Comics of the year: 2017

I typically don’t do these lists anymore since I find it particularly tough to review/rank comics due to their serialized format but, after reading Vice’s “top 10” list, I couldn’t help but create a small list of some of the books from the year that I really enjoyed. The following are series that either started or ended this year or specific issues that were released in the past twelve months.

Runner-up: Kill or be Killed (Series)
Image Comics
Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Elizabeth Breitweiser

While this series technically can’t be officially counted in the list since it’s an ongoing book that started in 2016, it has to be mentioned. Kill or be Killed combines the classic gritty crime that this team is famous for with a supernatural element that shakes things up. Phillips and Breitweiser’s art is top-notch, without question the best of their careers.

3.) Batman Annual #2 (Issue)
DC Comics
Tom King, Lee Weeks, Michael Lark, Elizabeth Breitweiser, June Chung

The beginning and end of Batman and Catwoman’s love story (yes, you read that right) is told by current Batman writer Tom King in this annual issue of the series. Weeks, Lark, Breitweiser, and Chung create timeless art that works seamlessly with the transition of time that King depicts in this future classic. The best part of a book like this, is that if you haven’t read an issue of the series, you’ll still be able to pick this one up and not miss a beat. Have a Kleenex handy for this one, it’ll pull on your heartstrings.

2.) Moon Knight (Series)
Marvel Comics
Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood, Francesco Francavilla, James Stokoe, Wilfredo Torres

This volume of Moon Knight, which concluded earlier in 2017, was unreal. A time and dimension hopping experience as Marc Spectre attempts to decipher what’s real, what isn’t (again) and, most importantly, which one of his different personalities is actually driving the car.

Lemire and Smallwood are a dream team to have assembled for this book as Lemire plays to Smallwood’s strengths and allows the artist to create some of the most amazing, mind-bending art of his career. The series is collected in three volumes, all of which are now available in a comic shop near you or on ComiXology.

1.) Doomsday Clock (Series)
DC Comics
Geoff Johns, Gary Frank

Watchmen is regarded by many as the essential comic book to read. It’s because of this that whenever DC decides they’re going to try and mess with the classic Watchmen characters in any way (which they’ve now done twice), people get nervous. Enter Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Doomsday Clock, which the company has been building towards since the start of the Rebirth initiative a couple years ago, that should bring the characters of Watchmen to the main DC universe.

Against all odds, so far, it works. Johns is, and has always been one of the greatest writers at DC and he continues to prove that here. If anyone was going to make this all gel together, it’s him. Team him up with Gary Frank, who has worked alongside Johns on Batman: Earth One and Shazam, and it’s pretty clear the company is not only batting for the fences but has so far knocked it out of the park.

An important thing to keep in mind about Doomsday Clock is that we’re only two issues in. Things can go sideways quickly but, for now, we have a comic that captures the feeling of the original book by Moore and Gibbons and adds new dimensions to not only the world of Watchmen but to the greater DCU as well. It’s risky, it’s not finished, but man is it fascinating to read.

2017 was a great year for comics. I’ve said for years that there’s a comic for everyone if they’re willing to look for it. This year added a great new selection of books for people to choose from and i’m really looking forward to seeing how some of these books continue into 2018.

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