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 June 20, 2012.
Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)
What it’s about: Against the canvas of an intergalactic conflict, two lovers from the warring species try to keep their infant daughter alive as they are being hunted for their traitorous romance. Part sci-fi and part love story, Saga seamlessly blends the operatic feel of Star Wars with the tragic prose of Romeo & Juliet.
Written by Brian K. Vaughan, and beautifully illustrated by Fiona Staples, Saga is one of the most unique and inventive comics to come along all year. The story is just as human as it is alien, and its elemental plots and characters can be enjoyed by people that often dismiss space adventures.
What to expect this month: From the opening pages that take place in an alien sex den, to the cold reaches of space, the title's fourth issue is the strongest one yet. Alana and Marko are still on the run, but now they are being helped out by the ghostly spirit of a young girl named Izabel. Hot on their heels is the freelance assassin, The Will, who continues to become one of the more interesting aspects of the book, even though he’s out to slaughter the main characters.
And those characters are what continue to drive the book. There is more humanity in this batch of aliens than most entire comic book companies can pump out in a month. Alana and Marko’s relationship is so relatable and honest that it's easy to connect with what's going on; well, except for the fact that they’re best friend is a ghost and they know how to fly spaceships.
This is a book that you need to start reading. It’s fun, hilarious, honest, and tense. Each new issue adds an additional wrinkle that changes our assumption of where we think the series is going, and that’s exactly what keeps us coming back for more.
Baltimore: Dr. Leskovar’s Remedy #1
What it’s about: Most people know that Mike Mignola’s greatest gift to the world of comics is Hellboy, but Lord Henry Baltimore isn’t far behind. Armed with only a few sharp weapons and a serious mad-on for vampires, these Baltimore miniseries over at Dark Horse have provided us with the type of genuine Gothic horror that we crave.
In this latest two-issue series, Baltimore: Dr. Leskovars Remedy, Lord Henry crash lands on a beach town in Croatia in 1917 after a monster attacks his WWI-era plane. Once he comes to, he attempts to travel to Belgrade to hunt down Haigus, the vampire who killed his family. But first, the townspeople tell him of mysterious creatures that have overtaken a nearby village. Never one to turn down some slaughtering, Baltimore makes his way over there.
Writers Mignola and Christopher Golden bring us a very somber script here. The tension is palpable as Baltimore looks to get to the bottom of Dr. Leskovar’s mysterious remedy that has turned an entire village into blood-thirsty monsters. This isn’t Hollywood horror; this is real terror with actual consequences attached to it. And Baltimore might be the only badass equipped to deal with it.
Helping to create this morose atmosphere of dread is the art by Ben Stenbeck, who has the natural gift of bringing the violence-weary world of post-WWI Croatia to life. Everything feels real, from the clothing to the dejected facial expressions of the characters. It’s certainly not a cheery book, but if you like that early 20th century horror vibe, this is a great read.
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth: The Devil’s Engine #2
What it’s about: Spinning directly out of Hellboy, the B.P.R.D. miniseries expand upon the fantastical world that Mike Mignola created decades ago. Battling against ghosts, monsters, urban legends, and the undead, the B.P.R.D. (or the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense) protects the world from threats that they shouldn’t even know exist.
In this latest three-issue miniseries, Agent Andrew Devon and Fenix, the Bureau’s resident psychic, have to travel to safety on a train to Denver. They are soon attacked by some terrifying monsters from a twisted science experiment gone wrong. What else would you expect from a B.P.R.D. book?
What to expect this month: As Devon and Fenix attempt to find their way to Denver, they are chased through the desert by multiple creatures out to get them. Basically, this issue is one long Hollywood-esque chase scene, but it works well thanks to the sharp, character-driven writing of John Arcudi and Mike Mignola. Plus, there's also the sub-plot that involves Herr Marsten attempting to revive The Master, an ongoing plot thread that will continue through the next B.P.R.D. series.
If you’re a longtime Hellboy fan, this miniseries is a safe bet. It’s filled with everything that makes this world so unique. However, this specific issue is a little slow at times. But if you have the patience, it should build up to a satisfying conclusion next issue.
Batman: The Black Glove Deluxe Edition - Hardcover
What it’s about: Collecting the first part of Grant Morrison’s mind-bending run on Batman from a few years ago, this deluxe edition hardcover features some of the most challenging superhero stories to come from DC since the ‘80s. Starting out with the startling revelation that Batman actually has a young son named Damian, who he fathered with Talia al Ghul, this collection rips the Dark Knight’s psyche apart piece-by-piece and doesn't bother to put it back together again.
Featuring appearances by the League of Assassins, Man-Bat, Talia, and a full-on prose story starring the Joker, Morrison’s tales are surreal and post-modern, and for some, they may be a bit much at times. But if given a chance, they eventually create a rich tapestry of ideas and moments that are rarely seen in the mainstream.
The one story to really keep an eye on out of the 12 issues collected here is “The Black Glove” mystery, which is illustrated by J.H. Williams III. What starts off as a quaint mystery story soon evolves into one of the more important chapters in the character’s history. It eventually pays off in the controversial "Batman R.I.P" later on down the road.
On the art duties is a rotating cast of talent such as Andy Kubert, J.H. Williams III, and Tony Daniel. Together, they create complex mysteries, a few alternate versions of Batman, and some truly memorable villains. It’s a change from the norm, no doubt, but if you’re willing to surrender yourself to the madness of Morrison, this is a truly remarkable beginning to a run that helped redefine the character in 2006.
Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)