THE REST OF THE BEST – MARVEL TITLES OF 2012

2012 was a fantastic year for Marvel, with so many great books coming out, we at The Pure Mood just couldn’t fit them all into a top 10! Since we figured your eyeballs were dying to strain at the bright screen of a laptop for hours more, we figured we’d present you with our other favourite Marvel titles published in 2012. Without further ado, here’s our proud No-Prize winners!

 

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WINTER SOLDIER – Brubaker delivers a final farewell to Marvel using the elements from the genres he’s built his career on – crime, espionage and pulp. It begins with gorillas in jetpacks and resurrected commie spies, and moves on to a touching love story between Bucky and Black Widow. Featuring beautiful art by Michael Lark and Butch Guice, this series was meditative and action packed.

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UNCANNY X-MEN – Kieron Gillen captured the hearts of X-fans on his run on the flagship title, and while I loved it, it’s lack of inclusion on the top 10 list shows I’m not quite on the IN KG WE TRUST bandwagon. However, it was a very memorable run, with great characterizations of Magik and the recast-as-revolutionary Scott Summers.

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HAWKEYE – A special little title featuring everybody’s favourite archer Avenger, trying to reach artistic heights greater than one would expect from an AVENGERS spin-off fueled by movie success. Postage-stamp sized panels, Mazzuchelli inspired character renderings, and the best characterization of Kate Bishop we’ve ever seen. A fun, whimsical series that is perhaps digested a little too lightly and presented a little too superficially to make it to the top 10.

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DAREDEVIL – Waid’s career-defining, Eisner-winning, Noir-shattering take on the Man Without Fear held strong throughout it’s second year. Rivera left the title with a terrifying two-parter about the Moleman, hinting that Matt’s pyshce may not be as healed as we’d thought. Shortly after, rising star Chris Samnee took over, finding an artistic soulmate in Waid, and the title sung. Recasted as a horror title, DD shocked readers with it’s reinterprations of former D-listers like Stiltman and the Spot. Character focused, dramatic, with long-running plot threads that feel like every panel can be analyzed for future details…this is what I think of when I think of Marvel Comics. Not to be missed, and it only missed the top 10 by a sliver.

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UNCANNY X-FORCE – Remender couldn’t have said it better – this title was all about saving characters tainted by the ’90’s. Mature, meditative character arcs on characters like Deadpool and Psylocke weren’t something I never thought I’d see. A sincere look into Wolverine’s constant hypocrisies and Fantomex’s moral complexities, this was an enjoyable, high-concept X-book about whether superheroes have the right to end lives to better the world.

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MARVEL UNIVERSE VS. THE AVENGERS – This was the biggest surprise of the year. An out of continuity mini-series where Hawkeye takes on zombie Avengers doesn’t sound particularly appealing…but Maeberry treats the situation with respect, and the title does a great job showing what makes Clint such a unique hero. A depressing, bleak look at when a hero has to give up, and why they never should, MU VS THE AVENGERS is…surpisingly great.

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SPACE: PUNISHER – This comic is insane. Don’t miss it. Track it down. Tierra redesigns the entire MU in a high camp twisted sci-fi tale of revenge, featuring a Doctor Octopus with actual slimy tentacles and a ninja-butler Jarvis, this is the definition of fun. Punisher fans aren’t known to be the most humorous of folks, but titles like this have always been what make Marvel unique as a publisher.

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AVX: CONSEQUENCES – This was the best work Gillen did in 2012 as far as I’m concerned, and yet it was a weekly wrap-up of a big summer event. CONSEQUENCES follows Cyclops journey into martyrdom, with highlights including a second issue devoted entirely to a confrontation between Scott and Logan that reveals the hypocrisy in both their philosophical stances. A very intelligent series that explores the very warped post-AvX Cyclops in a realistic, human way.

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CAPTAIN AMERICA & BLACK WIDOW – It seemed the beginning of the year had everyone singing the praises of Cullen Bunn’s work on THE SIXTH GUN, while meanwhile, Francesco Francavilla was being hailed as a pulp-art luminary sure to be remembered for generations. Then how was this title so overlooked? Featuring an intense plot about a villainous, multi-dimensional corporation run on greed and profit, Cap &… put the adventure and fun back into the genre. Beautiful digitally painted interiors, fantastic characterization of Black Widow and fun, hi-camp concepts like Curt Connors being the last hero in a post-apoc world, this title was too ahead of it’s time.

7 responses to “THE REST OF THE BEST – MARVEL TITLES OF 2012

  1. Winter Soldier was very good.

    Uncanny X-Men was awesome. For my money, it’s the best run the book has had since Claremont left in 1991. And it was the best Sinister ever. I loved it.

    Hawkeye’s been great. Just a really fun title.

    Daredevil’s continued to be an excellent title. Waid has a fantastic handle on the character.

    Uncanny X-Force lost me after the end of the Dark Angel Saga (and slightly inside it, with the awful Age of Apocalypse arc). The Otherworld arc was weak, and Final Execution went on way too long, and had some pretty lackluster writing throughout. Also, I never bought the attraction between Psyocke and Fantomex. They just didn’t have great chemistry.

    Marvel Universe vs. the Avengers has been a lot of fun.

    Space Punisher had an amusingly insane first issue, but I lost interest quickly.

    AvX Consequences was awesome. I would rank Journey Into Mystery as being better (it was absolutely brilliant, and you should feel terrible for not including it on your list, because it really was an incredible series, with one of the most brilliant finales you’ll ever find, with a meta-textual analysis of the impossibility of change in comic books). But I loved Consequences. The story of Scott in prison was really well-done.

    Captain America and Black Widow was a really fun book.

    • Haha, I was very much prepared for the backlash of not including fan favourites like JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY and AVENGERS ACADEMY on my lists. I’m glad to see you stood up to the plate to give me the thrashing I very much deserve! I agree that UXM’s exploration of Sinister was fantastic. It really was a great book – I just didn’t fall for it the way most X-fans did. Heck, it isn’t even my fourth favourite X-book of the year! I’m a fanatic of Gillen’s ARES miniseries, and a few of the one-shots he’s done have been incredible, including the Batroc story and the Doctor Strange comic with the born-to-draw-Strange Frazer Irving. I predict 2013’s YOUNG AVENGERS will have me pining after KG the way so many fanboys and girls have been the past year. The more I look back on the year, the more I see just how much I could have added to this list. Thanks for your comment, and I’m glad to see other readers follow Marvel’s many titles with the enthusiastic gusto that I do!

      • Avengers Academy was a favourite of mine – my top 3 titles for the past couple years were X-Factor, Academy and JiM – but I can understand why they wouldn’t have appealed to some people the same way. And it didn’t really have quite the depth that you seem to like in comics – it was a more hopeful, optimistic title, one where conflicts could be resolved by talking and coming to an agreement.

        But JiM, there’s really no excuse for people not loving. Gillen’s run on that was one of the best things I’ve ever read. Young Avengers will be several kinds of awesome – easily my most anticipated new title. And after Peter David’s stroke, I have to wonder if he’ll be able to continue writing X-Factor, so I don’t know if I’ll still have that book.

      • I was shocked to hear of Peter David’s stroke! I wish him the best, he’s consistently proved himself as one of Marvel’s best writers. I’ve really been enjoying his stories in A + X. You should think of doing a top ten list yourself, you have some fantastic insights on these titles! I’m loving your writings on the Claremont era of the All-New All-Different X-MEN!

      • I’ll be doing my Best of 2012 this weekend, once I’m back on my own computer. Given my chosen area of focus in my blog, I’ll probably stick with X-Men comics, with honorable mentions to the non-X-titles, like Academy, JiM, Punisher, and Captain Marvel (among others).

      • Fantastic! I can’t wait to read it! I’d love to hear your thoughts on CAPTAIN MARVEL, a title that hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations.

      • Oh. Yes. I meant to do a Best of 2012 post. Oops. Well, next weekend.

        I’ve been loving Captain Marvel. It’s one of my favourite books right now. X-Factor’s my favourite, of course. Young Avengers, once it starts, will be second, because squee. I think Captain Marvel might be third at that point. DeConnick’s got a great handle on Carol. She’s writing strong, independent female characters. I enjoyed the initial time travel arc, even if a lot of people had a problem with it. The second arc, with Monica, was awesome fun. But I love that DeConnick’s writing the women as people. The book actually makes me think, oddly, of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which is also known for writing females as people, with interests beyond boys and fashion and other girly stuff.

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