2012 in Review: Five Comics We'll Miss

With less than 24 hours to go in 2012, the world has beaten the odds and survived the [...]

With less than 24 hours to go in 2012, the world has beaten the odds and survived the apocalypse--but at what cost? Is it worth it for the world to keep spinning if there are no more new issues of The Boys? Okay, so maybe that's the tiniest bit hyperbolic, but the point stands: A number of great series have been canceled or concluded in 2012, and while there have been a great many new releases to reassure us that the comics landscape looks strong in 2013, it's hard to imagine some of these books never being on the "new this week" racks again. Which were the comics that ended this year, which we'll miss the most? Irredeemable/Incorruptible Mark Waid's Irredeemable was a truly engaging, entertaining break from what fans had come to expect from the veteran storyteller, and it blazed a trail for his work that continues with his Thrillbent series Insufferable: The writer long thought of as a master of Silver Age-style superheroics transformed himself overnight into a guy who could do some truly despicable things to and with his characters. "What would happen if Superman went bad?" was the nutshell plot summary for the story, but it became far more than that, as The Plutonian was a truly damaged character and fascinating to delve into. Incorruptible, meanwhile, was the flip side of that coin. Some bad guys, after all, just live to be their heroes' opposite number. So if suddenly the Plutonian went bad, what would happen to his arch-nemesis? This series seems to inform books like Edison Rex and Superior Spider-Man. Without spoiling the end, it's safe to say that there's a bit of a meta-text twist that kind of eats its own tail a bit, borrowing from All-Star Superman's conclusion and establishing The Plutonian as arguably the most important character in the history of American popular fiction–at least in its own canon.

Hellblazer The final issue isn't in stores yet, but Vertigo's longest-running series is ending and taking with it any sense that Vertigo is a coherent "universe" anymore. That was, realistically, long gone many years ago but the mass exodus of the few remaining DC-owned properties from Vertigo back to the DCU have put the imprint's future in question as it now seems to be "Fables and Friends." (That's gonna be Bill Willingham's new series on Fox News Channel, by the way. Keep your eyes on that one for 2015.) In any event, Hellblazer is going, and taking with it the backstory and character development that had made John Constantine one of comics most lovable unlovable bastards over the years. Not relaunched quite the same way in the New 52 as everyone else was, it's unclear what motivated the decision to end Hellblazer now and launch a Constantine ongoing, but we'll see how this character fares in the New 52. It seems unlikely that the same readership will follow en masse, so it might be a question of whether DC's broader audience base can replace those who leave with a greater number, or with readers more committed to the montly, serialized format who aren't trade-waiting.

iZOMBIE Another great Vertigo series down, and wow--did this one's conclusion have wide-reaching ramifications! Not only did writer and co-creator Chris Roberson terminate his relationship with DC in spectacular fasion and form his own comic book company, which has so far done pretty well for itself...but his co-creator and series artist Mike Allred's talents suddenly becoming available made the critically-acclaimed FF relaunch from Marvel NOW! a possibility. 28 issues and a few little odds and ends isn't nearly enough for a book this good. Hopefully some of the concepts in the series can find a home at Monkeybrain once the rights have cleared at DC. Amazing Spider-Man Does anyone seriously believe we've seen the last of The Amazing Spider-Man? No? Okay. Still, in a comics market where so few books are allowed to continue their numbering (and many of the ones that are get title changes or total makeovers), Amazing Spider-Man was an anchor in an increasingly-unpredictable marketplace for the Big Two. Seeing it go and expecting at least a couple of months without another issue of ASM (it may still be one of the final Marvel NOW! titles announced and launch in March or April) is a bit weird and we're certain a numbe of fans will just feel like it's not the same.

The Boys Yeah, no big surprise this book is on the list, right? I mean, we mentioned it in the introduction and all. This is, of course, the second time that The Boys has ended and at least this time it was on its own terms; it's hard to imagine that once upon a time, DC Comics was publishing this title, let alone that they cancelled it and let the creators head off on their merry way to turn it into a big franchise for Dynamite, complete with tie-in miniseries and all manner of things that never could have happened had they stayed at the Big Two. And, hot damn, was it a good book.