Overall, 2017 has already produced some of the greatest comics series in years, and we're back with the Power Report to showcase the very best writers.
We have series from Valiant, Dark Horse, BOOM!, IDW and Black Mask on this list, but maybe we missed a couple, so please let us know your favorites in the comments.
Here are the best comic writers of May 2017.
Building off the previous sold-out series Britannia, Valiant is now producing Britannia: We Who Are About to Die. Antonius Axia, the world's first detective, moves this tale into the heart of Rome as the series has kept the same intriguing mythological elements; this time, combining a storyline complete with gladiators amid the horror that is Ancient Rome. It's an incredible first issue with enough allusions to the previous series to keep the returning audience happy while making this an awesome standalone story. For those that haven't yet jumped aboard this exciting new Valiant series, now is a great opportunity.
When Doctor Strange is at his best, he is a quirky magician with a big ego that battles the crazy parts of the world that we never knew existed. But when he isn't at his best he's, well, trying to save the world in the most painfully serious way possible. Thankfully this latest arc leans more towards the quirky side with Misery taking over Hong and trying to use Strange's emotions against him. Yet there’s a lot of weirdness to make this issue worthwhile as Aaron explores Strange's relationship with Hong as well as the house itself. It's a fun Doctor Strange series by Aaron and worth reading.
On the surface, Quantum Teens Are Go recycles familiar stories of things manipulating the world, though the series provides a worthy twist with two characters that are smart, engaging and a great example of how Visaggio creates excellent chemistry. From the witty retorts to the excellently written backstory of the characters, this comic has a lot of potential ... though since it's a Black Mask publication, it'll have to wrap up pretty quickly with the fourth issue.
While Becky Cloonan's incredible Punisher should get time on its own, I want to focus on the absolutely mindblowing series that is Southern Cross. From the first time we met Alex to the strange ghostly occurrences on the ship, it was simple to see that this series was something special. But with the latest issues, this book has turned the volume up to eleven with reanimated corpses, multiple characters and fighting sequences that scale brilliantly down the page. From a badass old lady to Alex's father showing up to change the dynamic of the story, it's been a wild ride and, for those that haven't been following with individual floppies, this is a trade to definitely put on your list.
Throughout its 167-issue run, The Walking Dead has had cliffhangers down pat to the point where it's almost agonizing. As a zombie horde after-effect of the Whispering War keeps some of the survivors busy, the Saviors have ideas of their own, building more than a little melodrama. With the Whispers conflict and the ramifications on Alexandria, this is one of the most exciting times in the Walking Dead universe in quite a while and an example of how Kirkman can still captivate an audience throughout a long run.
Shannon Waters, Kat Leyh
It's Parents Day at the camp, which means we're going to toss aside all those crazy spectacular plots for some excellent character development as we see how the characters relate to their folks and vice-versa. However, Molly's family cannot attend and that absence creates a shockwave throughout the Lumberjanes that's interesting to see. It's a solid beginning to what looks to be like another great Lumberjanes story.
Charles Soule's wonderful Curse Words has everything you need from a comic: magic, epic fights (with magic!) and a talking koala (that probably has something to do with magic!). It's the story of Wozard, a guy who's having a tough time since he lost his magic while an assassin is being sent to kill him. Soule looks to be setting the stage as Wozard is continually faced with more and more obstacles as he tries to get back to his celebrity status of living the high life. It's an excellent blend of ridiculousness and fun and a worthy addition to the list of great Soule comics.
G. Willow Wilson
Computer privacy, viruses and identity theft are at the heart of this finishing Ms. Marvel story arc in which a virus that looks like Blanka from Street Fighter II is basically Edward Snowden's worst nightmare. G.Willow Wilson always does an excellent job of commenting on current events within Ms. Marvel's Jersey City (probably none more than when she examined gerrymandering). She continues to publish some of the most thought-provoking stories on the shelves and this arc in particular is one of her best.
It's nice to see The Spirit on the shelves again and Francesco Francavilla's take on the character -- working as writer, letterer and artist -- currently delivers a lot more questions than answers. Murders are being committed and The Spirit is trying to untangle the web in a fashion that has more lightheartedness than you'd expect. And that's a welcome addition to the story, with Francavilla doing an excellent job with not only to capturing Eisner's Central City but also providing twists that are more clever than grim, allowing this book to be a lot easier than some contemporaries might have made it. For those that are a fan of The Spirit, this is a great return to the characters and a welcome addition to any pull.
Marguerite Bennett's arrival as writer of the new Batwoman Rebirth series might be the most anticipated in the entire Rebirth line. Her character in Detective Comics, the current best of the Batmans on the shelves, has been wonderful with stepping into the spotlight of the bat signal and makes for a welcome return for fans of Kate Kane. So, how should she come back? With an origin story, of course! Thankfully Bennett (and James Tynion IV) know how to create a great foundation for a character. Lots of potential here.
There's an unbridled joy that comes over fans when they see Steven Universe and Melanie Gillman's absolutely glowing take of the character is a wonderful addition to his story. While the first issue focused lovingly around a bird while also telling a valuable lesson, the second issue does an excellent job of bringing in the supporting characters of Stevonnie and the rest of Beach City. What might be the best part of this series is that it complements the seasons of the animated series so well in both subtext and characterization. A perfect comic for readers of all ages.
As Abraham Riesman pointed out in an excellent examination of the past issue, Tom King's Batman is a wonderful story dealing with time and the emergence of the Watchmen in the DC Universe. There's a lot of nervousness surrounding the Watchmen as a DC series but with Tom King, Joshua Williamson and Geoff Johns helming the crossover there's also a lot of potential for greatness and, with the absolutely captivating Rebirth series, there's a lot of hope that DC is back on track, providing the best comics on the shelves ... and, unsurprisingly, that all begins with the man in the cape and cowl.
This month's Supergirl packed a lot into one issue, including hanging with Superman, fighting Emerald Empress and an appearance by Batgirl. The most amazing part of the issue is how it works so well with the Superman Reborn storyline as well as Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, both great series in their own right. Steve Orlando's Supergirl is a wonderful symphony of different storylines brilliantly woven together, and while I miss Midnighter and Apollo SO MUCH (it was definitely my favorite series thus far in 2017), Orlando continues to prove he's one of the best comic writers around.
Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare
The interaction between Lunella and the X-Men in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is just priceless as their world views are completely different ... and to have the X-Men team beholden to a nine-year-old might be the most precious thing in the entire Marvel universe. Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare play this up to a wonderfully ridiculous extreme, and it's pretty much perfect. Honestly, it's Lunella's world -- we're just lucky we get to visit.
Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason
Every now and again it's easy to get really obsessed with Superman. He's got so many powers, adventures and stories around his character that one could forget that Lois, herself, is a great character. The latest issue of Superman focuses on the great journalist and strong fighter that is Lois Lane as Superman, Superboy and Robin go searching for Batman. The Black Dawn story arc is really engaging and another example of why Tomasi and Gleason are an excellent pair.
There might not be anything more exciting than the return of The Wild Storm. And with Warren Ellis at the helm as writer, the result is an intriguing introduction to characters and a setting that in its first iteration changed comic heroes forever. Ellis is a master at slowly drawing the audience in without giving away too much, especially in his most recent hit with Image Comics, Injection. And, in this comic, he more or less fashions the similar environment with a predatory world, full of aggression and mystery.
While last month focused on Pizzazz and her feelings toward the band as a family, issue two of Jem: The Misfits is all about Stormer. There's a lot of self-love and band bonding that goes on in this issue as Kelly Thompson's take on Stormer’s struggle is not only heartfelt but also easy to identify with as the Misfits prepare to be on a reality show.
It's easy to talk about how incredible the Wonder Woman comic is, but since that's getting the most attention with the new film coming out, let's give a little love to Greg Rucka's other great series, The Old Guard. This, as the comic starts out, is "a fairy tale of blood and bullets," a compelling story of the terror and carnage of war that's not for the faint of hear. It's a comic for those that like their realism gritty amidst a dark and thought-provoking detective story. This is the best new Image series in a long time and one of the most exciting new comics thus far in 2017.
Nobody knows how to make fun of themselves in the way that Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky do in the brilliant Sex Criminals. Each issue is a beautiful waltz of emotional pull and crude jokes that combine to create the best relationship drama in the Image line. This particular issue has a funny recap to keep everyone up to speed (there's been a lot that's already happened) plus a promise that the monthly schedule will keep coming on time (a sigh of relief for any Sex Criminals fan). Jon and Suzie are back and these are the best issues in, well, eight months.
Brian K. Vaughan
The Paper Girls are becoming time bandits again in the third story arc from the award-winning series. While it's difficult to discern where BKV is going with this caveman arc, the chemistry between the characters has continued to be a highlight of the series even as the mystery continues to deepen. Each issue feels like there's another clue combined with two more questions. While this story arc doesn't have the bite of the previous one, it feels like a big payoff is coming.
Without giving away any spoilers, these latest issues of Deadly Class is one that every fan must have stood up and cheered for. They're an example of how incredible Remender does action and how his characters inspire an emotional response in their audience. In "Black Science," Grant McKay has to get out of the mental institution to figure out how to fight the parasitic creatures that now want to use The Pillar to control every world. It's an almost Matrix-like chase that showcases Remender’s talent at turning up the action to eleven.
Goldie Vance is back! One of the most delightful detective comics of 2016, Goldie Vance proves you don't need a cape and cowl to create an excellent detective series. The most wonderful thing about this series is its shattering expectations of characters while providing writing that focuses on independence and learning more about yourself. Frequently friends of mine with kids ask me what comic they could read with them and this is the series I bring up over and over. It's a smart, well-written, gorgeously drawn series that continues to both put a smile on your face as well as provides mystery and touching moments. You really can't ask for more from a comic!
With the exit of Nailbiter, there's nothing more comforting than the increasing murder count of Joelle Jones' wonderfully bloody Ladykiller 2 (this admittedly debuted a couple months ago but it was too good to be left off this list). Both series introduced suspense with style, using bloody tirades as a method on propelling the plot as well as diving into the psyche of the characters. In the latest Ladykiller, we see murders as strategic maneuvers as Irving has made a murderous decision that will impact the relationships of all the characters involved. Irving has come a long way, proving to be an excellent villain that grows more sinister with each issue. While maybe not the book to give to your kids, Ladykiller remains one of the smartest, most fun comics on the shelves and a highlight of the 'bloody' genre.
Each time there gets to be a new entry point to Faith I want to run up to everyone I know and say "This series is incredible, you HAVE to read this!" It's liberating with so many books taking a dark and sinister turn to have a series that's so positive and wonderfully written each month. This particular story, with Faith's enemy Chris Criswell getting together to make a Faith-less team to enact revenge, is so much fun; each villain is so well thought-out that their interaction becomes a highlight and a great indication that this is going to be an excellent story arc. I've said it many times: Faith is a must-read.
Every now and again, someone tells me that they want to read just one superhero series that they know is going to be excellent with each issue, and each time I point them to Astro City. There is no comic that provides the quality and brilliance as well as expanding on a superhero-filled world with as much intrigue and mystery as Kurt Busiek's monumental work. In the latest issue, the reader learns the origin story of the tuxedo-wearing hero, The Gentleman. It's yet another chapter in a work that will go down eventually as one of the greatest series in comics and, for those holdouts who still haven't read this series, I urge you to start immediately.
The best comic book that you might not be reading is Shade the Changing Girl and issue #7 is a stand-alone issue that makes for a perfect jumping-on point (or a way to see if this series is right for you). This issue focuses on why Loma (or Shade) left her Meta (the world that she's from) to go to Earth. There's a lot going on in this issue, providing more of a backstory for Loma as well as showing context for what will soon be the series' next story arc. While its deep science fiction premise can be challenging, Shade the Changing Girl consistently delivers on its promises and is the best of the Young Animal series.
Each time I read a Monstress comic, I'm not only overwhelmed by the beauty and magical elements of Marjorie Liu and Sana Tanaka's world but astounded by their unbridled ability to create fleshed-out characters that expand the reader's mind as well as the universe in which they've created. Every part of this world is fascinating, and in the most recent installment, we learn more about Maika's mother as well as the god/demon that lives inside her. Monstress is a prime example of the creative heights to which comics can achieve, a feat that this critic is constantly astounded by with each issue.
With both the psychologically affecting She-Hulk and wonderfully touching Supergirl: Being Super, Mariko Tamaki is showing that she is the star of both the Marvel and DC Universe. For this Power Report, let's talk about the latter of the two and how Tamaki has built a truly beautiful story around the friendships of the characters (especially Kara and Dolly in this past issue). There is a lot of grieving in this issue (and in the series thus far) but there's also a lot of tender moments -- the scene that especially stands out is when they're skipping gym class and Dolly explains that she knows something about Kara. Superhero comics are often focused on plot and fight scenes, so when you get to a moment of discourse that is wonderful and well-written, it's more than welcome -- this incredible series is filled with such moments.
Matt Kindt's X-O Manowar debut issue sold an absolutely amazing 90,000 copies, showcasing the strength of the Valiant character and the loyalty of Valiant fans. There were many different directions Matt Kindt could have taken Aric since Robert Venditti had the character for so long, but it's refreshing to see that instead of making Aric into something completely different he took Venditti's work and built from it, allowing the reader to appreciate the new direction without missing the creative team's previous storyline. Overall this new arc showcases Aric, the warrior with some of the best artwork this year (byTomas Giorello). This is the beginning of an epic new storyline and an exciting new beginning in the Valiant Universe.
Each month Jeff Lemire produces a staggering amount of comics, and as soon as you start to think that perhaps the heavy output might hurt the quality, he releases a new series that completely blows your mind. This month, Lemire's groundbreaking series is Royal City, the story of a fading literary icon who returns to his factory hometown that has more than a few skeletons in its closets. It's beautiful, with Lemire doing both the artwork and the writing. Pair that with Roughneck, a story about a former NHL hockey goon who finds new purpose in taking care of his sister, and it's an awesome month to be a Jeff Lemire fan. It's time that we not only start saying he's one of the great living comic book writers but that he's one of the best living writers, period.