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 October 3, 2012.
Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)
The Boys #71
What it’s about: Since 2006, Garth Ennis’ landmark series The Boys has been one of the shining examples of edgy, independent comics in the wake of titles like Sandman and Preacher ending their runs. The book focuses on a squad put together by the CIA with the sole purpose of making sure that Earth's superheroes stay in line and never go rogue. And if they do, The Boys will happily bring the fight to them.
What to expect this month: The final confrontation between Billy Butcher and Wee Hughie finally takes place in this issue, and it’s completely different than most people would have thought going into it. It's not a knock-down, drag-out fight of brutal proportions; rather, both men lie prone—Butcher with a broken neck and Hughie losing pints of blood—and talk over their philosophical differences.
The story is simmering with anger and fear as the psychotic Butcher seems to have the one-up on Hughie, despite his broken neck. But it’s easy to see Hughie’s sympathy for the man he used to call a friend, and their complicated relationship seemingly stands in the way of Hughie’s main objective. When Ennis finally does unleash Hughie’s fury that we’ve been waiting for, it happens so quickly and brutally that it’s quite jarring. This issue is a long time coming, and Ennis doesn’t disappoint—he just does it a bit differently than we thought.
Artist Russ Braun balances the issue's emotions and the violence of well. His use of pained facial expressions is to be commended, especially when it comes to the Vought American sub-plot. Braun aids the story along admirably, without ever outshining the drama or delivering any cartoonish penciling.
There's still one more issue of The Boys left, and with the main conflict between Hughie and The Butcher all but resolved, it will be interesting to see how Ennis wraps up his cult favorite series.
What it’s about: Ed Brubaker may be leaving the world of superhero comics, but that just means that he has a lot more time to put out more stellar creator-owned work like Fatale. This book combines horror and noir into one unpredictable package that involves corrupt cops, snuff films, demonic cults, and a seemingly ageless woman who can turn any man into a lovesick puppy.
By weaving multiple characters and narratives into a tale that spans multiple decades, Fatale is multi-layered, gritty, and stands tall against the industry’s most daring titles.
What to expect this month: Brubaker begins Fatale #8 with a trip back to the present to catch readers up with Nicholas Lash, the man from the first arc who is investigating the mysterious, immortal Josephine. He is no longer the idealistic man fams once saw, the do-gooder who was on the case of a great big mystery; here, he's just broken down and obsessed with the shimmering figure of the woman from his past.
The issue then shifts to the main narrative set in the past where Josephine is aware that the cult has spotted her. Unfortunately, Fatale #8 spends too much time spinning its wheels and waiting for the next big revelation to take place. Though Brubaker’s prose is as good as ever, the narrative could be tightened up; this installment does seem to wander a bit before finding a clear direction. There's a lot of character building between Jo and Miles, but very little else happens until the cliffhanger on the last page. However, the arc's new villain, Hansel, is as creepy and ominous as ever as his plan slowly comes together. Being that we have to wait an entire month in between issues, we would like to see a bit more progress in each one.
That being said, Brubaker is still adding bits to the overall tapestry of horror and crime that has made Fatale work so well up to this point. Coupled with the atmospheric art by Sean Phillips, Fatale #8 is still a worthy addition to the larger narrative, despite being a bit too decompressed at times.
What it’s about: Longtime comic fans and historians will no doubt already know what Creepy is, but for everyone else we’ll give you the quick rundown. In the 1950s and ‘60s, horror comics were king, even above superheroes at times, and Creepywas one of the genre's standout titles. The black-and-white anthology series was filled with spine-tingling tales of the macabre with endings and twists that would make O. Henry blush.
In recent years, Dark Horse comics has relaunched Creepy and resurrected the book’s unique brand of sick and vile storytelling. For true horror fans, this book is made just for you.
What to expect this month: This installment of Creepy is extra special as the entire issue deals with the world of H.P. Lovecraft. In the first story, we have writer Doug Moench teaming up with his former Batman artist Kelley Jones on a much different take on the legend of the man Lovecraft himself. It’s a story within a story within a story that reveals that the legendary writer’s work was a bit more down-to-earth than we thought. It's also the conclusion to a larger story, so fans might want to track down earlier issues to get the whole picture.
The Lovecraft concept is a brilliant way to kick off the issue; it’s easily the strongest short in the anthology. Moench’s writing perfectly captures the pacing and tenor of Lovecraft, while Jones’ abstract and gruesome illustrations bring this world to life. The rest of the short tales vary in quality, but none of them disappoint. There's the case of the cursed “Dark Godz” action figures, which is the issue’s other highlight; a recreation of “The Rats in the Walls” and “Providence”; and even some cartoonish shorts by Peter Bagge. Altogether, the tales included here provide unique spins on the great H.P. Lovecraft's incomparable work.
The ironic twists and dark humor from the author’s original stories can all be found in Creepy, and they’re brought to life by some of the best talent in the comic industry.
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Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)