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 January 24, 2011.
Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)
The Walking Dead #93
What it’s about: For almost a decade, Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead has redefined the way the world looks at comic books. Instead of focusing on superpowers and fantastic characters, the book puts its focus on a band of humans with real emotions and believable personalities. Even as a zombie apocalypse bears down on them, writer Robert Kirkman makes sure that personal struggles and relationships are story's focal point.
Recently in The Walking Dead, Rick’s leadership has come under fire from the rest of the group as the rigors of his lifestyle have been getting the best of him. Slowly he has lost his defiant spirit and he is beginning to doubt the very battle for survival that he is waging.
What to expect this month: This issue starts the title’s next major storyline, “A Larger World.” When we left Rick and company last month, they were approached by a mysterious stranger who claimed that he was part of a larger human settlement that's living in prosperity and away from the zombie threat. But this issue begins as Rick’s paranoia leads him to attack and detain the man inside of the camp. He then prepares for a war against this potential other human settlement, which he has no proof will ever even come to pass.
Kirkman has slowly been peeling back the layers of Rick’s personality for months now, and it seems like he’s finally ready to snap. After years of living in fear, the character's recent turn was inevitable and natural, and Kirkman’s nuanced writing of the character makes him one of the most fleshed-out leads in all of comics. But aside from the deep character study that's on display here, Charlie Adlard provides the type of stylized art that fans of the series have come to accept. We never tire of watching Michonne decapitate zombies.
It’s not The Walking Dead's most action-packed issue ever, but this story sets up some interesting conflicts for the rest of this storyline, which could wind up as one of the most important in the series' history.
Justice League #5
What it’s about: Since its debut, Justice League has provided the type of pulse-pounding comic book action that fans of the genre crave. It's completely free of heavy continuity, so writer Geoff Johns can simply create a wide-screen superhero story without worrying about what has come before it.
The first four issues of the series has concentrated on the formation of the League, the origin of Cyborg, and the initial attack launched by Darkseid, one of the most powerful villains in the DC Universe. There might not be a lot of intimate character moments in this book so far, but that’s not what Justice League is about. Instead, readers are brought back to their youth as these colorful characters spend 22 pages destroying buildings and pounding on baddies.
What to expect this month: With Cyborg now on their team, the newly formed Justice League has to face-off against the deadly threat of Darkseid. But this novice team is quickly dispatched by the ruler of Apokolips, leaving Superman and Flash left to ward off his Omega Beams. With the other heroes down and human casualties mounting, this issue unleashes all-out action that should easily trump the first four issues.
Johns deserves a lot of praise for bringing the League into the 21st century, but the real star of the book is Jim Lee's art. The war-torn city that Darkseid tramples through has an ominous beauty to it as Lee pulls out all the stops when it comes to details. Also, his redesign of Darkseid is extremely sharp as the character looks more intimidating here than he has in years.
Mighty Thor #10
What it’s about: When Thor was released in theaters this past May, Marvel decided to relaunch the Mighty Thor comic in order to take advantage of the influx of new fans. The title succeeded in closely resembling the look and feel of the movie without ever seeming like a simple cash grab.
In recent issues, Thor has been replaced as the God of Thunder by Tanarus, a mysterious force that has erased the world’s memory of Thor. But somehow Loki hasn’t forgotten about his brother as he goes to great lengths to return the world to normal.
What to expect this month: Heimdall battles Tanarus in this issue after he remembers what has truly happened to Thor. Also, the Silver Surfer and Loki discover Thor’s hammer in the desert, which could be the key to returning the God of Thunder to his place in the world. But Thor is stuck in limbo as he battles against Demogorge, the God eater. There are a lot of plot threads hanging around in this book, but Fraction has balanced them out beautifully so far.
Fraction deftly combines the more mythological aspects of the character of Thor with the superhero leanings that made him famous. And coupled with the refreshingly sleek art by Pepe Larraz, this storyline continues Fraction’s strong run on the character.
Daredevil By Ed Brubaker And Michael Lark Volume 1
What it’s about: After Brian Michael Bendis ended his transcendent tenure on Daredevil in 2006, fans weren’t sure that any creative team could come close to topping it. Thankfully, Marvel enlisted the A-list team of writer Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark to take on Ol’ Horn Head with the same gritty flair they brought to Gotham Central. Now the company is collecting the beginning of Brubaker's run in one large trade paperback.
Beginning with the great “Devil in Cell Block D” story, which saw Matt Murdock run amok in Ryker’s Prison, Brubaker crafted a comic book that was more like an HBO drama than a superhero story. Filled with twists and turns that never depend on clichés, these stories are as sophisticated as the medium gets. This omnibus also sees Daredevil take a trip to Paris, which begins a noir adventure that is among the character’s best.
The book's other star is Michael Lark, who crafts art so inspired and stylized that these issues don’t even need word balloons to be enjoyed. His take on Daredevil’s world is dark and dirty, but there is also enough energy to keep every panel moving. His heavily-shadowed style is an easy callback to noir flicks like Double Indemnity and The Wrong Man.
This release is just the beginning of Brubaker’s run on the character, which somehow manages to even get better as it progresses. Fans of Daredevil and crime fiction need to check this book out. It has all of the action, unpredictable plots, and great characters that anyone should expect from comics.