Man-Eaters: Handmaid's Tale meets Cat People in a comic where girls turn into man-eating were-panthers when they get their periods

Man-Eaters Volume 1 collects the first four issues of the Image comic by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk (and friends) and it's insanely great: the premise is that America's patriarchy has been given a huge boost by a mutant strait of toxoplasmosis that is benign for most carriers, but turns adolescent girls into unstoppable were-panthers that crave human flesh when they get their first periods.

In response, America's city fathers (in their infinite wisdom) decide to add progesterone and other adulterants to the water supply to suppress menstruation (which they always thought was gross anyway), but don't worry guys, the Estro Corp has you covered: their corporate social responsibility program has paid for a nationwide string of "boys' lounges," girl-free safe-spaces, whose vending machines sell all manner of beverages designed to give you the testosterone you need!

Maude is 12 and right in the middle of the dangerzone for turning into a big cat. Her dad is a homicide detective, divorced from her mother, a big animal vet on a special anti-big-cat SWAT team. Which would be fine, except that Maude has a plan to fight the patriarchy: she has acquired a massive stash of boys-only Estro Pure water and has convinced a group of her fellow 7th graders to swap out tap water for Estro Pure, and they have turned into a pre-teen gang of lethal werepanthers who are striking several blows and disemboweling swipes for women's rights.

It's brilliant, hilarious, with the swag of Zdarsky and Fraction's Sex Criminals and the edginess and cleverness that has made Image Comics the press to watch in this decade.

The storytelling is innovative and smart, with lots of weird gracenotes, supplemental material (including a full-length issue of an imaginary magazine called "Man-Eater" published by, who else, the Estro Corp), and other delights of the graphic form.

I found my copy at Burbank's House of Secrets, my excellent neighborhood store, and I'm going to add it to my pull-list the next time I go in.

Man-Eaters Volume 1 [Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, Eliza Fantastic Mohan, Lia Miternique, Stella Greenvoss, Kyle Scanlon, Emily Powell, et al/Image]