newsarama</a>. "For our <i>DHP</i> zero-issue, the story is told from [supporting character] Vaughn's perspective. With <b>Ghost</b>, the series, she'll be the protagonist." <p>Also in this issue: An <i>Aliens</i> story written by John Layman, completing the hat trick with his third book this week from three different publishers.


After weeks of hype, it's finally here: The same-sex wedding between the X-Men's Northstar and his boyfriend Kyle, in Marjorie Liu and Mike Perkins' <b>Astonishing X-Men #51</b>. <p>It should be interesting to see how the two get to this point, as Northstar proposed last issue, and Kyle declined. Also, the covers released suggest that X-Men from both sides of the <i>Schism</i> split will be in attendance, plus Northstar's former teammates in Alpha Flight. <p>Of course, <a href=>as seen in the past</a>, wedded bliss is often not so blissful for the X-Men, but here's hoping Northstar and Kyle have a better time of it they've already <a href=>dodged protestors</a> and <a href=>inspired real-life couples</a>, so they're off to a good start.

Wednesday Watch: MUST-READ New Releases For 6/20/12

Date: 18 June 2012 Time: 09:15 PM ET