Be sure to check back on December 20 to see IGN’s Best Comic Book Series of 2017 winner. And of course our opinion isn’t the only one that matters — cast your vote in the poll at the bottom of the page to help decide the IGN People’s Choice selection!
There are a lot of characters using the Wolverine name in the Marvel Universe these days. But thanks to this series, Laura Kinney has proven herself as the truest, most worthy heir to that important mantle. The All-New Wolverine’s adventures capture so much of what we love about the original Wolverine, while also finding bold new angles to explore. The wonderful bond between Luara, her little “sister” Gabby and their pet wolverine, Jonathan, is enough to make this book a must-read all on its own. Thanks to new changes brought about by ResurrXion and Marvel Legacy, this series has only gotten better in 2017, and we can only hope the return of the original Wolverine won’t get in the way of what has become one of Marvel’s best ongoing titles.
It can’t be easy to maintain a book’s status as one of the best on the stands when new issues hit every two weeks. Yet, somehow, that’s exactly what Tom King and his team of rotating artists have managed with DC’s flagship Batman comic. The series built on an already promising 2016 with an even stronger and more diverse second year. Over the course of 2017, Batman has defeated a resurgent Bane, proposed to Catwoman, revealed the darkest secret of his career and struggled to finally become the sort of man who knows how to be happy. It’s never a dull moment with this book, and the series continuously proves that it’s always possible to find new angles even on a character as familiar as Batman.
We have no idea how Jeff Lemire stays so superhumanly prolific. But for all the great work he did in 2017, no book captivated us more than Black Hammer. It’s a series that constantly finds ways to make tired superhero tropes seem fresh and exciting again. It pays loving homage to the industry’s past and the superhero archetypes of yore while always telling compelling, character-driven stories about a group of aging heroes dealing with forced retirement and exile. The mystery of why these characters were banished from their own world only grows more fascinating with each new chapter. And best of all, 2017 marked the year when Black Hammer grew from one terrific comic to a franchise unto itself.
Black Panther has become a true force to be reckoned with in the Marvel Universe again, and it’s all thanks to this series. Black Panther is a gorgeously rendered and intelligently crafted story about a king trying to do right by a country that’s decided it doesn’t actually want a king any longer. Not since Christopher Priest’s hugely influential run have we seen a Black Panther comic this bold, self-assured and willing to take risks with the franchise. It’s exactly the sort of book T’Challa needs as the character enjoys his first true mainstream success outside the comics.
Gerry Duggan’s long Deadpool saga is a strong testament to what’s possible when a writer remains on board a series for years at a stretch. Duggan has spent years building up Wade Wilson, giving him a defined family unit, helping him win the respect of his fellow heroes and generally making him a more dynamic and critical presence in the Marvel Universe. 2017 allowed Duggan to pay off on all that buildup, first by allowing the character to reach the zenith of his public popularity during Secret Empire and then bringing it all crashing down as the series relaunched as “The Despicable Deadpool.” This darker direction for Deadpool works precisely because it builds on the last five years’ worth of stories.
Matt Fraction and David Aja truly reshaped Hawkeye and his place in the Marvel Universe with their 2012 series. In many ways, every subsequent Hawkeye creative team have been following in their footsteps. But Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero prove that it’s possible to respect an established formula while still carving your own path. We’re continuously fascinated by the adventures of Kate Bishop as she builds a life for herself as a detective on the West Coast and uncovers sordid new details about her family background. Between numerous witty quips, those creative “Hawkeye vision” splash pages, and Kate’s undying love for tacos, there’s something to enjoy on every page.
No matter how many times Marvel might relaunch, re-brand or renumber Jason Aaron’s Thor run, the quality remains constant. The Mighty Thor was Marvel’s best ongoing superhero comic before Marvel Legacy, and it shows every sign of maintaining that status in this new relaunch. The series is one of the most epic and imaginative on the stands, chronicling the outbreak of a massive war across the Ten Realms even as it tells very personal stories about Jane Foster’s battle with cancer and the relationships between gods and those who worship them. At the end of the day, the series is still asking the same question it did at the very beginning of writer Jason Aaron’s run – what makes a god truly worthy?
With nearly 50 issues under their belts, it wouldn’t be that crazy (though maybe a little bit) to expect a dip in quality from this absurdly consistent creative team. So far, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have yet to disappoint. Saga continues to remain one of the most imaginative and engrossing books on the stands. Vaughan’s measured approach to character pays off in ways yet seen, with Staples again providing the necessary human element to make us care. The series started off the year strong as it wrapped up the pivotal “War for Phang” storyline in a way that made us stop and question our lives, and then it kept us hooked as it moved into new conflicts afterward.
The creators involved in the new Young Animal imprint seem intent on testing where it’s possible for a superhero comic to be too weird and psychedelic. So far, they haven’t crossed that threshold. This series offers a very surreal revamp of the already surreal Shade: The Changing Man. Writer Cecil Castellucci crafts a compelling portrait of a free-spirited alien inhabiting the body of a high school girl. Beneath the weirdness and heightened reality, there’s a very simple, endearing story at work here. It doesn’t hurt that the book has such a pronounced sense of style, either. Marley Zarcone’s figures are elegant, but her work truly shines when it comes to giving visual representation to the madness within Loma’s mind. Kelly Fitzpatrick’s lush, trippy colors are every bit as important as Zarcone’s art in conveying that madness.
Voting closes on December 19, so cast your vote for Best Comic Book Series now!