12 Things to be Excited About in 2012
By Matt Peters
This year is scheduled to be one of the biggest of note in the world of comics, video games, and all-around geekiness. We here at Pads & Panels would like to give you twelve reasons that 2012 will be awesome. Let’s hope our Mayan overlords don’t return from outer space until we get to experience most of it. Take a look below for some of the highlights:
*WARNING, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
1. AvX: Avengers vs. X-Men — The battle of the year is on as these two franchises take each other on in a knock-down, drag-out fight to decide the fate of all humanity! That may be a load of hyperbole, but it looks to be pretty entertaining. The Phoenix Force is returning to Earth once again, and neither team can decide how to handle the impending doom. Match-ups are currently being announced with Magneto vs. Iron Man being the first. If Magneto’s previous scrap with Wolverine is any indication, this should be pretty painful for Tony Stark.
2. PS Vita’s American Launch — After a not-so-stellar launch in Japan, the PS Vita’s making its American debut very soon. With a higher price point than their direct competitor, the Nintendo 3DS, how will it fare without the holiday sales blitz to back it? Have gamers moved on from traditional portable platforms to the more readily accessible smart phones? The software will be the real deciding factor here, and with a new Uncharted for fans to enjoy, this just may be the inspiration they need to snatch one up.
3. Marvel’s The Avengers Movie — After years of buildup, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes finally team up to take on the forces of evil (which may or may not be an alien invasion). With fanboy champion Joss Whedon at the helm (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly), this is guaranteed to hit all the right notes. We’re still holding faith that Fox, Sony, and Paramount can make the most epic agreement of all time and we’ll be able to see Spidey and Wolverine in the inevitable sequel.
4. The Dark Knight Rises — This one’s for all the marbles. After some recent retooling of Bane’s dialogue (at least in the IMAX preview), the end of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is all set to debut. Can it hope to achieve what The Dark Knight accomplished back in 2008? With Catwoman, Bane, and more surprises in store, it looks like a resounding “Yes.”
5. DC’s “Pandora” Event — There’s no doubt that 2011 was, for better or worse, the year of DC’s New 52 buzz. Throughout those relaunched titles, a mysterious figure lurked just out of focus (except in Tiny Titans where they hit us over the head with her like a ton of bricks). Eagle-eyed fans were quick to discover the easter egg, and speculation has run rampant ever since. All we currently know is, as she mentioned in the pages of Flashpoint, “the world’s timeline was once split into three so as to weaken them for the arrival of an unknown and evil force.” Let’s hope those redesigned costumes come with optional hard hats.
6. The Walking Dead’s Midseason Return — Robert Kirkman’s zombie opus will return to AMC in February, and we can’t wait to see what happens to the gang next. After establishing the “anything can happen even if it didn’t in the comic” atmosphere of the first season, fans were surprised by the outcome of the “Where is Sophia?” storyline. Enthusiasm for the first six episodes of season two was muddied with the news of departing showrunner Frank Darabont, but there’s no reason that the backend shouldn’t hit the ground running.
7. Autostereoscopic, or Glasses-free, 3D TVs — The biggest complaint of our 3D TV generation is the necessity to wear glasses. If you’ve got five people over, and four pairs of specs, one person’s out of luck, and will probably get headaches from trying to watch the blurry screen. The good news is, unless you enjoy punishing the one friend, Toshiba and other manufacturers have a solution to your problem. Unfortunately it’s currently a pricy one, weighing in at over $10,000, but it’s a step in the right direction. The market may be more appealing by the end of the year.
8. EA’s SSX Reboot — Since its debut at the 2010 Spike Awards, this reboot has had a substantial uphill (downhill?) battle to separate itself from the “broboarding” feel of that first teaser video. Thankfully, the team over at EA has done just that in their recent series of developer blogs and interviews. With a more realistic tone, and a returning focus on music and insane tricks, it may finally be time to take that copy of SSX Tricky out of the PS2.
9. Street Fighter x Tekken — The battle of the year is on, as these two franchises take each other on in a…wait we used this one already. The fruit of Namco & Capcom’s recent business arrangement is finally coming to bear, after months of teases and character reveals. Heck, they’ve even thrown in Cole McGrath from Infamous for good measure. This time, Capcom takes the development honors in what looks to be a very promising fighter. With SoulCalibur and Dead or Alive checking in with new installments as well, this could be a very good year for fighting enthusiasts.
10. Bioshock Infinite — Irrational Games and Ken Levine’s true follow up to Bioshock, this new installment takes place takes in the city of Coumbia, floating high above the world in 1912. It may seem like a simple idea, but throwing in rips in the fabric of space and time certainly complicates things. Dynamic gameplay is promised and, if the trailers are to be believed, delivered in this unlikely dream project.
11. Free Comic Book Day — We hesitated including region-specific events on our list since everyone can’t participate. Free Comic Book Day, however, takes place at most comic shops near you on Saturday, May 5. Walk in, demand free comics (politely), and walk out. It’d be nice if you spent money, but if you’re reading this, we’re preaching to the choir. This year’s FCBD books have been announced, and from Adventure Time to Mega Man, to countless indie titles, there will be something for everyone.
12. Saga, by Brian K. Vaughn — The man responsible for Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, and (some of) Lost, heralding something as “the next big thing” by Mr. Vaughn is a tall order. A name like Saga sets the bar even higher. Rising star artist Fiona Staples provides the interiors on what’s being billed as “a balls to the wall sci-fi book” by the author. Image Comics will publish this creator-owned project which kicks off with a fourty-four (!) page first issue sometime this year.