The Best Comics & Graphic Novels of April 2019

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

Firefly, Vol. 1: The Unification War (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Greg Pak, Joss Whedon, Dan McDaid, and Marcelo Costa
This new series set in the official continuity of the beloved, short-lived Joss Whedon sci-fi saga takes a step back to finally reveal the full breadth of the war that set everything in motion. Mal Reynolds and Zoe Washburn are hunted by mercenaries deputized to find war criminals, and in the process, reveal the history and secrets of their pasts. The B&N Exclusive Edition has a variant cover by superstar artist Jock (which is cool) and a bonus 40-page story that reveals the origin of crafty con artist Saffron (which is even cooler).

Catwoman, Vol. 1: Copycats, by Joëlle Jones, Fernando Blanco, and Laura Allred
With a wedding no longer in the offing, Catwoman’s back on the streets of Gotham and doing things on her own terms (as any respectable cat would). Unfortunately, her crime-fighting efforts are complicated by a copycat who’s pulling off heists all over Gotham, drawing unwanted attention to both of them from the GCPD. Eisner Award-nominee Jones writes and illustrates the new series, which more than proves Selena hasn’t run out of lives yet.

Is This How You See Me?: A Locas Story, by Jaime Hernandez
2014’s The Love Bunglers proved that, even after all this time, the Love and Rockets-related work of Jamie Hernandez isn’t just good—it’s essential. Here, the Locas are reunited, in a sense, as Maggie and Hopey head out on the road to visit their old neighborhood. Flashbacks to the hopeful and chaotic punk scene of 1979 are juxtaposed with reality of life in the intervening decades.

Return of Wolverine, by Charles Soule, Steve McNiven, Declan Shalvey, Jay Leisten, and Laura Martin
Soule, McNiven, and Leisten—the team that killed Wolverine back in 2014—are back together once again to explain exactly how it is he’s returned from the dead (which, c’mon… you knew would happen). This book teases out that mystery until the very end, but it spoils nothing to say it begins with a missing body and involves a powerful mutant named Persephone caught up in a plot that requires Logan’s very special talents.

War Bears, by Margaret Atwood and Ken Steacy
There’s a fascinating  and little-known history around the Canadian comics scene circa WWII—paper shortages and import difficulties meant that Canadians didn’t have access to some of the big-name American books, so artists rose up to fill the void, thriving creatively in the absence of competition from Superman and Wonder Woman. It’s that history that Atwood and Steacy are playing with here, as they tell the story of (fictional) comic book creator Al Zurakowski, and of his creation, the nazi-fighter Oursonette.

Transformers: Unicron, by John Barber, Alex Milne, Sara Pitre-Durocher, Andrew Griffith, and Kei Zama
After 13 years and 400+ issues, IDW brings their Transformers universe to a conclusion with the introduction of Unicron in a story that sees Optimus Prime gathering every human and Cybertronian possible together in order to halt the deadly progress of the planet-killer. In the process, they’ll need to unravel the dark secret of Cybertron’s past that’s drawn the renewed attention of their ultimate adversary. The book also includes several back-up stories, as well as interview with creators who’ve been involved with this particular generation of Transformers stories for years (oh, and don’t worry—the line is getting a reboot, so more Autobot-on-Decepticon action is on the way).

Archie Meets Batman ’66, by Jeff Parker, Michael Moreci, Dan Parent, and J. Bone
A brilliant premise, backed up by a creative team that’s just about perfect. The villains of Gotham City decide that Riverdale might make for easier pickings, naturally not reckoning on the intervention of Archie and the gang from Riverdale High, nor the imposition of undercover students Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon. How has this not happened before now?

Planet of the Apes: When Worlds Collide, by Matt Kindt, Pierre Boulle, Dan Abnett, Ryan Ferrier, and Jared Cullum
There’s some very impressive talent on the masthead of this collection of short comic stories celebrating the 50th anniversary of the original Planet of the Apes film. The stories are set in both in the era of the original film series, as well as continuity the more recent trilogy that concluded with War for the Planet of the Apes, including one set after that final film’s conclusion. Among the other tales recounted are a story of the ape who lives in the Statue of Liberty, as well as the history of Caesar’s rescuer Armando.

Plastic Man, by Gail Simone, Adriana Melo, and Kelly Fitzpatrick
Every generation or so, Plastic Man is rediscovered and reimagined as a representative of everything that superhero comics can be when they’re willing get a little silly. Former petty thief Eel O’Brien, believed to have been killed by a gang of criminals, is now running a strip club and maintaining his secret identity to fight crime in increasingly inventive ways. A spy tries to blackmail him over his secret identity, which draws an innocent kid and all the dancers at his club together in one deeply, delightfully convoluted caper.

Supergirl, Vol. 1: The Killers of Krypton, by Marc Andreyko and Kevin MaGuire
In her 6th decade, Kara receives a new lease on life in the form of a revived series from Andreyko and MaGuire. Spinning out of the current Superman books, Supergirl, joined by Krypto, has tasked herself with discovering the truth behind claims that Krypton’s destruction was intentional. She heads out for an extended voyage in space, encountering new friends and new enemies along the way.

Asgardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: The Infinity Armada, by Cullen Bunn, Matteo Lolli, and Federico Blee
Nebula wields the most powerful Asgardian weapon imaginable, and she plans to use it to conquer the galaxy. Standing in her way? Valkyrie, Thor’s half-sister Angela, Skurge the Executioner, Thunderstrike, Frog-of-Thunder Throg, and an unknown weilder of the Destroyer armor. Cosmic adventure starring some of the greatest heroes of Asgard? Sounds thoriffic.

Leaving Richard’s Valley, by Michael DeForge
Omar the Spider, Neville the Dog, Ellie Squirrel, and Lyle the Raccoon are exiled from their perfect world and lives in the valley when they displease the community’s cult-ish leader. With no where to go but the big city, the group of animal companions embarks on something of a hero’s quest to find a new home, discovering all of the different types of people that live in the city and coming to terms with different ways of living along the way. It’s a cute and funny book that also has a lot to say about the meaning of community.

ExorSisters, Vol. 1, by Ian Boothby, Gisele Lagace, Pete Pantazis, and Taylor Esposito
Supernatural mysteries abound in this fun new series starring Cate and Kate Harrow, identical twin sisters who take on the cases that no one else will. Ever made a deal with the devil and come to regret it, or had a loved one dragged off to hell? They’re the ones to call. (The rates are very reasonable.)

Seven to Eternity, Vol. 3: Rise to Fall, by Rick Remender, Jerome Opena, and Matt Hollingsworth
In the latest volume of the gorgeous dark fantasy series set in the fascist dystopia of Zhal, Adam Osidis is on the hunt for a cure to his wasting disease, but his way forward is blocked by the Skylord Volmer, on a quest for revenge against the demagogic God of Whispers. Even though Adam has no love for the ruler who killed his father, he has no choice but to stop Volmer and save the king if he wants to live.

Oblivion Song by Kirkman & De Felici, Vol. 2, by Robert Kirkman, Lorenzo De Felici, and Annalisa Leoni
Oblivion was once part of Philadelphia, until 10 years ago, when it was lost in an event that left 300,000 people trapped in an apocalyptic hell-dimension. Following the dramatic revelations as to the initial cause of the disaster that concluded the first volume, Nathan Cole finds himself facing consequences for his actions on both sides of the divide, even as the secrets of Oblivion begin to reveal themselves.

Iron Man by Fraction & Larroca: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1, by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca
This popular and consequential run of the now-biggest hero in the Marvel U has been out of print for some time, so this first installment of complete collected edition is most welcome. It begins with a challenge from Tony’s younger, smarter rival Ezekiel Stane that triggers a slow decline in Iron Man’s fortunes and mental facilities and eventually leaves him on the run from… just about everybody. Forced to safeguard his tech by erasing knowledge of it from his own mind, Tony reverts to increasingly older and less complicated versions of his armor as his mind degrades.

The Boys Omnibus, Vol. 1, by Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson, and Peter Snejbjerg
Rude, crass, wickedly funny, and incredibly violent, The Boys opens with the violent death of lead character Wee Hughie’s girlfriend—collateral damage during a superhero fight. In this world, superheroes aren’t motivated by noble intentions so much as greed for power, money, or sex. When they get out of line, the titular CIA-backed team is charged with keeping shoving them back in, if necessary, putting them down for good. There’s a TV series in the works, so it’s a fine time to catch up with the book, and this deluxe omnibus makes that easy.

Harley Quinn, Vol. 2: Harley Destroys the Universe, by Sam Humphries, John Timms, Sami Basri, and Lucas Werneck
Most people would be thrilled to learn that they were featured in a comic, but Harley Quinn’s discovery of a book chronicling her own adventures leads to a continuity collapse that threatens the entire universe. Canon is shattered as current heroes are rebooted, old heroes return, and Harley’s mom disappears entirely. Only Harley and her new partner, the continuity cop Jonni DC, have any hope of putting things back together. It’s a delightfully Harley sort of story.

Regression, Vol. 3, by Cullen Bunn, Danny Luckert, and Marie Enger
A very impressive horror series comes to a conclusion with this volume. In Regression, past lives aren’t just a novelty or a fantasy, they’re very real, and can worm their way into your present. That’s what’s happened to series lead Adrian, who’s been entirely subsumed by his own past, forced to fulfill the schemes of Gregory Sutter and the Valgeroti demon worshippers. But now, resistance to the cult is rising from every direction on the timeline—past, present, and future.

What’s on your pull list?

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