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 January 11, 2011.
Reviews by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)
What it’s about: Canada’s favorite mutant had always been a staple of the X-Men comics, but during the ‘80s, Marvel finally heard the fans' pleas and granted Wolverine his own solo title. The series’ mature tone helped usher in a more sophisticated line of comics at the company, and was also home to some of the most memorable Marvel moments of all time.
Although Wolverine has shifted its tone frequently from a vigilante title to a superhero book, and later evolving into a crime comic, writers have always managed to adapt the character for an ever-evolving audience. Recently, Jason Aaron’s work has propelled Wolverine back into the spotlight, ranking the proven favorite as one of Marvel's premier titles.
What to expect this month: The good news: Wolverine is hitting its monumental 300th issue in style with an over-sized epic, including art by the incredible Adam Kubert. The bad news: the issue also marks the beginning of the end of Aaron’s impressive run on the title.
This issue beings a story titled Back To Japan, which sees Logan travel to the “Land of the Rising Sun” in order to stop a war between the Yakuza and the most infamous ninjas in the Marvel Universe, collectively known as The Hand. The tale will also tie together threads from Aaron’s previous Wolverine efforts with the work Frank Miller churned out during the ‘80s. As the beginning of one of the character's biggest stories yet, issue #300 should prove to be one of Marvel’s most important in the coming months.
Carnage USA #2
What it’s about: During the '90s, there was no hotter character at Marvel than Carnage, the murderous spawn of Venom. His grotesque appearance and homicidal disposition made him one of the rare villains that fans latched onto more than just the hero, and the hype fully materialized in the classic crossover event Maximum Carnage.
Unfortunately, Marvel overexposed the character and soon a sizable backlash relegated Carnage to the back-burner. But now, writer Zeb Wells, along with gifted artist Clayton Crain is attempting to bring him back to prominence in the miniseries Carnage USA.
What to expect this month: After Carnage USA's horrific and haunting first issue, Carnage continues his murderous rampage through America’s heartland by possessing members of the Avengers and turning them against Spider-Man. Now it’s a full-scale battle royale in the streets as Captain America, Wolverine, and the others hunt down the Wall Crawler as their bodies are covered in Carnage’s alien Symbiote.
Unfortunately, the U.S. government might not have any other choice than to enlist an army of other violent Symbiotes to attempt to take down Carnage. And if there's one thing worse than one deranged extra-terrestrial organism on the attack, it’s a dozen of them all unleashing hell.
Incredible Hulk #4
What it’s about: Since 1962, Incredible Hulk has been one of Marvel's most unpredictable books. Writers have constantly redefined Hulk’s personality by making him an intergalactic gladiator, turning him into a brilliant scientist, and even changing the color of his skin. However, the book certainly hit the skids over the past couple of years.
Hokey plots, thin characterizations, and editorial interference turned this once-classic book into the type of ludicrous title that gives comics a bad name. But you can’t keep a great character down forever, and Marvel decided to relaunch the Incredible Hulk with writer Jason Aaron and artist Marc Silverstri at the helm. After just a short amount of time, the duo has breathed new life into the green behemoth, much to the delight of Marvelites everywhere.
What to expect this month: This is the big one: The Hulk vs. Bruce Banner and his army of Hulked-out animals. With Banner in a state of pure insanity after he was physically split from his green alter-ego, the once proud doctor has resorted to a series of bizarre and dangerous experiments in order to create another green beast inside of him.
Now it’s up to the Hulk to put a stop to these monsters once-and-for-all as he physically confronts the man with whom he used to share a mind and body. The Banner/Hulk feud generally used to happen only in the doc’s scarred psyche, and he usually played the hero; here, though, that has all been flipped on its head. It's now up to the Hulk to stop Banner and save the world.
What it’s about: DC’s “New 52” has done a great job of bringing new readers into its universe by presenting tried-and-true characters in a way that's more relatable to today’s world, but perhaps no book pulls this off better than Batwoman. While it resembles a typical superhero title, Batwoman also brings indie sensibilities to the mainstream with its off-center character depictions and artistic ambiance.
Writer and artist J.H. Williams III is clearly on his way towards crafting a modern comic masterpiece during a time when creativity is scarce in the superhero genre. Blending elements of horror, humor, and fine art together, Batwoman offers a bit of everything to anyone looking for a great comic to read.
What to expect this month: This issue marks the end of the first Batwoman arc, Hydrology, as Kate Kane is hell-bent on stopping The Weeping Woman from harming the children of Gotham. But as Batwoman faces off against this seemingly supernatural foe, she must also contend with Cameron Chase as she attempts to bring the government down upon Batwoman’s pointed head.
With stunning art and a pulse-pounding script by Williams, the end of this first arc only whets our appetite for more Batwoman down the road.
Batman: Through The Looking Glass
What it’s about: In a tale that takes place outside of the normal DC continuity, Batman: Through The Looking Glass details the first encounter between the Caped Crusader and The Mad Hatter, one of his most perplexing villains. Much like what was accomplished in other villain-centric stories, such as The Man Who Laughs and Scarecrow: Year One, Through The Looking Glass offers fans a detailed look at this first meeting in a way that the O.G. comic book writers of old never conceived of when these characters were introduced.
And while the book's premise should be enough to interest most Bat fans, its creative team is the real selling point. Writer Bruce Jones certainly has an uneven reputation amongst comic book fans for his work on Incredible Hulk, but he proved with his Man-Bat and Scarecrow: Year One runs that he firmly understands Gotham City's offbeat world.
The book's most compelling feature, is Sam Keith's artwork. His ultra-stylized penciling may turn off some fans, but for those willing to put up with his distorted views on these characters, Through The Looking Glass should, at the very least, provide fans with an artistic experience that you won't find anywhere else.
Don’t mistake Batman: Through The Looking Glass for a typical comic book, though; it’s actually a one-shot graphic novel that could cost as much as $22.99 at some stores. But if you’re a hardcore Batman fan, as well as a smart shopper, you should be able to find this book for much cheaper.