Catch It at the Comic Shop July 4th, 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 here! Before we do, please welcome newest Panel Patter-er, Kirk FM! Kirk is a cool guy I had the pleasure of meeting at San Diego Comic Con last year, and I used extortion finally got him on board, starting with our preview column today!

Kirk, tell us a little about yourself!
In 1994, Kirk thought comic books, rock n’ roll, hockey, and Kelly Kapowski were the greatest forms of art. Nothing has changed since then. He’s obsessed with the creative process and firmly believes collaborative art can heal the world. So please, fix your hearts or die. He makes his home in Los Angeles working in the music industry and spends his time mainly asking how he got so lucky. He lives with his dog, Tesla. She is a good dog. Twitter: @KirkLikesStuff

Kirk's Picks:

Vagrant Queen #2 by Magdaline Visaggio, Jason Smith, Hank Saxon, and Zack Saan, Published by Vault
The first issue of this sci-fi series ticked off a lot of boxes for me. Issue 2 picks up the story as we follow Elida on her mission to save her thought-dead mother who is (maybe) being held well behind the enemy lines of deep space. With a no-BS attitude and flying an oddly shaped ship, she shoots first and doesn’t care about how bad the odds are stacked against her. It’s familiar and welcomed territory. Trying to entice new readers with the Star Wars-rich comparisons may be admittedly a cheap trick, but there’s swagger here that you don’t typically feel in a space adventure comic like this. Visaggio has a knack for writing unsuspectingly complex female characters whose layers are revealed in part due to the situations she puts her protagonists in. It creates the awesome phenomenon of watching our author write from a reactionary point of view. Couple this with an art team that feels heavily influenced by the more European school of comic art without taking itself too seriously, this title would fit comfortably well in something like Heavy Metal magazine. Luckily for us, it’s a story that’s larger in scope that gets its own monthly  series.

Paradiso #5 by  Ram V, Devmalya Pramanik, Alba Cardona Gil, and Aditya Bidikar, Published by Image
Issue 5 of this series kicks off the second arc of the story. Trying to explain the plot in a single-sentence pitch would almost do this book a disservice. What I can tell you is that it is the sum of its influences and every cog of it has been salvaged from one of your favorite genres. A far future where the inhabitants of a place called Paradiso survive in an apocalyptic future among a sentient megalopolis in decay. Ravagers, traders, and black market smugglers forming alliances based on mutual needs and survival.  Sometimes that trust is put in a stranger with a mysterious techno artifact and a past they themselves are not entirely sure of. But where’s the fun if you already have all the answers? Paradiso is equal parts Mad Max resource hunting and Ghost in the Shell waxing poetic meets killer androids whose designs are taken from some of your favorite dystopian manga, all filtered through multiple reads of China Mieville works. Though what I’m describing may seem very anime-esque, the art in this book is doing it’s own reinterpretation of it through beautiful color pencils that are under delicate inking. It’s enough of a reason to pick up this book in the first place.

James' Picks:
Scales & Scoundrels vol. 2 by Sebastian Girner and Galaad, published by Image Comics.
I just read vol. 1 of this series recently at it was an excellent read. Full of fun and life and humor. I was completely unfamiliar with Galaad's work previously, but it's excellent art. Animated and expressive and really engaging. Girner is a strong writer as well. I'm excited to read more.

From the World of Black Hammer: The Quantum Age #1 by Jeff Lemire, Wilfredo Torres, and Dave Stewart, published by Dark Horse Comics.
I'll pick up anything Jeff Lemire does in his Black Hammer universe. The main series is excellent, and the two prior spin-off minis have been great as well. So this one takes a trip into the future, illustrated by the terrific Wilfredo Torres. I'm excited to read this and t see what clues it holds for the heroes in their current plight.

The Immortal Hulk #2 by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett, published by Marvel Comics.
This is a really interesting story. Ewing is a fantastic writer and Bennett brings Hulk to life as a monster to be truly feared. This isn't a mindless rage-Hulk, or a Banner-Professor Hulk. This is something else - full of dark thoughts and bringing brutal, monstrous justice. I'm really interested to read more.

Catwoman #1 by Joelle Jones, published by DC Comics.
So, this is really a recommendation to read both Batman #50 (which, I might be one of the only people in America who doesn't know the spoilers yet) and see the fallout from the Bruce-Selina wedding, and then see how that goes over into Selina's own new book. I had a chance to meet Joelle Jones recently and she was terrific, and I had a chance to buy a page from Lady Killer, her fantastic creator-owned book that I recommend you go read right now.  If she brngs the same level of wicked energy to Catwoman as she has brought to Lady Killer, it should be a fantastic read.

Captain America #1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Yu, published by Marvel Comics.
Oh, I am excited for this one. I had mixed feelings about Coates' initial run on Black Panther, but I've been super excited about his current run. Coates' work was always bursting with ideas, but he's getting better at the pacing of comic books. And Yu is one of my very favorite artists, I think he does amazing work. So, I'm excited to see what they do together, and I loved the Free Comic Book Day preview. Captain America is great when it's a book about big ideas, and big ideas are something Coates excels at.

Mike’s Picks:

Submerged 1 by Vita Ayala, Lisa Sterle, Jen Bartel, Stelladia, and Rachel Deering, published by Vault Comics
Vault Comics has a pair of issues arriving on Wednesday featuring two rising star LGBTQ writers (the other being Vagrant Queen 2). While Vault’s support of a wide array of diverse creators is reason enough to support their projects on face, the upstart publisher’s releases have become must buys for many fans because they are consistently on point and original (probably because they’ve tapped unique voices). I’ve said before that Vault comics are usually the best looking comics on the stands, and Sterle’s pen and ink previews certainly keep with this trend. And, let’s be honest, it’s a retelling of the story of Orpheus in the New York City subway. 

Project Superpowers 0 by Rob Williams, Sergio Davila, and Francesco Mattina, published by Dynamite Entertainment
I follow a general rule that most books, especially those of original content, offered for less than a dollar are worth picking up. Dynamite has a good history of handling the pulp and public domain Golden Age heroes, and they manage that by maintaining a reasonably retro tone and narrative style for these books. The original Project Superpowers was certainly a little ham-fisted, and it probably included twice as many heroes as it should have, but it was still well-executed overall. I’m excited for another run with these characters.

The Kurdles Adventure Magazine 1 by Robert Goodin, published by Fantagraphics
Yes! More all-ages serials please! While I’m sure this series won’t be monthly, and while the $10 price tag connotes more of a graphic novel feel than a traditional floppy, I still like the overall conceit of this series. The solicit contends that The Kurdles is the best kids comic mag since the demise of Nickelodeon Magazine. I think I was more of a Disney Adventures kids, and I also think this particular claim refers to the recently reincarnated and even more recently re-canceled Papercutz version. Nonetheless, I’m excited.

New Lietenants of Metal 1 by Joe Casey, Ulises Farinas, Melody Often, Sonia Harris, and Rus Wooten, published by Image Comics
What I like most about Joe Casey is that he doesn’t pin himself in a particular genre or style corner. Casey lets his personality flow into this book, as it’s chock full of direct 80s metal references. If you have even an ironic affinity for hard rock and its purer derivations, the issue will be a treat. But what sells this book is the line art of Farinas and the colors of Often. The duo combine to create a style that’s a perfect amalgamation of Keith Giffen, River City Ransom*, and Bob’s Burgers. This issue feels like a cartoon, and I mean that entirely complimentary. It feels like the kind of series Adventure Time or Regular Show fans would read as they grow up. 

Rob's Picks:

Elvira Mistress of the Dark #1 by David Avallone, Dave Acosta, Andrew Covalt, and Taylor Esposito, published by Dynamite
Everyone's favorite B-movie hostess with the most-est may have retired in real life, but now she's moved into the comics and right into a mysterious coffin that lands her into some of the greatest horror writers of all time in this new series that's got quite a few winks and nods and innuendo aplenty. Anyone who knows me know that cheesy horror is right up my alley and while sometimes that tongue in cheek style doesn't work when moved to comics, Avallone handles it brilliantly. Elvira quips constantly, confusing everyone around her, and the story beats works extremely well. Acosta and Covalt balance the comedic work with keeping the action clear, and they do a great job of drawing the characters in a way that highlights the jokes without stepping on them. I had no idea what to expect from this one, and what I got was some great laughs and a little innuendo to boot. An unlikely hit for that shouldn't go under your radar.

Brother Nash #2 by Bridgit Connell, published by Titan Comics
Nash has immense power, but the people out to hurt his friends are no slouch, either. Will his abilities be enough to stop those going after him? I'm certainly excited to find out. This webcomic moved to print is spectacular, and was hand-sold to me by Katie at Books with Pictures. It's supernatural, lighthearted, and amazingly drawn and I can't wait to see what happens in this issue. 

Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 by Donnie Cates, Dylan Burnett, Antonio Fabela, and Clayton Cowles, published by Marvel Comics
I have no idea how or why, but the best thing to happen since Frankencastle is happening. The Punisher is dead and cosmic, and really, who the hell cares beyond that, right? Apparently, Frank has a plan to make things better, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It's weird not knowing how this happened, but I'm game to take a peek and see what I think. This is my week for oddball picks, apparently.

Batman 50 by Tom King and others, published by DC Comics
I was not planning on list this one, but it's here because I want to point something out. You may be aware that the New York Times decided to post an extensive reveal of the issue's contents--on Sunday. You may also be aware that this thing was marketed to the hilt, with tons of covers and a lot of shops doing midnight openings. And now you may either be thinking, "I'm no longer interested," having heard the spoiler or "I don't care" because this was admittedly over-hyped. Well, your local shop likely went big on this thing. I didn't pre-order, and I don't know that I'll buy one, but I do plan to give it a chance and let the story shine on its own merits as I take a peek at the shop. I'm making this my last pick for the week to encourage you to do the same, even if you know what happens. Especially if you asked your shop to hold a copy. Who knows, maybe Tom King and his collaborators have a strong story to tell. Or maybe it's awful. But either way, let's all decide for ourselves and not let the paper of record do it for us, ok?

*Is this an obscure reference? Did everyone spend hours on consecutive Friday nights playing a perpetually re-rented copy from West Coast Video with their friends John and Kenny? Would Ranma ½ have been a better reference point?