Saturday, January 26, 2013

SNIKT!: Thinking about Wolverine....


It is safe to say that those are as close to my first visuals of Wolverine as I can find on Google images. The first from Marc Silvestri & Dan Green and the second from John Byrne & Terry Austin.  Technically my first Uncanny X-Men issue was #224 but he's not on the cover and image finder was no help getting an interior page of Wolvie from that ish.  The second image is originally from UXM #113 but I first read it as part of the wonderful Classic X-Men series...ish #19 to be exact.  That series enabled me to essentially read the entire history of the All New, All Different team from their Giant Size intro until the Classic issues and my back-issue collection met up somewhere around issue #170.

They were a great way to immerse myself in the history of the team plus, for the first 44 issues, they contained great back-up stories that further fleshed out the characters.  Several of them are quite memorable for me including the Magneto back-up from #19, several great Wolverine back-ups with him & Crawler, him and Jean, a story about what happened between panels when Jean became Phoenix, when Proteus played with Wolverine, not to mention awesome covers & page art like these from John Bolton:

It was a phenomenal introduction as an 8 or 9 year old kid to these characters and while this blog is not intended as a a reflection on that series (the back-ups are largely available in the X-Men:Vignettes collections), it is because of stories like these, and in the way in which he was presented, that I fell in love with Wolverine.

I imagine the hairy little (at least back then) Canadian guy with his adamantium claws was a gateway into comics for many a kid.  He was tough, hell everything about him screamed tough.  He fought tough, talked tough, healed from everything, and HE HAD FREAKIN' CLAWS!  Created by Len Wein and first drawn by Herb Trimpe for an Incredible Hulk story, he immediately demanded my attention more than any other character in that first UXM issue I bought (Longshot and Havok were distant seconds).  I followed him everywhere, into Alpha Flight, into his own solo on-going series (the Claremont/Miller book was before my time so I read it much later), into Marvel Comics Presents, basically if Wolverine was there so was my (dad's) money.  I even remember him freaking out when I asked him to buy me the Wolverine Saga books because they were priced at the insanely high tag of $3.95!!!!

So yeah, suffice it to say that I was a huge fan of Wolverine...I'd dig up my Halloween costume picture if I had the slightest clue where it was it slightly saddens me to realize how little I actually follow the character anymore.  I mean I still put my money down for Wolverine & The X-Men every month, or rather twice a month now, but I haven't purchased a single issue of his solo books in several years.  What happened? 

I suppose I'll show you some of the highlights of a text conversation between me and my friend that put this whole thing in my head in the first place:

ME: I want to write a Wolvie tale but despite reading the guy for 20+ years I find I have nothing original to say

RYAN: That's probably part of the problem...

ME: Aside from Jason Aaron...I can't think of the last good take on Wolvie

RYAN: Last Wolvie run that stick in my head is Millar

ME: Old Man Logan?

RYAN: Yeah

ME: All I think of was how insanely delayed it was because they though McNiven could do a monthly...

RYAN: Or even Enemy of the State

ME: Enemy of the State was good


RYAN: They need to treat Wolverine like Spidey...make it a flagship title, put one committed writer on it with a long-term plan, like Slott, and rotate a few regular artists
2004/5 and 2008/9....comics from eight and four years ago respectively were the last standout Wolverine story arcs either of us could think of...that's not a good thing for someone who is such a flagship character for Marvel and the X-Franchise.  Look at other flagship characters; you have Captain America under Ed Brubaker, Spider-Man under Dan Slott, Daredevil under Bendis/Brubaker/Waid, and Iron Man under Matt Fraction who have had lengthy, critically acclaimed runs.  They have told long form stories with their characters and I find myself unable to think the last time this happened for Wolverine.  I suppose it would be Millar's run from #20-#32 of Volume 2 or perhaps Jason Aaron's extended tryst with Logan across multiple books over the last several years that still continues in Wolvie & The X-Men. Still, as much as I love that book, it's not so much a Wolverine book (despite the title) but more an ensemble piece.
Oh wait!
Daniel Way wrote all 50 issues of this book! That's the longest run I can remember on a Wolverine book since Larry Hama wrote basically every issue save four from 31-118 and yet, despite that four year run, Origins has largely faded from my memory.  Started with lots of promise to unravel the ridiculously convoluted history of Logan and somehow managed to make it even MORE convoluted with the stupid Romulus character's involvement (which now Jeph Loeb has made even worse and I hope everyone who touches a Wolvie book from now until the end of time pretends it never happened).  Also, Way is not the caliber writer in terms of skill and recognition that a Brubaker, Bendis, Fraction, or Aaron are...
Anyway, before I move on, let me say that Aaron is responsible for what I think is the best single issue in recent memory of a Wolverine book:

ME: I gave up on Wolvie after its first relaunch...picked it up again after House of M...dropped it again and have DL'd ever since...bought some Weapon X

RYAN: Aaron started out great, got silly towards the end. Bunn started out ok, got lame. I'm gonna DL the new titles, not buying. "The Best There Is" kinda scared me off extra Wolvie titles

ME: Best There Is was awful...and Loeb's arc was shit. I hated that story where his memories got cut up too...was that Bunn?

RYAN: Yeah, think so. Bunn continued the Dr. Rott thing which started w/ Aaron...but I think Bunn screwed with his memories. Don't remember.

ME: It just pissed me he thought "I like Wolvie better when he couldn't remember stuff" so he just found a way to make it happen

I read an interview with Mark Waid where he said "...the next guy who does Daredevil will either drop a safe on everything I did, or go back because he remembers what Ann  Nocenti did with great fondness and he wants to do that". 

It immediately came back to my mind when we were talking about Wolvie and Bunn's decision to erase his memories (I am not even sure if Aaron has incorporated that into his book now that I think about it). For the longest time, right up until post-House of M and this:

Wolverine had little memories of his past prior to the Weapon X program and the adamantium bonding process.  It made for a fun sandbox for various writers to play in because, since he had no concrete origin or history, it was possible for Logan to have been everywhere and seen everything.  He could know anybody, could have had experiences and adventures in every country around the globe, and it was a game that writers milked to death. 

It made for fun stories as Chris Claremont, Larry Hama, Fabian Nicieza, Scott Lobdell, and a slew of others over the years explored the endless possibilities that Wolverine's tabula rasa state provided.  So when the moment happened, when Marvel showed some balls by having Logan remember it all, it closed some doors creatively I imagine.  Essentially writers were now in the game of creating a true history of Wolvie, of cementing his memories as fact, and sorting out the chaos of a history that had been created over the years. 

It all really started with the Origin mini written by Paul Jenkins that predated this memory unlocking.  That story set-up his age, his true name, his love for redheads, and then it was the Origins series by Way that spun out of the returned memories that was supposed to explore this stuff.  Instead it gave us Dakken, Romulus, and a whole lot more confusion if you ask me.

RYAN: I actually think its his character in general that people have trouble with. Too man contradictions over the years. He's a killer...he's not a killer. He's a loyal boyfriend...he's a ladies man. He's a team player...he's a loner. It changes writer by writer. Doesn't help that his very memories keep changing writer to writer

ME: helped when you only had two writers handling him for his first 15 years but now...Remender may be the closest to what I think of

RYAN: Yeah...everyones got diff idea for what he's like, its confusing. Its easier with a character like Spidey
ME: To me he is Claremont & Hama's failed samurai...loyal and cares about the kids, the guy who stayed loyal to Mariko until she died

RYAN: I actually really grew to like Morrison's version.

ME: I did too...Its Grant after all

RYAN: Yeah, Just felt...different.

ME: Wolvie stripped down to his "I am 200 yrs old and have seen it all" badass core

RYAN: Yeah, I mean seriously, he's THAT old and he's still trying to "find himself"...

Peter Parker is largely the science guy for whom nothing seems to go right a vast majority of the time (except for his ability to attract the hotties), which is actually why the Big Time arc was so different.  He got the job, the girl, the respect, etc.
Reed Richards is the genius & family man, Tony Stark is the genius playboy industrialist, they all have a very concrete identity and although they may slightly stray from type occasionally, they always come back to form.

Wolverine, on the other hand, is a huge contradiction in almost every aspect of his personality.  As Ryan pointed out, and as the recent X-Force books have played up, he is a killer...for awhile he was the only true killer on the X-teams.  Sure other X-people had killed but part of the struggle of Wolverine's life was his battle with the killer inside, with the berzerker. It's part of where the Claremont ideal of "failed samurai" came into play.

He's a father figure...very evident now with the running of the school and whatnot...but it is a role he has always filled to some degree.  The list of children he has mentored or played big brother/father for is endless...and filled with females.  Kitty Pryde, Rachel Summers, Jubilee, Black Widow, Psylocke, X-23, one of my favorite Uncanny issues of all time is basically all about this:

It's Barry Windsor-Smith art for one, but the story by Claremont is amazing as well.  On the surface it seems like another tale of Wolvie fighting baddies while on the run and at the end of his rope, but the true beauty of it is in his interaction with Katie Power.  Despite being in what was essentially an animal state, he still does everything in his power (no pun) to protect Katie just as she protects him to the best of her ability until he recovers. 

He adopts a daughter in Amiko after finding her in the rubble of a building and Tyger Tiger came into existence because Wolverine chose to save a woman, a complete stranger, who the Reavers mentally violated.  He treated a robot child who tried to blow him up named Elsie Dee (ya know I don't think I go that LCD pun when I was 10) just as a normal human girl. Even in the movies he takes care of Rogue.  Simply put, he is a caretaker for the next generation and that is why the idea of him running the new school is actually perfect.

Wolverine is a loner but yet is friends with the entire Marvel U.  Captain America, Spidey, Thing, Fat Cobra, fn Squirrel Girl (which is a whole other creepy story considering she is likely very young), he has some relationship to any every character you can think of.  He had an extraordinarily close friendship with Nightcrawler and was also quite tight with Colossus. 

RYAN: Felt to me like he wanted an excuse to write Melita out

ME: That too

RYAN: Or like he didn't wanna deal w/ the relationship so he contrives a way around it

ME: Yeah

RYAN: Kinda felt like Aaron botched it with Melita too, which is odd because he created it

ME: Yeah...part of me feels like writers have little clue how to handle his love life

He is a "ladies man" but also one of the most loyal men to have on your side.  His sexual resume is quite lengthy including Mystique, Yukio, Melita, Silver Fox, Domino, Gahck (Savage Land woman with whom he has a forgotten child), someone compiled a list here and here. Yet, despite all of those women, I will always think of these:


Mariko Yashida will always be the love of Logan's life.  He tried to be a better man for her, he wanted to marry her of his own free will (as opposed to Viper who he was obligated to marry), he was different...for her.  Jean Grey may be his biggest unrequited love, but Mariko is the one who truly had his heart and I wish some writer would occasionally bring back the idea of Logan visiting her grave every so often (Silver Fox's too).  It may seem like continuity porn but I think it is a way to remind everyone of who Wolvie is, where he came from, and a way to let newer readers into his rich history.

Ultimately I think that's what I am looking for...that sort of powerful story like ish #57 of Volume 1 up there. A story that resonates with me and I still remember vividly fifteen, twenty, thirty years later.  Maybe it's the tenure I have with comics, maybe it's the volume of comics I read now as opposed to back then when it was maybe four books in an entire month, but there are so few stories that linger for me.  It's not just a Wolverine thing, it's a comic book thing in general, I guess I just choose to filter it through the lens of Logan since he who I was a fan of first.

Before Batman, before Brubaker's Captain America, before Johns' Hal Jordan, there was Wolverine. Chris Claremont, Larry Hama, John Byrne, Marc Silvestri, John Buscema, BWS, Romita Jr, just to name a few, they shaped the SHORT and hairy Canadian berserker samurai for me.

Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, the Kubert brothers, Jim Lee, the brought him to another life as I got older.

Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Jason Aaron, Nick Bradshaw, those are the guys who have defined, and are continuing to define, Wolverine for me as an adult, and despite the fact that he looks absolutely nothing like any comic book incarnation of Wolverine that ever existed prior to the movies, Hugh Jackman has done a pretty decent job of bringing him to life on the silver screen.

Wolverine is marketable, and just as well known to the masses as Cap or Spidey or Thor. He deserves greatness in both story and art, not to mention in cinema.  Now with Paul Cornell & Alan Davis on one upcoming book and Frank Cho on the recently released Savage Wolverine perhaps he will get that classic story for the modern audiences.  He deserves his "Winter Soldier", his "Big Time", his article in USA Today announcing something huge to the world. 

Hopefully that day is coming soon and with the movie on the horizon, I certainly wouldn't be surprised.  He is the best in the world at what he does after all....

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Have Come Not To Bury 2012 But To Praise It (Reflections on the year)

Just felt like a good image to kick this off with because EVERYONE loves the word FREE!!!! 

It's been awhile, largely do to the holidays, partly do to my own laziness to be frank, but then again since I do this as something fun and not as a job, or for pay, I suppose there's not really an official schedule, it's just me trying to get a blog out there every so often when I have something to talk about instead of just a long run-on sentence that I will end now.

I figured this time of year was a good one to get back on the horse and what better way to kick it off than to follow the trend of looking back on the previous year and making up my own little list! Haven't done that in awhile (2010 to be exact) so I thought it might be fun to look back on the things I enjoyed about 2012...just the things I enjoyed because, well, I feel like I generally hit on enough of my perceived negatives in comics AND so does most of that darn internet as well.  So let's look at the things I loved, starting with my two  


First up, by a longshot, is Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo's Batman book. With gorgeous, sometimes terrifying, art from Capullo that perfectly syncs up with the tale being spun by Snyder, this book helped quell any fears I had about the New 52.  Yes there are still some major questions of decompression and continuity, particularly where Damian Wayne is concerned, but from the "Court of Owls" arc that started in August 2011 & continued into 2012 to the "Night of Owls" story in the main book (as well in the Bat-Family titles) and the current "Death of the Family" arc spotlighting The Joker, I am hard-pressed to name a moment when this book has faltered.  Even Batman #12 (the "filler" issue) that really introduced Harper Row and was done by Snyder & Becky Cloonan (the only issue thus far NOT drawn by Capullo) was quite a quality piece of business.
Snyder has quite successfully melded elements of the spandex genre with horror, mystery, and suspense as well as playing up the familial aspects of the, particularly with the new wrinkle in Nightwing's origin and in the driving impetus behind the "DOTF" storyline.
As for Capullo, well the man I first discovered waybackwhen on X-Force and then Spawn has exceeded my expecatations beyond measure.  Admittedly I was tentative as to how he would pull this one off but visually he has hit all the right marks.  His Batman is one of power generally speaking but then he throws out a cover like this:

Or panels like this:

That image, from Batman #5, was indeed printed upside down in the comic which, while initially jarring, was an amazing and incredibly brave choice to make.  It's one of my favorite issues of the book so far, not only because of the art choices, but because it is an issue that absolutely tears Bruce apart and kind of harkens back to his father's lines from the movies, "Why do we fall down? To pick ourselves back up."

This is the best book of 2012 for me but it is followed in close second by:

Rick Remender & company's Uncanny X-Force book (which was also my favorite new book in 2010) was also up there as one of my faves but in this case it was largely due to the story that unfolded rather than the art/story combo pack of Batman.  Also, another reason it takes a 2nd place to Batman is because while I enjoyed every moment of Batman, I was not a very big fan overall of the "Otherworld" story arc that ate up issues #20-24.  It had it's character moments for me, particularly anything involving Fantomex & Psylocke, but I don't care much for Captain Britain and his pocket of the Marvel U so it didn't work for me as a whole.
Still in terms of the overall story Remender presented, and particularly the "Final Execution" final, this is definitely one of the highlights of my comic book year.
The emotional resonance of the Dark Angel arc that wrapped in 2011 carried the book through to its conclusion and ultimately changed all of the characters in this story.  Remender's portrayal of Deadpool has quite possibly been my favorite ever, the story of Genesis and his temptation was gripping, the fate of Fantomex (he's a Grant Morrison creation, of course I love him), the proper resolution of the Daken/Wolverine story, it all felt, well, epic.

As an aside to another of his projects, I am also digging how Remender has taken the seeds he planted in the "Deathlok Nation" arc of 2011 and carried them over to his current "Secret Avengers" run that is wrapping up shortly.

Now given that Uncanny X-Force was only 37 issues (40 if you throw in the Fear Itself mini) including its two Point One books, I certainly hope gets an Omnibus treatment down the line.  If nothing else, I do hope that Marvel puts the "Dark Angel" and "Final Execution" arcs into one collected edition for each instead of the current two volumes into which they are broken both divided.

As for some other faves of 2012, I would suggest you pick up: Scott Snyder's Swamp Thing, Jeff Lemire's Animal Man, Geoff Johns' Aquaman, Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead & Invincible, Mark Waid's Daredevil, and Jason Aaron's Wolverine & The X-Men.  For a late entry into the field, a book that only just started in the last two months of 2012, try Brian Michael Bendis' All New X-Men...that one has the potential to be my favorite of 2013.  In fact, let's give it the award for:


I had some serious doubts about how the premise of this book could have legs and the first issue didn't do much to assuage those fears.  In fact it pissed me off because the pages Marvel had solicited to tease the book were straight up the last five pages or so of the book!  That's not a tease, that's a spoiler with no ALERT!

So how does a book with only 5 issues under its belt go from pissing me off to being my "best new"?  Patience and voice, I had the patience to let the story unfold and Bendis' gave the characters a voice that I felt fit.  I mean his best Marvel work (Daredevil aside) has been writing teenagers & high school kids so using the original five X-Men is perfect for one.  For another, aside from a rough spot in issue 3, I think he has given a strong voice to adult Cyclops after AvX, and in some ways Consequences, did him so much damage.  I also appreciate the fact that Bendis flat out addressed the deus ex machina of the entire series by having EVERY character basically say "Professor X is just going to erase our memories as soon as we go back to the past".  It is an obvious out that anyone could have called before picking up a single issue of the book and it was a relief to see it addressed, see the characters accept it as fact, and still decide to go on their mission regardless of that outcome.  Thank you Bendis...

The wonderful art by Stuart Immonen doesn't hurt either!  I hope this book continues the level of quality that 3/5 issues have had and I also hope the Bendis/Chris Bachalo Uncanny X-Men book is at the same level, if not better.

Continuing the tangential nature of this whole list (since I don't really have a format or plan), mentioning Bachalo and Immonen takes my mind to:


That's just a tiny sampling but I think the pictures & layouts speak for themselves. I could look at the pages & covers every day without a bit of text...creative, unique, and beautiful.  I can't wait until this comes out:

As for runner-up selections: obviously Capullo as I raved about earlier, Chris Burnham on Batman Inc, Ivan Reis on Aquaman, and while I'm not really digging the story (not bad just not terribly interesting), what Francis Manapul is doing on Flash is absolutely amazing visually!  Check out this story at Bleeding Cool and this sample:

And the random train of thought went like this Flash...Justice League...Shazam.....


The SHAZAM back-up in Justice League has been blow away awesome in all the ways that the core feature has not been.  Geoff Johns is penning a great coming-of-age tale in just a few pages every month, and that Zero issue above was a godsend because it focused exclusively on the tale of Billy Batson and company.  JL, to me, has felt soulless in the way a big Hollywood action blockbuster has all the big names, all the big creative talent, but it is still just a set piece for big explosions. SHAZAM has been small and meaningful, a story about how I think a kid in Billy's situation would honestly react to suddenly becoming one of the most powerful beings on the planet.  Toss in Gary Frank's amazing artwork (add him to that list above as well) and this story is a surefire hit that I hope gets a collection to call its own when it wraps up (which I would presume would be around Trinity War time).  JL is showing some promise with the newly started Aquaman man arc and it isn't bad by any means, just lackluster, but fortunately the addition of SHAZAM make the book worth the price tag.

Well since that blurb didn't lead my brain directly into another category, I'm just throwing one out there:


I wrote about this "recently" (if you consider November recent) so I'm just pulling a Copy & Paste from that blog:

First up was some back-to-back Robert Kirkman love starting with the "Invincible" Compendium.  Another of his Image books, this one was a book I'd been told repeatedly to read but, since I wasn't getting to it, a friend of mine got it for me as a birthday gift. Well I can say that I'm glad I waited to read it because it was great to read this story...well at least its first one collection! 

To sum it up as much as possible without ruining too much, this one is the story of a kid named Mark Grayson whose father is a superhero and then said kid discovers that he too has superpowers!  It's a story of father-son relationships, of the dynamic in a family with two heroes, a family in which the heroes aren't having to hide it from their family...just the rest of the world of course.

Yet it it also a coming of age story, a tale of betrayal and disappointment, of friends and lovers...essentially it is a tale of life as told through the POV of a superhero kid. High school, college, girlfriends, teams, villains, friends, and aliens are all a part of this tale and by the way, it is quite graphically violent.  That is a trait of this series that I find very intriguing not because I'm a blood mark, but because of the color scheme of this's bright and vibrant, alive I guess you could say, a stark contrast to that other Kirkman work of note: "The Walking Dead".

"Invincible" is available right here in a handy-dandy Compendium that collects not only the first 47 issues of the series but also the Zero issue, an issue of The Pact series, and also excerpts from the 2004 Image Comics Summer Special.  I can't recommend this book highly enough and I cannot wait until there is a Volume 2 Compendium released, which I would imagine will come out shortly after the 100th issue is released.

Other nominees for that little prize include: Neil Gaiman's Sandman (which I only just started at the end of the year so figured it didn't quite qualify here), as well as his Eternals book, shockingly Brian K. Vaughn's Mystique in its rather unique take on the villain as well as his Runaways books, Mark Waid's Captain America run, and Warren Ellis' Thor which, although I wasn't digging the art of Mike Deodato and it isn't Ellis' best work, I thought it was an interesting take on a character I generally don't care about outside of the movie franchise...

What a segue...


Yeah...I couldn't decide...I love them both equally and for different reasons.  Click on the poster for each if you want to read my original thoughts on each movie from when they came out.  As for my opinions since being able to watch them back from the comforts of home, not much has changed.  In fact, I think it's safe to say my love for what each of them brings to the table has only gotten deeper.

Avengers is fun and every bit that Hollywood action movie blockbuster BUT with substance and a humor that to feels deeper than, say, a Battleship probably did (to be fair I didn't see the movie so it COULD be the Citizen Kane of action flicks for all I know).  It made me WANT to see sequels and prequels and threequels and spin-offs and got me excited for what is to come in the future of the Marvel Films side of the Marvel U.

DKRises (I feel obligated to write out Rises when I do that because, prior to the movie, to comic book fans DKR meant Dark Knight Returns) was the exact opposite in so many ways.  It had its fun but it, as expected, was more serious in tone and smaller in scale in terms of its threat.  Where Avengers was about the forging of a legacy and explosions, DKRises was about the legacy itself, about identity and worth, and of course, about big explosions ;-)  It was a fitting end, especially the unveiling of the statue, and although I do not expect Joseph Gordon Levitt to be Batman in the Justice League movie, I would be ecstatic to see him continue on in that role.

For those who may have read Grant Morrison's JLA, the Green Lantern of the piece was Kyle Rayner and, while surrounded by Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman to name a few, he was in the position of living up to the legacy of Hal Jordan, the "Greatest Green Lantern". I would find it intriguing if, in the movie, it was Batman in that role of being the one having to live up to the expectations of his predecessor while surrounded by Supes, WW, and GL...especially if those characters were clueless as to the true identity of Batman.  I'm just picturing a JGL Batman coming up short and finally, in a moment of trust and confidence, revealing the truth to his compatriots which in turn leads them to unveiling their truths to each other.  Imagine a Batman who is the one looking for acceptance instead of being the one on the fringes... about:


I don't do toy reviews...I solely base this on how cool I think he looks in my display stand!


 Pick one up on Ebay like I did and scare the crap out of people!

 Man how did I forget this one:


Scott Snyder may be terrible at responding at Twitter to compliments or criticisms, at least to me, but given that I am a superhero guy first and foremost, and with that a Batman guy (my ten year old self would be shocked, he tried to will claws to pop out of his hands), I must pick Scott Snyder.  I think you can just go back up to the fave book blurb and see the why where Batman is concerned but it is also because of the stellar work he has done on Swamp Thing and American Vampire.

I'm sure people who know me and read this are shocked I didn't just default pick Grant Morrison for Batman Inc & Happy but I think I have to automatically disqualify him BECAUSE he is my favorite overall.  It's just too easy to go there...

As for other potentials, I'd have to add in Jeff Lemire for his work on Animal Man, Geoff Johns BUT only for his Aquaman book, Jason Aaron for Wolvie & The X-Men, Kirkman for Walking Dead, Remender for UXF...


Clone Jesus Christ, attach a former IRA member as his bodyguard, turn it into a reality TV show, and see what happens!  That is the most bare bones premise of Sean Murphy's amazingly nuts mini-series that just recently wrapped up.  I still need to read the final issue but I can, without a doubt, say this was my fave mini of the year.  Its black & white art is a sight to behold, the story is fun and chaotic, potentially controversial to some, heartfelt, and sad all while painting a pretty believable portrayal of how Chris (the clone) would likely respond to the circumstances in which he finds himself AND the fashion in which the world reacts to his presence.  The individual issues are likely still available at your LCS but the collection doesn't come out until April.  If you're interested in pre-ordering it just click here and take a look at how great this one page looks (also throw Murphy's name up there too in that fave artists category now that I think about it):

Runner-up for this one, but a very very close one at that, is definitely James Robinson's "The Shade" 12 issue maxi-series that continued following a character from his epic run on "Starman" that I wrote about in 2011. It was a great continuation of the journey of that character, picking up basically right where he was left at the close of Starman and finally giving us the origin Robinson had only only teased at for years.  The fact that the book boasted a collection of artists like Darwyn Cooke, Frazer Irving, Gene Ha, Jill Thompson, Cully Hamner and Javier Pulido only served to enhance how awesome of a tale this was and one I cannot wait to read back in its soon as I'm done with the dozen other reads I have waiting for me.


The return of Sandman!


In addition to that one right above, I also want to add in the debut of Bendis' Uncanny X-Men, the Riddler in Batman, Trinity War, Ultron War (FINALLY!), Dog Logan in Wolvie & The X-Men (seriously), and the return of Jean Paul Valley!!! Yeah there is no way in hell that last one is happening in 2013, 2033, or any other year...

I am also hoping for something from Morrison's Multiversity, Frank Quitely & Mark Millar's Jupiter's Legacy, and pretty excited to make my way through the rest of Sandman (starting Vol. 4 this weekend), and read the Spider-Man Marvel Masterworks Vol. 1, Iron Wars II, and volume of Matt Fraction's Thor I picked up yesterday for only $20 combined!  Gotta love the discount book store!!!  Oh yes, and I just received Scalped Vol. 1 & Fatale Vol. 1 from Amazon as well!  So I already have a great deal of things to read through in the first full week of the year!


I asked some friends & people on FB/Twitter for their favorites of the year and this is what I got back:

Duke from Capes & Cowls - Batman & Uncanny X-Force
Pat - Saga
Ryan - Anything from Frank Tieri (sarcastic trolling)
Eric Downes on FB - AvX (only thing he read)
Greg Rice - Uncanny X-Force & Batman
Michael Maberry - Hawkeye (should have included that as my best new series runner up...or tie, make that tie)
Craig - "sorry im still stuck in my nothings better than millers batman bubble oh and the boys but im still way behind"

And my favorite answer from Midge who doesn't read..."the superman one, in the black bag. Bet it's great, but it's in the bag so I don't know #worthmillions"

So I think that about wraps up my look back on 2012 and I won't make any promises this time about what I want to write about next or when it will get done (just discovered I said I was going to write about Rogue War like a year ago....not sure if I ever actually did that!), but it won't be another 6 week gap like this one. I bid you farewell until next time with two plugs for some friends of mine.  The first is for a Deadpool web series starring my buddy Damian in the lead role:

And the second is for my friend Rob's short film "No Clowning Around":

Go show some support for each and, as always, support your Local Comic Shop and if you live in the Philly/Bensalem/Bristol/Croydon area then make sure it's Capes & Cowls you're supporting!