May is a serious month at Image Comics. We’ve got thrillers, 90s revivals, space marines, and Nazis. The few spots of light and levity bring some color to the otherwise somber lineup. That’s not a bad thing though! There are plenty of excellent creators, with plenty of excellent comics that wouldn’t be published anywhere else. Here are a few of the most exciting books coming from Image in May.
10. No barrier to entry
We get it Brian, you’re good at writing comics. You make us all feel obligated to include you on lists like these. Your books are somehow both approachable and push the boundaries of the medium. Such excellence is exhausting.
“Barrier” looks pretty sweet though. It’s another landscape-oriented collection from Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin, reuniting after the critical success of “The Private Eye.” It’s another sort-of-sci-fi-sort-of-satire that started online. And to be perfectly frank, “The Private Eye” kicked ass, and everything we’ve seen of “Barrier” looks similarly awesome. If you’ll excuse me from including two Vaughan books on this list, you’ll find a lot of great comics.
BARRIER #1 (OF 5) COLLECTOR’S EDITION
STORY: BRIAN K. VAUGHAN
ART / COVER: MARCOS MARTIN, MUNTSA VICENTE
MAY 09 / 56 PAGES / FC / M / $4.99
From the Eisner Award-winning team behind THE PRIVATE EYE, BARRIER is an unconventional drama about violence, language, aend illegal immigration…with a shocking sci-fi twist. After debuting on PanelSyndicate.com, this critically acclaimed five-part miniseries finally comes to print, exclusively from Image Comics. After making the massive, 50-plus-page first issue available to mature readers for FREE on Free Comic Day, this special collector’s edition of the first issue is being released in a larger size to match the next four issues being released WEEKLY throughout the rest of May! Printed in its original “landscape” format (side-stapled for convenient shelving!) and graced with gorgeous cardstock covers, each comic is meant to be a durable work of art, and there are no plans for these print issues to ever be collected, so the only way to own your own copies of this groundbreaking story is by supporting your friendly neighborhood comic shop!
9. And now for something completely different
This one looks to explore something that comics have always shied away from- Nazis. In all seriousness though, the comics medium has had an especially rough time telling stories that involve the Third Reich. It’s something that’s been in the DNA of comics since Captain America socked ‘ol Adolf in the face, and it’s never really gone away. What no one saw coming was a resurgence of real life neo-Nazis, that makes a fascist Captain America or Dick Grayson seem like they’re in bad taste.
“Son of Hitler” isn’t likely to close the book on Nazis in comics, nor is it likely to drastically change the landscape of modern politics. What its got going for it is a unique premise- what if a young French man in 1944 discovered that his dad was the most reviled monster of modern history? Anthony Del Col and Jeff McComsey have the combination of historical satire, irreverence, and realism that could make this work.
SON OF HITLER HC
STORY: ANTHONY DEL COL, GEOFF MOORE
ART / COVER: JEFF MCCOMSEY
MAY 30 / 192 PAGES / FC / M / $24.99
A story so wild it could only be true…maybe… The never-before- told tale of Adolf Hitler’s secret child and how this son was the key to ending World War II is now revealed in this audacious graphic novel based upon one of history’s most intriguing rumors. In 1944 Occupied France a rogue British agent reveals to a young baker’s assistant the true identity of his father, thus recruiting him for a dangerous mission that will end the greatest threat of World War II. Out of respect to the innocent and the dead all the names in this story have been changed… Except for one. This action-packed ride in the vein of Inglourious Basterds and The Boys from Brazil is brought to life by acclaimed writer ANTHONY DEL COL (Assassin’s Creed, Kill Shakespeare), New York Times bestselling cartoonist JEFF McCOMSEY (FUBAR, Flutter) and newcomer GEOFF MOORE.
8. Truckin’ is all I crave
Rick Remender’s Image books have been hit or miss for me, but I find myself coming back to every new project he puts out. I don’t know if I’m going to like “Death or Glory” but it looks like the synthesis of all his favorite things. A badass, but very good-looking lady trucker, who’s one of “the last men and women fighting for true freedom on the American open road.” She’s got a laser-gun that looks like it outweighs her two-to-one, and Remender is teaming up with the French mononymic sensation Bengal. This looks a little bit punk, and a little bit rock-and-roll. I think someone is going to rob a roadside diner. This may be the Remender book we’ve all been waiting for.
DEATH OR GLORY #1
STORY: RICK REMENDER
ART / COVER: BENGAL
VARIANT COVER: DUNCAN FEGREDO, JAMES HARREN
MAY 02 / 48 PAGES / FC / M / $4.99
Meet Glory, raised off the grid in a convoy amid truckers—the last men and women fighting for true freedom on the American open road. Now, in order to pay for her beloved dying Father’s surgery, Glory has three days to pull off four dangerous cross-country heists with mob killers, crooked cops, and a psycho ex-husband all out to bring her in or die trying. The new ongoing series by New York Times bestselling author RICK REMENDER and legendary French superstar BENGAL brings you a high-speed chase across the American West that examines our dwindling freedoms and the price paid by those who fight for an untethered life, in this special double-sized first issue with 40 pages of story!
7. Is this even legal?
When I see Medieval Spawn on the cover, I don’t think of the 90s miniseries, I think of the prolonged Neil Gaiman court battle that somehow resulted in Marvel getting the rights to Miracleman. Witchblade on the other hand is an old favorite of mine, and she seems to be making a comeback in her latest series. Put them together, and what have you got? I actually have no earthly idea, but Batman teamed up with Elmer Fudd last year, so this seems sort of pedestrian in comparison. Hopefully, Medieval Spawn will get a better superhero name, because the one he’s got right now is a little lame.
MEDIEVAL SPAWN / WITCHBLADE #1 (OF 4)
STORY: BRIAN HOLGUIN, BRIAN HABERLIN
ART / COVER: BRIAN HABERLIN
MAY 09 / 32 PAGES / FC / T / $2.99
Fan favorites Spawn and Witchblade team together for the first time in TWO DECADES!! In this issue: A village is besieged by a dark force—then Spawn emerges from out of the shadows to save them all. Is he their savior…or their destroyer?
6. ‘Nuff said
We all love “Saga” already, and I probably don’t need to tell you to read it. I sometimes like to include it if the solicit gets me excited, or the cover is particularly gorgeous (which it usually is). But the audacity of this description left me wowed. Mainly, that it’s two words. “Danger approaches.” That sums up exactly how I feel about “Saga.” So effortlessly good, so perfect, I take it for granted. Plus, my boy Ghüs! Power to Vaughan and Staples for not even trying. It’ll still probably be one of the best issues of the month.
STORY: BRIAN K. VAUGHAN
ART / COVER: FIONA STAPLES
MAY 30 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $2.99
5. Hopefully this is the last one
I want this column to be fun, but I also want to call attention to good and important comics. “Where We Live” is certainly that. It includes a legion of my favorite comic creators, and it’s for a good cause. An important cause. On the other hand, I can’t help shake the fact that there have been scores of mass shootings, like the one in Vegas last year, in the time it took to put this comic together. This comic isn’t about every one of the too many mass shootings in the U.S., it’s about one particular one. So I encourage you to get this book, and also to consider participating in the #NeverAgain march next month. Hopefully, the next big comic anthology won’t have to come after such a horrific tragedy.Continued below
WHERE WE LIVE: LAS VEGAS SHOOTING BENEFIT ANTHOLOGY TP
STORY: MIKE ALLRED, BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS, IVAN BRANDON, KURT BUSIEK, AMY CHU, KELLY SUE DECONNICK, NEIL GAIMAN, KIERON GILLEN, MIKE MIGNOLA, MARK MILLAR, GREG PAK, JAMES ROBINSON, GAIL SIMONE, BRANDON GRAHAM, ROB WILLIAMS
ART: MIKE ALLRED, BRANDON GRAHAM, RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE, PAUL AZACETA, CLIFF CHIANG, GEOF DARROW, TESS FOWLER, BRIAN HABERLIN, PHIL HESTER, JOELLE JONES, ARIELA KRISTANTINA, JEFF LEMIRE, JAMIE MCKELVIE, MICHAEL AVON OEMING, SEAN PHILLIPS, DARICK ROBERTSON, BILL SIENKIEWICZ, JAVIER PULIDO, JH WILLIAMS III
COLORS: ROB WILLIAMS
COVER: JH WILLIAMS III
MAY 30 / 256 PAGES / FC / T+ / $19.99
This “unique way” was the genesis of the WHERE WE LIVE anthology—a riveting collection of both fictional stories and actual eye-witness accounts told by an all-star lineup of the top talent working in comics today. All the creators have graciously volunteered their time and talent to help bring some sense to this senseless act and, in the process, raise money for the survivors and their families. The book will include a variety of perspectives with key themes exploring gun violence, common sense gun control, value of a compassionate society, mental health stigmatization, aftermath of tragedy and how individuals and communities persevere, and an appreciation of Las Vegas as a vibrant community. WHERE WE LIVE also features stories from local writers and artists as they relate their personal experiences and reactions to this tragedy. One hundred percent of the proceeds for the WHERE WE LIVE anthology will be donated to an existing GoFundMe campaign for the survivors in Las Vegas.
4. Putting down our phones
If you look over at Marvel, Gerry Duggan is heading up a big event, ‘Infinity Countdown.’ What’s that got to do with “Analog?” You’ve got to look at the patterns. There’s a definite trend of Marvel writers doing superhero books for a few years before wrapping everything up in a big event and then jumping ship to pursue their real passion project over at Image. And usually, those passion projects are very good. Gerry Duggan is a reliable writer, so seeing what he does with no limits is so exciting to me. When he’s focusing on his own crazy ideas, he’s likely to take his comics craft to the next level.
STORY: GERRY DUGGAN
ART / COVER: DAVID O’SULLIVAN, JORDIE BELLAIRE
MAY 09 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
CHAPTER TWO It’s 2024, and we still don’t have flying cars, but good news: we’re introducing Jack’s sniper-toting, fascist-punching girlfriend, and a mysterious new nemesis from the NSA wants to hack back into the world’s secrets by leaning hard on human punching-bag Jack McGinnis and his fellow paper jockeys. Order heavy on Image’s new hit series if you like fun comics with shootouts, intrigue, a few jokes, and a nice, old-timey cliffhanger.
3. A very tidy apocalypse
“Lazarus” has been coming out for years now, but as the future approaches, it finds more and more resonance. For some reason, I feel that the story of a useless corporate heir hiding out with the common people is a story that means something different than it did when Jonah Carlyle was first introduced as an antagonist in 2013. I know comparing things to the political climate is trite, and I’ve done it enough in the column, but “Lazarus” hits hard because of how well thought out it is. I don’t think everything in this comic book is prophecy, but I’d bet good money that 75% of it comes true. Read this and see our future. You’ll be like Biff Tannen with the sports almanac, only in the future there all no sports, only misery.
STORY: GREG RUCKA
ART / COVER: MICHAEL LARK
MAY 23 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
“FRACTURE: PRELUDE,” CONCLUSION Jonah Carlyle is dead, and Jonah Ker has made a new life for himself on the edges of Bittner Territory. But as much as Jonah may have escaped his Family, he cannot escape the world his Family has made.
2. Cyberbattle Rolyalepunk
The first issue of “VS” has dropped, and it’s awesome. If real life violence has got you down, but you still find yourself watching Starship Troopers over and over again, “VS” is probably the comic you are looking for. It’s violent, but in an over-the-top way; almost parody. What keeps it grounded is the artwork of Esad Ribic, one of the greats, turning the violent proceedings into more than just another series of fight scenes. What could have been like watching someone else play Halo has turned out to be a pretty provocative sci-fi title. You know, like the Halo books. There’s still time to catch up on this one, just in time to fall in love with the characters before they meet their demise.Continued below
STORY: IVAN BRANDON
ART / COVER: ESAD RIBIC
VARIANT COVER: ESAD RIBIC, TOM MULLER
MAY 09 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
Satta Flynn’s refusal to lay down and die drives the omnipotent systems that rule humanity to make a drastic decision. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down, but what if the hammer breaks the whole world at the same time?
1. Neon tiger
At this time, I still haven’t read the first issue of Isola, but it still calls to me in my dreams. It’s got a guy named Captain Rook, and a Queen, and it invokes Studio Ghibli. And look at that cover! I don’t know what a psychedelic cerulean tiger has to do with anything, but I know I already want to read a spinoff about it. I have high hopes that this is the next “Extremity,” and becomes the serious fantasy book that awes me with its art every month. Fletcher and Kerschl are great at balancing tone, and that’s what I’m here for. In a month filled with violent, serious, portentous books, this looks like an adventure with just a dash of whimsy. That sounds so refreshing.
STORY: BRENDEN FLETCHER, KARL KERSCHL
ART: KARL KERSCHL, MSASSYK
COVER: KARL KERSCHL
MAY 09 / 32 PAGES / FC / T+ / $3.99
With the hunting clans closing in, Captain Rook leads the Queen to a city in ruins on a desperate mission to resupply. Unbeknownst to them, however, a new danger awaits within the broken walls—someone with a connection to Rook’s past! Recommended for fans of Studio Ghibli and the work of HAYAO MIYAZAKI.