Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review! Or: The FIFTH Annual X's Untitled Awards post!!!

2012 is just about ready to take a bow, and 2013 is very nearly upon us...  Here at the blog, that means one thing, and one thing only...  It's time for the FIFTH annual X's(and JT's!) Untitled Awards Post!!!  First off, how the hell is this the FIFTH one of these things that I've done!  That's flat out mind blowing to me...  Seriously, I didn't expect this blog to last a year, and yet here I am five years later.  Crazy.  Not only is the blog going on five, but in 2012 I added a collaborator.  My best buddy, JT!  Who'd have ever thought JT, a guy who was searching the Internet for old Nightwing reviews(for some reason...) (I liked Nightwing, sue me! I even read "The Target"...ugh) would end up being my best friend and an integral part of this blog.  I sure didn't!  With JT now on board  this year's Untitled Awards Post is going to look a tad bit different as JT will be adding his own thoughts and picks for your reading enjoyment in red.  So anything written in black?  That's from me, X.  Anything in red? (Like this right here!) JT.  Now, before we get to the awards portion of this post, two little things...  First off, these awards?  They are nothing more than the opinions of JT and I.  Nothing more, nothing less.  There's no science behind it, it's the things we enjoyed the most about the wacky world of comics in 2012.  And since they are opinions, I'm sure not everybody will agree with them.  And that's cool.  However, if you do disagree with something, and would like to make your pick know, use a modicum of respect.  I would never call somebody's opinion wrong(it's an opinion, it CAN'T be wrong! Just misguided!), so try not to make that mistake here.  Productive dialogue is a good thing.  Complaints and insults? (Or death threats.. don't Slott us!) Not so much.  Thanks.  The next order of business is to take a quick look back to last year's Untitled Awards Post and see what I expected 2012 to look like...  According to 2011 X, I was expecting DC to lose traction coming off of their New 52 and for Marvel to have a huge year with their events and movies.  A quick look at this year's sales charts and box office numbers tends to tell me I pretty much called that.  As always, I'll have a (not so) bold proclamation for the coming year after the awards portion of this post.  And that's it, the introduction is history, let's dig into the reviews!!!

X's Favorite Writer: Rick Remender(Captain America, Venom, Uncanny X-Force, Uncanny Avengers, Secret Avengers).  As always we start the post with my favorite writer of the year, and damn did I have a ton of writers to choose from!  I mean check out that runner's up list!  That's a who's who of mainstream comic writers right there!  But for my money(and his comics gets a lot of it!), nobody had a better 2012 than Rick Remender.  And who could have seen that coming, really?  This is the same guy who gave the world Franken-Castle!!!  I have to say, this year all but erased the mess that was Franken-Castle from this comic fan's mind.  Really, I don't even know where to begin.  Remender made Venom into one of my favorite monthly books(before Cullen Bunn ruined it...).  He took over Captain America from the GREAT Ed Brubaker and has thus far given us two fantastic issues.  Uncanny Avengers?  Probably the series I look forward to most every month.  Sure, his Secret Avengers and Uncanny X-Force runs were kind of hit or miss to me, but nobody's perfect!  I was really torn with this pick, but after typing this out?  I know I made the right decision.
Runners Up: Christos Gage(Avengers Academy), Dan Slott(Amazing Spider-Man), Scott Snyder(Batman, American Vampire), Robert Kirkman(Walking Dead, Invincible), Matt Fraction(Hawkeye, Fantastic Four, Invincible Iron Man, FF), Mark Waid(Daredevil, Indestructible Hulk).

JT's Favorite Writer: Dan Slott (The Amazing Spider-Man).  This was without a doubt the year of Spider-Man in my eyes, and that's because of Dan Slott. Slott had a huge year in terms of stories, character developments and just general awesomeness. While he didn't pen a ton of books like my buddy X's pick, Rick Remender, one of my runner-up picks, he only wrote one comic but wrote over twenty issues of it this year. This year alone Dan Slott gave us the Ends of the Earth story line that featured one of the most competent and well written Sinister Six teams I've ever seen, A great storyline where we saw Curt Connors cure himself but now suffers his penance as The Lizard, The Rise and Fall of Alpha, Two Hobgoblins, and then closed the year off with one of the most controversial comics of the year, Amazing Spider-Man #700! Dan Slott has thrown literally everything he can at Spider-Man this year and did such an amazing job that he's the only writer that wasn't moved around during Marvel Now. This was the year of Dan Slott, and while I respect the amazing work of Remender, Snyder and the rest of my Runner-Ups for this year, no one made me feel the connections and emotional investment in stories, as well as make me laugh and smile when I read their comics as much as Dan Slott.
Runners Up: Scott Snyder (Batman), Christos Gage (Avengers Academy), Matt Fraction (Hawkeye), Rick Remender (Venom, Uncanny Avengers, Captain America).

X's Least Favorite Writer: Scott Lobdell(Red Hood and the Outlaws, Superboy, Teen Titans).  This one was a no-brainer for me.  If I put together a top five list containing my favorite DC characters, it's almost definite that Tim Drake, Jason Todd, Bart Allen and Roy Harper would be there.  All four of those characters?  They are currently being HORRIBLY miswritten by one Scott Lobdell...  Why?  Why would Lobdell put Bat-character Jason Todd in space?  Why would he have Roy Harper getting pep talks from cannibalistic super-villains?  Why would he make Bart Allen painfully boring?  Why would he do NOTHING of note with Tim Drake?  Why would DC allow this?!  The worst thing about this situation is that no matter how awful DC gets(and it's gotten pretty damn awful for me personally), I pretty much HAVE to but Teen Titans and Red Hood and the Outlaws because I want to support my favorite characters.  But in doing so I'm also supporting a writer who has no business writing them... (Yep, when he says his books sell, you can't dispute it... for shame!) *sigh*
Runners Up: Cullen Bunn(Venom, Captain America &..., Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe), Tony Daniel(Detective Comics)

JT's Least Favorite Writer: Scott Lobdell (Red Hood and the Outlaws, Teen Titans)
Scott. Lobdell. The worst writer of the year by far in my eyes. I am an avid Jason Todd fan (you can tell by his screen name!), for years I lobbied for him to get his own book, I was excited when his animated film came out, I was excited when Lost Days came out, so when DC Rebooted and said I'd get a book with him and Roy Harper (who I'm a big fan of as well) and Starfire, I was ecstatic, and then I got to witness one of the worst series I've ever read. Thanks to Scott Lobdell I was forced to drop Red Hood and the Outlaws and Teen Titans. Things like Crux, Jason Todd in space, Jason going on dates with civilians (what?!). Danny the Street over in Teen Titans, Tim Drake apparently never having been Robin and The Joker basically making Jason Todd into Robin, are all I have to mention to show why Scott Lobdell is a hack, and he's somehow been rewarded with getting to write Superman. So, I'll wrap this up now, in a year where Brian Posehn caused myself and X to drop Deadpool after one issue (huh, I forgot how much the writers of Deadpool sucked...), where Ann Nocenti made me drop Catwoman after one issue, and Cullen Bunn just.... gutted an entire Venom run that Rick Remender made fantastic, Scott Lobdell is STILL the worst writer of the year.

Runners Up: Cullen Bunn, Ann Nocenti, Tony Daniel, Brian Posehn

X's Favorite Ongoing Series: Hawkeye.  If you would have told me that Clint Barton, Hawkeye, would have a strong selling comic book with a top writer last year at this time, I'd have laughed in your face.  And yet, here we are...  It's almost like a dream come true for me... (Most people dream of money and women, X dreams of Hawkeye being successful.) One of my favorite comic book characters(and I'm not just saying Marvel characters, I mean in all of comics) is starring in his own solo series, it's selling well, has a fantastic supporting character in the under-appreciated Kate Bishop AND is written by Matt Fraction!  Madness!!!  And yet, that's what we have here   Out of ALL the comic books I buy in a month(and we're talking about around 50-60), this is the one that I always want to read first.  So yeah, Hawkguy? (Like the guy from M.A.S.H.) Definitely my favorite series, bro.
Runners Up: Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America, Uncanny Avengers, Walking Dead, Winter Soldier.

JT's Favorite Ongoing Series: Batman 
(FYI - I excluded ASM or any books that end this year, since these are Ongoing titles)(It was ongoing for most of the year!  That should count for something!) (Hey, shutty.)
This was a big year for Batman thanks to Scott Snyder, and of course, The Joker. Batman was already of one of the best comics coming out of DC when Snyder took over thanks to the excellent way he wrote Bruce, and introduced threats like The Court of Owls and the Return of The Joker. Some things have been hit or miss, like the issue with Harper Row, but I believe that may be building to something in the future...maybe the next Robin?(Oh god...  I sure as hell hope not!)  Besides that speculation, this series has been one of the best in recent memory, This new scary Joker has a lot of secrets and plans that we won't find out about until next year, but Snyder is spinning a tale of intrigue and doubt that makes me really makes me anxious to see what else he has planned for the Dark Knight.
Runners Up: Hawkeye, Scarlet Spider, The Walking Dead

X's Least Favorite Ongoing Series: Red Hood and the Outlaws.  With Scott Lobdell getting the (dis)honor (Zing!) of the Least Favorite Writer award, it should come as no shock that one of his books would take the prize here.  I ended up going with the series that has the most squandered promise, and for me, that is easily Red Hood and the Outlaws.  This comic seems SO damn easy to write! (We'll do it for free, DC.) You have Red Hood(street hero), Arsenal(street hero) and Starfire(cosmic-type hero).  With two street-level characters, you'd think we'd be getting a Streets of Gotham style of book here.  The trio picks a city to work out of(any city not named Gotham or Metropolis would work) and fights crime.  Sounds like a good premise, no?  Instead we get Red Hood fighting magical... I don't even know what the hell the All-Caste is! (Neither does Lobdell...)  Or Red Hood going on a date...  That ends up IN SPACE!!!  We have Jason Todd, the second Robin, fighting frigging space aliens!!!  In space!!  With his girlfriend!!!!!  It's just so horrible!!  Horrible and sad.  So yeah, this series?  My least favorite series by far...
Runners Up: Teen Titans, Venom, Avengers Arena.

JT's Least Favorite Ongoing Series: Red Hood and the Outlaws
No, this isn't Deja Vu, Lobdell is just this damn bad. I could go on and on about how bad he is, but I've done it once and X pretty much already mentioned anything else I'd throw out there so I'll just say this. Give this series to someone else. Get Gail Simone, bring back Judd Winick, get Bryan Q. Miller, give them this book and throw Wally West, Ravager, Huntress or someone on this team (AMEN!!!), and let them write a book that fans of these characters deserve. Because Scott Lobdell has effectively written one of the worst comic books in recent memory and we as fans deserve better, especially when there are many more capable writers that would give us better stories.

Runners Up: Worlds' Finest, Teen Titans, Catwoman, Venom

X's Favorite Event/Crossover/Mini-Series: AvX.  This will probably be an unpopular choice, but hear me out.  This event?  It started out with so much promise.  It was the Avengers taking on the X-Men.  The story (kind of...) made sense!  It was full of shades of gray.  You could support the Avengers(like I did) but still understand the X-Men's stance(kind of...) and vice versa.  And then the X-Men got Phoenix powers and became nothing more than simple villains...  Sad.  The story could have been so much more interesting had the Avengers continued badgering the X-Men while the X-Men tried to make the world a better place.  Instead we got the X-Men pretty much declaring themselves rulers of the world.  So yeah, this wasn't the perfect storyline...  BUT, this event redeemed itself by undoing the dumbest of all Marvel's dumb editorial decisions...  It undid the "No More Mutants" crap!  We got new mutants!  We have a Cyclops that is interesting!  We have new mutants!  If I didn't make myself clear, we got NEW mutants!!!  No longer are the X-Men stuck with the exact same roster!  We may get NEW X-Men!  No longer are we stuck with the X-Men fighting a parade of Sentinels and a constantly re-spawning William Stryker!  We can now get NEW mutant enemies!  No matter what you thought of AvX, the end result justifies EVERYTHING that happened in it, and yes, the end result is also enough for me to make this my Favorite Event of 2012.
Runners Up: Court of Owls, Everything Burns.

JT's Favorite Event/Crossover/Mini-Series: Death of The Family
The Joker decides to go after every single one of Batman's "family". That's a great idea, an idea that would've been fantastic in the Old DC... but still great in this one. This crossover has been held together by Batman, which has been amazing, but surprisingly some of the cross over issues have been just as strong, if not stronger. Damian's run-in with The Joker in Batman and Robin #15 was one of the best comics DC produced this year, the Batgirl issues have shown that Gail Simone still has it. And seeing the Joker's creepy face, or lack thereof from a bunch of different artists have only increased the aura of The Joker. Death of the Family is probably the best crossover event from DC since Blackest Night, and it was in my opinion the best crossover of this year, if only due to some very lackluster parts of AVX.

Runners Up: Ends of the Earth, Spider-Men, Night of The Owls

X's Least Favorite Event/Crossover/Mini-Series: Minimum Carnage.  So you're an editor at Marvel.  You want to do a big storyline with Carnage(a GREAT villain.)  You get Venom and Scarlet Spider on board.  Sounds pretty good no?  Carnage, Venom and Kaine?!  That's pure money to me!  However, Marvel made the mistake of over-thinking things...  Instead of having Carnage escape from confinement and run amok, with Venom and Scarlet Spider battling him and each other, we got Carnage going to the Microverse...  What the hell sense does THAT make?!  The Microverse?!  Really?!?  The story ended up being about a power struggle in the Microverse with religious undertones...  THAT'S what they do with Carnage?!  Ugh.  Just terrible...  This could have been an event people were talking about for months afterward.  Instead, it's an event I can't wait to forget...
Runners Up: Court of Owls(yes, really), Rise of the Vampires.

JT's Least Favorite Event/Crossover Series/Mini-series: Minimum Carnage
I was really looking forward to this Mini-Series, you have Flash and Kaine, Venom and Scarlet Spider, a decorated War Hero and a former murderous clone, teaming up to take on a insane murderer with a powerful symbiote by the name of Carnage. This had a ton of possibilities, and it started off well, but the second they went to the Microverse and got split up then ended up in some kind of religious Star Trek type world, everything went down hill. The weird thing is, you can actually tell which issues are the weak ones, they just happen to have the name Cullen Bunn on them(Yup...  Too bad it wasn't Remender and Yost doing this x-over.). I honestly believe if this crossover has been written by Remender and Yost it would have been in my previous column, but sadly instead of an odd couple group of heroes taking on a murderous psycho, we got a trip to the land of tiny Carnage Clones, and ended things with basically nothing changed, Venom's still Venom, Kaine is still a bad ass, and Carnage is still crazy and in prison.

Runners Up: The First X-Men(Ugh, I forgot all about First X-Men!  Yeah, like JT said, it sucked.), AVX, 

X's Favorite New Ongoing Series: Uncanny Avengers.  It's only three issues in, (Two issues in, unless you know something I don't :P) but I'll be damned if Uncanny Avengers isn't everything a company-leading comic book shouldn't be!  A great team line-up, combining Marvel's two biggest franchises(Avengers and X-Men), a great enemy(The Red Skull!), and a great story.  Hell, not only was this my Favorite New Ongoing series, it very nearly was my Favorite Series, period!  If I had another issue or two, and if they were as strong as the first three, then yeah, this series easily would have been my MVP. (One, Two, ya hear the clock tickin..) As it is, it's my rookie of the year, but come 2013's year end awards?  I'm expecting this series to be my Favorite Series.
Runners Up: Captain America, Hawkeye.

JT's Favorite New Ongoing Series: Hawkeye
This was actually a really tough choice for me, as there were a lot of great series that started this year thanks to Marvel Now. However, none of them were as great as Hawkeye was, after only six issues so far, this has proven to be one of the best written comics of the year. Matt Fraction has made Hawkguy, sorry Hawkeye, a hilarious, relatable, strong lead and his inclusion of Kate Bishop as Hawkeye's sidekick/comic relief was a great choice. Add in the amazingly written issue three of this series, which I think is one of the best single issues of 2012, the awesome Bro's, and the clever stories we've already gotten, I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up being the best series of 2013(Or, you know, the best series of 2012, like SOME people are saying...).

Runners Up: All New X-Men, Uncanny Avengers, Thor: God of Thunder, Saga, Idolized, Captain America, Indestructible Hulk(Damn, JT, you liked a lot of new books this year!)

X's Favorite Hero of 2012: The Avengers.  Yeah, that's right, I'm gonna cheat here(shut up, JT!). (Surprise, Surprise...)  There really wasn't a single character that stood out for me this year.  Instead, I think 2012 will end up going down as the year of the Avengers.  They stood up to the Phoenix Force.  They defeated the crazy X-Men.  Bendis ended his run on the Avengers books AND they had the third highest grossing movie...  Of ALL time!!  For my money?  You aren't gonna ever see a hero(es) have a better year than THAT!  So kudos to the Avengers, the Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and my Heroes of 2012.
Runners Up: Professor Xavier, Rick Grimes, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch.

JT's Favorite Hero of 2012: The Avengers
Now first things first, I told X was gonna go with The Avengers prior to this week, but X said I'd be cheating, so imagine my surprise when a jerk who shall not be named picked The Avengers!(Shaddap, you!) :P That aside, this was a huge year for the Earth's Mightiest Heroes. The Avengers movie, which had been slow being set up since 2008 was finally released and it lived up to the hype and more, meanwhile the Avengers: Earth Mightiest Heroes run finished up and it's been called one of the best superhero TV cartoons of all time by multiple websites (And by X!  It was fantastic!). Also, the Avengers have had a huge year in comics as well, not just the main series but Thor, Hawkeye, Captain America, Hulk, and Iron Man each of the main characters except one (sorry Widow) (Poor, poor, Black Widow...) have a new comic series that's been incredible so far. In a year that also had movies from Spidey and Batman, The Avengers still reigned supreme, and this was their year.
Runners Up: Spider-Man, Batman, Rick Grimesavengers
And assemble they did in 2012!

X's Favorite Villain of 2012: Cyclops.  First things first, this isn't an insult.  I am not trying to slight any fans of Cyclops. (You'd better not be...) But for me, he WAS the top villain of 2012.  Think about it.  He fought against the Avengers.  He battled Captain America.  He bonded with the Phoenix Force, even though he saw how dangerous it was when it led to the death of Jean Grey.  He tried to enforce his rule over the entire planet Earth, "For it's own good".  He KILLED Professor Xavier.  He broke out of prison.  He's a fugitive with Magneto...  Those are not the actions of a hero.  Those aren't even the actions of an anti-hero.  For me?  Those are the actions of a villain.  Plain and simple. (Sounds more like the actions of someone that is Bad Ass.) Others may see it differently, and that's fine.  But I see ol' Scott Summers as a villain, and you know what?  I like what I see...
Runners Up: Magik, Daken, Joker, Negan, Dr. Octopus.
You're a bad man, Scott Summers... (But he's SO good at it.)

JT's Favorite Villain of 2012: Dr. Octopus
No bad guy has had a year like Doctor Octopus (I can't really dispute that). In a year with Negan and Lucille, Joker's return and attack on the Batfamily, and Cyclops killing his mentor, Doctor Octopus is STILL the villain of the year in my eyes. Why you ask? Before getting to the obvious things, let's think about Ends of the Earth for a bit. Thanks to Doctor Octopus and his plans with the Sinister Six, we saw him blow up a Space station, defeat the Avengers, inadvertently lead to the death of Rhino(Wait, Rhino's dead?!  Shows how much I was paying attention...) and Silver Sable, and of course he finally defeated Peter Parker. This year, Doctor Octopus did what no one else could, he beat Spider-Man, but he didn't just beat him, he killed him and took his body and is living on as Peter Parker and Spider-Man. It's not often a hero loses, but it's even more rare that a villain wins, and Dr. Octopus, a guy that started the year holding the world ransom is now holding the body of his arch-nemesis ransom, and that's a hell of a year if you ask me.

Runners Up: The Joker, Negan, Thragg

X's Favorite Single Issue of 2012: Captain America #2.  Now THIS was probably the toughest category for me to choose...  Until two weeks ago, I thought my pick was a slam dunk no-brainer.  It HAD to be Amazing Spider-Man #692. (That issue was REALLY good...) And then I read Captain America #2...  That comic was pure bliss.  It had everything!  A great story, great art, great dialogue, great characters, a great cliffhanger, everything.  I was captivated by Cap and Ian's journey.  I felt for Cap as he tried to keep his young charge safe.  I pulled for him as he battled all the freaks in Dimension Z.  I WANTED Cap and Ian to survive unscathed   And then Rick Remender ended the comic with a cliffhanger that has me almost pulling my hair out...  Is Ian okay?  Did that creature change it's mind before beheading him?  It had to, right?  Please?!  Needless to say, waiting for issue #3 to drop is like torture for me.  You want to read a fantastic story of survival?  A fantastic story period?  Buy this issue.  It's comics like this one that remind me why I read comics.
Runners Up: Amazing Spider-Man #692, Winter Soldier #5, AvX: Vs #1, Winter Soldier #12.

JT's Favorite Single Issue of 2012: Hawkeye #3
(I REALLY need to go back and re-read this issue...)Much like X, I had a hard time deciding the winner of this issue, this was a huge year for great single issues. Pretty much any of my Runners up could have easily won, with the amazing new origin Snyder gave Mr. Freeze, the debut of Alpha, the swerve in Amazing Spider-Man #698 or the amazing story crafted in Amazing Spider-Man #700, but I had to go with what I think was one of the best crafted, funniest, most enjoyable stories of the year and that was Hawkeye #3. Hawkeye had so many great moments in that issue, whether it was his explanation on why he had a boomerang arrow (Because....boomerangs), seeing him naked with a old-school Hawkeye face covering his bow, the many great lines Kate had in that issue, the way the boomerang arrow joke "came back" at the end, all in all this comic was perfect in every sense of the word.

Runners Up: Amazing Spider-Man #692, Amazing Spider-Man #698, Amazing Spider-Man #700(wow, somebody liked him some Spidey books this year!), Batman Annual #1,

X's Worst Cancellation News: Avengers Academy.  Avengers Academy was my Favorite Ongoing Series of 2011.  It gave me my Favorite Writer of 2011.  Not only that, it was great through 2012 as well.  And then Marvel Now! happened.  Marvel decided that instead of relaunching this series under the Marvel Now! banner, they'd just cancel and replace it.  Okay, that's too bad.  I love Gage's writing, but maybe the replacement series will be good, right?  Wrong.  As if to add insult to injury for us Avengers Academy fans, we get Avengers Arena, a series that is focused on KILLING the characters we loved from Avengers Academy as well as other series).  Oh, and the main villain of the book?  Arcade.  Man does Avengers Arena make me long for Avengers Academy...
Runners Up: New Mutants, Grifter. (GRIFTER?! You poor poor fool.)

JT's Worst Cancellation News: Avengers Academy
One of my first few posts on this blog after joining it this year was about five reasons why you should read Avengers Academy, which you can read here,(What a cheap plug...  Shameful!) but the gist of it was that it's something different. It's an amazing cast of characters that you can relate to, it helped make me a fan of Pym and Tigra, and there's a ton of great moments in that series. Time travel, watching characters grow and change, the crossover with the kids from Runaways, Christos Gage wrote an excellent series with new characters and made us fans of them, something that's not easy to do with one character, let alone six, but Gage found a way, so to see this series end was pretty crappy to say the least, but Gage was able to end things on his terms with an excellent story, and regardless of what happens to the Academy Crew in the future, luckily we have the amazing run by Gage, and their appearances in ASM to remember how great Avengers Academy was.

Runners Up: Uncanny X-Men, Justice League International

X's What the HELL?!? Moment of 2012: Danny the Street...  Two words, Scott Lobdell...  So yeah, in Teen Titans there's was a character named Danny the Street.  And get this, he's LITERALLY a STREET!!!  Yeah, I know Danny the Street was around in the pre-New 52 DCU. (I was blissfully unaware of that.) And yes, I know that Grant Morrison created him... um, her... um, it?  But really, was anybody out there clamoring for Danny the Street to make it's New 52 debut?! Isn't this the kind of thing people should be forgetting, not bringing back!  Can you imagine trying to explain this to non-comic fans?  Hell, forget that, even explaining Danny the Street to comic fans is difficult!  "Well, he's a sentient teenage street who helps people..."  Why?  What purpose does Danny the Street serve?!  And how the HELL can a street be a teenager?!?!?  How does THAT even work?!  Does it age? (Baby = Sidewalk, Teen = Street, Adult = Highway, Senior = Dirt Road?) Can it celebrate birthdays?!  Ugh...  Let's just say Danny the Street is a true What the HELL?!? Moment and move on...
Runners Up: Jason Todd goes on a date... In space!, Talon: "Batman, I am the brother you forgot you had!!", Joker, the original creator of Jason Todd...
danny the street
They're mourning A STREET!!! (The best part is he got upgraded to an Alley... maybe he knows Crime Alley?)

JT's What the HELL?!? Moment of 2012: Joker tells Jason... I AM YOUR FATHER
The Joker, purposely made ruined Jason's life and family to make him get taken in by Bruce Wayne and become Robin, so he could kill him and make Batman sad, because The Joker was bored... Fuck you Scott Lobdell(HA!!  I couldn't have said it better myself!).
Runners Up: Deadpool sets himself on fire after losing his healing factor, Danny The Street, Jason's Space Date, Superman/Wonder Woman kissing makes Booster Gold disappear

X's Biggest Shock Moment of 2012: Doc Ock is Spider-Man.  Now this?  I did NOT see this one coming...  For years Dr. Octopus had been a b-list character.  He'd pop up every now and then, stick around for a few issues, but he always, ALWAYS lost.  However, about two years ago Dan Slott, Matt Fraction and others did the impossible...  They made Doc Ock into a threat!  He was matching wits with Tony Stark.  And winning!  He nearly destroyed the world!  He menaced Spider-Man more than ever before!  In short, he became a somebody.  And then Slott upped the ante.  Ock wound up pulling off his greatest victory of all... He managed to swap his mind with the mind of Peter Parker.  Yes, Dr. Octopus had become Spider-Man.  While Peter was trapped in Ock's rapidly failing body, Ock was cozying up with Mary Jane!  And if that wasn't bad enough, Ock managed to stymie Peter at every turn when Peter made a final, last ditch effort at returning to his body.  In the end though, the joke was on Ock, for as Peter Parker died in Ock's body, the two relived all of Peter's memories and Ock decided to reform and become a better Spider-Man than Peter had been.  How will this work out?  We'll find out in 2013 between the pages of Superior Spider-Man.
Runners Up: Negan kills Glenn, Cyclops kills Professor Xavier.

JT's Biggest Shock Moment of 2012: The Superior Spider-Man
Superior Spider-Man is Doctor Octopus. No one saw that coming, literally no one. Anyone who says they DID is a liar. Prior to #698 when they announced Superior Spider-Man wouldn't be Peter Parker, X and I discussed many people it could be. Alpha? Kaine? Ben Reilly? Harry Osborn? Peter with a new name?(That was actually what I thought they were gonna do) Turns out it was a new name with Peter, as Doctor Octopus became the new Spider-Man in what has to be the shocking moment of 2012. Doctor Octopus is the Superior Spider-Man, or at least he claims to be, only time will tell if he's a nominee for Hero or Villain of the year come this time next year.

Runners Up: Batman has a Brother?! Negan kills Glenn, Cyclops kills Xavier, Miles Morales is in the 616 Universe?

X's Jason Todd Award(Most Underutilized Character): The Non-Existent Wally West.  Yeah, that's right, I'm STILL pissed off about the disgusting way DC has treated Wally West. (And rightfully so!)  A character who(prior to Final Crisis) had been the Flash LONGER than Barry Allen!!!  That's right, he was the Flash for a longer period of time than Barry was!  Add his run as Kid Flash, and this is a character who has been around for as long as most of the characters roaming the DCU!  And yet what happens to him?  Clueless Dan Didio and Fanboy Geoff Johns decide that since THEY like Barry more, Wally, his family, all of the stories he had been in, all no longer exist.  In a nutshell, if you were to ask me what bothers me the most about DC and why I'm not nearly the DC fan I was just a scant two years ago, I would simply point to the treatment of Wally West. A character that deserved so much more than he's getting.
Runners Up: Black Widow, Bart Allen.
wally west
I still remember you, Wally!!! (Kyle could make anything...why just a banner they could have bought?)

JT's Jason Todd Award (Most Underutilized Character): Stephanie Brown
Stephanie Brown. Thanks to Bryan Q. Miller run of Batgirl, Stephanie became the best Batgirl in a lot of fans eyes, mine included, and two years later, she's nowhere to be found. The worst part is that fans have clamored for her return, even as Spoiler, and we've gotten nothing. She's a fun character, one of the few Bat-Family members that has been through as much drama as Jason and instead of being somber she's happy, she's funny, she's the light and joy of the Bat-Family, especially when Nightwing has been darker than ever since the New 52 started, and since Didio seems to want to make sure we don't see Stephanie in anything, even in the Smallville comic that doesn't take place in the main DCU, making Miller replace her with Babs Gordon, there's a good chance she may sadly repeat in this category next year (This is actually reason #723,890 as to why Dan Didio sucks.).

Runners Up: Eddie Brock, She Hulk, Wally West, Booster Gold,

X's Best Moment of 2012: The Rebirth of Mutantkind.  I grew up on the X-Men.  By far, they were my favorite comic book franchise.  Back in the day, every issue, be it X-Men, New X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, or hell, even a book like Xtreme X-Men had the possibility of being great or of introducing a great new mutant character.  A character that could possibly resonate with the fans and take off, ala Wolverine.  And then Marvel destroyed all of that at the end of House of M.  "No More Mutants" did more than decimate the mutant population, it decimated the X-books!  There were no more new mutants...  No more new X-Men.  No more New Mutants.  No more new villains   Instead, what we got was a resolving door of Sentinels, William Stryker and bigots.  Over and over and over again.  As a result, I started to slowly drift away from the X-family of books because, for me at least, they had become monotonous and boring.  That's why I was overjoyed with the end of AvX!  Finally we would be getting new mutant characters!  New heroes!  New villains!  New everything!  Now, for the first time in YEARS, I actually look forward to opening an X-Men comic!  It took a hell of a lot longer than it should have, but the important thing is that Marvel finally put things back the way they need to be!
Runners Up: Hawkeye not only getting a series, but a series that is selling well!, Marvel Now! not making the same mistakes(Destroying continuity!) the New 52 made, The Avengers movie breaking box office records.

JT's Best Moment of 2012: The Avengers Movie
Goddamn that movie was amazing. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark is always amazing, but you put him with Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, Sam Jackson as Nick Fury, Agent Coulson, and Loki and you have a masterpiece. That movie had action, tons of fighting, a great story, and a bunch of laughs, but the best thing about it? No one was overshadowed. Hawkeye and Widow weren't made to look weak because they didn't have powers, Thor didn't dominate whoever he fought just because he's a God (That Iron Man/Thor fight was SWEET!!), and The Hulk was better here in any of the last few movies he's had. This was the perfect movie for comic fans and casual fans, and it showed that when done correctly a comic movie doesn't have to be "a great comic movie", it can just be a "great movie", and that's what The Avengers is.
Runners Up: Hawkeye gets a series, Indestructible Hulk's premise, Layman takes over Detective Comics, Flag Football at Avengers Academy

X's Worst Moment of 2012: Scott Lobdell still writing 4 of my 5 favorite DC characters...  I can't stress enough how awful a job Scott Lobdell has done on Teen Titans and Red Hood and the Outlaws...  Those are two of the books I was most looking forward to with the New 52.  Now, they are two of the books I dread buying the most.  And thanks to my stubborn loyalty to Jason Todd, Roy Harper, Tim Drake and Bart Allen, I'll keep picking those books up...  If there's a silver lining it's this; Lobdell seems to have left Superboy, and Tom DeFalco has done a pretty good job with that series.  With Lobdell getting to write Superman(Why, DC?!?), maybe, just maybe, he'll leave either(or both!) Red Hood or Teen Titans...  I can only hope...(I'm hoping with you!)
Runners Up: Joker single-handedly murdering most of the Gotham City Police Department...  With his bare hands!!!, Ed Brubaker leaving Captain America and Winter Soldier, replacing Avengers Academy with Avengers Arena.

JT's Worst Moment of 2012: Rick Remender leaving Venom
Rick Remender's run on Venom was nothing short of fantastic. He took a character we all knew, Flash Thompson, former bully turned handicapped war hero and gave him the Venom Symbiote, the thing most of us think of when thinking of Eddie Brock, and he did what I thought no one could ever do. He made me like Flash as Venom more than Eddie. Flash was relatable, he wanted to do better and he was willing to use his powers to do so, he even convinced the symbiote to work with him, and while most writers would've drawn out the dissension between Flash and the symbiote for multiple arcs, Remender looked into other things, like Flash's relationship with his father, his girlfriend Betty Brant, and even gave him his own Rogues Gallery (Like the awesome Jack O' Lantern!), including none other than Eddie Brock. Remender's writing of Flash was probably the best character development since Bryan Miller wrote Stephanie Brown. And while Remender left Venom with a hell of a lot of potential, things didn't work out well with Bunn's writing for me and I've dropped Venom (And I'm only still hanging on to this series by a thread...), which I guarantee would not be the case if Remender was still writing our symbiotic superhero. 

Runners Up: Lobdell on Red Hood and Teen Titans, Mark Grayson is bad in bed without his powers, Avengers Academy existing, The ending of Deadpool kills The Marvel Universe(Ugh...  Please don't remind me of THAT...)

X's Character to Watch in 2013: Kate Bishop.  This was a tough category for me.  I went back and forth a few times, but in the end, I went with Hawkeye. (Clint Barton?) No, not Clint Barton, the other Hawkeye, Kate Bishop! (Ohhhhhh!) Kate is currently co-starring in the (extremely) awesome Hawkeye series (my Favorite Series of the Year) and is slated to be a member of the upcoming Young Avengers title (the Marvel Now! book I'm most looking forward to).  So come January, Kate will be appearing in two series, after not being in any prior to the middle part of 2012.  I can easily see Kate making it to the big leagues, probably not in 2013, but sometime in the near future.  Yep, I can see a day where the Avengers line-up features two Hawkeye's. (Hawkguy's...) And let's face it, the more Hawkeye, the better!
Runners Up: Alpha, Loki, Nova.

JT's Character to Watch in 2013: Alpha!(YEAH!!!)
X's pick was Kate Bishop, a great pick if you ask me, but my pick is the former cocky hero known as Alpha. Alpha was given powers by a scientific mishap thanks to none other than Peter Parker, and after only four issues in Amazing Spider-Man, the cocky little jerk that you love to hate is scheduled for a Mini Series in the beginning of 2013 (I'll be getting TWO copies!!). Alpha is an interesting character in the sense that he was what Peter Parker could have become if he didn't have the great responsibility that was thrust upon him after the death of Uncle Ben, and Alpha had his powers diminished greatly by Spider-Man thanks to him using them very recklessly and for all the wrong reasons (Yes, exactly!  He was a realistic, current version of Peter Parker!  He's what most of us would be if we had those powers!  THAT'S the appeal!). But his powers are slowly returning, and with a new Peter Parker to mentor him, only time will tell what's next on Alpha's agenda, but I'm expecting very big things from the newest teen superhero sensation (In closing, Alpha is awesome.  The end.).

Runners Up: Hawkeye, Negan, SHAZAM

Whew, that was A LOT of typing!  I don't know about JT, but I for one am glad this is finally the end of this, the largest post, by far, to ever grace this humble little blog.  Last order of business is for me to make my (not-so) bold prediction for 2013...  And that prediction is......  That 2013 will be a banner year for Marvel Comics.  Riding the momentum of the Avengers movie, as well as Marvel Now! thus far surpassing the New 52 in terms of storytelling and interest, I can see Marvel not only holding on to the top of the sales charts, but I can easily see them taking a huge lead over DC.  Honestly, other than a major stunt(something like returning to the pre-New 52 DCU), I just don't see how DC keeps pace with Marvel in 2013...  Actually, I do see a way for DC to at least try to keep pace with Marvel without blowing up the New 52 and admitting failure...  Give us one comic book set in the pre-New 52 DCU.  A DC Comics Presents sort of comic that focuses on a different character for a storyline.  A Stephanie Brown Batgirl story for issues #1-6, a Wally West Flash tale for #6-12, a Titans story(the Arsenal/Jericho team we almost got) and so on. ( I for one would buy that in a heartbeat.) It's been proven that people WILL buy alternate reality DC comic books, the success of Earth 2 is a testament to that, so why not give us a taste of the pre-New 52 DCU?  It can only help.  Other than something like that?  Marvel dominates the charts running away in 2013.  On the plus side, maybe Dan Didio gets fired if the gap between the two companies becomes too great.  I can only hope...  Now for a rare appearance from nice X!  First off, a huge thanks to my best friend, JT, for foolishly... um, I mean, for smartly deciding to write here at the blog.  He's definitely made blogging as fun as it's ever been.  So thanks JT, I seriously mean that.  You guys may not realize it, but he's truly been the glue that's kept this blog running for the few bumps in the road I've had to deal with in 2012. (Thanks X, I appreciate the kind words and I'm glad I was able to help out my best bud.) While I'm thanking people, I want to thank you guys and gals who take the time out of your busy lives to read the inconsequential nonsense JT and I spout day after day.  Without readers, there's no blog, so thanks for reading.  There, with the mushy stuff out of the way, it's time for me to wrap things up.  JT will finish this post up, but for me?  Until 2013(which isn't that far off, actually), X out!

MAN, this was a long post. I couldn't agree more X, but I did have fun in my first ever year end awards here, and hopefully you guys enjoy reading them as much as me and my hermano X enjoyed typing them up. As for MY 2012 prediction, since X took the obvious route, I'm going to make a bold prediction, in 2013 one of the following three characters will die.... Oliver of Invincible, Andrea of Walking Dead, or Damian Wayne of Batman and Robin. So, a bold prediction by me, I'm interested in seeing if I'm actually right since that's right off the top of my head, but I guess we'll see. In closing, I'd like to say that this year has been insane, in a good way. I was asked to write for this blog by my buddy X, after I got bored of the monotony of my own blog, started out posting arbitrarily, then I actually took over this blog for three months while X took some time off. That in itself is insane to me since I stumbled upon this place a few years ago, and here I was running the joint. This year I also bonded with my pal X even more, thanks to this blog and some personal things he's been dealing with, and I think we've become better friends for it. Also blogging has become fun again, but that's not just due to him, that's due to you guys for reading, commenting, discussing things and just being generally awesome so thanks. I can honestly say that this first year at this blog has been the best time I've had since I started reviewing comics a few years ago. Thanks to you guys for reading, thanks to the writers and artists that work hard for our comic enjoyment that give us such quality books to review, thanks to X for being a great friend, a great partner here at the blog, and the closest thing I have to a big brother, haha. And lastly, I wanna say one final time in 2012, Screw you Scott Lobdell! Thank you and Happy New Year, until next year, this is JT signing off!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Justice League #15

Hey guys and gals, JT here with the last review of 2012 here at the X-Man Comic Blog. I know, weird right? Anyway, this review is gonna be a bit quick so I still have time to finish up the super mega boffo fun-time year end awards that myself and X are working on, so let's jump into this shall we?

Justice League #15

Summary: This issue focused on the U.S.S. Mabus, a hip that lost contact during a routine missile test into a supposedly empty ocean. Vic's dad calls him and asks him and the League to look into things when The Watchtower loses power for some reason. In Gotham, Aquaman helps Batman stop some of the Scarecrow's goons and explains the fish aren't listening to him and are swimming away from the Northeastern seaboard, so something must be wrong. Mera shows up to help Batman and Awuaman, and Bats mentions the U.S.S. Mabus, which Aquaman was unaware of. Meanwhile, Clark and Diana having a dinner date, with him telling her about his secret identity and how he uses the glasses to blend in, then gives Diana a pair and the two blend in well on their date, until a huge wave and an aircraft carrier get washed into Metropolis. Supes and Wondy spring into action, and Superman doesn't notice Lois is in danger, so she's jealous AND almost dies, HA!, when she's saved by Vulko, an Atlantean looking for Aquaman. In Gotham, Batman and Aquaman are waiting as Cyborg says the next wave is headed towards Gotham, causing Aquaman to say that Atlantis is declaring war with the Atlantean War plans, and he knows because he wrote them.
Thoughts: This was a very odd issue for me, I know it served to set things up for Aquaman but it made the League seem very... weak. I mean a giant wave came and it had to kill a ton of people in Metropolis since Superman and Wonder Woman were preoccupied with the carrier. I mean... in one panel WW says there are people in the streets who need their help, the NEXT PAGE, Vulko jumps out of the water with Lois, and Superman and Wonder Woman go talk to Lois... they NEVER GO SAVE THE PEOPLE!!!! But that aside this was basically just a set up issue so I won't judge it too harshly. The back-up with SHAZAM was actually the best part of this it still perplexes me he doesn't have his own series...

Score: 6/10 

Wonder Woman: What is it?
Superman: It's a job for us.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man #700. Part 2!

This is my final review of the week, but not my final post of the week...  No, that will be the MAMMOTH Year End post JT and I are currently putting the finishing touches on.  So the faster I get through this issue, the sooner I can finish up the Year End post.  Let's see what the back-up stories from this comic are all about...

Amazing Spider-Man #700(Final Issue):

Summary: First up, we see the official proclamation making Sunday, October 14th, 2012 Spider-Man Day in New York City.  That's pretty cool, actually.  Next up is a story set in a future written by former Spidey scribe, JM DeMatteis.  The story apparently shows us an elderly Peter Parker(under an assumed name) trying to bond with his pain in the ass great-grandson.  Old Man Pete eventually wins the brat over by regaling him with some Spidey stories from Peter's past.  The punk doesn't necessarily believe his great-grandfather until the old man takes the kid out to do some web-slinging, ending this one.  Next up is a Black Cat story by Jen Van Meter and Stephanie Buscema.  Black Cat and Spidey want to have a romantic evening  but Spidey is called away to battle a giant robot.  The mayor sends the cops after Spidey(?), so Black Cat runs interference and distracts the cops so Spidey can concentrate on the robot.  Black Cat leads the cops on a wild goose chase and gets back home before Spidey, and the two get to have their date.  Next all 700 Spidey covers, followed by an extra, super-long letters page with responses from none other than Stan "The Man" Lee himself!  That's followed by a mess of creative team members talking about the first Spidey comic they read, and that warps this one up.

Thoughts: Amazing Spider-Man #692 this comic was not!  ASM #692 had a fantastic main story(one of my favorite single issues of 2012), and also had a phenomenal back-up.  This issue?  Yeah, not so much...  The two back up stories weren't very good...  Like, at all.  The first one had some nasty fat kid in it, and the second one was a bizarre Black Cat story...  The hell?!  The letters page was cool, as I am now, and will forever be a HUGE fan of Stan Lee, and I enjoyed reading about the creative staff discussing their first Spidey moment.  It's something I'm sure all of us comic fans could do with no problem.  For me, the first Spidey book I ever got my hands on was a back issue, Amazing Spider-Man #356.  It was the middle of a six part story, I had NO idea what the hell was going on, but yeah, I was bit by the Spidey bug from that point onward.  So there's my own Spidey memory.  Besides the letters page, I also enjoyed the cover gallery.  Those are always fun to look through.  But honestly?  For a comic that cost as much as this one did, I'd have hoped for a bit more...  Or hell, at least one good to great back-up story!  For all the back-up stuff, I'd give it a 5 out of 10 for a score.  I gave the main story a 9 out of 10, so if we average those two numbers out, we get the overall score for this entire comic book.  And that score is...

Score: 7 out of 10.
amazing spider-man #700
Okay then...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Avenging Spider-Man #15.1

Hey blog readers, just a warning, this of course includes spoilers to Amazing Spider-Man #700 so if you haven't read that, or X's review of the main story of that issue, please do so first before reading this, now let's get to the review!

Avenging Spider-Man #15.1

Summary: This issue starts the morning after Ock's big win, and he's quite content with himself as he's finally done what no one else could, he's beaten Spider-Man, he's killed Spider-Man, he's won. He basically explains how every time Peter used his tech against him, like controlling his Ock-bots and such, giving Doc Ock access to his mind and how he took his body with the Gold Ock-bot. He also says that in his final battle with Parker he saw what made Peter Parker him, a loving home and desires to do good, and he learned with Great Power comes Great Responsibility, more or less. From there we see Ock creating a new costume, new eye lenses that help show emotion through the mask and things of that nature. We also see him thinking about Mary Jane, and proclaiming that Parker is a fool. While out walking around New York, a criminal runs by after stealing from a store, and Ock says he's sworn to do good but petty theft is beneath him, when he surprises himself and sticks his arm out, clothes-lining the thief. He says it must be instinct, but I think that shows either Peter had an effect on Doc Ock, or Peter's consciousness may still be in there somewhere. After stopping at Horizon Labs, Ock decides to head to one of his many secret bases and come up with some designs and inventions there. He's ambushed by his own security system since they are tailor-made for him, just not him in Spider-Man's body. He's able to overcome his security systems but comes to the realization that no matter how often he ridiculed Spidey or said how much smarter he was than Spidey, Doctor Octopus always lost. He says he has to be better than that, better than what Doctor Octopus was. The issue comes to a close as we see the new Peter suiting up in his newly designed suit, claws and all, he says he's seen himself through Peter's lens now, and Otto Octavius' days of losing are over, as he's now the Superior Spider-Man.
Thoughts: And there you have it, the epilogue to ASM #700 and the Prologue to Superior Spider-Man #1. This issue started odd, it seemed like a step back since he was basically regretful for killing Peter at the end of ASM but he seemed happy he won here. But that was quickly rectified with his "instincts", him stopping that criminal was interesting because he didn't mean to, so clearly something is prompting him to, and that will be something to keep your eyes on. Other than that, most of this issue was just seeing Ock make a new suit and then realize that as good as he thought he was, Peter was better, and now he wants to be better than that, and he certainly has the tools with his mind in Peter's body. Also, Yost continues to surprise me, I wasn't a fan of his work when he worked for DC Comics but he's done an amazing job of making Scarlet Spider one of my favorite series and I'm interested in seeing how he writes Superior Spider-Man as he teams up/fights the X-Men, Captain America, and other Marvel Heroes and Villains, hopefully including Venom and Scarlet Spider. All in all this was a important issue that helped set the tone for a time where we don't have Peter Parker as Spider-Man (you know what I mean) in the 616 Universe or the Ultimate Universe.

Score: 8/10 

Peter: Thank you, fat hippy and bald kid. I will look in on you later.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man #700. Part 1!

And this is the big one!  Both in story and in price...  Damn Marvel...  Anyway, this post will deal with the main story and the insanity that should bring us to Superior Spider-Man #1.  What will happen to Peter?  Who will be Superior Spder-Man?  Will Doc Ock get his ultimate revenge?  That's what we'll be finding out today.  On Saturday I'll review the back-up stories, but right now?  It's Spidey time.

Amazing Spider-Man #700(Final Issue):

Summary: This issue gets underway with Peter Parker(actually Otto Octavius), getting frisky with a surprised Mary Jane.  MJ seems fine with this, but is surprised that "Peter" was wearing the Spidey outfit underneath his clothes.  That angers "Peter" who starts to act more Otto than Peter, which alarms MJ.  Before things progress, "Peter" gets word that Doc Ock(actually the real Peter Parker, mind-switching is SO hard to write about!) had escaped from prison and realizes that he has to do something...  That something?  Catch a plane to Belgium, which would keep "Peter" away from "Ock" long enough for "Ock" to die...  Good plan!  Meanwhile, Trapster manages to get "Ock" up and running, but not before "Ock" nearly croaks.  After a pep talk from(who else!) the spirit of Uncle Ben, "Ock" is ready to fight back and reclaim his body.  His first step is to get that golden octo-bot that originally swapped his mind with Otto's, setting this chain of events into motion.  Back at the airport, "Peter" catches a news report where Mayor Jameson tears Dr. Octopus apart, stating that he was a loser who never accomplished anything.  That makes "Peter" pause and reconsider his initial plan to simply leave until "Ock" died.  Next up we head to the police station, where "Ock" tells his goons(Scorpion, Hydro-Man and Trapster) to hold the cops off while he steals the octo-bot, but makes sure to warn the goons not to harm the cops.  That makes Trapster leery of "Ock"...  "Ock" manages to snag the gold octo-bot, but is confronted by his... um, Peter's... um, his former girlfriend, Carlie.  "Ock" tries to reason with Carlie and tells her about the whole mind-switching thing and tries to explain that he was the real Peter Parker.  Carlie disregards that and figures Doc Ock had figured out who Spidey was so she shoots at him(!), but ends up getting struck with her own bullet when "Ock" makes the bullet ricochet off of his metal arms.  After seeing that Carlie would live, "Ock" collects his men and beats a hasty retreat.  From there, "Spider-Man"(actually Doc Ock in case you were wondering...) collects all of Peter Parker's friends and relatives and stores them together...  Dun dun dun!!!  "Ock" and Trapster begin working on the golden octo-bot, with "Ock" planning on reversing it to return his mind to it's rightful body.  Unfortunately, "Spidey" calls "Ock's" secret base and tells him that a) he had all of Peter Parker's friends and family in one place to keep them safe from him and b) that he had sent the cops to "Ock's" base, since he obviously knew where it was.  Running out of time, "Ock" sends Scorpion and Hydro-Man to deal with the cops while him and Trapster put the finishing touches on the octo-bot.  Before letting Hydro-Man and Scorpion go though, "Ock" once again warns them not to harm any of the police officers  something Trapster notes.  While working on the octo-bot, Trapster manages to figure out that it was a mind-swapping device(which fits SO well, because Trapster IS quite intelligent, something people tend to overlook), and figures that "Ock" was planning on swapping his dying mind with Trapster's body...  Close, but not quite.  With the octo-bot complete, "Ock" glues Trapster to the wall with his own gun and tells Scorpion and Hydro-Man that they were leaving.  The trio head to Avengers Tower, with "Ock" figuring if Trapster could figure out what the golden octo-bot really was, the geniuses on the Avengers(Iron Man, Hank Pym, Beast, etc) would surely know what it was and realize that Doc Ock had stolen Spidey's body.  However, "Spidey" is ahead of "Ock" again, as he's made sure he'd be the only one at Avengers Tower, having sent the Avengers after several octo-robots.  "Spidey" reveals to "Ock" that all of Peter Parker's loved ones were at the Tower before setting off the Tower's defense systems.  "Spidey" makes sure to announce that Mayor Jameson was there, stating exactly where he was, which leads to Hydro-Man and Scorpion rushing off to attack him, with "Spidey" telling "Ock" he'd make sure to save Peter's family and friends...  The Horizon Lab guys manage to take care of Hydro-Man, but have no answer for the enraged Scorpion.  Realizing that Scorpion wanted to kill him, Jameson tells the rest of the people in the room to run while Scorpion took him out.  Wanting to prolong Jameson's torment, Scorpion decides to go after Jameson's father and Aunt May first, which leads to "Spidey" attacking the villain, warning him away from her, much to his own surprise.  Scorpion takes a swipe at "Spidey", which only serves to piss him off, leading to Spidey punching Scorpion so hard that he literally knocks Scorpion's jaw clean off his head(!), much to Jameson's delight...  HA!!  "Ock" is appalled to see his body used in such a brutal manner, and grabs "Spidey" with his metal arms.  "Spidey" responds by shooting impact webbing at Glory Grant, Max Modell and Mary Jane.  Realizing that there was no other way to stop Doc Ock from wreaking terrible havoc with his body, "Ock" flings himself and "Spidey" out the window of the Tower, leading to the two of them free-falling to the pavement below.  "Spidey" manages to create a web-cushion underneath the two, saving them both.  However, "Ock" sends the golden octo-bot free to put his mind back where it belonged.  "Spidey" had planned for that eventuality and had coated his mask with Carbonadium plating!  Huh.  Game, set and match. I'd say...  "Spidey" knocks "Ock" to the ground and prepares to drop a car on him, ending "Ock"s" threat to him once and for all.  Before he can strike the killing blow though, the golden octo-bot begins to beam Peter Parker's memories to both "Spidey" and "Ock's" heads, forcing "Spidey" to live through every moment of Peter Parker's life.  Every success, every failure, everything.  Otto is surprised to see that even after everything he had done, Peter would still save his life because that's who he is, a hero.  And having lived through it all(kind of), Otto doesn't feel he can bear the weight of being such a hero.  A dying Peter tells him that he can, because with great power comes great responsibility, which resonates with Otto.  Otto promises Peter that he would look after all of his friends and would strive to be a worthy Spider-Man.  Upon hearing that, Doc Ock's body gives out and Peter Parker dies...  This issue ends with Otto Octavius declaring that he would use his genius and ambition to be a greater Spider-Man than Peter ever was, a Superior Spider-Man.

Thoughts: Wow, that was a swerve I didn't see coming!  I figured somebody was going to die here, and all of my instincts were telling me that somebody was going to be Jameson.  Well, and Doc Ock, but that goes without saying.  But yeah, I figured Jameson would be the guy to kick the bucket, NOT Peter Parker!!  So what did I think?  I thought this was a fantastic swerve and a strong comic book.  I'm sure Marvel fanboys the world over are slamming their heads into walls and ranting and raving, but honestly, does ANYBODY REALLY think this is the end of Peter Parker?  Come on.  The only real question here is, how long before Peter ends up coming back?  If anything, this is kind of like when Bruce Wayne broke his back and Jean Paul Valley took over as Batman.  I can only imagine how incensed the DC fanboys were back in the day, but we eventually got Bruce Wayne back.  Much like the Batman example, I figure Superior Spider-Man will end up being too brutal and will cross a line or two(as did Jean Paul), which will eventually lead to the Amazing Spider-Man returning to throw the pretender from his throne(as Bruce did).  The only real question is this; how does Peter come back?  There are a few ways if you really think about it...  My way sees Jackal realizing that Superior Spider-Man wasn't HIS Spider-Man, leading to him cloning a new body for Peter and shoving his memories into his skull via the golden octo-bot.  But there are tons of other ways Peter could return...  His brainwaves end up overriding Otto's and he gets his body back, his mind went to a cloned Otto Octavius body as per some forgotten plan Otto had in place, hell, there are dozens of ways a talented writer like Dan Slott can write himself out of this corner.  And anyway, I've seen comic characters come back from way worse than this!  So basically what I'm saying is take a breath, calm down and enjoy the story.  It was good!  Peter actually lost here!  Dr. Octopus got the huge victory!  That's something we haven't seen in what, like 50 years of Spider-Man comic books?  There was so much good here, Jameson's reaction to Otto destroying Scorpion, Otto seemingly reforming, Peter finally getting to rest, and other things I'm not even mentioning.  Hell, I'm super curious to see where things go from here.  What kind of a Spider-Man will Otto Octavius make?  Basically, don't think of this comic as the end of Peter Parker.  It's not.  It's simply the beginning of something new.

Score: 9 out of 10.
amazing spider-man #700
Game over, Peter...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Comic Day! December 26th edition.

We are heading towards the end of the year, which means the 5th annual Untitled X's (and JT's) Year End Awards Post!!!  So huzzah to that.  And hey, it's Wednesday, which means it's time for another edition of New Comic Day, and yes, we have to give a huzzah for that as well!  I am the recently returned X, who needs to thank JT for picking up my slack last week.  I'll probably have one more bad week coming up soon, which means I'll be leaning on JT once more, and then I should be good to go, hopefully for the rest of my life.  But that's still a few weeks away and I have a few things to talk about before then.  First order of business...  JT and I have been discussing things happening here at the blog our past few conversations and have decided to make some small changes to the way things work.  Most of you won't notice anything, so no worries, but after the recent spoiler garbage, it was time to make a slight change...  Secondly, and more importantly, the year end post!  That will be up, posted and ready to go on December 31st at 8PM.  So the same time I post all of my reviews.  JT and I aren't gonna post anything on January 1st, so there's plenty of time to check that out.  I always have a blast typing that post, and with JT here this year, it should be that much better.  Okay, with the housekeeping out of the way, on to this week and the comic books I'll be picking up...  Amazing Spider-Man #700, Avenging Spider-Man #15.1, Deathmatch #1.  And that's it?!?  What the HELL is THAT?!?  Wow...  I'll be reviewing Spidey #700 this week, in two posts.  Thursday I'll take on the main story, and on Saturday I'll tackle the back-up stories.  So Thursday and Saturday are my review days(with Monday being the Year Ender) this week.  Annnnnnd that'll do it.  We've covered a lot here, and I think it's time for JT to put in his two cents for the week.  As for me?  X out!  That's right, X out, MY saying!  Damn that thieving JT!!!

Thanks for that super post X and I'm glad you're feeling better buddy, and I'm glad to help pick up the slack here. Now that the best has been saved for last, it's JT Time. As X said the Fifth Annual unnamed awards are coming up, and I'm excited to be apart of them for the first time ever, so be sure to come check those out on the last day of the year. Since X hit all the major points I'll just jump to my reviews for this week. I plan on picking up Amazing Spider-Man #700, Avenging Spider-Man #15.1, Justice League #15 and Deathmatch #1. My two review days this week are Friday and Sunday, and I'll be reviewing Avenging Spider-Man on Friday and Justice League on Sunday. But that's it for me, I'll be back Friday with my first review of the week, so until next time, JT out! Yes... I'm STILL saying it, do something sucka!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Scarlet Spider #12.1

Hey guys and gals, JT here with my fourth review of the week... I know right? Some kind of Christmas Miracle. Anyway, after the last awesome issue of Scarlet Spider, I couldn't skip reviewing this .1 issue, hell Kaine may be my favorite Spider character besides Amazi...Superi...the guy in New York!

Scarlet Spider #12.1

Summary: This issue centers on Kaine, now having found a nice life in Houston, dealing with his transition from a evil murderer to the Hero of Houston. He soon gets word that someone else has been using his old calling card, the Mark of Kaine, when he would basically grab their face and use his adhesive skin to rip the flesh off of their faces. What's worse is, he finds out via the body of a dead girl that's apparently a slave, as the slave trading is still very active in Houston. Kaine spends days looking for clues on who's behind the slave trade and finally comes across Mark Tomanaga a.k.a. The Mark, the man that killed the fourteen year old slave that Kaine found dead and marked. Kaine tells The Mark he's there to end his business, but The Mark says it's not just his business, and suddenly The Hand (?!) drop down and attack Scarlet Spider. Kaine has a bit of trouble, since unlike Peter, he has no Spider Sense, but manages to take down The Hand. The Mark uses this as his chance to attack, and surprisingly, he takes it to Kaine, but the fight is interrupted by a man in the suit and Bruiser, a giant Juggernaut like man wearing green. Scarlet Spider tries to take him on but only manages to hurt his hand. The man in the suit, known as the Arranger, says he's the Bruiser's handler as well as the Ruler of The Hand, which Kaine doesn't buy. He says he was sent by The Kingpin to deliver a message to The Mark, and The Bruiser swiftly snaps The Mark's neck. The Arranger says The Kingpin will be taking direct control of The Hand's businesses in Houston, and they tell Scarlet Spider to stay out of Kingpin's way, which obviously doesn't go over well with Kaine. The issue ends with Kaine deciding that with Great Power comes the ability to stop people like him, or how he used to be, and that's what he plans on doing,
Thoughts: This was a fun .1 issue. Suprisingly it wasn't just filler, i mean it was but it set up that Kingpin has business in Houston and he will be clashing with Kaine soon. Between him, the Kraven's, and that big galoot from the first issue that kidnapped Aracely way back then, Kaine is getting an interesting Rogue's gallery. I also liked how Kaine is still curious on how his friends will view him if they learn about his past, that will be an interesting road to go down if he ever tells them the kind of guy he used to be. All in all this was a nice .1 issue that had more character development and set up some stories, instead of just focusing on building for another series, like a few .1's have done in recent years.

Score: 8/10 

Scarlet Spider: With great power also comes the ability to rain down hell on those who prey on the weak, people who couldn't fight the monsters.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hawkeye #6

Hey Todd Squad, JT with my third review of the week, everyone's favorite archer (especially since DC took Ollie and gave us a generic, boring, wanna-be Clint Barton) Hawkeye! Hawkeye's been amazing lately so enough of this intro, let's get to the review!

Hawkeye #6

Summary: This issue time jumps around a bit, so if ya read it, make sure you pay attention or you'll be confused. The gist of the story Clint needs to get the cable fixed, because the Dish is malfunctioning for a tenant due to an arrow being in it, thanks to Clint, and her kids want to watch some annual Christmas special. The cable guy refuses to fix it because it's on a fire escape, it's snowing, and he's fat, outta shape and lazy...his words, not mine. Also Clint is confronted by the "Bro's" from a few issues back, and they're pissed at Clint for buying the building he lives in, getting the boss' wife out of town, and other Broski type reasons of enragement, so they jump Clint, take him to an abandoned building, telling him he has 24 hours to get out of town or they'll kill everyone in his building. Clint decides to leave, and has a bow sent to Kate by one of his tenants that happens to be a bike messenger. Before he can leave town, Kate comes to him and tells him he needs to stop trying to leave, he's a hero and he needs to act like it. Clint takes her advice and takes the Bro's on, which we don't see, but he clearly won since he is still there later, allowing the Tenant and her kids to watch the holiday specials with him, as the issue comes to a close.
Thoughts: This was a filler issue, and a holiday issue. Yet, it was still really good. I laughed a lot throughout this issue, the scenes with Stark, the "Hawkguy" scene, and the Bro's... just them saying "Bro" and "Futz" cracks me up. But this was also a great issue because it showed how vital Kate is to Clint, who was willing to pack up to keep everyone safe, but was willing to fight to maintain their safety, thanks to a few words from Kate. All in all, this was an issue you can miss, but if you did pick it up, you're guaranteed to enjoy it.

Score: 8.5/10 

Tenant: Don't gotta pretend you ain't Hawkguy 'round us, Hawkguy.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #18

Hey blog fans, JT here for day numero dos of X-Man's Comic Blog, starring JT! Today's review is the latest issue of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. After the last issue Miles was left along in a desert, trying to make his way back home. Same thing happened to Aquaman a year ago, anyway, let's get to it shall we?

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #18

Summary: In this issue, Miles wanders the desert until he runs into Giant Woman, who proceeds to lay the smackdown on him. Miles, not wanting to hit a girl since he knows his mom wouldn't like it, eventually decides he has no choice and lays out Giant Woman. Miles, a teenage boy, lands on the stomach of a knocked out giant woman, and before things can get weird (teenage boy, giant woman, very close to... her upper mountains), Spider-Woman shows up with a few army guys and they save Miles, as Spider-Woman is proud of him, hailing him as the guy that saved President Captain America, which he did in the last issue and has now become big news, She takes him back to the city, telling him he needs more training but she's proud of him, and he should go home to his family, and she says she's very jealous that he has the chance to do that. Miles asks about her, and she says she promises to tell him some day, but not today. Back with Miles' parents, his dad tells his wife what happened with S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA, and how HYDRA murdered the SHIELD agents in front of him then gave him a gun and offered him a spot. Apparently, Jefferson then killed the HYDRA agents, and since people saw, he ran home, so now he's afraid he may have ruined his families lives. Miles' mom is shocked, but still curious where Miles is, so they head to Ganke's house and ask him. Before Ganke can answer, Miles shows up, saying he was held by SHIELD at location until they deemed it safe enough for him to leave. Miles mom hugs him and Miles asks his dad if he's okay. Miles' mother says he's had a big day, and he fought some terrorists. Miles says how cool that is, as Jefferson looks worried and the issue ends.
Thoughts: This was a interesting issue. It was cool seeing Miles fight Giant Woman, and I laughed at his comments on him finding I kind of got to fight a giant woman, as well as him staring at her breasts when he knocked her out... I mean he's a teenager, what teenage boy WOULDN'T have done that?! The stuff with Miles' dad is weird though, it has to go somewhere, I'd imagine maybe he's lying and he did join HYDRA? Either way, I'm slightly interested now. I do like the relation between Miles and Jessica Drew, and now that she's not standing over him saying how inept he is over and over, I'm looking forward to seeing how she takes over as his mentor.

Score: 7.5/10 

Giant Woman: I think it's Spider-Man. He's not what you think he'd be at all...
Miles (thinking): Whatever, racist. Or she's talking about that I'm a kid.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

All New X-Men #4

Hola comic readers, JT here with the first review of the week, and it's All New X-Men! With Cyclops and Magneto coming face to face with the Original Five, how will he react? How will they react? Let's find out right now!
All New X-Men #4

Summary: This issues starts where we left off, with the Original Five confronting Magneto and Cyclops. Cyclops of course thinks they must be clones or some kind of mind trick, but eventually confirms it's the real Original Five. Jean's psychic abilities kick in and she breaks down, after hearing Present Scott's thoughts about her, and how beautiful she is. She blasts Cyclops away, and knocks off his visor, which causes his new, erratic Optic Blasts to shoot wildly. Past Cyclops blasts Current Cyclops and their optic blasts explode, knocking one another back. The Original Five attack but Magneto has Magik pull them out via portal. The New Mutant that Scott and Magneto came to recruit is left confused after the impromptu fight, as someone films him, saying he's gonna be rock star famous now. Back at Weapon X, the two New Mutants talk about their powers and they agree to become new best friends... maybe a romance will stem from that? Anyway, Cyclops, Magik and Magneto show up, and Scott storms off immediately. Emma and Magik ask Magneto what happened, and Magneto says the Original X-Men showed up, and asks Emma if she had anything to do with it. Emma asks if he's going crazy again. Magik asks if they got the new mutant and Magneto storms off, leaving Magik to take that as a no. Back with the O5, Jean regains consciousness but is quickly overwhelmed by hearing everyone's thoughts. She manages to control her powers long enough for the gang to discuss what to do next, and Hank wants to head back to the Jean Grey school and check on his future self. Outside of Weapon X, Emma approaches Scott, telling him she had nothing to do with this, but who has the means and wherewithal to bring them back from the past to see him? Cyclops answers "Hank McCoy", but wonders why he would do this to him. Emma says because Cyclops killed Charles Xavier and this is Hank's way of punishing him. Back at the Jean Grey school, Wolverine and Storm argue over going after the O5, but they then show up and Hank tells them he needs to see his future self, he has an idea on how to help, and also demands the files from his second transformation. Beast wakes up in time to see Hank trying to help, but the issue comes to a close as Beast starts to go into cardiac arrest.

Thoughts: FINALLY! We got to see Cyclops run into the Original Five, AND he had Magneto with him! I loved all of this, Cyclops thinking it was a telepath or a shifter messing with him, then being entranced by Jean, and her being basically disgusted at the sight of him. I also loved the fact that both her and Magneto suspected Emma may be involved, but the best thing was Emma's pure disdain at Jean Grey being back, Emma is quickly becoming my favorite character of this series. I'm also curious as to if past Scott picked up how out of control present Scott is with his powers and if anything will come of that. All in all, this was another strong issue, we got the first confrontation, we got some info on the New Mutants, and a cliffhanger with Beast that I doubt will amount to anything in the next issue.

Score: 9/10 

Emma Frost: Jean Grey. That's all I need.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Comic Day! December 19th edition

Hey guys and gals, JT here with this week's New Comic Day post! Before we jump into it, just wanna let you guys know that the blog is my hands this weeks. Without getting into specifics, X is having some health problems, so while he tries to heal up and feel better, I told him I'd take over and give him the week off. So, that said, get well soon amigo! Now with that taken care of, let's check out my comic haul for the week, shall we? I picked up Idolized #4, Green Lantern #15, Nightwing #15 (only for Death of the Family!) Red Hood and the Outlaws #15 (See Nightwing), Saga #8, All New X-Men #4, Avengers Arena #2, Hawkeye #6, Scarlet Spider #12.1, Thor: God of Thunder #3, Thunderbolts 2, and Ultimate Spider-Man #18. Wooooo! That's a total of 12 comics for me, and if ya think THAT'S bad, X said he has 24 this week... Well, let's see, I'm not gonna promise a review everyday, but I will promise at least three, anything more than that is a bonus! I will review All New X-Men #4, Ultimate Spider-Man #18 and Hawkeye #6, if I do more, those may be abridged reviews but I doubt you guys mind. So, expect those reviews starting Thursday, until then, this is JT, signi...nah, screw that, since he's gone this week, I'm stealing it. JT out!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Walking Dead #105

Last review for ol' X this week, and it's the always good Walking Dead.  Let's get to it.

Walking Dead #105

Summary: So last issue Carl killed a bunch of Saviors but ended up getting captured by an amused Negan, who thought the whole, killing a whole shit-ton of his men thing was a bad-ass move on Carl's part.  With that, Negan takes Carl around the Savior's encampment and shows him the sights and sounds.  He makes Carl take the bandaging off his face and is horrified to see what was underneath, and then makes Carl sing a song to him and Lucille...  His baseball bat.  Also important to note is that Negan's baseball bat does not have female genitalia   Anywho, Carl gets to meet all of Negan's wives and sees what happens to Negan's wives when they cheat on him, the man they cheated with ends up getting half his face melted with an iron.  And that's the gist of this one, as it ends with Negan trying to figure out what to do with Carl.

Thoughts: Yes, Negan is a monumental psychotic asshole.  That's the main thing we learn from this issue.  We also see what was under Carl's bandaging for the first time since he was shot and it is a gruesome sight.  I have to say, I really don't give Charlie Adlard enough credit for the work he does on this comic.  So I think I will now.  He does a great job with the art on this comic.  There, done.  This was a TOUGH issue to score, actually...  I'm sure I mentioned the way I score a comic book before, but I'll get into it again.  Usually when I read a comic, once I close the back cover I'll have a score in mind.  I'll usually think on the number for about a minute, adjust it up or down a 1/2 point or so, and presto, instant score.  After I closed this issue up, no number was forthcoming...  Which is very unusual...  Even now, as I write the final words of this post, I'm STILL not sure what to do score-wise with this issue...  It was a good comic, it furthered the story, or at least furthered Negan as crazy and kind of softened Carl's character a bit, so I guess it was more about character development than story...  Actually, this issue actually reminded me(us?) that Carl IS still just a kid.  That was really nice to see and is something that I know I oftentimes forget.  And the art was solid as always...  Huh...  Um, for a score let's go with a...

Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.
walking dead #105
Man is Negan's death going to be satisfying as hell...  I really hope it's drawn out and gruesome myself.