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 8, 2011.
Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #1
What it’s about: There's a common misconception amongst comic book fans that say Batman has the best rogues' gallery of antagonists in the industry. What people fail to realize is that the roster of Flash villains not only rivals those of the Caped Crusader but they might also edge them out in some respects.
Sure, Batman dukes it out with big names such as The Joker and Two Face, but with Captain Cold, Heat Wave, the Trickster, and a whole host of others, the Flash has perhaps the deepest collection of villains in all of comics. And with Flashpoint presenting a strange alternate reality, the Scarlet Speedster’s arsenal of enemies is receiving a serious facelift. Featuring Scott Kollins on both art and script duties, Citizen Cold promises to reinvent the Flash's greatest villain, Captain Cold.
Kollins was one of the most important pieces of the Flash’s renaissance last decade, so his knowledge of these characters is nearly unparalleled. If you are currently reading Flashpoint, then this book, along with the Batman tie-in, will most likely be the only tie-in worth picking up.
Batman And Robin #24
What it’s about: Delving deeper into the team aspect of the Dynamic Duo, Batman And Robin plays on the banter and vitriol spewed by these two partners as they try to eliminate crime from Gotham.
Whether focusing on Damian Wayne as he broods about playing second fiddle to a man he believes he has surpassed, or devoting time to Dick Grayson venting his frustrations about keeping the young Wayne from getting himself killed, this partnership has been uncomfortable to watch. But it’s also always entertaining in a car wreck sort of way.
What to expect this month: The Red Hood is back and actually working alongside the Dynamic Duo in order to take down a mysterious group that plans on using the Hood for their own gain. Dick Grayson, Jason Todd (the Red Hood), and Damian Wayne comprise three generations of Robins, and this issue marks the first time that they have been on the same side. Their shared legacy as Batman's sidekick makes the stakes much higher and the story much more personal.
This book has had an unfortunate case of a revolving-door creative team over the last few months, but with Batman vet Judd Winick on as the writer, there is a certain level of quality that should return to this time around.
Green Lantern Movie Prequel: Kilowog #1 and Green Lantern Movie Prequel: Tomar-Re #1
What it’s about: This is how you do it! If you want to have a comic tie-iin to an upcoming movie, you have to use the creators that helped that character succeed in the first place. Much like Marvel has done on the Captain America: First Vengeance comics, DC is featuring Green Lantern vets Peter Tomasi and Marc Guggenheim on the Kilowog and Tomar-Re prologue comics, respectively, in order to truly nail these titles for the more casual audience.
These comics will act as a prequel to the movie (in theaters June 17) and explain the Green Lantern’s alien world and characters for new fans to better understand. Tomasi has been a Green Lantern comic editor and writer for years, and Marc Guggenheim worked on the movie’s script, so their combined expertise is vital to the books’ success. Any curious fan out there looking to know more about the Green Lantern should do themselves a favor and pick these books up before they see the flick next weekend.
Incredible Hulks #630
What it’s about: As one of Marvel’s longest running titles, Incredible Hulks (formerly known simply as Incredible Hulk) has been home to some of the best creative teams and individual stories in Marvel’s history. With writers and artists such as Peter David, Dale Keown, and Sal Buscema rising to superstar status thanks to this title, Incredible Hulks seems to attract only the best that the comic industry has to offer.
And Greg Pak’s run is no different, as his extraordinary characterizations and blockbuster plots have placed him near the top of the Hulk’s elite creators.
What to expect this month: Pak has taken readers from Planet Hulk to World War Hulk and everywhere in between, all while redefining the Jade Giant in the process. But now his five-year run is coming to an end with his newest story arc, Heart Of The Monster. With the Hulk sick and tired of Bruce Banner running his life, he finally lashes out and decides to do just whatever the hell he wants to do.
With only six more issues left in Pak’s Hulk run, and with the book itself ending at the same time, this is a great place for Hulk fans to jump on and catch the last remaining days of this classic title. But don’t worry, if comics have taught us anything it’s that whenever a book ends, there's always a relaunch just around the corner.
Ultimate Spider-Man #159
What it’s about: Starting in 2000, Ultimate Spider-Man saw the Web Slinger relaunched by Marvel for the new millennium. With a modernized look and backstory, writer Brian Michael Benids and artist Mark Bagley transformed Spider-Man’s complex mythos with a more streamlined continuity designed to bring in new fans yet still appeal to the hardcore ones, as well.
While other "Ultimate" books have come and gone, Ultimate Spider-Man remains strong simply because of Bendis’ ability to craft a relatable story that harkens back to the classic adventures of the character while also adding his own unique twists.
What to expect this month: Here we go again—there's another death on the horizon with the continuation of the Death of Spider-Man arc. As the Sinister Six attacks Spider-Man on his home turf, he must battle off this collection of foes as he continues to struggle after the gauntlet he was recently put through.
As we count down the issues until the story arc's end, there actually does seem to be a long term plan for the Wall Crawler. Marvel has already announced a brand new Spider-Man for the future, and it seems that the publisher isn’t using this plot point simply as a publicity stunt. The details around Spider-Man's supposed death are still a mystery, however.
Bendis is notorious for planning out his arcs years in advance, so it's not surprising that Spidey’s death is happening somewhat organically, unlike the death of Johnny Storm. But with the Ultimate Universe in shambles, it'll be interesting to see how much longer the book can truly survive.
Supreme Power #1
What it’s about: As Marvel’s answer to DC’s Justice League, the members of Squadron Supreme may seem familiar to comic fans. There's the orphaned alien who becomes an Omni powerful God, the civilian bonded to an alien crystal that has control over the color spectrum, and the wealthy philanthropist who uses his advanced technology to strike at crime from the shadows. But that’s basically where the similarities end.
Ultra-violent, malicious, and angry at the world, these heroes bring a level of hatred and violence that others don’t. And while the U.S. uses them to solve military conflicts, a thin line lies between these heroes being humanity's greatest allies or most ruthless dictators.
Supreme Power #1, written by Kyle Higgns, will focus on Hyperion’s (this world’s answer to Superman) self-imposed exile from the world in order to try and live a normal life. But that doesn’t last long as his successor, Dr. Spectrum, is seen as too unstable for the U.S. to ever fully trust.
What always made Supreme Power so successful was the fact that it was never tied to the greater Marvel Universe. Writers were allowed to tell their own stories without being held hostage to a dogmatic continuity. This practice lends these books to greater artistic innovation and more daring storytelling.
Fans of Watchmen and the Dark Knight Returns should definitely give this book, and previous Supreme Power books, a try.
Captain America By Dan Jurgens Vol. 1
What it’s about: With Captain America: The First Avenger primed to hit theaters in little over a month, Marvel has been releasing the most legendary Cap stories in collected editions in order to take advantage of the film’s debut. Opportunistic business practices aside, these Cap books are still some of the best stories the character has ever been a part of and a fantastic purchase for new fans.
Starting in 2000, Dan Jurgens' run on the Star Spangled Avenger lifted the character from his awful 1990’s prison and began a stretch of consistently great creators on the book that still continues today. Jurgens brings Cap back to his Nazi-smashing roots as he goes against the likes of the Hate Monger and Count Nefaria. Along the way, he teams up with the jungle born Ka-Zar, the Fantastic Four, and Nick Fury.
Jurgens portrays Cap as both a modern day hero and a WWII legend in a flashback story featuring the Howling Commandos. These are the types of narratives that truly exemplify what makes Captain America such an important part of not only Marvel but pop culture in general.
Baltimore: The Plague Ships
What it’s about: There's certainly a lot of spandex and convoluted continuity on this list, but fear not! Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy) and Christopher Golden’s Baltimore: The Plague Ships is a breath of fresh air for anyone simply tired of seeing superpowers and crossovers infest their weekly comics.
Baltimore: The Plague Ships is a sequel to 2007’s Baltimore, Or The Steadfast Tin Soldier And The Vampire, telling the story of Lord Henry Baltimore’s battle against a vampire plague that has swept through Europe, effectively ending World War I.
Coupled with the atmospheric art of Ben Stenbeck, Mignola and Golden’s story takes the somewhat stagnant medium of comics and injects some much-needed fantasy and horror into the mix.
Fans of great storytelling and literature should feel right at home here. If you like Hellboy, The Walking Dead, or any other type of moody comic, this is definitely worth your time.