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 March 21, 2011.
Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)
Amazing Spider-Man #682
What it’s about: After a soft reboot in 2010, The Amazing Spider-Man has been one of Marvel’s most enjoyable reads, thanks to writer Dan Slott. He has such a good handle on Peter Parker and his supporting cast that it’s nearly impossible to think of anyone else writing Spidey at this point. During his run, he has created new villains, given interesting wrinkles to classic foes, and reintroduced some romantic drama back into Peter’s life.
If you gave up on reading the Wall Crawler’s adventures after years of sub-par stories, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not hopping back onboard now.
What to expect this month: This is it—Slott’s long-awaited “Ends of the Earth” storyline begins here. Comprised of eight issues, this mega-event puts its focus on Dr. Octopus’ latest scheme. But this isn’t the portly Doc Ock that we remember from the good ol’ days; here, Slott has made the nefarious doctor a victim of a degenerative disease that is about to take his life.
However, the eight-armed psycho has one last trick up his sleeve: He’s planning on taking over the world. Sure, we’ve heard that before, but now he has the rest of the Sinister Six here to help him out. In this first issue, Ock promises the world a solution to Global Warming, but Spider-Man knows better than to trust him.
It’s not just about the plot here as the book is also backed-up by the absolutely incredible art by Stefano Caselli, which needs to be seen to be believed. Seriously, if you have any interest in superhero comics, or just the Spider-Man himself, “Ends of the Earths” is a great story to start picking up.
What it’s about: DC’s best book since its September 2011 relaunch is without a doubt Batman. Writer Scott Snyder has filled the book with so much intensity, mystery, and character that it’s easy to forget the years of ho-hum Dark Knight tales that have come before it.
Snyder isn’t just retreading old villains and plot lines with a fresh coat of paint here; he’s actually adding to the mythos by creating new threats, like The Court of Owls, that reach into the very soul of the Caped Crusader and crush him from within. Since they emerged in the debut issue, Batman has undergone a startling transformation from Gotham’s grim protector to a psychologically tormented soul on the brink of insanity. Yeah, it’s pretty intense.
What to expect this month: The last issue of Batman saw the Dark Knight outfox the Court of Owls and escape from their underground labyrinth—or so he thought. As Batman struggles back to the surface world, the Court is already prepping a new member of their endless army to take him down once and for all.
The problem here is that the Court is undeterred, while Batman is at the end of his rope, beaten and bloodied. This isn’t just an action story—writer Scott Snyder is completely deconstructing Batman as we know him. Gotham is no longer his, the war on crime is beginning to slip away, and for the first time ever he doesn’t know if he can win. Superhero comics really don’t get any better than this.
Justice League #7
What it’s about: The opening story in Geoff Johns and Jim Lee’s new Justice League series was a non-stop barrage of action and plot twists that saw the newly formed League take on the villainous Darkseid. Taking place five years before all of the storylines in DC's current books, Justice League works as a crash course for anyone not familiar with the team’s legacy and origins.
Aside from the entry-level premise, the book also works as a solid action title. It might not break new ground or throw readers any mind-bending curveballs along the way, but there's enough intrigue here to keep most readers satisfied.
What it’s about: This issue of Justice League brings the team into the present as it moves past the five-year flashback from the first six issues. Now firmly entrenched in the public consciousness, the team is seen as gods by the people on the ground, but they’re still kept at arm’s length by the government.
This issue introduces us to Steve Trevor, the world’s liaison to the Justice League, and agent of A.R.G.U.S. (short for Advanced Research Group Uniting Superhumans). The League faces off against a mysterious, monstrous threat, while also dealing with some hostile government bureaucracy at the same time. It's also the debut of new artist Gene Ha, who will be replacing the legendary Jim Lee. But don't worry too much—he's no slouch.
No Place Like Home #2
What it’s about: When Image Comics debuted the first issue of No Place Like Home last month, it was billed as a new take on The Wizard Of Oz. There have been countless re-tellings of the classic Frank L. Baum tale, so there wasn’t anything inherently interesting about the book on the surface. But once the first issue was over, it was clear that this book was more than just a modern update of Dorothy’s adventures on the yellow-brick road.
Angelo Tirotto’s writing reads more like a Stephen King novel than a children’s book, and it has instantly made No Place Like Home a welcome addition to Image’s recent string of indie comic hits.
What to expect this month: The mystery surrounding the deaths of Dee’s parents continues as Thomas, the lovable town hobo, escapes from prison and forces her to unearth her parents’ corpses. Sound morbid? Well it is. But that only scratches the surface of what Tirotto is up to here.
The rest of the issue is filled with a limb-ripping flying monkey and dark secrets that are only now coming to light. With each new issue comes new questions, and like any good comic, each new question keeps us wanting more. Working in perfect harmony with the great scripts is the fantastically grotesque art by Richard Jordan. After just two issues, No Place Like Home seems well on its way to becoming one of the year’s most interesting mystery titles.
Rebel Blood #1
What it’s about: You could say that Rebel Blood is yet another zombie comic that clearly exists solely because of The Walking Dead, but you would be dead wrong. Alex Link and Riley Rossmo’s thrilling gore-fest through a town gripped by a bizarre zombie infection is both horrifying and unique among a pop culture landscape littered with these types of stories.
The book starts off with a furious shotgun blast that splatters an infected wolf’s brain all over the page, and it never looks back. Link and Rossmo don’t spend the entire issue bending over for zombie clichés that we have seen before; instead, they take the opportunity to introduce us to Chuck Neville, the underemployed, directionless main character of the piece.
He���s miserable, his wife never gets off his back, and he can barely support his family. In his mind he goes over every possibility of how he would deal with a zombie attacking his wife. In some fantasies he is a Schwarzenegger-esque action hero, and in some he simply turns a shotgun on his wife and ends his misery. This brilliant bit of neurosis is exactly what this genre needs so badly.
And then there's the art by Rossmo himself. It might seem a bit underdeveloped at first, but by the middle of the issue it should grow on you, and by the end of the issue you should be in love with it. Rebel Blood isn’t a normal zombie thriller, which is perhaps its greatest strength.
Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)