In 2017, comic books continued to push the envelope.
The stories told this year redefined expectations -- whether it was the impending arrival of Watchmen to the DC Comics Universe, cape writer debuts with Image Comics or Marvel Legacy's attempted status quo shakeup.
There were hits and there were misses. Emotional stories offered escapism for the craziness of the world, while stories of superheroes and villains brought to the light side gave us hope.
These are the ten best comics of the year.
Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Jason Wordie, John J. Hill
Garland-born Donny Cates had a hell of a year. He's been commandeering creator-owned projects like Redneck and Babyteeth while inking a deal with Marvel to take on the likes of Doctor Strange and Thanos. But one book rose above the rest, and it was only here for a short while.
God Country was everything we'd hoped it'd be, tackling familial drama and clarity through the eye of bombastic fantasy. What would a man who's forgotten everything do if he had one more chance? What if that chance was a divine sword named Valofax and came with a guaranteed fight with actual Gods? That's God Country.
Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez
Love him or hate him, Brian Michael Bendis knows how to write characters. So when you bring on the man who wrote New Avengers, Daredevil and co-created Jessica Jones and have him write all of them at once? You get something truly magical.
The Defenders is a team book that is so engrained in the personality of its characters that it has transcended the genre's tropes fairly quickly. Not to mention the book is beautifully brought together by David Marquez. Without him, there is no perfect storm.
Dark Nights: Metal
Greg Capullo, Scott Snyder, Jonathan Glapion, FCO Plascencia, Steve Wands
I thought long and hard about including an event on this list, but opted to go for it, because of how dang wonderful Dark Nights: Metal has been. This collaborative effort from DC's incredible stable of writers was led by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo and was all the better for it.
This deep dive into the Dark Multiverse (which continues well into next year) is a gripping tale filled with all of the cameos and crossovers you could ask for, but also gets so close to what characters like Green Lantern and Batman represent. If you read one event this year (in addition to Doomsday Clock) make it this one.
Dan Slott, Michael Allred, Laura Allred
Dan Slott and the Allreds' mystical cosmic romance Silver Surfer came to a close this year, and while many runs suffer from open-endedness, this book ends with glamour and grace. If you had told me that a Silver Surfer book would make me tear up one day, I'd never believe you. But then came Dawn Greenwood.
The adventures of the Surfer and Dawn captivated readers for a few years, bringing new depth to Norrin Radd and the intricacies of the Marvel Universe -- and it never shied away from the Kirby-driven wilderness in between realms. We're gonna miss it, but we're glad this book was here.
Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Juan Albarran
It's amazing Tom Taylor hasn't been given the reins to a flagship DC book, but you know what? Injustice 2 might as well be just that. He's been with the Injustice crew since the release of the 2013 video game, so it's only fair that Taylor knows his way around these characters by now, but each digital-first issue still shocks us to the point of panic. It's that good.
Taylor's masterful weaving of an evil Superman and Wonder Woman, a tired Batman and characters like Plastic Man and Booster Gold help to elevate this book beyond simple adaptation. This world is rich, and the game are made better for the groundwork Taylor and co. create.
Tom Taylor, David Navarrot, David Lopez
Speaking of Tom Taylor, he's also the reason we wished Logan would have stayed dead. In All-New Wolverine, Laura Kinney (X-23) took on the mantle of the Wolverine, following the original Logan's death. In this book, Laura deals with relationships, her own mortality and learning to let people in again -- particularly her "sister" Gabby and her pet Wolverine, Jonathan.
But it didn't stop there. Each issue is a phenomenal read, propping itself up on Logan's legacy but taking it a step forward with Laura's ties to the universe. Deadpool, Kate Bishop and more are all written their best here, and we hope this book continues for years to come.
Shade: The Changing Girl
Cecil Castellucci, Marley Zarcone
When DC's Young Animal line launched, it was hard to pick a favorite. Books like Doom Patrol and Bug! brought us back into a world of wonder and weirdness, but none captured us quite like Shade: The Changing Girl from Cecil Castelucci and Marley Zarcone.
The adventures of Loma Shade were depressingly wonderful, colorful in every fashion and incredibly emotional. It was a book that asked you to be OK with an alien girl possessing the body of a comatose teenager. Thing is, Loma Shade was so much better than that teenager, and we're all better for having experienced this book this year.
Tom King, Mikel Janín, June Chung, Deron Bennett
Tom King is unstoppable. This year, King's Batman run reached new heights as he doubled down on the one thing that Bruce Wayne loves to hate -- family. Most notably, a marriage proposal to Selina Kyle, AKA Catwoman. In the issues since this revelation, Batman's world has grown.
Each issue of King's Batman is packed with nuance and callbacks, something King's previous work is known for. This book is emotionally-gripping, but never lets you forget that it's a Batman book. If it's upcoming arc, "Superfriends," is anything like the rest of the book, we wouldn't be surprised to see Batman back again on next year's list.
Fiona Staples, Brian K. Vaughan
There really isn't a book quite like Saga. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples continued their galaxy-spanning epic this year with issues dealing with everything from war to politics to social issues and everything in between. We grew up a bit with Hazel this year, and we felt every story beat at our core.
Saga, year over year, continues to prove more engaging than most forms of media. We don't need a Netflix adaptation or a big budget film. Staples and Vaughan are doing just fine with what they've got, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
Tom King, Mitch Gerads
Every year there's one book that truly does rise above the rest. For the most part, it stands alone in its goals. And Mister Miracle, while barely halfway through its run, is that book. Tom King brings the heat again, giving us a close look into the world of DC's new gods, from Mister Miracle and Big Barda's quest for a somewhat normal life, to the return of Darkseid and Granny Goodness.
We know what's coming at the end of this journey, but we don't know that we're ready for it. What we do know is that King will do anything but let us down gently, and we are here for it.
It was a pretty crazy year in comics, so there were some we didn't get to or just didn't quite make the list. Here are a few we're hoping to jump into before the year is out.
- The Old Guard
- My Favorite Thing Is Monsters
- The Mighty Thor
- Jessica Jones
- The Unstoppable Wasp
- Super Sons
- Doom Patrol