A list of comics that Jake looked forward to month in and month out in 2017. Requirements: purchased monthly, as opposed to collected format, and had to come out in 2017 obv. Also, we’re looking at the impact these had on him over the course of the year.
Marvel/Writer: Al Ewing
Main Artist: Travel Foreman w/ Aud Koch
Color Artist: Dan Brown w/ Matt Yachey/Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Ultimates is the brave little super-science book that could. Surviving a title change (complete with amazing/ridiculous superscript) and tie-ins to BOTH Civil War II and Secret Empire, the cosmic-level team of Captain Marvel, Spectrum, Blue Marvel, Black Panther and America Chavez worked to uncover the greatest mystery in the rebooted universe: who chained Eternity? Ewing continues to throw crazy concepts at the page, with new volume artists Travel Foreman and Aud Koch more than willing to take the ball and run. With Brown and Yachey providing excellent tone and consistency and Sabino stepping up when some of the higher powers come into play, Ultimates2 is a damn wild ride.
Marvel /Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Veronica Fish/Color Artist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
From one ending to another (not the last for this list), everyone’s favorite superhero-turned-detective-but-is-still-a-superhero, Spider-Woman, wrapped up her book this year to the tune of many happy tears. Hopeless and Fish pack these final few issues with enough heart and emotion to sink a helicarrier. While it would’ve been great to see this series carry on for a few more arcs years decades, one can hardly complain when an ongoing book’s ending is this satisfying.
Marvel /Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Leonardo Romero w/Michael Walsh
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire/Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino w/Travis Lanham
Hey! Remember way back, in Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye run, when Kate Bishop (Hawkeye, but not the Hawkguy) went to L.A. with Lucky aka Pizza Dog and became a private investigator and had adventures (and got drawn by Annie Wu)? Remember how fun and great that was? Well, that’s essentially what this series is (minus the Annie Wu, sadly). Yes, someone in Marvel’s editorial realized the gold they’d unearthed and gave it to Thompson, Romero and Bellaire to vein mine and main line it straight to the readers (mixing my metaphors a bit there). Gorgeous, fun and with a surprising amount of heart and a not-so surprising amount of sass, the book is an excellent reflection of its protagonist, which, if you ask Miss Bishop, is the best compliment one can give.
#7: Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Marvel /Writer: Ryan North
Artists: Erica Henderson/Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: Travis Lanham
This book, man. Every time it shows up in my pulls, I say to myself with utmost derision “Oh boy, Squirrel Girl, can’t wait for more wacky hijinks” *eyeroll* *fake vomit*. And yet, every time I get through with the issue, I say to myself with utmost sincerity “holy crap, that was so much fun.” Between North’s perfectly ridiculous plot and voice and Henderson’s exaggerated expressions and impeccable comedic timing, all-ages comedy series don’t get much better than this.
That was my review of this series from last year’s top 10. And, while all of what I said is still true, something changed from then to now: I dropped this book from my regular reading. It happened after I missed an issue and didn’t realize it until the next one came out. I thought, “If I didn’t even notice that I’d gone approximately a month without reading this book, it must not be good enough to keep reading.” And so I went on with my year. Then, I was going through the books I bought in order to make this list, saw I’d bought a handful of USG and decided to give a reread to see where it fell.
I don’t know why I ever stopped reading this book. I’m having trouble describing the sensation in an apt or clever way so I’ll just be forthright. USG is the best episodic content ever because when you aren’t watching it, you don’t miss it, but, when you are, it’s the best thing you’ve ever seen. And while that might not be to everyone’s taste (it is, after all, only seventh on this list), that counts for something. Utterly enjoyable.
#6: Batman/The Flash: The Button
DC Comics/Writers: Tom King & Joshua Williamson
Artists: Jason Fabok, Howard Porter/Colorist: Brad Anderson, Hi-Fi
Letterer: Deron Bennett, Steve Wands
Trying to give an abbreviated version of this book’s background. In DC Rebirth, it was revealed that someone (read: Doctor Manhattan) had stolen time and people and emotion from the DC Universe and created the New 52 after Flashpoint. One of the clues discovered pointing to this was the Comedian’s button in the Batcave. This is the book that details Batman and the Flash’s attempt to follow that trail, which takes them to some very interesting places to meet some very interesting people. Honestly, this book would’ve made the list on the first issue alone, but what comes after is honestly one of the most interesting and provoking stories in comics this year. Tick tock.
#5: Mister Miracle
DC Comics/Writer: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads/Letters: Clayton Cowles
From one Tom King collab to another, Mister Miracle sees the writer from 2016’s Number One Comic, The Vision, reuniting with his Sheriff of Babylon co-creator, Mitch Gerads, to provide a similar spin on the story of everyone’s favorite escape artist. Mister Miracle is of a similar vein (using that word far too much on this list) to the Vision, so if you’ve read that book (andseriouslywhythefuckhaven’tyougetyourshittogether) you know something to expect of the tone of this book. But—I promise you—you have no idea what’s coming next as you read this book. This book is out there and an incredible spectacle. I’ve no idea where it’s going, but I honestly can’t wait to see.
#4: Moon Knight
Marvel/Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Greg Smallwood/Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Once again, we return. Wait, shit, wrong book. Anyway, I warned you last year that I’d be gushing about Moon Knight once again on this list, but did you listen? Nooooo. Oh. You did? Well, alright then. While 2017 saw the end of Lemire’s epic run on MK, the series went out with a bang by giving us an much-needed refresh of Marc Spector’s origin and an incredibly cathartic conclusion to the character. Lemire, Smallwood, and Bellaire (along with the guest artists from last year) have crafted the quintessential Moon Knight story, a run so complete and so fulfilling that it eclipses all others. …that feels like the first moon pun I’ve made about this book, which can’t be true.
#3: Detective Comics
Writer: James Tynion IV w/Marguerite Bennett & Christopher Sebela
Main Artists: Christian Duce, Marcio Takara, Alvaro Martinez, Carmen Carnero, Eddy Barrows
Inkers: Raul Fernandez, Eber Ferreira
Main Colors: Alex Sinclair, Marcelo Maiolo, Brad Anderson, Ulises Arreola, Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Man, it has been a doozy of a year for the Bat-team. From the epic Orphan-centric “League of Shadows,” to the surprisingly impactful “Intelligence,” to the incredible “A Lonely Place of Living,” to the beginning of the ongoing “Fall of the Batmen” storylines, Detective Comics has been been one busy little bee. What’s frankly amazing about it is, depending on how you feel about a few Spoiler-centered issues, there hasn’t been a single dip in quality between the lot of them. Detective Comics is a hell of an achievement, one that gets better with every issue.
#2: The Wicked + The Divine
Image/Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Jamie McKelvie/Colorist: Matt Wilson
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Finally, once again, we return. Continuing the trend from last year WicDiv keeps the main plot in high gear with some incredible twists that throw a fascinating new light on prior events and keep the reader guessing. No spoilers. Read it.
#1: The Woods
Boom! Studios/Writer: James Tynion IV
Illustrator: Michael Dialynas/Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
At last. There’s a special sort of satisfaction you get from seeing a book reach its deserved conclusion when you’ve been there from the beginning. The teleporting of Bay Point High to an alien world seems years ago (because it was) and the growth and journey these characters have been on has been a sight to behold. And now we’ve reached journey’s end. The last few issues of this book are nothing short of spectacular. Heart-wrenching and joy-inducing spectacle in equal measure. The Woods is a triumph. I’m intensely sad to see it go, but I couldn’t have asked for a better exit.
Thanks for reading.
Okay, so I’ve just finished typing up this list. Personal bullshit aside, not that controversial of a list. The same cannot be said for the Top Ten Graphic Novels of 2017 list I’m currently working on. I’m gonna insult a lot of people with how far up my own ass I am about certain books.
You’ve been warned.