Best of 2012: Best Covers

best coversYou know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t mean you can’t judge the cover on its own merit. Some covers are so excellent that they back all the drama, excitement and emotion of the whole issue into one succinct image. Sometimes they end up being their own surreal experience. And other times, we’re just exciting to see our favorite heroes kicking ass one more time. These are our top 12 most awesome, creative and graphic covers of 2012.

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Nightwing 15

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Today, Scott and Patrick are discussing Nightwing 15, originally released December 19th 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

death-divScott: Superheroes are defined by the things they care about most. Whether it be a loved one, a city, or a planet, there must be a something that compels them to fight, something for which they can be held accountable. Their physical abilities may make them Super, but it is their desire to protect the things they care about that make them Heroes, and what differentiates them from other physically powerful figures, like villains or, say, sidekicks. The success of Nightwing as a series ultimately depends on whether Dick Grayson can shake the notion that he is a sidekick, fighting to save Batman’s Gotham rather than something of his own.  In Nightwing 15, with the threats against Dick’s beloved Haly’s Circus beginning to have real consequences, it finally feels like he is blossoming into a Superhero in his own right.
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The Amazing Spider-Man 700

Alternating Currents: Amazing Spider-Man 700, Mikyzpltk and Drew

Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 700, originally released December 26th 2012.

Mikyzptlk: I’ve always heard that, for writers, endings are the hardest part of a story to write. Most of the time, comic book writers who are helming flagship characters like Wonder Woman or Spider-Man don’t have to worry too much about coming up with an actual ending for their characters. Sure, they definitely have to come up with an ending to their story arcs, but that’s a far different thing than coming up with an ending for the characters themselves. This week, Dan Slott finds himself in the unique position of writing the ending (yeah right) of not only The Amazing Spider-Man but of Peter Parker himself. Continue reading

Hawkeye 6

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Today, Courtney and Shelby are discussing Hawkeye 6, originally released December 19th, 2012.

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Courtney: Do you remember the moment you realized that Kill Bill: Volume 2 had only one fight scene? I think I watched it at least three times before I realized that it was about 80% less violent than its famously gory predecessor, because somehow the two films were so beautifully of a set. In some way like that, Hawkeye 6 features almost no action at all, yet it is decidedly cut from the same cloth as every issue in which Clint crashes out of a tenth-story window. The difference, though, is that in this case, the order is flipped.  It is the mundane, domestic story of Clint trying to learn how to take a few days off and enjoy the holidays which more nakedly exposes the question that all of the smash-smash-punch episodes have been driving at, ie, “What if this super-hero really were just a pretty cool person?” Continue reading

Best of 2012: Best Creator Twitter Feeds

Best of 2012: Best Creator Twitter FeedsWell, 2012 is coming to a close, and you know what that means — year end “best of” lists! We’ve got our share of those coming to you soon, but we wanted to start things out with a nod to those writers and artists excelling at a particularly 2012 task — engaging with their audience via social media. Time was, you might only ever get a chance to interact with your favorite comics creators if they happened to be attending a con near you, but technology (for better or for worse) has now put them only a few clicks away. Still, some manage it better than others, and we wanted to take a moment to single out those creators that have gone above and beyond with crafting an inviting, entertaining twitter presence. Here it is, our Top 12 Best Creator Twitter Feeds of 2012. Continue reading

Before Watchmen – Nite Owl 4

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Today, Patrick, Drew and Shelby are discussing Nite Owl 4, originally released December 26th, 2012. Nite Owl is part of DC’s Before Watchmen prequel series. Click here for complete Before Watchmen coverage (including release dates).

Patrick: As the year comes to a close, we tend to look back favorably on what we experienced in the last 12 months. There have been some highs and lows, but through the goggles of nostalgia, I’m mostly going to remember how much fun we had starting this site and cultivating this little community of comic book nerds (hi guys!). It’s been over three months since we last saw an issue of Nite Owl, and I guess some of that rose-tinted optimism crept into my memory, momentarily distorting the quality of this series in my head. Luckily, this issue was kind enough to feature crazy, murderous Reverend Taylor Dean on page one. That’s the confused, pedantic narrative I remember! Oh, Nite Owl, it is so miserable to see you again!

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Aquaman 15

aquaman 15 Throne

Today, Shelby and Michael are discussing Aquaman 15, originally released December 26th, 2012. This issue is part of the Throne of Atlantis event. Click here for all of our ToA coverage.

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Shelby: Events are tricky things to handle. On the one hand, you have an opportunity to tell a story on a broader scale; you can involve more characters and build bigger plots. You also get a chance to lure readers to new titles, which can either be see by readers as an introduction to something new, or a cheap trick to make us give DC more money. To some extent, both are true. The real trick to an event, though, is figuring out how to distribute your story, and Geoff Johns is making some choices with Thrones of Atlantis that I find to be interesting to say the least. Just a heads up to you, our gentle readers: don’t make the same mistake I did. If you haven’t read Justice League 15 yet, put this down, go read it, and then come back, otherwise Aquaman 15 isn’t going to make a lick of sense.
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Justice League 15

justice league 15 Throne

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Justice League 15, originally released December 26th, 2012, This issue is part of the Throne of Atlantis crossover event. Click here for complete ToA coverage.

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Drew: Sitcoms and comics are notorious for featuring one- and two-dimensional characters. This isn’t the result of laziness on the writers’ parts — actually, it’s their desire to work indefinitely. Narratives that don’t go on indefinitely are free to give their characters actual character-defining arcs — that’s kind of the point — but those that have no defined endpoint must more or less tread water to avoid ending. This is why we know the status quo will always be restored. Sure, Bruce might stop brooding for a bit, or Hal might lose his ring, or Superman might die, but as long as people are willing to see their further adventures (and pay for them), they’re bound to return to their resting state. Individual titles focusing on those characters are free to bend the rules a bit, but cameos in other titles kind of rely on the platonic form of the heroes. Because Justice League essentially acts as a series of cameos, it is particularly invested in not giving these characters any sense of emotional arcs. Of course, that doesn’t stop Johns from trying to shoehorn those in from time to time, too.

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Supergirl 15

Alternating Currents: Supergirl 15, Drew and PatrickToday, Drew and Patrick are discussing Supergirl 15, originally released December 19th, 2012. This issue is part of the H’el on Earth crossover event. Click here for complete H’el on Earth coverage.

Drew: Ironically, I’m kind of a sucker for stories about con men. I like movies like Matchstick Men and Catch Me if You Can more than they probably deserve, and the scams from LOST and Justice League Dark might be my favorite parts of those series. With so many compelling, relatable con artists running around fiction, it’s easy for me to forget that they’re generally bad guys. It’s somewhat understandable that they aren’t depicted negatively more often; we like to think that we’re smart, and that the protagonists we identify with are also smart, so it’s a risky move to depict a hero being taken in by a scam. Mike Johnson attempts that risky move in Supergirl 15, with decidedly mixed results.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 17

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Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Teenage Mutant ninja Turtles 17, originally released December 19th, 2012.

Taylor: There comes a point when reading anything that is speculative in nature where the author asks the reader to take a leap of faith. In The Lord of the Rings, the reader has no choice but to accept that magic and elves are every-day occurrences. Similarly, in Hebert’s Dune, you have to accept that spice is a wonder-drug and faster than light travel travel is physically possible. Most reasonable readers recognize these elements as fantastic and they also realize they are simply part of the universe that the author is creating. These readers also realize that to deny the validity of the fantastical elements of a plot would lessen their reading experience.  Those who read Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are all too familiar with taking this leap of faith in their readings — just look at the title and main characters of the series. So when the title asks its readers to take an even larger leap of faith than ever before, perhaps it is worth discussing.

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