Review: “Batman” And “Justice League” Continue To Lead DC’s Renaissance

Review: “Batman” And “Justice League” Continue To Lead DC’s Renaissance

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 19, 2011.

Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)

Batman #2

What it’s about: Over the past five years, Grant Morrison has been the sole voice for the Batman franchise. His blend of surreal storytelling and downright mind-bending plots were initially a welcome change for a character that had grown too out-of-touch and depressing over the decade. But eventually fans began to crave a return to the Dark Knight’s roots of grim detective work and complex mysteries.

Thankfully, Scott Snyder exploded onto DC's scene with his Vertigo series American Vampire and his highly disturbing, yet brilliant, run on Detective Comics. Now Snyder is in charge of the most hallowed comic at the company, Batman.

What to expect this month: With the revelation on the last page of Batman #1 that linked Dick Grayson’s DNA to the brutal murders in Gotham and a threat against Bruce Wayne’s life, Batman must search for the truth in a city filled with lies. Even worse, he's confronted by a bizarre murderer who wears an owl skull mask and has ties to a conspiracy as old as the city itself.

Snyder breaks down everything the Caped Crusader ever thought he knew, complete with an unpredictable plot and intense action. Along with some stylized art by Greg Capullo, Batman is one of the better “New 52” books that DC recently launched, and another example why Snyder might be the defining Batman writer of our generation.

Justice League #2

What it’s about: Justice League is the glue that holds DC’s new universe together. Set five years before all of the other books at the company (except for Action Comics), Justice League details the events that surround the formation of the legendary superhero team and how each individual member began to trust one another.

Written by Geoff Johns, with art by the godly Jim Lee, Justice League is a must read for anybody looking to immerse themselves in the history of this new DC landscape. Written like a blockbuster movie, this book might not add anything new to the medium, but it’s impossible to ignore.

What to expect this month: After a tedious wait in between issues, Justice League #2 is finally here and features the big ol’ brawl everyone has been waiting for: Superman versus Batman. What chance does a man with a few toys have against an alien god strong enough to bench press Alaska? Probably not all that much, but Bats has the Green Lantern on his side this time.

Sure, this fight has happened countless times before, yet it still manages to get better with every punch. This issue will also see the Justice League slowly begin to resemble the classic team we all know, while the impending threat of Darkseid looms over their heads.

Wonder Woman #2

What it’s about: There are probably only a couple dozen people on this planet who've never heard of Wonder Woman. And sadly, there are probably less than a dozen who can name any Wonder Woman stories that are actually worth reading. For being one of the company’s most revered characters, her comics have rarely been anything more than colorful landfill fodder.

But finally someone at DC had the brilliant idea of hiring a great writer to pen the superheroine’s exploits. Brian Azzarello, the creator of 100 Bullets, is now in charge, and he's bringing some god-sized swag back to the book. Focusing more on Diana’s bizarre world amongst the gods, rather than as a lame superhero, this book has more in common with a Vertigo title than a typical mainstream DC book.

What to expect this month: The first issue was designed to set the table for this book. There's a mysterious woman named Zola, who Hera wants dead after it is revealed that she is pregnant with the child of Zeus. Now Wonder Woman must face off against Hera’s daughter, Eris, the goddess of discord, after she shows up on Paradise Island with vengeance in mind.

Azzarello is crafting a highly-intelligent, and surprisingly gory, affair that's drenched in Greek mythology and godly mischief. And if that's not enough, artist Cliff Chiang simply kills it on every panel he touches. Put your presumptions aside because this is actually a Wonder Woman book worth reading.

Avengers #18

What it’s about: For decades, The Avengers has been the backbone of the Marvel Universe. The book is always at the forefront of the most important stories in the company's history, and regularly features the heaviest hitters in comics.

It's not a coincidence that the title's history reads like a who's who of some of the most legendary comic book creators ever. For over five years, Brian Michael Bendis has been meddling in the Avengers universe and, after a rough start, he's now starting to solidify himself as one of the book’s most important talents.

What to expect this month: Well, it’s time to shake up the roster again. It's up to Captain America to choose a new team of Avengers after the cataclysmic events of Fear Itself. This will set up the look and tone of the book for the foreseeable future, but it's pretty safe to say that Marvel will try to keep the team's basic spirit intact.

With a team that's beaten, shattered, and, in some cases, six-feet under, this issue marks a pretty big moment in their history. Being that The Avengers is going to be hitting theaters in a few months, don't be surprised if this new team, and the subsequent stories that follow, begin to resemble their big screen counterparts sooner rather than later.

Fear Itself #7

What it’s about: Since the beginning, Fear Itself promised to be an all-out action blockbuster encompassing the entire Marvel Universe. Pitting Earth’s mightiest heroes against an ancient Norse god of fear, named the Serpent, writer Matt Fraction has put the entire roster of characters and the book’s readers through a full gamut of emotions. There have been exhilarating highs, sorrowful lows, and a little apathy thrown in towards the middle issues.

Fear Itself has shown flashes of brilliance and mediocrity, and in the process perfectly illustrates the pros and cons of these large crossover events. But one constant throughout all of the carnage has been the absolutely stellar art from Stuart Immonen, which, despite the story’s shortcomings, has never been a disappointment.

What to expect this month: Here it is, folks, the last issue of Fear Itself, and it promises to change the Marvel landscape forever. Of course, savvy comic book fans have heard that before and know the drill, but you can guarantee that Thor, Iron Man, Cap, and the rest of the heroes will offer up an action-packed conclusion with tons of destruction and perhaps a little death.

In a story that has already seen the death of Bucky Barnes (again) and the destruction of Washington DC, Fear Itself #7 looks to save the most shocking events for the end. If you like the Avengers, tons of explosions, and plenty of “Oh shit” moments, then you should absolutely devour this issue.

Tags: batman, wonder-woman, justice-league, avengers, fear-itself, marvel-comics, dc-comics
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