A blockbuster year in comics


Damian Wayne a.k.a. Robin finally meets his end in Batman Incorporated #8.

This has been one heck of a year for comics. Our regular columnists review 2013 with some of their favourite moments.

ROBIN dies! The Sandman returns! Geoff Johns leaves Green Lantern! The Walking Dead is 10 years old! Angela joins the Marvel universe! Superman turns 75! DC turns forever evil! Marvel breaks the space-time continuum!

The year 2013 seems like one of the most eventful years in comics in recent times, with an seemingly endless slew of crossover events and headline-grabbing developments.

As usual, the big two, DC and Marvel, dominated the headlines, but Image Comics also made its mark in a big way with plenty of critically acclaimed creator-owned titles and by grabbing the lion’s share of awards at the annual Eisners in July.

The death toll also turned out to be rather hefty this time, with (deep breath) Robin, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man, Superboy, a few teenage superheroes in Avengers Arena, and a number of past and future incarnations of X-Men biting the dust in Battle Of The Atom. When will they be resurrected? Sooner rather than later, we bet.

To mark the end of the year, we’ve compiled an awards list of sorts to recap the year.

Happy New Year, true believers!

Favourite ongoing series

Kaleon

DC – Batman

Marvel – Daredevil

Others – The Walking Dead (Image)

Michael

DC – Batman

Marvel – Hawkeye

Others – Mind MGMT (Dark Horse) and East Of West (Image)

Favourite Marvel moments

Kaleon

Best:

> Death (the character) finally embraces Thanos (Thanos Rising #5).

> Doc Ock eradicates the last traces of Peter Parker’s conscience from “his” mind (Superior Spider-man #9).

Worst:

> The middle and ending parts to Age Of Ultron.

Age of Ultron was pretty much the worse crossover of the year.
Age Of Ultron was pretty much the worse crossover of the year.
 

Michael

Best:

> The climatic battle in Battle Of The Atom #2. The entire crossover was rather pointless, but it was worth it just for the banter between the four Ice Men.

> Nico’s resurrection in Avengers Arena #12, and the subsequent smackdown she delivers on Apex and Death Locket.

A real fist-pumping moment for this Runaways fan after the agony of seeing her seemingly snuff it in the previous issue.

Worst:

Tony Stark is adopted, and has an equally brilliant brother! Oh god, why? (Iron Man).

Favourite DC moments

Kaleon

Best:

> The “death” of Damian Wayne aka Robin (Batman Incorporated #8).

> Happy 75th birthday, Kal-El!

Worst:

> The entire Villains Month – so bad that even the pricey “collectible” lenticular covers couldn’t save it!

Michael

Best:

> After venting his rage and grief on the criminals of Gotham all night, Bruce Wayne comes home and breaks down in tears while holding Damian’s Robin costume (Batman And Robin #18).

> The Crime Syndicate seemingly kills the Justice League and takes over the world at the end of Trinity War.

Worst:

> John Constantine says SHAZAM! in Constantine #8 and instantly goes from Hellblazer to Hell-loser.

Favourite non-DC/Marvel moments of the year

Kaleon

Best:

> Star Wars #1 (Dark Horse) – With a story written by Brian Wood set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, it got me hoping they’ll make an Episode 4.5 movie as well!

> Zombo: You Smell Of Crime And I’m The Deodorant (2000 AD) – Ever wondered why there are no mild-mannered zombies in The Walking Dead? Read this, and you’ll know why!

Worst:

> Every time The Walking Dead’s Negan mentions his barb-wired baseball bat Lucille!

Michael

Best:

> The Sandman: Overture #1 (Vertigo) – Morpheus meets all the other incarnations of Dream, in one of the most gorgeously illustrated comics of the year, and a welcome return to The Sandman for Neil Gaiman.

> Mind MGMT #12 (Dark Horse) – Meru discovering her powers was a pivotal moment in this mind-blowing series.

Worst:

> The final issue cop-out of Brian Wood’s Mara #6 (Image). Should have just left it at that awesome final panel of Mara #5, Brian.

Favourite crossover event

Kaleon

Best:

> Before Watchmen (DC) – Alan Moore really needs to read this!

> Superior Spidey Meets Spidey 2099 (Marvel) – Not a crossover event per se, but this team up of Spider-Men from different time eras in Superior Spider-Man #17-#18 deserves a mention!

Worst:

Age of Ultron (Marvel) – This overdose of time travelling certainly made me queasy.

Michael

> Infinity (Marvel) – Jonathan Hickman plays the long game and delivers the most satisfyingly complete crossover event of the year.

> Forever Evil (DC) – For flipping the entire DC universe on its head and letting the villains run things for a change.

Worst:

> Forever Evil (DC) – For giving us the abomination that was DC’s Villains Month.

Favourite single issue comic

Kaleon

Best:

> Daredevil #26 (Marvel) – More specifically, the “back up” tale – Punching Cancer – that focuses on young cancer patients banking on superheroes to cure them. This issue also has THE best cover of 2013!

> Superior Spider-Man #9 (Marvel) – While last year’s Amazing Spider-man #700 got me all emotional over Peter’s “death”, this issue got me feeling the opposite and actually start rooting for Doc Ock!

Worst:

> Every single issue of Marvel’s Thunderbolts!

Michael

Best:

> Batman And Robin #18 (DC) – Bruce Wayne grieves over the loss of his son in this completely “silent” issue. Heartbreakingly brilliant.

> Hawkeye #11 – A whole issue of one of the best Marvel titles around, told entirely through the perspective of Lucky the Pizza Dog. Barking mad, sheer genius.

Worst:

> DC’s Villain’s Month was not short of stinkers, but the worst and most pointless of them all has to be the convoluted mess that was Dial E.

Best character development

Kaleon

Best:

> Spider-Man – No, I haven’t swapped minds with Doc Ock! Credit should be given for changing a five-decade long perception.

The Superior Spider-Man features heavily in Kaleon's list.
The Superior Spider-Man features heavily in Kaleon’s list.
 

> Hawkeye – The Matt Fraction-David Aja treatment is enough to lobotomise all memories of his dreadful West Coast Avengers days.

Worst:

> Wolverine – A classic case of “quantity isn’t quality” as the ol’ canuckle head continues to flood the Marvel Universe by appearing in almost every title!

Michael

Best:

> Loki (Young Avengers) – this book should really have been called Loki and The Young Avengers, so dominating and pivotal is the God of Mischief in the story.

> Joseph Oppenheimer (The Manhattan Projects) – Oppenheimer has been a central figure in this Image Comics title from the very beginning, and this year we finally saw him rise to the role of the ultimate villain in the series.

Worst:

> John Constantine – The Constantine I knew from Vertigo’s Hellblazer series would rather sell his soul to the Devil (or three) than be called a “superhero”.

Favourite male character

Kaleon

Best:

> Spider-Man (The Superior Spider-Man) – The “Superior” version has flushed away years of “Parker luck” frustrations.

> Fred Myers aka Boomerang (The Superior Foes of Spider-Man) – Reformed rogue Fred Myers, wheeling-dealing with the cops and his new Not-So Sinister Six (sometimes Five) teammates.

Worst:

> Deadpool – from comic relief to overrated pet peeve!

Michael

Best:

> Hawkeye (Hawkeye) – From the guy who shoots arrows and cracks jokes to one of the most endearing loser-type heroes in one seminal Matt Fraction series.

> David Hellar (X-Men: Legacy) – A complex, eccentric character in one of Marvel’s most underrated series and a far cry from his evil Legion days.

Worst:

> Superman – More specifically, the DC New 52 incarnation of Superman. Says a lot about the character that I prefer his evil version, Ultraman, over this brash little jerk.

Favourite female character

Kaleon

Best:

> Anna Maria Marconi (Superior Spider-man) – Any woman who can upstage Mary-Jane Parker for Spidey’s attention deserves this spot!

2) Sharon Carter (Captain America) – Any woman who would go to Dimension Z and sacrifice her life for you is worth mentioning!

Worst:

> Darla Deering aka Ms Thing (FF) – A testimony to Johnny Storm’s idiocy.

Michael

> Kitty Pryde (All-New X-Men) – Both Earth 616 and Ultimate Comics versions of Kitty have seen her grow into a convincing leader of the X-Men, but her role as mentor to the time-displaced original X-Men is my favourite of her roles so far.

> Forever Lazarus (Lazarus) – The lean, mean killing machine and star of Greg Rucka’s creator-owned Image Comics title is one of the most bad*** female characters of 2013.

Worst:

> Supergirl – Still an annoying brat even after 26 issues.

Best story arc

Kaleon

Best:

> Green Lantern: Wrath Of The First Lantern – A sensational closure to Geoff Johns’ decade-long run on the Emerald Knight and Green Lantern mythos.

> Daredevil #22-#27 – The Daredevil-Bullseye rivalry takes on a whole new dimension.

Worst:

> Batman: Death Of The Family Another meaningless addition to the never-ending Batman-Joker list of conspiracy theories.

Michael

Best:

> Avengers Arena: Boss Level – The barnstorming final arc in this polarising but ultimately gripping series about 16 teenage superheroes captured and force to kill each other or die.

> Young Avengers – This was one of the most inventive series in the Marvel NOW relaunch, and I’m pretty sad to see it end after just 15 issues.

Worst:

> Krypton Returns – Most of the Super-titles in the DC New 52 have been pretty forgettable, but this time-travelling mess of a story deserves this spot for not only recycling a recent villain (H’el), but also for the almost flippant way they killed off Superboy.

Best non-comic comic-related event:

Five-year-old Miles Scott, who is in remission from leukaemia, got his wish to be “Batkid” for a day. Together with Batman, the dynamic duo saved San Francisco on Nov 15, known as “Batkid Day”. Kudos to the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation and the 7,000 people who made Miles’ wish come true!

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