Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Things to Look Forward to in 2013

It seems I have failed as a comic book blogger, since I am probably the only one to not do a, "Best of 2012" post. That doesn't mean I can't do a, "looking good in 2013," post, so that's what I'm going to do. So, in no particular order, here are some of the comics and comic media related projects that I am very excited about in the coming year.

The return of Sandman by Neil Gaiman

Ok, this is the gimme of gimmes among many comic book fans. I haven't walked much about Sandman or my love of Neil Gaiman on this blog simply because very few people need to be told that they should read it; it's a major part of the comic book landscape, up there with Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns. But the idea of new Sandman, of Sandman with art by J.H. Williams III, whose work on Batwoman has been nothing less then stunning, well this is something that should be cried to the heavens with joy. Set before the original series starts, I'd think this would be a good place for people who have never read Sandman to start and see exactly what all the hullabaloo is about. As someone who has all of Sandman in single, trade, absolute, and annotated, the idea of a new story featuring Dream of the Endless is the closest to complete comics nirvana as I can imagine.

Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark

Gotham Central is one of the great gems that DC Comics has produced in the past decade (boy, sounds like something you might be getting a recommended reading about shortly...). Greg Rucka (and co-writer Ed Brubaker) is a master of crime stories, whose work on the Bat titles had me excited for this gritty cops in Gotham story, and artist Michael Lark, whose work on an arc of Sandman: Mystery Theatre had grabbed my attention, seemed a perfect fit. And I was right. Since then, Rucka and Lark have worked together a few times, including winning an Eisner for best Short Story, this is their first creator owned project together. Lazarus will be coming from Image Comics, and is a science fiction series set in a dystopian future where the wealthy families rule. Endeavor Carlyle, the lead, is the enforcer/strategist/security chief for her family, but learns a truth that puts her at odds with her family and society as a whole. In interviews, Rucka and Lark have said they are building a whole world from scratch, really designing everything. Combining my love of Greg Rucka's strong characterization, Michael Lark's gritty art, and world building? Sold.

The Wake by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy

While details about this project remains pretty sketchy, new Scott Snyder horror is always something I look forward to. Combine an element of sci-fi, and you have my curiosity more than piqued. The only details that I've found are that the story begins with, "single, terrifying discovery at the bottom of the ocean." Include art from Sean Murphy, whose work on Joe the Barbarian I loved, whose Punk Rock Jesus is a book that slipped under my radar and a trade I'm dying for, and who teamed up with Snyder for one of the excellent American Vampire mini-series, and you have a book that should appeal to all horror and sci-fi comic fans.

Scott Snyder's Riddler in Batman

In my review of Batman #15, I spoke about how impressed I was about Scott Snyder's take on the Riddler. His Riddler struck me as someone smart enough to actually challenge Batman. And I'm hoping the next major arc on Batman after "Death of the Family" will prove me right. Snyder has done a great job creating new villains and presenting old villains in new ways in his work on Batman and Detective Comics; the Court of Owls and new Owlman are the breakout villains of the New 52, and James Gordon Jr. is a tremendously creepy character, and his vision of the Joker is unique and frightening. For years now, Riddler has either been a non-threat, the kind of villain who is trotted out just because he's a name, been made "edgy," as in "Hush," or been reformed, as in the great stories of Riddler, Private Eye during Paul Dini's run on Detective. I'm hoping this new vision of the Riddler finds a way to make Riddler a marquee Bat villain again. If anyone can do it, I think Snyder can.

New Star Wars: Legacy

The Legacy era of Star Wars, set over a century after the original trilogy, is a favorite era of mine. It's a little darker, but still has great characters, and builds off of all the Expanded Universe works that have come before it. I wrote a recommended reading for the original series of Star Wars: Legacy and while this new series is not from original creators John Ostrander and Jan Duursema, I see a lot of potential. From Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, the creators of some recent well received Planet of the Apes comics, Star Wars: Legacy - Prisoner of the Floating World follows a new character, Ania Solo, the great great granddaughter of Han and Leia. She get herself into trouble, and is marked for death, so basically is following along in the family business. The story is set after the final adventures of Cade Skywalker in the original Legacy series, so we'll see the galaxy move further away from the Sith-Imperial War, but that's not to say we won't see any Sith or Jedi. Bechko and Hardman have some pretty big shoes to fill here, but I'm more than willing to try out some new characters making their way through the Star Wars universe.

The Man of Steel

I will always admit a pro-DC bias, and I am also definitely looking forward to Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, but the superhero film I'm most curious about is The Man of Steel, the reboot of the Superman franchise. After the lackluster Superman Returns, the world's first superhero has been away from the big screen. I will admit to being worried after seeing the initial teaser, as there was no Superman in a Superman movie teaser, but the first real trailer was much more interesting. Some great flying scenes, some cool looking Kryptonian vehicles, action, and no hide nor -lack-of-hair of Lex Luthor. I swear, not every Batman movie needs Joker; the same should be with Lex and Superman. I do admit that I feel we could skip the origin of Superman as it is so well known, but I do like the idea of watching Clark Kent make the decision to become Superman; it worked in Batman Begins for Batman, why not for Superman?

Young Justice Returns and Young Justice: Legacy

So, this one has already started, but I'm still including it here. After the unceremonious disappearance from the airwaves of DC Nation in October, I was worried I'd never see more Young Justice, no matter what Cartoon Network said. But as of this past Saturday, the series was back, and in as fine form as ever. There's an Animated Discussions post about Young Justice upcoming, about how it serves as the inheritor to many of the themes of the pre-New 52 DC Universe, but beyond that, it is just the best looking, best paced, and best characterized action cartoon on TV right now. And not only will we get the last half of season two, and I'm holding out hope for the announcement of a season three, but next month we get Young Justice: Legacy, a video game written by the show's writers taking place in the five year gap between the two seasons. I'm not a big video game person, but I'll be picking this one up right away for a little more story from this particular version of the DC Universe.

Year of Atomic Robo

A post on Comic Book Resource's Robot Six blog detailing the 2013 plans for Atomic Robo got me very excited. First and foremost, this year's mini-series is Atomic Robo and the Savage Sword of Dr. Dinosaur! So, while Dr. D won't be in this year's Free Comic Book Day issue, he'll be in an entire mini! And he'll probably be bringing crystals! Also, the next arc of Real Science Adventures focuses on the Centurions of Science, Tesla's team of scientists and luminaries, similar to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but with real people, like Harry Houdini and Annie Oakley. I love that sort of revisionist history, and Tesla just lends himself to it. And to top it all off, we'll also see the debut of the Atomic Robo Roleplaying Game from Evil Hat Productions, creators of the award winning and awesome Dresden Files Roleplaying Game. Now you too can live the dream of being a member of Atomic Robo's Tesladyne team, and who wouldn't want to do that?

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