Welcome to our top comic books from 2012! We would like to share with you some of our favorite books / series from 2012. Hopefully, we can inspire you to check out some new titles, or revisit some old ones.
Dakster Sullivan – This has been my first year as a comic book reader and I have a few favorites that have kept me coming back for more. Here is my list, in no particular order.
Ame-Comi Girls by DC Comics (written by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and art by Eduardo Francisco) – This story is my favorite digital read. The characters are all strong, smart, and totally kick ass females. The issues are a little shorter than a normal comic book, but that’s because it’s released every Monday, instead of just once a month.
The Phantom Stranger by DC Comics (written by Dan DiDio and art by Brent Anderson) – The Phantom Stranger is a much under-loved character in my opinion. This is one of those books I would love to see fleshed out as a TV series. The character is addicting and his stories have a mix of heart and action that keep me coming back each month.
Avengers vs. X-Men by Marvel Comics – This is one of the first mini-series I’ve read and the graphic novel became the first one in my collection. The story follows the X-Men and Avengers as they fight over the right thing to do with the superpower Phoenix force on its way to Earth. Of the twelve rounds, my favorite issue is still round 9 (written by Jason Aaron and art by Adam Kubert), where Spider-Man took center stage and taught Hope a valuable lesson.
All-New X-Men by Marvel Comics (written by Brian Michael Bendis and art by Stuart Immonen) – The All-New X-Men follows the events of AVX, as the original five X-Men arrive in the future to stop their future-selves from making horrible mistakes. The art is just a fun to look at as the story is to read.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe by DC Comics – He-Man and the Masters are back in a six-part mini-series by DC Comics. My husband looks forward to this every month and we have some pretty neat conversations over what happens in each issue. The characters remind me of the animated series that came out in 2000. There has been some physical changes to a few of the characters (for instance, Teela is blonde), but nothing to drastic to turn off longtime fans. I only wish it weren’t a mini-series, because it has made me fall in love with the world of Eternia all over again.
Justice League by DC Comics (written by Geoff Johns and art by Jim Lee) – This series has a special place in my heart because it was the first comic book series I ever picked up, and I’m happy to say I’m still hooked and reading it every month. At first I only liked some of the characters, but now I’m in love with them all and I’m eagerly awaiting to see what DC Comics has in store for the team in 2013.
Robyn Hood by Zenescope (written by Patrick Shand and art by various contributors) – This is the first 17+ rated comic book I’ve read and it has me coming back every month for the main character Robyn. Her attitude and the way she carries herself through the trials life throws at her is a very compelling story. The mix of comic book action and real life scenarios makes this a great title to pick up. While I don’t agree with some of the content, her strength and desire to kick butt helps put this story on the list.
Kelly Knox – Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics) – Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, Artist Dexter Soy
My favorite new comic book of 2012, hands down, is the relaunched Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers, previously Ms. Marvel, has taken the mantle of Captain Marvel and headlines on of the best series of the year. Written by one of my new favorite writers, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Captain Marvel combines a fantastic heroine with a sense of duty with a retro vibe that makes the character feel like she has already solidified her place in history.
Recently issues have introduced another intriguing character in the Marvel universe who I wasn’t familiar with, Monica Rambeau. Her interactions with Carol have been fun to read, and I’m looking forward to see where 2013 takes them.
Kay Moore #1 Best of 2012: – Saga
I am limiting my choice here to comics that were published in 2012.
Since I just returned to comics this year, I had catching up and new reading to do. My favorite discovery was Saga, published by Image; written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples. The first issue was magnetic, establishing a complex universe that is well-populated with fleshed-out creatures and people… and creaples and peotures. The story is rich with world-building, insight into motivations and conflicts, and lets us make our own projections into their future interactions. I love that the soldier/wife/mother is equally potent but also equally conflicted and messed up. On top of all this, the villains, side characters, and antagonists are powerful, interesting and have their own motivations, and the art is fun to look at and explains the story well. After I finished the first issue, I kept thinking about the story. A compliment to any story! I want more!
Delightful Other Things:
Other issues I loved this year, even though they may not have been published this year. I was enchanted with the graphic novel Return of the Dapper Men (Archaia; written by Jim McCann, art by Janet K. Lee, foreword by Tim Gunn. Free preview at comixology.). The story is a fable teaching the values to value rather than fear the passage of time and change through an intriguing story, and gorgeous, quirky collage art with an extremely distinctive look. I also treasured Mouse Guard Fall 1152, which tells a classic tale of swords and bravery, interpreted through the lens of mice and presented through a skilled paintbrush and discerning artist’s eye. Mouse Guard always strikes me as the sort of book to read with your children and establish a tradition and set of treasured memories, the sort of thing you’ll be remembering fondly or even revisiting 20 years later. Who can put a price on that?
Stories I am looking forward to and want to read much more of: I read a preview (free, see link) of Fatale (Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Dave Stewart) and found the mix of noir detective story, reminiscent of the ’30s, with Lovecraftian horror (I think…) intriguing. And the cover of issue #1 haunts me every time I see it. The art in the issues is similarly engaging. Elephant Men (Image; Boo Cook, Richard Stark, Moritat) is a dystopian future of genetically engineered animal-men (“elephantmen” regardless of their source DNA), created specifically as inhumane war fodder. They end up “integrated” into society, giving plenty of room for examination of racism, preconceptions, and social structure. The story has whiffs of Blade Runner and Brazil, and I’m betting there will be lots more of such cross-germination. The characters already are people inside those outrageous skins. The images stick inside my eyelids. I will consider this money well-spent.
The Shade by James Robinson and various artists, including Javier Pulido, Frazer Irving, Gene Ha, Jill Thompson, Cully Hamner, and Darwyn Cooke.
The artist lineup alone would have me interested in this series but, happily, it’s also about one of the most intriguing characters in the DC universe, the antihero The Shade, an immortal who isn’t physically human any longer and wonders if he’s still emotionally human too. The Shade was a Golden Age DC villain until James Robinson’s Starman series explored his origins as an immortal and his skewed sense of honor. Richard Swift wants to be a good person but his understanding of “good” is skewed by the evil he knows exists in the world. This miniseries from 2012 took The Shade on a journey into his past and we meet some of his descendants when he was human. Some of them want to kill him, some want a connection to him. By far, the best new character in this series is The Shade’s vampire daughter. Unfortunately, the 12-issue series isn’t collected yet. But finding the individual issues is well worth it. Ebay is a good bet for the whole set.
Batgirl by Gail Simone and Ardian Syaf
This series is my one must buy in the new rebooted DCU and, I admit, my reading enjoyment is colored by missing Barbara Gordon’s former identity of Oracle. But if you can put that aside, it’s a terrific story of a woman overcoming past trauma to retake her place as a hero. The first six issues are collected in Batgirl: The Darkest Reflection and the second collection, Batgirl: Knightfall Descends is due out in February.
Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre by Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner
It seemed like a money grab on DC’s part, commissioning prequels for the classic Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Maybe that’s what DC executives were thinking. But Cooke and Conner were thinking of how to tell the story of the most neglected character in the original story, Silk Spectre. This miniseries follows how Lori grows up under the shadow of her domineering mother and runs away only to fall right into the middle of the Summer of Love in San Francisco. It has the most trippy sequences I’ve ever read and I mean that as a great compliment. Mature readers only, however.
Do you have a favorite comic book series or graphic novel from 2012? Let us know in the comments. Maybe we will check them out!