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 June 22, 2011.
Ultimate Spider-Man #160
What it’s about: What do you do when you feel a character has become out-of-touch with the general public? Reboot it from the beginning, of course! That was Marvel’s philosophy back in 2000 after the company realized that the legendary Amazing Spider-Man series simply wasn’t selling anymore. Feeling the heat from the upcoming 2012 film of the same name, Marvel relaunched the character for the new millennium and titled the book Ultimate Spider-Man.
Written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Mark Bagley, it's a modern retelling of the Spidey mythos, with some much needed updates having been made to the classic roster of characters. Not only has Ultimate outsold Amazing, but a lot of the concepts have been adopted for the cartoons and movies, as well.
What to expect this month: We hope that preamble didn’t get you too excited about this version of Spider-Man because, here, he kicks the bucket. That’s right, Ultimate Spider-Man #160 finally concludes the Death Of Spider-Man story arc and features the Wall Crawler's highly anticipated demise. You can't keep a good book down, though; Marvel has already announced a new Spider-Man set that will debut later this year.
It'll be interesting to see if Bendis and Bagley can continue the quality even after a new Spider-Man comes along. Longtime Ultimate Spider-Man fans should check issue #160 out, as well as curious fans looking to see what the fuss is about.
Batman: Gates Of Gotham #2
What it’s about: As one of the most accessible and reader-friendly Bat books currently on shelves, Batman: Gates Of Gotham is a full-on exploration of the Gotham City's history. With a madman blowing up the most vital bridges in Gotham, Batman must figure out the connection between each bridge and the families that built them.
Written by Detective Comics scribe Scott Snyder, Gates combines a gripping mystery with the visceral action that makes the Caped Crusader one of the comic industry’s most venerable characters.
What to expect this month: As the mystery deepens, Gotham’s mad bomber is breaking criminals out of Arkham, continuing his reign of terror. After figuring out that the Wayne, Kane, and Elliot families have all been targeted, Batman must find out the identity of the fourth family being targeted before it's too late.
This is a generation-spanning case that not only deals with the history of Gotham City but Batman’s career, as well. Listen, we'll be honest with you, Batman is about to get relaunched with an ugly new light-up costume, so Gates of Gotham may be readers’ last chance at seeing the classic version of the Dark Knight in action.
What it’s about: By now most people know about Fables; it’s a modern take on classic fairytale characters that places them in contemporary society. Reading like a beautiful combination of X-Men and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Fables combines humor, action, and social commentary into one great adventure.
While most comics deal with high-profile characters and stagnant stories, Bill Willingham has crafted a modern classic that propels the whole medium forward and evolves an industry that famously shuns change.
What to expect this month: This issue marks the big finale of the Super Team story that started in issue #102. Bigby (the Big Bad Wolf) takes a pounding thanks to his father, North Wind, and Mister Dark looks to continue his reign of terror on Haven. The whole story arc has been one of the book’s better reads, and curious fans should pick up the entire thing before reading the finale.
Captain America #619
What it’s about: Since 2005, Ed Brubaker’s Captain America has been one of the best ongoing titles at Marvel. His well-developed storytelling and gripping characters have helped Cap reclaim his position as one of Marvel's elite heroes.
And whether he was busy killing off Steve Rogers or having Bucky become the new Captain America, Brubaker has made a strong case for being the most insane/talented writer to ever touch the book. His run reads like one part classic Cap, one part Bourne Identity, with a healthy amount of Lost thrown in for good measure. It's just that good.
What to expect this month: This is the last issue of Captain America as we currently know it. Next month, the book will turn into Captain America & Bucky and will focus on the duo’s exploits during World War II. But fear not, modern Cap fans, because a new Captain America series set in the present day will be launched in July, and it will be written by Brubaker, along with art by Steve McNiven.
The new book will feature Steve Rogers back as Cap after Bucky's supposed death in Fear Itself #3. But, before then, Captain America #619 will shed a little more light on the events leading up to that change.
Mighty Thor #3
What it’s about: Why is it that Marvel constantly outsells DC every month by an almost embarrassing margin? Look no further than the company's strategy with Mighty Thor for the answer.
Taking elements that made the recent Chris Hemsworth-starring movie a success and combines them with the greatest creative team currently at Marvel, Mighty Thor is highly enjoyable for both hardcore fans of the God of Thunder and newcomers alike. Written by Matt Fraction, with art from Olivier Coipel, this is a superhero comic done right. Take notes, DC.
What to expect this month: As the Silver Surfer battles it out with Thor, a hungry Galactus slowly makes his way towards Earth. Thor has fought the Surfer before, most notably in a classic issue drawn by John Buscema, but the stakes are now much higher with the world-eater involved.
It's been a slow build leading up to the inevitable Galactus/Thor throwdown, yet it's been a complete joy to read so far despite the pace. While DC is too busy trying to update their heroes with ugly armor and light-up costumes, Marvel is simply killing it in the superhero genre by focusing on great stories and fantastic creators.
Dr. Strange: Into The Dark Dimension (Collecting Dr. Strange #68-74)
What it’s about: People will devour books that feature heroes who stick to walls, anti-social barflies with metal claws, and blind lawyers who fight crime, but for some reason most comic audiences don’t buy into the concept of Dr. Strange. It’s a shame, because Strange and his pencil-thin moustache have been part of exceptional stories throughout the years.
Longtime Dr. Strange fans are in luck because the good folks at Marvel heard your pleas and have re-released some of the classic Roger Stern-written Dr. Strange stories in a handsome new hardcover. Fighting off Dormammu and other interdimensional threats, Strange’s abilities are on full display here; it’s made immediately clear why he's one of Marvel's most unique heroes. It’s also pretty slick to watch Strange shack up with Dormammu’s niece, Clea.
Stern breathed life into dozens of characters during the '70's and '80's; however, his accomplishments on Dr. Strange are particularly noteworthy because of how gripping he made the stories despite the fact that the character is a glorified B-lister.