The comics industry went through a lot of growth in 2017, some of it good and some of it bad. Through shifts in-universe, massive story events such as Marvel’s Generations and Legacy initiatives to DC’s Doomsday Clock, and questionable PR decisions from most of the big publishers, comics as a whole seemed kind of shaky.
Luckily, the year also saw a bevy of new and old voices, many of whom find themselves on our list of top comics of 2017. We left off ongoing series and chose to focus on new stories and creative teams, all of which you can find at your local comic store! In no particular order, here are our top 10 comics of 2017!
Art: Caspar Wijngaard
Story/Art: Daniel Warren Johnson
Extremity is so damn special. Most issues leave me in my feelings, or swearing while holding my head in my hands, but it’s definitely one you MUST pick up. It’s Mad Max Fury Road meets Avatar the Last Airbender. It’s kinetic and brutal. I actually don’t want to say too much about it because it’s that good and I don’t want a single bit spoiled for you. Bonus: it’s only $10 for the first trade!
Story: Melanie Gillman
Art: Katy Farina
Fans of the Cartoon Network show, rejoice! This ongoing series perfectly captures the voices of the characters and it’s episodic, meaning you can pick up any single issue off the shelf and have a complete standalone story. It’s great for little ones who may want to get into comics and hardcore show enthusiasts as well. There’s currently one collected softcover out too, just in case that’s your preference!
Batman: White Knight
Art/Story: Sean Gordon Murphy
Yes, I know a lot of you are tired of rehashed Batman stories featuring the same old formula of Batman beating up the bad guy and saving the city of Gotham. HOWEVER, the Batman: White Knight mini-series turns it all on its head in a refreshing, dark way. The series is about halfway through, but it makes a very big impression every issue. Be sure to pay close attention to those busier panels; Murphy tucks details in every corner. Issue #1 may be a little elusive to track down if you’re intent on a first printing, but it will definitely stay on your mind for a while after reading it.
Story: C.S. Pacat
Art: Johanna the Mad
If you need something to fill the Yuri!!! on Ice shaped hole in your heart, I can’t suggest Fence fast enough. As you may be able to infer, Fence is about a group of young fencers in a private school. There’s definitely going to be some drama, and there’s definitely going to be some romance. Granted, I have some bias as I love stories about tension filled high school slice of life experiences and I have a soft spot for fencing itself, so this was up my alley. Either way, if you enjoy attitude filled boys fighting with swords, check it out!
Story: Simon Spurrier
Art: Jonas Goonface
This was probably my favorite book out of 2017, if I had to choose one from this list. It’s also one of the hardest to try to summarize. In this universe, every person has a god assigned to them, usually bestowing some sort of skill or power. The story centers around Ennay, a queer “shaper” – which is to say, they change the shape of a person’s god. Those without a god are pariahs, like Ennay. It’s a fresh take and beautiful in every way.
Story: Saladin Ahmed
Art: Christian Ward
This is another title where I have some bias, as I am a hardcore Inhumans fan. That aside, holy crow, please pick up a copy just to look at the art by Christian Ward. The man is a master as space psychedelics and his style is a pretty perfect complement to Saladin’s storytelling. Because Black Bolt can decimate everything ever if he so much as whispers, the dialogue can be a little light, but a glance into the inner workings of the Silent King is always pretty bomb.
Dead of Winter
Dead of Winter is a popular survival horror board game where you have to complete scenarios and make tough decisions as randomized characters with different abilities. The comic it is based on takes these characters and runs with them in a free-for-all hilarious look at the end of the world. It’s a 4-issue series of pure fun, but I definitely think you’ll enjoy it more if you’ve played the board game! I almost always draw Sparky, a golden retriever who can withstand zombie bites, and there’s plenty of Sparky in this series, thankfully.
I’ve missed The Runaways and they’re back in a perfect return of my favorite Marvel teenagers. While I wouldn’t start with this series because spoilers for the television show, I would suggest definitely, DEFINITELY, picking up the 2004 Brian K. Vaughan series first and going from there! Expect some angst because it picks up immediately where we last saw everyone. The creative team perfectly captures every single character and all their hang ups. Hmm, as I reach the end of this list, I realized most of these have some personal bias, but YOU KNOW WHAT, I READ A LOT OF COMICS AND I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT THEM AND LIKE, 94 OF THEM ARE ABOUT THE GODDAMNED RUNAWAYS.
HONORABLE MENTION: The Family Trade
This is going to be a slow, delicious burn and I know those aren’t for everyone. That’s the only reason it didn’t make my top 10 list, but if you find yourself with a couple extra bucks, definitely pick up a really neat story about a family of assassins, particularly one clumsy one who finds herself in quite the pickle.
That wraps up my list, and it’s pretty varied if I do say so myself. I hope you find a couple of new favorites among them and feel free to tweet my way to discuss them (except Runaways cause inevitably I will CRY and that’s no fun for anyone!). Be sure to check out our other comics reviews and lists!
Blade of the Immortal is live action anime done right.
Director Takashi Miike takes the source material that ran from 1993 to 2012 and puts his classic samurai flavor on it. Miike is no stranger to samurai films, and his past works such as 13 Assassins and Hari-Kiri: Death of a Samurai shows his aptitude.
Blade of the Immortal strips away the traditional feel and authenticity of those movies for a more fantastical and anime inspired take. What is not stripped away is the fun of seeing the immortal samurai named Manji, played by Takuya Kimura, slay larger than life evil men in some well-choreographed and shot fight sequences.
The story centralizes on a samurai named Manji who was unable to protect his sister many years ago from a corrupt lord. Dying in the act of trying to save her, a mystical nun comes to Manji and bestows sacred worms into his body, which heal all of his wounds no matter how grave. Years pass and a young girl tracks Manji down after her family is killed. She is looking for redemption and the immortal warrior seems to be the right person to hire to take down these evil men. What ensues is an over the top, but very fun series of fights.
The movie is at its most best when Manji is cycling through his crazy assortment of weapons, but that also leads into more of the absurdity of the overall plot. The movie seems so grounded in some moments only to be followed by dialing it up to 11 at the next that I had to keep reminding myself that this was based off of an anime. Being loud, outrageous, and over-exaggerated just comes with the territory. Blade of the Immortal is a hard recommend, however it does rely a bit on the viewer’s willingness to give into the anime-like nature of the movie. If the seriousness of Akira Kurosawa’s filmmaking is more of your style in samurai flicks, then you might be disappointed.
Blade of the Immortal is considered to be “still in theaters,” but it might not be available in your area.
It’s 2.45 in the morning, and I have just returned from the latest instalment of the juggernaut that is the Star Wars Saga.
I actually went to a double bill screening of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, to ensure that I was caught up on the new characters and their introduction. It became quite clear that very little back story is explored with the new generation, and The Last Jedi begins to address that.
To bring us up to date, the Republic was decimated by Starkiller Base, Rey had departed in search of Luke Skywalker, and Finn was left in medical care.
Fast forward two years and we now have Rey meeting Luke, and looking for answers about The Force and how she can use it. Finn is still in the medical bay, and Poe Dameron is becoming a reckless and daring pilot.
As you would expect, there is quite a lot of the movie devoted to Rey seeking guidance from Luke, who has gone to great lengths to isolate himself from the galaxy. We are also introduced to the species native to the island, who have looked after the ancient Jedi temple for thousands of years, and also the Porgs, cuddly looking birdlike creatures that are clearly only in the movie for their cuteness. The setting felt very reminiscent of Fight Club, with recruits following around the master, waiting for some recognition and acceptance.
Towards the end of The Force Awakens we saw that The First Order had confirmed the location of the Resistance headquarters, and were powering up for a second shot when the base was crippled and destroyed. We now have the Resistance evacuating the base ahead of the inevitable counter-attack, in a move that feels very reminiscent of The Empire Strikes Back. If I am honest, I was a little worried that this would set the tone for the entire movie as simply a reskin of Episode V, in the same way that some people consider The Force Awakens to be a reskin of Episode IV.
Luckily, the movie wisely chose to change things around by making a bold decision to introduce new characters quite early on, who become central to the film’s plot.
Finn wakes up from his recovery and wants to go and find Rey, but instead meets Rose, who changes his mind, and becomes his companion for much of the film.
Supreme Leader Snoke was presented as a hologram throughout Episode VII, but here we see him take a central role, as he tries to manipulate his subjects, as any decent villain would do.
We still see regular sniping between General Hux and Kylo Ren, as they vie for favour with Snoke aboard his flagship, and by the end of the movie there is a clear winner in this infantile struggle.
Captain Phasma returns which a much more interesting role, in that she does a lot more than simply walk about ordering others to do as she commands. She proved to be one of my favourites with her increased use as a character, and seeing her engaging in combat is encouraging.
BB-8 seems to have been upgraded from central character with the occasional comedy moment to occasionally on screen, but always commanding attention when he is. BB-9e was introduced in the summer as a First Order version of the new favourite droid, but he is in and out of the movie so quickly a more cynical person might think he was only featured in order to sell more toys.
Rey and Kylo Ren had an intense fight towards the end of The force Awakens, and there is a large investment in exploring the relationship between the force-wielders.
This is one aspect which frustrates me a little. Anakin Skywalker was the Chosen One, and was supposed to be one of the best Jedi. In this movie we see a lot of new Jedi powers, and whilst it is good for the story, it did leave me beginning to predict the next series of new powers that we would have seen.
I would suggest that there is plenty of space combat to keep fans happy, plenty of drama, and loss of characters, though some new tricks you didn’t see coming are generally well received. The humour is a little more abundant, but some of the jokes miss the mark, but they can’t all be golden. There is also a cameo of a character that was very well hidden from the media, so I will not mention who it is, but it was great to see.
My biggest criticism of the movie is that it felt like it was 2.5 hours long, which is was, but that is like saying I was fed up with The Return Of The King for going on another 20 minutes or so after they could have ended the movie. I will almost definitely see the movie again at the cinema, but it began to feel like so much needed to be crammed into this movie that the Episode IX team will need to work hard to create some form of peril for our new heroes.
This film is definitely much darker than the previous one, but it feels like it is constantly trying to throw in a joke or sidewards glance to remind you that there are other factions and allegiances being represented, and I have already mentioned the Porgs.
Overall I enjoyed the movie, and would recommend it, although not before advising of a trip to use the toilet prior to the film starting.
– Justin Smith has been a podcaster for over 6 years, and has been visiting the cinema regularly for 4 of them. When he’s not playing games with Star Wars themed miniatures, he spends time with video games.
Last year some of us from the Sub Cultured team were able to attend Nan Desu Kan 2016. NDK is the premier anime convention in the Rockies. This year it took place on September 1-3, 2017 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, and lured many anime and geek culture fans like I siren’s song. Housing thousands of fans, this convention grows with every year.
Spring just arrived recently and winter has finally come to a close. So far in 2017 we’ve already seen quite a few great releases, the most recent being the Legend of Zelda machine, the Nintendo Switch, and the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda. As much as I’ve enjoyed Nintendo’s past offerings and felt the nostalgic pull of Zelda and since I’ve never actually played a Mass Effect game, they just weren’t on my list of upcoming things I’m looking forward to. However, on my list are other games, tech, events, and some are just random nerdiness.
In no real particular order, as they say, let’s get some 2017 HYPE!!
I love me a good piece of tech. Who doesn’t really? In my tech arsenal, among other things, I have a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, and a desktop PC. My smartphone I use all the time and my PC handles everything my smartphone can’t. The tablet and laptop though, I find gather quite a bit of dust. The tablet I only bring out when there’s an app that I would just like on a little bigger screen than my smartphone, and the laptop only when my main PC is down and I still need to perform desktop-like tasks. Those times are far and few between and every time I turn them on they have hundreds of updates waiting.
This is where the Sentio Superbook comes in. Using an Android app that turns the Android OS more desktop-friendly, the Superbook is essentially a laptop shell that uses your smartphone for the processing power. According to the Kickstarter, the Superbook “provides a large screen, keyboard and multi-touch trackpad, 8+ hours of battery, and phone charging capabilities”. Always up to date, and never falls behind your Android’s tech. This I can see completely replacing my tablet, fitting usefully between my phone and desktop.
Release: Pushed back from February until June for initial Kickstarter orders.
Fun fact: I’m an original card-carrying member of the MST3K fan club. I remember having Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house, eating myself silly, and then relaxing watching the Turkey Day marathon. I didn’t have cable growing up, which is how I’m easily able to live without cable today, but MST3K was a treat. When they announced they were Kickstarting a new season, I legit threw money at my screen. Got myself the t-shirt to match my older MST3K t-shirt, a couple nice prints, a keychain (I think… don’t tell me I’ve already lost it…), and the satisfaction that I’ll be able to watch brand new episodes. To answer your burning question, I think Joel was better than Mike. Fight me.
Release: April 14th, 2017! So close I can taste the movie sign.
I’d like to think that when I game on PC, the games I play are complex and deep. However, I’ve never wanted that complexity on my phone. For mobile gaming I like keeping it light and in small increments, hence why the Switch was never a draw. Cook, Serve, Delicious is quite possibly one of the best mobile games I have ever played. It’s light, tricky, takes a bit of skill, never felt like the phone hardware ever got in the way, and had entertaining graphics to match. You don’t have to play it on mobile, you can play it on other systems, but it shines on mobile. So when they announced CSD 2 at the end of 2016, I was giddy. Giddy.
Release: “Available on Steam and PS4 in 2017“. Not specific, and no mention of mobile, but their alpha trailer was released in Dec 2016, so hopefully soon.
CBS announced in November 2015 that following the 50th anniversary of the original series of Star Trek, and 12 years after the last official Star Trek: Enterprise episode aired, they would be opening a new chapter in the Star Trek Prime universe. Yes, the Kelvin timeline exists, and while I personally really enjoyed Beyond and what the reboot has brought to the series, it’s no Prime Universe goodness.
Set 10 years before Captain Kirk started his famous 5 year mission, they’ve announced the main protagonist will be Lieutenant Commander Rainsford, played by Sonequa Martin-Green, and referenced in the show as “Number One”. Star Trek: Discovery will revolve around the USS Discovery, although they’ve announced casting decisions for a second ship, the Shenzhou, and a number of Klingons. This, and other rumors, hints that the plot may revolve around the Klingon-Federation scrap-up at Donatu V, mentioned in the episode The Trouble with Tribbles which led to a Cold War between the two factions.
The show will initially air in the US on CBS, after with episodes airing on CBS All-Access shortly after. Outside of the US, episodes will air on Netflix. I personally don’t care how they air it, I’m just psyched for new Star Trek!
Release: As of this writing, it appears to have been pushed back until late summer/early fall, with possibilities of being pushed back further. Blech.
If you haven’t yet played Life Is Strange by DontNod Entertainment, by god what are you waiting for?! Go play one of the most fresh and stunning games you’ve ever played! If you have played it, then you probably understand why Vampyr, another game in production by DontNod Entertainment, has me so excited. Action-oriented with a sort of Assassin’s Creed meets the episodic genre vibe, set in 1918 London? Sign me up. I don’t play brand new games often, but with this setting and story potential, I’ll play.
Release: This site is suggesting Q4 2017, maybe just in time for Halloween?
I’m a Disney World nerd. What can I say, I’ve visited the parks quite a few times and each time have had some amazing experiences. Nothing beats having fun all day with family and friends, seeing all the sights, riding the rides, and sitting down for one of the best meals you’ve ever had in your life. Cap it all off with a phenomenal show and fireworks every night you’re there! I wasn’t so much a fan before I met my wife, but now that she has shown me what I was missing, I’m a big fan.
So when Disney makes changes to their parks, which happens all the time, it just makes me excited for the next time that we’ll visit. At this point, it may be a few years before the next trip, but by then hopefully the big EPCOT changes announced at the D23 Expo last November will have come to fruition. When the Chairman, Bob Chapek, tells the Imagineers to “dream big” and to expect a “major transformation,” I’ll lap up any news like I’m dying of thirst. I mean, shoot, they’re adding hanging gondolas to their transportation roster. Gondolas! How cool is that?!
Release: Changes won’t happen for a few years, but hopefully we’ll hear what they will be at the next D23 Expo July 14th-16th 2017.
All the way back in May of 2013, one of computer gaming’s legends, Richard Garriott, started a Kickstarter campaign with his company Portalarium to bring back a “spiritual successor” to one of the most influential game series of all time, Ultima, called Shroud of the Avatar. Since I’m a huge fan of the Ultima games to this day, I backed it to a non-ridiculous degree. To say that it’s been a long journey since the Kickstarter launch is quite an understatement. Like most Kickstarted projects, the feature creep has been quite extreme, to the point that the game still hasn’t been completed yet in full. Posing primarily as an MMO, the features they want to add are story mode with content delivered in episodes, written by Garriott and Tracy Hickman, a single player offline mode, different multiplayer modes, a vast classless character system, PvP, player housing, a crafting-based economy, full guild systems, player owned towns, and all the other accoutrements one would expect with MMOs these days.
As of right now, Shroud of the Avatar is still in a beta state and they stopped issuing character wipes in July of 2016, but still has not officially “launched.” I’m not one to play incomplete games though, so if they don’t consider the first big chapter complete yet, I have no issues waiting. I’ll finally jump in once they start officially calling it “launched.”
Release: 2017, or so the FAQ says.
Near the end of last year, I took the plunge into home automation and bought a Google Home while it was on sale. To say the least, my wife and I have been enjoying it quite thoroughly. I quickly discovered that home automation is a deep rabbit hole, with Google Home itself being the gateway drug. It started with one Google Home, then a second, and then a Chromecast Audio to sync all of the speakers together to form a whole-house audio system. A Philips Hue starter kit later and we had voice-controllable lights. Ten more bulbs later and we rarely touch our lightswitches anymore.
We bought it early on in its development because we expected more functionality to come, and so far they haven’t disappointed. More, though… we want more.
Release: Ongoing, since Google Home has already been released in 2016.
If you’ve never heard of the quirky podcast Welcome to Night Vale, you are sorely missing out. Based around the community radio station of a fictional, and quite strange, desert town located somewhere in the southwestern US, Welcome to Night Vale has been chronicling the town’s oft-bizarre happenings since June of 2012.
In 2015, WTNV’s creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor released their first novel, Welcome to Night Vale, based on the town. More heartfelt and personal than I was expecting, I enjoyed it, so I was excited when during the episode “After 3327,” they announced a second novel! Finally, around mid-March they announced the title and a release date of October 17th, 2017.
Finally, the last thing I’m excited about for 2017 is the “relaunch” of the MMO The Secret World, a personal favorite game of mine. The news of Funcom’s plans to relaunch it’s 5-year-old title came as a bit of a surprise, having been “announced” on Funcom’s 4th Quarter 2016 financial reports. Boasting changes from a redesigned new player experience, a “major improvement” to gameplay and combat, new player retention systems, and changes to the game’s business model, a lot of players are simultaneously nervous and excited for the upcoming changes. Funcom’s community team has been silent on the subject, focusing first on PAX East and Conan Exiles before making any big announcements about The Secret World.
Release: We’ll most likely hear more about the relaunch by the end of March, and see some changes before the end of June.
PaxSouth is a hub for intriguing and inventive games, and the first two video games from movie studio, Annapurna Pictures, are no exception.
Gorogoa caught my eye because of the art. It looked like a coloring book brought to life, like a dream you could wade through via computer. I spent a solid half hour diving into the story, figuring out some puzzles with lightning speed and stumbling through others while feeling judged by the character when I got stuck. That said, I can’t wait to get my hands on the entire game!
Designed, developed, and illustrated by Jason Roberts, Gorogoa is a completely unique game. The overall story is equal parts myth and magic as a boy sees a colossal monstrosity in his city and decides to unlock the secrets to finding it. Each gorgeous scene is split into four panels that you can explore through a simple point and click mechanic. Solving each puzzle reveals more of the story. Elegantly simple and perfect for fans enamored of lovely storytelling.
Gorogoa is scheduled to hit mobile devices and Steam in Spring 2017.
What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of short tales about a family in Washington state. As Edith, the player will explore the colossal Finch house, searching for stories. Each story you find lets you experience the life of a new family member on the day of their death, with stories ranging from the distant past to the present day, and culminating with that family member’s death.
In the 20 minute demo, we experienced the final moments of two different family members. The macabre interactive narrative is completely fresh in its storytelling and the attention to detail reminds the player that this title isn’t suited to the run-and-gun. I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you picking it up, but prepare yourself for some feelings. Oh, and remember to breathe.
What Remains of Edith Finch is due out Spring 2017 on Steam and PS4. Check back here, because this is the standout title that we absolutely cannot wait to get our grubby little hands on and review in depth!
Want more PAX South 2017 coverage? All you had to do was ask!