February 8, 2022

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Land of the God Comics: Catch Its for February 9th, 2022

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:
 

Land of the Living Gods by Isaac Mogajane, Santtos, and Dave Sharpe, published by Aftershock
The end of the world is neigh, with spirits rising accordingly. One young woman, Naledi, lives in old Johannesburg and thinks that maybe, if she can just reach the Gods, humanity will get a final chance. It's a journey of faith--and last ditch efforts in a new series from Aftershock. This type of story is right up my alley--a little bit of ghosts, a little bit of gods, and a creative team that's new to me. I'm especially interested because of the creative team involved. Mogajane is South African and Santtos is Brazilian. Their perspective on a parable about humanity's decline is going to be interesting to follow and explore, because by my own admission, my reading history is a bit more attuned to North-of-the-equator viewpoints. If Santtos's art is amazing all through as it was in the previews I found online, this is going to be a slick book with a story that ripples back to our own reality, as we deal with a world that's probably more on the brink of destruction than any of us want to admit. Aftershock remains one of my go-to publishers for any new books. I can't wait to read this one.  
 
Norse Myths III #1 by Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, David Rubin, Xulia Pison, and Galen Showman, published by Dark Horse Comics
As I said above, I'm a sucker for mythology, and Norse is one of my all-time favorites. So is P. Craig Russell, so this series has been a lot of fun to read over the past two, and just missed being on my short list of favorites, because of how hard the competition was in 2021. This time around, in the delightfully titled "Hymir and Thor's Fishing Expedition" we get everyone's favorite hammer-wielding hero teamed up with one of his god buddies on a wild goose cauldron chase. The whole story is broad farce and David Rubin's style overtop of Russell's layouts are unbelievably fun, especially when we get humans and giants in the same panel. Just a whole lot of fun from the entire creative team and a great start to what I think might be the last of these mini-series. Looking forward to an omnibus of this entire series for my shelf.

Metax HC by Antoine Cossé, published by Fantagraphics
Fantagraphics continues to be a great source of European comics, with Metax as their latest entry in a long line of works. The premise on this one is that there's a society that's "greedily dependent on a mysterious natural resource" (how fantastical; no way humanity would ever make itself dependent on a finite resource like that!) where the resource itself is carefully guarded. When a variety of different actors, each with their own agenda, get mixed together by Cossé, chaos ensues. I know very little about this one, but I'm hoping to read a copy sometime this year, because it sounds awesome and the few images I could find related to the book look awesome. Some great playing with perspective and heavy black ink. What I saw reminds me a bit of Tim Sale, but with more experimentation and control. Fanta says it's "an exploration of greed, its consequences, and the possibility of escape." That sounds like a great parable for our times, not unlike Land of the Living Gods above, but in a very different form.
 
Maestro: World War M by Peter David, Pasqual Ferry, German Peralta, and others, published by Marvel
The Maestro has completely clobbered (to steal a phrase, like he's stolen everything else) anyone in his path to taking over the remains of the world. AIM couldn't stop him. Neither could Doom. He’s invincible, right? Well, maybe not, when an old foe comes back from the dead (as per usual) and the remains of his other foes team up in this explosive (apparent) conclusion to Peter David's expansion of the Maestro's story. After you stop being shocked I picked this for the list this week (keep in mind I was once a huge Peter David fan and Mr. Fixit is my favorite version of Hulk, so maybe it's not so shocking now?), I will admit that I'm not sure we necessarily needed more Maestro stories. But hey, everything's on the table these days, and if the story's enjoyable, I'm in. And the first two parts of this series have been a lot of fun to read, as David works to tell his own story while trying to factor in decades of items that happened since, like Rick Jones' gamma irradiated persona. With Ferry on linework, this should be nice, big, and bold--and I'm really curious to see if we get a move towards what we know from Future/Imperfect or if David makes this Maestro a different beast entirely. There's room for so much, and I appreciate that Marvel is letting creators do their thing in their own corners.

James’ Picks:

Metax HC by Antoine Cossé, published by Fantagraphics
They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But I found the cover to Metax really striking, so I read what it's about. "A society, greedily dependent on a mysterious natural resource, meets a force indifferent to social or class status in this graphic novel...Dark, romantic, and compassionate, it is an exploration of greed, its consequences, and the possibility of escape." So, that totally sold me on the concept. A sci-fi story about the devastating consequences associated with a precious natural resource? Where have we heard that before? And I checked out a few pages of art from the comic, and it looks really intriguing. This is outside my typical comics purchases, but the story and art both seem strong, and Fantagraphics certainly has a great track record, so I'm excited to check Metax out.
 
The Flintstones HC by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh, and Chris Chuckry, published by DC Comics
The Flintstones comic (which was published 5 or so years ago) is a comic I absolutely adore. It made my list of favorite comics of the 2010's, which really would not have been something I would have predicted at the beginning of the decade. But it was and is one of the smartest, most incisive comics I've read. Here's what I had to say when I reviewed the book in 2017:
Forget everything you think you know, all the assumptions you might have, about a comic book based on the Flintstones. Because I made those assumptions too, at first, and I was wrong. Not only is The Flintstones a hilarious comic (and it absolutely is), but it's so much more than that. The Flintstones is moving and poignant and insightful and intelligent and it's got social commentary that's insightful and sometimes just brutal. But it really is, at its heart, an exploration of what it is to be a human being in modern times. It's one of the best comics being published, and I highly recommend you check it out.
Apache Delivery Service #2 by Matt Kindt, Tyler Jenkins, and Hilary Jenkins, published by Dark Horse
The team of Matt Kindt, and Tyler and Hilary Jenkins is one that will always get my attention. I'll always check out a book by that team. This is the team that most recently brought us Fear Case (a story involving history and mythology and terrifying murders, which I really enjoyed) and Black Badge (a story about a secret group of Boy Scouts that also go on clandestine intelligence missions, which I absolutely loved). Apache Delivery Service is a story set during the Vietnam War, but it's not really about the Vietnam War. There's hidden treasure, and there are weird murders. That's honestly more than enough to get me to sign up. I enjoyed the first issue, and I'm excited for more.

Moon Knight #8 by Jed MacKay and Alessandro Cappuccio, published by Marvel Comics
Hey, you might have heard, there's a Moon Knight show coming this year. If you're looking to read a Moon Knight comic, the current run is as good of a place to start as any. This is a superhero with a very weird, complicated history, so honestly you might as well just dive in. He's a vigilante, but he also has various personas. There is an element of Dissociative Identity Disorder, but it's more complicated than that. He serves an Egyptian God who saved his life and is now his patron. The current story is set in New York, where Moon Knight (also sometimes Mr. Knight, when he's wearing a suit) has set up his mission, to protect travelers during the night. This current run has been a real blast so far. The art is terrific, and the story has added new characters while finding a way to fit them into the mythology of the character. It's a fun read. 

Sean’s Picks:


Night Hunters TP by Dave Baker and Alexis Ziritt & published by Floating World
Dave Baker and Alexis Ziritt’s cyberpunk dystopian Night Hunters is The Fifth Element if it were recast and rescripted to be self-serious rather than self-ridiculous. Night Hunters has it all: stylized sequences of comic-booky violence, long lost brothers at odds with themselves, vintage presentation from color palette (a very small spectrum of neons and dark tones), and character design that puts 21st Century Star Wars creations to shame. This is a commentary on classism, on police enforced fascism, and on the bond that is had with family—- no matter the circumstance. Single issues are still available in small numbers at various corners of the internet, but this week Floating World will publish the collected volume. The whole story in one full sweep. Go get you some comics!


Stillwater v.2 by Chip Zdarsky, Ramón K. Perez, Mike Spicer and Rus Wooten & published by Image
Zdarsky and Perez have been at it for awhile. Stillwater has been, month in and month out, one of the more intriguing stories that’s come out recently. The second trade paperback collecting issues 7-12 arrives this week and I urge those who already haven’t to check this one out. Premise is fairly simple: a small town has become privy to their own immortality. No one can die. That is, as long as one stays within its jurisdiction. Cross that border to the next town and the miracle (or curse?) is shed. If you’ve read the first volume then you’re well aware of the maternal connection that drives our main protagonist. Enter into this second volume for even more secrets revealed and plots thickened. This is a modern retelling of a Never Never Land gone wrong. This is a small town nightmare with stellar pacing and fantastic art. If you can take that sort of thing I’d suggest you give this one a shot. First volume out now with the second volume out this week. 


Jenny Zero TP by Dave Dwonch, Brockton McKinney and Magenta King & published by Dark Horse
When this series was being published monthly I was a newfound fanboy of its illustrator. Magenta King has a look and style to his stroke contributing to sequential pages who stood out from the rest. Story goes that the titular character, Jenny Zero (a pint and pill weekend warrior if there ever was one on a Tuesday night at the pub), who is also daughter to a Japanese superhero begins her journey out from her father’s shadow. Chaos then cradles our heiress as Kaiju-killing begs itself to be the ultimate sober up ritual. This series is tons of fun and I did miss one of the middle issues so I’m glad to see it being collected so I can relive the ridiculous joyride that is this comic.