Comics Events 2016 Recap

With the holidays rolling along, it’s almost time for the New Year, which means a new 52 for comic fans everywhere. No, not DC’s New 52 event- which happened a few years ago- but 52 new Wednesdays when comics arrive at stores for your reading pleasure. Though on the subject of comic events, each passing week brings its fair share of reboots, retcons, oneshots and whatever else you can imagine as a part of Marvel and DC’s biggest events, like such classics as Flashpoint, Secret Wars, and Crisis on Infinite Earths. This year was no exception. The Big 2 brought their A-game to some world-shaking, war-making, death-faking events that saw heroes rise, heroes fall, and crossovers to help you read them all. In case you missed any of the action, here’s a look back at the biggest comic book events of 2016. (Spoiler alert!)

DC Rebirth

Key Players:

  • The Watchmen
  • Wally West
  • The entire DCU

Up Against:

  • Time

What Happened: Undoubtedly the biggest comic event of the year, DC Rebirth was a company-wide initiative in Summer 2016 that ended the New 52 and ushered in an entire relaunch of every DC title, some heroes disappearing and others coming back to life in a post-Flashpoint explanation of the timeline. Wally West, caught in the Speed Force, travels through time and finds that everyone has forgotten him. With nothing left to do but move on to the next life, West decides to say his final goodbyes to his mentor Barry Allen. Connected to the Speed Force, Allen remembers West and saves him from his entrapment in an emotional reunion. Here, Wally West reveals the real source of the timeline changes- not the Flash’s meddling, but the intervention of a being more powerful than Darkseid. The truth? Doctor Manhattan of the Watchmen was behind it all.

The Result: Rebirth touched every title in the DC repertoire, leading to a full relaunching of the lineup. New heroes have sprung up while others have taken on new roles in the DC Universe. Two new Green Lanterns, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, protect Earth while Hal Jordan leads the Green Lantern Corps. Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes are both Blue Beetle, while Lois Lane takes on the mantle of Superwoman with some help from Lana Lang. Most importantly, Rebirth puts the responsibility of the New 52 on Doctor Manhattan from the Watchmen, changing the status quo for the future of DC comics and retroactively altering the implications of past events.

Civil War II

Key Players:

  •  Captain Marvel
  •  Iron Man
  •  The Avengers
  •  The Inhumans

Up Against:

  • Each other and the future

What Happened: When an Inhuman named Ulysses who can see the future awakens from his Terrigen transformation, his predictive powers immediately spell trouble after he correctly detects an attack from Thanos. Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel and leader of Alpha Flight, takes the position that the heroes must use his power to stop all crime before it happens. Tony Stark fears this will cause innocent lives to be ruined and the future to be altered irreparably. Quickly, heroes from all sides decide their own opinions and back either Captain Marvel or Iron Man in the fight. When one of Ulysses’ visions sees the Hulk murdering everyone, both teams are forced to decide if they must protect the future or change it.

The Result: Following the publication of Civil War II, Marvel issued their new branding “Marvel Now: Divided We Stand” in Fall 2016 to indicate the shattered state of former alliances. Tony Stark has gone missing and the mantle of Iron Man is taken up by villain Victor Von Doom and newcomer hero Riri Williams (now Ironheart). While Jane Foster the mighty Thor leads the charge against frost giant armies, the unworthy Prince Odinson searches for redemption in the form of a second Mjolnir. New teams like the USAvengers and the Champions have sprung up, while the Inhumans and X-Men are unsure of what lies ahead.

Avengers: Standoff!

Key Players:

  • The Avengers

Up Against:

  • Red Skull
  • The Cosmic Cube

What Happened: Who could have ever guessed that a place called Pleasant Hill would not be so pleasant at all? This crossover event spanned 16 issues in Spring 2016, following the story of a strange gated community where people awake with amnesia and are unable to escape due to a force field around the town. It turns out Pleasant Hill is a villain-incarceration project employed by SHIELD in order to reform serious criminals like Helmut Zemo and the Wrecking Crew through reality warping. With the help of the Cosmic Cube in the form of a child named Kobik, Maria Hill and SHIELD try to trap villains in this snowglobe-world, but Red Skull of HYDRA manages to incite an uprising inside Pleasant Hill. This gets even further complicated when the Avengers teams find themselves stuck in this reality-warp with no memories of their own powers.

The Result: Most notably, the elderly Steve Rogers is restored to his youth, thanks to the meddling of Kobik the Cosmic Cube. This was actually the first step of Red Skull’s plans to rebuild his evil army, and Steve Rogers became victim to the Kobik’s unethical reality-changing abilities. Red Skull had a hand in swaying Kobik to restore the American hero to an all new glory- one in which he believed himself a HYDRA agent (revealed in the controversial Captain America: Steve Rogers #1). This series also encapsulated the final issues of Illuminati and Howling Commandos of SHIELD, and revealed the new Quasar, a woman named Avril Kincaid.

Final Days of Superman

Key Players:

  • Superman
  • Lois Lane

Up Against:

  • Mortality

What Happened: After Superman discovers that he has severe Kryptonite poisoning, which he contracted following the fire pits of Apokolips and his subsequent Kryptonite exposure to regain his powers, the last son of Krypton faces down his last days on Earth. Ending the New 52 run of Superman over the span of 8 issues, Clark Kent bids a heartfelt farewell to allies and friends like Batman and Wonder Woman, all while facing down one final threat- an escaped convict who gains mysterious powers and claims to be the one true Superman. In the final battle, another version of Superman comes to the aid of his dying parallel self as Clark Kent’s body succumbs to the poison. As it turns out, this mysterious new hero came from another reality and was brought to the New 52 continuity following the Convergence event of 2015.

The Result: The death of New 52 Superman ushered in Convergence Clark Kent, who, with his wife Lois Lane, has a super son. This new, married Superman would go on to further explore his role as the Man of Steel during the DC Rebirth event. What might be considered a housekeeping effort by DC before their company-wide relaunch, this smaller comics event helped alter the Superman lore going into the future and created an ending for the New 52 continuity of the character.

Death of X

Key Players:

  • The X-Men
  • Scott Summers
  • Emma Frost

Up Against:

  • The Inhumans
  • The Terrigen Mists

What Happened: The Inhumans have been growing stronger ever since a Terrigen cloud began moving across the globe, awakening the Inhuman genes dormant in characters like Karnak, Kamala Khan, Moon Girl, and more. However, the X-Men soon discover that the alien Terrigen mist is deadly, causing the fatal M-Pox and the sterilization of mutants everywhere. The royal family of New Attilan are protective of their Inhuman subjects, but the endangered X-Men will risk everything to fight against the Terrigen, even if it’s the last thing they do. Some of the strongest X-Men, like Alchemy and Jamie Madrox, are X-terminated in the fight, while the pride of the Inhuman royal family and the livelihood of mutants everywhere are on the line.

The Result: This event was actually set in the 8-month gap between Secret Wars (2015) and the release of All New, All Different Marvel. Untold until Winter 2016, this story helped to explain the dearth of mutants in the new Marvel Universe and provided new information about the state of conflict between the X-Men and the Inhumans. It is important to note Death of X occurred before Civil War II, as much as it seems like a result of that conflict. This event also sets the stage for one of Marvel’s first 2017 events, RessureXion, which will see a revitalization of everyone’s beloved mutants, and the launch of solo series for favorites like Jean Grey and Iceman.

Even as we bid farewell to 2016 and its comic events, the Big 2 are already looking to the future, with several events already announced to kick off 2017 with a monstrous, mutant, and metahuman bang. The New Year brings plenty more opportunity for exciting clashes and team-ups in spectacular superhero fashion, so mark your calendars for new comics every Wednesday!

What was your favorite event this past year? Did you read them all? Let us know in the comments.