As we have looked back at 2006, it's now time to look ahead to 2007. Staff writers Andy Khouri, Dave Richards, Emmett Furey and George Tramountanas have joined together for one last time to let you know what they're looking forward to in the coming year. From the sound of things, it looks like our writers are going to have even more exciting things to share with you in 2007.
As indicated earlier, the variety of books in the industry is likely to continue to swing up well into 2007, and some of the year's most talked about books will come from some unexpected places.
"Phonogram" - Simply yet inadequately put, "Phonogram" is music, and music is magic. Created by two guys who nobody's really ever heard of, this black and white Image Comics miniseries is destined to become one of the "buzz-iest" trade paperbacks of 2007. With just three (out of six) issues out so far, this story of pop-obsessed, jackass musical magicians is already a hit on the underground scene and has been talked up by Warren Ellis and Spin Magazine. The story follows a Phonomancer called David Kohl who fights to hold his life together as a rival clique uses their abilities to rewrite reality. Each issue's cover is a take on iconic Britpop covers from bands like Oasis and Elastica, and contained within are more musical references and bitingly clever characters, twists and observations than any comic and music fan could ask for. Writer Kieron Gillen has written a story that's deeply personal without being tedious and whiney, while still being both clever and funny. Artist Jamie McKelvie improves his already deft draftsmanship with every new panel. Together, the English duo have created that rare indie book that really does remind you of you and your friends; the one you all talk about and make references to for years to come.
"Casanova" - Written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Gabriel Ba, "Casanova" is another (mostly) black and white Image book that's already enjoying prominent placement in some of the nation's most influential retailers. A hyperkinetic pastiche of the best aspects of espionage, science fiction and psychedelic art and music, "Casanova" is more exciting than most full-color superhero epics, which is even more impressive when you consider the fact that each issue is only sixteen pages. The first trade paperback will see release in 2007, and we're going to see a lot more of this book in the future.
"World War Hulk" - I dig "Civil War" and everything, but the anticipation for this storyline is just getting everyone totally excited. While my colleagues weren't overwhelmed by the climax of "Crisis," I'm sure they'll agree that if the big green guy doesn't lay down some real ultra-violence, we're all going to be a little blue.
If the early hints we've been given are any indication of the quality stories that are coming in 2007, I'll be having a tough time picking my best of the year choices next year as well. Here are some of the things that I'm excited about in 2007…
"The Avengers Books Post Civil War" - The Avengers are my favorite team and in 2007 I'll get two chances to read about them. Bendis has hinted that the two Avengers teams (one working underground and one above-ground) are working towards the same goal/story. It should be fun and exciting to watch that story build
"Hellboy: Darkness Calls" - This was on my list last year as well, but Mike Mignola's Hellboy stories are always worth the wait. I eagerly look forward to finding out what's coming next for the World's Greatest Paranormal Detective
"World War Hulk" - The current "Planet Hulk" storyline has been amazing, but I think every fan of ol' jade jaws is waiting for his return to Earth so he can clean the clocks of the Illuminati. Marvel hasn't confirmed that that's what "World War Hulk" is about, but a lot of fans, me included, are hoping it is.
Joss Whedon's "Runaways" - When Brian K. Vaughan announced his departure from "Runaways," like every fan of the book I was saddened. Who could fill his gigantic shoes? When Marvel announced that the man filling those shoes is Joss Whedon, I was very pleased and super-excited. Few people tell stories of super-powered teenagers better than Whedon.
"Hack/Slash" Ongoing Series - To me, the real "dynamic duo" of comic characters are Cassie Hack and her partner Vlad, the stars of Tim Seeley's excellent horror/humor series "Hack/Slash." Seeley made me and other fans quite happy with his recent announcement that "Hack/Slash" would be changing from a series of quarterly one-shots to a regular ongoing series in 2007.
I'm just going to go straight to my picks…
"New Avengers: Illuminati" - Revisionist history though it may be, I am really looking forward to Bendis and Reed weaving this book's stories in and out of the major Marvel events I enjoyed in my youth.
"Runaways" - I loved Vaughan's "Runaways," and Whedon is the pitch-perfect successor.
"The Authority" - Sure, the first issue was decidedly decompressed, and the Authority were nowhere to be seen. I've been waiting for this since the tease some years ago when I saw the name "Morrison" attached to "Authority" and naturally assumed they were talking about Grant (not Robbie). Great as Millar's run on the title was, in my opinion no creative pair has as effectively captured the team as Ellis and Hitch did in the initial run, and I think if anyone can fill those shoes, it's Grant Morrison.
"Civil War" - As I mentioned in the first part of the wrap-up, I really have been enjoying "Civil War," and I am looking forward to seeing how it ends and what the Marvel Universe will look like in its wake.
"Wolverine" - I am very curious to see what Loeb does with the ol' Canuckle-head.
As my colleagues have indicated, 2007 is looking very promising indeed. To begin with, many "endings" are coming our way:
The end of "52" and "Civil War" - Both DC and Marvel's big events will be finishing this year, and I can't wait to see how each series wraps up. What happens to Ralph Dibny? What does "52" mean? And who wins the "Civil War?"
JMS's end on "Amazing Spider-Man" - J. Michael Straczynski has kept ol' webhead hopping since the beginning of this century. He's taken the character through lots of twists and turns, including the revelation of his identity to his aunt as well as the world at large. Joe Quesada is penciling JMS's final arc, and it's been promised to change the status quo for years to come.
The end of "Y the Last Man" - Finally, the answers to all the mysteries surrounding Brian K. Vaughan's Vertigo series will be revealed and resolved. For me to be happy, Yorick better find Beth before this thing ends…
End of Terry Moore's "Strangers in Paradise" - Moore has been writing and penciling the same set of characters for over ten years now and has laid out so many fun and diverse plot threads, it will be interesting to see how everything gets tied up.
Thankfully, not everything is ending. Here are some "beginnings" that are coming our way that I can't wait to read:
Captain America - Ed Brubaker's run on "Captain America" has redefined and reenergized the character. So when Marvel promises that this is the book people will be "buzzing" about in 2007, well, color me intrigued.
Joss Whedon on "Runaways" - Like my colleagues mentioned, Joss Whedon is a writer that readers can't seem to get enough of, so handing him the best superhero team in comics makes me do a Snoopy happy dance.
"Buffy" Season 8 - Speaking of not getting enough Whedon, Joss decided to give us another season of his television show via comics. And not only is Whedon writing an arc, he's assembled some of the greatest writing talent out there for the other arcs: Brian K. Vaughan, Brad Meltzer, and Jeph Loeb. It feels like Christmas is going to come early!
"Millarworld 2" - While Mark Millar's writing for Marvel is always top-notch, my favorite works of his have always been the books he's written on his own ("Chosen," "Wanted"). This coming year, Millar will be releasing more of his mad genius on unsuspecting audiences, so we're in for a treat!
While there are many great comics coming in 2007, I am also looking forward to a bunch of comic-related entertainment headed our way.
"Heroes" is the best new TV show of the season, and might just be the best superhero television show ever. I'm looking forward to finding out more of their mysteries, and seeing if they "save the world."
"Spider-Man 3" promises to deliver more of the fun that Raimi always brings to the franchise. And if Venom turns out to look half as creepy as the clip I saw of him at the San Diego Comic-Con appeared, this film will be another feather in the director's cap.
"Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" - If you've seen the new trailer, you know we're in for a good time.
"300" - Another trailer that blew me away. The director of this film (Zack Snyder) is also now in charge of development for the "Watchmen" movie…me so happy!
"Ghost Rider" - Nic Cage, Eva Mendes, and Peter Fonda along with flames, skulls, and motorcycles - what's not to like?
And while the following movies won't necessarily be ready for 2007, I can't wait to see stills from "Sin City 2," "Iron Man," "The Dark Knight," and "Wanted." In addition, both Marvel and DC have some awesome direct-to-DVD movies coming our way - from an animated "Iron Man" to a "New Frontier" movie.
As the song says, "The future's so bright, I've gotta wear shades."