Review: Jason Aaron’s “Wolverine And The X-Men” And “Incredible Hulk” Both Debut With Force

Review: Jason Aaron’s “Wolverine And The X-Men” And “Incredible Hulk” Both Debut With Force

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 October 26, 2011.

Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)

Incredible Hulk #1

What it’s about: Ever since Greg Pak’s action-packed storyline for Planet Hulk ended in 2007, the Jade Giant has been the subject of some pretty mediocre comics. There have been way too many cooks in the kitchen over the past few years and a string of bizarre stories from Jeph Loeb introduced lame supporting characters and some soap-opera level drama to the Hulk’s world. And despite Greg Pak still delivering some worthwhile stories, The Incredible Hulk failed to find a consistent voice recently.

Now the book is getting relaunched by Jason Aaron and artist Marc Silvestri, and it kicks off with the Hulk and Bruce Banner being separated from each other following the events of Fear Itself. Sure, that concept has been explored numerous times before, most notably by John Byrne in the ‘80s, but Aaron’s approach is much different. There's a mystery as to how the two got split in the first place, and, for once, Banner might actually be wind up being more of a villain than before.

The Hulk is incredibly introspective in this series, and his internal dialogue actually finds a rhythmic elegance, courtesy of Aaron’s deep understanding of the character. But don’t worry—there's plenty of over-the-top smashing to satisfy fans of the mountainous green goliath. While Silversti may be more known for his bombastic action scenes, he captures the quiet contemplation during the Hulk’s more serene moments just as well.

Marvel is actually trying to reestablish the Hulk as one of its main players again, which should come as a welcome surprise for fans of the superhero genre. As long as Aaron holds off on introducing hackneyed supporting characters and resurrecting dead ex-spouses, The Incredible Hulk might once again be a book to keep an eye on.

Wolverine And The X-Men #1

What it’s about: For years, the X-Men comics have been locked in a seemingly never-ending cycle of convoluted plots that read more like hokey soap operas than politically aware superhero stories. Now, after X-Men: First Class showed the world how to craft a proper mutant tale, Marvel is bringing the X-Men back to their roots.

Writer Jason Aaron and artist Chris Bachalo’s Wolverine And The X-Men presents Wolverine as the leader of a team of mutants after the events of Schism splintered the X-Men into multiple groups. the cold and distant Wolverine must deal with a school full of eager teenagers confused by their mutant powers, along with some help from Beast and Kitty Pryde.

This title doesn't have the bleak and dower tone that has held the X-books hostage over the past decade. Aaron has injected Wolverine And The X-Men with some much-needed wit and sarcasm. Aaron has always been better at conveying broad ideas than writing character pieces, but his successful run on the Wolverine solo title makes him the perfect candidate here.

He actually understands these characters and won’t be churning out bland sci-fi stories like most X-Men writers. Any longtime fan of Marvel’s merry band of mutants, or any novice looking to follow their exploits, should give this book a try as it will probably be the best of all of the recent X-Men relaunches.

Spaceman #1

What it’s about: There aren’t many creative teams that would make us recommend a comic based solely on their involvement alone, but to be honest, we would be excited about Brian Azzarello writing the phone book as long as Eduardo Risso was doing the accompanying artwork. Together, they're the creative team that brought 100 Bullets to life and crafted the criminally underrated Batman: Broken City, so anything they do is basically magic.

Now the duo is working at Vertigo again to bring us Spaceman. Set in a dystopian future, this book follows a genetically engineered brute named Orson, who longs for adventure after he's denied a life on Mars by NASA. But once he finally gets his chance to become a hero, he finds out that it’s not as glamorous as he thought it would be.

There aren’t many true science-fiction books in the comic industry anymore, but Spaceman promises to retain the sophisticated elements that Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov brought to literature and transfer them to the comic book medium. With great art and storytelling guaranteed due to the creators’ track record, do you need any other reason to pick up Spaceman? How about the fact that DC/Vertigo is selling this first issue for only $1? No excuse is justified.

The Walking Dead #90

What it’s about: Since 2003, The Walking Dead has been the prime example of what a comic book could, and should, be. It’s a never-ending drama that continuously challenges both its characters and readers.

Writer Robert Kirkman’s zombie opus has revolutionized comic books and managed to bring humanity back to a medium that has recently been overrun by brightly colored corporate mascots. Even though most of the attention has been lavished upon AMC's The Walking Dead television series, the truth is that the comic continues to be just as good as ever.

What to expect this month: Rick continues to battle the anxious members of his new settlement, and he slowly realizes that the danger from within the camp might be just as deadly as the zombies on the outside. As he struggles with his own humanity and strength, other members of his crew begin to crack under the pressure. 

There's not a zombie to be found in this issue, but Kirkman still manages to bring engaging human drama into every page. Whether the focus is on Rick and his son, the relationship between Glenn and Maggie, or the unhinged members of this “safe” society, The Walking Dead is just as addictive and dangerous with or without a horde of walkers on every page.

Daredevil #5

What it’s about: Ever since the ‘80s, Daredevil has been one of Marvel’s top books. Staring with Frank Miller’s legendary run, the book has since been written by talent such as Kevin Smith, Brian Michael Bendis, and Ed Brubaker. All of their work was remarkable at the time; however, all of it followed a similar grim and gritty tone.

Recently, the company relaunched the title with writer Mark Waid and artist Marcos Martin. The duo has since brought a bit more positivity and optimism to the title, rather than the overwhelming depression of past issues. Brightly colored and incredibly imaginative, Mark Waid’s version of Daredevil resembles the Errol Flynn-esque swashbuckler of the Stan Lee days. But make no mistake about it, the cheery tone doesn't make the story any less compelling.

What to expect this month: Following Matt Murdock's decision to represent a blind man after he was unjustly fired from his job, Murdock quickly finds out that this man is in a lot more trouble than he realizes. With sniper rifles aimed at him and his client, Murdock must find out why this man is being hunted down and what this has to do with Latveria, Dr. Doom’s homeland.

This series continues to impress with its sharp plots and fantastic art. This isn’t just a great superhero title—it’s a book for people that truly love what the comic book medium can accomplish. If Waid can keep this up, Daredevil might be the company’s best title in over a decade.

Tags: marvel-comics, vertigo, image-comics, the-walking-dead, the-incredible-hulk, x-men, wolverine
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