Continuing from yesterdays installment, we bring you the final part of the Top Twenty Comics of 2012:
5. The Massive
The Massive is Brian Wood’s latest ongoing series for Dark Horse Comics. It is set in a not too distant future earth that has been ravaged by a cataclysmic environmental disaster referred to as the crash. The story focuses on environmental direct action group Ninth wave and their leader Callum Israel. The eponymous ship The Massive has gone missing and Callum and the crew of its sister ship The Kapital are searching the seas for it.
What we are introduced to in this comic book is a vastly different world than the one we are used to. Cities have been wiped out by rising oceans, new harbour communities are springing up, and money is now largely meaningless.
Brian Wood is an excellent writer and his intelligent, challenging ideas and concepts are present in this series. He is aided brilliantly by the artists on this series. Kristian Donaldson drew the first arc and his detailed landscapes really brought the sense of destruction to the page. The second arc was drawn by Garry Brown, another artist I was unfamiliar with. However after seeing his work here I will definitely keep an eye out for his work in future.
The Massive is one of several comics that have been released this year that are intelligent, thought-provoking, and thoroughly entertaining. (SH)
Stephen Wacker has carved out his own magical little corner of the Marvel Universe. He is the editor of Hawkeye, Captain Marvel, Superior Spiderman and Daredevil among others. His books seem to be set apart from the main Marvel books, except Superior Spiderman which is part of Marvel NOW, while still featuring well-known, mainstream characters. One such example is Daredevil, written by Mark Waid. Launched in 2011 Waid’s take on the character has been refreshing, inventive and a whole lot of fun. Helped in no small part by the two main artists on the title Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin, Daredevil is an absolute joy to read each month. With a planned crossover featuring the new Spiderman in January, this title looks to be here for the long haul. (SH)
Matt Fraction cracks wise, frequently and often, and David Aja’s design and artwork shines. It’s reminiscent of both Mazzucchelli and Maleev. The synchronicity between the creators is epitomised by the incredible 24 panel page in issue 2. Hawkeye is in stark contrast to every other event-driven book hitting the shelves and I’ve no hesitation in recommending this title. The initial one-shot nature was a joy but ‘The Tape’ (with stand-in artist Javier Pulido) was sheer brilliance. If you aren’t already BUY BUY BUY, you’re missing one of Marvel’s best titles in a decade or more! (JL)
After a very noticeable absence from the comic world Brian K. Vaughan along with Fiona Staples returned with an explosion in this science fiction adventure. Both have made a great pairing in this Romeo and Juliet-esque tale. I’ve felt the book leaning towards a more Farscape type feel as they’re currently on board a spaceship which is a tree and the cast is becoming crazier by the issue but I love it. When 2012 started this was the book I was most looking forward to and I can remember how excited I was at reading that first issue back in May. Saga has won our Comic of the Week accolade four times out of eight issues (5, 6, 7 and 8), which is an amazing feat. (MB)
I’ve been a fan of the Batman character since as long as I can remember. When I moved on from The Dandy and The Beano, comic books featuring Batman is what I turned to. I read everything I could get my hands on. When DC announced the line-wide re-launch known as the New 52, I was really pleased that Scott Snyder was confirmed as the writer on the Batman monthly. His work on Detective Comics was fantastic and he really understood the character and was able to write interesting, exciting stories which felt fresh and new. He has continued that with Batman. He has already introduced an entirely new element to the Gotham City mythology in the form of The Court of Owls. Not only a terrifying, parasitic presence in Batman’s world, but a genuine threat to his existence, The Court of Owls is a brilliant invention, and formed the centre of a really successful storyline.
The art duties on Batman are handled brilliantly by Greg Capullo. Although I admired his work I wasn’t sure how his style would suit Batman. My fears were allayed when preview images started emerging, and were completely wiped out by the end of issue 1. Capullo’s Batman is awesome. He manages to convey the characters deeply flawed sense of self, which is always contradicted by his unimaginable strength in the face of extreme violence and threat.
What made Batman stand out this year, and probably aided its rise to number one spot in our Top Comics of 2012, is the stunning return of The Joker in the current ‘Death of the Family’ storyline. Snyder’s Joker is iconic, insane as ever, and truly terrifying.
I want Scott Snyder to always write Batman, because he is producing some of the best comic books that I have ever seen from the mainstream publishers. Batman is a deserved number one in our list, and I can’t wait to see where 2013 takes the character and the reader. (SH)