How do you redeem a sociopath? The answer is found in Bedlam, a mini-series by Nick Spencer. Managing to be both gruesome in violence and surprisingly funny, Bedlam is a pleasant read from cover to cover. Spencer somehow makes you root for a sociopathic serial-killer who through a series of events becomes rehabilitated. The art by Riley Rossmo feels raw and gritty, fitting the tone of the crime-riddled city. Rossmo's sells the humor of the book by nailing the body language of the characters. In just four issues, Spencer reminds us that big stories do not need massive arcs to succeed.
Runner-Up: Before Watchmen: Minutemen
Before Watchmen was obviously going to be one of the most controversial offerings of the past year, but no one actually thought that it was going to be one of the best offerings from DC Comics of the past several years. All of the mini-series launched under the Before Watchmen banner have been worthwhile reads, but Before Watchmen: Minutemen has been the standout. The Darwyn Cooke written and drawn series recounts the other adventures and happenings surrounding the original Minutemen (Nite Owl, The Silhouette, Hooded Justice, Dollar Bill, Capt. Metropolis, Mothman, and others). While many of the Minutemen are intelligently and intimately portrayed and expanded upon, Cooke's focus on Nite Owl/Hollis Mason and his relationship/friendship with Silhouette makes the series. His portrayal of Mason's everyman appeal and Silhouette's strong sense of justice and strength in the face of adversity (societal and otherwise) is masterful and inspiring. In fact, issue #3 of the series was so good it gets my vote for best mainstream single issue of the year.