A Few Of My Favorite Things….from 2012
Christmas is right around the corner, and after that, it’s all over for 2012 (and possibly the world?). Anyways, with the end of the year comes time to reflect on all of the big nerd events of the year, and In what has become somewhat a tradition for me in this column is the annual “Best of”/”Worst of” lists that I like to construct for…well, myself really. So, we’ll start things off this week with a look at the good side of all things nerdery for 2012, then next week we’ll look at the bad side of 2012. So, without further ado, may I present my favorite nerd things of 2012!!!
If you had told me a year ago that one of my favorite ongoing titles was going to be starring Clint Barton, I would’ve laughed in your face. But amazingly, the book focusing on the Avenging Archer’s adventures when he’s not with the Avengers has become one of the top books on my pull, and much of it is thanks to writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja. The two work perfectly in sync with one another to give us some of the best single and double issues stories of the year, something that there’s not enough of on the stands.
Speaking of books that I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d enjoy, Aquaman continued to pick up steam in its second year of the New 52. While some titles started to lose focus or experience creative changes, Geoff Johns focused his story on Arthur Curry and the team he formed BEFORE he was a member of the Justice League. After spending the opening 6 issues showing us how badass Aquaman is, he was able to cut loose and expand on the back-story that many people thought they already knew. Between the revelations of his time with The Others, to the awesome battle with Black Manta, Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis not only made Aquaman a top tier book, they made it a continually GOOD top tier book.
What’s there to be said about The Avengers that hasn’t already been said? Easily the king4 of the summer (sorry Dark Knight Rises…I still love you though), it was proof positive that Marvel Studios’ plan worked, and exposed the team to an even larger fan base than it’s ever seen before. Joss Whedon was such a perfect choice to direct this event that it’s impossible to now think of anyone BUT him who could’ve pulled it off, not to mention the fact that his backlog of material has also benefitted because of the film’s success. With a deal struck with Whedon for not only the sequel, but as creative consultant for the rest of the films Marvel will be producing, it’s a safe bet that the Marvel cinematic universe is in good hands.
Yes, some of the tie-ins haven’t been great (looking at you, Catwoman), but the main story playing out in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s second Batman arc is proving to be one of the best Joker stories of all time. From Snyder’s horrific story to Capullo’s haunting artwork, the Joker’s return to the bat-universe has made the Clown Prince Of Crime a seemingly unstoppable omniscient malevolent force, and I couldn’t love it more.
Many people have problems with Christopher Nolan’s finale to his “Dark Knight Trilogy”, and I completely understand. In fact, if you think I’m praising him just because he’s Christopher Nolan, check back next week. Despite some minor gripes, Christopher Nolan gave comic book fans the one thing they will never see in a Batman comic: an ending. In a day and age when film studios screw over their creative departments left and right to make as much money as possible, it was refreshing to see a director not only stay on a superhero franchise for the entire trilogy, but not be interfered with the by the studio.
No one is more surprised than me to find this on the list. I’ll admit, when I first heard of Marvel’s new relaunch, I was EXTREMELY skeptical. What seemed like an attempt to streamline the Marvel comic universe to look more like the movie one turned out to not only be true, but also to be extremely kick ass. Books like Indestructible Hulk and Deadpool have me picking up titles that I had given up on two years ago, and writers like Jonathan Hickman and Brian Michael Bendis have started planting seeds for some interesting plot points for the years ahead. Sure, there are a few duds (X-Men: Legacy or Iron Man anyone?) but by and large, I’ve enjoyed more of the NOW! books that I’ve picked up than not.
Yet another film that people have a problem with, The Amazing Spider-Man was the reboot of Peter Parker on the big screen. Yes, it was too early to reboot. Yes, we didn’t need to see the origin again. Yes, that after credit scene made NO SENSE. But you know what? None of that springs to mind when I think of the movie. What I think of are the fantastic performances by Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Garfield was light years better than Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man, and anyone who tries to argue that Kirsten Dunst is good in anything will get a web punch in the face. Amazing Spider-Man got more right when it comes to Spider-Man than the previous trilogy did, and just because it stumbled a few times out of the gate doesn’t mean I don’t have high hopes that the next one will truly soar.