Top 5 1/2 Anticipated Comic Books Of 2012: IDW, Image, Dynamite, DC Comics, But Where’s Marvel?

So, it’s that time of year again. I thought I’d share with you my most anticipated comics book projects of 2012.

Ok, let’s get right into it.

5. Youngblood from the Extreme Studios rebirth at Image Comics

    When Image Comics launched in the 1990s, there were two books that really captured my attention: Youngblood and Stormwatch. The latter is part of the DC Comics Relaunch and is nothing like its United Nations sponsored roots and Youngblood gets a facelift in 2012!

    I’m curious where Rob Liefeld’s signature series will be taken. Liefeld has indicated that all previous stories happened so this new series will be a progression not a reboot.

    I’m also intrigued by the bowman on the team. Doesn’t look like Shaft. Hmmm.

    Black Swan’s John McLaughlin writes this new chapter with Jon Malin on art (and Rob Liefeld providing “art direction”).

    The new version of Bloodstrike seems interesting too. You can get a taste of Image’s Extreme offerings in 2012 from the sampler released last week.

4. Bloodshot and the Valiant Comics relaunch

    Valiant Entertainment will be relaunching Valiant Comics in 2012. They will have a Free Comic Book Day 2012 offering to kick off their new universe. The Valiant Entertainment brass have indicated that: “Within the Valiant Universe framework, we are initially focusing on 9 or 10 of Valiant’s A-list characters, such as X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, and Harbinger, and the interactions between them.”

    Bloodshot and Eternal Warrior were my faves from the original Valiant books of the 1990s. I hope that 2012 does justice to these characters. The hardcover reprints that Valiant Entertainment have done for X-O Manowar, Harbinger and Archer & Armstrong had nice new stories to end each collection. They were pretty good and show that the new folks behind the Valiant rebirth respect and understand the properties.

    Here’s hoping for a solid restart for Valiant in 2012!

3. IDW’s Next Men: Aftermath

    It is probably not a surprise that I am eagerly looking forward to end of John Byrne’s Next Men opus in 2012. I was so pleased that he came back to it recently and produced 9 entertaining new issues that tied up the first phase of the book.

    In 2012 we get possibly his final 4 issues, it would seem, of the Next Men saga in Next Men: Aftermath. It appears to be more adventure, sci-fi and drama, but in true Byrne fashion. The cover to the first issue, that carries on the Next Men numbering at #40, has a wild cover that does not bode well for the Next Men survived the previous series.

    Part of me was sad to hear the Next Men saga might end, but I am glad the possibility exists for more issues and they’re being done on Byrne’s terms. It is also nice to know that IDW head honcho Chris Ryall has given Byrne carte blanche to tell this tale how he sees fit and in as many issues he sees fit. We’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds after the planned 5 issues of Aftermath in 2012.

2. IDW’s Cobra Command and the aftermath of Cobra Civil War

    I’ve told you about how I got into Cobra Civil War in a few weeks in December and thought it was the best storyline of 2011 across the comic book industry. I was intrigued by the stones it took for IDW and the creators involved to kill the original Cobra Commander. Clearly, Hasbro, the G.I. Joe license owner had to green light this, and they did. What followed was an intriguing contest to replace him. This storyline went across IDW’s current G.I. Joe new continuity titles, namely G.I. Joe, Snake Eyes and Cobra (this last one being the best of the bunch IMHO).

    In 2012, I’m looking forward to the Cobra Command storyline that will show IDW’s new Cobra Commander wage an even deadlier war on G.I. Joe on U.S. soil. January 2012 also sees the release of the Cobra Annual 2012 that tells the backstory of the new Commander.

    I have been sucked into this world and am intrigued to see the fallout of the Cobra Civil War in 2012!

1. DC New 52’s Justice Society and the Curse of Shazam!

    The DC Comics Relaunch’s New 52 has been the biggest story in comics in 2011 bar none. 2012 will be a year that makes or breaks this bold move by DC co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. Many of my old faves have series in the New 52 like Suicide Squad, Deathstroke, Hawk and Dove, Green Arrow and others plus minis for other faves like Shade of Starman infamy. We also have some very cool new books like Demon Knights. Overall, I’m reading a lot more DC Comics than I did pre-relaunch and they are all certainly of higher quality.

    2012 marks the return of the last two stragglers from my faves tickle trunk with the James Robinson penned and Nicola Scott penciled Justice Society plus a new back-up feature in the New 52’s anchor book of Justice League for the relaunch of the Captain Marvel franchise with the Curse of Shazam written by Geoff Johns and penciled by Gary Frank. These are two solid creative teams tasked to reinvorgate franchises that have been waning in recent years. I hope they do these characters justice and am eager to see what changes they have in store.

1/2. Dynamite’s Bionic Woman

    Spinning from their Bionic Man series, based on the Kevin Smith movie script, Dynamite Comics will publish a new Bionic Woman series written by Paul Tobin and drawn by Leno Carvalho beginning in March 2012.

    I am a HUGE fan of the 1970s Six Million Dollar Man (a.k.a. Bionic Man) and Bionic Woman TV series. The Dynamite Comics Bionic Man series was ok and certainly entertaining, but I think it was constrained by the conversion of a script written for movies, not intended for comics. My hope is that the Bionic Woman series fares better with a story written for comics.

    I picked up all of the Bionic Man and Woman TVD DVDs between 2010 and 2011 and loved revisiting those episodes. The 1970s was an interesting time for TV.

    My hope is that the Bionic Woman comic will channel the heart that the original TV series was known for alongside the bionic action!

    I have high hopes and am looking forward to a Bionic 2012!

That’s it, that’s all?

Sadly, no Marvel Comics on the list. 🙁 I am intrigued by X-Sanction, and I’m reading Avengers Children’s Crusade, but I can’t get excited about A vs. X, another Avengers vs. X-Men slugfest in 2012. Beyond the few books I read from Marvel, there’s nothing that has really grabbed my attention of their 2012 news so far. Seems like same old, same old, but I’d love to be proven wrong. It’s still early in terms of 2012 comic book projects. Marvel may well wow me with their Spring or Summer announcements.

I’m hoping for a Sojourn and another Ruse book under their CrossGen banner in 2012. I am crossing my fingers, but until announced I can’t put them on this list.

From my list, I am really happy to be dipping my toes into independent publisher’s pond again. I hope IDW continues to capture we attention with their compelling Cobra plots across its G.I. Joe relaunch titles.

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