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The 12 Most Notable #12’s in Comic Book History!

You didn’t think I’d let 12/12/12 pass without doing this, did you? Time to celebrate the twelve most notable twelfth issues in comic book history!


In no particular order (well, the first ten are in no particular order)…

Watchmen #12

The conclusion to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ epic story, as we see the ramifications of Ozymandias’ seemingly crazed plan. How do our heroes handle the fallout from their former friend’s actions? Can they keep quiet for the betterment of the world? One of them definitely can’t, so how do they deal with it? Fascinating questions answered in this dramatic and compelling finale.

Fantastic Four #12

The first crossover of Marvel superheroes. Pretty damn notable, right?

Crisis on Infinite Earths #12

The (as it turned out, temporary) tend of the Multiverse as 50 years of continuity was wiped out to create a fresh new world for Barbara Gordon to be crippled and Black Canary to be tortured!

Alpha Flight #12

The death of the Guardian! One of the most shocking comic book deaths of all-time! It is not so shocking now because of how often major characters are killed nowadays, but at the time, John Byrne killing the ostensible lead of the comic book was a real shock.

Amazing Spider-Man #12

The first time Spider-Man was unmasked! Great Lee/Ditko tale of Spider-Man trying his best to fight a more powerful foe (something that comes up a lot in Spidey stories, and this was one of the earliest uses of the trope).

Squadron Supreme #12

The finale to Mark Gruenwald’s epic visualization of what it would be like if superheroes tried to handle things “realistically.” Things would unsurprisingly go poorly.

Captain America Annual #12

The first appearance of the Battling Bantam!

Okay, I guess this actually doesn’t belong on this list. Never mind. Carrying on!

Marvel Super-Heroes #12

The first appearance of Col. Yon-Rogg and Medic Una!

X-Men #12

The first appearance of the Juggernaut!

Red Rackham’s Treasure

The twelfth Tintin album, it introduced Professor Cuthbert Calculus and is likely the best-selling album of the entire Tintin series! Wow!

Planetary #12

The reveal of the Fourth Man!

Preacher #12

The classic Jesse Custer/Jody fight to the death.

Invincible #12

Basically the real beginning of this long-running series. Young Mark Grayson thought that his father was the Superman of his world, but in reality, his father was part of an alien invasion. His father wants him to join him and he is not above beating an alliance out of his son. Can Mark stand up to his father and perhaps temporarily save the Earth? A brutal but moving issue by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley. This book sets up the status quo for the book that is mostly intact over 80 issues later.

I’ll accept suggestions for a better choice than Invincible #12. The rest are now locked in. Son of Satan gets his own feature? First Doctor Light? First Gambler? First Thinker? First Blue Alien Starman? First Valiant Turok? Last issue of Secret Wars? Last issue of Camelot 3000? Last issue of Nextwave? Last issue of pick-a-maxi-series? Earth X, Inhumans, Punisher: Welcome Back Frank? There are a lot of choices to choose from)


Planetary #12. The Fourth Man revealed! Planetary goes on the offensive! The turning point for the entire series.

This won’t make the list, but I loved this series as a kid: Damage #12. Resolved the year-long mystery of his parents’ identity, plus a cool photo cover. Ah, ’90s.

Oh man am I pleased to see Squadron Supreme make it onto the list! If ever there were a shining example of a brilliant comic book that is severely overlooked, that would be it!

(Although then again, I suppose in this day and age, you could say the same about lots of comics not receiving enough love…)

That is by far the best issue of Lee/Kirby’s X-Men. The suspense as the Juggernaut comes closer unseen is awesome. Almost a campfire story kind of thing. And you can tell that Kirby was more into it than usual because his art was much closer to his usual standards than in other issues of X-Men.

Preacher #12. Jesse Custer works out his family issues in the most cathartically violent way possible.

Planetary #12. The Fourth Man revealed! Planetary goes on the offensive! The turning point for the entire series.

This won’t make the list, but I loved this series as a kid: Damage #12. Resolved the year-long mystery of his parents’ identity, plus a cool photo cover. Ah, ’90s.

You’ve convinced me! You’re off the list, Doctor Light!

Preacher #12. Jesse Custer works out his family issues in the most cathartically violent way possible.

Good call, Neil! I like it! I think I got too caught up in first and last issues, I forgot the notable aspects of those two #12 issues.

Ah, I was just looking at Preacher, too!

Honorable mention to The Twelve, a title that took 45 years to reach issue twelve.

On a more serious note, there are a couple of other decent #12s. Someone already mentioned Planetary #12. I’ll add 52 #12 (Adrianna becomes Isis!), Starman #1.2 (Nash rapes Jack Knight and wrecks serious havoc on Opal), and New Teen Titans #12 (Clash of the Titans)

I’d say that Invincible should stay and Bantam should go in favour of Starman. A character that has never really done anything is way less important than the conception of the child that would cause Jack to eventually quit herping or the change that made Invincible unique rather than just another Image hero.

Nextwave #12! Nuff said. Definitely Planetary #12. Wildcats 3.0 #12 was the perfect end to a perfect Year One of comic books in which Joe Casey asked what would happen if someone invented a battery that never ran out. Transformers Generation 2 #12 was the end of Marvel’s Transformers era, 48 pages, contained a death and resurrection of Optimus Prime and united Autobots and Decepticons. Maybe Astonishing X-Men #12?

I looked at Cerebus, but man, I don’t even know what was going on in that 12. The 12th phone book is Rick’s Story, which is the storyline where I first picked up the book. The reprint by issues of High Society and Church and State include HS 12, where Cerebus is at a convention.

Spawn 12 (the segue totally makes sense in my head!) gave us the reveal of who killed Al Simmons!

Umm. Hmmm. Can’t think of any other good ones off the top of my head.

I notice ASM uses the “Not a dream! Not an imaginary tale!” copy, and that’s something I mostly associate with DC. Did Marvel use that kind of copy very much?

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures” #12. This is the issue where the series truly began its own original continuity.

Not only is UXM #12 the first Juggernaut, it’s the first time we get any kind of origin for Professor X. Double special!


How about 2000ad issue twelve the return of the Mekon to the modern Dan Dare strip. That’s pretty damned important stuff… well this side of the pond anyway!


Alpha Flight #12 is always the first one that comes to mind. Talk about a shock ending.

I bought the final issues of Crisis and Squadron Supreme fresh off the stands, so those are equally memorable for their high death toll and poignant endings.

A personal favorite would be G.I. Joe #12 (Marvel) which was the first issue of that series for me. It’s also the beginning of the classic Snake-Eyes/Kwinn/Dr. Venom story arc.

Actually, as our pal Burgas reminded me the other day with Scratching out the Lines, Earth X 12 was NOT the final issue of that maxi series. I think it was Earth X: X, maybe. But I went looking at that post thinking it was the last page of the series, and Greg mentioned that it was a set up for the finale.

So there’s that.

If you’ve got a good magnifying glass, you can actually read the entire first 11 issues of Planetary on that cover, right? Maybe not quite….

Did anyone ever do…anything with the Battling Bantam? I think he’s a Chicken Dance instructor at weddings now….

Including a Tintin album on this list is ridiculous. Not that they aren’t good, but as collections of serialised newspaper strips, they’re far removed from the rest of this list. Not to mention it’s arguably not even a 12th volume since Tintin in the Land of the Soviets was long excluded from the count (as it appears in the French backcovers of my youth).

@Travis Pelkie: In the Marvel Appendix profile on Slapstick, James Fry talked about what would have happened on the title, including a chicken-villain team-up of Black Talon and Gamecock. One of the Appendix’s editors suggested that Bantam get added to the mix, and Fry agreed. They’re all brothers.


X-Men (2nd Series) 12, September, 1992. Notable because it is the first issue after Jim Lee, for/because of whom the 2nd series was launched, left Marvel for Image. It is also the first X-Men issue penned by Fabian Nicieza. Featuring an unstoppable mutant villain who would mostly prattle on in riddles instead of fighting because his powers negated the X-Men’s capability to harm him, it would set the tone for the 90s X-Men.

The first thing I thought of was Squadron Supreme #12, but I didn’t think it would make the list. Nice to see I was wrong.

Magnus, Robot Fighter (VALIANT) #12 – First Turok, excellent all around issue.

I can’t help but notice the “joking” hypocrisy on this list.

From the write-up for “Crisis #12″: “The (as it turned out, temporary) tend of the Multiverse as 50 years of continuity was wiped out to create a fresh new world for Barbara Gordon to be crippled and Black Canary to be tortured!”

And then the very next choice of “Alpha Flight #12″ lauds the death of Guardian and then later “Preacher #12″ is seemingly praised for a “battle to the death” and then, of course, we have “Invincible #12″ with its cover showing the lead character beaten, bloodied and left for dead (by his own daddy, for the added child-abusey goodness).

I guess crippling and torturing are bad when a female character’s involved but if a male character’s killed off or merely brutalized it’s perfectly fine.

And I mocked the introduction of Bantam while praising the introduction of Professor Calculus! Joking hypocrisy! If you praise one introduction, you must praise them all!

Amazing Spider-Man #1 was also March 1963. Did FF #12 come out on an earlier week or something? I’m just curious why that’s considered the first crossover.

Yeah, it came out before Amazing #1. The same month, but earlier in it.

Other characters who made their comics debuts in #12s include Jenny Quantum, the Uni-Mind, Doctor Mist, the most recent Amazing-Man, Brik of the GLC, Gotham Central’s Jim Corrigan, Kent Shakespeare, Onomatopoeia, the menace of Mystek!, and Harley fluffernutting Quinn.

Of those, I actually considered Harley Quinn, but it is hard to call it notable when no one really remembers that as her first appearance, ya know?

Man-Thing #12, Song-Cry of the Living Dead Man, is not exactly the most influential comic ever, but it is extremely good and arguably the most influential Man-Thing comic ever…

Hey, I’m just impressed that you listed the Gambler and the Thinker.

Crisis is such a better limited series then Watchmen.

Dazzler #12 was inked by Vince Colletta! Plus, you could win a 10-speed (according to the cover)!

Seriously, though, virtually every modern comic is going to have a #12 that ends a story arc. Many of these are going to be remembered as “notable”, as opposed to mid-arc issues that are much less consistent.

Aside from Watchmen, Crisis, and Alpha Flight, the first one that came to mind–and I’m really surprised no one else has mentioned it–is The Authority 12, which was the finale to the Ellis/Hitch run, and (spoiler alert) the death of Jenny Sparks, who was a pretty important character at the time.

And I’d also like to cast my vote for Magnus 12. During the boom era, this was probably the most rabidly sought after post-Silver Age issue in all of comics for a good 2-3 years, and really symbolized the times, and Valiant as a company.

Ostrander and Mandrake’s Spectre #12. My all time favorite run. That issue was the climax to the first arc, the confrontation with the Reaver, the death of Amy – and Corrigan and Nate Kane’s reaction to it. All of which drove much of the series after that.

I have only read 3 of the things on that list, and one of them was the Battling Bantam.

Weirdly (or maybe not so weirdly), that’s the only one on the list that I haven’t read.

A Horde of Evil Hipsters

December 14, 2012 at 3:49 am

“Crisis is such a better limited series then Watchmen.”

Ah, this is the CBR I know and love. Commentators who aren’t afraid of making complete asses of themselves if it means taking a pot shot at Alan Moore. Grow up, kids.

Quite a lot of us viewed Crisis as a big deal back in 1985 while having no idea that Watchmen would become such a hallmark of modern literature.

I finally read Watchmen at the start of our present century. Let’s see here: The story to end all superhero stories. Comics as cinematography. A rapist who knows too much is murdered. A vigilante who thinks like Steve Ditko investigates. The atom bomb saves humanity from eternal warfare by blowing up half its number. Brilliant and unparalleled, yes. A classic? So say the masses and most leading critics.

But I still skipped it in 1986 and preferred Crisis for what it meant to me at the time. I’m sure there are others who did the same.

The lesson? To each his own.

“Howard the Duck” #12: The debut of KISS as comic book characters.

What about Secret Wars #12?

It didnt’ have the cover & awesome battle of Doom vs the Beyonder of #10, but it was all the heroes against an all powerful Doom. That’s gotta be worth sumthin’.

Evil Hipster, douchebag, Watchmen isn’t even Moore’s best work. I’m take shot at ignorant,pompous, elitest douchebags, not Moore. Love me some good Moore: Tom Strong, Supreme, What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow.

I know it’s not truly notable but GI Joe#12 is a hugely good and important. Part One of the first real defining multi issue story arc! The return or Kwinn! The beginning of the end for the non Hasbro characters! “the logical conclusion is unfortunately fatal!”

And so said it’s become “hip” to dismiss Watchmen.

Cerebus the Aardvark 12 featured the big clash between The Cockroach and Elrod the Albino – possibly the ninth greatest non-event of the series.

Death Note volume 12 featured the final battle of wits in that manga series as it ended..

Far be it that Marvel wouldn’t screw this up, but on their digital comics list they have FF #12 and Amazing Spidey #1 coming out the same day- March 10th, 1963.



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