There were a lot of spectacular blockbusters this year, including the underappreciated The Dark Knight Rises, the criminally underrated Dredd and James Bond’s triumphant return in Skyfall. But the true definition of a blockbuster is a crowd pleaser, and no crowds were more thoroughly pleased than those that watched Joss Whedon’s immense tale of the “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” The Avengers was an unbelievable movie-making achievement, made possible by years of careful preparation by Marvel Studios, with a whole series of enjoyable-in-their-own-right films leading the way to the positively gleeful experience of seeing these characters in the same frame, saving the world. Shawarma, anyone?
For all the vitriol that fans threw at Mass Effect 3’s ending, it seems like people forgot that the first 98 per cent of the game was a brilliant and immersive gaming experience like no other. A culmination of hours of storyline, character arcs and player involvement, it was a trilogy written like the best science-fiction mindbender space opera saga that never was. Characters died, stakes were high and by the end of the game I was emotionally drained. This engagement was helped by the dynamic plot, which changes depending on decisions made throughout the game to make each playthrough a new experience. And the ending? It’s a mind-blower in its own right.
The best graphic novel of 2012 was the amazing The Judas Coin. Amidst all of the reboots and crossover events from the Big Two this year, a major graphic novel release from a master of the form went almost completely ignored by mainstream audiences. Walt Simonson crafts a tale that spans the history of the DC Universe, picking up on obscure but intriguing characters from Silver Age comics to tell an intricate story of the history of one of the silver coins used to pay Judas Iscariot and the cursed fate it brings to those who possess it. Featuring a Western with Bat Lash, an ode to manga with Manhunter 2070 and a brilliant Batman/Two-Face story done in the style of a newspaper comic strip, it’s a pleasure to behold.