?Body World Dash Shaw. Pantheon, $27.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-307-37842-2

A fantastic follow-up to Shaw's widely praised first full-length graphic novel, 2008's Bottomless Bellybutton, Body World treads very different territory. Boney Borough is a pastoral planned community in a dystopic future, where everyone knows each other's names and young romance blossoms at the high school "die-ball" games. But like all idyllic suburban communities, Boney Borough has a drug problem, and a newcomer, tweaked-out drug "researcher" Paulie Panther, takes advantage of it. Panther discovers a new kind of plant in the woods outside town, that, when smoked, allows people to telepathically experience one another's bodies and minds. Introduced to the local youth, the drug wreaks havoc with Boney Borough in some very unusual ways. First published as a serial comic on the author's Web site, the print version has added scenes, with gorgeous full-color pages to be read from top to bottom, as if you were scrolling through the story from beginning to end. This is key for the climactic scene, which unfurls in one extended panel. Shaw's willingness to experiment with his drawing style pays off particularly in pages portraying the effects of the drug with abstract blurring and melding of images. Another brilliant work that is sure to attract loads of attention and praise this year. (Apr.)

The Littlest Bitch David Quinn, Michael Davies, and Devin Devereaux. Sellers (www.rsvp.com), $14.95 paper (64p) ISBN 978-1-4162-0568-5

As the debut for Sellers's new comics line-Not-for-Children Children's Books-David Quinn and Michael Davis's The Littlest Bitch makes for an odd kind of statement, and not one that is likely to catch on with either adults or the children who buy it by mistake. The titular protagonist, Isabel, is a preternaturally mature little girl who rules her family's house with the iron fist of the spoiled brat. Isabel is not just an overindulged child, she's also a kind of early-blooming corporate raider (she writes a note to herself to have a family holiday photo "incinerated before Business Week profiles me on my first IPO"). Once she's grown up, Isabel doesn't manage to grow any taller. She does get even meaner and tougher, executing corporate synergies from a corner office where she sits like an evil little doll, her feet not even touching the floor. Isabel of course gets her comeuppance, but that's essentially what passes for satire in Quinn and Davis's heavy-handed tale, related with glimmers of faux bedtime-story charm. Although Devereaux delivers the full-page illustrations with the correct level of Grimmsian exaggeration, the perfunctory story doesn't live up to its dark comedic promises.(Apr.)

?Market Day James Sturm. Drawn & Quarterly, $21.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-897299-97-5

Cartoonist and educator Sturm turns in a tightly woven graphic novella about a shtetl craftsman whose life and livelihood shatter against the rising industrial behemoth of the early 20th century. Mendleman is a nervous rug weaver with a child on the way. His devotion to his craft brings him to the brink of art, but when he suddenly loses his major client to modernization, he finds himself, effectively, patronless. Suddenly a castaway amid economic forces that render his virtues meaningless, he collapses as his previously unnamable anxieties find specific and destructive form. Sturm's tale comprises a day's cycle, and the magnitude of Mendleman's radical descent must sometimes be stated or inferred. But most of the book's important details are effectively portrayed as part of the quotidian warp and woof of life's patterns and relationships. Sturm has infused his reliably disciplined storytelling style with slow pacing and spare graphics, but some bravura sequences give the story impact. Although the details of rural Eastern European Jewish life at the turn of the century ring true, the book is less rooted in a specifically explicated setting than some of Sturm's previous historical fictions, allowing Mendleman's dilemma to function as a broader metaphor for the perpetual struggle between independent creativity and impersonal market forces. (Apr.)

Unknown Soldier, Vol. 2: Easy Kill Joshua Dysart, Alberto Ponticelli, and Pat Masioni. DC/Vertigo, $17.99 paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-4012-2600-8

The second volume of this unflinchingly intense series set in war-torn Uganda continues to deliver a powerful mix of action, espionage, and real life-inspired tragedy. Dr. Moses Lwanga was once a pacifist doctor who left America and returned to his birthplace to help those caught in the middle of Uganda's civil war. But horrible events and mysterious voices in his head have changed him into a one-man army out to stop rebel leader Joseph Kony and his forces. In this volume, Lwanga is approached by a militant cell and drawn into a plot to kill a Hollywood actress making charity visits to the country. In the second story, Lwanga guides an escaped child soldier named Paul back to his home village. Both sections examine the series' recurring theme, Lwanga's belief that Africans must be able to solve their own problems rather than relying on First World nations for aid. Dysart's writing is thought provoking, tense, and holds nothing back. Ponticelli and Masioni, the latter a political refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, both excel at using characters' expression to convey the desperation, fear, and hope driving the story. (Mar.)

Classics Illustrated Deluxe: Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson, David Chauvel, Fred Simon, and Jean-Luc Simon. NBM/Papercutz, $17.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-59707-185-7

The classic pirate novel is even more fun to read accompanied by well-done pictures. By capturing the feel of another time and place, readers are easily transported into the long-ago seafaring adventure. The art also helps readers become more comfortable with the old-fashioned language and phrasing. The European-styled thin line art is welcoming and approachable. Although cartoony, there's enough detail to stand up to Stevenson's textual imagery. The story is full of all the elements expected: mysterious omens, frightening strangers, a treasure map, seafaring adventure, murderous mutiny, and a boy's first journey to becoming a man. With up to 14 panels per page, this graphic novel is dense but not crowded, although the pages open up to show the ship, with full-page panels conveying the vista of the open ocean. This is a substantial adaptation, given the number of panels, inclusion of the original text, and the length of the book, much longer than the usual classic comic adaptation. The handsome hardcover will stand up to multiple readings, making this a fine choice for libraries or children's gifts. (Mar.)