28th Dec2017

Dean’s Top 10 [Titan] Comics of 2017

by Dean Fuller

2017-top-10-comics

Tis’ the season to write Top Ten lists, as you all well know. Don’t roll your eyes, you know you expect it. I am nothing if not a slave to fashion. I have picked out my personal favourite ten titles of the many books I have read and reviewed this year. You may well disagree but, hey, it’s my list. Enjoy.

10. TEKKEN (Cavan Scott / Andie Tong)

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Tekken was one of those books that didn’t put on any airs and graces, and just delivered to its core audience exactly what they wanted. Action, fighting, action, and, er , fighting. To be fair Cavan Scott tried to get a little emotional depth in, but Andie Tong’s visuals and plenty of action delivered what the fans wanted.

9. ASSASSINS CREED UPRISING (Alex Paknadel & Dan Watters / Jose Holder)

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Essentially an all action mash up of the previously separate Assassins and Templars book, I was a little unsure about this at first. Traditional Assassins Creed storytelling gave way to an all out action storyline, but as time went on I could see what the creators were doing, and it worked. Very well. Good writing and strong visuals made the Assassins and Templars shine.

8. PEEPLAND ( Christa Faust & Gary Phillips / Andrea Camarini)

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Being an 80′s fanboy I liked the concept of this before I even read it, but it proved to be a very adult, very good story told with some humour mingled in amongst the tragedy, of which there was plenty. The characters moved the story, rather than the story controlling the characters, and it proved a hugely satisfying read. I loved the authentic 80′s style throughout as well, illustrated nicely by Andrea Camarini.

7. THE MUMMY (Peter Milligan / Ronilson Friere)

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Being completely honest, not all elements of The Mummy worked for me, but enough did that overall I enjoyed the book. Peter Milligan is rarely bad value on any book, and his character work and mythology building did the job here. The art was usually very good, though left me a little cold at times. A flawed book, but one worth your time.

6. DRACULA 1895 (Kim Newman / Paul McCaffrey)

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I love any book that creates a whole new world, a new mythology, and this book had it in spades. For every character and plot we followed, Kim Newman threw in half a dozen Easter Eggs of characters torn from the pages of historical fiction and half the fun was spotting them. The actual central plot was ok, a plot to assassinate Dracula who is married to Queen Victoria in alternate London, but the fun was in the incidentals.

5. THE WHO BOOKS (Various writers and artists)

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I found it very hard to leave any of the Dr Who books off the list, as I have enjoyed them a lot this year, so felt it fairer to include them all but include a mini-list, in order of my overall enjoyment. Hey, my list, my rules.

i. The Twelfth Doctor
ii. The Ninth Doctor
iii. The Tenth Doctor
iv. The Eleventh Doctor
Although individual arcs in the books had a slight wobble here or there, the books tended to get back on track very quickly, and overall all the books had very strong writing and good art.

4. FIGHTING AMERICAN (Gordon Rennie / Duke Mighten)

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Well this was a surprise, in that I never thought you would get a very good Fighting American book ever. Permanently caught in the past between slapstick humour and an overly serious approach, Rennie did the seemingly obvious and combined the two. Let’s laugh at American’s outdated sense of justice and morals, but also respect him as someone doing the right thing. Lots of drama, lots of humour, too much fun. Duke Mighten’s art is the cherry on the top, perfect for the book.

3. THE THIRD DOCTOR (Paul Cornell / Christopher Jones)

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As this was a 5 issue mini-series, and featured my all time favourite Doctor, this gets a special mention, and ranks above those other Who books. Paul Cornell wrote a pitch perfect Jon Pertwee, threw in every little touch a diehard fan could wish for, and delivered a classic tale. Christopher Jones also did a wonderful job on the art. I decadently wallowed in this book.

2. PENNY DREADFUL (Chris King / Jesus Hervas)

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Losing out very narrowly on the top spot, Penny Dreadful is a simply fantastic book, and I say that as a huge fan of the TV show. Chris King has delivered a book that is so faithful to the show, continuing many plots from its final season, that this book reads like storyboards for an unfilmed fourth season. King gives the characters exactly the voices of their on-screen counterpart, and delivers half a dozen plots and stories every month. A book everyone should be reading.

So, drum roll please, the winner of best book of the year is…

1. RIVERS OF LONDON (Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel / Lee Sullivan)

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The winner, by literally a nose tip, of the most consistently excellent book this year is the superb Rivers of London. The comic has been so good I have found myself reading the source material novels in-between issues to keep up my fix. Although mainly about trainee wizard Peter Grant and his work at The Folly, the secret magic department of The Metropolitan Police, it is so much more. This world is a world of layers where the normal world continues as ever, where you and I live, but has deeper levels full of magic and menace. And humour. This book is a rarity in that some of the one-liners make me laugh out loud. A lot. To the brilliant individual stories, add the outstanding art of Lee Sullivan, the text pieces every issue detailing London and its magical history, and consistently great covers, and you have a simply unmissable book. How Peter Grant is not in a series of films yet is beyond me. Pick it up if you haven’t, the best book you haven’t been reading.
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So there you have it, ten slices of goodness to see out 2017. Can 2018 top this lot? Maybe, maybe not.
It’ll sure be fun seeing if it can though. Happy New Year!

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