2022 kicked off with a bang as there was a ton of things that took place in January across various comic books. Just about every comic book that I read this week had something big and notable that made picking the normal five moments of the month incredibly tough. Because of that I’ve decided we should kick January 2022 off big by expanding the number of moments for the month to ten. Even with an increased number it was honestly hard to only pick ten moments from the large pull of selections that could’ve been made. What were the comic book moments that made the cut for best of January 2022? Let’s take a look.
A big change that we’ve seen Bruce Wayne go through recent years is the importance he has placed on family. He’s always cared about everyone in the Batman Family but after Alfred Pennyworth’s death his care for his family has increased. This meeting with Lex Luthor is yet another example as Bruce does not hesitate in beating up Lex for talking bad about the good things Dick Grayson is doing with his fortune. If it wasn’t for Lex cowering and taking back for his words he would’ve been floating in a pool of his own blood. That is how angry Bruce clearly was in this moment.
This meeting between Bruce and Lex also firmly established the continuity of Lex Luthor knowing all of the superhero identities. That is not something that has been addressed very often but I’m glad that in the Infinite Frontier Era has been kept as it changes the dynamic Lex has with the entire DC Universe. At any moment Lex could expose all of the DCU’s heroes identities if he wanted to but clearly doesn’t. That makes whatever bigger plans Lex has with Batman Inc and other things he has in development have a much more sinister vibe to them.
BLACK WIDOW #13
Month-in-month-out Black Widow sits atop the comic book world with the best artwork you will find in any series. The artwork by Rafael T. Pimentel continues that trend as his art for the entirety of Black Widow #13 was phenomenal. He created greater layers for this flashback story by employing an old school design for Natasha Romanoff and the world around her in this issue. It all helped get the reader into the mindset of being placed in a time machine to look back at a major fight Natasha had early into her Black Widow career.
Also props to Jordie Bellaire for the coloring of this issue further elevating the style Pimentel implemented. The coloring really helped in establishing the look of reading a Marvel comic book from the 1970s or 1980s. If I could honestly put more pages from Black Widow #13 I would. But the above image will have to suffice as it’s a great example of how Pimentel’s penciling and Bellaires coloring combined for stunning, layered artwork.
DETECTIVE COMICS #1047
This moment from Detective Comics #1047 is yet another example of how important it is for a writer to trust an artist to tell the story when needed. That was we see here as Matthew Rosenberg reigns back on having minimal dialogue so that Fernando Blanco’s art tells the story of this confrontation between Batman and a kid holding him up at gunpoint. Batman immediately recognizing that he arrived to late to save the father and mother of the family from the atrocities that Joker used to kill all of them while their son watched while hiding in a closet. Understanding the situation that he arrive to Batman knew that the boy was absolutely traumatized by what he witness happen to his parents at Joker’s hand.
In that moment Batman knew he had to get on the boy’s level so that they can meet eye to eye. It’s a simple jesture that made the moment when Batman stood up even more impactful. He didn’t stand to intimidate the kid but continue to show he understood the pay the young boy was feeling and not wanting the kid to do something he would regret later in life. Its definitely an example I will point to of how writers can carefully pick what is said so that the writing enhances a powerful moment an artist is drawing.
When all was said and done with Jonathan Hickman’s time on the X-Men franchise we saw Charles Xavier, Magneto, and Moira MacTaggert face the consequences for all the secrets they have been keeping. Emma Frost being the one to make the three face these consequences was an excellent development. The fact that she let Xavier and Magneto stay dead for an entire week so she and the Quiet Council further emphasized the weight of what took place in Inferno.
It also allowed the Quiet Council all to come to a consensus of helping Xavier and Magneto maintain these secrets for the betterment of Krakoa with out the two key figureheads trying to manipulate their way to this conclusion. Emma giving Xavier the Cerebro Helmet and telling him to enjoy his heavy crown all drove home how much Hickman has accomplished with his X-Men run.
MARY JANE & BLACK CAT: BEYOND #1
With how much history the two share it is good that we actually see positive progress in the relationship between Mary Jane Watson and Felicia Hardy. It was way beyond time for a story where they actually got to know each other separate from their ties to Peter Parker. While the Mary Jane & Black Cat: Beyond one-shot did center around MJ and Felicia protecting Peter it wasn’t what the heart of the story was. Rather we got to see how through the adventure where they had to team-up to overcome the threat of The Hood they were able to come to a better understanding with each other.
That understanding created the foundation for both MJ and Felicia to be honest about themselves to each other for the first time. It was all a good way to call out how so many writers in the past never got past having their being an underlying hostility with each other. Moving beyond that to realize how they are similar was a great resolution to move both characters forward as individuals and friends. It also worked well into the greater narrative with Felicia’s character and how her own relationship with Peter is now morphed into being best friends, something we saw in this past week’s Amazing Spider-Man #87.
MIGHTY MORPHIN #15
If there is one thing I never imagined we would see happen it is the White Tigerzord and Dragonzord combining to create a new Megazord. But that is exactly what The Eltarian War pushed the Power Rangers to accomplish as we saw the debut of the White Tiger Dragonzord in Mighty Morphin #15. It was something that when it happened I couldn’t contain my hype when seeing it on the page. The entire transformation was well handled to show how the White Tigerzord and Dragonzord came together. It tapped into how we saw the Zords combine together for the Megazords on the show.
There is no superhero team that brings the hype like seeing Wolfman/Perez Titans of Nightwing, Flash (Wally West), Donna Troy, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy together. I personally put this team above the Avengers, Justice League, and even the X-Men in terms of the excitement I get seeing them together saving the day together. Which is why I’m so disappointed that DC Comics can’t seem to get it right when it comes to trying to capture the magic of the Wolfman/Perez Titans.
This splash page from Nightwing #88, along with the entire team-up in the issue, just shows me that there is so much untapped potential with this Titans team. It is just going to take a creative team that understands that you can write these characters as adults who have as much experience as any hero in the DCU. If a creative team can tap into that potential the Titans could easily stand on the same playing field as the Justice League.
SUPERMAN & ROBIN SPECIAL #1
There is nothing like seeing Damian Wayne and Jon Kent reuniting as the Super Sons again. It is a real shame that due to all the stories these two have been involved in we don’t see them team-up very often anymore. Which is what made this team-up in the Superman & Robin Special one-shot so great. In this final panel for the issue Peter Tomasi was able to have both characters open up in an honest way that makes great use of that fact. It makes their friendship so relatable as even with best friends when you grow older you do sometimes just drift apart. The important thing is that they both understand that not hanging out all the time doesn’t mean they aren’t best friends. This adventure that Damian and Jon have works well to reestablish that they will always be the Super Sons.
If you told me that we would begin the year in Thor with Mjolnir coming to life and claiming the title of God of Hammers I would not have believed you. That is just such an out there idea that I wouldn’t have believe the pitch. But that is exactly what we are currently seeing take place as Mjolnir is laying waste to Thor and the Marvel Universe. Credit to Donny Cates and Nic Klein’s work on Thor thus far making this development work within the context of the epic they are telling with their run. Even if the idea sounds and looks wild it does feel like the natural next step in the journey Thor is currently on.
As a Scott Summers fan getting badass Cyclops action scenes are rare and far in between. We really never get them as Cyclops usually is left with the role of leading but never getting the big badass action sequence when things are going down. That all changed with X-Men #7 as Pepe Larraz reminded everyone how badass Cyclops is with this trick optic blast that used his genius in trigonometry to take out a horde of creatures by simply using a streetlight to get it done. It is absolutely a badass scene and hopefully the type of moves we see Cyclops pull off more often in future X-Men stories.