2016 saw characters like Luke Cage, Wally West, and Dr. Strange enjoy a bigger share of the spotlight thanks to their appearances in movies, TV shows, or important comics arcs. While we don't know what 2017 will bring, we can guess which superheroes are ready to have a breakout year.
Whether they're set to have a major role in an upcoming comics storyline or are simply starring in a movie next year, these are the six characters who everyone could be talking about in 2017.
Civil War II is finally over, and this time it's Captain Marvel who emerged victorious in the aftermath of the superhero squabble. While Carol Danvers's reputation took a beating in the eyes of many superhero fans, it looks like she's Marvel's top superhero...at least in the eyes of the fictional government. Expect for her to have a big role in whatever happens in the Marvel Universe in 2017.
Although many superhero fans think that Captain Marvel can't be redeemed, remember that Tony Stark (who ironically is in a coma thanks to Captain Marvel) was in a similar situation in the aftermath of Civil War. It only took a few years, an Eisner Award winning comic series by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca, and a few global disasters to redeem his character both within the Marvel Universe and in the eyes of many comic fans.
In the closing pages of Civil War II, we saw Thor (the Odinson, not Jane Foster's current alter ego) once again holding Mjolnir during one of Ulysses's visions. Not only was Thor "back", but he was once again facing his brother Loki, who was wielding the fearsome Godkiller sword. If Thor truly is back and fight a powered up Loki, it could mean that Jason Aaron's acclaimed run writing the Norse god of Thunder is coming to an end.
It makes sense that Marvel is pushing Thor back to the spotlight as he has a new movie coming out in 2017, even if it is ominously titled Thor: Ragnarok. Although Ragnarok hints at an end to Asgard, Marvel's upcoming movie will also introduce Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as bring back the Hulk, who's been missing since the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron. 2017 should be a big year for Thor, the only question is whether he'll still be around in 2018!
While the other Robins have all had their time in the spotlight since DC rebooted its continuity in 2011, Tim Drake has consistently been the odd man out. Shunted over into a mediocre Teen Titans book, Drake largely kept away from Gotham outside of the occasional crossover or "big" Batman story.
Last year, Drake finally rejoined the Bat-fold as a member of Batman's handpicked team in Detective Comics. When he wasn't romancing Spoiler or building a self-repairing headquarters, Drake was contemplating hanging up his tights....right until he died in a fiery blaze of glory due to a rampaging army of drones.
At least, that's what Batman and everyone else thought. Drake was actually snatched out of reality and imprisoned by the mysterious Mr. Oz, who's almost certainly Ozymandias from Watchmen. With the DC Universe slowly building towards a confrontation with Ozymandias, Manhattan, and the other Watchmen characters, it looks as if Drake will finally get his chance to prove why he's a crucial part of the DC Universe in 2017.
Killer Frost is one of the many characters that have enjoyed newfound popularity thanks to DC's expansive television efforts. Once a relatively minor Firestorm villain, Killer Frost (aka Caitlin Snow) now appears on The Flash as one of Barry Allen's closest allies. After years of teasing, we finally saw Snow assume her icy alter ego on television.
Over in DC's comic book universe, Killer Frost is about to get a big promotion as she's a member of Batman's new Justice League of America. Frost is currently a Suicide Squad member, but she'll be joining the likes of Batman, Atom, Vixen, the Ray, and Lobo when she gets out on parole in March. We won't know why Batman picked Killer Frost for his new superhero team for a couple more months, but with a redesigned look and new allies, it looks like Killer Frost could become DC's next breakout anti-hero.
Wolverine is one of Marvel's biggest superheroes, but he's been on the shelf since 2014 after dying in the aptly named Death of Wolverine miniseries. With Wolverine's body encased in adamantium, his clone/surrogate daughter Laura Kinney took up Wolverine's name, costume, and place as the star of Marvel's Wolverine series.
Wolverine has a new movie coming out in 2017, which would usually mean a timely resurrection and a few new comic miniseries to capitalize on all the publicity. But Logan is a bit different, as it's intended to end Hugh Jackman's 17 year run as the star of the X-Men franchise. Laura will also appear in the movie, played by Dafne Keen.
If Marvel chooses to keep Wolverine on the shelf, it makes sense to use Logan to boost Laura's profile as Wolverine's replacement in the comics. Staying dead for a few more years won't hurt Wolverine's popularity at all, so why not use the movie to put over his replacement with the casual fans?
Wonder Woman had a pretty fantastic 2016, but 2017 should be the year where she takes her rightful place at the front of the superhero scene. Although DC has always considered Wonder Woman one of its most important superheroes, it wasn't until Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice that Wonder Woman finally appeared on the big screen.
Wonder Woman is set to star in her own film, which comes out in June 2017, right in the middle of the big summer movie season. Many fans hope that Wonder Woman will turn around the DC Expanded Universe, which has generated plenty of ticket sales, but few universally acclaimed movies. After wrapping up her work in the summer, Wonder Woman will return to theaters in November as one of the stars of Justice League.
2017 should help people remember that Wonder Woman has always been one of the world's greatest superheroes.