Not only is Marvel NOW upon us and the New 52 is in full swing, but 2012 saw the end of Christopher Nolan’s incredible Batman trilogy and the release of the greatest team-up with Marvel’s The Avengers. Comic books are riding high and here are my 10 favorite books from 2012.
10. Punk Rock Jesus
I have a very love-hate relationship with Punk Rock Jesus. It started off slow, the point it’s trying to make is so blatant and its end was also telegraphed from a mile away, but damn I love Thomas. If it wasn’t for Thomas McKael, Sean Murphy’s love child of a book would have been completely without narrative merit. Even if the message is something we’ve heard before, Murphy does wrap it in an interesting narrative and fantastic art.
9. The Amazing Spider-Man
I almost feel like picking The Amazing Spider-Man is cheating, it has been running for 700 issues after all. What Dan Slott has done with one of comics’ most iconic characters has been incredible and his whole run has brought Spider-Man back to the forefront of comics. While the whole Alpha plot may have been a bit of a stumble, it was sandwiched between some of the best Spider-Man stories in years. Bring on The Superior Spider-Man.
While almost all of Batman’s New 52 books have been good, none of them have hit the level that Batman has. Scott Snyder knows how to write excellent comic books and “Court of Owls” and “Death of the Family” were a perfect way to kick off the New 52. After Christopher Nolan’s fantastic movies, having some amazing Batman stories to dive into is perfect. Snyder doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so neither will fantastic issues of Batman.
Deadpool would be much higher on my list had the end of Deadpool not felt so lackluster. Had it not been for Marvel NOW, Deadpool it may not have even been on my list at all, but the ‘relaunch’ has been fantastic. Deadpool is fighting zombie presidents and palling around with the ghost of Benjamin Franklin, what’s not to love? Daniel Way did an excellent job, but Brian Posehn has elevated Deadpool to a must read. 2013 is going to be a fun year.
6. Swamp Thing
After several years without a book or much though, Swamp Thing was brought back in the best way possible. Again, Scott Snyder is display his remarkable talent with words, but what makes Swamp Thing even greater is Yanick Paquette’s fantastic art. The Dark side of The New 52 has had some of the best books of the relaunch and 2012 proved just how great of a character Swamp Thing is. The Rot is coming.
5. Moon Knight
Moon Knight was someone I knew existed in the Marvel Universe and didn’t really care about until his new book launched in 2011. Moon Knight brought a schizophrenic superhero to Los Angeles and it was fascinating. If you want to kick of your “Age of Ultron” story, what better way to do it than through the eyes of a man who regularly talks to hallucinations of The Avengers. Moon Knight deserved to live beyond 12 issues, but you need to grab what did come out, because beyond my number 1, they’re some of the best Marvel has published.
4. I, Vampire
I love monsters, they’ve always fascinated me and vampires are part of that group. While most of pop culture has seen it fit to destroy or over complicate the vampire, Joshua Hale Fialkov somehow managed to not only write a fantastic vampire book, but somehow fit it into the DC Universe in a way that actually works. It’s a pity that issue #19 will be the final issue, but these 20 issues have been some of the best vampire stories out there. I’m sure Andrew Bennett will continue to haunt the DC Universe, just not in his own book.
3. Animal Man
Just like Moon Knight, Animal Man was a hero I knew existed but didn’t know much or care about. Low and behold, Animal Man is easily the best book of the New 52. Jeff Lemire made me care about Buddy Baker and his family. What really caught my attention what the art. When Buddy goes into The Red it’s like he walked into a Salvador Dali painting. The bizarre and borderline disturbing images are captivating and unlike most of what you see in comics.
Brian K. Vaughan continues to prove himself to be one of the best writers in the field. Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina were both spectacular, but somehow Saga seems to start even stronger. Vaughan’s space opera tells the tale of a family caught in a war so great the original parties had to ship it out to other worlds to stay the destruction at home. Instead of wasting the first few issues on setup, Vaughan has built his world without any unnecessary exposition, revealing what we need to know when we need to know it. Saga stands to become a book that transcends the usual audience of comics and be something incredible.
Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, became the greatest sharp-shooter known to man. He then became an Avenger. This is what he does when he’s not being an Avenger. That is all you need to know. Eschewing the traditional Marvel recap page, this is how an issue of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye starts and it beautifully frames the best comic of the year. Fraction has always been a great writer, but he managed to take a character like Hawkeye and make him the most interesting character in the Marvel Universe. Hawkeye is a one-two punch of the best writing and art being published in the industry and I devour every issue. Sometimes, a month is a really long time to wait.
This is a personal top 10 list and the entries and their rankings do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Geekenstein.com, but of the author publishing it. Feel free to send in your own top 10 list to firstname.lastname@example.org.