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 #5 picks for Best of 2017.
Dustin - Deathstroke
Deathstroke almost didn’t make it on my list. It was nearly edged out by another title, but I kept coming back to just how amazing this series has been in 2017. It was great in 2016, and those paying attention will notice that it’s not only the only ongoing series to make my list two years in a row, but it’s the first ongoing DC title ever to make my list two years in a row.
I have already heaped praises on this series, but I will say again that it’s career-defining work from Priest and considering his career, I mean it. He is giving a master class on writing superheroes by keeping them grounded. They may be able to do amazing things, but their personalities and character are more real than anything else coming from the corporate world of superhero comics.
While Deathstroke isn’t bi-weekly, it still releases quickly and steadily. Yet the artwork always remains some of the best in the industry. The creators care about the product they’re producing, and if their goal is to make comics that defy the era and manage to be timeless, well, they’re succeeding because that’s exactly what I think when I look at the pages. As far as ongoing titles go, this is the best one out there. There are some mini-series that are kicking off that might take the crown of “best of DC,” but for ongoing, you can’t go wrong with Deathstroke.
Ben - Batman: White Knight
While there have been Joker-centric stories in the past, few have taken the angle that Sean Murphy’s Batman: White Knight has. With the story refocusing the dynamic through a “cured” Joker, we are shown something that we have felt all along, that the Batman might not be the best thing for Gotham. Murphy’s script allows all of the complaints about superhero’s to be told in a thoughtful and realistic ways. In White Knight, people are pissed about their roofs being destroyed by high Octane Batmobile chases.
There’s a long and illustrious legacy of Batman limited series, and White Knight is destined to follow suit.
Oliver - GIANT DAYS
John Allison and Max Sarin’s Giant Days is one of the most reliable creator-owned books out there. It started out great and has only improved since then. I know it’s not new, but it’s still one of the highlights of my year; every time I get my hands on any new Giant Days, I know I’m in for a delightful time.
Giant Days is a small-scale, slice-of-life comedy set in a British university. That’s all you need to know. John Allison’s characters are all wonderful, as they have been for the last 15 years, and Max Sarin’s delightfully expressive art just gets better as the series goes on. There honestly isn’t much to say here; Giant Days in 2017 is still Giant Days, and that’s perfect. It’s always one of my favorite books, and I hope that doesn’t change anytime soon.
Jonathan - Royal City
Royal City marks Jeff Lemire’s first ongoing series as both writer and artist since Trillium, and what a welcome return to form it is. Don’t get me wrong; he does plenty of great work as a writer working with other artists and vice versa. However, the precision with which he’s able to execute his vision when it’s just him at the helm is both unparalleled and magnificent. And, we get nothing less here. Introducing us to the Pike family and their hometown, the eponymous Royal City, Lemire takes us on a dreamy, evocative and bittersweet journey through genuine human drama with a hint of something a bit more extraordinary. Between the intrigue, grounded and relatable character dynamics, and Lemire’s brilliant art, it’s hard to do anything but get swept up in the story and want more after reaching the end of each issue.