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 28, 2011.
Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)
The Walking Dead #95
What it’s about: Since its inception, The Walking Deadhas paved the way for indie comics to be about something more than just men wearing capes. Instead of being complacent with shoveling the same ol' stories down fans' throats, Robert Kirkman has crafted a zombie odyssey that puts its focus just as much on satisfying gorehounds as it does on real human emotion.
The book might be best known for the TV show adaptation on AMC, but, make no mistake about it, the comic series is still where The Walking Dead is at its best. Even after 95 issues, Kirkman manages to make each new installment as unpredictable as ever. And in the latest story arc, Rick and the gang stumble upon a new civilization of human survivors. For some people this might be a blessing, but Rick’s increasing paranoia might just result in more bloodshed.
What to expect this month: In typical Kirkman fashion, this issue hinges on a slow boil of emotion and character moments until the stunning climax is unleashed. Like so many issues that have come before it, this one features a walker on only one panel, yet the story is so tense and engrossing that you won't even realize that there's a complete lack of zombie action.
Rick’s growing paranoia and apathy towards human life is the focus as he surveys the new human community he has discovered and meets with its leader. The uneasiness is palpable thanks to Kirkman’s scripts and Charlie Adlard’s nuanced art, and when Rick is forced to take down a crazed member of the community, his actions, and subsequent reaction, are quite shocking.
Rick is a man at the end of his rope, and Kirkman continues to put his feet to the fire in every issue. Without a doubt, this is one of the best character deconstructions going on in comics right now, and any fan of the franchise should pick this issue up and watch the mayhem ensue.
Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred #3
What it’s about: Part love letter to Silver Age superhero comics and part post-modern critique on the industry itself, Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterredgives fans of offbeat books something to latch onto. Writer David Hine has crafted a world where the ugly underbelly of society is in full view for all to see, as superheroes, government officials, and even children aren’t to be trusted anymore.
But it’s not all gloom and doom. Hine fills each panel with the type of satirical wit and intelligence that most mainstream books tend to shy away from, and even though the miniseries does follow an extensive roster and many plot threads, each issue stands on its own as an exploration of these twisted characters’ fragile psyches.
What to expect this month: In this issue, we meet a young boy infatuated with playing with his superhero toys. But instead of having the innocent imagination of a child, this young boy is obsessed with death, violence, Communists, the KKK, and mentally undressing his aunt. Call it a metaphor, or call it a statement on our violence-obsessed youth; either way, there's something very unsettling going on here as Hine mixes the black-and-white world of superheroes with the muddy world of our modern culture.
Aside from any deep meaning, this issue is also just plain entertaining. Superhero clichés get spouted on every page, there are battles against Moon Communists, and the art by Shaky Kane brings us back to the muscle-bound drawings of the ‘50s and ‘60s. It’s certainly not conventional, but Bulletproof Coffin is a smart title that shouldn’t be ignored.
Avengers Vs. X-Men #0
What it’s about: Before Avengers Vs. X-Men officially kicks off this April, Marvel is releasing a prologue of sorts, titled Avengers Vs. X-Men #0. The issue is split up into two parts: one half is written by Brian Michael Bendis, while the other half is written by Jason Aaron, and each chapter deals with the events leading up to the main series.
Bendis’ chapter deals with the return of the Scarlet Witch into the Avengers’ lives and the mystery behind her connection to the Phoenix force. Jason Aaron’s portion, on the other hand, revolves around a confrontation between Cyclops and the mutant messiah, Hope. Don’t expect too many plot developments for the main series to be spoiled here; instead, Avengers Vs. X-Men #0 serves as a table setter for what's to come.
With distinct tone and various sub-plots being established here, there's little doubt that Avengers Vs. X-Men will be one of the biggest miniseries in recent year; to that point, the book will mainly focus on blockbuster action and fights scenes. This prologue is a nice way to pull back and get some vital plot and character information before the main event begins.
What it’s about: When Daredevil was created in 1964, the Marvel Comics character was seen as Spider-Man's wise-cracking clone. He was a light-hearted swashbuckler with romantic dilemmas and colorful adversaries. But over the years, Daredevil has been portrayed more like a dark vigilante followed around by violence and tragedy.
Under writers Frank Miller, Ann Nocenti, and Brian Michael Bendis, the bleak tone worked well; yet, over the years, the title's scribes began losing their touch on what made the character so endearing. Now, thanks to Mark Waid, Daredevilis back to being a much lighter superhero in what's the freshest take on the character in decades.
What to expect this month: Daredevil takes on the Mole Man and his underground army of mutated freaks. after it was revealed that he was stealing coffins and corpses from New York cemeteries. The last few issues have given us a brief glimpse at the strain of being Daredevil has had on Matt Murdock’s sunny demeanor, and now this issue, along with the ones to follow, will continue to chip away at Matt’s psyche as Waid is prepping for a much larger Daredevil storyline this summer.