The Biggest Comic News of 2016
By Mat Elfring | @ImMatElfring on
Comic books are an ever-changing medium. A lot happened during the course of this year in the comic industry, and we are taking a look back at the biggest news from 2016, in the order when they happened.
Warning: This may contain spoilers.
Batman Creative Team Ends Five-Year Run
In 2011, when DC relaunched their entire comic line as The New 52, writer Scott Snyder, artist Greg Capullo, and colorist FCO Plascencia created what is now considered an iconic run of Batman. Back in April, the creative team wrapped up their run on the book with issue #51. While they certainly left their mark on the Dark Knight, creating new villains like the Court of Owls and putting Batman through impossible odds, fans loved how the team worked together. "I'd go anywhere with [Capullo] and do anything. I'd work on any character, anytime. It makes me a better writer to be able to work with this guy," Snyder said during an interview with GameSpot.
Comic Artists Pay Tribute to Prince
In April, musician Prince sadly passed away at the age of 57. The world mourned the loss of one of the most prolific artists of his generation. After his death, there was an outpouring of love coming from artists in the comic book industry. Many artists took time to draw the musical icon, like the Cameron Stewart piece above. While Prince may not be a part of the comic book community, his passing brought everyone together. You can see more Prince art here.
Captain America is a Member of Hydra
The most talked-about moment at Marvel Comics in 2016 came from a new Captain America series that launched this year. Writer Nick Spencer and artist Jesus Saiz revealed at the end of issue #1 that Captain America had been secretly working for Hydra all along. Fans of the character lost their minds and demonized the book before the release of issue #2, which explained the reasoning behind the change. It was explained that a sentient cosmic cube manipulated Steve Rogers' memories to make him think he was a member of Hydra and to further Red Skull's plan. Read more about what happened here.
DC's Rebirth Changes Everything
Back in 2011, DC Comics rebooted its entire comic universe. In 2016, it undid the reboot in an unconventional way. The event titled "Rebirth" brought back the characters fans know and love to their pre-New 52 roots, all while keeping some of the beloved elements from the reboot as part of the publisher's canon. The biggest moment from this massive event came when it was revealed that Rebirth was all part of the plan of Doctor Manhattan, from Watchmen. Find out more about all of the changes from Rebirth here.
The Original Wally West Returns
When DC relaunched their continuity with the New 52, one fan-favorite character was missing: Wally West, who, like Barry Allen, was called The Flash. While the company eventually brought back the character, who looked and acted nothing like the original counterpart, fans were still clamoring for the original version. In May, a major component of Rebirth was the reintroduction of the original Wally West to main continuity. However, DC did not get rid of the New 52 version of the character, so there are now two characters named Wally West floating around the DCU.
There Are Three Jokers
Rebirth offered changes both large and small. One moment from DC's event that had Batman fans scratching their heads spun out of the Justice League story "Darkseid War." Long story short, Batman discovered that over the course of his crime-fighting career, he hasn't been fighting just one person named the Joker. There were three. While that may seem preposterous, it makes sense when you think about how much the Joker has changed over the decades. We still won't know much about these three Jokers until 2017. Here's what we do know about them.
Superman Dies... Again
Some things got a bit bizarre after DC revamped their line with Rebirth. The most confusing of all was that there were two Supermans: one from the Pre-52 and one from the New 52 era. DC solved this problem by killing off the New 52-era Superman. In order to defeat an enemy with unimaginable power, the New 52 Superman sacrificed himself, while the Pre-52 version took his place.
Civil War II Event Kills War Machine and Hulk
Marvel's summer event, Civil War II, had the heroes fighting each other over an Inhuman who could see horrible events in the future. This comic did not pull any punches, killing off War Machine right away. A few issues later, Hawkeye killed Bruce Banner, better known as the Hulk, to prevent a possible future where Hulk kills everyone.
Riri Williams Becomes Iron Man
Marvel had a few shocking moments this year, mainly revolving around their summer event, Civil War II. The comic book publisher made a splash in July when it announced that a 15-year-old genius named Riri Williams would be taking over as Iron Man in her own series. The new book, Invincible Iron Man, launched in November, and it was revealed that she'd be flying across the sky under the guise of Ironheart. At this point in time, fans still do not know what happened to Tony Stark.
Doctor Doom Becomes Iron Man
Marvel's summer event, Civil War II, has shaken up the status quo by pitting hero against hero. We've seen a couple of iconic characters die and a few more huge changes as well. In September, it was announced that longtime Fantastic Four villain, Victor Von Doom, will be starring in a new series called Infamous Iron Man. The book, which debuted in October, has Doom taking over the role of Iron Man, which is normally Tony Stark's job. He wasn't the only person becoming Iron Man, as we saw back in July.
Justice League Takes on the Suicide Squad
Most of the time, the summer is the place for large, crossover comic book events that have implications that reach far and wide. However, December marks the start of a winter event that has the Justice League fighting the Suicide Squad. Writer Joshua Williamson (Nailbiter, The Flash) is writing the upcoming book, and he promises it will be a lot of fun. "I try to have fun with it and not get lost in the idea of the pressure of this gigantic event. I just want to make a fun, big-budget blockbuster sort of comic" Williamson told GameSpot.
WWE Wrestling Comes to Comics
In the past, comics about the world of WWE have been subpar at best. Boom Studios is looking to change that. In January, they're launching a new WWE series, and this past November gave fans a sneak peek into what they have coming out. Their one-shot comic, WWE: Then. Now. Forever. gave readers some insight into the breakup of the wildly-popular Shield faction. In addition, there was also an extremely humorous story about the tag team champions, The New Day. The book featured premiere comic talent like Dennis Hopeless (Spider-Woman), Dan Mora (Klaus), and Rob Guillory (Chew), and it was a home run.
A New Power Ranger Appears
Boom Studios has been publishing a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic series that takes place during the first season of the television show. It has been well-received by both comic readers and fans of the Power Rangers franchise. In December, writer Kyle Higgins, artist Hendry Prasetya, and cover artist/designer Jamal Campbell introduced a brand-new ranger to the comic. What was huge about this news was that it was the first time in 23 years that a new character was added into the old continuity.