Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Countdown: Top 10 # 1s of 2012

     Hey everyone within the Infinite. It's EIC/President Frankie Rodriguez. 2012 has turned out to be quite a year. BI sprang from Comic Book Clash, which was under J1 Studios and we decided to step out onto our own. Last year, after the rise of the New 52, I created a countdown of the Top 10 #1s of that year. Well .... a year has passed. Things have come and gone. Marvel NOW has been rolling deep and the New 52 is still here ... with some differences. Image Comics and indie comics in general were dealing with a brand new renassience. And some other companies made their way up and/or back ... like Valiant and IDW.

So, now we get down to the great #1s of this year. Just to point this out, there have been a SLEW of new books. I have read more comics books this year than I have had in any other year since I started reading comics some 21 years ago.

  This list will definitely be a bit more diverse than last years. But get ready cause you are gonna be in for a great ride.

 Honorable Mentions: 
Team 7 #1 
The Crow # 1
Avengers vs X-Men # 1
Colder # 1 

I Love trouble # 1 
 Thor: God of Thunder # 1 
World's finest # 1
Clone # 1 
Thief of Thieves #1
Archer & Armstrong #1 

     Written by James Roberts

     Art by Nick Roche     IDW Publishing

    This was definitely one of the most fun books that came out this year. When IDW restarted the Transformers books as 2 ongoing series, I was excited. I have had a long time love of the series and had been enjoying what IDW has been doing with the franchise for the last several years. Well, now ... this book just was pure fun. It has it's share of mystery. It has it's share of Shakespearan-like thoughts. And it has one of the funniest casts since the original JLI comics from the late 80s-90s.  The crew of the Lost Light, led by rodimus, are off on a quest and the crew is zany and awesome.  This book started off the year with a smile while giving Prowl some heat that seems to be going on with Cyclops. Roberts and Roche send off the crew of the Lost Light in style ... and laughter.

# 9 - X-O MANOWAR # 1
        Written by Robert Vendetti
         Art by Cary Nord
        Valiant Comics

        Valiant has returned. And it has come back strong. This was the first book to be brought back under the Valiant banner and we are all the better for it. X-O Manowar is one of Valiant's most well known figures, even having a game with Iron Man in the 90s. Aric returns as a Visgoth fighting the Roman Empire until the Vine come in and make his conflict worse. Aric is brash. Aric is an amazing warrior. But Aric is also hot headed. And that actually adds to his charm. The set up of the first issue really help build upon our hero who is far from perfect and loves to fight while also setting up a conflict with the Vine. It was a brand new beginning and Vendetti brought his A-game for it. Along with Nord's illustrations, X-O Manowar # 1 opened like an epic movie that was just starting.

        Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
        Art by Brad Walker & Andres Guinaldo
        BOOM!  Studios 

    Take all the nightmares of Public Relations. Add some DnA space sensibilities with some classic super heroics and modern day writing and you got The Hypernaturals. The team is the universe's big PR super team who fights for justice. And low and behold, they've been around for 100 years. This universe is different, technological based with people having Hyper powers and is very awesome. This is DnA unfiltered and it is awesome. From finding that some of the team had retired to seeing their greatest victory to what may be their greatest shame.   This book opens with mysteries, action and introduces us to some great characters. Ultizing how media treats celebrities in this space epic definitely left an impact. The only reason this  not higher is due to the fact that their FREE COMIC BOOK DAY  story actually is a prologue to this issue.

# 7 - EARTH 2 #1 
        Written by James Robinson
         Art by Nicola Scott
         DC Comics 

     Dear God! Now this was an opening.  Earth 2 started with a bang alright as we see how the DC Trinity of Earth 2 fell. And fell fighting is how they did it. We see Mr. Terrific showing up to this new Earth. And we see the beginnings of what could very well be the Justice Society. Scott's art looked so much sharper and alive with this project and Robinson's writing was exquisite. Once you read Earth 2, you know you had something special there. And you wanted to be there for the whole ride.

          Written by Brian Wood
           Art by Becky Cloonan & Dave Stewart
          Dark Horse Comics 

        Conan has been around a long time. But God ... this new #1 was GLORIOUS. Conan being young, brash but very loyal and true. Very much like how he was in the classic novels. Brian Wood takes Conan and really opens with a classic opening that would be fit for a new movie (hint, hint). From Cloonan's darker style, to the prose within the pages to Conan facing the Queen of the Black Coast himself, Conan the Barbarian opened with a fast pace and never let you go. The story really held you as you read it and the visuals helped. It made me so happy to read it. Thank you  to the Conan team.

       Written by Dennis Hopeless
      Art by Kev Walker
      Marvel Comics 

       What is a book that has only been out 1 week doing on this countdown? Simple. It is one of the ballsiest books Marvel has ever made and it is glorious. I personally was going to stay away from the book. But then I was given the book by a friend who HIGHLY recommended it. So I read it and I was like ... HOLY FRELL! The use of the teen heroes in this book  in a hunger games/ Battle Royale type situation blew me away seeing it. Yet, one of the BIGGEST surprises was Arcade ... who suddenly had power levels comparable to that of a god. And what a mean god Arcade was. Even so much as to making the teens decide which of them was the first to die only to have heart breaking ending to match its furious beginning. And note, Darkhawk & X-23 are among the teens in this situation. So ... things are pretty damn bad for the other teens. Hopeless took his name and attached it to the teens' situation. And boy ... it looks like things will only get worse in this examination of what makes a hero and what makes a human human.

# 4 - BLACKARCE # 1 
        Written by Duffy Boudreau
         Art by Wendell  Cavalcanti
         Image Comics 
   This book was HIGHLY recommended but many within the industry. Which made me take a look at it and I was sooooo happy I did. Blackarce tells a story of man after economic collapse and the divide between upper class and poor became so large that the upper class decided to start their own society without the poor. And the most frightening thing about the books is that IT COULD HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE. Boudreau takes many of things we see in society and blends them in order to build the world that he creates in Blackarce. This world is indeed very possible. And it is enjoyable to read. With Cavalcanti's art alongside it, Blackarce proves itself to be a grand series of scope that I look forward to.

# 3 - SAGA # 1 

   Written by Brian K. Vaughan
  Art by Fiona Staples
  Image Comics

     Vaughan came back to comics this year with Saga. And Saga # 1 more than lived up to the hype. The sci-fi adventure mixed elements of fantasy with sci-fi so well. The characters were 3 dimensional and looked breath taking. The story was multi-layered with its sci-fi fantasy goodness while examining racism and the right to love and human rights in general. You can read the book multiple times with a lot of enjoyment. The pacing is excellent. The themes are relatable. This is what reading comics should always feel like: taking mature themes while having fun displaying them and feeling connections to the characters. Truly, a wonder to behold.

# 2 -  ALL-NEW X-MEN # 1 ... &  .... UNCANNY AVENGERS # 1 
       Written by Brian Michael Bendis ... & ... Rick Remender
        Art by Stuart Immonen .......... & ....... John Cassady
        Marvel Comics 

    I could not decide between these 2. I wasn't sure how to rate them. I could not bring myself to choose one over the other. So I didn't. Both All-New X-Men #1 and Uncanny Avengers #1 give you a brand new landscape of the Marvel Universe after the battle with the Dark Phoenix in Avengers vs  X-Men. There is clearly some brand new status quos going around. And what both of these books did was give you some grand explosive action alongside some very personal and shocking moments that immediately make you invested. Both artists in their respective books give it their all to tell tales. In All-New X-Men, we see the divide between Scott's X-Men and Wolverine's X-Men grow beyond any thing we thought possible before. Cyclops has gone straight on attacking humans in order to save mutants if need be. The JGS faculty are not taking this well. And with a  double hit of twists dealing with Beast and the original X-Men, it made for an emotional opening. Then in Uncanny Avengers, we get to see how the others mourn Charles, how Alex Summers is now the better of the Summers brothers in the Marvel Universe. And a great emotional argument between Rogue and Scarlet Witch as Scarlet Witch points out that she's been living Xavier's Dream of co-existence all the time with her as an Avenger while the X-Men seem to wear the outfit but not walk the walk. Both books with strong endings that grip you, this is why they are both in second place.

# 1 - SHADOWMAN # 1 

      Written by Justin Jordon & Patrick Zircher
       Art by Patrick Zircher
       Valiant Comics 

    Out of every book on this list, this was the only book I knew where I was gonna put it on this countdown. After reading it over and over, I knew that Shadowman #1 was something beyond special. With an epic opening, a few mysteries about our hero and his family and the return of one of comics' greatest villains ever, Shadowman has it all.  No other book seem to grip you and feel wonderously real at the same time. From Jack keeping himself a mystery, to the opening of the book with Jack's father fighting Darque, the gorgeous art and tight writing is smart, daring and full of energy. You can tell that Zircher is working on the book of his career in these pages. And his work on writing with Jordon is top notch. I have not felt his enthralled with a comic book since the original volume of the New Warriors, which I collected religiously as a teen. This book breathes what comic books are .... artistic form with great story that makes you feel joy and grips at you from the word go. That is why this book is my top # 1 of 2012.

 And that's our countdown. Agree? Disagree? Feel free to comment below. Thank you for reading and talk to you again soon.

 - Frankie Rodriguez.

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