September 21, 2021

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Impossible Jones is Impossibly Fun: Catch It's for September 22nd 2021

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...

Rob's Picks:

Impossible Jones #1 by Karl Kesel, David Hahn, Tony Avina, and Comicraft, published by Scout Comics
Sometimes heroes are born. Sometimes heroes are made. And sometimes heroes are just criminals hoping people won't notice among the heroic deeds. That's Impossible Jones, a "grin and gritty" book that long-time Panel Pal Karl Kesel and David Hahn came up with, and it's finally seeing a comic store release after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Per Karl, this is a bit of Harley Quinn (whom he used to write on a great run before they turned into mediocre female Deadpool for awhile), a bit of Plastic Man (as you'll see from her abilities), and a touch of Dick Tracy (well, you'll just have to see for yourself on that one). The story is fun and David Hahn and Tony Avina nail the art, capturing the wacky nature of things. Hahn's lines are perfect for the work, too, giving it a cartoony feel that doesn't take the exaggeration too far. Impossible Jones doesn't want to take itself seriously, but definitely delivers a seriously good comic!

Red Sonja Black White Red #3 by Gail Simone, Walter Geovani, Hassan Otsmane-Elahou, and Others, published by Dynamite Entertainment
One of my all-time favorite comic runs of any kind is the Gail Simone-Walter Geovani Red Sonja run, where Gail put together a story that really showed the potential of the character to not just be "Sexy Conan" and Walter drew the hell out of it, looking like a modern-day John Romita, Sr. but with his own takes on Jazzy Johnny. The two are back as part of this anthology, with a story that spreads across Sonja's lifetime. Meanwhile, another friend of the site, Hassan, pits Sonja against a damned dragon, and that's just two of the stories included. This is a great chance to sample the character without having to go into deep backstory. Even if the "black white splash color" trope is getting a little old, these stories show there's a lot left to do with the concept. 

Scout's Honor by David Pepose, Luca Casalanguida, Matt Milla, and Carlos M. Mangual, published by Aftershock
When everything goes to hell, the only surviving document looking like a guide to life is an old Ranger Scout manual. It's soon the Law of the Land. There's only one problem: It might not be as truthful as everyone's been led to believe. Now Kit has to figure out the truth in this incredible mini-series by Panel Pal David Pepose* along with Luca Casalanguida and company. I'm honestly surprised I didn't see anyone try this yet, as it seems like such an obvious idea, but I'm glad that David is the one who took the reins. As we've seen from Spencer and Locke, Pepose can adapt from source materials without it seeming like a direct clone and also provide some amazing depth that just keeps getting better as he matures as a writer. And Casalanguida's art is perfect for a story where realism is essential to keeping the book on pace. He's also no slouch when it comes to working in the details, either, which also ensures we feel like we're in a possible alternative future. The creative team deserves a merit badge for this one.

Shudder Magazine #1 by Various Creators, published by Warrant Publishing
The name may change, but the intent is still the same--a way to honor the old Warren Publishing comics, often with some of the same creators who worked on the old horror magazines themselves. After re-organizing a bit, the company is back with a new magazine and a new "hostess" for the stories, but the aim and theme are the same: Classic horror gotchas drawn in greyscale. It's a bit of a lost art and I'm glad to see someone keeping it going--and ensuring classic creators can still get paying work. Maddeningly, Warrant doesn't list who's going to be writing/drawing any particular issue, but my past experience is that they are eerie, creepy tales that are perfect for a horror fan looking to read new stories with an old-school feel to me.

*I know, that's three picks in a row by people we know well. Just happens sometimes! I can't help it if we know some of the best creators in comics!

Kelli's Picks:

Sweat and Soap vol. 9, words & art Kintetsu Yamada published by Kodansha
Oh god, Asako is crying again, what the heck has Natori done now? Natori and Asako have been together for over a year now, they’ve shacked up, met the respective fam, fended off rival suitors, and navigated being a couple and keeping it profesh at work. It should be smooth sailing from here on out, right? Apparently, not. Maybe the sheen’s come off the relationship. Maybe Natori really is the playboy everyone seems to think he is, or maybe it’s got something to do with Asako. Asako’s past comes knocking in this latest instalment of Yamada’s office romance. Yamada continues keeping it fresh, as the love story enters it’s final arc.

Maison Ikkoku, words and art by Rumiko Takahashi. Published by Viz Media

It seems like volume 4 of the Viz collector’s edition of Maison Ikkoku dropped yesterday. Not that I’m complaining. Discovering this series via the collector’s edition has been a treat. The large trim size makes for a great reading experience and the colour pages of Takahashi’s watercolours for the series are one of my favourite parts of the book. Takahashi’s humour is as sharp as ever as she continues to chronicle the lives of the tenants of Maison Ikkoku.

Would You Like To Be A Family?, words and art by Koyama, published by Tokyo Pop
Would you like to be a family is a sweet collection of BL stories. The main story centres around Takemura and Masaki. Bullied as a teen for being gay, Takemura prefers to keep to himself. He carefully keeps his personal life and work life separate. That is until he bumps into his coworker Masaki at the local convenience store. Masaki is thrilled to find out that they are neighbours and invites Takemura over for dinner. So begins the gentle love affair between the taciturn Takemura and single dad Masaki. There are two other stories in collection, one about a high-shooler’s first love and the other is about a two college kids trying to figure out if they like each other. Would You Like To Be A Family is a fluffy collection of romance stories that makes for a breezy read.

James' Picks:

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #4 by Tom King, Bilquis Evely, and Mat Lopes, published by DC Comics
I love Tom King's work. I've loved it since I first read Omega Men or Sheriff of Babylon a number of years ago. King is a really smart, interesting writer whose work always has a lot going on below the surface. Mister Miracle really resonated with me, as a remarkable portrait of someone walking through life with depression and yet still being a high-functioning human (or New God). But I know there are some people who have an idea that King only writes a certain sort of protagonist (sad married guy), and I'm here to tell you that that's not the case at all. Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow is a really remarkable, special comic. Kara is celebrating her 21st Birthday, but under a yellow sun she can't get drunk. So she finds a remote alien world to get drunk on (that has a red sun) but along the way she encounters a remarkable girl named Ruthye, who is on a quest to seek vengeance against the cowardly man that killed her father. This is unlike any Supergirl story I've read, and unlke any King story I've read. Ruthye is a remarkable girl, a model of steely determination. And Kara has taken on her quest because, well I'm not entirely sure why. But here's what I can tell you. This is one of the most stunning books on the shelves right now. Evely has a gorgeous style that reminds me a little of a Joelle Jones or a Sean Murphy, but with softer lines. She's remarkable at small, emotional moments, and equally at home in vast, epic, scenes. She has an amazing eye for detail, and that is complemented by the stunning color wok being done by Mat Lopes. The colors are bright and saturated and feel warm and alive. The book is a joy to look at and a joy to read.  

That Texas Blood #10 by Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips, published by Image Comics
That Texas Blood might be my favorite Image book I'm reading right now. It's a fantastic murder-mystery crime story, but it's more than that. It's paced more like a movie from the 70's, when the director wasn't in quite as much of a hurry to get us from point A to point B to point C. This story takes pace in rural Texas, and while I've never been to rural Texas (just been to a few cities there), I found myself getting a sense of place from the story. These are towns that are very clearly not the big city, and the story moves at the slower pace of the small town. And I'm really loving it. Condon writes excellent, very naturalistic dialogue that certain feels authentic to the place and also to the kind of story that he and Jacob Phillips are telling. And Phillips is building a wonderful world visually in the story. That sense of place I mentioned, really comes across in the art. It's dusty, and vast, with lots of space between any two places. The sense of loneliness definitely comes across. And Phillip's line is really strong and realistic. To be clear, not photorealism which I find unsettling and it takes me out of the comic. But a sense of really being true to life. Phillips' style certainly feels like his father Sean is an influence, but Jacob has his own style and it's really fun to read each issue and see his distinct style emerge. This book is an absolute delight, and one of my favoite books of the year.