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 September 28, 2011.
Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)
What it’s about: DC’s “New 52” initiative isn’t just focused on reacquainting fans with the company’s most popular characters—some of the lesser known B and C-list characters have been the ones that have benefitted the most. And there may be no C-lister that's respected less in all of comics than Aquaman, the Rodney Dangerfield of DC.
Geoff Johns is the latest writer tasked with making the King of Atlantis relevant again, especially after he resurrected the character in the Brightest Day storyline. This new series sees Aquaman renouncing the throne of Atlantis in an attempt by Johns to create a more accessible character, as opposed to the boring royal deity of the past.
Dozens of writers and artists have attempted to breathe new life into Aquaman, but Johns actually has the track record to succeed. He has revived The Flash and Green Lantern over the years, and seems to have the ambition to craft a quality Aquaman series that goes beyond the introductory issue. It also helps that he is preparing new villains to go up against Aquaman because his preexisting villains certainly suck, and suck hard.
Helping Johns reinvent Aquaman is artist Ivan Reis, who's seemingly at his best in this first issue. The widescreen action that he brought to Green Lantern is back, but with some more refined detail that gives the book a grounded look amidst the fantasy chaos.
The Flash #1
What it’s about: Geoff Johns’ unabashed love for the Flash has made the speedy hero one of the most prominent DC characters during the last decade or so. And even though Johns may not be writing this new Flash series, the character is still one of the company’s highest priorities.
Written by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, The Flash doesn’t stray from its superhero roots; it fully embraces them. This won’t be a gritty crime thriller, nor will there be any gratuitous rape scenes or graphic murders; Manapul and Buccellato have reinvigorated the series by infusing the title with high-octane action and over-the-top personalities.
Manapul also serves as the series’ artist, a job he held during the title’s previous volume with Geoff Johns. Thankfully, Manapul doesn’t attempt to neuter the character by illustrating him in a static fashion. His art is as kinetic as the character himself, and his use of panel layouts and slick poses convey a sense of motion and strength that is rarely accomplished anymore in comics.
This new take on the Scarlet Speedster strips him of his longtime marriage with Iris West, much to the dismay of some hardcore fans. But fear not, Manapul is a Flash veteran that sticks true to what’s great about the character, despite a couple of changes here and there.
What it’s about: It’s going to be tough to compete with Grant Morrison’s ultra-liberal take on the Man of Steel that took place in Action Comics earlier this month, but veteran Superman handler George Perez certainly has the chops to compete with the mad Scotsman. Unlike Action Comics, Superman doesn’t take place in the past, nor does it feature a neophyte Clark Kent. Superman is in his prime here, just as you remember him.
Perez may be more well known for being the artist behind Superman, but here he's lending his writing talents to the character and bringing a slew of changes along with him. Superman is now a swinging bachelor that doesn’t leave his underwear on the outside of his tights anymore. But despite those changes, Perez does handle the character in a traditional way that most people can relate to.
Jesus Merino’s art on the book has a modern, hyper-detailed style to it, but should also remain very familiar to seasoned DC fans. His illustrations fit perfectly with Perez’s tried-and-true interpretation of Supes, and we're sure it doesn't hurt that Perez is providing help on the penciling along the way. Perez's take on the Man of Steel is familiar enough to make this reboot go as smoothly as possible.
Amazing Spider-Man #670
What it’s about: It’s hard to imagine what kind of shape Spidey would be in without Dan Slott as the writer of Amazing Spider-Man these past couple of years. It seemed like, for a while, that every Spider-Man writer either wanted to kill all of the Wall Crawler's loved ones, or portray him as dark as Batman, in a woeful attempt to drive up sales and gain more attention for themselves.
Slott hasn’t really been interested in any pathetic publicity stunts to get his book noticed because his endless Spider knowledge and sharp plots have been enough to make Amazing Spider-Man one of Marvel’s best books again. His focus on Peter Parker’s neurotic outlook on life, in addition to blockbuster action scenes, brings back memories of Stan Lee’s legendary run on the title.
What to expect this month: Slott’s massive crossover, Spider Island, continues in this issue as all of the citizens of the Big Apple have come down with Spider powers overnight. The Jackal’s assault on NY continues in this issue as the second phase of this infestation begins to mutate the citizens into half spider/half human hybrids.
With J. Jonah Jameson realizing his worst fears and literally turning into Spider-Man himself, Slott has crafted a storyline that perfectly blends action, drama, and humor into one great read that simply outclasses every other massive crossover that Marvel has attempted since Civil War.
Mighty Thor #6
What it’s about: Writer Matt Fraction has been Marvel’s golden boy for the past three years with his work on Invincible Iron Man, Iron Fist, and the action-packed Fear Itself. But it’s his recent work on Mighty Thor that might be his most well-rounded superhero book yet. It perfectly captures the mythology and power of Thor, while getting rid of a lot of the dead weight and clunky language that has plagued the character since his inception.
Fraction’s scripts are only half responsible for the book’s success, though; the art by Olivier Coipel might be the highlight of the title. He captures the whimsy of Asgard and the exaggerated physique of Thor without ever looking too cartoony. There's an understated elegance to the book that illuminates Thor’s world without a hitch. His version of Galactus also reminds us of Moebius’ work on the character, which is praise enough.
What to expect this month: The Galactus Seed ends here! Fraction’s first story arc on this title has played out with the grandiosity of a blockbuster movie trapped inside of the four-sided comic book world. As Father Mike confronts Galactus in Broxton, OK, both Asgardian and human armies prepare for a final confrontation with the Devourer of Worlds.
This book isn’t rocket science; it’s large scale destruction with a ton of character and personality that helps it transcend the normal action comic. Fraction’s Fear Itself might not have met expectations, but his work on Mighty Thor is well worth suffering through a few clunkers here and there.
New Avengers #16.1
What it’s about: Between the New Avengers, Avengers Academy, Dark Avengers, and The Avengers, Marvel certainly isn’t shy about milking the Avengers name dry. Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers features some unconventional choices for the main team, such as Daredevil, the Thing, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, but, despite the odd lineup, he still manages to preserve the title's classic tone.
Sporting a quirkier tone, New Avengers is a bit of a break from the more serious main series. Bendis even goes out of his way to show Squirrel Girl some love, despite the fact that she is an absolutely ridiculous character.
What to expect this month: Remember Marvel’s “Point One” initiative? If you don’t, that’s because it didn’t really work. It was designed to ease readers into new books by presenting easy to follow storylines, but most of the “Point One” issues just wound up being flat and uninteresting.
New Avengers #16.1, however, looks to buck that trend by bringing the legendary Neal Adams on for one-issue-only art duties. And he’s just in time, too, because #16.1 marks the anticipated return of Norman Osborn and his deranged followers at H.A.M.M.E.R.
Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)