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 December 14, 2011.
Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)
The Walking Dead #92
What it’s about: Robert Kirkman’s legendary indie series has been killing it for years, and now with a hit television show to its credit, The Walking Dead is about as well known today as Spider-Man or Batman. But it’s not all hype; the series has been critically acclaimed and commercially successful for a reason: It’s one of the best comic series of all time.
After 92 issues, it’s clear that Kirkman isn’t satisfied with writing just another zombie series. Even though the undead may be the book’s selling-point, The Walking Dead teaches us more about humanity with each new installment.
What to expect this month: After a few months of breathing room, there's a return to action and gore in this issue. But this time, the fight scenes don’t focus on humans against zombies; the real focal point is pitting Rick’s group of survivors against a newfound garrison of humans. If done right, this discovery of a new clan of survivors will bring Rick and his comrades a whole plethora of twisting plots in the future. There's also an interesting scene involving Rick's son, Carl, that may seem like an afterthought, but we have a feeling that it's setting up something huge for the future.
This latest issue of The Walking Dead gives us a hint of where Kirkman is going to take the series in the future, and we couldn’t be more interested. The world that Kirkman has built just keeps getting bigger and bigger, transcending all genre constraints to become a classic of the medium.
What it’s about: When Batwoman was first introduced to the DC Universe, she was touted as one of the first lesbian crime fighters in the company’s history, but other than that, she did very little. Until Greg Rucka re-introduced her in the pages of Detective Comics, that is, and wound up creating one of the past decade's best mainstream comic runs.
Armed with a hypnotic personality and arguably the best art to ever hit a comic since the days of Kirby and Steranko, Batwoman went from a vapid publicity stunt to one of DC's most impressive characters. And even though Rucka is gone now, this new Batwoman series thrives thanks to writers Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams III.
What to expect this month: Much to the chagrin of Kate Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman, Flamebird returns to crime-fighting despite her role model's protests. As this is happening, Kate’s relationship with Maggie Sawyer begins to heat-up, even though, as part of the Gotham Police force, it's Sawyer's job to hunt Batwoman down. This is the best kind of superhero soap opera.
Make no mistake about it, the plots handled by Blackman and Williams are fantastic, but it’s Williams' art that's the real highlight here. The use of panel layouts, colors, and composition is top-notch. Honestly, these pages could be hung up in a museum. Even if the character doesn’t interest you, at least pick up this book for the visuals.
Green Lantern #4
What it’s about: Love him or hate him, there's no denying that Geoff Johns has been DC’s most valuable writer over the past decade. He has injected new life into Teen Titans, the Justice Society, the Flash, and, most importantly, the Green Lantern. By combining space-opera storylines with some intense concentration on character development, Johns has given the Emerald Warrior new life.
With the character's relaunch, Johns isn’t just reverting back to what he’s done over the past few years on the character—he’s actually bringing new dynamics to the book with every issue. Forget everything you think you know about the Green Lantern and dive head first into Johns' narrative.
What to expect this month: Sinestro and Hal Jordan continue their attempts to free Sinestro’s homeworld of Korugar from the army of the Yellow Lanterns, but being outnumbered by hundreds is never a good way to enter a battle. It’s big-time action and alien hijinks as Jordan and Sinestro fight their way to freedom.
There's no doubt that Johns’ scripts deserve praise, but the art by Dough Mahnke and Christian Alamy is this issue’s highlight. Every panel has a blockbuster feel as the artistic duo brings inteergalactic worlds and creatures to life with kinetic energy and an unrivaled imagination.
What it’s about: Set during the early days of the 20th century, Severed is a cross-country horror tale with a rural, gothic feel that gives birth to one of the most unique atmospheres on the market. Focusing on a young man traveling the road searching for his father, and his own identity, Severed deals with lost innocence in a brutal world.
Along the way, writers Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft have introduced us to a memorable character named The Salesman. This creepy loner preys on the weak with little regard to morals and empathy. He's a force of nature that immediately wreaks havoc everywhere he shows up.
What to expect this month: This issue of Severed picks up with The Salesman tricking Jack Garron to run away with him after a series of lies and manipulation. Before long, Jack gets a clear look at what kind of monster his homicidal road-traveling companion really is, but it might be too late to do anything about it.
By doling out terror in small, concentrated doses, Snyder and Tuft have forgone the clichés of the horror genre by going in a much more cerebral direction. There's an unmitigated creepiness that exists in every panel. And while the writing can’t be praised enough, Attila Futaki's art is the glue that holds the story together and furthers the foreboding atmosphere.
Avengers X-Sanction #1
What it’s about: In what's being billed as the opening shots for the upcoming Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover, Avengers X-Sanction begins with the time-traveling mutant known as Cable on a mission to destroy the Avengers in order to save the future. Written by Jeph Loeb, with art by Ed McGuinness, this four-part series will ease readers into what should eventually become Marvel's biggest comic of 2012.
Cable has always been a cult-favorite character, but now he’s going to be reaching a much wider audience in this book. New readers shouldn't be afraid to jump right into this story because the folks at Marvel are trying to set up this series, and Avengers Vs. X-Men, for both casual and longtime fans.
In terms of plot, don’t expect more than over-the-top action and some humor sprinkled throughout, which is typical from Loeb, but high expectations should be held for McGuinnesses art. His ultra-cartoony style is so full of life and energy that it can take a paint-by-numbers script and make it explosive.
For anyone looking forward to next year’s Avengers Vs. X-Men series (which should be just about everyone reading this), Avengers X-Sanction is a must-read. It sets up major plot points for the future and sews the seeds of the eventual super-powered brawl.