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 November 30, 2011.
What it’s about: For nearly 30 years, Daredevil was one of the most consistently readable superhero comics on shelves. Talented writers like Frank Miller, Ann Nocenti, Kevin Smith, and Brian Michael Bendis helped transform the character from an underdeveloped Spider-Man clone into one of the most layered and interesting heroes in the Marvel Universe.
Unfortunately, recent writers have failed the capture the magic that the character had during the ‘80s and aughts, resulting in a string of bland stories and ridiculous plot twists. There's some good news, however: Marvel recently relaunched the title with veteran writer Mark Waid and artists Marcos Martin and Paolo Rivera, and together they've redefined Matt Murdock’s entire world.
What to expect this month: Entangled in a conspiracy that involves AIM, HYDRA, and Dr. Doom’s home country of Latveria, Daredevil finds himself charged with protecting a young man marked for death by every terrorist group Marvel has to offer. But standing in between The Man Without Fear and the answers to this mystery is the mountainous mercenary Bruiser.
Daredevil may be trained in the most effective fighting techniques in the world, but Bruiser is the size of a refrigerator and can’t be knocked off his feet. With sharp scripts by Waid and some refreshingly creative art by Martin, Daredevil isn’t just the best superhero book at Marvel, but it’s among the best comics currently being published.
Avengers Origins: Thor (One Shot)
What it’s about: In preparation of The Avengers hitting theaters next summer, Marvel is putting out a series of Origins comics that detail the early days of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The new line of books is designed to ease a brand new fanbase into the characters' 40-plus-year history.
Avengers Origins: Thor takes a look at the God of Thunder's life before his time as a spandex-clad superhero. Instead of focusing on supervillains and mad scientists, Origins puts the spotlight on the family drama in the house of Odin. This dynamic was touched on a little bit in this summer's effective blockbuster flick Thor, but thankfully the version here doesn't feature an uninterested Natalie Portman tying everything down.
This is one of those rare instances that a Marvel cash-grab is actually appealing to both new fans and longtime comic book readers. The time period covered in Avengers Origins: Thor isn’t detailed too often, meaning there should be something new for even the most jaded of fans.
The old-English dialogue might be off-putting for some readers, but Kathryn Immonen has proven herself to be one of the comic book world's most underrated writers, and Al Barrionuevo’s art adds a rustic real-world quality that perfectly captures the setting of Asgard.
Red Skull #5
What it’s about: Originally designed as a tie-in to Captain America: The First Avenger, Red Skull has transcended cash-in status and can now be considered the year's best Captain America-related story Writer Greg Pak has reexamined the origin of Cap’s greatest villain by placing the Skull in a very authentic version of Nazi Germany.
The result is one of the most realistic and terrifying looks at a supervillain since Magneto: Testament, which Pak also wrote. This is one of the best books that Marvel has put out in a decade, and there isn’t even a superhero or a gigantic battle scene in sight.
What to expect this month: This is the final issue of the series, and the one that sees Johann Schmidt take the final steps in his journey from misguided youth into becoming one of the most perverse evils the world has ever seen. After being betrayed and disillusioned by every group he has attempted to join, Schmidt decides to take matters into his own hands and make history all by himself.
Red Skull has been a slow burn up until this point, but it will all be worth it once Schmidt’s arc comes full circle. Pak’s ability to dissect these characters and provide them with real motivations and personalities is the real reason why this book works so well. Red Skull is simple storytelling done with real passion and creativity, which is surprisingly absent in most mainstream comics.
DC Comics Presents: Batman - Don’t Blink
What it’s about: DC has done a fine job of collecting underrated storylines in its DC Comics Presents line of reprints; this week, it’s revisiting the late Dwayne McDuffie’s forgotten classic Don’t Blink, from Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight #164-167. In the story, Batman is forced to work with his one-time adversary, Blink, a blind man who can see through the eyes of anyone that he touches. Unfortunately for Bats, he has to rescue Blink after he finds out that he is being held by a shadowy government agency that is looking to use his unique talents for their benefit.
Don’t Blink isn’t your typical Batman story. There are no colorful villains, no complicated continuity to memorize, and McDuffie gives Batman an actual personality, as opposed to turning him into a monosyllabic Dirty Harry rip-off.
The story itself is suspenseful and high-octane, with some great action scenes and character moments sprinkled throughout. Batman fans who grew up on The Animated Series or the Denny O'Neil comics from the ’70s and ‘80s should find much to like here. And at a mere $7.99 for over 80 pages of content, Don’t Blink is a fantastic value in a comic book market that seems to be obsessed with raising its prices.
Teen Titans By Geoff Johns Omnibus
What it’s about: The Teen Titans get a bad rap amongst casual comic book fans. The team has been part of some truly iconic superhero stories over the better part of the past three decades, but, for some reason, fans see the word “Teen” and think the book is going to feature nothing more than childish emo stories. In fact, not only is Teen Titans one of the best written titles on the shelf most months, but it has also been home to some of the most brutal and mature stories in recent memories.
This gargantuan omnibus collects Geoff Johns’ 2003 revival and features over 20 issues from the beginning of his run. These stories show the team fending off against villains like Deathstroke, the cult of Brother Blood, and Ravager, all while Johns fills the pages with great characters and unpredictable plots.
Carrying a hefty $75 price tag, this omnibus is obviously only for superhero aficionados; however, if you have the extra cash lying around and want to jump headfirst into the Teen Titans world, or that of any DC hero not named Batman, here's a great place to start.