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 August 3, 2011.

Written by: Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1

The Punisher #1

What it’s about: Every red-blooded American enjoys a good gunfight and a few splashes of blood in their comics, so Marvel has decided to feature the Punisher in an all new high-profile book in order to satiate its audience's bloodlust. The company paired crime writer Greg Rucka's choice words with the frantic, stylized art of Marco Checchetto for new Punisher title, which is set to reintroduce the character to the mainstream Marvel Universe, all while maintaining Frank Castle’s hard edge.

This won’t be completely saturated with crime and violence quite like Garth Ennis’ Punisher from the MAX line was, but it also won’t be the Spandex-wearing heroic version of the character either. Rucka still brings his street-level writing to the book, while making the character more palatable for the Marvel Universe crowd. This book also features the Punisher gaining a new supporting cast and a slew of new adversaries as his war on crime seems to get more dangerous with every passing day.

This Punisher relaunch is the latest book that Marvel has rebooted after last month’s Daredevil and this spring's Moon Knight. Both of those books are currently at creative highs, especially Daredevil, and with such a strong creative team behind it, there is no reason why The Punisher should fare any differently.

 

Flashpoint #4

What it’s about: Flashpoint is going to go down as one of the most important titles in DC’s history, whether it turns out to be any good or not. The massive overhaul of the DC Universe coming this September is directly related to the events in Flashpoint, so any fans curious about that need to pick up this book in order to play catch-up. Luckily for jaded comic fans everywhere, Flashpoint has actually been pretty decent so far, even edging out Marvel's crossover extravaganza, Fear Itself, in terms of overall quality.

With the Flash stuck on a parallel Earth where onetime heroes are now villains and former rogues are now allies, the lightning-fast hero must navigate this bizarre world and find his way back home.

What to expect this month: With the Flash and his rag-tag Justice League hunted down by the authorities, and with a war brewing between Atlantis and the Amazon warriors, this parallel Earth is on the verge of total destruction. The only hope for the Flash now is Superman; however, on this Earth, the Man of Steel has been a government prisoner for decades and knows nothing about fighting the forces of evil.

Writer Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert have perfectly played up the unsettling nature of this world and the constant threat of destruction that looms over it. Up until now, Flashpoint has been the most entertaining crossover at DC in decades, and it shows no real signs of slowing down yet.

 

Severed #1

What it’s about: If it’s Scott Snyder and it’s horror, it’s got to be good. Severed revolves around a young boy named Jack Garron who runs away from home and befriends a cunning, traveling salesman to cross the country with. Sporting some razor sharp teeth and a taste for human flesh, this salesman teaches young Jack the true horrors that lurk in early 20th century America.

Writing this book alongside Scott Tuft and artist Attila Futaki, Severed explores a time in American life when transportation was beginning to become easier and horrors from the country's darkest corner could land on your doorstep at any moment. Snyder has already proven with his run on Detective Comics and his DC/Vertigo book American Vampire that he is a master of moody, suspenseful scripts, so that alone will make Severed one of the most high-profile creator-owned books to ever land at Image Comics.

Severed should easily satisfy anyone who enjoys a few scares and a ton of mood from their comics, and it’s also perfect for people beginning to grow weary of the monthly routine of the same old superhero books.

 

Red Skull #2

What it’s about: Greg Pak makes a nice living from writing superhero comics, but it's his work on the more villainous side of the genre that really makes him stand out. And with his new series, simply titled Red Skull, Pak is out to dig deep into the backstory of one of the Marvel Universe’s most sadistic villains.

In the debut issue, Pak showed how a young Johann Schmidt learned to kill indiscriminately in a country slowly falling to the Nazi menace. Pak is really telling parallel stories here; as he recounts the events that changed a normal innocent child into one of the comic world’s greatest villains, he also tells the story of how a dignified country traveled down such a dark road during the Nazi movement. This is deep comic writing with one step in reality and one in fantasy. 

What to expect this month: The Red Skull’s road to villainy continues this issue as his penchant for violence grows as well as his apathy for others. However, during his journey into complete darkness, Schmidt does connect with a shopkeeper and his daughter.

Of course in the Red Skull’s original origin, the character was shown killing the first love of his life after she denied his advances. Knowing that, anyone who Schmidt befriends won't be long for this world.

 

The Jack Kirby Omnibus Vol. 1 Starring The Green Arrow

What it’s about: In between creating Captain America with Joe Simon in the '40s and creating the Marvel Universe with Stan Lee in the '60s, Jack Kirby briefly worked over at DC Comics on the Green Arrow. Told across a wide range of titles such as House of Mystery, Adventure Comics, and World’s Finest Comics, Kirby pitted the Green Arrow against intergalactic threats and nuclear monsters in a series of short sci-fi stories.

To be honest, these stories are never going to be mistaken for the sophisticated “graphic novels” that line the bookshelves of pretentious college kids trying to make a statement; instead they’re bat-shit-crazy tales packed with enough punch to knock Tyson out cold. This isn’t Kirby at his artistic best (that would be his Fourth World work) but these are the stories where the “king” of comics worked out the kinks and laid the groundwork for the ideas that would someday make him a household name; granted that the house is very geeky in nature.

This book is a great alternative to the gritty books coming out these days, and introduces a level of head-scratching fun back to the comic medium.

Written by: Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)