July 31, 2018

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Catch It at the Comic Shop August 1st, 2018

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

James' Picks:
The Seeds #1 by David Aja and Ann Nocenti, published by Dark Horse Comics.
There is a LOT going on in the first issue of The Seeds. The world is in a bad place, kinda like ours but more so. Pollution, lack of natural resources, bad economy, etc. Some people are moving into a lawless, technology-free area known as Zone B. The story focuses on a few different people.  There's a journalist who's trying to cover important stories, but is being sent to cover a club where people experience their own future deaths. She happens to stumble upon a potentially huge story involving ...aliens? They seem to be here to take samples of the dying Earth; maybe they'll take control of the planet once we're gone?

There's a lot I'm not sure about in this first issue, but what I can tell you is this is most assuredly an ambitious comic with a point of view. The world is crap. But it's also weird and maybe getting weirder. This comic successfully evokes a world that's depressing in a dystopian way, but not in an obvious way. There are enough weird choices in this story to make it really interesting.  What I definitely want to say about this book is that the art from David Aja is just amazing. It's remarkable work that very effectively creates a cramped sense of space. The world is crowded and overrun and rotting, and the series of small panels Aja uses help create that sense of claustrophobia. If you're used to Aja's style from Hawkeye, this is pretty different. The clean lines around depicting people are still there, but the book has a much grittier, appropriately sickly feel to it. There's heavy use of pixellation, and the color palate is quite limited and muted. This world is a sad place, and that really comes across in the art. This is a really promising issue, and it's confusing in the best possible way, in that I absolutely want to know more.

Leviathan #1 by John Layman, Nick Pitarra and Michael Garland, published by Image Comics.
I've read Leviathan already, and I can tell you that if you're looking for a comic that is a subtle exploration of the duality of man, this is not the comic for you. If, however, you're looking for a crazy comic with occasional horrific violence, some out-there humor, and stunning art with incredibly depictions of Kaiju monsters, Leviathan is just the book for you.  Writer John Layman (who you probably know from Chew) is a writer with wit and humor, with a weird enough sensibility to bring something like the wild premise of this story to life.  The story is basically about a bunch of hipsters who do a demonic ritual that somehow accidentally brings monsters to Earth.  There's some good character development, but there's also personal tragedy for one of the main characters.

A wild premise, but thankfully Nick Pitarra is involved.  Pitarra is a phenomenal artist with a lot of experience in wild stories (go read The Manhattan Projects right now if you haven't already), who (in his depictions of people) brings a more exaggerated, cartoonish style to his depictions of people, but puts an immense amount of detail into every single page of Leviathan. The city here really comes to life, as does the incredible depiction of the monster. There is a double-page spread in this book that will just take your breath away - seriously, I spent a number of minutes just looking at that page.  Pitarra has a terrific art partner in this comic in Michael Garland, whose vivid colors really help bring the story to life.  He's a versatile colorist, and his choices here reflect the exaggerated, larger-than-life occurrences in the comic. For fans of books that are both tragic and outlandish, and funny and weird, and who want more amazing art and giant monsters, I'd recommend this book.

The Immortal Hulk #4 by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose and Paul Mounts, published by Marvel Comics.
The Immortal Hulk has been a fantastic comic.  This has been a return to the Hulk's horror roots, as he is a dark avenging force in the night, righting wrongs with a malevolent grin. The art has been terrific as well. Each issue has been a self-contained story, scary and intense and with moments of dark humor. I highly recommend this book. 

Mister Miracle #10 by Tom King and Mitch Gerads, published by DC Comics.
I've really enjoyed this comic. Each issue has served a purpose, even if it seems like it was about a tangent, each of these issues has been building towards a larger story. The last issue dealt with negotiations between Apokalips and New Genesis, and the issue ended on a really intense note, with Mister Miracle facing an incredibly difficult decision. The story has been really smart and weird and intense, and the art from Mitch Gerads has really been just incredible. It's weird and intense and conveys a sense of unreality and also delusion and mental illness. It's a fantastic book.

3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man, published by Dark Horse Comics.
This is a great book. It first came out a number of years ago. And like many Kindt stories, it deals with characters outside the realm of everyday reality. In this case, a guy who keep growing and growing. It's heartbreaking and funny at points, and always insightful. I'm really interested to see the reissue because it contains some additional materials that will likely further flesh out the story.


Rob's Picks:

The Seeds #1 by Ann Nocenti and David Aja, published by Dark Horse Comics
Okay, so I've been a "professional" reviewer for about10 years. I was doing it for about two years before that on Livejoural and other spots. I should be able to tell you about The Seeds, but...yeah. Wow. Ann and David, you've just about stumped me, but I'll try. In a world where things have gone so bad that some go over a wall and abandon whatever society is left, a reporter looks to get a real scoop that will keep her off the fake news beat. She discovers something inhuman that's meddling in her world for purposes we as readers know but she doesn't. It's bizarre and weird and everything Nocenti does best, with Aja providing a ton of nine-panel grid work that's purposefully crowded and keeps the reader off-balance, even as it provides quite a few details--and some weird half-splash pages. The Seeds isn't going to be for everyone, but I'm digging it and fans of the strange will as well, I suspect. Another great Berger book--Dark Horse has hit the jackpot with these things.

Assassinistas TP by Tini Howard, Gilbert Hernandez, Rob Davis, and Aditya Bidikar, published by IDW
An assassin in need of funds drafts her son and his boyfriend into her life but gets entangled quickly by her old partners in this dark comedy that's also a heartfelt tale of family devotion. And, of course, killing people. Tini's scripting is, as usual, an amazing blend of solid jokes and taking seriously the lives lived by these broken individuals she writes, whether it's Cassie or Octavia. Combined with Gilbert Hernandez, who can bring both humor and seriousness to the art--he calls it "Dark Archie" which I think is perfect--this is a series I've been pushing to people since issue one. Now's your chance to pick up the whole thing. As with Berger at Dark Horse, Shelly Bond's move to IDW via Black Crown is a feather in their cap and we as readers are all the better for it.

Immortal Hulk #4 by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, and others, published by Marvel Comics
Hulk as horror comic continues as Dr. Walter Langkowski makes the mistake of stepping into this new incarnation of Banner's rage's path. I'm a little leery of what happens when this really awesome, haunted take on Old Greenskin meets up with the rest of the Marvel U, but I trust Ewing and Bennett to continue their phenomenal work on this series which features a strong commitment to one-and-done stories in an era where most of these issues would be entire arcs. I especially love Bennett's take on Hulk's visuals. A surprise hit for me that I can't recommend highly enough.

2000AD Summer Special by Various Creators, published by Rebellion
Announced awhile ago, and finally available here in the US, 2000AD's summer special is notable because it features all women as creators for the first time ever in an issue of 2000AD. Rebellion's Michael Molcher referred to it as a "statement of intent," setting out a goal of making sure that the pages of the UK's seminal sci-fi comics mag does a better job hiring creators across the gender spectrum. Already a hit in Britain, this issue features Panel Pal Alex de Campi, Eisner-winner Tillie Walden, Leah Moore, Babs Tarr and so many other talented creators taking on Dredd, Psi-Judge Anderson, Rogue Trooper, and even Judge Death. This is a great chance to see if you're into the 2000AD world. This one deserves to be a hit in America's direct market, too.

Promised Neverland Vol 5 by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu, published by Viz
This is one of the best manga I've read in awhile, featuring a premise (an ideal orphanage turns out to be a way to store food for monsters) that's just incredibly cool. Unfortunately, the library isn't caught up yet, so I'll have to wait to read this one, but I highly recommend the series as a whole. The kids at the orphanage, once they realize how screwed they are, must find a way to escape--but what are they escaping to, since the orphanage is all they've ever known. With betrayals and dual agenda aplenty and sharp art, this is a great horror comic that I need to write up soon. Do yourself a favor and catch up on it if you're into creepy things and suspense.

Kirk's Picks:

The Seeds #1 by Ann Nocenti and David Aja, published by Dark Horse Comics
Along with IDW’s Black Crown imprint, The Berger Books seal on a title will automatically garner my blind support right out of the gate. Berger is cultivating a line of comics told by storytellers that are not exclusively comic book writers bringing a fresh take on how their genre stories are presented. The Seeds is no exception. I loved this thing even if I couldn’t tell you what it’s immediately about. However, here are the bullet-points. A David Aja drawn book beautifully utilizing the 9-panel grid to its effectiveness. With a touch of noir in the 3-color palette choice. It all takes place in a dying dystopian future where you can live on one side of a dividing wall where you are immersed in the modern tech luxuries, or choose to live on the as-not-yet-seen side as a Luddite. The best part is it’s Ann’s experience as a journalist and filmmaker as opposed to her previous comic book work that is the voice of this story. That and the sex with aliens parts of the book.

Cal-Exit Vol. 1 by Matt Pizzolo and Amancay Nahuelpan, published by Blackmask Studios
I’d accuse this book of being pointlessly provocative if it wasn’t so relevant. The story of Cal-Exit is a ‘roided out take on what our current political climate already is and what the evolution of the measures taken to resist against the current world could become, albeit exaggerated. That might turn off some readers who are looking for escapism, but I dare you to take a chance on it. Pizzolo really has hit a place in his career where he doesn’t have time for the world’s hypocrisy. And he’s more than ready to shine a spotlight on it in his writing (there’s a great jab at a major comic publisher that was truly appreciated.) The collected volume makes for a wholly satisfying, nazi-punching read.


Immortal Hulk 4 by Al Ewing, Joe Bennet, and others, published by Marvel
I know other Panel Patter-ers have suggested this title in the past [Past? Hell, James and I just did it right above you! -Rob] and they are very right to. Besides Aaron’s epic run on Thor, this is my other ‘must-read’ Marvel title! Also like Thor, this is a book that will make you the number one fan of a Marvel character that you may have never really taken a closer look at before. I believe Al Ewing is Marvel’s unsung secret weapon and with the stunning art from Joe, they are crafting a bone chilling version of the Hulk in these pages. It feels like an old EC Comic horror anthology complete with endings that will shock you in the classic horror comic way. I love this title so much. Did you miss the last 3 issues? Don’t worry! Each issue is self-contained and you can hop right in.

Animosity 15 by Marguerite Bennet and Rafael De Latorre, published by Aftershock
The Wake. Where all animal life on Earth inexplicably became hightendly aware and are now able to speak. It’s such a simple story idea, but when you really start to examine what that world would look like, it’s potentially a dark world to survive. Bennet’s creator-owned title for Aftershock is easy to pitch as ‘Walking Dead, but with talking animals instead of zombies.’ That resonates with me as I have never felt any empathy towards zombies. For 14 issues, Marguerite has used this fact against me as I genuinely dread over what my beloved fictional furry and feathered characters will have to resort to in order to survive this new world of unlikely alliances. Though this series consistently delivers, 15 is one of the best I’ve seen Bennet write in her career. It’s a story of the search to be accepted that we all unknowingly relate to. And asks if it’s possible to still maintain empathy for all living creatures around you when you feel that you are unlovable.