A wise man once said, “It is never too late to show love.” That wise man of course being me. I made that up now, but hey, it works so I’ll trademark. I had so many problems numbering these in their respectful spots, still I managed. So you may have read my Top 10 Worst Comics of 2017, but now it’s all about the best ones, BABY! It took me slightly longer to compose this list because I didn’t want it to be half-assed (pardon my language). To keep this fair my rule is to only include comics that had at least 2 issues out in 2017, unless it was a one-shot or a tradepaperback or a graphic novel. Numbers 1-7 were all competing for the Top 3 spots very closely.
I swear this isn’t on my Top 10 just to make it look like there are more than Marvel and DC books. This is simply that great! So much should not work. A comic based on a board game? But it does. How? I really don’t know. The crazy part is the minute I open up the comic it already hooks me in. It is a murder-mystery-comedy and I cannot stress enough how good this is. Here’s a thing, this is written by an obvious SJW, last issue (issue #6) features some distracting lines that are really stupid and are charged with some political agenda. It’s a shame it could have been higher, even in Top 3, but regardless…..THAT ENDING! It was just beautiful. Despite some plot threads ending up not being completed and those couple distracting lines of dialogue nothing can erase the fun I had. It’s a really short 6 issue limited series. Do yourself a favor, stop reading the same old Amazing Spider-Man and read this.
9. Doomsday Clock
Did you really expect me not to include my man Geoff Johns on here, aka my favorite writer of all time? So Doomsday Clock is the sequel to the highly acclaimed novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons that revolutionized comics as a whole, Watchmen. Many including me were a bit worried A) The GREATEST graphic novel of all time is getting a part 2, B) The Watchmen are being introduced into the DC Universe to meet characters like Batman, Superman, Joker and so many others. Honestly? This comes nowhere near the original, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t amazing or one of the year’s best. In fact, it is an amazing story that respects the Moore mythology which ultimately makes the DC Universe evolve into a new stage of its history. Something no “Earth Shattering Event” could do.
By reading the 2 issues that have so far came out, I was able to notice the entire DC Universe shifting. It has taken a more mature, natural yet not overly gloomy approach that doesn’t erase the heroism of our beloved heroes. For example for the very first time in 80 years we begin to tackle the question, why are there so many metahumans (superpowered beings) in U.S. compared to the rest of the world? We also see an interesting rivalry happening between the two greatest corporations. LexCorp and Wayne Enterprises race off to who will be the first to uncover the metahuman mystery. The competition resembles the one of U.S. and Russia back as to who would be the first to send their man to space and then the moon. Doomsday Clock takes what makes the DC Universe so great and mixes it with what makes the Watchmen so beautiful.
And that art!!! We mustn’t forget about Gary Frank, I mean look at those watches!!!! Fun fact: he is a watchmaker (Oh shit! [pardon my language] Frank is Manhattan!!!) which means, c’mon, the guy was born to draw this. I also need to talk about the Watchmen characters which in my opinion are all so true to whom they were in the original. Staying away from spoilers, Rorschach is very, very interesting. I just hope everything keeps going the way it’s heading. Also the pancake scene! I’ll leave it at that.
8. Mister Miracle
7. Guardians of the Galaxy by Gerry Duggan
Starting here everything is contending for my Top 3 spots!!!! This is how good of a year this was.Now onto the comic itself. It is was the GREATEST SURPRISE of 2017. Marvel Comics has a tendency of destroying their past by trying to give heroes brand new characteristics or personas that resemble the versions of their movies. A disgusting tactic fueled by corporate greed. In 2017 I made a complete 180 about this stance. This is the BEST GotG run of all time. Every hero has a personality! How crazy? All previous runs on the heroes really leave out the potential of the concept, by not doing anything with the thing we should care for the most, the characters. The most integral part of storytelling if you think about it because if we don’t care about the characters we won’t care about the book.
This run started in March with the All-New Guardians of the Galaxy title, which was changed back to just Guardians of the Galaxy in October. The whole thing is setting you up for something big in the Marvel Universe which means if you wanna keep up with the most important story-line and don’t own much cash, read this. There is at least one issue dedicated to one of the heroes which fleshes them out in a new light. Even the changes which you expect to hate on, like Groot or Drax you eventually end up loving. I just get so much out of every issue, it represents what I love about entertainment as a whole. There is plenty here that can have you stop for a sec and make you go, “Wow.”
6. Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1
Where is my sequel?!?! Listen, I love Tom King, however his Batman I can’t get behind. Having this said he hit it out of the park on everything in this one-shot. Comedy? Action? Fun? All nailed down. When Batman meets Elmer Fudd from the Looney Tunes you really end up with something special. I read every minute of it and wanna do it again. I need a sequel right now! Wait…I already said that. I don’t wanna giveaway too much since it’s a single issue so you will just have to take my word for it. It’s just a must plus the short at the end adds another layer to my love of this.
5. Nova by Jeff Loveness & Ramon Perez
My #1 Comic of Q1! I had such a blast with this one until….well, ya know, Marvel cancelled it, but it was fun while it lasted. The return of a legendary Nova Corps member (space police), Richard Rider from the Cancerverse (a realm of death) must team up with his teenage fellow cosmic officer, Sam Alexander. I couldn’t tell you the complex subject matter the comic deals with or how it managed to revolutionize the medium because it didn’t. It doesn’t have to. It’s not that kinda story. What it was is something that made me feel fulfilled while experiencing and if you wanna have a good time just know this is worth picking up. It’s a story for everyone, understanding the lore isn’t required to enjoy. I would definitely recommend this to a kid. Sometimes the greatest masterpieces are the simplest ones. It may not seem like much, but this is what it was.
4. Unworthy Thor
Thinking back at it Unworthy Thor has been making an even bigger impression on me. If you’d ask me at the beginning of the year what I thought about it I would have said, “It’s amazing, but Nova beats it”. Now? This is definitely in my Top 5. There are plenty of reasons why I love this comic. 1) It chooses story over fan service. Don’t get me wrong, both are important however the ending it went with made a bigger impact because it culminated in all the character development Thor just went through. This brings me to my next point, 2) The team wants to work on it. Let me elaborate. When I read the ‘main’ Thor title staring Jane Foster as the God of Thunder it felt empty. I see no reason to stick around as it’s unknown if the writer even wants to himsELF. With the real Thor (Odinson) everything Aaron writes seems to be building up to something and when it comes it moves onto another idea. There is a plan for Odinson is what I’m trying to get at. With Jane FosThor it just feels like it’s only leading up to the Death of Jane Foster. It’s nice that Jason Aaron has an ultimate end goal for the heroine, but it doesn’t have to be the only one because then she lacking depth, development or any other basic story need.
Writer’s answer to make the current Mighty Thor title interesting is by introducing a 3rd Thor in a very rushed way. Okay it seems like I am bashing on J. Aaron by also praising him which is not my intent. Unworthy Thor is just the much more superior book and proves THE Thor is the one we really care about. To Mighty Thor’s defense now, that we are at Jane’s Ultimate end goal arc the story seems to finally be of quality. Going back to Unworthy the supporting characters are charming (love you Thori) and the antagonists are very cool. The art is lovely oh, let’s not forget one thing….MY THEORY WAS CORRECT. It has been a highly debated topic as to what Nick Fury bursting with the Watcher’s knowledge said to Thor’s ear in the Original Sin event back in 2014 that made him unworthy in the first place. I guessed the exact words 3 months in advance of the reveal! You can read my theory HERE and find out how I was able to figure it out. Overall, this mini-series culminates in everything I love about Thor.
3. X-O Manowar by Matt Kindt
Imagine a war epic set in space. I just wanna kiss Kindt for writing such a beauty. The more I read on, the more I became pumped up and just purely excited. It’s about an ancient warrior who discovered an alien suit. He fought on Earth (or should I say Urth? 😉 ), but currently finds himself on another planet. It gave me a ton of Ben-Hur vibes even though it probably has nothing to do with it. Maybe it’s the epic journey one has to go through, maybe it’s the theme of power, maybe the grandiose spectacle feel. This is built to become a big budget film adaptation. Some of the shots are purely breathtaking even though they’re is just pictures on a piece of paper. The pencils are accomplished by Tomas Giorello, an artist very ambitious at his work who is destined to tell more stories in the future. Why the Big Two aren’t fighting over the artist and writer is beyond my comprehension?
I have no doubts this needs to be in my Top 3. Matt Kindt is a genius in writing. If you think this is your typical “sci-fi” or “a man in a super suit, what’s new?” story you are DEAD (drop) WRONG!!! You don’t even know what you’re in for. Ain’t that the beauty?
2. Black Bolt
Another surprise on the list, this time the 2nd biggest one, we get another masterpiece at hand. How to describe my experience with this book? Wowing? Can I use that? Every issue just left me impressed, always ready to read the next one. I’ve seen many call it the Vision of 2017, which I do have to disagree with. Everyone wants to compare something they like to another thing they love and call it, “the <blank> of <blank>” but there’s no need. Black Bolt stands on its own and comparing it to something it’s not is not a good idea. I can see why the comparisons are made, but for me it’s difficult to top the Tom King masterpiece. Saladin Ahmed does come close, though. He highlights characters which is why even the most uninteresting concepts for people end up working. A villain I could not care for any less, Absorbing Man, shows up and gets the most beautiful character development of the year. There might have been times when I even got a bit teary-eyed. As a big critic of Inhumans Black Bolt seemed like he always had potential and guess what, it’s all displayed here. I am so interested to see as to where this series will go next year. Just downright impressed.
And I still didn’t mention the art direction! Christian J. Ward blows up the page with his pencils, however where he destroys anyone else out of the water are the COLORS! I do not know how else to describe such beautiful sight. So yeah, Black Bolt is my #2, buy it, read it, thank me later.
These are just as worthy. Consider them onto my Top 20 list which would be in the given order!
- Black Hammer
- Nightwing: New Order
- Superman Reborn
- Bloodshot Salvation
- Batman: White Knight
- Moon Knight
- Shade the Changing Girl
- Outcast & Saga (both I am catching up on, love dearly, but none of the issues I read came out this year, still need to mention)
1. Red Hood & the Outlaws
This is the one. Scott Lobdell gained a lot of hate when he wrote his run on Teen Titans and had a bit of criticism surrounding his Red Hood and the Outlaws New 52 work. Confession time, I actually liked (the first volume of) his Teen Titans run. I knew the guy had potential and could make wonders when he wanted to. Then Red Hood & the Outlaws Rebirth #1 came out in 2016 and blew everyone away. There was just so much emotion and heart to characters that normally are “too cool” to have them, but Lodbell said, “NO!” and decided to take Jason Todd, Bizarro and Artemis into places you never expected them to go. So what was my experience with the title? I smiled, I laughed, I cried, I was shocked, I was thrilled, I was satisfied. Red Hood & the Outlaws (2016) continued in 2017 as a series that broke new grounds and made me appreciate the medium I was investing in. Online you won’t find this on anybody’s Top 10 Comics of the Year list, don’t bother with anybody’s #1 choice, but I think that’s a shame. I love more comics that try to lean poetically like Mister Miracle or Vision, I love comics taking a real-world twist like Watchmen, but why ignore something that continued to fuel my love for comics? I think someone who would degrade RH&TOutlaws to just an action comic may be that person who wouldn’t be able to find just 10 comics for a Top 10 list. The thing is in something like this I was able to find bits of the poetry of Mister Miracle or the real-world nature of the Watchmen.
What would I describe this series as then? Heart, friendship, trying to break through someone’s expectation of you and love. That’s what this series was for me. The Outlaws are kind of a family and if you’re not reading them you’re truly missing out. Am love this comic.