Cold Weather, Hot Comics! Catch It at the Comic Shop January 11th, 2023

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...

James' Picks:

Black Cloak #1 by Kelly Thompson, Meredith McClaren, and Becca Carey, published by Image Comics
Black Cloak was a really fun, strong debut. It's a police procedural set in a world that has both fantasy and sci-fi elements. This is a world where there's one human city left, but there are also elves and mermaids (very scary, don't mess with them). There's a member of the royal family that's been murdered, and one of their own exiled members is now a police investigator (or "Black Cloak"). The art for this series is a lot of fun - the characters are exaggerated and "cartoonish" in an appealing way, but the action flows really well and some of the art is almost diagrammatic in its precision showing the world. The dialogue from Kelly Thompson is great and very naturalistic - no surprise, she's a fantastic writer of very realistic interactions, even those involving elves and mermaids. This is a strong debut.   

Dega HC by Dan McDaid, published by Oni Press
Dega is a really engaging sci-fi story from McDaid, which has been previously released in other forms (previously self-published) but is now being released by Oni in what sounds like a format which will contain additional materials not contained in the prior versions. I'm a big fan of McDaid's artwork (in books like Vandroid and Doctor Fang) and I think he does great work in this novella, showing the real danger and fear of a person marooned on a remote planet. McDaid has a rough and muscular style which has elements that both remind me of Kirby but also Frank Quitely, but is very much his own distinctive look. Dega is a fun read worth picking up. 

Know Your Station #2 y Sarah Gailey, Liana Kangas, and Rebecca Nalty, published by Boom! Studios
The first issue of Know Your Station was a very strong debut that clearly established the world and stakes of the story. It's the future, and Earth is terrible, so the ultra-wealthy are fleeing Earth to go live on a space station. Our hero works on the station, and is now dealing with a series of grisly murders on the station. Things start stressful and only get more stressful! This is a smart, very socially conscious series with humor and wit. I really enjoyed the art from Liana Kangas and colorist Rebecca Nalty. Kangas has an accessible and appealing style. Fans of smart social satire and sci-fi should definitely pick this one up. Note that it does occasionally get a little grisly, but I bet you can handle it. 

Danger Street #2 by Tom King, Jorge Fornes, and Dave Stewart, published by DC Comics/Black Label
Danger Street had a really fun, weird debut issue. It's following a number of different oddball characters in the DC universe. There's a group of kids that are up to mischief and then things go terribly wrong. There's the lady cop who's following them.  There are c and D-list heroes that decide that the way to level up is to bag a big-time villain. There's a vigilante who's also maybe getting a new job as a broadcaster/TV host. It's a motley crew of characters, but it somehow all adds up to a terrific series. I'm along for the ride on whatever story Tom King wants to tell. And with the incredible Jorge Fornes on art and Dave Stewart on colors, the book couldn't look any better. This book is a fun, smart, weird ride that you don't want to miss. 

Human Target #10 by Tom King and Greg Smallwood, published by DC Comics/Black Label
Human Target is a must-read and one of my favorite comics of the past few years. I knew very little about the character of the Human Target, and that wasn't a problem for me, and it won't be a problem for you either. People hire him to impersonate them if they think someone is trying to kill them. And then he catches them, in some cases by "dying". That's it. But now the Human Target actually is dying, and he has 12 days to figure out who is responsible. That's the premise, and it's a terrific one. But also, this is among the most gorgeous comics you'll read. Seriously, Greg Smallwood has outdone himself. He conjures a world that is ostensibly set in the modern day but evokes the stylish 1960's. It's bright, lively work, with incredible style and panache and skill as a storyteller. I was such a huge fan of his work in the Moon Knight series he did with Jeff Lemire and Jordie Bellaire (read me going on and on about it here). He has a clean line, and immaculate character work, and his panel payout is incredibly interesting and innovative. You should also read his work in this Marvel series of stories. That Marvel series feels like it might have been something of the inspiration for the new Human Target series. You should pick up the hardcover collection of the first 6 issues and then catch up with issues 7, 8 and 9. You're going to love it.