Catch It at the Comic Shop April 17th, 2019

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...

We welcome back Sean to Catch It Picking!

Sean's Picks:

Mary Shelley Monster Hunter #1 by Adam Glass, Olivia Cuartero-Briggs, and Hayden Sherman, published by Aftershock Comics
Hayden Sherman's art is among the best in sci-fi comics right now, and I'm curious to see what we can do with the wide-open comic market of historical fiction. Sherman is currently illustrating Wasted Space and has also done some of my favorites over the last few years (Cold War & The Few). I honestly have no idea what to expect here other than a story of the person responsible for bringing us Frankenstein through visual capabilities of a rising indie star within the industry.

Little Bird #2 by Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertram, published by Image Comics
Few comics hit as hard as the first issue of Little Bird did last month when Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertram unleashed a story so epic it will be a spectacle to see this story unfold to an ending in only five issues. This is a story of survival. A story of unintended loyalty. One of loss and of hope. I read the first issue two times in a row once it came out (a rarity to say the least) and again this last weekend leading up to the second issue. This is seriously a gem of a book, and if you read the liner notes like I do you will have noticed that this will not be collected in trade format once all said and done. Is that good? Bad? Time will tell, but that this is not a story to sleep on, especially if you like physical copies of your comics. I have no idea where this series will end up but if the issues keep packing a punch as hard as the first, then sign me up.

High Level #3 by Rob Sheridan, Romulo Fajardo, and Barnaby Bagenda, published by DC/Vertigo
The first two issues of this sci-fi story spent most of their time world building and laying a foundation for what’s to come. It’s a literal take on if Fifth Element were a compounded depiction of every Nine Inch Nails song played over the scenes of Bruce Willis taxiing Milla Jovovich’s character around, except there isn’t a Bruce Willis and Jovovich is a character reincarnated as one named This bears no relation to the film Fifth Element, but the inspiration of the movie's imagery is striking. It's a pure thrill ride of a comic. I’m excited to see where this story continues to go as I can imagine it only getting stranger and increasingly awesome. This will be in many year end lists and at the forefront of the revival of the cyberpunk movement we are seeing here in 2019. And that, friends, is a hell of a good thing.

The Blessed Machine #2 by Jesse Hamm and Mark Rodgers, published by Cave Pictures
Last month I was able to catch the first issue of The Blessed Machine and it was a clever concept with gorgeous art. The story, already determined as being a 5-part miniseries, has my interest peaked and I am along for the ride so far.

Planet of the Nerds #1 by Paul Constant, Randy Elliott, and Alan Robinson, published by Ahoy Comics
Jocks from the 1980s get frozen and are somehow revived in our current year 2019. To their surprise, the world is a superhero loving place and one in which is ruled by nerds. This basic premise sounds like loads of fun and I am eager to see where exactly this comic takes us. If it is anything like other Ahoy titles, then I am suspect that my disappointment will be minimal to none.

James' Picks:

East of West #42 by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta, Frank Martin and Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics
East of West is one of my favorite stories of all-time, and it is in the home stretch now. Jonathan Hickman and Co. have been moving all of these pieces around for a long time and so many of the choices they've made are coming to fruition now. This is a complex, layered story and I wouldn't recommend you start anywhere other than the beginning. Nick Dragotta and Frank Martin (on colors) combine to make absolutely stunning art from the get go, that only gets better over time. Dragotta is a truly stunning illustrator and visual storyteller. Hickman is at his very best here, weaving plans upon plans. This comic is a masterpiece.

SHIELD: The Human Machine by Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver, published by Marvel Comics
SPEAKING of Jonathan Hickman and complex stories, you should check out his SHIELD story with him and terrific artist Dustin Weaver. You might be thinking "hey, I vaguely remember that" and you would be right to do so, since they originally started telling this story back in 2009 or 2010, and only recently wrapped up the final volume. But the SHIELD story is one that I really love and highly recommend, about a secret organization protecting the world without its knowledge. I love "secret history" stuff and Hickman is at his best here, spinning a big, weird, complex story with wonderful, gorgeous art from Weaver. There are tons of historical figures here occupying various roles, and interacting with the building blocks of the Marvel universe. It's a great read.

Black Badge #9 by Matt Kindt, Tyler Jenkins and Hilary Jenkins, published by Boom! Studios
Speaking of secret societies, few people tell those sorts of stories better than Matt Kindt, and his and artist Tyler Jenkins' series Black Badge is a terific, engaging story. This is a story of a secret group of boy scouts who take on secretive reconnaissance missions. It's an out-there premise, but Kindt and Jenkins really sell it. Jenkins' melancholy watercolors are a perfect fit for the sometimes dark story. The last issue was heartbreaking, and I really want to read more.

Rob's Picks:

Moth & Whisper Volume 1 by Ted Anderson, Jen Hickman, and Marshall Dillon, published by Aftershock Comics
In a world where your identity and life are constantly exposed, two rival thieves, the Moth and the Whisper, competed to deal in secrets. But they had a secret of their own, a child who continues on after their disappearance, working to survive and find their parents, possibly getting some revenge in the process. Survival is all about avoiding mistakes and when they slip up, everything their parents built for them might crash down in this opening chapter of what I hope is a longer series. Anderson and Hickman build an awesome dystopia that could be our own if well-meaning, anti-privacy advocates have their way, which adds a chill even as you enjoy the ride. Hickman does a great job with visualizing this world, keeping Niki flowing through identities, and building the menace and threat with new images that show just how dangerous life is for Niki. One of my favorites of 2018, and likely headed to a future favorites list when new issues are out.

Ditko's Monsters: Konga vs Gorgo, by Steve Ditko with Joe Gill and others, published by IDW
Once upon a time, Steve Ditko worked on comics based on movie monsters. If I have to say anything else, I can't help you here. This is another collection from IDW of Ditko work, and that's always a good thing. Looking forward to digging into this collection of early stories from one of the all-time great creators.