July 3, 2019

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Catch It at the Comic Shop July 3rd, 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:

Thumbs #2 by Sean Lewis and Hayden Sherman, published by Image Comics
Sean Lewis and Hayden Sherman have really carved out an excellent corner for themselves, as storytellers with visions of near-future, dystopian America. First they had The Few a few years ago, which was a story about what was left of America after a civil war. That was sharp storytelling with smart social commentary, and Sherman's art was spare and striking in telling a story that felt a little like a dystopian Lone Wolf and Cub.  Thumbs is a different dark look into the future, where Lewis and Sherman imagine a world where a Zuckerberg-like figure has used his popular apps and technology to foment rebellion and revolution among the young people of America. The story takes place in the aftermath of that revolt, in another stratified and dark society. But once again, the social commentary feels very on point here. If the depiction of people's reliance on technology feels bleak and depressing? Well, that's because it's shining a harsh light on our world. And Sherman's art here looks better than ever. Sherman has grown as an artist over the past few years, and has shown a diverse skill set.  This is a lot more detailed than The Few, but just as striking in its own way. Sherman is also using a more precise line than he does in his other fantastic current book, Wasted Space. Sherman's art is pretty stylized, but it's always fantastic sequential storytelling, and always emotionally honest. Thumbs is a really great read.

Sea of Stars #1 by Jason Aaron, Dennis Hallum and Stephen Green, published by Image Comics
I've read this comic and I can tell you it's a terrific, gorgeous, , action-packed, harrowing read. You're going to want to pick this up. It's a family story that, while it takes place in a spaceship, is a really believable setup. A father and son are separated from one another, and will do whatever it takes to get back together. And...there's some other weird stuff going on. Stephen Green's art is really wonderful and expressive here, and Aaron and Hallum's story is full of humanity. A strong debut. 

Lois Lane #1 by Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins, published by DC Comics
I'm very excited to see Greg Rucka back in the DC Universe again. He's doing what he does very well, which is write strong, engaging, fun female characters in fantastic stories. And there are few female comic characters that are more interesting than Lois Lane. I'm such a huge fan of her character - she's clever, resourceful, intrepid, dogged, and always focused on the moral imperative of her work. She's also funny and charming and a perfect partner for Clark/Superman. I have really been enjoying the Leviathan storyline in Action Comics, so I'm thrilled to see Lois get a more focused story. This should be great.

Mike's Picks:

Giant Days #52 by John Allison and Max Sarin, published by BOOM! Studios
I've said before that I will relentlessly recommend all Giant Days issues through the finale. 52 breaks the course of the current narrative, neglecting to follow up on the fallout from issue 50 and 51 (avoiding spoilers for fellow patterer, Sean, who might not be at issue 50 by the time this runs), instead jumping back to the winter special from almost two years ago as Esther goes to the big city to look for a job post graduation. One of the things I love about these series is the way it deals with the mundanities of everyday life with humor and insight instead of the self-serious melodrama that too often passes for comedic or satiric insights. Indeed, I remember the last year of college, fraught with both dread and anticipation, constantly chided by friends a year out of school telling us to stay by any means necessary. Esther is smarter than me, though, and it seems like she and Shelley will have a symbiotic reation to these events.

Adventures of the Super Sons #12 by Peter Tomasi, Carlo Barberi, Matt Santorelli, and Dan Mora, published by DC Comics.
This is the last issue that will, barring reboots or retcons, include the version of Jonathan Kent as created by Dan Jurgens and shepherded by Peter Tomasi, Pat Gleason, Doug Mahnke, Carlo Barberi, and Jorge Jiminez. It's a bittersweet goodbye, one that I know will be tough for Tomasi, who fought to keep the character as Jurgens and he envisioned, and ended up with a twelve-issue maxiseries set in the past as a consolation prize. The interplay between Jonathan and Damian, and the growth of the two characters over the course of just over fifty issues has been an absolute treat to witness. It's sad in that it isn't only a series finale, but the curtain for a character as we knew him, one who seemed to breathe new life into his legendary parents, and who took on the mantel of Superboy incredibly well.

Kramers Ergot Volume 10 edited by Sammy Harkam, publsihed by Fantagraphics
Kramers is another book that's arrival I have been greatly anticipating. I feel like I've been reading previews, press releases, and write ups on this book for months now. I never spend enough time reading alternative comix, and I often rely on anthologies like this to get me back up to speed. This latest edition includes contributions from notables such as R. Crumb, Archer Prewitt, and Aisha Franz, among others.

Heathen #7 by Natasha Alterici and Rachel Deering, published by Vault Comics
Much like Kramers, I've been waiting for Heathen to return to stores for quite some time. Heathen is almost inarguably the book that put Vault on the map, and it's indicative of the publisher's philosophy of embracing diverse viewpoints while bending genres all with an eye on execution and design. In that vein, Heathen is very much Vault's flagship book. Issue 7 throws us right back into the thick of things as Freyja and Odin debate the nature of the gods and their roles in human lives, while Aydis and her adoptive crew of female pirates face a storm above and monsters below. Altericci's work in this issue incorporates a stark use of light/dark contrasts that nicely complements her frenetic-paced action in the second half of the book. If you've been missing Heathen like I have, it's a welcomed reintroduction to Alterici's take on the Norse myths.

Kirk's Picks:

Immortal Hulk #20 by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett, published by Marvel Comics
This series is 20 issues in on this run and that it still continues to be a weekly pick and lives on many ‘must read’ lists for more reasons than I have space for here. An homage to the classic horror comic genre as well as celebrating all the previous writers that have contributed to the Hulk lore, I have been anxiously waiting for this issue after the brutally grotesque previous #19 (don’t read it on a full stomach. Seriously). To know Bruce and the Hulk is to have your life ruined and lose everything. And the closest people to him have come back to painfully remind him of that.

Lois Lane #1 by Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins, published by DC Comics
There is fanatic group of us comic readers that will stop whatever they are doing and talk your ear off if they even think they heard the words “Gotham Central” come from you and Greg was half the writing team (along with Ed Brubaker) on that title who gave us one of the best police procedurals in any media. After multiple Eisner noms with work on Wonder Woman and his creator-owned Lazarus series, to see him helm a title with DC’s best investigative journalist Lois Lane, seems almost too good to be true as this is a title that could potentially highlight all of Rucka’s writing strengths utilized at once.

 

Heathen #7 by Natasha Alterici and Rachel Deering, published by Vault Comics
Heathen is a title that I fell in love with and the book that originally put Vault as a publisher on my radar, is finally returning! Jokingly referred to as ‘that one lesbian Viking comic’ by it’s creator, Natasha’s emotional investment in this series is palpable and ultimately is what draws you into it’s dream-like story. I re-read the first volume in preparation for #7 and was reminded of Heathen’s sense of pacing that forces you to relish each issue and make you want to wage war with Gods. Please instill more of that in me, thank you.