Ten for '10: Things to Watch in the New Year - Characters

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Without them, there wouldn’t be anything to read about.

We’re talking about the characters..

That’s the subject of today’s Ten for ‘10 - a look at the top things to watch in 2010 in comics and genre entertainment. We’ve gone far and wide ransacking and pillaging the comic book countryside trying to get a bead on the 10 characters you should keep your eye on in the new year. We’ve got a healthy share of superheroes, super-villains, super-slackers and super-simians, so let’s get right to it…

Marvelman

Announced at 2009’s Comic-Con International, Marvel’s acquisition of the Marvelman/Miracleman character was the publishing giant’s first straight-up purchase of another publisher’s character since the Ultraverse days of the mid-90s. But while that acquisition had characters in the hundreds, this single acquisition of Marvelman has the potential to outpace that considerably. Originally created in 1954 by UK cartoonist Mick Anglo, it was one of England’s most popular home-grown superheroes and the 1982 revival by Alan Moore made it an international hit – serving as a de facto first glimpse at the future of superhero comics that Watchmen and The Dark Night Returns would build upon.

After years of murky legality that at one point took Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane to court, Marvel announced it’s theirs now. And while the publisher hasn’t talked further about the shape or form of their plan for the character (reprints, new stories?), fans worldwide are wondering what’s next. Can the hero live up to the hype? We’ll see.

The Flash

Geoff Johns has really put the Flash through his paces. Beginning with a long run on the title several years ago that launched the writer’s career, the return of Barry Allen in the pages of Final Crisis and Flash: Rebirth has put a new spring in the step of comics’ favorite speedsters. With the rejuvenated Allen joining a whole host of Flashes and soon to be starring in a new ongoing series (by Johns and artist Francis Manapul), along with rumblings of a feature film picking up steam, it looks like the Flash – all of them – have an open road ahead of them.

Scott Pilgrim

While he may be a slacker, 2010 could be the year of the slacker – the year of Scott Pilgrim. Between the upcoming movie, a video game and – oh yeah – the sixth and final volume of the graphic novel series, the Canadian bassist is truly getting it together. Bryan O’Malley’s creation has become a poster boy for the post-manga/independent comics movement, bringing elements of manga, video games, music and comics all to one place in this Super-Mario-meets-Bollywood opera.

Invincible

Arguably the biggest superhero outside of the Big Two, Invincible has gone from plucky upstart to the heir to the throne in the creator-owned halls of Image Comics. With the news that Invincible is entering the fray of Image United, he joins the cast of what had primarily been the founding characters of Image Comics and becomes a full-fledged peer to Spawn, Witchblade, Savage Dragon and the others.

Batman

Whether it's Bruce Wayne or Dick Grayson underneath the pointed-ear cowl, the Dark Knight is primed for a big year in 2010. After Bruce’s apparent death in the pages of Final Crisis, his former protégé Dick Grayson has taken to the Bat-mantle better than anyone could have hoped – thanks in no small part to writer Grant Morrison. With the Grayson-era of Batman underway however, details are beginning to spill out about Bruce Wayne’s soul going on a spiritual – and temporal – walkabout through different ages. That kind of concept fits right into Morrison’s wheelhouse, and follows up on ideas presented in Neil Gaiman’s two issue “Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader” story from 2009.

And don’t forget that with Geoff Johns’ turn at the wheel with Batman: Earth One and a possible conclusion to Frank Miller & Jim Lee’s All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder, there’s a lot to look forward to in the year 2010. 


Marvel Avenging Ladies Previews
Marvel Avenging Ladies Previews
Black Widow

Mirroring the character’s own reputation in comics, for years Black Widow has come and gone in the Marvel comics scene – appearing at times in Avengers, Daredevil and her own various self-titled miniseries. But 2010 looks to be a banner year for the Widow, as she’s set to have a starring role in the upcoming movie Iron Man 2. Played in the film by Scarlet Johansson, in comics she’s become the primary support for the new Captain America and has played a role in recent issues of Invincible Iron Man as well.

And with former Black Widow Yelena Belova has springing up in recent issues of Thunderbolts and an all-new Ultimate version popping up in Ultimate Comics: Avengers, her shadow is growing. No matter where she appears, she’s always known as secretive, dangerous and sultry – and she could very well be the breakout star of Marvel’s push of its female pantheon of characters in 2010.

Superman

After years of bouncing around in the DC Universe, in 2009 DC set their sights on reinvigorating their flagship character with the New Krypton storylines – but all that seems a precursor to the big plans in store for the Man of Steel in 2010. After a year-long sabbatical from his adopted home of Earth, the Kryptonian Crusader looks to be returning home in the New Year. Add to that a Geoff Johns/Gary Frank’s realigning of his origin in the pages of Superman: Secret Origin, along with the aforementioned Earth One graphic novels, comics’ Man of Tomorrow looks like he’ll have many big tomorrow’s ahead of him.

The Original Avengers – All Of Them!

Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man and Wasp. Call it a cheat if you will, but while the first three of these characters (at least) might qualify for their own separate entry on the Ten for ‘10, we decided to team them up – just as Marvel plans to do in the forthcoming Siege miniseries. Although Janet Van Dyne is still deceased as we write this (and Ant-Man is the Wasp), don’t be too shocked if we witnessed yet another comic book return from the grave … and perhaps a full-fledged reunion.

Nemesis

What if someone like Batman – with his array of gadgets and his knowledge of the criminal mind – didn’t work on the side of the angels? In this case it’s a white-clad hero dubbed Nemesis, who in the sole image released so far is shown gloating with a painted bloody smile on his face in an almost too-coincidental Joker sort of way. Fan reaction was voracious after the Mark Millar/Steve McNiven series’ was announced earlier this year. Can Millar keep his creator-owned winning streak going?


Batwoman

Although she debuted a few years back, it wasn’t until her starring role in Detective Comics that Kate Kane began to make her mark in the DC Universe. Thanks to the expert writing of Greg Rucka and the career-defining art of J.H. Williams III, the character has transformed from a potential marketing stunt to a female superhero that doesn’t fall back on bad girl/cheesecake cliche as some fans initially expected.

With solid characterization, a strong supporting cast and the full support of DC’s editorial, Rucka and Williams were given wide latitude to break the character out right. And with news that she’s perhaps graduating into her own solo title sometime in 2010, she has to be included in any list of potential stars of the next year.

IN THE CORNER OF OUR EYE

Comic books have created some of the most memorable  characters in modern mythology. While we limited our list to ten to watch in 2010, there were several others standing in the wings we wanted to make sure got mention.

Green Lantern: In recent years, DC’s Green Lantern has expanded from a single title to two ongoings, various miniseries and the staging ground for DC’s biggest crossover yet, Blackest Night. And with news that a feature film is finally underway with Ryan Reynolds set to star, Green Lantern could graduate to – dare we say – franchise status. What else could make grown men want to wear rings?

Hitman Monkey: While we’re still trying to make sense of it, Marvel’s upcoming feature on a newly created character that is part-mobster part-monkey, could be the most hair-brained idea since Marvel Zombies… and look how well that turned out for them?

Hope: Less known for her name than for the promise she brings - the first and only mutant born after the Scarlet Witch's infamous “No More Mutants” spell/decree - Hope has spent several years on the run through time away from Bishop, a soldier from a dark future seeking to prevent that from ever happening. But in 2010’s X-Men: Second Coming, Hope and her adopted father Cable are returning to the present – with glimpses of the Phoenix force in her eyes.

Okay, we’ve had our say, but what’s yours? Are we on the mark, or off by a mile? Tell us the character you think will make 2010; and don’t just give us a name, tell us the how and why as well.

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