The Top 10 Comic Book Events of 2012
Halfway through 2012, and the Comic Book industry has only just begun to empty their arsenals. Have you been following along? Provided now are the 10 most prominent events to mark the calendar.
If you're a comic book enthusiast, you've been paying close attention these last couple of years; both DC and Marvel have been making some very aggressive changes, reorganizing their universes, and shaking up the status quo. The ploy seems to be working, too; in 2011, DC rolled out their New 52, while Marvel created Fear Itself. Not to be left out, Green Lantern, Captain America, and other superhero-based movies took to the screens and had #1 weekend ratings.
But now it's the middle of 2012; those events are history. We've already seen some incredible things and, on the horizon, we're hearing about more intense, upcoming changes.
That's why it's time for a Top 10 List. If you've missed anything, you better catch up quick - there's only a few more months before what you think you know becomes what you thought you knew. In milder terms, there's a huge storehouse of updates this year; some, you'll like; others, maybe not. The best you can do is get ready, so read on!
10. Shattered Heroes
Although it started in 2011, after Marvel's Fear Itself event, Shattered Heroes concluded in 2012 and heralded some big changes. One of the most notable ones was the introduction of Marcus Johnson, the lead character in the title Battle Scars. By February of this year, he turned out to be Nick Fury's heir. This move now puts the character directly in line with the Samuel L. Jackson styled version of the Agent of SHIELD.
Shattered Heroes also had a lot more changes: Thor was killed (but ultimately returned, of course), the Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes, migrated back to his own title, The Hulk was split from Banner, and The Defenders returned.
A powerful aftermath event, Shattered Heroes pushed the envelope. That is, it really added some consequences to multiple characters; the only drawback is we're not sure what happened will make a difference by the end of the year.
09. X-Men Regenesis
It's been obvious early on that Marvel Comics was on a course of change, but no one knew to what degree, or even why. During Shattered Heroes, they were also harassing the mutants in an event called X-Men: Schism, which separated them into two distinct, philosophical groups. What happened out of that rift is the basis for the next 2012 event, called Regenesis.
Regenesis is a collection of stories where Wolverine took his group of mutants and brought them to Xavier's old school. Renaming it The Jean Grey School For Higher Learning, he became the Headmaster with a role for teaching mutants. Cyclops, on the other hand, took the aggressive path and reasserted his leadership of the remaining mutants on the island of Utopia. When the Wolverine/Cyclops fight resolved, the two were displaced by the North American continent.
What puts Regenesis on the list isn't really the mutant breakup, though. Once again, it's an aftermath, a conclusion of the event, that makes it significant. From the relocation, we recognized the growing importance in Hope, the Mutant Messiah, and her lights. The entire result would set the stage for a cataclysmic occurrence to come.
08. DC and Marvel Come "Out of The Closet"
In simplest terms, both major publishers decided to offer their appeal to the gay community. While both already have homosexual characters, each wanted to show their "open-mindedness", reflecting the alternate lifestyle with their universes.
Marvel released Astonishing X-Men #51 on June 20th. Their commitment was a gay wedding between Northstar, a French-Canadian mutant and member of Alpha Flight, to his life-mate, Kyle. DC, on the other hand, wanted to give a more prominent member of their superhero community a "coming out" moment. For a couple of weeks, everyone speculated (which raised sales) and it turned out to be Alan Scott, The Green Lantern of Earth 2. In Earth 2 #2, he was revealed to have a lover named Sam. (And an issue later, Sam was killed.)
Regardless to your "taste", the remains a significant event, especially due to the politics at hand. These releases came out nearly 30 days within President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage.
07. Rise of The Independents
DC and Marvel get all the attention. Well, almost. Not today. That's because it's time to give praise and attention to the independent comic publishers who are giving the Big Guys a run for their money. As a whole, the titles that have been coming out have had strong runs with 2nd printings. Special mentions are:
Dynamite Comics: This year they released The Shadow #1, Pantha #1, The Spider #1, and numerous titles with their long-famous Vampirella. They've grabbed the edge with compelling stories and excellent art, deserving a further look.
Icon Comics: If you like the dark-but-deadly realistic reality of KickAss, you'll like Hit Girl #1, which just released. My favorite, though, is Supercrooks, a story about washed-up villains trying to make one big score.
Image Comics: You can't overlook these guys with numerous hit titles like The Darkness and Bloodstrike. My favorite right now is America's Got Powers, which is selling out like crazy.
There's more, and all you need to do is look. The independents are here to stay. This year has been one of their best.
06. Night of The Owls
Batman. Of course The Dark Knight grabbed the headlines this year; it's becoming a standard expectation in the industry. This installment, however, was a threat that could have only worked from DC's New 52. Because reality had been altered, we now know Gotham City has been plagued by a Court of Owls for almost 200 years. This event, called Night of The Owls is actually the culmination of their plans in a single night of assassinations.
The power behind this event is the story; this is probably the most well-developed tale of the year. But in addition, you're getting a tie-in to Nightwing, Birds of Prey, Teen Titans, and The Red Hood; pretty much the entire Bat Franchise takes part as a completely new super-villainous threat takes out Gotham's elite.
Without a doubt, the immensity of the other major events are bigger than Night of The Owls; it doesn't "change the world" significantly or completely rewrite a character. But it doesn't matter. DC proves that it's not always about a flashy show of powers; a great story can outshine them all.
05. DC's Second Wave
After the unsuccessful run of eight of their titles, DC started their implementing their patch, which would be called the Second Wave In it, the character and titles with failing sales would end with issue #8, and be absorbed into other comics or forgotten.
The cancelled titles were: Blackhawks, Hawk and Dove, Men of War, Mister Terrific, OMAC, and Static Shock.
In turn, though DC came up with some really good replacements. Of notoriety, they reintroduced us to the alternate dimension of Earth 2, which is giving us the the return of The Justice Society, and stories with Power Girl and The Huntress (World's Finest).
Second Wave was a smart move; it took was wasn't working, capitalized on the success of their New 52, and put out new material. It also opened up that infamous "52 reality" design, you know, the one that continuously seems to cause a crisis. Should be fun, right?
04. Avengers vs. X-Men
So now, we're saving the best for last; possibly. That's because what we're going to now look at is events that haven't finished. And we'll start with the biggest: Avengers vs. X-Men.
Also known as AvX, it couldn't have been possible without the Shattered Heroes and Regenesis mentioned above. It's almost unfair because Marvel has the idea that if they keep throwing cataclysmic stuff at you, you'll want to grab every issue. (On the other hand, I've heard quite a few people groaning from all the cross-overs and tie-ins.)
The plot behind AvX is the destruction of the world if you ask an Avenger. If you ask Cyclops, it's the evolution and safety of the mutant race. Revolving around the mutant, Hope, her destiny is finally at hand. The Phoenix Entity arrives on Earth and the end(?) is near.
Numerous battles, sub-plots, and the word is out: things are going to be really different (which you'll read about in a second). Avengers vs. X-Men is the biggest event of the year, size alone.
03. DC "0" Month
If you're going to do something, make sure you do it in "3s". At least, that must be the idea behind DC Comic's latest venture which will be occurring in September, fully a year after the New 52. Dubbed DC "0" Month, they are, once again, going for the collector's item, sell-out, release.
The concept behind DC "0" Month is encapsulated here. In summary, each title released in the month of September will be a "0" issue. Some will be origin stories; others will be tales that fill in missing pieces. All will be stand-alone, carrying a special black-and-white cover background with a color depiction of the character(s).
In addition, there will be 4 new titles for "0" Month. They are: Talon (which comes right out of Night of The Owls), Phantom Stranger, The Seven, and Sword of Sorcery.
The verdict hasn't been released on this event; it hasn't happened yet. But you can imagine the packaging of a special set of 50-60 titles, all of which are going to be part of a collector's set, will sell out. Twice. (Prove me wrong.)
02. The Super-Movie Meltdown
The true gem this year was, and still is, the combination of movies from DC and Marvel. With record showings, The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man have stolen your time at the theaters (The Avengers has the all-time record now and made over $200 million on it's domestic weekend opening).
But it's not over: The Dark Knight Rises will be out on July 20th. If the latest buzz is true, Christopher Nolan's final installment to Batman may break the record again.
Look for Superhero Movie releases to remain an integral part of the industry. What's becoming apparent is that this is the main way to make sales. With every film released, you'll be seeing internet viral campaigns, special mini-series and movie tie-ins, and the continuous stream of products. And don't forget the Blu-Ray, with extra scenes.
01. Marvel NOW!
So. What constitutes the greatest event of the year? Well, it's gotta be big and has to really draw you into its waiting maw. When it affects nearly every superhero, it qualifies. If it kills someone major, that qualifies, too.
Looks like Marvel NOW!, which was only recently announced, fits the bill. And yes, it's the aftermath of another event. Much like the DC New 52, which became the new reality over in their universe, Marvel NOW! is going to be the result of Avengers vs. X-Men.
Looks like the speculation will be ongoing until October 2012; the first issue to kick it off will be Uncanny Avengers #1. And it was also announced that numerous titles will be ending. And there will be a bunch of new #1 titles. And everything will be different. Again.
The potential redeeming quality of Marvel NOW! is that the editors have made it a point to suggest that the history of the past will not be forgotten. What's happening is a change, a shift in reality; apparently everyone will continue to remember what happened beforehand.
To be fair, it's completely understandable why this is happening. Could it be:
A. Some characters are getting too powerful?
B. Marvel wants to market to new readers?
C. There are some gaps in stories and plots that need to be nullified or bridged?
D. The company sees a collector's item market opportunity?
E. All of the above?
That will be left up to the readers; this may be a big event, but success or failure depends on how well-treated you feel by the end of the year.
For more information on the above events, you can click the following:
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