Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Twelve finally ends and quite successfully, too.

Marvel Comics' limited series The Twelve finally finished it's twelve issue run this week, after starting back in 2008. Creators J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston got too involved with other commitments (movie work) and shelved the series after eight issues. I hadn't really put much hope in it ever being finished, since the last limited series that I liked and got shelved stayed shelved. 

But then Sonic Disruptors wasn't selling at anywhere near sustainable levels.The Twelve had two of the most popular modern comic creators behind it, and true to their words, they made sure this series got finished, and finished properly.

The Twelve follows the exploits of twelve mystery-men who were put into suspended animation by the Nazis at the end of World War II. An accident caused them to be revived and have to adjust to a new, very different world.

None of the Twelve heroes are anyone that a casual reader would recognize as anything but perhaps a stereotype. Most of them only appeared once or twice as features in Marvel Mystery Comics, U.S.A. Comics, or Daring Mystery Comics. The Phantom Reporter, Captain Wonder, the Fiery Mask, the Witness, Rockman, the Blue Blade, Mastermind Excello, Dynamic Man, the Laughing Mask. Electro the Iron Man, Mr. E and the original Black Widow were the only ones with recognizable names, but all are far different from their modern namesakes.

Much like Roy Thomas had done in the seventies, Straczynski and Weston managed to transform a bunch of nobodies into characters we both liked and hated. While I won't give away any spoilers here, I have to say that I'm hoping that these characters will be allowed to interact with the regular Marvel Universe (or whatever passes for that nowadays) and not relegated back to Comic Book Limbo. There are some definite possibilities in this group. 

There's currently a trade paperback collecting the first six issues of the series. There were also #0 and #1/2 issues that featured some reprints of many of the characters original adventures, particularly Rockman, who was created by the legendary Basil Wolverton. Before the series restarted with #9, The Twelve: Spearhead was also published, which revealed some more of the heroes' back story and interaction with the other Marvel heroes on the fateful adventure that sent them away for nearly 60 years.

You don't need to know a lot about these characters, or even Marvel Comics, to enjoy this very interesting tale. The Twelve is a great series and I would recommend any comic fan give it a try.


by Rich Meyer

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