Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Best of 2012 - Characters

How about one more Best of 2012 list? Today we take a look at the best characters from 2012. Heroes, villains, teams, it's all here. So hit the jump to see who wins this round!

Best Hero

Taylor - Batman

I know, how obvious can you get, but based on the quality of the comics alone Batman has had a stellar year. True, with the amount of Bat comics on the stands the odds are there should be a few gems in there but what gems they are. Both Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Batman and Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham's Batman Inc are a joy to read week in, week out. Adding to this, Chew scribe John Layman has been gaining a lot of early buzz on Detective Comics. As long as we don't talk about The Dark Knight we should all be ok.

Ryan - Psylocke

Travel back in time and tell me I'd ever be here and I'd be extremely shocked. I never disliked the character of Psylocke but I also never knew I could care this much. Uncanny X-Force was her book, from the very start. This year saw Betsy Braddock get into some crazy situations and really need to make some very hard decisions. She was bold and strong and quite simply perfect. I wish I could go through her journey again because it's over now.

Grant - Hawkeye

Whodathunkit?  Joss Whedon worked real hard to make Hawkeye a force to be reckoned with in The Avengers film this summer, and then Marvel followed that up with one of the best ongoing series of the year. Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth have been telling some amazing stories with Clint Barton, and while I never expected to type these words, they've made me into a pretty big Hawkguy fan.

Ken - Franklin Richards

It should only make sense that the son of the First Family of superheroes would get his moment to shine, and this was certainly his year (or rather his future self's time). Stopping the destruction of Earth, putting things on the right path, and even having a pet Galactus, Franklin did all he could to make the universe a better place, and the universe after this one, and the next.... It's a testament to how well Reed and Sue raised him, even Superman would be proud. 

Best Villain

Taylor - Cyclops

Or should that be worst villain? Whether or not the final execution of Scott Summers final decent into villainy was perfect or not, his slow decent into madness was handled incredibly well by Marvel. The tell tale signs of his psyche shattering were seen as early as the Dark Avengers/X-Men Utopia crossover and by the time AvX rolled around, the final turn was believable and heart wrenching. It's just sad it won't last.

Ken - Captain America

Following Taylor's choice, Captain America sure acted like a bad guy for the past 6 months, yet Marvel acts like he did nothing wrong. He arrives on Utopia and demands capitulation by the X-Men, and when he doesn't get custody of Hope he has the Avengers attack. Instead of uniting he divides, simply because he wants to be the one calling the shots. After the Phoenix Five show they are changing the world for the better, he continues to attack Utopia to kidnap Hope, to the point where his actions force the X-Men to attack the Avengers. When Namor went bad, Cap blamed Cyclops, not his fellow Avenger. It was the Avengers finally attacking Cyclops that made him kill Xavier and turn into the Dark Phoenix. Everything wrong with Avengers vs. X-Men originated from how Marvel allowed Captain America to be written. And in a way that shows true villainy, Cap was able to deceive everyone with the Avengers and blindly follow him.

Ryan - Negan

The Walking Dead has suffered recently in the book because it constantly feels like its only one beat per issue. But while this is frustrating, the injection of a new villain, Negan, has certainly livened things up. This crass motor mouth is infectiously magnetic to read and while he might feel like a caricature, there's no doubting he makes the landscape of the title feel strange and new and exciting. This guy looks like he will become as iconic as the Governor for some of the same, and some very different, reasons.

Grant - Prince Robot IV

There's so much to like when it comes to Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' Saga, and Prince Robot IV is at the top of my personal list.  Even just visually the character is one of the best of the year.  The way images appear on his face (screen?), consciously or no, is one of the coolest parts of the character.  He's maybe not inherently evil, but when you consider how tired and fed-up with the war he is, I don't imagine he's going to be a welcome sight when he finally catches up to Alana, Marko, and Hazel.

Best Supporting Character

Taylor - Quentin Quire

Rude, crude, and utterly fantastic, Quentin Quire was thankfully revived from obscurity by Jason Aaron to be the breakout star of Wolverine and the X-Men. Seemingly battling with staying on the side of the angels, Quire is the perfect antihero for the social network generation.

Ryan - The Will

This bounty hunter from Saga is just built to be awesome. It feels like BKV is striving to make him the Han Solo of the book and I'm fine with that. The Will doesn't care about anything, expect what's right. He goes to Sextillion and frees a sex worker, he mourns the loss of his spidery bounty hunter ex, and he has a cat that knows when you are lying. He eats cereal in his space ship. Most importantly, he owns every page he is on, and I desperately want more of him. That's how you know your supporting character is great. P

Grant - Maggie Sawyer

When I first encountered Maggie Sawyer however many years ago in the pages of Gotham Central, I never imagined that she would evolve into such a complex and engaging character, but the fact of the matter is that she is one of my favourite characters in comics.  Her and Kate Kane are the best couple in all of comics.  Full stop.  Things aren't always perfect between the two - in fact, they're usually pretty rocky - but no matter how strained things get between them, you can tell that they really care for each other.  There's an honesty and truth to their relationship that you just don't see that often in comics books and it warms the cockles of the heart.  Oh, and you know, she's also a badass, capable, and dedicated police officer with the GCPD, which is also pretty cool.  But she's mostly here due to the cockle warming.

Ken - Aracely

Aracely being the best supporting character works simply because she has to overcome a lot of character killing mines in the development landscape. She just showed up out of nowhere and would sometimes be a magic know-it-all similar to how Layla Miller was in the beginning of X-Factor. Where this changes is that her time on page is limited, and information is slowly trickled out issue by issue until we get a general sense of what she can do. It was a mystery that was mostly resolved within the first year of her existing, and because of that Aracely doesn't have the baggage of being an annoying sidekick. Now she's just the humorous psychic.

Best Team

Taylor - Uncanny X-Force

A team entirely comprised of 'grim and gritty' heroes on paper should be a recipe for disaster. Thankfully Marvel got maybe the only writer who could pull off such a feat in Rick Remender and let him tell a story free from crossovers. What followed was some of the best comics seen from the X corner of the House of Ideas in quite some time. Hopefully Sam Humphries and Ron Garney can help the title go from strength to strength in 2013.

Ryan - The crew of the Kapital

The men and women working for Ninth Wave in Brian Wood's The Massive are an eclectic crew. They hail from different parts of the globe and their views on what to do in a post-environmentally destroyed world are vastly different. They each serve a purpose, to the mission and the narrative, and it's nice to have a bunch of regular people become so entrancing.

Grant - Frank Castle and Rachel Cole-Alves

Greg Rucka's Punisher was off the hook this year, and Frank taking in former marine Rachel Cole-Alves as his new partner was a big piece of that.  While Rucka's Punisher is a pretty taciturn guy, his interactions with Rachel shed a new light on the character, and Rachel's personal arc has been a fascinating thing to behold.  These two have laid some pretty intense waste and destruction on the scum of New York City, and with a few issues of Punisher: War Zone to go, it looks like they might not yet be done.

Ken - The Manhattan Projects

A bunch of scientists with incredibly checkered pasts, led by a general who cares about nothing but pushing humanity forward, and joined with their soviet counterparts, this is a situation that is going to blow up in everyone's faces, but for the present they sure are kicking butt, from the Japanese Empire to evil aliens.

Check in tomorrow for our best COMICS! of 2012, which includes things like the best moments and fights and just in general best uses of the medium.

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