Pride of Baghdad - Brian K Vaughn is probably one of the most talented writers in comics right now. His 60-issue series Y: The Last Man was absolutely brilliant and a must read. His Ex Machina series, though extremely late, may have to be thrown onto that list as well once it's all said and done. But this one quickly fell off the grid after it's initial release. Pride is about a pride of lions that "escape" the zoo in Baghdad after a bombing rips the place down. Now all they want to do is find the real home again and join the wild, all while having to survive the war zone. Great story. It's actually derived from a true story and with content like this, it does tend to get a little political (sorta) so it may not be every one's favorite but I've loved it more and more every time I read it.
Astro City - This one may the tough one to get behind. It's been going for some number of years and it's scheduling is pretty off. However, after the ongoing series ended, there have only been minis or one-shots so it's fairly easy to find collections. Astro City is a city filled with super-powered beings, like most other comics. However, what makes this one stand out is the writing of Kurt Busiek. Busiek is able to bring us super-beings that are more human than most any other comics out there. Their joys, their angst, their problems and sadness and anger. He makes you connect to this characters because you can see yourself in them which is the one thing every writer strives for. And Alex Ross is on board for covers so there's no going wrong there.
Cla$$war - You have probably never heard of the comic company Com.x and in all likely hood, this will not change. However, Cla$$war could be the one thing that changes this. Cla$$war tells the story of the governments super-human team, the Enola Gay, and how politics really do run everything. When the leader of Enola Gay, The American, finds out just how they have been used by their government, he sets out to make sure everyone knows just what the truth is. I'm a guy who hates politics, but this "political thriller" blew me away. Hard hitting action and slick writing make this a huge standout from the typical hero stuff.
Torso - Before Brian Michael Bendis became the Golden Child for Marvel, he worked on small, black and white books at Image where he also drew. Top of that list is Torso. Based on the real events of the "Torso Murderer" from the '30s, we follow Elliot Ness as he tries to find the killer before it is too late. This is a great crime story and it shows that Bendis can do mush more than write the Avengers and Spider-Man. And on top of everything, this is another comic that Hollywood is trying to turn into a movie and last I head, Bendis was writing the screenplay for it. Jump on this one before it becomes the next fad and you are forced to start hating it.
Midnight Nation - J. Michael Straczynski is absolutely one of the top writers in the industry and this one proves it. Detective David Grey is thrust into a world "in-between" and is forced to fight for his very soul. He must go on a journey with Laurel, a lady who acts as guide to all who are in David's position, to New York (from LA, on foot) over the course of a year. If he can make it there, he can get his soul back. If he not, he will eventually turn into a mindless creature, forever roaming the In-Between. This is one of my favorites of all time. I picked up the trade at Con just so I would stop reading the single issues and stop wearing them down. I really can't say enough about this book. May be some of the best character writing that I have come across. This is the single reason that I will always give Straczynski's books a shot each and every time. Pick this book up.