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 September 5, 2012.
Written by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)
Planet of the Apes: Cataclysm #1
What it’s about: Boom Studios has been making a name for itself as one of the better indie comic publishers on the market, and one of the company’s biggest successes has been its Planet of the Apes line. These stories don’t try to reboot or reinvent the series; instead, they look at the time before the original movie and further explore the sociopolitical nature of the ape society. The latest ongoing series, titled Cataclysm, focuses on civil unrest in the society and the mistreatment of its human occupants.
Writers Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko convey the socially conscious feel of the movie series by drawing parallels to the real world. As the ape scientists attempt to experiment on the humans, the anti-vivisection group protests this practice in an attempt to get equal treatment for the humans. This leads to a conflict amongst the apes about ethics and morality, which should instantly draw comparisons to our world.
Cataclysm isn’t without its spectacle, though, and through the course of the issue there's enough action and intrigue to make the next chapter a must-read. We’re not going to spoil it here, but the title Cataclysm only hints at what's to come. And though the development may seem a bit hard to fathom, it’s an interesting premise, to say the least.
For Apes aficionados, Damian Couceiro's art should bring you right back to the Apes films. The architecture, costumes, and ape designs are all faithfully accurate to the original movies, and seeing longtime favorites like Dr. Zaius brought into the comic book medium is one of the story’s highlights.
What it’s about: Set in the seedy underground world of unlicensed surgeries and organ transplants, Harvest is the latest offering from Image Comics that proves you don’t need superpowers to be a compelling read. When a surgeon named Ben Dane loses his license after his drug addiction costs him a patient, he is lured into this black market organ scheme with the promise of a renewed career and a boatload of cash. Of course, it all comes with a price.
What to expect this month: With this single issue, writer A.J. Lieberman elevates Harvest from a title that we were afraid would become forgotten within the Image shuffle into one of the company's more promising books. The world that he created here is ugly, incredibly sadistic, and all too real. It’s a universe filled with greed, selfishness, and cruelty, and it’s just twisted enough to grab our complete attention.
As Dane begins to doubt his choices and betray his shady employers, he slowly realizes that they won’t allow him to quit this business alive. With some disorienting, non-linear storytelling and the creepy appearance of a pint-sized psychopath, Harvest alternates between gritty morality tale and surreal nightmare.
Like last issue, Colin Lorimer's art adds much to the atmosphere of the story. The heavily-shaded mood and look of his illustrations reflect the seediness and ugliness of the story itself. There is a noticeable jump in quality in this issue also, which makes it seem like Lorimer is settling into a comfort zone with this series. Much like the end of last issue, it’s hard to see just where Harvest is heading now, but this time we’re fully invested in the ride.
Thief of Thieves #8
What it’s about: There's no doubt that The Walking Dead will always be Robert Kirkman’s masterpiece, but his work on Thief of Thieves proves that he's truly a versatile talent. Focusing on how a reformed thief named Conrad got himself back into the game, Thief of Thieves is what Ocean’s Eleven would have been if heavy firearms were involved.
What to expect this month: As Conrad is forced back into the criminal game in order to repay the partners he set-up in the previous issues, his son, Augustus, runs into some drug dealers that he has wronged in the past. Writers Kirkman and James Asmus continue to juggle the family drama in Conrad’s life with his criminal career in perfect harmony as one aspect inevitably affects the other.
Because it's the beginning of a new arc, this issue does little more than set the table for what's to come, but the pieces that are moved into place are promising. Conrad is still suffering for his past transgressions and his son just can’t get out of his own way. Despite the exposition, this issue still manages to be compelling enough to keep the series’ momentum from fading.
The real surprise here is illustrator Shawn Martinbrough's art; he brings a great deal of life and energy to each panel with his Darwyn Cooke-esque character designs. Which helps an issue that is very much dialogue oriented from ever dragging. We just hope the next installment can capitalize on the interesting development found on this issue's last page.
Written by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)