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.
My Favorite Crossover: The Button
A lot of the build for the DOOMSDAY CLOCK miniseries has focused on Superman, the story was originally teased with Batman and The Flash, and the four-part crossover, THE BUTTON, gave us a multiversal team-up between the two heroes. The story, which kicked off in April’s BATMAN 21, focused on the investigation of the blood-stained smiley face button that Batman discovered when Rebirth kicked off (which has a little bit more meaning after the second issue of Doomsday Clock).
The Button gave us Batman getting beat up by Reverse Flash and out of his element in the time stream, not to mention a visit to the Flashpoint universe for a message from Thomas Wayne and a rescue from the Justice Society’s Flash, Jay Garrick. The story didn’t really answer any questions about the nature of Rebirth or what was coming, but it did add a whole lot more. And as we head toward the next phase of the new DC Comics era, this is one of those important stops along the way.
My Favorite Miniseries: Ghostbusters 101
Ghostbusters fans have been well-served by the comic book series IDW has been putting out over the last few years, and writer Erik Burnham and artist Dan Schoening have risen to the challenge by upping the ante with each new story. In March, they answered the question of whether the stars of the 2016 Ghostbusters movie could be made more likable (spoiler: absolutely!). For good measure, they threw in the original characters in a story that spanned the Ghostbusters multiverse and combined the teams.
The latest series, Ghostbusters 101, saw the team trying to franchise into fantasy camps to train new team members and make some money. The first lesson for a set of interns ends up creating a rift between dimensions and putting the fate of two universes at risk of a lot of hauntings. The story is handled with the usual great characterization from Burnham and great art from Schoening. Most importantly, the members of the Answer The Call team was made so much more enjoyable than their cinematic turn, and now, they have their own IDW miniseries.
My Favorite Young Animal: Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye
I’ve found the Young Animal imprint at DC Comics to be a bit of a disappointment overall, as the concepts behind most of the books were too over-the-top for me. At some point, it’s impossible to keep your interest in something when it’s all over the map trying to seem edgy and hip. Of the new books introduced with Young Animal late last year, the one that held my interest the longest was Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye.
The adventurer, who has returned to digging under the Earth’s crust alongside his daughter, had a lot of fun moments in 2017, including getting reunited with his wife’s people in the underground city of Muldroog and hopping dimensions and finding alternate universe depictions of themselves. The series is currently on hiatus, getting set to turn into Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye after a Young Animal/Justice League crossover to kick off 2018.
My Favorite Book Based on A Board Game: Clue
Confession time – I’ve never enjoyed the board game version of Clue. Despite that, I love the 1985 comedy starring Tim Curry. When IDW announced they were doing a miniseries based on the characters in the Clue game, I hopped on board with the hopes that the comic book was even a fraction as fun as the movie was.
I wasn’t disappointed, though maybe I thought the final issue fell a little flat… Writer Paul Allor was clearly having fun with the concept, between asides from the butler, Upton, and the reinvention of both classic and newer Clue characters. Something like this can be revisited with new stories and new adaptations over and over again, and I really wouldn’t mind if IDW kept going back to the Clue well after the quality miniseries we had this year.
Most Disappointing Story – War of Jokes and Riddles
They can’t all be winners, kids…
Tom King has been getting a lot of praise for his run on Batman. Hell, I just praised some of his work in the first item of this list. But it wasn’t all good. Much of King’s storytelling in 2017 felt too decompressed for my tastes. His I AM BANE story probably could have been done in 2 issues they way it was written. Despite the shortcomings I personally found in the narrative, King got A LOT of praise and press for his Batman, especially after Batman proposed to Catwoman. Instead of getting an answer the next issue, readers were treated to The War of Jokes and Riddles, a flashback story. About Kite Man.
I stuck with the story through the end, but that was it. I couldn’t take it any more. I had to do something, so I dropped the book. The biggest joke was how long I stayed on, the biggest riddle why I didn’t drop it sooner.
That’s OK, I was always more of a Superman guy, anyway.