2013 is winding down, and with that, it's time to take a look back at thenerd year that was. While not the slam bang that 2012 was, there was still plenty of cool moments and nerd things in 2013. Here's a few of my favorites.
THE SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN
I'll be the first to admit it: I didn't think this series would work. Swapping Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man's brains? Killing Peter Parker? As a life-long Spidey fan, there's NO WAY I would like this series.
But I do. I really, really do.Superior Spider-Man has delivered one of the best, most thrilling long-form plotted comics of the year. Thanks to writer Dan Slott, Superior deftly handles multiple plots while keeping the reader guessing with Otto's mindset: is he truly trying to be a hero, or has he been a villain for so long that he can't do anything other than being one? Add in some of the best artists in Marvel's roster, like Humberto Ramos, Ryan Stegman, and Guisseppe Camuncolli, and you have the makings of a killer title.
The CW's hit series focusing on Oliver Queen continues to get better and better. Halfway through their second season, Arrow has started to embrace more elements of the DC comic book universe, from Black Canary to name-dropping Ra's Al Ghul. But the show is more than fanboy bait. It's become one of the bestaction-dramas on network TV, with amazingly solid fight scenes, greatly improved acting, and incredible plot developments that keep you coming back for more.
Speaking of Oliver Queen, the emerald archer's comic book series hasn't been too shabby either. In fact, one could say that Jeff Lemire succeeded in completely fixing the quality of the series. Teamed with I, Vampire artist Andrea Sorrentino, Lemire has taken Oliver Queen's book from just another superhero comic and turned it into a sprawling, Indiana Jones-esque adventure book. By adding to the mystery of the island that Queen learned to survive on, Lemire has crafted a way to keep longtime GA fans interested, but also intrigue new readers coming in from watching Arrow.
SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN
Superior Foes of Spider-Man is the best comic that you're not reading. Playing like a villain version of Matt Fraction's Hawkeye, the series follows the newest version of the Sinister Six which consists of the five villains Shocker, Boomerang, The Beetle, Speed Demon, and Overdrive. Nick Spencer's script has made me laugh out loud frequently, which is a near impossibility for me. Foes is a blast to read, and needs to be a bigger hit than it is right now.MAN OF STEEL
Yeah, I said it. I liked Man of Steel,
Fox's Sleepy Hollow is insane. Any show featuring a resurrected Ichabod Crane in modern times teaming up with a cop to hunt down a machine gun toting Headless Horseman would have to be, but I never thought for a second that this insanity would be THIS GOOD.Sleepy Hollow wears it's insane, borderline idiotic premise like a badge of honor, and rewards us with some of the coolest monster designs and out-there conspiracy theories since The X-Files. Tom Mison is extremely entertaining as Ichabod Crane (who's taking missing out on 250 years extremely well), and his chemistry with Nicole Beharie's Lt. Abbie Mills makes the show.It's a stretch, but if a show like Once Upon A Time can be into its third season, there's no reason why Sleepy Hollow can't make it as long.
One of my most anticipated books of the year, The Wake has far exceeded any expectations I originally had. Scott Snyder's script has a familiar Alien meets the ocean vibe, in which a group of marine scientists discover a strange mermaid creature that is far deadlier than it sounds. Sean Murphy's stellar art adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere that permeates through the pages. By the recently released fifth issue, the book takes such a drastic change in the narrative that I'm both stunned and eagerly anticipating the next installment to see where it goes.
THE LEGEND OF LUTHER STRODE
The sequel to The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, the Justin Jordan/Tradd Moore violent masterpiece is easily the bloodiest comic I've read this year. It's also one of the best. Continuing on the intriguing story threads from Talent,Luther is now in hiding, mourning the loss of his family and friends (while still stomping criminals when he can). When Petra, his former girlfriend, returns in his life, Strode is called into action to help protect her from Binder, another "talented" like Luther. Throw in Jack The Ripper, and you have one of the craziest action books of the year, filled with the highest body count of any comic.
Jason Fabok is a beast. The Detective Comics artist churns out stunning, highly detailed art month in and month out, never skipping a beat or missing a deadline. In fact, I would say he's even better than David Finch, whose art has clearly taken a nosedive in the past few years he's been at DC. With the announcement of Fabok taking on the weekly Batman: Eternal series, his star can only get brighter.
The big Marvel summer event got off to a late start (August), but it quickly turned out to be a pretty fun and satisfying event. Despite requiring you to read Avengers and New Avengers to get the whole story, Jonathan Hickman's event involving Thanos' return to Earth while the Avengers are off world fighting The Builders was pretty engaging, even if I had trouble understanding some of the "Hickman speak" throughout the story.While some may have been put off by the event, there were plenty of moments that worked for me, particularly Thor's "surrender" to the Builders.
Damn, talk about a return to form. Picking up the pieces from the godawful X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the latest film starring ol' canucklehead set Logan's cinematic world back on track, and even made X-Men: The Last Stand deliver something good out of it. A great character piece that reworks the classic Japan storyline, The Wolverine was in many ways the film Origins should have been: violent, dark, and full of atmosphere. Even with a final act that turns into a CGI fest, The Wolverine stands as the best superhero film of the year.
THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS PART 1 AND 2
I'm not a huge fan of direct to DVD anything, but I make an exception for the DC animated releases. While Marvel is dominating live action features, DC clearly has the upper hand with their animated releases, and their adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns reigns supreme. Every moment from the Frank Miller classic is here, from the battle with the mutant leader to the throwdown with Superman in the finale, and it's done beautifully. To top it all off, Robocop himself (Peter Weller) voices the aging Batman. Just wait until you see the Joker running and gunning his way through the Gotham carnival. It's more disturbing than what Miller originally put on the page, and Michael Emerson's chilling portrayal makes it all the more disturbing, casually throwing out unsympathetic apologies as he kills innocents.
THE MARVEL/NETFLIX DEAL
Arguably bigger than any other comic book media announcement, the Marvel Studios and Netflix deal is a huge win for both parties involved. Not only does it mark Marvel Studios as a legitimate force of entertainment, it also means that The Man Without Fear, Daredevil, will finally get the chance to redeem himself from the 2003 film.Joining him on your preferred streaming device will be Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, who will all come together as The Defenders. When it's all said and done, I think both Marvel fans and Netflix subscribers will be very, very happy.
FIVE GHOSTS: THE HAUNTING OF FABIAN GRAY
Easily my favorite new series from Image, Five Ghosts has a crazy premise that can only be done in comics: following the discovery of the "dreamstone", adventurer Fabian Gray can tap into the abilities of five literary ghosts, known as the Wizard, the vampire, the detective, the samurai, and the archer. These archetypes of fiction help Gray as he travels the world in search of a way to rid himself of these abilities, and save his sister, who's been in a coma since his dreamstone encounter. Writer Frank J. Barbiere's series mixes fun adventure stories in the same vein as Uncharted with this unique premise, and Chris Mooneyham's art is an absolute blast to see (his vampires are some of the best I've seen in comics). The series, which has recently been picked up for a full ongoing, is on it's 7th issue, and the trade collecting issues 1-5 is only $10. A steal for the amount of fun you'll have reading this series.
, and you have to admit, with all the news coming out about Batman vs. Superman/Man of Steel 2, don't you feel silly for flipping out about this back in August? With a movie that will feature Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, Doomsday (possibly), setting up the Justice League, dealing with the destruction of Metropolis, AND furthering the story of Superman, I think Affleck is the least of our concerns.
What is there left to say about AMC's epic finale that hasn't already been said? Bryan Cranston's performance as Walter White is now the stuff of legend, and watching his epic fall from power was one of the most stressful watching experiences of all time. Greatest TV show ever? Possibly. A show that must be seen by all, and a masterpiece of long form television? Hell yes.