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 August 1, 2012.
Written by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)
The Boys #69
What it’s about: Garth Ennis’ The Boys is so hardcore that it was dropped by DC in 2007 because of its controversial and violent subject matter. The book focuses on a special group of CIA-sponsored sociopaths whose job it is to keep an eye on the superheroes of the world in case they ever get out of hand. And when they do, all hell breaks loose.
Packed with plenty of sex and violence, The Boys is about as punk rock as any comic could get. With the series coming to a conclusion in issue #71, we’re preparing our final goodbyes to one of the most consistent titles on the market.
What to expect this month: Much like the last three issues, Ennis doesn’t fill this installment with the usual amount of pervasive violence we’re accustomed to seeing in the book. Instead, he’s piling on the tension and plot swerves to make sure that these final issues of The Boys will have some real meat on the bone.
As Wee Hughie continues to piece together why The Butcher has been knocking off members of The Boys, Butcher gets in touch with him to let him know just what he’s planning. Without even showing his face, Butcher looms over the book like a broad-shouldered Sword of Damocles, ready to strike at any moment. And when he does make his move towards the end of the issue, it’s as surprising and heartbreaking as any we have seen in the series in a long while.
Artist Russ Braun is tasked with keeping things moving in this issue, despite only being given mostly exposition scenes to illustrate. Fortunately, he pulls these off well, packing each panel with a great deal of emotion and stripped-down storytelling.
We’re glad these final issues haven’t been bloodbaths. Ennis is taking his time here in this last arc on The Boys, and with each new installment the tension mounts even more. We can’t wait for the big payoff.
The Spider #4
What it’s about: Re-imagining the classic pulp character from the ‘30s in a modern setting, The Spider is a mix of a hard-boiled crime drama and a street-level superhero story. Following the exploits of Richard Wentworth’s vigilante persona, The Spider is a throwback to the hard-line action tales of the Golden Age. If you’re tired of your heroes playing by the rules and preserving law and order, The Spider should be able to fill your need for bloodlust.
What to expect this month: After a somewhat disappointing issue last month, writer David Liss and artist Colton Worley come back with their best Spider installment yet.
As the mysterious Anput continues to turn New Yorkers into mindless zombies with a weaponized gas, The Spider must track her down to end the terror. Liss definitely raises the stakes in this issue; there's a palpable feeling of dread during each terrorist attack. Maybe it’s because they hit very close to home with the way the world has been the past decade, but Liss manages to make Anput a more realistic threat than most comic book villains.
There's also plenty of humor, especially in The Spider's dialogue, with its richly nihilistic streak. If Liss can manage to keep up this level of suspense and levity in the coming issues, The Spider has a chance at being one of the better vigilante titles on shelves.
And thankfully, Worley’s artwork also bounces back from the disappointment of last issue. No longer are his figures stiff and emotionless as his work is beautifully cinematic and photo-realistic during the course of this chapter. The highlight of his work still remains The Spider himself, who he illustrates with the rain-soaked mood of artists like Neal Adams and Jim Aparo.
Thief of Thieves #7
What it’s about: Thief of Thieves is writer Robert Kirkman’s (he of The Walking Dead fame) latest original title over at Image Comics, and, much like his previous works at the company, it has only gotten better since its debut.
In the book, a thief named Redmond tries to get out of the criminal game after a long life of running, but he finds out that his son has been arrested for trying to walk a bit too closely in his old man’s footsteps. Now, he has to hatch a plan to get his son a plea deal by agreeing to set-up some of his closest friends in the criminal underworld.
What to expect this month: Kirkman finishes up his first arc on Thief of Thieves in style as he and writer Nick Spencer have revitalized the heist genre that has become something of a joke in the past years. In order to get his son off on a plea deal, and clear the names of the friends he set up in the process, Redmond orchestrates one of the most devious plots imaginable as he burns bridges and makes enemies along the way.
Like Ocean’s 11, Thief of Thieves is a look at the lives of higher-class criminals. What started off as slow and somewhat uninteresting has quickly turned into one of Image’s more unique offerings. Redmond’s conflicted character drives the narrative in this issue as he tries and fails so desperately at attempting to rid himself of his criminal life. It will be interesting to see where the title brings him next, but until then we suggest everyone pick this book up from the beginning and enjoy something a little different than the typical comic fare.
What it’s about: When Dr. Benjamin Dane loses his license to perform surgery, after his drug habit leads to the death of one of his patients, he is recruited into the seedy, underground world of black market surgeries and organ transplants.
A blood-soaked tale of moral ambiguity and criminality, Harvest is startling as Dane takes a gift that should be used to help humanity and trades it all in for some cheap coke and hookers. There are no winners here, and the real loser is the woman he couldn’t save as he was strung-out in the O.R.
Writer A.J. Lieberman has given us a debut issue that leaves absolutely no hints as to where the rest of the story is going, but there are more than enough promising elements to ensure readers' returns next month. The art by Colin Lorimer aids Lieberman’s scripts immensely by giving the story a seedy, filthy look that fits right in with the world of underworld organ mills that surround this book.
Harvest #1 is a different kind of beast than we’re accustomed to, and we’re really not sure where it’s going. But the subject matter is so intriguing that we can't imagine it losing our interest. With titles like Harvest, Dancer, Peter Panzerfaust, and No Place Like Home, Image Comics has definitively proven that it's about more than just The Walking Dead and Spawn.
Written by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)