Welcome to the Comic Bastards end of the year list. Similar to our group reviews, each of the participating writers will be giving their picks for their best and also worst comics of 2017. Without further ado, here are our #3 picks for Best of 2017.
Dustin - Godshaper
Godshaper was something special to read each month. It was one of the few titles that I actually paid attention to its release date. The story takes place in a world in which all technology stopped working one day. Suddenly everyone was back to pre-electricity days, but now everyone had a personal God. These Gods became the currency of the world. But, there are those without Gods. These people can shape and change Gods, but they’re looked down upon and cast out of society. The story follows Ennay and Bob, a Godshaper and a God without a person.
Don’t get me wrong, the story is great. It’s Simon Spurrier’s best work as far as I’m concerned. The real star is Jonas Goonface, whose artwork stayed with me long after reading. In fact, when I sat down to make my list Godshaper was the first one I added to the list because I knew already that it was on the list. The artwork is powerful. Not just the way Goonface creators the world, but the emotion and passion that’s injected into it. This isn’t a sad book or a happy book. It’s a story that captures the way our world is. It’s full of life and life has good and bad moments, just like this story. Godshaper is the type of book that makes you wish that more people were focused on the craft of comics, rather than selling comics.
Ben - Kill Or Be Killed
Few are as consistently great as Kill or Be Killed. The script is always on point as Ed Brubaker effortlessly flips between the possible paranormal, the schizophrenia, and the Russian mafia. None of it overwhelms, all of the writing is thoughtful, twisted, and funny, and the action rocks. I think the cleverest thing Brubaker does in this series is that he never gives you stable footing, you’re never entirely sure where the story might go, and now that the devil is back involved it could go in an entirely new and interesting direction.
Sean Phillip’s art adds the ideal noir-inspired compliment to Brubaker’s script. The long-time partners work so well in tandem with each other and Kill or Be Killed is just another example of it.
Oliver - MISTER MIRACLE
Possibly the most talked-about book of the year, Tom King, and Mitch Gerads’ Mister Miracle lives up to the hype. King and Gerads have managed a spectacularly unsettling reimagining of one of Jack Kirby’s very best series, and one which understands just how important the relationship between Scott and Barda Free is. It’s beautiful, claustrophobic, unnerving, and profoundly emotionally powerful when it wants to be. There aren’t many creators I trust to reimagine Kirby’s Fourth World characters effectively, but King and Gerads have made their way to the top of that list already.
Mister Miracle and Big Barda have never really been A-list characters, but perhaps they’ll be a bit closer once this series is done. They certainly deserve it.
Jonathan - Plastic
Plastic is weird and dark and gruesome and a true love story that turns convention completely on its head. It stands firmly when it declares that its main character is in love with a sex doll, but that doesn’t mean his love is any less real or worth fighting for. In fact, it celebrates Edwyn’s commitment both to Virginia and overcoming his darkness. And when you take a step back to look at his character and actions, he is a good guy. Not just the good guy in the scenario (although he is that too), but a truly good guy.
Daniel Hillyard’s art and Laura Martin’s colors go to great lengths to craft a subtle but deliberate aesthetic that pairs perfectly with the nuances of Doug Wagner’s script. I don’t think it’s a stretch to call Plastic the most “different” inclusion in my top five. So, if that’s your thing and you have the stomach for some pretty blatant gore, I can’t recommend it enough.