This week marks the first week of comics for 2012. Just last week we took a look back at the comics of 2011 and shared our thoughts over the moments we enjoyed (or at least the ones that really stuck in our memories by the last week of the year). As we look forward, there are some exciting new series on the horizon along with many returning favorites that still put us on the verge of squealing
We rallied up the Comic Vine troops and each came up with two comics we're looking forward to. It wasn't an easy task. Some of us had the same picks and being forced to narrow it down to only two each was almost heartbreaking when that really good #3 has to be shoved aside.== TEASER ==
BATMAN by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo
I may have mentioned once or twice (or fifty times) how much I love this book. It's not a 'new' book for 2012 but has been making Batman more fun that ever. If you've ever read Scott's Bat-books or heard him talk about Batman, you know how much he gets the character and how passionate he is about writing him. Capullo is a beast when it comes to drawing Batman's adventure.
As much as these guys dig Batman, they've really been giving him a beat down in the current issues. This isn't to say that they have it out for Batman, they're simply doing what few would be willing do (and do well). Showing that Batman can be wrong about something and may not always win each battle is setting him up for an even bigger story. With Snyder, you never know what's going to happen next and that's what makes reading this Batman series so exciting.
WINTER SOLDIER by Brubaker, Guice & Bettie Breitweiser
We can all agree (or should all agree) that Ed Brubaker has been nailing it with his work on CAPTAIN AMERICA. I've always been a huge Cap fan and while I wasn't happy when the series was relaunched (again) with a new #1 in 2004, what Brubaker did knocked my socks off.
The resurrection of Bucky Barnes was thought to be something that could and should never be done. He was up there, along with Uncle Ben, as a character that should never be brought back from the dead. Yet Brubaker did it so successfully. Continuing the story Brubaker started in CAPTAIN AMERICA #619, we are about to embark on some major Marvel Universe espionage butt kicking. Add the fact that Butch Guice is doing the art and Bettie Breitweiser is doing the colors and a cool sounding comic managed to get even cooler.
WONDER WOMAN by Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang
While not everyone was thrilled over the idea of Brian Azzarello giving Wonder Woman a father (Zeus), most can agree that this change will lead to all-new stories featuring DC’s most recognizable female character. I don’t know about you, but the current Wonder Woman book is better than any we’ve had in quite some time, and it is great to see a new take on a classic character.
According to the books that have already been solicited (through March), it appears that Diana will be encountering many new faces in her series (Poseidon and Zeus, himself). In fact, by the series’ seventh issue she will be venturing into the depths of Hell to meet Hades. It will be interesting to see what direction the book moves in, how much of her new father-figure will influence her character and its one series I am definitely looking forward to.
Avengers Vs. X-Men
The upcoming event that Marvel claims will shake up their entire universe might actually do exactly that. Now, normally I am not such a fan of big Marvel comics events, but this one strikes me as being a little bit different than the events we’ve seen lately (namely, Fear Itself). Reason being that this clash between the Avengers and the X-Men isn’t just one that fans have been hopefully anticipating since the inception of these characters, but also because this battle has been a long time coming.
What will the clash between Avenger and X-Man be like, and will there be a winner? Not only is it exciting to see this battle take place, but it’s great to see Marvel incorporate some serious heavy hitters into the story as well, integrating the return of Scarlet Witch, Doctor Doom and the change up of putting some X-Men on the Avengers team (Storm and Wolverine) what will happen next? The first issue of AVENGERS VS X-MEN launches in April, 2012.
SAGA by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
While the series was announced at this past year’s Comic-Con, it feels like we’ve been waiting a lot longer for Brian K. Vaughan’s SAGA--his first ongoing comic since his beloved Y: THE LAST MAN and EX MACHINA titles concluded years ago. Vaughn has since been working in Hollywood--he wrote one of the best episodes of Lost in its fifth season--but has long stated that he prefers the monthly comic format for serial storytelling.
From early descriptions, SAGA looks to live up to its name too, as it’s a sci-fi tale of a family making its way through a seemingly never-ending war. The series is co-created and drawn by Fiona Staples, and will be published by creator-friendly Image.
THE AVENGERS by Brian Michael Bendis
It’s almost impossible to disassociate Brian Michael Bendis and The Avengers. His overhaul of Marvel’s premier super team almost a decade ago tipped the dominoes in a massive chain reaction of mega events that has since defined the Marvel universe. And after writing almost 200 issues (split between the various Avengers titles), the prolific writer is finally turning in his Avengers card in 2012 (with rumors that he may go on to shake up the X-books).
Although we’ll miss Bendis’s distinct voice on the Avengers, we’ve likely seen all the story seeds he planted early in his run come to fruition (Fear Itself already being a bit of a stretch as an event “years in the making”). Marvel’s POINT ONE comic indicated that his final arc may tie up the potential-future Ultron War we’ve seen bits of over the past year, and we just can’t wait to see how it all ends.
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA by James Robinson & Nicola Scott
JSA is hands down my favorite super-hero team, so the cancellation of their book was a punch in the gut to me, when the new 52 was announced. However, back in August, at Fan Expo Canada, DC confirmed that James Robinson will write a new Earth-2 JSA book with Nicola Scott on art. Robinson is no stranger to the JSA having written STARMAN, JSA, and ALL STAR COMICS.
Nicola Scott, on the other hand, has never really dealt with these characters, but I loved her work on the last volume of SECRET SIX. It will be great to see Earth-2 and JSA get some love since MISTER TERRIFIC is not doing either justice, and frankly, I'll kill for anyone to put Alan Scott in his original costume after Marc Guggenheim crippled him and made him into one giant, dumb lantern. Having Robinson and Scott together on this book is a bonus for any JSA fan.
SECRET AVENGERS by Rick Remender & Gabriel Hardman
This is a book that I believe never had the chance to reach it's full potential because of the creative team changes. In just 21 issues, the book has gone through Brubaker, Spencer, and Ellis. Each storyline, from each writer was vastly different, and the audience never got a real feel for what this team was supposed to be doing. There were some great ideas planted, but overall, this book has been a mish-mash. Luckily, Rick Remender is taking the reigns as writer and although I was disappointed at first, since Ellis is stepping down, this is going to be a great move.
Remender is currently writing VENOM, which is a covert-op book, and a darn good one at that, so I think, as long as he stays with the book longer than 5-6 issues, he'll be able to mold this into the covert-op epic this book was supposed to be. While I'm a bit bummed the team is losing Steve Rogers, I think Remender's addition of Venom, Hawkeye, and Captain Britain is really going to help stabilize this as a great team and a great book.
THE MASSIVE by Brian Wood & Kristian Donaldson
Brian Wood’s “stylistic follow-up” to DMZ has me excited due to the concept alone: environmental activists wonder where their lives are headed after an unprecedented natural disaster. After DMZ’s conclusion this month, I think THE MASSIVE will fill the lack of “What if?” scenarios in my life.
Oil rigs, personal drama and the great characters that Wood is known for: this is a great formula for a good book, and I can’t be more excited.
CONAN THE BARBARIAN by Brian Wood & Becky Cloonan
Conan has been one of those properties that I’ve never been attracted to; I consider it very “hard fantasy”, and like A Song of Ice and Fire, it’s a bit intimidating to get into. However, if there’s one team that can make me interested, it’s Becky Cloonan and Brian Wood. The team has worked together extensively in the past, especially on DEMO; their stories are lovely, and the art is amazing. This is one to watch.
BATWOMAN by J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman
When I first saw the New 52 line-up, something that jumped out at me was “redundancy.” Three GL books, two Justice League books, two Superman books, and five or six Batman titles not even COUNTING the Bat-family titles. And out of all the titles I could’ve expected to absolutely floor me, this would’ve been low on the list. Then it came out and holy turnarounds, Batman! It’s incredible. The art is worlds beyond anything one usually sees in superhero books, the tone is a pitch-perfect blend of horror, mystery and action, and the woman at the center of it feels real.
When she first debuted in 52, Batwoman seemed like a publicity stunt. DC got to make headlines and she was quickly shuffled off in a couple of issues, but apparently they weren’t done. After Rucka’s great run, we come to J.H. Williams who has SOMEhow managed to juggle all this suspense and horror with some warm, human moments at the center of it. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
VENOM by Rick Remender & Lan Medina
I wrestled with what to put here, but there’s no single book that I look forward to reading more every month than this one. Maybe it’s because I was lucky enough to get in on the ground floor, but I have absolutely adored everything this book has put down. And now with images like the Circle of Four bringing in Red Hulk, X-23, and Ghost Rider into the fold, I see no reason to not be practically giddy trying to parse out what Rick Remender has in store for our favorite symbiote-slinging soldier.
The confirmation of Lan Medina doing the art is just more reason to salivate over what’s coming next, but much like Batwoman, this is as much overcoming expectation as it is quality writing and art. If you’d told me five years ago that I’d not only be reading a quality Venom comic, but that I’d be salivating in anticipation for every new issue, I’d have helped escort you back to the insane asylum you clearly escaped from, and so I must tip my hat to this truly amazing book.
There are the picks we deliberated over. What comics are you looking forward to this year?