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 29, 2011.
Detective Comics #878
What it’s about: With all the talk about DC rebooting their properties amidst other massive changes, Scott Snyder’s brilliant work on Detective Comics seems to have been lost in the shuffle. Yet, he has taken a book that was simply treading water and propelled it to become the best title currently at DC.
Snyder has combined all of Batman's greatest aspects and placed them into a bizarre mystery that's as unpredictable as any comic out there. Plus, the stunning and atmospheric artwork of Jock simply adds layers of grime and filth on top of the bloated corpse that is Gotham City.
What to expect this month: Batman searches for the criminal named the Tiger Shark as he tries to unravel the mystery behind the dead killer whale found in Gotham’s financial district. Of course, this is a different Tiger Shark than the one that appeared in the '40s to do battle with Batman in a striped leotard and water skis; this new version is the perfect fit for Snyder’s grim and gritty approach to the book.
Without even being shown in this story's first two issues, Tiger Shark has already made an unsettling impact on Dick Grayson’s world, and that's a testament to Snyder's sharp script. Grayson will also have to deal with his growing feelings for the daughter of the man who killed his parents, which adds another intricate wrinkle to this already top-notch book. Fans of Batman should pick this issue up, as well as the rest of Snyder’s run, in order to finally experience a Batman tale that balances the character's street-level darkness with his more heroic aspects.
All Winners Squad: Band Of Heroes #1
What it’s about: The Captain America gravy train is picking up speed as the Sentinel of Liberty seems to be involved in dozens of books a month in preparation for the summer blockbuster Captain America: The First Avenger. And while most of the recent Cap miniseries have been harmless enough, All-Winners Squad: Band Of Heroes is set to be the best of the bunch.
Written by Paul Jenkins, and with art by the incredible Carmine Di Giandomenico, this book takes Cap back to his WWII days and reteams him with the All-Winners Squad (later known as the Invaders.) This is a generation-spanning story that touches on a mystery during the war and how it effects the present day for these heroes. Cap will interact with Golden Age heroes, such as the original Human Torch and Bucky, but with a modernized tone. Fantasy stories and Nazis go together like Megan Fox and hangovers, so this should prove to be a unique and imaginative tale.
Paul Jenkins doesn’t write too many comics anymore, but when he does he usually makes sure they’re all top quality. This book will certainly be worth a look for fans of Cap patiently waiting for the movie to drop as it will give a little more insight to the character before the movie's premiere on July 22.
Amazing Spider-Man #664
What it’s about: It's been a rough decade for Spider-Man comics. After Joe Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada ended Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane in 2007, it was unclear if the characters would ever truly rebound. But, sure enough, the newly single Spider-Man lit a spark under creators to write new stories that delved deeper into Parker’s personal life.
Finally some romantic drama was returned to Spidey’s life and, in turn, his books became just as unpredictable as they were when Stan Lee and John Romita were on the title back in the '60s. Now, with writers Christos Gage and Dan Slott scripting Amazing Spider-Man, the heart and soul of the book has returned along with the Wall Crawler’s patented humor and action.
What to expect this month: With a gang war brewing in Chinatown, Anti-Venom and Spider-Man will have to deal with Hammerhead and the Spot before they make their move on the gang’s leader, Mr. Negative. Unfortunately, Aunt May is also in the area, so Spider-Man will have to be extra cautious.
This issue also continues the slow build towards Dan Slott’s summer blockbuster Spider-Man storyline, Spider Island, which is set to be the biggest crossover event for the Wall Crawler in nearly half a decade.
What it’s about: FF sounds like an odd idea on the surface. After the Human Torch bought the farm, Reed Richards and his remaining associates reorganized the team into a global problem-solving unit named the Future Foundation. Armed with fancy new suits and a few new members, including Spider-Man, the Future Foundation aims to solve the world’s problems before they happen by using their vast intellect and resources.
What they’re doing is a lot more complicated than simply punching Dr. Doom in the face every issue, and the thematic change has made for some thought provoking stories along the way.
What to expect this month: The War Of The Four Cities continues as the Moleman and his forces bear down on the Future Foundation and the citizens of Atlantis. But as the war intensifies, the Inhumans join the fray and all hell begins to break lose. The Future Foundation strives for worldwide peace, but instead they instigated a war that could envelop most of the world.
Jonathan Hickman should be commended for thinking outside of the box and completely reimagining the Fantastic Four. The concept may sound like another cash grab by Marvel, but, when all read together, it’s easy to see just how delicately plotted this whole odyssey has really been.
Human Torch And The Hulk From The Marvel Vault #1
What it’s about: Here's an odd little piece of history that Marvel has discovered. It’s a long lost story drawn by the legendary co-creator of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, Steve Ditko. Written by Jack C. Harris, this issue was intended to be a part of the Marvel Team-Up series back in the ‘60s but it simply got lost in the shuffle. Now, after it was recently rediscovered by Marvel, the company is finally releasing this tale.
This marks the first time that new Steve Ditko work has appeared at the company since he left some fifty or so years ago. The plot revolves around the Human Torch teaming up with the Hulk in order to stop the villainous Wizard. It’s a quaint tale compared to recent comics, and there's a certain naivety about the storytelling. But make no mistake about it, this is a piece of history that no fan should pass up.
Ditko was one of the trail blazers on the Hulk in the early days, so hardcore fans of the Jade Giant should be frothing at the mouth at the mere thought of his return. This is a great opportunity to relive the Silver Age of comics all while marveling at one of the greatest artists of all time.
Aquaman: Death Of A Prince (Collects: Adventure Comics #435-437, 441-455 and Aquaman #57-63)
What it’s about: Aquaman is the Rodney Dangerfield of the DC Universe; he simply gets no respect. Whether he gets ripped on for talking to fish or basically living in his own toilet, the character has very rarely shed the image of being a complete joke compared to the likes of Batman and Superman. The sad thing about Aquaman is that writers are always trying to bring a sense of relevancy to the character in hopes of making him somewhat marketable, but rarely does he get his fair shake.
DC still hasn’t given up on the character, though, and the company has decided to release some of the classic Aquaman stories from the '70s in order to attract new fans. Scoff all you want, but these stories are actually pretty damn good. With writers like Paul Levitz and artists such as Mike Grell and Jim Aparo taking their shot at the Prince of Atlantis, it’s easy to see why these tales worked so well.
The overall plot revolves around Aquaman's son being killed by the Black Manta and the impact that event has on his marriage. It was a seminal moment in comics, ushering in an age where no character was safe from the Grim Reaper. Stakes were raised, making the world take notice of a medium was no longer strictly for kids. It may not sound believable at first, but these Aquaman stories are some of the best comics of the ‘70s and well worth your time.