The Best Comics & Graphic Novels of May 2017

The pull list is long this month, so let’s get to it.

Champions, Vol. 1: Change the World, by Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos
Following up on the recent events in Avengers as well as Civil War II, some of the young heroes of the Marvel U strike out and form an optimistic, idealistic new team, determined to show the grown-ups how it’s done. Ms. Marvel, Nova, Miles Morales, Amadeus Cho, Viv Vision, and a time-displaced young Cyclops (long story) are starting a movement.

Moonshine, Vol. 1, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
The team behind 100 Bullets is back with a new, equally brutal crime series. Set during Prohibition, it tells the story of a slick New York City rum-runner sent to negotiate a deal with one of the top moonshiners in West Virginia. He quickly finds himself in over his head as the backwoods criminal is easily a match for the New Yorker, and also hiding a bloody supernatural secret.

Mayday, by Alex de Campi, Tony Parker, and Blond
Another period piece, this one set in 1971. The cold war is in full swing, and a KGB general has defected with all of the Soviet intelligence assets in Asia listed on a bit of microfilm. An American agent is trying to get the general to California, while a counteragent wants to kill the defector and return the list to the USSR.

Black Widow, Vol. 2: No More Secrets, by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee
Mark Waid has several books out this month, and that’s a good thing. In the second volume of the Black Widow solo series, Natasha is determined to bring down the Dark Room, the modern incarnation of the Red Room program that made her into a spy and robbed her of some of her humanity. Unfortunately, they know she’s coming, and has been marked by the daughter of the Dark Room’s head. The young woman is determined to bring down Natasha to prove her worth.

On The Camino, by Jason
For his 50th birthday, award-winning cartoonist Jason (aka Sæterøy) set out on a 500-mile pilgrimage across Northern Spain that he recounts here in his first full-length graphic memoir. His minimalist style and animal-like figures are on full display, but this is the first time that the creator has created a work so explicitly personal.

Violent Love, Vol. 1: Stay Dangerous, by Frank J Barbiere and Victor Santos
A Bonnie and Clyde story of star-crossed lovers, Violent Love jumps around in time to chronicle the hard-lived life of Daisy Jane, who was one of the most notorious bank robbers of the American Southwest even before teaming up and falling in love with Rock Bradley. Though she’s brilliant and capable on her own, the impressive successes the two achieve together lead her down a violent path in this stylish pulp thriller.

Shattered Warrior, by Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag
Novelist Shin is joined by Molly Knox Ostertag in this original graphic novel. Colleen Cavanaugh is trying to lead a quiet existence in a city conquered by a race of tyrannical aliens called the Derichets. Her life is turned upside down when she befriends Jann, a member of a resistance group, who leads her to realize that the niece she thought was dead is alive and in need of both a hero and a family.

DC Comics Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior, by Landry Walker
In celebration of Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary a few months back, as well as her forthcoming movie (please be good), this illustrated coffee-table book covers the breadth of the Amazing Amazon’s history in the comics from the beginning through to the present-day DC Rebirth era. It’s a bit of a cross between an encyclopedia and an art book, discussing WW’s allies, enemies, and key issues and storylines. It’s everything you need to do up Diana’s big year right.

Wonder Woman, Vol. 2: Year One (Rebirth), by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott
Speaking of Wonder Woman, the return of one of Diana’s all-time great scribes, Greg Rucka, was a highlight of her 75th anniversary celebrations, made even more exciting when he was joined by all-star artist Nicola Scott. The story has been alternating between the present day and Diana’s earliest adventures on Paradise Island. This volume goes back to the beginning with an origin story with revelations that reverberate across the series.

Street Angel: After School Kung Fu Special, by Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg
Jesse Sanchez is about as cool as they come: an orphaned, homeless teenager who fights ninjas when she’s not skateboarding and trying to get good marks as a 7th grader. There’s not a stereotype to be found in her ongoing almost-all-ages adventures. Her friends include a zombie, a robot, and the devil’s daughter, but she’s still just trying to live as normal a life as possible in an action-packed world.

Saga, Book Two, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
If you’ve not been collecting Saga in issues or trades (or even if you have), these hard-bound books are a solid (pun intended) way to get your fix and keep up with the groundbreaking series about a family trying to avoid catastrophe in the middle of a galactic war. This second volume collects a full 18 issues of the ongoing series, potentially making for a butt-busting night of binge-reading, and there are exclusive sketches from guest artists and other goodies in there as well.

Jessica Jones, Vol. 1: Uncaged!, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos
Bendis and Gaydos, the creators behind Jessica’s original iconic series (on which the Netflix show is largely based), return to the character after a decade. A lot’s changed for the character and for the larger Marvel U, but Jessica is back behind the desk of Alias Investigations. She comes into possession of some potentially very damaging information about other Marvel heroes while facing down a killer with cannibalistic tendencies.

New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract New Edition, by Marv Wolfman and George Perez
The Wolfman and Perez Titans was DC’s most popular book during its era, and the Judas Contract, rereleased to tie in with the new animated movie, is largely regarded as the height of a beloved run. The series as a whole combines mature storytelling with action and some fun, soapy teen drama, but this story proves beyond a doubt that the stakes for the teen heroes are very real. Lots of twists and turns, along with a shocking betrayal.

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen: Awesome Female Characters from Comic Book History, by Hope Nicholson
Comics super-historian and writer Hope Nicholson has done a great deal over the past few years to make the case that Wonder Woman isn’t the only female superhero worthy of your interest. Beginning in the 1930s with fighters like Olga Mesmer and Torchy Brown, Nicholson goes decade-by-decade through the year to shine a light on some of the most important, and most unfairly ignored, women from the comics. It’s thorough, but all done with a light touch and plenty of illustrations.

Kid Savage, Vol. 1, by Joe Kelly
In this all-ages book, an iconic family of space travelers takes a wrong turn, crashing onto an unforgiving planet. Without their modern technology, they’re pretty useless—until they are joined by a mysterious orphan boy with a nasty temper. Joe Kelly, one of the minds behind Ben 10 and I Kill Giants, teams with artist Ilya for the fun adventure.

Lucas Stand, by Kurt Sutter, Caitlin Kittredge, and Jesus Hervas
Sutter worked on The Shield TV series, and created Sons of Anarchy—not a bad list of credits when it comes to action-oriented adult storytelling. In this graphic novel, he’s telling the story of a combat veteran who’s having a very tough time getting back into society. He’s finally offered a job that suits his skills: Hell’s looking for a soldier who can help capture rogue demons loose in the world, even in other times.

Strange Fruit, by J.G. Jones and Mark Waid
Not without controversy, Waid and Jones tell the story of the Great Flood of 1927. The rampaging waters ravaged the small town of Chatterlee, Mississippi,and also brought to the fore racial tensions that had been simmering for decades. In this fully painted telling, a being from beyond is brought to Earth in order to save the town from destruction.

Surgeon X: The Path of Most Resistance, by Sara Kenney and John Watkiss
In future London, a right-wing government has taken the reins of power in time for a complete failure of antibiotics, such that the medical establishment has almost entirely collapsed. In comes Rosa Scott, a brilliant surgeon treating patients by any means necessary, skirting the law and medical ethics to bring experimental techniques and illegal drugs to those in need. Documentary filmmaker Sara Kenney writes, with legendary Vertigo-founding editor Karen Berger backing her up—meaning this was always a project guaranteed to be fascinating.

March of the Crabs, Vol. 2, by Arthur DePins
The second part of a unique trilogy from French illustrator and animator Arthur de Pins, this odd book focuses on the Cancer simplicimus vulgaris, a type of crab that can’t change direction, and walks in a straight line eternally from hatching unto death. During one ordinary summer, three of the crabs decide to try something different, upending the entire ecosystem around them in a funny, cute, and touching story.

Bad Machinery, Vol. Seven: The Case of the Forked Road, by John Allison
Children in the fictional West Yorkshire town of Tackleford continue to investigate mysteries in the latest of John Allison’s charming and funny series. Lottie, Shauna, and Mildred are tasked with figuring out what’s wrong with time as they encounter a mysterious new student who dresses like it’s the ’60s and a science teacher who’s hiding a wormhole in a cupboard.

Goldie Vance, Vol. 2, by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams
Love a teen sleuth. House-detective in training Marigold Vance lives at a Florida resort managed by her dad, where her entirely insatiable curiosity keeps getting her involved in mysteries. Goldie gets a mentor when Charles, who investigates goings-on at the hotel, can’t solve the latest case on his own. It’s a fun, all-ages series from writer Hope Larson, with bright, beautiful art from Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!’s Brittney Williams.

What’s on your pull list this month? 

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