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 December 21, 2011.
Amazing Spider-Man #676
What it’s about: Since 1963, Amazing Spider-Man has been one of Marvel Comics' premiere books. Its blend of witty humor, action, and angst helped audiences connect with the man behind the mask just as much as the hero himself; unfortunately, though, in the early aughts, the title took a nose dive in terms of quality.
Shoddy stories, senseless publicity stunts, and editorial interference almost ruined this once great character. Thankfully, writer Dan Slott and artist Humberto Ramos came onto the book recently and brought Spidey back to what made him so compelling back in the ‘60s. Under their control, Amazing Spider-Man has returned to the action-packed, character-driven roots that made everyone fall in love with him in the first place.
What to expect this month: The Sinister Six are back and ready to make the Wall Crawler’s life a living hell. Featuring a roster of Spidey’s most ruthless rouges (Sandman, Rhino, Doctor Octopus, Electro, Chameleon, and Mysterio), the Six have been part of some of the best Spider-Man stories of all time, and their reappearance should be a welcome sight to longtime fans.
This issue leads the charge for 2012’s Doctor Octopus-centric story Ends Of The Earth. Don’t expect much Spider-Man in this issue, though, as this one more or less details the Sinister Six's reformation, leading into the next chapter of Amazing Spider-Man. But this reintroduction of this villainous team is important to any fan looking to fully keep up with the title in 2012.
What it’s about: Ever since Frank Miller took over in the ‘80s, Daredevil has been one of the industry's darkest and grittiest superhero comics. And that tone worked wonders for decades, but over time it grew tired as writers began to run out of ways to make Ol’ Hornhead’s life miserable.
These days, writer Mark Waid is in charge of the book and he has forced Daredevil to lighten up a bit. Instead of an operatic crime drama, Daredevil is back to his '60s, swashbuckling roots. The adventures may be more colorful now, but that doesn’t mean they're any less impressive. In fact, this is the best the character has been since Miller's heyday.
What to expect this month: With Daredevil now in possession of some rather sensitive terrorist information, the Man Without Fear has a constant target on his back, which trickles down to everyone else in his life. But that’s not stopping his recent cheery demeanor.
This is easily the best title Marvel has to offer at the moment, and it might be one of the best books the company has released in over a decade. And with artist Paolo Rivera returning for this issue, Daredevil #7 has enough eye candy to match its fantastic scripts.
What it’s about: Since late 2010, when Scott Snyder first started writing Batman in Detective Comics, his tight grasp on the character, as well as his ability to blend horror and action, gave the Caped Crusader new life after a few down years. So it was only logical that when DC decided to relaunch Batman for a new generation of fans, it picked Snyder to spearhead this new initiative.
The end result is a frightening look at a timeless cult, known as the court of the Owls, that has been operating in Gotham City for decades. Batman refuses to acknowledge their existence, however, because his ego as the World's Greatest Detective won't let him admit that he may have missed something so big.
What to expect this month: The Court's dangerous ways are painfully evident to everyone except Bruce Wayne. He simply can’t imagine that this cult has been right under his nose since his birth, but they are indeed real and ready to take out the Dark Knight for good. Last issue, Snyder set up an unsettling scene where it was revealed that the Court has been operating inside Gotham’s landmarks unnoticed for years, but now they're ready to make their big move.
This story has been slowly building since Snyder’s Detective Comics work, stretching back to the days following the Wayne murders and the history of Gotham itself. It's an epic, sprawling mystery that's more personal and expansive than any other recent Batman story. When all is said and done, the 11-issue arc could wind up becoming a modern DC Comics' classic.
Justice League #4
What it’s about: With big action, touches of humor, and fantastic art, Justice League has all of the ingredients that it takes to create a blockbuster comic book. When DC launched its “New 52” initiative in late August, this title was seen as the starting point for the revamped universe.
Writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee aren’t just retreading well-worn territory—they’re reimagining the Justice League for a new generation of readers and fans. And what better way is there to kick-off the “New 52” than to introduce readers to the League’s classic foe, Darkseid?
What to expect this month: With Aquaman now agreeing to help them, the League must work together to take out Darkseid’s minions and his villainous technology. But it’s going to be hard to take down the ruler of Apokolips when they can’t even pick a leader of their own.
Johns’ scripts may not shock longtime comic fans, but novices of the genre will find a lot to enjoy here. Much like Bruce Timm’s Justice League animated series, this title focuses more on character than plot, and it eases readers into the expansive DC Universe. Plus, Jim Lee is absolutely on his A-game here.
Wonder Woman #4
What it’s about: Despite being one of DC’s most prominent mascots, there haven’t been many quality Wonder Woman stories to speak of over the past few decades. Until the company relaunched their line of superhero comics, that is, and put writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang in charge, in hopes of boosting interest.
DC wound up doing more than just boosting interest, though; Wonder Woman has become an acclaimed DC high-point. With an eye towards ancient Greek mythology, action, and detailed plots, Wonder Woman transcends typical action comics and is better suited towards the thinking comic fan.
What to expect this month: Having left Paradise Island, Wonder Woman must navigate the world of men without destroying it in the process, but those battles against her Godly kin aren’t over quite yet. And with mankind caught in the crosshairs, it’s not very comforting to know that the Gods don’t exactly value human life.
Azzarello’s introduction of the Gods' mythology has helped to separate this interpretation of Wonder Woman from others in the past. It has more of a Vertigo flavor while still retaining that classic DC feel. Anyone that enjoys a more intelligent comic with compelling characters and a rich mythology needs to put preconceptions aside and give Wonder Woman a try.