2012… It was a very good year…

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I’m a little late on that whole countdown thing, but please, indulge me. I made my triumphant return to comic-dom late this year, with the intention of collecting just one title. Right. And you can eat just one Swedish fish.

So, based on the handful of issues of each of the plethora of titles in my comics pile, here, in no particular order, are my top five for the year that was.

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All New X-Men  (Marvel) – One of the Marvel Now relaunched titles, the setup alone blew me away as I caught up on current events. Professor X is dead? By Cyclops’ hand? And he’s hanging with Magneto? And Beast is dying? What the heck happened while I was away from this book? I needed to sit down for a second. Dying Beast found a way to go back in time to find the original X-Men when they were just starting out at Xavier’s School for Gifted Children, with the hope of bringing them into the present, where Scott could confront himself and help him see the error of his ways.

It’s a good idea – with all the X-titles floating around out there, plus all the crossovers, I couldn’t have found my footing on my favorite title if you paid me. Here, Brian Michael Bendis is bringing it all back to the beginning – there’s the understanding that a lot of ugliness went down; the effects of Avengers vs. X-Men are still being felt (and are also being expanded upon in Uncanny Avengers) – but Bendis decided to go back to basics to start his storytelling on this book. Five issues in, there is solid storytelling in place and a good, steady buildup to what promises to be an interesting year for this book. I’m looking forward to going on this trip with the X-Men this year.

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Batgirl (DC) – This may be my favorite title so far this year. DC took a lot of heat for taking Barbara Gordon out of the wheelchair and making her Batgirl again, so I picked up the new DC 52 title with a bit of skepticism, despite a friend of mine insisting that this would be the title that threw me back,  headlong, into comics. I’m woman enough to admit when someone else is right. I picked up the book at the end of the Knightfall storyline, and was drawn in by Gail Simone’s solid storytelling. Then the Death of the Family storyline started, and I find myself counting weeks until the next issue hits my pull file. I love a good Joker story, but this – THIS – is out of control. Joker’s back in town, and he’s gunning for Batman and anyone connected to him. He sets his sights on Batgirl – again – and makes her an offer she can’t refuse. This is the guy that shot her, and now he has her mother, tied to a chair, with a nail bomb underneath her. That’s got to take a lot out of a girl. Simone captures Joker at his best sadistic self, and gives Batgirl the conflict necessary to make this story’s pages fly. I can’t wait to see what else 2013 has planned for this book.

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Deadpool (Marvel) – This is just pure fun. My favorite Merc with a Mouth, currently taking on dead U.S. Presidents, including a showdown with Honest Abe himself. The wisecracks, the Marvel Universe cameos – I nearly fangirled myself into a frenzy when Thor threatened Wade’s face with “Mjolnir’s kiss” – it’s all here, and it’s all hilarious. This is my go-to title when I need a good laugh and some gratuitous violence.

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Journey into Mystery (Marvel) – I missed out on the Kieron Gillen run on this title that told Kid Loki’s story, but I’m catching up with it in the trades. In the meantime, Gillen moved over to Iron Man, and Kathryn Immonen starts her run with the story of Lady Sif and her quest to be a better warrior. Two issues in, and I’m sold. I love the idea of Lady Sif searching for ways to better protect and serve Asgard, and Immonen’s Lady Sif is no background character fawning over Thor; she’s badass in her own right. Can we get her in a pair of leather breeches, though, and out of the hot pants?

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Thor: God  of Thunder (Marvel) – My Marvel love continues with Thor: God of Thunder, which I’ve reviewed here before. The God Butcher storyline marches on, and after an Iron Man cameo in Issue #3, I’m more excited than ever about where this story will go. (Psst… Jason Aaron… maybe a Lady Sif cameo?)

And on deck…

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Hellboy in Hell (Dark Horse) – Another  title I’ve recently reviewed, Hellboy in Hell is shaping up to be one of the best titles of 2013. We’re finding out more about HB’s origins as he travels through the Underworld, and there are some dark days ahead. I can’t wait to see what else Mike Mignola has planned for Hellboy.

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To Hell you Ride (Dark Horse) – Yup, another title I’ve reviewed, and it’s here for good reason. I have a fondness for a good ghost story, and that’s at the heart of what we’ve got here with actor Lance Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey’s book. There’s a Native American curse, a deep, dark secret, and compelling characters in this revenge story.

So there’s my list. What titles are you looking forward to checking out this year?

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