Catch It at the Comic Shop May 16, 2018

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:
Who came up with that rule about only five comics? I could have easily gone to 8 or more. I demand to talk to the manager--oh, wait, that's me. Nevermind! I'll just stick to the script, I guess....

Goosebumps Download and Die 3 by Jen Vaughn, Michelle Wong, Triona Tree Farrell, and Christa Miesner, published by IDW
Can the kids overcome the differences the strange cell phone created, or will our wooden fiend find a way to use it to take over the world? The stakes increase here as Jen wraps up her story, leading to an ending that feels appropriately Tales-from-the-Crypt-for-early-teens, right down to the humor. Meanwhile, Wong and Farrell move at a rapid clip keeping up with the fast-paced script, providing another solid set of visuals and providing the right balance of humor and dramatic tension. This was a lot more fun than I expected. I plan to read more in the series, even when Jen's not writing.

Ballad of Halo Jones Vol 1 by Alan Moore, Ian Gibson, and Barbara Nosenzo, published by 2000AD/Rebellion
Early Alan Moore is always worth a look, before some of his weird personal issues really start showing up. 2000AD reprints this series which teamed Moore with the distinctive Ian Gibson. Halo Jones is pretty bored, but her attempts at escaping the world she knows tend to be more deadly than she'd planned. Moore does a great job with the female characters and Gibson's exaggerated line work makes this feel even more strange than the typical story. The short parts take a little getting used to, but this first reprint in a series is worth checking into if you're a fan of Moore.

Flavor 1 by Joe Keatinge, Wook Jin Clark, Tamra Bonvillain, Ariana Maher, and Ali Bouzari, published by Image Comics
A young woman and her dog strive to keep a restaurant running, but excessive government rules threaten all they hold dear. Only a relative they've barely seen can help save the day. Oh, and by the way, there's something really weird about how this city regulates the use of cooking ingredients and those who befoul the rules of recipes. Starting off like a cute, heartwarming story, Keatinge quickly adds the secret ingredient of some menace. Meanwhile, Clark (who I first saw on an Adventure Time mini) makes a cooking-based comic feel active, while Tamra provides her usual vibrant colors. I'm curious where this one will go.

Dodge City 3 by Josh Trujillo, Cara McGee, Brittany Peer, and Aubrey Aiese, published by Boom! Studios
Look out! It's time for the tournament and this dysfunctional team of dodgeballers has to keep it together long enough to hang into the next round. As they forget how to work as a team--and who the team leader is--Trujillo's homage to sports manga ramps up the fun. While Josh tosses verbal quips, Cara McGee and Brittany Peer match him step for step in visuals that evoke the feel of their target without feeling like a copy. This has been a fun series, and I'll be sorry to see it go when the mini wraps up. 

Infinity Countdown Daredevil 1 by Gerry Duggan and Clayton Crain, published by Marvel Comics
So as a rule, I have very little interest in this kind of story. They're usually forgettable. I also have absolutely no idea what's going on with Marvel cosmic these days. And of course this is a way to try and interest movie folks into the comics, not that that's a bad thing.
However. I'm also an old-school Daredevil reader, and I have a soft spot for a certain low-level thug who's always picking just the wrong scheme to pull. So...hand Turk an Infinity Stone, and you've hooked me. I can't imagine it going any better than usual, but that premise is an absolute winner for me. A great nod to long-time readers. I'm in for this one, at least.

James' Picks:

Dead Hand #2 by Kyle Higgins, Stephen Mooney, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles, published by Image Comics.
If you enjoyed Velvet, and are looking for more stylish espionage comics, look no further than Dead Hand.  I enjoyed the first issue which is a fun story with some big twists, and that continues here as well. An engaging script with stylish, dynamic art from Stephen Mooney and Jordie Bellaire, makes this a terrific read. Plus, the story has parallels to one of my favorite terrible 80's movies but if I tell you which movie, it'll spoil one of the big plot points.  We'll see if anyone can figure out which movie!

Ninja-K #7 by Christos Gage, Juan Jose Ryp and Diego Rodriguez, published by Valiant Entertainment.
I've really enjoyed this most recent run on Ninjak comics from Valiant, written by Christos Gage and first illustrated by the detailed, brutal Tomas Giorello and now illustrated by the equally skilled Juan Jose Ryp. Gage has taken the character of Ninjak and very skillfully made him a legacy character, with an intriguing past and part of a much larger narrative. And I love Ryp's artwork, he did phenomenal work on the Britannia miniseries (please do yourself a favor and read those if you haven't already). This is a strong book.

Captain America #702 by Mark Waid, Leonardo Romero, Howard Chaykin, Rod Reis, and more, published by Marvel Comics.
I'm very excited for this summer when Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Yu take over Captain America, but until then I'm enjoying what is sort of a caretaker run by Mark Waid on Captain America, but it's really more than that. In a short time, Waid is really exploring the meaning and legacy of the character in some very creative ways. Art duties have been mostly assumed now by Leonardo Romero, with some assists from other notable creators (Howard Chaykin!).  Romero has a wonderful classic, clean style that makes the future look bright and optimistic (he's in the Samnee-Shaner school of art, a fantastic place to be), but also effectively conveys mystery. I strongly recommend all of Waid's current run on Captain America - certainly it's been a nice change of pace after the more divisive prior direction of the book. As an aside, I highly recommend the Hawkeye book illustrated by Romero and written by Kelly Thomson. A fantastic read.

Ether: The Copper Golems #1 by Matt Kindt and David Rubin, published by Dark Horse Entertainment.
I'll read anything Matt Kindt writes. He's a writer of almost boundless imagination, and I enjoyed very much the first arc of Ether, which was a tragic story of a person losing themselves in their work and failing to be the parent or spouse that their family needed them to be, in the guise of a fun fantasy adventure story. I love when Kindt illustrates his own work, but if someone else is going to draw it, there are few better in the business than David Rubin, who is similarly an artist of boundless imagination. He brings all sorts of wonderful absurdities to life on the page. This is a story of magic and science and real depth as well.

Gideon Falls #3 by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Dave Stewart, published by Image Comics. 
Gideon Falls is terrific. Creepy and unsettling in the best possible way. I'm not a huge horror fan but this book does what I find scariest, which is create that impending sense that something terrible is on the way, just past where you can see it. That feeling of existential dread along with supernatural religious mystery pervades this story, along with an exploration of a person who is clearly both mentally ill and dealing with dark happenings in the supernatural realm. All this is brought to incredible life by the detailed work of illustrator Andrea Sorrentino and master colorist Dave Stewart. I always love the bold, stylish way that Sorrentino typically colors himself, but here, working with Stewart, I may like his work even better, as a more subtle color palate really keeps the proceedings relatively grounded but amps up the tension where needed. Sorrentino draws from some perspectives I'm not sure if I've even seen before (really, there's some genuinely innovative art in this comic). So if you're looking for an engaging, creepy, unsettling comic, definitely check out Gideon Falls.

Mike's Picks:

The Mighty Moe Szyslak # 1 by Ian Boothby, Mike Kazelah, and Jason Ho, published by Bongo Comics
It’s been a real treat to get to read print versions of Bongo’s digital-first character specials. Simpsons comics are at their best when they do what The Simpsons (used to) do, namely parody. These character one shots allow us a fun glimpse at characters on the fringes of the core Simpsons cast. Monthly Simpsons comics can be hit or miss, but these one shots tend to arrive a little more fleshed out and complete.

Harley loves Joker #2 by Paul Dini, Bret Blevins, and Amanda Connor, published by DC Comics
Sure, it’s not the first issue of Snyder’s “New Challengers,” nor is the second issue to the incredibly well-received debut of “No Justice,” but it’s classic Harley Quinn in the style of Batman: The Animated Series, and the first issue was a dose of nostalgia so overwhelming that I looked past the rushed plot and convoluted storyline, remembering what it felt like to be ten years old watching television while half-heartedly doing my homework and talking on the phone with my best friend about what Batman was doing that very moment.

Flavor 1 by Joe Keatinge, Wook Jin Clark, Tamra Bonvillain, Ariana Maher, and Ali Bouzari, published by Image Comics
While this isn’t the first piece of fiction that militarizes the essential structure of Iron Chef, it definitely approaches it with more of a holistic concept as opposed to a stilted chefy concept piece that unravels for lack of reasonability. Keatinge sets the story outside our world, and Wook Jin Clark’s animation-style artwork provides a solid tonal structure for the book.

Ballad of Halo Jones Vol 1 by Alan Moore, Ian Gibson, and Barbara Nosenzo, published by 2000AD/Rebellion
Alan Moore is the kind of personality whom you find yourself absent-mindedly defending in a conversation one moment and criticizing for the same indiscernible reason the next. Believe it or not, Moore never finished the Halo Jones series because of a rights dispute with Fleetway. I know! Who could have guessed? Nonetheless, “Halo Jones” is an example of relatively early Alan Moore, shortly after he had a fairly good streak going with British comics and around the time he just started to hit his stride in the States. Colored and reformatted, this edition profiles the earlier adventures of a trailblazing female sci-fi protagonist.