Wolverine: Weapon X #1
Part 1 of 5
The New Year is wide open with comics firing on all cylinders in the
upper echelons of superhero comics to the vibrant field of modern
comics. But who rests at the top? Who are the biggest and brightest –
who are the ones who pose to make 2009 a breakout year for themselves?
From characters to comics to creators, and even to the wider spectrum
of television and movies – who will be the breakout stars?
Newsarama gathered the facts, analyzed the fiction and reviewed the
rumors to delineate who we think will the top – the 9 to Watch in '09.
All this week, we'll be picking out the 9 To Watch in '09 in five
categories: comic characters, comic creators, comic series/books,
movies and television shows. The first three are clearly
comics-centric, while the last two are wide open.
First off, we start with the pillar of comics storytelling: the
characters. They're the ones who bring it all together, making the
story stronger, making the creators strive higher and being the glue
that holds the whole package together. Without them, it'd be a faceless
story – with them, it's the thumbtack that pins it down for us to
remember. But who will matter most in '09? Our crystal ball is broken
but our speculation is running wild – here's who we think will be the 9
Comic Characters to Watch in '09. Yes – there are some familiar faces…
Wolverine (Marvel Comics)
The character of Wolverine has been a contender since the day he was
first born – err, published in 1974, but 2009 will see him reach his
pinnacle of a storied life. With four solo comic book series (Wolverine, Wolverine: Origins, Wolverine: First Class and the upcoming Wolverine: Weapon X), a member of countless team comic books, an upcoming movie (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and an animated series (Wolverine & The X-Men),
he truly is the "it" character for the X-universe, and arguably the
larger Marvel Universe. He's synonymous with the X-men brand, and is
the only character to be included in every media adaptation of the
X-Men franchise including film, television, computer and video games.
He's gone by many names, but no matter what you call him – everyone
calls him integral to comics.
Batman: Battle for the Cowl teaser
Batman (DC Comics) (okay, okay… “Batman”)
2009 could be Batman's biggest year yet – but will he even be around to
enjoy it? In comics he's gone --- presumed dead – and his close friends
and enemies are fighting for his cowl – literally—in the upcoming Battle for the Cowl miniseries. And although there's no Batman movie this year, the fruits of the blockbuster Dark Knight
movie will be reaped in awards season in several categories. And
there's always speculation on future Batman movies from Nolan, Bale and
co. In comics we're trying to wrap our heads around someone besides
Bruce Wayne being Batman, while we're still holding out hope that we
haven't seen the last of him. It is comics, after all, isn't it?
Oh – and of course – there’s Batman: Brave and the Bold on Cartoon Network – returning this Friday, January 2nd.
Supergirl (DC Comics)
Although she is the female counterpart to DC's signature superhero,
she's never quite lived up to her birthright until now. Her ongoing
series has finally (finally!) gotten its footing with writer Sterling Gates,
and Supergirl is emerging as a key part of the larger DC Universe not
as Superman's proverbial “kid sister” but as her own person. Far from a
Superman in women's clothing, Supergirl has begun to emerge and reach
her full potential – and her fans couldn't be happier.
Nick Fury (Marvel)
He's always been the rough and tumble type, from his army days with Sgt. Fury & His Howling Commandos
to his transition to resident super-spy as part of S.H.I.E.L.D. – but
now he's got a new lease on life as he occupies a central role in the
Marvel Universe. In recent years we've seen him quit his job at
S.H.I.E.L.D., make an unannounced appearance in the Iron Man movie, and come back to save the world in Secret Invasion as head of a new group of 'Commandos' and him as 'Agent of Nothing' in the forthcoming Secret Warriors
series. All that, from a man who fought in World War 2 and in 2009 is
still in his prime. They sure don't make them like they used to.
Dr. Strange (Marvel)
By far one of the most enigmatic characters as of late in the Marvel
Universe, if solicitations are to be trusted the good Doctor is in for
his own life-changing experience in 2009. According to interview with
Marvel architect Brian Michael Bendis, Dr. Strange is to lose his role
as Sorceror Supreme as a response to using dark magic as seen in New Avengers Annual #2. He's been off the playing field for most of Secret Invasion,
but his 2009 looks to see him back in the mix. The mantle of Sorcerer
Supreme is up for grabs, and one of his most formidable foes, Dormammu,
has reappeared as the benefactor of the Hood. And Hollywood might be in
Dr. Strange's future too, with a tentative 2012 movie planned to be
directed by Guillermo Del Toro and possibly scripted by Neil Gaiman.
There's a lot of questions out there for Doctor Strange, but that's how
he seems to like it.
Green Lantern (DC Comics)
His ongoing series is at the height of his power thanks to writer Geoff
Johns and he's grown his own family of titles in the DCU Umbrella with Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps and the show-stealing Sinestro Corps War
miniseries. As the resident super cop in the DC universe, Green
Lantern’s own series is one of the highlights of the modern DC
universe, and if the Trinity was one more – that fourth would be
wearing a Green Lantern ring. Hollywood has its sights on Green Lantern
as well, with some comparing its movie potential as similar in scope to
Marvel's Iron Man. Production of the movie is tentatively
scheduled to begin in 2009 for a 2010 release, with director Greg
Berlanti. What does the future hold for the Green Lantern – from his
space-faring ways, even sky isn't a limit.
Norman Osborn (Marvel)
We might think of him as the Green Goblin, but in the Marvel Universe
he's seen as earth's greatest hero. His assumption of a leadership role
in Thunderbolts was just the beginning, as in Secret Invasion #8
he took an orchestrated lead role in the final charge against the
Skrull invasion – with cameras rolling. That moment lead to the
President of the United States making Osborn head of the replacement to
S.H.I.E.L.D., H.A.M.M.E.R. Out with the Iron Man, in with the Green
Goblin. Just as Tony Stark was seemingly in every Marvel comic in the
past 18 months, Norman Osborn has filled that role as someone who you
can truly love to hate, as we’ve seen in his post Secret Invasion #8, that was just the beginning.
Where In The World is That Witch Wanda? That's the question on the lips of Marvel fans after the events of House of M. She was briefly glimpsed in an issue of New Avengers, but 2009 looks to be her full-fledged return to the Marvel U as she is a member of Mighty Avengers
as of issue #21, and also in contention for the vacant Sorcerer Supreme
spot now that Doctor Strange has vacated the role. As one of the most
popular females in Marvel comics, it's anyone's guess as to her
rightful place in the Marvel Universe. But after the events of House of M, she's one to be watched by heroes, villains and fans alike.
Power Girl #1
Power Girl (DC Comics)
In recent years, Power Girl has gone from occasional supporting character to team leader of JSA and solo super-power as seen in JLA Classified. In 2009 a new ongoing series
is to be released, that will reestablish Power Girl's civilian identity
of software developer Karen Starr and created by writers Jimmy
Palmiotti, Justin Gray and preeminent Power Girl artist Amanda Conner.
In The Corner Of Our Eye:
There are several characters on the cusp of greatness in the coming
months, and you can't count them out for a blockbuster 2009. They are:
Static (DC Comics): He's back and like his Milestone kin will be
integrated in the DC Universe. His animation career has overshadowed
his comics prowess, and 2009 might be the time to reach his full
Spider-Woman (Marvel Comics): She's the face of the Skrull Secret Invasion, but that's not who she really is. Writer Brian Michael Bendis brought her back to prominence in the pages of New Avengers, and the long-awaited ongoing series from Bendis and artist Alex Maleev promises to let Spider-Woman come full circle.
The Flash (DC Comics): Always running at a breakneck pace, in
the past few years he's been off the mark but 2009 looks to be
different. Longtime scribe Geoff Johns and artist Ethan Vansciver have
set their sights on the world's fastest hero – the returning Barry
Allen, so 2009 could be the year that the Flash gets good again.
Scott Pilgrim (Oni Press): Don't count him out – with volume 5
of his award-winning series promising to be the "it" book for New York
Comic Con 2009 and his eagerly anticipated movie in production now from
director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), this could be the year that Pilgrim goes from critics darling to a new icon in comic book lore.
But…that’s just us...and there are many, many close calls to this
list - Hawkeye and Mockingbird, Aquaman, Hawkman, heck, we've even
heard rumblings about Firestorm. What say you? Who’s poised to make
2009 their year to the largest audience in comics? Not just a name –
get your reasons in there as well…