Team of the Year Award: The Illuminati (from the pages of New Avengers)
After all they have been through this year I think it would be safe to say that The Illuminati – consisting of Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Black Bolt, Beast, Black Panther, and Namor – have become possibly the most dramatic and exciting superhero team in all of comic book history. They watched as alternate earths much like our own were conquered by the Black Priests and the Mapmakers, further left with the burden of working in secret to prevent the early death of the multiverse. But that was just the beginning of the unthinkable madness fate had dealt them all. Their worst fears came true as what is known as an another incursion (when an alternate earth starts to collide with our earth) began and they were left facing honorable heroes from that other world and, in the end, brought to their lowest breaking point. The morally questionable decisions, palpable tension between team members, emotional trauma, and life the Illuminati are dealing with and living will leave you pondering upon what it means to be a hero in a time of apparent infinite hopelessness. Are they men or are they monsters?
Honorable Mention of the Year Award #1: Titan Comics’ Launch of New Doctor Who Comics
BBC’s Doctor Who is no stranger to the comic book. Marvel Comics initially published adventures of the iconic Time Lord from Gallifrey in the late ‘70s and more recently IDW had been carrying the TV property along. However, I don’t believe we’ve witnessed much of an electrifying publication of Doctor Who as Titan’s launch as was evident this July. I’m a proud Whovian so when I got word of new comics featuring the 10th, 11th, and 12th Doctors would be landing in my local comic shop this year, I felt like shouting, “Geronimo!” (Doctor Who reference), right at my household walls. It’s rather nice to follow whole new adventures of The Doctor with all-new companions as they brave the unknown wonders of all of time and space, especially when your Doctor’s heart-breaking regeneration has transpired on television. Thus far, with traditional timey-wimey stories and astoundingly high-quality publication, the launch has been really successful, and it can only get better.
Dishonorable Mention of the Year Award #1: Marvel’s Lady Thor
Before you get ahead of me, this complaint has entirely nothing to do with me disliking female superheroes or not wishing for some the spotlight they may deserve like a self-titled ongoing book. Simply put, the proposition of replacing a popular, classic character like the god of thunder, Thor, with an unknown female who is supposedly “worthy enough” to wield Mjonir, Thor’s enchanted hammer, is just ludicrous in my opinion. This choice by Marvel to give Jason Aaron the green light wasn’t a smart one, and ultimately led me to drop the Thor title altogether. I want to read about The Mighty Thor I grew up with, not this other person to invest $3.99 in every month.
Villain of the Year Award: Kang (from the pages of Uncanny Avengers)
Kang is many things. He is royalty from the future, he is a time-traveler, he is a heinous foe of The Avengers, and he is, as he likes to call himself, a conqueror. From his looming machinations found in Uncanny Avengers, we need to add “master-mind schemer” to that list. His cunning grand plan involving the Apocalypse Twins, Havok’s Unity Squad of Avengers, and Celestial Executioner is a whirlwind of a ride. Recruiting heroes and villains from different timelines, including Earth X’s Venom and Doom 2099, it appears all Kang wants to do is fix his mistakes. It’s not until the pieces fall in place where we make out his true colors and his betrayal has deep ramifications for Havok and his teammates. This year, his pure villainy was at its finest.
~ By Nandor Shaffer