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 July 27, 2011.
Written by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)
Detective Comics #880
What it’s about: There are nearly a dozen Batman comics currently on the shelf. Some deal with mystery stories, some are straight superhero tales, and some even portray the Dark Knight in a more surreal light, but none can compare to the brilliance of Scott Snyder’s Detective Comics.
Focusing more on the daily grind of Dick Grayson’s time as Batman, Detective Comics puts the mystery back into the book and delves into the psychological strain that dressing as a giant bat has on the man behind the mask. Simply put, this is Batman done right, with none of the pointless bells and whistles of the other books.
What to expect this month: During his time on the book, Snyder has kept the classic spirit of Batman alive while introducing readers to brand new villains. And while those villains fit nicely into the lore of the Caped Crusader, Detective Comics #880 brings back Batman’s greatest foe: the Joker.
This will be Snyder’s first time working on the character and, if his track record is any indication, it will be a disturbing portrayal. And as the Joker is loose underneath Gotham City, Commissioner Gordon will be busy up top trying to figure out the mystery behind his murderous son, James Gordon Jr. Forget the hype for the Dark Knight Rises, this is the Batman story that fans should be fawning over.
DC Retroactive: Green Lantern The '70s #1
What it’s about: Much like last week’s retro offerings, DC is bringing a dose of nostalgia to its books by pairing fan-favorite creative teams from decades past to take on classic characters. This time the company has joined writer Denny O’Neil with legendary artist Mike Grell to tackle the Green Lantern.
Fans of the Emerald Warrior will remember O’Neil’s historic run on the character from the '70s, which added social commentary to the world of superheroes to create one of the first truly topical comics in history. Grell previously worked on the character during the '70s as well, but never with O’Neil, so this story is a real treat for Green Lantern fans after the movie bombed so horribly.
And, as is the case with all of the Retroactive books, the company is also featuring a reprint of a classic O’Neil story from the '70s. This is a great pickup for anyone looking to spruce up on their comic book history, or if you just want a change of pace from the current slate of titles at DC.
Amazing Spider-Man #666
What it’s about: In 2007, the editors at Marvel decided to dissolve the marriage between Peter Parker, a.k.a. the Amazing Spider-Man, and his longtime wife, Mary Jane Watson. The marriage was broken up by the villainous Mephisto and, as is usual with any change, fans were instantly outraged.
The company then relaunced the newly single Parker under the banner Brand New Day, and soon the Spider-Man comics were injected with life for the first time in years. At the forefront of this relaunch was writer Dan Slott, who added humor, heart, and action to a book that sorely needed it. Now, Amazing Spider-Man has been lifted from the dregs of the comic world and is one of the elite books at Marvel.
What to expect this month: Amazing Spider-Man #666 is a prelude to August’s blockbuster Wall Crawler event, Spider Island. With almost all of Manhattan mysteriously receiving Spider powers, it’s up to the Web Slinger himself to find out why this is happening and put a stop to it.
But with all of his villains, even the B-listers, suddenly gaining enormous power; it will be tough for Spider-Man to accomplish much of anything before being beaten to a pulp.
Captain America And Bucky #620
What it’s about: Ed Brubaker is one of the best writers currently at Marvel, and he is directly responsible for all of the success that Captain America has been experiencing over the past half a decade. Under Brubaker, the character has gone from an outdated relic from the Silver Age to one of the most modern characters at the company. With Captain America and Bucky, Brubaker looks to explore the early days of Cap with an updated twist.
This is the story that fills in the gaps of Cap’s origins and expands upon what makes Steve Rogers tick. Still written by Brubaker, this book will now be exclusively set in the past and focus more on the partnership between Cap and his kid sidekick, Bucky Barnes.
With eye-popping art by Chris Samnee and some beautifully cartoony covers by Brubaker, Captain America and Bucky looks to have a different design aesthetic from the more realistic look of the main Captain America series.
If you saw the movie, then this book will appeal to you by introducing a world that is easy to get into and understand without feeling lost in decades of backstory.
Mighty Thor #4
What it’s about: In order to hook people who enjoyed Thor on the big screen this past May, Marvel Comics launched Mighty Thor, a book that made it easy for the casual fan to pick up and appreciate, all while still being viable for the hardcore audience.
Written by Matt Fraction and expertly drawn by Olivier Coipel, Mighty Thor is a more traditional take on the God of Thunder without all of the complicated continuity of the more recent attempts. And with Coipel producing some of the best art of his career, Mighty Thor is one of the best written and beautifully rendered books at Marvel.
What to expect this month: With Galactus bearing down on Asgard to consume the seed of the World Tree, Odin must lead an army of Asardians to do battle with the World Eater. And if a group of immortals doing battle against a god isn’t enough, Thor must also fight off the celestial threat of the Silver Surfer.
While all this is happening, Volstagg and Loki are left to watch over Asgard. That in and of itself is more dangerous than Galactus’ insatiable hunger.
Justice – Complete Hardcover (Collects Justice #1-12)
What it’s about: Current comic book writers and artists may openly mock the over-the-top elements of the Silver Age of comics, but writer and artist Alex Ross openly embraces the more black-and-white world of these stories. So, in 2005, Ross launched Justice, a love letter to the comics of the ‘60s and ‘70s, as well as cartoons such as the Super Friends.
Centering on the continuous battles between the Justice League and the Legion of Doom, Justice features classic storytelling by Ross and Jim Krueger, and some outstanding art by Ross and Doug Braithwaite. This story is nothing that comic book readers haven’t read before about a hundred times, but the real selling point here is the art. Ross and Braithwaite bring a stunning, and sometimes unsettling, level of realism to the book with their fully painted pages and meticulous detail. There are points in the book where the heroes truly look photorealistic and, while it takes some getting used to, it will thrill anyone with a pulse.
Ross has managed to scour the collective memory of every comic fan and present a version of these heroes that seemingly hopped right out of our childhood imagination. This is a book for diehard fans of superheroes to pore over and revisit that sensation they felt the first time they put on some Aquaman Underoos, but it’s also a great read for jaded comic fans to glance at and fall in love with your childhood idols all over again.
Written by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)