As I begin a new year I want to take a quick look back at some of the things I enjoyed last year.
AVENGERS ACADEMY #27-28
Chase’s psychic connection to Old Lace is active but the team saw her die. The Runaways’ search for Old Lace takes them to Avengers Academy and to another dimension. But if Henry Pym and Tigra have their way, the juveniles of the group will be taken away to be raised somewhere safe.
While the story might first appear pretty standard, when Henry and Tigra argue with the team about taking Molly & Klara away, Reptil suggests Nico use magic to make everyone there understand everyone else’s point of view. This leads to the last 10 pages of #28 packing a lot of emotional impact and giving each team a deep connection one another. And I love that Old Lace is back – she’s all Chase had to remember Gertrude by. It’s a great story and one all Runaways fans should read.
BUFFY SEASON 8 LIBRARY EDITIONS
I’m a huge fan of the series. The library editions are a great way to reread the series.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 9 and ANGEL & FAITH
Another great year for the series which keeps me guessing, entertained, and very, very happy.
From Tim Seeley & Mike Norton, Revival is one of Image’s best new books. It's about a small town, Rothschild, Wisconsin, where the dead come back to life - but not as zombies - as normal people. The town is sealed off by the government and the CDC is testing human and 'reviver' alike for an answer. The government suspects that some of the townspeople are carrying something in them that will let them come back to life. That sounds good on paper but their fear is that people won't die and that will lead to overcrowding and sparse resources. It might be as good as Tim Seeley’s other title, Hack / Slash - we’ll see.
Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magneto are wanted by the government and gathering new mutants. The X-Men are faced with increased government scrutiny but can’t go after them for fear of creating a mutant civil war. Beast decides to bring the original team back through time to talk sense into Scott. The original team’s arrival rips open old wounds while exposing the original team to a future they were working hard to prevent.
No one but Brian Michael Bendis could have told this story and it’s the only thing I read more eagerly than Buffy Season 9 and Angel & Faith. Having the original X-Men in the current title doesn’t just challenge those characters but, as a reader, it forced me to think about everything the characters have been through. The chaos is entertaining and bittersweet to watch. It’s easily one of the best titles Marvel has put out in years.
Avengers Assemble is one of Marvel’s best books on the stands. It’s a fun, simple book that doesn’t get weighed down by continuity (mostly because it seems to ignore it). The writers have found a way to use the movie version of the team’s lineup without making it seem like a movie tie-in.
On Earth 2, Darkseid is about to conquer when Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman make one last ditch effort to turn the tide. It will require a large fight, an uploaded virus, and the sacrifice of all three of Earth's greatest heroes. But from their ashes, a new superhero group will rise up to protect the Earth - The Justice Society.
James Robinson is one of the most underrated writers in comics. His books are consistently fantastic and he's the definitive Justice Society writer (or at least the one I'm most familiar with having read his run). Nicola Scott's art is equally fantastic and the fight scenes look gorgeous.
Power Girl and Huntress were Earth 2's Supergirl and Robin. But when they become stranded on our world, they carve out a place for themselves which include new identities.
This is easily one of my favorite reboots. Both characters are comparable to their original DCU counterparts but their back stories now include each other. In the original DCU, Power Girl was essentially alone but now she has Huntress. I like the idea that Power Girl and Huntress know all these secret identities of friends they fought alongside but the heroes don't know them. It gives them an advantage and we may get to see a hero differently through their eyes as they reflect on who that hero was on Earth 2. And I especially love that Huntress is Bruce Wayne's daughter on Earth 2.
SMALLVILLE SEASON 11
Smallville Season Eleven is a welcome addition to the 'season-style' books out there. Fans of the cult show had to wait for 10 years for 'Smallville' to become Superman and only got a tiny taste of how great that could be. And in this first year, the comic book did what the series couldn’t (because of licensing issues): introduce Superman to Batman. The Smallville version of Batman was awesome and he’ll hopefully return soon.
HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE
Skeletor has won, and as punishment he’s stripped all the Masters of the Universe of their memories and given them new, menial lives. But Adam, now a simple woodsman, will awaken from a dream with a need to leave that life behind. Skeletor has put the word out to all of Adam’s enemies. But with remnants of his skills and help from Teela, Adam may live to reclaim his destiny.
James Robinson and Philip Tan are doing amazing work on the title. I never thought I’d enjoy a He-Man title where He-Man doesn’t even appear until the fifth issue.
DANGER GIRL / GI JOE
This title has been fun, fun, fun. A GI Joe crossover hasn’t been this much fun since the old GI Joe / Transformers crossovers.
X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot, Archer & Armstrong, and Shadow Man came out this year to kickoff the official relaunch of Valiant Comics. The first five titles started strong and I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings.
When he’s not fighting Ultron, Thanos, or (lately) the X-Men, he’s hanging out with his neighbors and standing up for them when his landlord triples the rent on them. I was definitely interested in a fresh take on the character and Matt Fraction delivers. And we get to see that he’s just as dangerous with a playing card or a coin as he is with his bow. It’s completely worth checking out if you haven’t already.
The best movie of the year is also the best comic book movie ever. Joss Whedon has done it again and, because of his exclusive contract, is set to do it again in 2015 for Avengers 2.
BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
I did something I’ve never done before – I went to a screening of the Batman Trilogy which included seeing the first two films before seeing the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. I went with three friends to see it and we’d all been up since early morning (5:45am for me), went to work or school, and were determined to stay up until 3am the following morning – and we all made it. And it was a blast. It was a great ending to the trilogy.
Disney does it again. I had such a good time watching this film and the action figures weren’t bad either.
CABIN IN THE WOODS
The film that took forever to come out finally got released and kicked ass at the box office. A fun, funny, and scary horror movie that manages to be genuinely unique.
I have to admit when I saw the movie I thought it was okay. But all of the excitement surrounding it suggested that I really needed to read the books. I’m on the third book right now (don’t tell me how it ends) and I’m glad I gave it a shot. I’m now a huge Hunger Games fan.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM
Dwayne McDuffie's final script is an adaptation of the story line he wrote for the comic books. Nathan Fillion (Green Lantern) and Tim Daly (Superman) join a reunion of voice actors who provided the voices of the Justice League for the cartoon of the same name. Dwayne McDuffie is a legend and I’m proud to have the original comic book stories in my collection as well is the blu-ray of this movie. And there’s a great feature on the blu-ray of creators who knew Dwayne and talk about his life.
The Marvel Universe toyline released the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man and great-looking Kraven the Hunter and Beast figures. We also got the obscure but awesome Bag Head Spider-Man figure too. Toys R Us had the exclusive X-Force pack which finally gave us Angel and the Comic Con exclusive Masters of Evil pack featured 3 new figures that I didn’t have.
2012 was supposed to be the year GI Joe: Retaliation was released in movie theaters. But when the film got pushed back, so did the action figures. Still, a few figures did trickle out and I have The Rock as Roadblock.
Comic-Con gave me Jinx and it gave me the best GI Joe toy this year: a HISS tank decorated like Shockwave from the Transformers. Big Bad Toy Shop had the awesome Slaughter's Marauders Battle Set and Dreadnoks Battle Sets.
The GI Joe Collector’s Club started it subscription service and before the end of the year I received the first two figures from that service: Jinx and Dice. I hope they do a subscription service like this every year.
The Justice League (We All Can Be Heroes) box set was not just affordable (at $100 for all 7 figures) it was also some of the best looking figures.
There were a lot of celebrity vehicles this year but the standout for me was the Mystery Machine. With an incredible amount of celebrity vehicles about to be released by Hot Wheels in 2013, there’s a lot to look forward to.
DARK KNIGHT RISES
Although the 3 ¾” figures sucked, the Hines Ward action figure from The Dark Knight Rises was amazing. Sculpted by the amazing staff at McFarlane Toys, this figure ran off shelves faster than even Hines Ward could.
BATMAN ARKHAM CITY LEGACY EDITION
I own both Batman and Catwoman 2–packs in the figures are detailed and amazing looking.
MUPPET STAR WARS FIGURES
I don’t know if these actually came out in 2012, but that’s when I discovered them and that’s when I got them. If you haven’t you have the opportunity to go to Disneyland or Disney World, try to pick them up.
The Vintage Millennium Falcon is a Toys “R” Us exclusive and isn't just my favorite spaceship of all time, it's also something I had as a kid (the smaller version). Still, I regretted not getting the Legacy version the first time around so I was determined not to miss out on this.),
ONCE UPON A TIME
With Jane Espenson at the helm, it’s little wonder why this critically acclaimed show is my favorite show on television right now. This fantastic blending of fantasy and drama that ties into all of the fairy tales we grew up with is intelligent, well acted, and unpredictable.
2 BROKE GIRLS
Funny and smart, this comedy keeps me laughing. And now that the girls have a cupcake shop we get to witness all the ups and downs of owning it for the girls and how much they’ll struggle to keep the doors open.
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER and THE BIG BANG THEORY
Two of my favorite long-term comedies continue to relentlessly bring the funny.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
I always look forward to this on weekends and this year was no different. SNL has always been hit-and-miss each episode but there are really great, funny moments. In my opinion there haven’t been any bad seasons of the show for at least a decade.
While I didn’t initially enjoy the first episode it is gotten a lot better. I like the flashbacks to the island and I really like the introduction of Huntress. I’m interested to see how the season ends.
SERENITY LITTLE DAMN HEROES MAQUETTE
Quantum Mechanix has been releasing maquettes in its “Little Damn Heroes” collection based on the characters so it was a huge surprise when they offered the starship Serenity. It is such a cool piece and a welcome addition to my “Little Damn Heroes” collection. Hopefully 2013 will see the rest of the characters finally get their maquette (Simon and Zoe).
This year I got to participate in two record-breaking comic book projects. Cyber Force Returns was the #1 most funded comic book project until Leaving Megalopolis beaded a month later. I also got to participate in Michael Dougherty’s Z*Con film (him and his team were behind the Browncoats: Redemption fan film).
I also got to support a lot of great web series like Husbands Season 2, Jedi Camp, Pink Five, and the BAMF Girls Club. And I supported a lot of cool films like Sunday Punch, Hotel Noir, King of Arcades, Eliza Dushku’s untitled Albania documentary, and Best Friends Forever.
DISNEY PURCHASES LUCASFILM
George Lucas was not going to make any more Star Wars films but I wasn’t ready to never see a Star Wars film again. Enter Disney to purchase Lucasfilm guaranteeing new movies and a great retirement for the man who gave us Star Wars in the first place.