As big as 2012 was, every year between now and 2015 is set to be huge at the movie theaters and both of the Big Two publishers continue to wrestle with the ramifications of their respective relaunches. So what do we expect to see in 2013? Here are just a few guesses:
This isn't meant to sound cynical or even to be a commentary on the current storyline unfolding in Superior Spider-Man and Avenging Spider-Man; it's just common sense. With the comic double-shipping, it seems likely we'll see Spider-Man Classic back in action by issue #25--which will be solicited before the end of the year.
We may be jumping the gun a bit this one, as #25 will likely ship in early 2014, and the Amazing Spider-Man sequel in the movie theaters won't hit until later that year. But we're willing to go out on a limb and say at least that by this time next year, it will be common knowledge that the ol' webhead is finding his way home.
Earlier today, we opined that Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson was comics's "Man of the Year" because of the amazing job Image has done in captivating the imagination of the comics industry in 2012.
With a string of best-selling and critically-acclaimed new titles like Saga and Revival hitting this year and the continuing, even increasing success of long-running hits like The Walking Dead and Chew, Image Comics celebrated its twentieth birthday with a bit of a renaissance.
With more and more creative discontent at DC and Marvel, smaller publishers are poised to really succeed as top-notch creators week out a place where they can do their best work, unencumbered and without fear of losing their job in the next big event or creative reshuffle. And of the "smaller" publishers, Image is the best-positioned to accommodate many of those creators.
It almost seems built in to the Extreme relaunch, actually; with Glory's current creative team leaving soon, many fans are wondering whether new creators will be joining Extreme, setting up a kind of "season two" of the relaunch. That could be a good starting point.
RED 2, Kick-Ass 2, Bullet to the Head, 2 Guns, R.I.P.D. and the 300 sequel are just the ones we can think of--there may be more. With superheroes dominating at the box office, Hollywood has optioned a ton of creator-owned comics and graphic novels and are making sequels to some of the ones they already have in play.
And while some of these seem destined for box office anonymity (there aren't high expectations for R.I.P.D. or Bullet to the Head, certainly), we expect that at least one of these--we're betting on 2 Guns--will blow people away (no pun intended) and become the kind of surprise hit that RED and Kick-Ass were upon their initial release.
Then there's this. Honestly, it's hard to imagine that Kick-Ass 2, RED 2 and 300: Rise of an Empire will all live up to expectations...and while the initial chapters in those franchises enjoyed the luxury of low expectations, that won't be the case this time around.
Our pick to be a critical and financial disaster is the 300 sequel, which has changed titles, release dates and even premises so often that even the fans excited about it are finding it pretty easy to wonder whether Warner Brothers has any idea what they're doing with it. And while 300: Rise of an Empire will open the same day as RED 2, seemingly guaranteeing that at least one of them will underperform, you can't discount the possibility that the average moviegoer will find Kick-Ass's novelty to have worn off, either.
With early issues of Marvel NOW! blowing the Before Watchmen finales and Death of the Family crossovers out of the water, sales-wise, it seems clear DC is going to feel some sales pressure in the next few months.
With Dan DiDio teasing Wally West's possible return, and Pandora (and A.R.G.U.S., who apparently employ Booster Gold now) playing a big role in Trinity War, the wall they've built between the new and old continuity seems to be deteriorating somewhat. Will Pandora bring some knowledge of the Pre-relaunch DC Universe to bear that might bring some of the languishing characters like Stephanie Brown and Donna Troy back to the printed page?
Anything's possible, but between Trinity War and Multiversity, it seems clear the publisher is positioning itself to take advantage of their Multiverse and the deep character library that comes with it.