In a tight economy, it's not always clear what you should spend your hard-earned money on, and with comic books getting more and more expensive, your dollar doesn’t go as far at the comic shop as it did in the past. We here at Complex feel your pain, so we're providing you with a rundown of the best comics coming out on May 11, 2011.
What it’s about: In an event that has been building up for a few months now, Flashpoint kicks off here and doesn’t hesitate to throw audiences right into the fray. Geoff Johns doesn’t do much in the way of non-event books at the moment, but his writing always has an emotional anchor and it's usually unique enough that he avoids the typical clichés of a big comic story.
And while he is now known as the man who revitalized the Green Lantern, it was actually his work on the Flash in the early 2000s that made him a household name in the comic world. So, with his deep knowledge of the character and firm grasp on epic comic storytelling, Flashpoint can easily knock off War of the Green Lanterns and Fear Itself as the most interesting comic event of the summer.
What to expect this month: Someone has altered the timeline and the Flash may be the only hero with the knowledge to stop it. But in a strange new world where dead family members are suddenly alive and onetime heroes have turned evil, does the Flash know who to trust? This debut issue will certainly provide more questions than answers, but it will also be fascinating to see an alternate DC Universe and the twisted heroes that inhabit it.
What it’s about: Detective Tony Chu is a well-respected Cibopath who uses his special ability to help the FDA stop crimes against the world’s food supply. Life isn’t easy for poor Tony, though, because Cibopaths have to eat an object to get their psychic readings from them, so most of his time is spent ingesting crime scene evidence—no matter how vile it may be.
Chew combines relentless humor and memorable characters into a read that has yet to take even the slightest dip in quality. In fact, each issue is better than the one that preceded it.
What to expect this month: In order to get fans caught up and attract new readers, writer John Layman is propelling Chew one year into the future in order to take a peak at where Tony Chu is going to be nine issues from now. As with most issues of Chew, this will make it easy for new fans to pick up the book without feeling lost.
And it’s completely worth it too because Chew just happens to be the most entertaining comic book on shelves right now.
Hellboy: Being Human (One-Shot)
What it’s about: Hellboy is one of those rare characters that has found worldwide success even though he doesn’t fall under the monopolized umbrella of either DC or Marvel. He is a character that made it simply by having a great story and personality rather than being a household name.
And all of the credit has to go to creator Mike Mignola, who has worked his way up from occasional cover artist at Marvel and DC, into one of the powerhouses of independent comics. His newest Hellboy story, Being Human, centers on Red and Roger, his often naked, homunculus partner, as they fight off zombies and witches. Typical Hellboy stuff.
But with Mignola on the writing duties and the legendary Richard Corben on art, Being Human is set to become one of the more memorable Hellboy stories to come out in recent years.
Batman: Arkham City #1
What it’s about: In 2009, Batman: Arkham Asylum hit video game consoles and became the shining example of how to make a comic book character work in a video game environment. Even though it touted sophisticated graphics and deep gameplay, Arkham Asylum was actually hailed for its intricate story more than anything.
Written by veteran Batman scribe Paul Dini, the story dove into Batman’s world from a physical and psychological standpoint and it rarely gave in to clichéd video game presentation. Now with the sequel, Batman: Arkham City, set to be released this Fall, DC Comics has launched a complimentary comic series that is set to explore the events between the two games.
Once again written by Dini, this book explores how Gotham turned from one of the most important cities in the DC Universe into a veritable police state. This book is a must-have for all fans waiting for the game to be released this October.
Batman Incorporated #6
What it’s about: After telling the world that he had been financially supporting Batman’s vigilante activity for years, Bruce Wayne decided the best course of action to ensure world peace would be to assemble an international team of Batmen that would fight crime on every continent. This team would be called Batman Incorporated.
As the brainchild of writer Grant Morrison, this book has become the main Batman book on shelves and focuses on the more heroic and continuity molding events than the character faces. It’s also absolutely insane.
If you want to know what role Batman plays in the larger DC Universe outside of Gotham, or if you want a peak at Grant Morrison’s mania, this is the book to read.
What to expect this month: This issue focuses on Man-Of-Bats, a Native American version of the Caped Crusader, as he tries to protect his people from the dangers of violence and disease. But without the proper training, he and his sidekick fall victim to a killer that tries to wipe them out.
This issue will explore more in depth how Batman tries to not only organize Batman Incorporated, but how he also must deal with novice Batmen that may be doing more harm than good.
Amazing Spider-Man #660
What it’s about: Dan Slott has injected Amazing Spider-Man with the energy, heart, and humor that it has been missing for nearly a decade. His lighthearted take on the Wall Crawler is reminiscent of the early Stan Lee/Steve Ditko/John Romita issues of the '60s and it is slowly becoming one of Marvel’s most dependable books. What Slott has realized is that you can never make the book too much about Spider-Man himself.
Trying to juggle a new job, a love life, and his newfound membership in the FF (Future Foundation), Peter Parker’s personal struggles pack as much of a punch as a fight against the Green Goblin.
What to expect this month: Before Spider-Man was accepted by the superhero community, his battles with various supervillains went unnoticed by other heroes and very rarely would he ever be offered help. But now, as a member of the FF, anytime that a Spider-Man villains rears their ugly head, they’ll have the whole Future Foundation breathing down their neck. And in this issue they will have to tangle with Spider-Man’s most powerful foes, the Sinister Six.
Comprised of the Sandman, Rhino, Electro, Mysterio, the Chameleon, and Doctor Octopus, the Sinister Six always provides fans with some good old fashioned ass-kickery. Additionally, the issue will feature some backup stories and a prelude to the next story arc, Infested. Amazing Spider-Man #660 is primed to give comic fans the most bang for their buck this week.
What it’s about: They’re not the Fantastic Four anymore; FF now stands for the Future Foundation. In the wake of the Human Torch’s apparent death, the team decided to reorganize itself into a global problem-solving team that uses its intelligence to stop conflicts before they start, rather than sitting back and waiting for them to happen.
Just as concerned with solving the world’s hunger problem as they are with stopping Galactus, the FF is a more intelligent and globally conscious group than before. Writer Jonathan Hickman has crafted a sci-fi classic that evolved the Fantastic Four into a group with a more logical mission statement.
What to expect this month: With Doctor Doom within their walls, the FF must worry about what the newly cured monarch has planned for Reed after Valeria, Reed’s daughter, released the surviving members of the Council back into our Earth. The Council is actually a collection of various Reed Richards from alternate Earths, but while some of them are good, others aren't. The FF must find out what they want and why Valeria released them.
While a bit too heavy on sci-fi elements for some, FF is easily Marvel’s most ambitious and intelligent comic currently on the shelves. It doesn’t read like a typical superhero book and that’s actually most of the appeal.
Punisher MAX: Bullseye (Collects: Punisher MAX #6-11)
What it’s about: Marvel’s MAX line has become a haven for fans looking to see some excessive violence, nudity, and foul language in their funnybooks. Much like DC’s Vertigo line, MAX caters to an older audience with an eye towards mature storytelling. There’s only one thing wrong with the line: It’s awful. While Vertigo takes mature themes and violence and crafts unbelievable stories around them, MAX focuses only on the violence and gore and the storytelling becomes an afterthought.
But sometimes a MAX book comes along that infuses this excessive violence with some great writing, and that’s exactly what happened with Jason Aaron’s Punisher MAX. His Bullseye arc is the series’ high water mark. It’s funny, disturbing, and strangely engrossing. Once again, Frank Castle is plopped right in the middle of a ludicrous world filled with dark humor and over-the-top personalities. And no one comes off stranger than Aaron’s version of Bullseye.
Seemingly obsessed with the Punisher, Bullseye goes to great lengths to get inside his head. He even goes so far to sleep in the Punisher’s bed just to feel what it’s like to be him. He’s a sick bastard and that alone makes this worth picking up.