The Best Graphic Novels of April

eastofwest5In this brief lull between Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War, you’ll want to set aside some quiet time for this month’s new graphic novels. Even if superheroes aren’t your thing, April brings great new stuff from the likes of Brian K. Vaughan, Jonathan Hickman, Noelle Stevenson, and John Allison. There are also plenty of lady-lead books, a nice reminder that comics are for everybody.

Paper Girls, Vol. 1, by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang
Anything by either member of this creative team is worth checking out, a collaboration only doubly so. Taking place in the 1980s, the series follows a gang of punk-inspired 12-year-old girls with paper routes and a chip on their shoulders. They’re pretty tough, but they’ll have to be even tougher when strange, seemingly alien creatures drop out of the sky and people begin vanishing into thin air.

Wonder Woman: Earth One, Vol. 1, by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette
It’s already a bit controversial, but anything from Grant Morrison is bound to be interesting. Along with superstar artist Paquette, Morrison begins a take on Wonder Woman’s origin that goes back to the character’s roots. WW’s early days involved a lot details that modern writers have been reluctant to emphasize—chains, “loving submission,” and the Holliday Girls of Beta Lambda Sorority—so it will be exciting to see what this team can do with the trickier aspects of the canon.

The Walking Dead, Vol. 25: No Turning Back, by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard
With Negan still scheming behind the scenes, Rick faces new challenges to his leadership following the escalation of conflict with the Whisperers in the previous volume. No Turning Back includes the series’ landmark 150th issue.

Justice League: Darkseid War—Power of the Gods, by Peter J. Tomasi
Against the backdrop of Darkseid’s conflict with the Anti-Monitor, each member of the League has taken on new, god-like powers. This serves as a companion to the larger Darkseid War storyline, with a series of stories focusing on the frightening effects that near limitless power has on our heroes.

East of West, Vol. 5: All These Secrets, by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta, and Rus Wooton
Set in an Old West of the future, Hickman’s complex, high-concept series about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse continues in this new volume. The series is a favorite around here, with book five promising the last days of peace before the great war to come.

The White Donkey: Terminal Lance, by Maximilian Uriarte
Developed from real-life Marine Uriarte’s satirical webcomic and using some of the same characters, White Donkey tells the somewhat more serious story of Abe, who braves drudgery and danger while serving in Iraq. Upon returning home, he faces challenges common to may returning servicemen, chief among them depression and PTSD. It’s an important story told by a talented artist.

Star Wars: Vader Down, by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato
Marvel hasn’t let us down once since it took over the Star Wars license prior to the release of The Force Awakens. This volume represents something of a season finale, tying together the two centerpiece books, Star Wars and Darth Vader. Vader Down sees the Dark Lord of the Sith crashed and alone on a desolate planet, with the Rebel Alliance ready to throw everything they have at him to keep him down permanently. What looks like their best chance to put an end to a menace quickly becomes far more complicated, as theRebels learn Vader is never more of a threat than when he’s backed into a corner.

The Nikopol Trilogy, by Enki Bilal
Bilal’s sought-after trilogy about a 2023 Paris ruled by a fascist dictator is back in print. It’s a clever, groundbreaking book about aliens and Egyptian Gods vying for power in Europe of the near future, beloved enough to have been adapted into both a video game and a 2004 film (directed by the book’s writer/creator).

Superman, Vol. 1: Before Truth, by Gene Luen Yang and John Romita Jr.
Indie comics writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) takes over writing duties on Superman just in time for some major upheaval in the Man of Steel’s life: his new superpower leaves him vulnerable and entirely human for 24 hours after he uses it, while a new start-up company is hoarding secrets—not good news for a guy with a big secret of his own. This volume sets the groundwork for a major change in the way that the world looks at Superman and Clark Kent.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan, by Shannon Watters, Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A Allen
The Lumberjanes of Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types are back for more adventures in the latest volume in one of our favorite books. It’s all-ages in the best sense of the term: anyone, of any age, can enjoy the fun and funny monster-hunting adventures of these five tough young women. (You don’t even need to be a girl!)

Giant Days, Vol. 2, by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Whitney Cogar
We loved the first volume of creator John Allison’s quirky coming-of age series, and the second, following the adventures of new friends Susan, Esther, and Daisy during their freshman year at college, promises to be every bit as fun. Allison’s stuff always has great characters with funny and believable dialogue.

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, Vol. 1: Risen, by Robert Venditti and Raúl Allén
Valiant Comics’ Eternal Warrior gets a new lease on life following the Book of Death crossover. X-O Manowar‘s Robert Venditti takes the reins as Gilad begins an adventure away from Earth and everything that he’s fought for for millennia. Might be a brand new beginning, or it might lead to the end of his very long life.

Civil War Movie Edition, by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven
Also coming this month is a new hardcover printing of Marvel’s Civil War crossover (with a new movie cover, or with the classic image—choose your cover!). With the movie version coming in May and a sequel comic series due in June, it’s not a bad time to pick up a copy of the story that’s primed to dominate pop culture in 2016: Iron Man and Captain America go head-to-head over the Superhero Registration Act, a new law that requires heroes to reveal their identities and sign up with the Feds. As you probably could have guessed, much punching results. Oh, there’s also a coloring book.

Batman: Europa, by Matteo Casali, Brian Azzarello, Jim Lee, and Guiseppe Cammuncoli
This standalone story sees Batman teaming up with the Joker and traveling throughout Europe as they seek to discover who poisoned them with a bio-engineered virus. The prestige projects boasts big names from American and European comics.

What’s on your pull list?

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