So, VICE said they couldn't find 10 comics to put on their list for 2017. I get that 2017 has been a bit of a crap PR year for comics, especially the Big Two, but that is extremely reductive and disingenuous. There are plenty of talented creators who have done some phenomenal work this year in the myopic Big Two space, the alternative publishers, and the thriving indie scene.
So I'm going to meet and exceed VICE's challenge. Not only am I going to find 10 good comics, I'm going to find 20. Five each for Marvel, DC, the alternative publishers, and the indies.
Here's the criteria: They can only be comics I've reviewed for Bleeding Cool. That's why there won't be any of Jim Zub and Jon Malin's Thunderbolts on the list. That concluded before I joined up with the site.
Secondly, I'm only choosing one issue for each series, so there won't be any list dominated by a single title. As such, I'm choosing what I felt was the best issue for each book.
Thirdly, while going back and looking through the scores may be a good way to predict what will appear on this list, don't hold me to them. Feelings change over time, and some books that got an 8.5 may go higher than a 9.0 on the list.
And now, let us kick off the DC list with Batman: The Dawnbreaker #1 by Sam Humphries and Ethan van Sciver.
This was one of the Dark Nights: Metal Nightmare Batmen tie-ins and the best from the bunch. It tells the story of the Green Lantern Batman from Barbatos's hordes. When this Bruce Wayne's parents were killed, a Green Lantern Ring finds him, and he uses it to kill his parents' murderer. His anger and darkness unlocks something eldritch and evil within the Ring, and he is able to conjure true nightmares from the weapon. It allows him to overpower the entire Green Lantern Corps.
I'm usually bothered by stories that paint Batman as some kind of epic super-being simply because of his intelligence and will, but this comic works becuase it inverts that idea. He could be a terrifying butcher if small things about his mind were different, and this Bruce Wayne gives into the anger and darkness within with the power of a Green Lantern Ring. He's also made to look small and lanky, which jives with the fact that he seems to never have developed mentally because of the power he wields.
It makes Batman an eldritch monstrosity, and it's great. Sam Humphries nails it. Ethan van Sciver and Jason Wright make the comic darkly beautiful. The comic just all-around works. The Dawnbreaker is the most unnerving member of a team that includes the Batman Who Laughs, and this comic lets you know why.