March 1, 2022

, , , , , , , , , , ,   |  

The Nice Comics on the Shelf: Catch It for March 2, 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...

Rachel's Pick:

The Wrong Earth: Trapped on Teen Planet #1. Written by Gail Simone with art by Bill Morrison, Walter Geovani, and Rob Lean, colors by Andy Troy, and lettering by Rob Steen
Honestly, the reason why I picked this up is because it was written by Gail Simone, whose work I love. The first couple of pages gave me pause as it focuses on some corrupt, violent cops chasing down a seemingly innocent man. Lately, this is the last type of thing that I want to read. Thankfully, the tone very quickly lightens, especially once we and the characters are whisked away to Sun Valley, a 1950’s era all-American town that looks just like Riverdale from the Archie comics I devoured in my youth. Simone’s irreverent, witty, and occasionally fourth-wall breaking humor was exactly what I needed this week. The art is great across the board, especially the Sun Valley section, which was done by Bill Morrison. If you need some escapism, pick up The Wrong Earth: Trapped on Teen Planet. 

James' Picks:

The Nice House on the Lake vol. 1 TP, by James Tynion IV, Alvaro Martinez Bueno, and Jordie Bellaire, published by DC Comics/Black Label

This book is so good, and so terrifying, but not for the reasons you might think a book called "The Nice House on the Lake" is terrifying. You might picture some sort of Friday the 13th slasher-type story, and that could not be further from what this story is. I don't want to give away anything abut this story, except to say that it is fantastic, and James Tynion is firing on all cylinders right now with 3 different, excellent non-superhero books (this one, Something is Killing the Children, and Department of Truth) (links to my reviews here and here). He's got an incredible read on the zeitgeist, as his books feel incredibly timely and topical and relevant for all sorts of depressing reasons. The art from Alvaro Martinez Bueno is absolutely stunning. I didn't know his work before but now I will absolutely want to seek it out. Fans of horror and great storytelling and art, you really need to check this book out.

Adventureman #8 by Matt Fraction, Terry and Rachel Dodson, and Clayton Cowles, published by Image Comics

Adventureman is pure joy and fun in comics form. It's written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by the Dodsons, and lettered by Clayton Cowles. So what I'm saying is, you're in incredibly capable hands with this book. What's great about this book is, well, pretty much everything. But more specifically, what's great about Adventureman is that it provides the reader with several different kinds of stories all in one. The story begins in an idealized, pulpy 1930's New York, as the city is under attack from evil invaders. But the police commissioner calls upon Adventureman and his band of science/mystical heroes to save the day. Adventureman is a classic barrel-chested, square-jawed Doc Savage type hero, and he and his allies do their best, and all appears lost...and then we realize that we've just been hearing about a story that a mom is reading with her son. It's present-day New York City, a much more mundane place. Adventureman is just a long-lost pulp-fiction character. OR IS HE??? You'll just have to keep reading to find out. I promise you'll have a great time, and you will just want to pore over the incredible art from Terry and Rachel Dodson. Seriously - the characters, the city - it's all so gorgeous. This book is a real delight.

The Blue Flame #7 by Chirstopher Cantwell, Adam Gorham, K. Michael Russell, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, published by Vault Comics

The Blue Flame begins as an homage to classic pulpy science-fiction comics from decades ago. We join the character of the Blue Flame as he finds himself floating in space, not sure how he got there. He makes his way to an inhabited planet, and is confronted by the local population. After a brief skirmish, he surrenders himself to the locals who bring him before a judge or leader or some sort, who informs The Blue Flame that all of humanity is on trial, and he is there as their representative! The Blue Flame is also the story of a man named Sam who was acting as a local vigilante superhero in Milwaukee when he and his group were the victims of a shooter, and is the story of Sam's painful and difficult road to recovery (alongside his very pregnant sister and her partner). I'm a big fan of Christopher Cantwell's (Halt and Catch Fire) other comic work (She Could Fly, Everything,  Doctor Doom, Iron Man). Much like those other series, Blue Flame is profoundly weird but also incredibly relatable. Sure, there are aliens and a trial in outer space for the fate of humanity, but it's ultimately the story of a few people trying to survive in this world. And every artistic and design element of the comic is really top notch, from artist Adam Gorham, colorist Kurt Michael Russell, letterer Hassan Ostmane-Elhaou, and design by Tim Daniel. It all comes together seamlessly in this fantastic, big, ambitious, heartfelt comic. I highly recommend it (my issue 1 review here).

Moon Knight #9 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 (by Jed MacKay) 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 from Alessandro Cappuccio 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.

Rob's Picks:

GI Joe: A Real American Hero Yo Joe! by Larry Hama and a variety of Creators, published by IDW
IDW may (sadly) be losing its rights to GI Joe, but they did an amazing job with the license, from having Hama continue the old Marvel series to the insane Transformers vs JI Joe series by Scioli to Paul Allor and company's modern commentary. If you ever tried to read (and I don't recommend that you do) the Joe books prior to IDW taking over after the Marvel years were done, you know how bad things got at times. This 100 page Giant is a sampling of Hama's work, both from the old days and some newer issues. It's a great way to show just how much Hama means to the iconic toy line and making it more than a cash grab. Think of Joe vs, say, Master of the Universe and you'll have a good idea of the difference one awesome creator can make. Even if you aren't a fan of the show/toys/comics, this is worth the read to see a master craftsman at work across the decades.
 
Everything Sucks #1 by Michael Sweater, published by Silver Sprocket
Panel Pal Michael Sweater's new series with Silver Sprocket finds him working a solid comedic vein, namely stoner humor, which isn't always my thing but I'm down for anything Sweater creates. The comic is billed as being sitcom styled and I can see that working based on his prior, one-panel gag books. Sweater's ability to do jokes on the page is top-notch and it never hurts to go with a bit of nostalgia for a time where you didn't have to make everything matter so much as just make it funny. I'm looking forward to seeing how he moves his two protagonists forward as they battle the munchies--and apparently a lot more.

What if Miles Morales Became Captain America? by Cody Ziglar, Paco Medina, and Others, published by Marvel
Y'all know I loves me my "What If..." stories, so anytime they come up with a new one, I'm always intrigued. But when you add that it's possibly my favorite new character of the past 20 years in Miles in the starring role, I'm now standing up and taking notice. The premise here is on the tin, with the younger Spider-Man instead becoming a (presumably new?) sentinel of Liberty. What I don't know is which universe this is based on. If Hydra Cap's world (where Miles started), then the idea of a person of color taking over for that piece of crap asshole is going to *really* be quite the story. I just hope Miles can beat the Spider-Man Curse here--webslingers tend to die in these alt earths, because they can't in the "real" reality. Vey much looking forward to this one!

Destiny, NY Vol 1 TP by Pat Shand, Manuel Preitano, and Jim Campbell, published by Black Mask
This series really made me stand up and take notice, with its awesome premise that instead of "hey, this kid has so much potential" the main protagonist already had her moment in the sun, and is now fading off into the shadows as her prophecy is over. While she watches others take the center stage, her involvement with a magic-using woman who's got ties to the underworld makes life hell for everyone around her. It's all the qualities of a slice of life comic about navigating your 20s, but with the added bonus of supernatural elements. Drawn in an OEL manga fashion by Preitano, I really enjoyed this series the first time out and I'm glad it's in a collected form to get some extra, well-deserved eyeballs on a comic that I don't think got the recognition it deserved.