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 July 13, 2011.
Captain America #1
What it’s about: Over the last half decade, Ed Brubaker has emerged as one of the best writers to ever work on Captain America. Under his creative vision, the character has faced off against the greatest heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe, all while facing challenges like love, loss, and even his own death.
Now, with the launch of a new Captain America series, Brubaker is crafting a fresh jumping-on point for new fans to discover just how thrilling the adventures of Steve Rogers can be. And with Civil War vet Steve McNiven contributing the art, this book might just sport the best creative team currently working at Marvel. Beginning in the wake of the death of his friend Bucky Barnes, Captain America #1 shows Rogers reclaiming his rightful place as Captain America after Barnes’ lengthy stint as the Sentinel of Liberty.
Whether you’re a longtime fan of the character, or if you’re just jumping on in anticipation of the movie, this new Captain America book is ideal for people looking to experience the most pure and well written version of the character in years.
DC Comics Presents: Batman Gotham Noir
What it’s about: Sporting over 100 pages of pure beauty, Batman Gotham Noir creates a post-WWII crime thriller in the world of the Caped Crusader. Putting the focus on Jim Gordon as a bedraggled alcoholic that moonlights as a private detective, Gotham Noir takes the already bleak world of Gotham City and transforms it into a trashy cauldron of crime that can devour the soul of even the most pure-hearted and optimistic of citizens.
Just as the title suggests, this book is more focused on the city itself rather than the exploits of Batman. The Dark Knight himself is basically a side character who aids Gordon as he investigates the murder of a woman he was charged with protecting.
Ed Brubaker again proves in this book that he is the premier crime writer in all of comics and his hard boiled script is expertly aided by the heavily shadowed and atmospheric art of Sean Phillips. It might not be what most Bat fans are accustomed to, but Gotham Noir certainly puts a unique spin on the classic characters of the world of DC Comics.
Detective Comics #879
What it’s about: Detective Comics is the backbone of DC Comics. Hell, it’s what the company is named after. During the '70s and '80s, it seemed that no Batman book could touch Detective in terms of quality of writing or art. It had the proper combination of mood, mystery, and action to keep comic fans hooked for years. Since then, however, the book has had a hard time finding a proper direction.
Writers like Ed Brubaker and Paul Dini had great, yet woefully brief runs, and the book just seemed to meander along waiting for a visionary creative team to come give it a kick-start. Last year, writer Scott Snyder and artist Jock did just that, transforming the book from pure filler material into the best comic currently at DC.
What to expect this month: After the events of Batman: Year One, Commissioner Jim Gordon's wife left him and moved to Chicago with their son, James Gordon Jr. Since then, there have been hints and whispers about junior's homicidal tendencies but nothing was ever proven. Then the last page of Detective Comics #878 left little doubt, as the younger Gordon was depicted gruesomely torturing a friend from his past in a horrific scene seemingly ripped from the Saw movies. As Hank Hill would say, “That boy ain’t right.”
Now Gordon will finally confront his son in a storyline that Scott Snyder has been building up to for months. Every self-respecting comic book fan should be following this book as it has quickly become a modern classic in the medium.
Amazing Spider-Man #665
What it’s about: As one of Marvel’s flagship titles, Amazing Spider-Man is the book that most comic fans grew up reading. Its mix of action, humor, and emotion makes the book a must buy for any fan of the world of superheroes.
And while there have been some bumpy years for the title recently, writer Dan Slott has recaptured the magic that Amazing Spider-Man had back in the '60s and turned Spidey back into a viable force in the Marvel Universe.
What to expect this month: As a member of two different Avengers teams, the FF, and a fulltime employee at a science lab, Peter Parker barely has enough time to even spout lame jokes anymore. So when his responsibilities begin to mount, parts of his personal life get overlooked. And in Spider-Man’s life, when responsibilities get shrugged off, people suffer.
It’s completely normal for superheroes to star in more than one book per month; however, rarely do writers ever incorporate that into their stories. Dan Slott has made a living off of portraying the strain that Parker’s superhero life has on his personal life, and that is what has kept the character so relatable for nearly five decades.
And all of this is happening as this summer’s blockbuster storyline Spider Island continues to slowly build towards its debut. With multiple plots being woven simultaneously, Amazing Spider-Man is going to be the landing spot for some of the company’s most high-profile stories over the next few months.
Ghost Rider #1
What it’s about: It’s odd that a new book launches as a tie-in to another story, but that’s the direction that Rob Williams is going in with his new take on Ghost Rider, which is debuting under the Fear Itself banner. With Johnny Blaze no longer the man behind the flaming skull, this brand new Ghost Rider promises to be more brutal than the original by punishing evil with a slick flaming sickle and a heaping amount of estrogen.
That’s right, this new Ghost Rider is a female and she’s pretty pissed. And, like most women, she’s completely unpredictable and is just as likely to destroy humanity as she is to be its savior. Rob Williams is a writer who is set to really explode into the mainstream and this sex change to the classic character is just the type of experimentation that could really launch a prolific career.
Don’t be afraid that Williams is simply giving Ghost Rider a monthly cycle to go with the motorcycle; this book promises a wholesale personality change to the character that will elevate this new direction above vapid gimmick status.
X-Men Schism #1
What it’s about: There is truly no such thing as a casual X-Men fan. With a constantly changing world and nearly indecipherable continuity, most X-Men comics can only be truly understood by complete fanatics of the characters who have an encyclopedic knowledge of all of the storylines and events of the past decade.
However, Marvel is trying to rectify that by bringing the merry band of mutants back to their roots in X-Men: Schism. Refocusing on the mutant/human conflict that made the team so popular in the first place, Schism revolves around how the tenuous relationship between Wolverine and Cyclops falls apart just when the mutant community needs them the most.
Written by Jason Aaron with art by Carlos Pacheco, this book will set up a new direction for the mutants that will see the relaunch of the long-running Uncanny X-Men and the birth of a new book, Wolverine and the X-Men, by the end of the series. With Aaron focused on delivering a story that even novice X-Men fans can get into, Schism might just be the best thing to happen to the franchise in decades.
Spider-Man: The Death of Jean DeWolff (Collecting: Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man #107-110 & #134-136)
What it’s about: The Death of Jean DeWolff was the antithesis of every other Spider-Man storyline when it hit newsstands in the mid '80s. It was violent, tragic, and painted Spider-Man as a dangerously unstable individual with a deadly temper.
Centering on the murder of Spider-Man’s friend on the NYPD, Captain Jean DeWolff, this story explores the morality of the Web Slinger as he hunts down the Sin-Eater, the man responsible for her death. Spider-Man’s idea of justice is to kill Sin-Eater just as he killed DeWolff; however, Daredevil argues that the only way to truly bring his to justice is deliver him to the police.
This storyline was the first ever comic written by a then 23-year-old Peter David and it’s still regarded as one of the most powerful comics ever at Marvel. David portrayed Spider-Man as deeply flawed and human as he slowly lost control over his emotions while battling Sin-Eater. Very rarely does a hero's morality come into question, but here Spider-Man is forced to examine his own soul and control his emotions with the help of Daredevil.
This comic was written back in a time when the medium wasn’t so hung up on complicated continuity and tie-ins, so this is a perfect book for fans of Spider-Man to pick up without the fear of getting lost in the shuffle.