We’re rolling along with our annual awards, this time celebrating the best comic book arc of 2012. What startling revelations, bloody brawl or slow building horror is going to take it? I know but I have to burn through a bunch of words in order to tell you.
The Gateway to the Best – Saluting exemplary examples of arc based storytelling.
Rick Remender’s sprawling epic of violence, consequences, revenge and redemption concludes in a bloody fashion as the team goes up against a reformed Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and faces the long coming consequences of The Apocalypse Solution. It’s not perfect but it’s a book that always felt like it was building to this moment.
Batwoman struggled through the confusing tangled mess of its second arc, To Drown the World, but it came back with a vengeance. As the DEO pressures Kate Kane to track down the leader of the terrorist organization Medusa, she pairs up with Wonder Woman and goes monster hunting while Gotham is under siege from a mutated occultist Killer Croc, Bloody Mary and an army of mind controlled cultists. It’s a book that retains it’s trippy, fragmented, experimental sense of wonder but meshes it with legends, violence and the creeping dread of that which should not be.
Since Blackest Night, Black Hand has solidified himself as one of the most dangerous men in the universe. After killing himself on the Indigo home world, he’s resurrected by a black ring and back to his old ways. Hal and Sinestro’s battle with the villain in the last few issues of the arc show the characters at their best, working together, making sacrifices and proving their devotion to the Corps, even when it’s turning its back on them.
Batman’s greatest strength has been Gotham. It’s a city he knows, one he understands and one he can control. So when an ancient, secret organization rises up and strikes Bruce where it hurts, things are going to get rough. It’s a great story-line, despite some less than exciting crossovers, with an incredible denouement which changes everything about Bruce’s knowledge of the city he saves.
The most brilliant minds are capable of the most monstrous things in Jonathan Hickman’s strange tale of science, power and the Cold War. As Oppenheimer, Von Braun, Einstein and Feynman create a computerized FDR to control the United States’ future while the crazed Free Mason, Henry Truman, runs the puppet government, the Manhattan Projects expands into the stars. The first arc succinctly shows the cost men are willing to pay for power and draws parallels with the American atomic threat in the post WWII world in a way that’s horrifying, gleefully violent and occasionally, sadly, necessary.
Next Up: The world ends, reality TV rules, two classic robots team up, the dead return and much, much more as the best miniseries or one-shot is chosen.