Friday, 22 December 2017

Top 10 Best Comics of 2017


Here’s the rub: every time I’ve done my top 10 picks for best comics of the year since the goshdarn series started, I’ve plumped for Giant Days – with good reason, it really is the best comic in the world! So this year I’m adopting a similar view that film critics have taken with Citizen Kane and “Best Movies of All Time” lists – Giant Days is the undisputed greatest, that’s a given, so let’s just push that to the side and give something else a chance! So this year’s Top 10 Best Comics list doesn’t include Giant Days but it’s definitely my actual pick for the top spot. Onto the others!

10. The Unbelievable Gwenpool, Volume 2: Head of MODOK by Christopher Hastings et al. 
Marvel well and truly disappeared up its own bumhole this year, embracing the cancer that is far-left Social Justice Warrior identity politics and suffering declining sales due to nobody wanting to read ultra-shitty politically-correct comics! Still, their newest character turned out to also be their best comic. She might have a similar name, outfit and fourth-wall-breaking ability as Deadpool but Gwenpool is actually completely unrelated to the Merc with a Mouth. Gwen Poole is a Marvel fangirl who finds herself transported into the Marvel Universe proper and must use her knowledge of the comics to survive – as a supervillain!? Original, inventive, and great fun - Marvel, for fuck’s sake, make your New Year’s resolution be to put a stop with the bullshit virtue signalling and return to making this type of quality comic! 

9. Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen 
Sarah Andersen returns with another collection of amusing strips on the modern world and, of course, her neurotic self. 

8. Lady Killer 2 by Joelle Jones 
Joelle Jones delivers a superb sequel featuring a new adventure with her 1960s housewife who’s secretly an assassin. Great writing and art from the hugely talented Jones. 

7. Dragon Ball Super, Volume 1 by Akira Toriyama and Toyotarou 
After a 22 year break, Dragon Ball made a welcome return to the comics world with this strong first volume of the new series, Dragon Ball Super. Goku and co. face a new galactic threat – and what better way to deal with it than through a martial arts tournament? 

6. If My Dogs Were a Pair of Middle-Aged Men by Matthew Inman aka “The Oatmeal” 
Matthew Inman does exactly what the title says and imagines his dogs as a pair of middle-aged men! No idea where that concept came from but the result is an hilarious short book that had me laughing throughout – a must-read for fans of The Oatmeal and dog-owners! 

5. The Fix, Volume 2 by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber 
Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber’s anarchic comedy of corrupt coppers, lunatic gangsters and a beagle set against the madness of modern-day LA continues to be one of Image’s outstanding titles in this excellent second volume. 

4. Demon, Volume 2 by Jason Shiga 
Jason Shiga’s barmy and brilliant thriller/comedy Demon continues with this remarkably imaginative second volume. Jimmy’s figured out how to live forever – except the gov’mints tryna capture and study him! And they hold a trump card to lure him in: his daughter, Sweetpea! Shiga hits another homer with Demon, Volume 2 - an immensely fun and off-the-wall book. 

3. Roughneck by Jeff Lemire 
Jeff Lemire’s had a prolific year with numerous titles to his name from the likes of Marvel and DC yet his quietly understated indie offering, Roughneck, is easily the best of the bunch, as well as his finest work in years. Set in rural Canada, the cast of traumatised, poverty-stricken characters battle addiction and the ghosts of the past in a riveting, moving family drama. If you like Lemire’s early work, particularly the Essex County Trilogy, you’ll love Roughneck. 

2. The Walking Dead, Volume 28: A Certain Doom by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard 
The quality of the series is like a roller coaster, going from good to bad, from one to the other over and over, but when The Walking Dead’s good? There’s nothing else like it. And Volume 28: A Certain Doom is outstanding. Rick and his people face a mammoth herd of zombies in their biggest challenge to date – and not everyone is getting out alive. Main characters fall, others develop – a non-stop exciting, emotional read. The best Walking Dead book in years! 

1. Batman, Volume 1: I Am Gotham/Volume 2: I Am Suicide/Volume 3: I Am Bane by Tom King, David Finch, et al. 
Ok, so maybe the top spot should belong only to five star books and, seeing how I rated each of Tom King’s I Am… Batman trilogy four stars, maybe they shouldn’t take first place (or actual second, given Giant Days). HOWEVER. I’m a huge Batman fan and that basically trumps any notion of logical rating! Also, reading not one, not two, but three good Batman books in a row from the same writer in the same year is pretty damned impressive – not to mention nearly impossible to do!

I was very pleasantly surprised, after being underwhelmed by his other books (Omega Men, Sheriff of Babylon, Vision), to find that King’s Batman was actually really entertaining and great fun to read, particularly in the wake of a number of disappointingly sub-par volumes from his predecessor Scott Snyder. If you love Batman, you’ll get a lot from these books and I know I’ll be coming back to re-read them again in the future – cowls off to ye, Tom King! 

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Honourable mentions in alphabetical order: 

Bloodshot Reborn, Volume 4: Bloodshot Island by Jeff Lemire et al.
Fante Bukowski 2 by Noah Van Sciver
Haddon Hall: When David Invented Bowie by Nejib
Herman By Trade by Chris W. Kim
James Bond, Volume 2: Eidolon by Warren Ellis and Jason Masters
James Bond: Hammerhead by Andy Diggle and Luca Casalanguida
John Flood by Justin Jordan and Jorge Coelho
Savage, Volume 1 by B. Clay Moore and Clayton Henry
Sex Criminals, Volume 4: Fourgy! by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
Shirtless Bear-Fighter! by Jody LeHeup, Sebastian Girner and Nil Vendrell 
Unfollow, Volume 2: God Is Watching by Rob Williams et al. 
Weird Detective by Fred Van Lente and Guiu Villanova 

2 comments:

  1. I'm very fond of you, but Sheriff of Babylon was great ! Happy to read that Tom King ain't no one shot guy.
    Have a nice year, and thanks for your chronicles.

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    1. Aww, thanks John and have a nice year yourself!

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