April 26, 2022

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Catch It for April 27, 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:

Godzilla Rivals vs King Ghidorah #1 by Adam Gorham, Adam Guzowski, and Nathan Widick, published by IDW
What's more destructive than Godzilla? How about a Martian invasion? The Earth looks like it's going to be toast, until Godzilla shows up to crash the war. Except this time, even he's outmatched in an interstellar knock down, drag out fight that pits Godzilla against one of his most devastating foes--King Ghidorah! This is a total romp of a comic, despite containing a lot of dialogue. Gorham keeps things moving at a fast clip, with a lot of explosions, Godzilla battling everything from flying saucers to giant praying manti to of course, King Ghidorah himself. Meanwhile, humanity turns to Dr. Hu for help and his plan is just as bombastic as any evil mad scientist's ever. That also leads to some fun scenery-chewing, which isn't easy to pull off in the comics. Gorham's art makes the monsters feel really huge, which is awesome. Because he's packing so much into the book, sometimes the panels are a little cramped under the extensive word balloons. A clear fan of the mythos and the movies, Gorham's love-letter to the over-the-top Toho films is clear. This is yet another great Godzilla book for IDW.

Shadow Service #11 by Cavin Scott, Corin Howell, Triona Farrell, and Andworld, published by Vault Comics
Gina is setting into live as an agent of Department 666, but she's still trying to unlock the secrets of her past. Meanwhile, however, it seems like the retirement plan for the agency isn't going to be needed, as people close to Gina start getting taken out in this start to the third arc of this fun, supernatural spy series. There's a lot of internal monolog in this one, as Gina tells us where her mind is at, but the setup works because we're kept focused on the current spy operation that quickly goes south. Howell and Farrell's artwork is as strong as ever, especially when we see demons or other magic-related creatures (I absolutely love the creature colors!). There's some great work in terms of perspective, such as using the scope's view as a panel piece, or the same for a spy camera's video report. This isn't a perfect jumping on point, but I really enjoy this series and am glad to have it back. It's picking up right where it left off.
 
James' Picks:
 
Blood Stained Teeth #1 by Christian Ward, Patric Reynolds, Heather Moore, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, published by Image Comics
I'm not a huge vampire stories person. However, this book has a number of factors working in its favor. First, it's a story written by Christian Ward. Ward is an incredible artist, with a really unique artistic voice. He does stunning work on books such as Infinite Vacation, Ody-C, and Invisible Kingdom. He always seems to choose great projects as an artist (and clearly, he makes them great). So, I'm curious to see his work as a writer. Second, I've seen some preview pages of the art by Patric Reynolds (with colors by Heather Moore and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou) and they look fantastic. I'm not too familiar with Reynolds' work but he seems like a great fit to work with Ward. And Moore's colors are really weird and intriguing. Lastly, this story seems like a fun twist on vampire stories. It's a story about the vampire, and about what he needs to do in order to maintain his lifestyle over a very long period of time.  
 
Action Comics #1042 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Riccardo Federici, and more, published by DC Comics
Action Comics is SO good right now. Johnson, Federici et al. are really doing something special with the whole Warworld storyline.  Superman is trapped on Warworld (the home of Mongul) and have been enslaved, and Superman is basically powerless. It's a really compelling story, very appropriate for Passover (considering Superman's origins as a clear Moses allegory). I've come to care about a lot of the characters, and really been sucked into the world. And the art from Federici has been fantastic. This is really a special book, I encourage you to pick it up.
 
Justice League #75 by Joshua Williamson and Rafa Sandoval, published by DC Comics
I haven't read Justice League in a little while, but if you promise that this is the kickoff of an event (Dark Crisis) which STARTS with the death of the Justice League, then you will absolutely have my attention. Not much else for me to say about it, but that I'm very much looking forward to this comic and the whole broader Dark Crisis event. All I want from my summer superhero event comics is a fun time, big stakes, and a clever, interesting story. Williamson is an excellent writer, and Sandoval a terrific artist, and I'm sure this'll be a lot of fun. 
 
Decorum HC by Jonathan Hickman, Mike Huddleston, Rus Wooton, and Sasha Head, published by Image Comics

If Jonathan Hickman writes a book, I'm going to write about it (as you can see hereherehere, and here). His work speaks to me in a way that few other comic writer's work does. He's up there with Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis as far as writers of comics that are as complex as they are engaging. I find his interest in systems, structures, and hidden elites to be fertile ground for storytelling, whether it's an alternate-history apocalyptic Western, World War II, or dark magic controlling international finance. But, what I also love even more than all of these things is being surprised.  If a writer I love can zig when I expect them to zag, that's even better. Which brings me to Decorum, Hickman and artist Mike Huddleston's series, the first arc of which concluded last year and is now collected in a hardcover. While the scope of this story feels incredibly vast, it also feels like a totally different focus than I've come to expect from Hickman. Most of Hickman's work feels like a look at the people behind the curtain moving the levers of society. This also has that element (which is huge and cosmic and robotic?), but it also is a much more ground-level portrayal of someone operating within that structure. But honestly?  As intriguing as the story is, the chief selling point for this comic is the stunning art of Mike Huddleston. I'd never seen Huddleston's work before reading Decorum, and it's an absolute revelation. He is in complete visual command of this comic, displaying amazing skill in a number of completely different artistic styles that he blends together (seriously, this book feels like it was done by at least 3 completely different artists, but it was one guy).  Also, big credit to Rus Wooton on letters and the amazing design work of Sasha Head. Seriously, the design and layout of this book is really wonderful; a ton of great graphs, charts, timelines, and all sorts of visual information goodness that you'll love. I do like a story that mixes the macro and micro, and Decorum works well in that regard. We've got big, cosmic ideas, but we've also got the story of a paid assassin with impeccable manners, and a courier who really probably wishes she'd said no to a particular job. Decorum was a delight to read and a serious feast for the eyes, and I strongly recommend it.