Catch It at the Comic Shop July 10th, 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...

Mike's Picks:

Strangelands 1 by Magdalene Visaggio, Darcie Little Badger, Vanesa R. Del Rey, and Mike McKone, published by Humanoids Publishing
I'll admit that at this point we need another shared universe like we need holes in our heads, but there's beens something intriguing about the Humanoids H1 universe, mostly a result of the execution of the FCBD intro book at the first two issues of Ignited. And if you're worried about a ton of exposition and world-building in this issue, fret not. Visaggio jumps into the story en media res and it flows seamlessly from there, allowing the backstory to fill in gradually while she develops the personalities of Adam and Elakshi and also sprinkles in the impending conflict. Her vision for this story is big, weaving conspiracies and external threats to her bonded protagionists while also allowing the bigger H1 narrative to come through. Readers will appreciate the dual level of structure here, building incremental pieces into a story that also functions as a fully self-contained book.

Second Coming by Mark Russell, Richard Pace and Leonard Kirk, published by Ahoy Comics 
Mark Russell has been on an absolute roll recently, churning out both great satire by way of The Flintstones and Snagglepuss and solid superhero fare with The Wonder Twins. Naturally, he should be equally suited to create a superhero-themed satire. Second Coming has had a windy road to its publication, and there is a considerable amount of hype surrounding that book. To the extent that it will artificially inflate sales of issue one, I say, good for Tom, Mark, Richard, and Amanda. For readers who hadn't been previously inclined to check out Russell's work, I say double good. For those of us more acquainted with Russell's brand of heartfelt satire, we know that we are in for something special yet again. Russel and crew are swining for the fences on this one, but if issue one is any indication, it's going to be another home run. (Shouln't write picks during the derby, huh?)

Murder Falcon TPB by Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer, published by Image Comics
I'm not a metal guy, but I had enough metalhead friends in high school to have picked up on enough of the tropes to appreciate a good metal parody. And good metal parodies are great examples of a genre and a fanbase that's too ofter perceived as self-serious. Daniel Warren Johnson turns up the absurdity in this off-the-wall series in a way that only a true metal fan can. Only a sincere metal aficionado is able to both poke fun and celebrate their particular vein of hard rock without losing consistency. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this series in the monthly format, but I'm particularly interested in how the series will read in a single session. In many ways, I think the "all at once" approach might be even better. Who wants to listen to singles when you can blast the whole album, right? The only real question for this trade is what will make it onto your reading soundtrack.

James' Picks:

Murder Falcon TPB by Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer, published by Image Comics
Daniel Warren Johnson is an incredibly talented artist. Every time he posts a commission on Twitter, people (justifiably) freak out. He's got an incredible level of detail, and the art feels visceral and kinetic. And metal.  Totally metal.  That was how I felt reading Extremity, Johnson's fantastic sci-fi miniseries about warring clans in a world lived on floating rocks. The images of people with axes, and ships crashing into castles, just felt very "badass metal".  With that in mind, Johnson's next story was Murder Falcon which gets even more at the heart of what's great about his art (and the way it feels almost musical), as it tells the story of Jake, who's shredding metal guitar is the only thing that can power the Murder Falcon, our only defense against the evil monsters of darkness. This book has incredible action, a great musical heart, humor, and is also incredibly emotionally affecting. Johnson has a great knack for action and emotion, and Murder Falcon is terrific read (and listen to something loud while you read it).

Second Coming by Mark Russell, Richard Pace and Leonard Kirk, published by Ahoy Comics 
Mark Russell has been writing some of the smartest books in all of comics in recent years (Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, Prez, The Flintstones) and let me tell you that after one issue, Second Coming feels like it's going to belong in a category with those stories. Russell (paired with some remarkable artists) has a fantastic ability to deliver some of the most biting, brutal satire and social commentary disguised with cutesy images of talking animals, superheroes or ancient humans. The delightful art makes the satire all the more cutting. In a recent issue of Wonder Twins, a story that was ostensibly about the twins themselves and their hapless Z-list villains, turned out to be one of the most scathing indictments of the prison-industrial complex that I've ever read.  So, point being that Russell tells stories that pack a punch.  Now, you might have heard about the controversy surrounding this comic (which was originally going to be published by DC/Vertigo, and is now published by Ahoy Comics), but here's what's clear after reading the first issue: Russell knows his Bible (see the extraordinary God Is Disappointed In You) and his knowledge and clear love of the scripture comes across in this first issue.  This book is "blasphemous" in the same way that all great art is blasphemous, in that it makes you reconsider assumptions and ponder deeper issues. The story here involves God being very disappointed in us, and Jesus coming to Earth and hanging out with the world's greatest superhero. The art is gorgeously rendered by Richard Pace, with passages that feel very "Illustrated Bible" mixed with modern superhero storytelling (and with artistic contributions from Leonard Kirk on the "modern" parts of the story). And it's clear that Russell is coming knives out - not for Christianity, but for the hypocrites, fraudsters and tyrants that claim to be acting in God's name.  Second Coming is a must-read.

Sean's Picks:

Second Coming by Mark Russell, Richard Pace and Leonard Kirk, published by Ahoy Comics
I’ve been charting the release of Mark Russell’s Second Coming since it was first announced as one of Vertigo’s relaunch titles. It was a large blip on my detailed radar of upcoming releases and I’ve updated it’s course through the many tribulations it has had leading up to the inevitable unveiling of the brilliance that we have come to expect from Russell. He has a handful of titles coming out of Ahoy already and with the expectedly strong debut from Second Coming I suspect no crowd large enough able to come together and shut this resurrected story down once again. I’ve read this first issue and it is everything that I was hoping for. It’s laugh-out-loud hysterical and is also side-eyed satirical all while shining new light on our modern world’s obsession with the superhero genre. This will be missed by many now that it’s on a smaller indie publisher rather than the well respected DC imprint of Vertigo, but I assure you... the quality remains! That is not a sugar coated statement. Trust me. This isn’t a book to skip or hold out for trade. This will become your new favorite Sunday morning read. But don’t come after me when you get struck down for skipping Sunday school for a healthy amount of hilarious blasphemy.

She Could Fly: the Lost Pilot #4 by Christopher Cantwell and Martin Morazzo, published by Dark Horse
I have a soft spot for this comic. I’ve been following these characters since the first troublesome pages back when we were first introduced to the mysterious flying woman and our manic teenage female lead character, Luna. A lot has happened since then in only a few short issues, but as we get closer to the end of this surprising second chapter of her life we begin to understand small bits of the plot’s intent without giving away too much of it’s purpose. New meds, same doctors, and unexpected romance lead the way as we read along this wild ride that has been Luna’s journey. At times this story feels somewhat messy; characters at all edges of the narrative, only to circle around at a new edge to the story you hadn’t noticed before. I’m digging what Cantwell and Morrazzo are doing with these characters and I hope this isn’t the last chapter of this story either.