Before I get into my Kevin's 7 ranking of comic books, I need to admit that I really didn't read that many comic books this calendar year. There were a few, sure. But much of my reading came about from a backlog of titles that I am only now getting around to reading.
7. Star Wars: Darth Maul - Son of Dathomir (Dark Horse)
Okay, so this is a few years old. Okay, this story is not even canon. Okay, Dark Horse doesn't have the license to publish a Star Wars stories anymore. So freaking what? It's a great story explaining the intricate history of Darth Maul and Count Dooku, and it's not a friendly tale at all. There is a lot of that proverbial Sith hatred flowing through them and that leads to, shall we say, conflict. And despite hi only appearing in the crappiest of the Star Wars movies, Darth Maul is probably one of my favorite characters in the universe.
6. The Rocketeer at War (IDW)
Have I ever mentioned that I'm a WWII history and legend fan? I prefer nonfiction but love the fictional side as well. Captain America, Inglorious Basterds, you name it. Now you can add The Rocketeer to the list. After retiring from his role as the Rocketeer, Corporal Cliff Secord is a mechanic in Europe during the war. The military is taking advantage of his jet pack to create airborne infantry but nobody can figure out quite how to operate it, without fatalities ensuing. So Secord is brought back in to figure things out. What might seem like campy artwork from Dave Bullock and J Bone works in this propagandized era of bomber nose pinup art and newspaper comic strips. I like it. I hope more is coming.
5. Rai (Valiant)
Thanks to the Quidd digital card collecting app, I was introduced to Rai, protector of New Japan. Rai is called by Father, the mysterious and near mythical creator of New Japan to investigate the first murder in Japan in more than 1,000 years. Along for the ride is street smart teen Lula Lee. Amazing story from Matt Kindt and almost too realistic art from Clayton Crain. Give it a shot.
4. Josie and the Pussycats (Archie Comics)
Forget that movie from 2000, this is the history of Josie that matters. From dive bars to the big time. Well, I assume the big time is coming. The title is only three issues deep. A more traditional, yet modern, Archieverse storyline than the next one on my list. I'm really learning to love Marguerite Bennett's writing.
3. Afterlife with Archie (Archie Comics)
I love, love, love this comic and it would be the top of my list if they'd release more than two issues a year, something that hasn't happened since 2014. But the two issues that were released were amazing with one focused on local bad boy Reggie Mantle and the other a side story about the steps taken by Josie and her Pussycats to be one the headline act they now are. Both stories are just sooooo dark and sooooo unlike the Archieverse. I cannot get enough of Francisco Francavilla's art. Love.
2. Paper Girls (Image)
I had heard insanely positive reviews of this title early on but summarily forgot about it until my buddy, Eric, introduced me to it. In the mid-80s, four teenage girls live a traditionally boy role as local bicycle paper boys. One early morning, though, they uncover a device they cannot identify but it harkens in an alien invasion. The end of volume 1 brings with it a trip to a not-so-remote, yet completely foreign world for the girls.
1. Descender (Image)
This incredible sci-fi title has been my top for two years now. Jeff Lemire has penned a story that does not let up and artist Dustin Nguyen has created a beautiful pencil & watercolor world for Lemire's characters to inhabit. Available in collected edition and worth every penny.