2012 comic book retrospective

29 Dec


2012 has been an interesting year for comics and 2013 looks to be very interesting also.  As a fan of DC Comics, I feel that a lot of ground has been made but a lot needs to change.  As a fan of comic book movies in general, I was thrilled with this year and I am nervously excited for what the future holds for comic book movies.  What follows are some of my thoughts on 2012’s successes and failures. Hopefully, tomorrow I will follow up with a look at the future.  As I only read DC Comics, the list will be heavily weighted there but two big things happened at Marvel and I feel I just have to comment. 

1)      Geoff Johns, my favorite writer currently in comics, has taken a big drop in quality I believe.  Now, I have LOVED his Aquaman, but the two titles I was most looking forward to have really disappointed me of late.  Green Lantern has lost its star, Hal, and been replaced with a completely new character, and I suppose that could be ok temporarily (and I know it is), but come on?  We didn’t need another human Lantern.  And even if we did, did we really need another American Lantern?  Couldn’t the new Lantern have come from China or Japan?  Or if they wanted an Arabian Lantern, couldn’t the new one have been from ARABIA?  Instead, we get another American Lantern and another story on how not all terrorists are Muslims.  His Justice League title has also been flailing since day one basically.  I wasn’t one who hated the first storyline like many, but I could understand the feelings of those who did.  Meanwhile, the storyline about Graves was weak and the Cheetah two part was too much too quick.  I don’t want every storyline to be five or six issues but it seems like we missed half of the story.  Superman goes bad at the end of part one and then by part two’s beginning almost, he is dealt with?  Ugh….

2)      Before Watchmen happened.  Now, I didn’t read any of it.  I must confess, I loved Watchmen and had no problem with Before Watchmen being done.  Actually would like to read parts of it.  But the drama about the whole thing turned me off before day one.  Everyone in the history of the industry seemed to have an opinion on the topic and felt like it should be shared.  Meanwhile, all of the comic blogs I read focused on it forever.  It was a little much.  My hat is off to DC for doing it and maybe one day I will pick up a trade of one or two of the titles.  But come on.  Did Moloch really need a book?

3)      A major success has been from titles I never thought I would read.  I regretted the loss of O.M.A.C. which I never thought I would care to read.  But then, lo and behold, I fell hard for I, Vampire after finally giving it a shot with a crossover with Justice League Dark.  It’s crazy fun and a rare title I can genuinely admit surprises me month in and month out.  Demon Knights continues to impress me also, but I read it from day one.  I must say, the fact that it is losing its author saddens me but I will say the line-up change intrigues me. 

4)      And I know I fussed about Geoff in my first thought, but I have to say Aquaman continues to blow me away each month.  Both in sales figures and in character development, Aquaman has finally been getting some respect.  Now, I have just a while to wait and see if Geoff can work his tarnished magic on my favorite Martian.  But more on that next time. 

5)      The sorry state of Superman’s books though is just not right.  Before the reboot, Geoff had just done a great job of modernizing Superman’s origins and family issues.  Paul Cornell was doing a fantastic job with Luther.  And then bam!  The new 52 pushed that all away and look at the mess we have.  Now, I have no hope for Grant Morrison and am glad to see him leave.  So I stuck with the Superman title which went through four writer shake-ups in a year?  Perez was doing decent (not great) but serviceable work.  Then he’s out.  Giffen and Jurgens are brought on and within two or three months, Keith bowed out.  And then a month or two later, so did Dan.  Now, we have Scott Lobdell who made Superboy unreadable in charge.  Ugh….But next year!

6)      Digital comics continue to explode.  I can now say, although I will always want print books, digital books are a boon!  I love waking up each Wednesday and seeing “new” books available. 

7)      On the other side of the aisle, so to speak, Marvel has begun its “reboot.”  Now, the guys in charge at Marvel declare far and wide that it is not in fact a reboot and that if fine, but it is definitely a reaction to DC’s successes.  And I wish they would just admit it and get it over with.  DC needed to try something new and it looks like, for the most part, that it succeeded. 

8)      Finally, Spider-man!  Wow!  Didn’t he just die last year and get replaced?  Literally?  And before anyone tells me, yes, I know it was Earth-2’s….um, the Ultimate….. Spider-man but wow!  I am sure this could go very well for Marvel but, and this goes for both companies, I wish all the creators would stop pretending like they came up with some totally new idea or brilliant new twist on a storyline. It’s been done.  Many times before and will be done many times again.  It’s the nature of monthly (or semi-monthly or weekly) books.  Just tell your tale and let the work stand on its own.  We don’t need a month’s worth of interviews leading up to a story and another month’s afterwards.  See my point about Before Watchmen!


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