October 27, 2020

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Catch It at the Comic Shop October 28th, 2020

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:

 

Blue in Green OGN by Ram V, Anand RK, John Pearson & Aditya Bidikar, published by Image Comics

Blue in Green is one of the best, most engaging things I've read all year, full stop. It's storytelling at the highest level. It’s a stunning, freaky, fantastic story of pain, loss, legacy and generational trauma. The creative team weaves a story here that exists in a dreamlike space where you don't know if some of the things in the story are actually happening, and that's ok. We are all just along for the ride. Every aspect of the story is top notch. Ram V has an ear for dialogue and narration. He knows how to keep things moving, and the dialogue feels true to life. And Anand RK is an incredible illustrator. This is weird, scratchy, mesmerizing work. I very much enjoyed his prior collaboration with Ram in Grafity's Wall, but there's nothing in that book that would have prepared me for the work here. He and colorist John Pearson combine for an explosive, weird, incredibly powerful story with work that reminds me of classic Bill Sienkiewicz, but still very much its own thing. And talented letterer Aditya Bidikar brings his A-game to this story as well, as the lettering here is hand-lettered, and detailed and sometimes scary or unsettling or sad, but incredibly additive and very much part of the story. Lastly, this book is brought together by the impeccable design sensibilities of Tom Muller, who brings a 60's Jazz feel to the book (which is entirely appropriate), and makes the book feel both new and old at the same time. It's impeccable design work from the very best (and whose involvement in a project is usually an indicator of high quality). Basically, I'm saying you need to pick up Blue in Green. It's weird and scary and emotional and a must-read.

Colonel Weird Cosmagog #1 by Jeff Lemire, Tyler Crook and Dave Stewart, published by Dark Horse

The Black Hammer universe has been one of the real bright spots in comics over the last few years. Writer Jeff Lemire is weaving a remarkable universe, filled with his take on a number of superheroic archetypes, but with Lemire's blend of fear, longing, weirdness and mystery. This story looks at Colonel Weird, who (not surprisingly) feels very much like a mentally unbalanced analogue for Adam Strange. He's spent far too long in the Para-Zone, where everything and nothing are beyond comprehension. I'm excited to see where this story goes, and I'm thrilled to see it brought to life by the incredible Tyler Crook. Crook is an incredible cartoonist whose work you might know from the horror series Harrow County. He's definitely got a style that's perfectly suited for the weird and creepy. This should be great.

Department of Truth #2 by James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds, published by Image Comics

The first issue of Department of Truth absolutely blew me away. As much as I hate the way that absurd conspiracy theories have made their way into the mainstream, I love the concept behind this story: that there's a secret government department whose job it is to make sure that reality stays the way we know and expect it to be. The first issue was a blast, and full of fun twists. Martin Simmonds does amazing, scratchy artwork here, and the style he uses (also evocative of Bill Sienkiewicz) works perfectly with the "what's happening, is this real" vibe of the story. This is a must-read.

Sean's Picks:

Colonel Weird Cosmagog #1 by Jeff Lemire, Tyler Crook and Dave Stewart, published by Dark Horse


Weird has always been my favorite character in the Lemire-Hammerverse. The presence he always brought to the brooding pages of the main title seemed to always have a with a touch of dialogue that reminded me to laugh a little. Not only at the misplaced memories of the Colonel himself, but of the happenstance that Weird reminds reader of the deteriorating and aging relative we all know we have. I look forward to this latest Black Hammer spin-off immensely. With Lemire continuing what he does alongside the incredibly talented Tyler Crook holding the pen, this is sure to be a story to behold.



X-ray Robot #3 by Matt Allred and Laura Allred, published by Dark Horse

Can’t stop. Won’t stop. X-ray Robot is one of the best comics on the stands right now and I will not let an issue go by without recommending it. The first two have been psychedelically bizarre, in that we really have no idea where the story will end. This issue begins the back half of its entirety and I cannot wait to see what the Allred’s are going to do with Max and the gang when it’s all over.

Blue in Green OGN by Ram V, Anand RK, John Pearson & Aditya Bidikar, published by Image

This is a story of loss, and of healing, and of sense of self, and of passion. It is a beautiful graphic depiction of how life can tragically be dealt with while under the influence of your past and being led by the spell of your obsessions. Ram V and Anand are becoming the next dynamic duo in comics. Once upon a time there was Jack and Stan, then there was O’Neil and Adams, along came Brubaker and Phillips, alongside Bendis and Bagley, which led to Lemire and Sorrentino, and Maxwell and Morazzo. The latest of these teams-of-which-can-have-no-misstep is Ram V and Anand. Prepare yourself for thy masterpiece. 


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Last Ronin #1 (of 5) by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird & Tom Waltz, published by IDW

The last I read there was going to be 71 covers for this book. That’s... a lot of covers. I have opinions regarding this marketing technique, but that doesn’t change the fact that more variants mean more copies. And more copies mean more people will (hypothetically) read it. That said, I am sitting on my hands in excitement for this one. The Turtles have been a favorite of mine going back to my late elementary school years. This is a story of a lone turtle fighting for justice for his fallen family in a far off dystopian future. The Last Ronin combines my nostalgia for the Turtles with my love for dystopian stories that involve purpose. Get this one and stay on it while it’s fresh. It will be one to talk about.

Mike's Picks:


Blue in Green by Ram V, Anand RK, John Pearson & Aditya Bidikar, published by Image Comics

Sean and James have already eloquently discussed the accomplishment that is Blue in Green, and I'm halfway through my review of it as I write up this week's picks, so what can I say in this small chunk that will be new? What stuns me most of all is the utter lack of originality in some sequential art. Blue and Green is anything but. I'm floored by the group effort on this book, the way everything seems to come together. Anand's panels and artistic choices are provocative and rich, and Bidikar's lettering brings Ram's trippy script to life by tying it to the art in a truly organic way. Simply put, this book is incredibly well done, and it reminds me of what draws me to comics in general.


2000 AD Summer Sci-Fi Special TPB: Twenty Years of Rebellion! by Dan Abnett, Al Ewing, Ian Eddington, and Jock, et al., published by 2000 AD/Rebellion

I love the Summer Sci-Fi special, and this year's anniversary edition is a special treat of one hundred pages of new stories from top creators and classic scripts from the archives. 2000 AD has been on a rampage recently, producing some of the best material they've ever offered, and this collection should be a celebration of that. Dan Abnett has been absolutely prolific in his 2000 AD work over the past few years. One of the best sci-fi comic writers in the business brings his skill-set to the high-minded Kingdom. 2000 AD is giving you every excuse to jump into their world with their new reader friendly books. What are you waiting for?


Giga 1 by Alex Paknadel, John Le, Rosh, and Aditya Bidikar, published by Vault Comics

Of all the White Noise crew, Paknadel seems a little more drawn to the realm of science fiction. Giga is his analysis of the Mecha subgenre, a book that he uses both to muse on the idea itself while also constructing a metaphor to examine the nature of hierarchical power in our society. It's a mixture of religious satire and hard science ficiton. Artist John Le brings a realistic, textured feel to the ever-so-gritty world of Giga, and Paknadel seizes on this structure to allow the setting to define the nature of the story. This is a big story - big robots, big ideas, and big implications. 

Beth's Picks:

Justice League Dark #27 by Ram V., Amancay Nahuelpan and June Chung, published by DC Comics 

For quite some time, Justice League Dark has been the only JL title I’ve had any interest in reading. The magical side of the DC universe has always been one of my happy places, the weirder the better. JLD delivers the weirdness and then some. Previews for this issue promise a battle that will “change the team’s roster forever.” That’s fine, as long as Bobo stays on board, because everything is better with Detective Chimp.

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen TP, by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber, published by DC Comics

I started this fun series, got behind in my comics reading, and decided to wait for the trade. As someone who grew up reading the original “Superman Family” DC Giants and Dollar Comics, I’m looking forward with giddy glee to jumping back into Fraction and Lieber’s distinctively modern sojourn into Silver Age silliness. Giant turtles? Yes please!

Rob's Picks:

Monkey vs Robot The Complete Epic by James Kochalka, published by Top Shelf/IDW

James Kochalka was one of the first indie comics stars I ever met, after reading his awesome, brutally honest diary comics and his oddball stories, like the first Monkey vs. Robot. He is still the same in how he approaches comics as he was 12 years ago, having talked to him at SDCC in 2019 (really hope to put that up here sometime soon). Believing strongly in a personal vision rather than trying to hone craft, Kochalka's new work closely resembles his older style. So if you can't see a difference between the old and new material in Monkey vs Robot, that's the point--this is what James does, and he does it incredibly well. Drawing very basic characters and outlines, the stories here feature Kochalka showing off some rare talents in comics, not the least of which is letting his characters say the quiet part out loud or look at naturalism vs technological progress. In this case, it's literal, with a monkey and robot at the center of things across three tales. I'm not big on re-purchasing items, but I'm looking forward to grabbing a physical copy of this to add to my Kochalka Quality shelf.

Exorsisters Vol 2 TP by Ian Boothby, Gisele Lagace, Pete Pantazis, and Taylor Esposito, published by Image

The first volume of this series made my shortlist in 2019 and in my April 2019 recommendation of the series I hoped there'd be more of this comedic pair of exorcists who are about as good at their job as the the Ghostbusters in terms of minimizing damage. There was a darker undertone, however, that helped make this more than a broad farce. This volume picks up on that thread, pitting the sisters against an evil force that threatens Heaven, Hell, and everything in-between. The hijinks are still there, but the stakes are higher. Luckily, Boothby, Lagace, and company are more than up to the task in this manga-inspired (but not derivative) series. A good pick for your Halloween weekend!

Neil's Picks:

The Autumnal #2, by Daniel Kraus, Chris Shehan, Jason Wordie and Jim Campbell published by Vault Comics

The Autumnal is a horror comic that scratches my itch for creepy small-town American stories. It must be something about me being British but every time I see anything related to small-town America I just feel cosy inside. Must be memories of movies like The Goonies, Back to the Future, Flight of the Navigator and so many more but I just love that kind of Americana. The Autumnal sees single mum Kat and daughter Sybil up sticks from Chicago and head to Comfort Notch a picturesque town with a small population to attend a family funeral, but all is not as it seems. Creepy kids, eccentric residents and something about the season of Fall/Autumn itself leads to a pretty disturbing end to the first issue. With issue two I hope to see more building of what’s behind the haunting mystery of Comfort Notch as long as it doesn’t put me off one of my favourite seasons.

Blue in Green OGN, by Ram V, Anand RK, John Pearson and Aditya Bidikar published by Image Comics
Since completing These Savages Shores I have been clamouring for a new long-form story by Ram V and with Blue in Green we might just have one of the most beautiful looking books of 2020. Preview images have shown a mind-blowingly beautiful painted style from Anand RK which is a huge change from his previous work with Ram V on Grafity’s Wall. That isn’t a complaint because that art style will definitely add to the story of a young Jazz musician’s single-minded pursuit of creative genius that slowly turns into obsession. The fact that this is being sold to me as a horror comic has both surprised me and intrigued me on how it all plays out. Roll on Wednesday evening.