Another of the New 52 relaunch titles, and one of my personal favorites, is NIGHTWING. Dick Grayson is one of my favorite comic book characters, and one of the few young heroes that the world has watched grow up from a 10 year-old boy to a full-fledged solo superhero. He was the original Robin, became Nightwing and forged his own legacy with Teen Titans, and eventually became Batman while Bruce Wayne was lost in time. Back in the mantle he is most famous for, Grayson's new solo title is one of the best titles of 2011.
Most of the first arc of NIGHTWING since September has dealt with Dick returning to Haly's Circus, where he watched his parents get murdered and forged his destiny as Batman's first and best sidekick and his eventual growth into Nightwing. It also deals with an assassin that claims that Dick Grayson is "Gotham's Deadliest Killer". Writer Kyle Higgins does a great job of characterizing Dick and calling on his experiences as Batman, and how it has made him a better fighter. With a cameo appearance by Barbara Gordon, AKA Batgirl, to also drive in the wedge of their...history...and it makes for compelling storytelling.
NIGHTWING will join most of the other Bat-titles in the "Night of the Owls" crossover event. With the Court of Owls targeting the Wayne Family, both the namesake and the extended, it should be a compelling, fun, and intriguing look as we see the Batman "Family" together for the first time in the New 52 continuity.
5. ULTIMATE COMICS: SPIDER-MAN - VOL. 2
Last year, we bode farewell to the Marvel Ultimate Universe version of Peter Parker, who died fighting the Green Goblin and the Sinister Six in the pages of ULTIMATE COMICS: SPIDER-MAN. When it was announced that a NEW Ultimate Spider-Man would be continuing in Peter's place, the reactions were mixed. Some hated the idea of someone else under the mask. Others felt it was a good thing, as most deaths in the Ultimate Universe tend to stick, unlike the mainstream "Earth 616" (the main Marvel continuity). And when it was announced that the new Spidey would be a half-Hispanic, half-African-American 10 year old boy, it drew even more scrutiny, with people saying that it was Marvel's way of pandering to people's demand of more diversity in their superheroes. But alas, most worries went out the window when ULTIMATE COMICS: SPIDER-MAN, VOL. 2 debuted.
Brian Michael Bendis, who wrote every issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, would continue writing Vol. 2. This is the first thing that attracted me to this. I also found the aspect of someone ELSE behind the mask a good thing, and that if anyone could pull it off, Bendis could. Miles Morales, the new Ultimate Spider-Man, has the same powers (plus a few new ones) as Peter, and appears to be connected to Peter by an old foe, which I won't reveal due to spoiling it (GO READ IT! ITS GOOD!). The writing has been great. We get to see Miles' family, friends, and motivations, and what really makes him tick.
If the first 5 issues were any indication, good writing and fun times are ahead for ULTIMATE COMICS: SPIDER-MAN. Brian Bendis is at the forefront of this series. It's been his child from the very beginning, and he knows what his readers want. Sara Pichelli, the lead artist on the book, has done a fantastic job, and though not as stylized as Vol. 2, her penciling is great and the rest of the art team has stood up to the challenge of creating a very colorful world for our newest Wall-Crawler. Overall, I expect good things for the UC: SPIDER-MAN team in the coming year.
Grant Morrison's BATMAN, INCORPORATED was a huge leap for DC Comics last year. The idea of Batman being a brand name, and having an influence all over the world was a bold one. But suffice it to say, the move paid off. We got to see the different Batmen of the world, including the Native American Man-of-Bats, Nightrunner from Paris, France, and the Batman of Africa, Batwing.
BATWING is the first of the new Batman, Inc. characters to get their own solo series, and allows to see how David Zavimbe (Batwing) became the namesake character. We get to see the intricacies of his non-costumed life, his inspirations to become Batwing, and the life choices he made that made him the man he is today. The opening arc of BATWING is one of the darker ones of the New 52. Many people are murdered, and we see what David's motivations are towards stopping his arch nemesis, Massacre. The issues showing flashbacks to his youth as a child soldier are truly grueling, yet essential, to see. They allow us to see what makes him who he is, and what his motivations are.
The strong storytelling, and great art make this a great read. As with the other Bat-books, this one will also be involved in the "Night of The Owls" crossover. It will be interesting to watch David interact with Bruce on a new turf, and with other members of the Batman family. This is my vote for Most Underrated Comic of 2011, and Best New Breakout series of 2012. I am very interested to see where David's story goes from here.
There you have it! My Most Anticipated Comics of 2012. When we reach the end of the year, I will go back and reflect on these stories, and see if they matched my, and your, standards. Leave comments, and tell me what you think! Is there a comic you think I left out? Is there a comic here you think not worthy?
Until Next Time...Peace!