The Best Comics & Graphic Novels of June 2018

Mech Cadet Yu, Vol. 1, by Greg Pak, Takeshi Miyazawa, and Triona Farrell
Stanford is the son of a janitor at the illustrious Sky Corps Academy, and decidedly not one of the elite cadets who’ve trained to bond with giant robots from outer space in order to save the planet. Still, he’s been chosen by one of the mechs itself, and must pair with to defend the earth from the monstrous Sharg. He’ll have to prove to his classmates and himself that he’s up for the challenge. It’s a little bit Iron Giant and a little bit Pacific Rim, with a bright sci-fi style.

Where We Live: Las Vegas Shooting Benefit Anthology, by J. H. Williams III, Wendy Wright-Williams, Neil Gaiman, Kieron Gillen, Brian Michael Bendis, and Kelly Sue DeConnick
With profits going toward the medical needs of the survivors of the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting, locals J.H. Williams III and Wendy Wright-Williams assemble some of the biggest names in comics alongside talent local to the area, to explore a recent American tragedy (one that has sadly since been pushed aside by coverage of the next mass shooting, and the next). Working from firsthand accounts of witnesses, the book promises to be a thoughtful exploration of the issues surrounding the plague of mass shootings in modern America.

Black Panther: Long Live the King, by Nnedi Okorafor, Andre Araujo, Aaron Covington, Mario del Pennino, Tana Ford
The first of three big Black Panther books this month, this standalone introduces the brilliant, multi-award winning Okorafor as a chronicler of Wakanda before her forthcoming Dora Milaje miniseries. In this book, T’Challa is working to rebuild Wakanda following the revolution outlined in the primary series, while also fighting to defend the locals from a monstrous threat.

Black Panther: Avengers of the New World, Part 2, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leonard Kirk, and Chris Sprouse
Coates’ groundbreaking run on Panther continues, and he’s still putting T’Challa and Wakanda through the wringer. The state of the nation is precarious in the wake of revolution, and the king is desperate to bring stability to his people even as Ulysses Klaw, the man who killed his father, returns. Meanwhile, even the land’s deities have deserted it, as the old gods reassert themselves.

Void Trip, by Ryan O’Sullivan and Plaid Klaus
Ana and Gabe are the last two humans left alive in the galaxy: a pair of hippy froot-heads on a leisurely hunt for a world called Euphoria, a place that sounds pretty great (for obvious reasons). Less obvious is why they’re being hunted by a mysterious being called The Great White. And, unfortunately, once they reach it, Euphoria isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. What begins as a fun voyage with a couple of interstellar stoners quickly turns into a metaphysical journey inspired by ’60s-era American road trip narratives.

Son of Hitler, by Anthony Del Col, Geoff Moore, and Jeff McComsey
The alternate history we need right now, Anthony Del Col, Geoff Moore, and Jeff McComsey’s graphic novel collaboration isn’t only a satisfying what-if? scenario about a covert mission to infiltrate the Third Reich and kill Hitler, it’s also a timely commentary on the way fascist ideas seem to be able to survive, cockroach-like, to infest each new generation. Jeff McComsey’s art deals in limited color palettes that give the book the feel of a vintage newsreel or spy film. If your interest is piqued, read more about the book in our interview with the creators.

Motor Crush, Vol. 2, by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr, Jake Wyatt, and Paul Reinwand
Volume 1 was a pretty wild ride: the Batgirl of Burnside team reunited for the story of Domino Swift, star of a worldwide motorcycle racing league who battles rival gangs by night for control of the illegal engine-boosting Crush. From the writing, to the art to the colors, the series is stylish, inventive, and kinetic. The second volume moves ahead two years, finding Domino struggling to adjust to a world without Crush.

DC/Young Animal: Milk Wars, by Steve Orlando, Gerard Way, Jody Houser, Cecil Castelucci, Jon Rivera, ACO, Ty Templeton, Mirka Andolpho, Langdon Foss, Dale Eaglesham, and Nick Derington
If you can only read one cross-universe, milk-themed mega-crossover this month, make this the one. DC’s Young Animal imprint has produced some of the best superhero comics on the stands of late: books that are smart, weird, and irreverent in the best ways. In this series, characters from the DCU proper meet up with the Young Animal teams and characters to battle a reality-bending corporation called “Retconn,” with dramatic and bizarre results. Superman becomes Milkman Man, monstrous paragon of wholesomeness taken to extremes. Wonder Wife fights dirt with a golden vacuum cleaner. And Funko Pop-esque toys are made of meat. It’s a perfect antidote to event fatigue.

The Red Hook, by Dean Haspiel
The winner of the 2017 Ringo Award for Best Webcomic, writer/artist Dean Haspiel’s bizarre superhero story is now available in a handsome print edition. The titular hero is a thief-turned-avenger who reluctantly takes up the cause of justice when he is given the “Omni-Fist of Altruism.” If that isn’t enough to, er, hook you, there’s also the setting: “New Brooklyn,” the city that came to be when Manhattan’s neighbor to the east revealed itself to be sentient and made the decision to succeed from an indifferent America, establishing a new society in which art is valued above money. ” The book is dedicated to the latecomic creator Seth Kushner, and was originally envisioned as a companion piece to his non-fiction interview project The Brooklynites.  

The Strange, by Jérôme Ruillier
An unnamed, undocumented immigrant searches for a new life in a Western country in which he struggles to communicate. Ruillier tells the story from the points of view of those who come into contact with the immigrant, handing-off narrators throughout. It’s an effort to portray the complexities of life as an immigrant, told in a deceptively simple artistic style that conveys promise and a sometimes-naive hope.

Strong Female Protagonist, Book Two, by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag
Mega Girl used to battle giant robots, but then the revelation of a sinister conspiracy convinced her to give up her super-heroic ways. She’s still struggling to help, but as a college student who still has super strength and invulnerability. The webcomic phenomenon confronts ideas of social justice, and asks whether a superheroes make things better, or much worse.

Wonder Woman/Conan, by Gail Simone, Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan, and Wendy Broome
I’m not sure what else you need to know. Simone, Lopresti, and company set Wonder Woman in the middle of Robert Howard’s blood-soaked Hyborian age where she (ultimately) teams up with the Cimmerian warrior. It’s a surprisingly good pairing: Conan might be a brutal barbarian, but he’s the greatest warrior of his people, and lives in a world of gods and monsters, not unlike Diana herself.

Hit-Girl, Vol. 1, by Mark Millar, Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, and Amy Reeder
Mark Millar returns to the world of Kick-Ass by shifting the focus to fan-favorite Hit-Girl and bringing on new artist Ricardo Lopez Ortiz. Hit-Girl is embarking on a world tour in her new book, starting in Columbia, when she’s enlisted to avenge a child killed by an assassin. Instead, she’s got bigger plans: kidnapping the killer and using him to find every lowlife she can. What’s not changed is the over-the-top action, violence, and gore for which the series is known.

Dark Nights: Metal: Deluxe Edition, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
DC’s latest mega-event comes from two of its most reliable creators: the long-time Batman dynamic duo of Snyder and Capullo. Batman spent years researching metals with mysterious properties before discovering that the materials are linked to a dark multiverse: a nightmare realm of multiple worlds watched over by an evil force determined to drag all of the other universes into the darkness. When our Batman becomes trapped on the dark side, twisted nightmarish Dark Knights invade, with only the Justice League to stand in their way.

Ghostbusters: Answer The Call, by Kelly Thompson, Corin Howell, and Valentina Pinto
There might not be another film on the horizon for the Ghostbustin’ team of Abby, Erin, Patty, and Holtzman (which stinks), but they’ve had a bit of a second life in the comics. They appeared in the Ghostbusters 101 crossover last year, but here, they’re back in their own universe, and on their own, facing a ghost that can conjure illusions in order to inspire fear, forcing them to confront their own personal demons.

The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars, Part Three, by Michael Dante DiMartino, Irene Koh, and Vivian Ng
The best shows make for some of the best comics, and The Legend of Korra is no exception, which isn’t especially surprising considering this official follow-up continues the story and is written by the show’s co-creator. Asami has been kidnapped and taken into the increasingly dangerous Spirit Wilds, a realm influenced by the half-human Tokuga. Korra doesn’t hesitate to seek her out, and the two will have to trust each other more than ever before to get back.

Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of our Fathers, by Reginald Hudlin and Denys Cowan
All the coolest Marvel heroes hung out during World War II. Here, Hudlin teams Cap up with King Azzuri of Wakanda, grandfather of the current Black Panther. Alongside Nick Fury and his Howling Commandoes, they tackle Baron Strucker and a Red Skull desperate to capture genuine, grade-A Wakandan Vibranium.

No. 1 With A Bullet, by Jacob Semahn, Jorge Corona, Jen Hickman, and Steve Wands
This new book from Image delivers high-tech horror in the story of Nash Huang, an assistant on a news/talk show at the top of her career and social media game before the release of augmented reality contact lenses that record everything seamlessly. There’s a leaked sex tape at play, as well as disturbing imagery that can only be seen by the wearer of the lenses. Corona’s beautifully high-contrast art is a highlight.

Grass Kings, Vol. 2, by Matt Kindt, Tyler Jenkins, and Hilary Jenkins
Three brothers rule a trailer park in this gorgeously illustrated (and painted!) rural noir. As volume 2 opens, a turf war with a rival town has concluded, but a potential serial killer has lead brother Robert turning the community upside down while paranoia takes hold. Bruce and Ashur are forced to decide if the time has come for a change in leadership.

The Archies, Vol. 1, by Matthew Rosenberg, Alex Segura, Joe Eisma, Matt Herms, and Jack Morelli
The latest spin-off of Archie’s successful reboot sees The Archies (as in the band) take center stage—with all of the fun (and Riverdale drama) fully intact. Their first-ever tour is off to a rocky start, but it’s OK: they’ve got guest stars CHVRCHES along to give the band some pointers.

Ice Cream Man, Vol. 1: Rainbow Sprinkles, by Maxwell W. Prince, Martin Morazzo, and Chris O’Halloran
This Tales from the Crypt-style anthology series reads like a series of short stories linked by the presence of the titular Ice Cream Man, a trickster figure straight out of a Stephen King novel, who makes life miserable, sad, and definitely strange for his customers, who each have their own weird tales to tell. Morazzo and O’Halloran’s art is as colorful as rainbow sprinkles, and so sunny and cheerful as to be rather creepy—exactly the right fit for the tone of this offbeat breakout series.

It Will All Hurt, by Farel Dalrymple
Wrapping up on a chipper note: Farel Dalrymple is one of the most talented artists, and most interesting imaginations, in modern comics, as evidenced by haunting works such as Pop Gun Warand The Wrenchies. Here, a girl named Almendra is transported to the world of The Wrenchies—a shifting, post-apocalyptic landscape with mages, aliens, and talking animals. The plot, in which Almendra joins together with other lost children to defeat a sinister wizard, is somewhat stream-of-consciousness, but it’s also a visual feast, like so much of this creator’s work.

What’s on your pull list?

Follow B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy