The Best Comics & Graphic Novels of June 2017

Boundless, by Jillian Tamaki
Tamaki’s latest surreal collection has plenty to say about what it means to be a woman in the modern world. The centerpiece is the story of Jenny, who becomes wrapped up in the life of an alternate version of herself as transmitted via a weird mirror version of Facebook. As she obsesses over the better(?) self she sees on social media, her real self slowly begins to shrink away, quite literally. Tamaki’s other works have gracefully walked the line between absurdity and profundity, and this one is no different.

Doom Patrol, Vol. 1: Brick by Brick, by Gerard Way and Nick Derington
The Doom Patrol’s reputation as the weirdest crew in comics is safe in this reboot from DC’s new Young Animal line. Former My Chemical Romance frontman and writer Gerard Way is spearheading that imprint, created to allow creators free reign with some of DC’s iconic, but slightly lesser-known, characters. Derington’s artwork is at least as much an attraction in the adventures of Robotman, Crazy Jane, Rebis, and Flex Mentallo. Fans of Grant Morrison’s run back in the day will be very pleased, but the book requires no prior knowledge—just a willingness to get weird.

Kyrra: Alien Jungle Girl, by Rich Woodall, Craig Rousseau, and Lawrence Basso
The jungle girl has a long, and mixed, history in comics and pop culture, but this new take on the tropes adds a charming and empowering tone alongside the jungle action. Kyrra is hunting for her true origin in an adventure that takes her from the jungle into a world as alien to her as her colorful forest would be to us.

Valérian: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1, by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres
There’s nothing new about the adventures of Valérian and Laureline, but if you’re not a French-speaker (or even if you are), there’s a good chance the stories of the two trans-temporal agents are new to you . The stories collected here go back to 1967, the beginning of an unprecedented run that only ended in 2010. The title duo began as a couple of time-traveling protectors of the Terran Empire in the 28th century, encountering bizarre and beautiful worlds along their journeys, but over time, writer Pierre Christin added humor and went deeper with his humanist philosophies. This is the first time the series has been collected consistently and chronologically in English.

Bitch Planet, Vol. 2: President Bitch, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma, Kelly Fitzpatrick, and Clayton Cowles
As the title might suggest, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro’s series has generated both passion and controversy. It’s an unapologetic and uncompromising look at modern gender relations (meaning: the ways in which our society treats women) set on a future women’s prison that happens to be in space. The long-awaited second volume continues the story of Kamau Kogo, Penny Rolle, and the other prisoners while introducing two new areas of the prison: one holding trans women, another set aside specifically for Eleanor Doane, a former world leader set to spark a prison uprising.

Mother Panic, Vol. 1: A Work in Progress, by Jody Houser, Tommy Lee Edwards, and Shawn Crystal
Jody Houser has a long list of comics industry bonafides (not least among them: Faith, Rogue One, and Vixen), but Mother Panic, created for DC’s Young Animal imprint, might be the best thing she’s ever done. It’s a feminist vigilante tale set in one of the darker corners of the Batman universe. Violet Page is an obnoxious tabloid-fodder socialite by day, but at night, she dons the mask of Mother Panic, a new threat to the worst criminals stalking the streets of Gotham. Mother Panic’s willingness to cross lines to bring criminals to justice draws the ire of everyone from the police to the Bat family, but Violet’s thirst for retribution, and the allure of infamy, may not let her rest. Tommy Lee Edwards and Shawn Crystal contribute visceral, striking art to this frenetic series launch.

Motor Crush, Vol. 1, by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr
The team who brought new life and new fans to Batgirl by sending her to Burnside take that mojo to Image for a fun, fast-paced book, with a sidecar of black, queer representation. Domino Swift stars in a near-future sci-fi story about a woman who, by day, is a professional racer in a worldwide motorcycle league. By night, she’s racing in illegal street competitions and generally cracking heads in order to get her hands on the titular “Motor Crush,” a chemical that’s like steroids for bikes. The Barnes & Noble exclusive edition features a poster and cover art you can’t get anywhere else.

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 3, by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Takeshi Miyazawa, and Nico Leon
This deluxe edition collects the first twelve issues of the current Ms. Marvel series. As the series begins, Kamala’s hit the big time and become a full-fledged Avenger, though that level of celebrity takes a toll when developers in her hometown of Jersey City start using her likeness for nefarious purposes. And that’s before a new super civil war leaves her town between her hero Captain Marvel and her mentor, Iron Man.

Descender, Vol. 4: Orbital Mechanics, by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen
Despite being the story of a young robot, Descender is one of the most human and humane books on the stands. Having been rejected by his family for being what he is, Tim-21 and his companions continue their quest to find out the truth behind the Harvesters and Tim’s connection to the conquerors, even as Andy and crew close in.

Nate Powell’s Omnibox: Featuring Swallow Me Whole, Any Empire, & You Don’t Say, by Nate Powell
This set collects three of indie genius Nate Powell’s much-loved works: Swallow Me Whole explores teen mental illness, Any Empire deals with the aftereffects of war, and You Don’t Say is a series of shorts. It’s tempting to call this a Powell sampler, but each of the collected works is a standalone mini-masterpiece in its own right.

Josie and the Pussycats, Vol. 1, by Marguerite Bennett, Cameron DeOrdio, Kelly Fitzpatrick, and Adurey Mok
Marguerite Bennett’s name is showing up everywhere in the comics industry these days, and with good reason. She’s produced fabulous work for a several different companies, and in widely differing genres. Meanwhile, the gang at Archie comics has reinvented itself as one of the most innovative publishers in the biz, transforming old school Archie without losing the essence or charm of the Riverdale crew. Bennett is joined by talented co-writer Cameron DeOrdio and artist Audrey Mok for this updated Josie origin, and it’s super-fun, emphasizing the friendship that holds the Pussycats together.

Rockstars, Vol. 1: Nativity in Blacklight, by Joe Harris, Megan Hutchison, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Michael David Thomas, and Tom Mueller
Harris and Hutchison find the perfect intersection of comics nerdery and rock-and-roll geekery in this series about conspiracy theories and dark magic (Harris also writes for the X-Files books, so he’s well qualified). For fan Jackie Meyer and music journalist Dorothy Buell, it turns out the stories they’ve always heard about their favorite bands are true. Rock has some dark gods, and fame requires sacrifice.

Nothing Lasts Forever, by Sina Grace
Sine Grace has produced a powerful series of personal memoirs, and the latest promises to be every bit as compelling as his earlier works. Nothing Lasts Forever covers a year in the life of an artist suffering from writer’s block, a series of emotional highs and lows, and the emergence of a mystery illness that leaves nothing but hope in its wake.

Teen Titans, Vol. 1: Damian Knows Best, by Benjamin Percy and Jonboy Meyers
In the latest Titans series, Robin assembles a new team…one that immediately becomes embroiled in a conflict between Damian and his immortal grandfather, Ra’s al Ghul. Not only are Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and Kid Flash bristling against the leadership of Boy Wonder, but the entire League of Assassins is on the hunt, and doesn’t care who gets in the way.

The Wicked & The Divine, Vol. 5: Imperial Phase I, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie Mckelvie
Persephone takes the spotlight in this latest volume of the series about immortal Gods taking human hosts and, in their current incarnations, living lives as the biggest pop stars of our age. Persephone, within her host Laura, is sinking deeper into the darkness and anger of her Destroyer persona coming into conflict with the rest of the Pantheon. This volume also collects the acclaimed one-shot magazine-style book of character profiles.

Divinity III: Stalinverse, by Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine
The Valiant Universe has been turned upside down in this dystopian series. The Soviet Union has won the cold war and spent decades as the world’s reigning superpower. A Russian intelligence officer comes to suspect that things aren’t quite as they’re supposed to be, and seeks out the lost cosmonaut who might be the key to putting the world right.

The Adventures of Superhero Girl (Expanded Edition), by Faith Erin Hicks
Being a superhero is all well and good, but there’s real life to contend with as well in Faith Erin Hicks’ charming, funny ode to super-life. Her hero gets her clothes secondhand, her weakness is a love for kittens, and her feats include giving away her spare change, but she’s nevertheless a champion worth cheering for.

Black Panther: World of Wakanda, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, and Yona Harvey
It’s not entirely uncommon for talents from outside of the comics fold to try their hands in the medium, but the results aren’t often this consistently brilliant. Journalist and cultural correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates, who currently writes the core Black Panther book, is joined by feminist writer and scholar Roxane Gay for this more-or-less standalone series that shifts the focus away from T’Challa to the Dora Milaje, the personal bodyguards to the kings of Wakanda. The elite fighters were also once in competition to be wives of the king, and this action-packed book charts their evolution.

Strange Attractors, by Charles Soule and Greg Scott
Dr. Sepncer Brownfield has been watching New York City closely since 1978, when he saved the city from disaster. A series of small, unnoticed mathematical adjustments have kept chaos at bay ever since, at least according to Brownfield’s young acolyte Heller Wilson. Writer Soule’s story deals in big ideas, suggesting that there are things in life that can be controlled and managed, and things that absolutely can’t.

Star-Lord: Grounded, by Chip Zdarsky and Kris Anka
Galaxy-traveling hero Peter Quill is trapped on Earth along with the rest of the team, but he’s not going to let that get him down: he’s going straight to work. As a bartender. And, of course, he immediately finds himself in trouble with the law, a sticky situation made stickier by the arrival of lawyer Matt Murdoch, aka Daredevil. Even with the brash hero trapped on Earth, Zdarsky and Anka capture everything that’s fun about Star-Lord—including an impossible number of ripped shirts.

Mister X: The Archives, by Dean Motter, Neil Gaiman, and Los Bros. Hernandez
“Groundbreaking” is a word that gets thrown around quite a bit, but Dean Motter’s creation remains as unique and stylistically beautiful now as it was over a quarter-century ago. Mister X is the architect of a bizarre, bauhaus, noir, Fritz Lang-inspired cityscape that drives people mad by virtue of its “psychetecture.” He is determined to fix his creation in the face of a rogues gallery bent on stopping him. The series, collected here, also showcased several rising talents in the comics business, including the Hernandez brothers.

The Complete Skizz, by Alan Moore and Jim Baikie
The legendary and prolific Moore has, amazingly, material that’s currently out of print. But a little less of it with this release: Skizz was a character Moore came back to several times for over a decade in the pages of 2000 AD. He is an interpreter from the Tau-Ceti Imperium who crash lands on Earth and is stranded when he blows up his ship to protect the technology. Soon, he finds himself on the run from Margaret Thatcher and her alien-hunting goons.

Deadpool the Duck, by Stuart Moore and Jacopo Camagni
Just when you think that they’ve done every weird thing possible with Wade Wilson, someone comes along and pushes the bar that much further. A crossover bringing together Marvel’s favorite foul-mouthed fowl, Howard the Duck, and the Merc with a Mouth seems entirely reasonable, right? But reasonable isn’t the Deadpool way, so they’re actually sharing a body as a result of some alien intervention. Love it.

Atomic Blonde: The Coldest City, by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart
This summer marks the release of a (incredibly badass-looking) movie based on this late Cold War-era noir about MI6 spy Lorraine Broughton, the titular Atomic Blonde (the book has been renamed to match the film), who returns from Berlin during the fall of the wall after having investigated the death of a fellow agent and the loss of a list of assets. She comes home to report on her story, and finds that things aren’t any less dangerous on the other side of the iron curtain.

DC Comics: Bombshells, Vol. 4, by Marguerite Bennett
This series, which drops some of DC’s most iconic heroes into a highly stylized version of World War II, has been a shot of pure fun from a talented team. In this volume, Renee, Catwoman, and Batwoman seek help in Africa from Vixen, an old ally and queen of the Zambesi. On the journey, they find that Cheetah is close to uncovering a forbidden site holding a weapon that could change the course of the war. Naturally, Vixen seeks out help from a fellow royal: Wonder Woman herself.

What’s on your pull list?

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