Now that the final releases of the year have come and gone, it’s time to look back at the comic books that kept me coming back for more throughout 2017!
There were a lot of great comic books released this past year, there’s no way I could fit them all into one post! This is the second of three planned posts looking at the best of what’s around from the last 12 months, with comics from DC Comics, Dark Horse, Image, IDW and Archie.
Since the start of 2017, I’ve bought more than 500 individual issues spanning a couple dozen series from various publishers. I’ve narrowed down my list of favorites to 15. Let’s take a look at my second batch of faves.
Before we start, be sure to check out PART 1!
My Favorite Book Cancelled Too Soon – The Once and Future Queen
Arthurian legend is a concept that writers have relied on for a while now, and we got a new twist on the concept in March, when Dark Horse released this book, written by Adam Knave and DJ Kirkbride, with art from Nick Brokenshire. The concept? A modern teenage girl named Rani pulls Excalibur from the Sword in the Stone after a chess tournament, making her the chosen one and gets dragged into The Fae War, along with Gwen, a girl from the tournament and Lance, a waiter Rani went to school with.
I absolutely loved the first two issues of the series – it had great writing and great art and the whole story had me invested almost immediately. Unfortunately, Dark Horse cited low sales and low interest for the single issues and cancelled the book after that, leaving a whole bunch of story hanging. Thankfully, they didn’t COMPLETELY give up on the story.
Instead, the publisher announced that the whole story would be released as a collected edition, which was released in November. I very happily found this under the tree last week, and I can’t wait to jump back into this world.
My Favorite Revival – The Wild Storm
I was never a regular reader of Wildstorm, even after it became an imprint of DC Comics in 1999, though I did enjoy several Wildstorm books (like Planetary, Desolation Jones and Ex Machina). After the imprint got absorbed into the larger DC Universe during the New 52 era, the legacy of the Wildstorm Universe seemed to have fallen by the wayside. But earlier this year, the publisher revived the basics of the universe with The Wild Storm. Written by comics great Warren Ellis and featuring characters like Grifter, The Engineer and Jenny Sparks. Over the 10 issues released this year, Ellis has been resetting the world where these characters live, devoid of superheroes but much more technologically advanced than the world in which we live.
A second miniseries, featuring professional assassin Michael Cray, is expanding on that world as well, and has featured alternate versions of DC Universe heroes Oliver Queen and Barry Allen. With more stories building up the world in 2018, fans of the original Wildstorm Universe should have a lot to look forward to.
My Favorite Crime Comic – Kill Or Be Killed
My favorite debut of 2016 has continued to be one of the best-written and best-drawn comics of 2017. In just 14 issues, the series has evolved from a book about a grad student who may or may not be threatened by a demon into killing people into a psychological drama about a troubled guy and issues he’s inherited from his family.
Writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips continue to build on Dylan’s story, his history and what could be happening to him. The majority of the series has been told in flashback so far, but the narrative has just shifted back to the present, as Dylan tries to figure out if the Demon that’s been haunting him since the first issue is real – and been haunting both his father and his half-brother – or if it’s just a shared delusion that’s run through the family.
My Favorite Team Book – Batgirl and the Birds of Prey
Batgirl has been a key component in bringing a sense of fun and whimsy back into the DC Universe long before the Rebirth initiative began last year. Thankfully, it continued into the era and the character proved so popular that she is the lead in two books – her main solo title and her team book with Huntress and Black Canary. The Birds of Prey have had a renaissance under writers Julie and Shawna Benson, bringing the heroines together and showing how they worked to become a team.
The interactions between the three women feel heartfelt and each story has built upon the last wonderfully. The highlight has been the most recent story, where the men of Gotham City fell ill, requiring the Birds to call in some reinforcements – basically all the female heroes in Gotham along with Wonder Woman. The last 12 months have been a great year for the Birds of Prey.
My Favorite Adaptation – Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: Shadows.
It’s been a big year for Neil Gaiman. Not only did the comic book adaptation of his seminal novel American Gods debut in February, but a TV adaptation as well. While the TV show has gotten a good bit of praise, the comic book, has been an amazing piece of art.
American Gods: Shadows was the first of three 9-issue comics adapting the novel, following the ex-con Shadow as he started a new job with the mysterious Wednesday after he got out of prison. Traveling the country and meeting many of the old gods who were slowly being replaced by new concepts to worship, Shadow began to find a place for himself where there wasn’t one before. P. Craig Russell’s adaption of the book is so good, it feels like I’m looking at the story the way I imagined it in my head when I first read it.
The second miniseries, American Gods: My Ainsel, kicks off in March.