May 29, 2019

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Catch It at the Comic Shop May 29th, 2019

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:

Saga Deluxe HC vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, published by Image Comics
I haven't thought much about Saga recently as it's been on hiatus for a while, but it's coming back, and these oversized hardcovers are a great way to get caught up.  It's a ovely space-fantasy story about forbidden love, family, responsibility and consequences. Saga may not have quite the buzz around it that it did 5-6 years ago, but it remains a pretty special book. I've come to really love the characters and the weird universe they live in. BKV knows how to write great, compelling dialogue. And the ideas, the book is just bursting with bonkers ideas. But it's the incomparable Fiona Staples that brings it all to life. Staples has drawn some of the most memorable, weird, lovely, and disgusting things Ive ever seen in a comic, all in the pages of the same book. This is a special book, and one that's worth continuing to read.

Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics
It's Snyder and Capullo on Batman, there's not really much else that I think I need to say. These two have made some pretty memorable Batman comics, and they're getting together to tell another story, of a world where Bruce Wayne was never Batman? He imagined the whole thing?  The premise sounds incredibly intriguing, and the art that I've seen so far looks terrific. So, this is a must-buy for me.

Black Panther #12 by Tai-Nehisi Coates and Jen Bartel, published by Marvel Comics
I've really enjoyed this run of Black Panther. I think TNC is a brilliant guy and he has gotten better (and less wordy) as a comics writer, and this has been a fun, science-fiction space mystery. Apparently this net issue is going to explain a lot of what's going on. Which is good, I really want to understand. Jen Bartel is doing this issue, as she did the last issue of the first arc. She's a terrific artist who does gorgeous work, so I'm looking forward to this one.

X-Men Grand Design: X-Tinction #1 by Ed Piskor, published by Marvel Comics
Ed Piskor does some of the coolest work.  Hip-Hop Family Tree is just fantastic, and Piskor has brought that same sensibility to the X-Men in his "Grand Design" series of oversized comics. He's really got incredible attention to detail, and he's making sense of hundreds of issues of X-Men continuity. I've enjoyed these books more than I enjoy most "regular" X-Men stories. These are detailed, and funny, and entertaining retellings of the X-history. Absolutely worth a look.

Mike's Picks:

All Time Comics Season One TPB by Josh Bayer, Al Milgrom, Benjamin Marra, published by Floating World
The captivating marriage of 70s exploitation genre films, post-modern pulp, underground comix, and Marvel street level heroes of the 70s and 80s has migrated from Fantagraphics to Floating World for its long overdue collection. Since Alan Moore first penned Marvelman, the prevailing trend in “thinking persons” superhero comics was that of deconstruction. In the past few years, however, projects like All Time Comics have signaled the growing trend in what I can best describe as a reconstruction or perhaps reclamation. Indie auteurs – i.e., the sole or overwhelmingly primary creator behind a work – more associated with publishers like Drawn and Quarterly and not DC, have reclaimed superheroes both as a genre as individual characters, and presented them through a lens far less commercialized and certainly less polished than the Big 2. All Time Comics is a great examination of the implicit assumptions and biases in the world of superhero comics – violence, bigotry, sexism – exploded onto a post-ironic landscape. It’s a shared superhero universe held together by its own excess and lack of self-awareness. It’s a rewiring of superheroes to channel actual grit – not the hyperbolic, detached doom machines of the 90s, but of a street hero in early 1980s New York. If you missed this on the first go, here's a perfect chance to jump in before the new series set in this world gets to its second issue.

X-Men Grand Design: X-tinction 1 by Ed Piskor, published by Marvel Comics
Cross apply much of what you just read, because Ed Piskor’s X-Men Grand Design series has been an exemplar of superhero reconstruction. Piskor is a cartooning genius, and his knack for distilling large, sometimes grandiose narratives into single-issue size offerings is indicative of his skill as a visual storyteller. In his other acclaimed work, Hip Hop Family Tree, Piskor detailed how he could weave years of music history into a few panels without leaving much out. In Grand Design, he’s able to retell classic stories with a deftly succinct style. This issue kicks off the last portion of Piskor’s X-Men opus, featuring the X-Men of the 80s and 90s, the X-Men of my youth. We know these stories; we know how they’ll end, yet Piskor’s approach is still that intriguing that his history lessons are still compelling page turners.

Queen of Bad Dreams 2 by Danny Lore, Jordi Perez, Dearblha Kelly, and Kim McClean, published by Vault Comics
Sure, there is going to be a bunch of hype around another Vault book this week, but I’m throwing my chips in on Queen of Bad Dreams because of the strength of the concept and the execution of the first issue that managed to jump directly into the action while managing requisite world building and exposition without letting the narrative feel disjointed at all. QOBD recalls Philip K. Dick’s philosophical inquiries into being and existence, especially as extended and adapted into both Blade Runner films and Minority Report, with shades of Christopher Nolan’s Inception trickling in as well. The central conceit of this story is that the main character, Daher, is a psychic detective tasked with tracking down figments who have escaped from people’s dreams to live in the real world. While the premise alone would make this neo-noir interesting enough, the idea that Daher is also responsible for determining whether said figments are real enough to be permitted permanent existence is all that much more intriguing. That the story features prominent queer women of color proves yet again that Vault understands diversity is important both on and off the page because that diversity of voice is providing some of the best science fiction content in recent memory.

Wasted Space 10 by Michael Moreci, Hayden Sherman, Jason Wordie, and Jim Campbell, published by Vault Comics
Wasted Space is my current favorite ongoing comic series, and I have come to hold it the same regard as other recent classics such as East of West, Revival, and Saga. If you haven’t jumped into this comic yet, the chances that you’ll be able to hop on at issue 10 aren’t great, but that shouldn’t preclude you from picking up the collected editions and getting caught up quickly. Issue 10 will conclude the second major arc, and it’s hard to believe this series was once set to wrap at this point. When I met Michael Moreci at Baltimore Comic-Con this year, shortly after Vault announced Wasted Space would shift from a mini to an ongoing, I congratulated him and make a reference to “30 or 40 issues.” Michael turned ghost-white and replied, “no, no, maybe 20.” And last week, it was just announced that the series would extend to 25. So, there. And it’s not hard to realize why, because Wasted Space is humming along at a clip that I’m not even sure Sherman or Moreci would have expected even a few issues into the series. What began as a romp, a simultaneous spoof and celebration of the space opera, has turned into its own thing entirely. His characters have evolved from types and have become deeper and more complete, and the narrative is expanding to encompass Moreci’s vision.

Kirk's Picks:

Killer Groove #1 by Oliie Masters and Eoin Marron, published by Aftershock Comics
A story that feels like Burbaker’s Criminal kicking down the door to Inside Llewyn Davis halfway through the film, Killer Groove does the job of transporting it’s reader to LA at the tail end of the 60’s rock revolution where hard drugs and Manson-esque cults have permeated the music scene and sucked it all dry for it’s own selfish purposes. Johnny is one of those musicians who got close to breaking out of the scene but may have accidentally discovered his real talent for being a hitman. Plenty of interesting characters and moving pieces set up dangerous dynamics for future issues in this first outing to make a compelling period crime drama and missing person’s mystery.


Wild Storm #23 by Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt, published by DC Comics
I’m breaking my rule of usually only recommending titles not from the Big 2 publishers here, but there is no denying that Ellis & Davis-Hunt have crafted a masterpiece superhero story of espionage, black-ops murder squads, and alien technology lost in the wild that governments will wage secret wars over to obtain. DC promises you a lot of leviathans rising, doomsday clocks ticking, and heroes in crisis this month. But Ellis is offering a complete revisioning of the  00’s WildStorm universe that has been meticulously crafted over two years that invoked a trust in it’s readership rarely seen. And it's all leading to the promise made for a big payoff.
All life on Earth is threatened with extinction and The Authority are the only ones that can stop it.

Damn, that felt good to type.