Catch It at the Comic Shop, April 24th 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...

James' Picks:

Ascender #1 by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen, published by Image Comics
I loved Descender, and am excited for more of this series. Descender was a robots vs. humans story, and general spoiler - the robots won. So, things aren't great for the humans, and in Ascender, apparently magic returns to the universe. Jeff Lemire is a great writer, and Dustin Nguyen has done stunning artwork. I really don't think it makes sense to read Ascender until you've read Descender. So...what are you waiting for? Go read Descender!

The Warning Vol. 1 TP by Edward LaRoche, published by Image Comics
I like The Warning but I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about it. I certainly think it's an interesting read. It's a very jargon-heavy, boots-on-the-ground military-type story. It's something of a slow burn of a series, but it's got an interesting "you are there" approach to the nature of the military and combat interactions. And also some very cool art.

Action Comics #1010 by Brian Michael Bendis and Steve Epting, published by DC Comics
Of the two ongoing Superman comics, I'm currently preferring Action Comics. It's got much more of a grounded, espionage story, as someone is taking out all of the various clandestine organizations in the DCU, one by one. It's got great partnership between Lois and Clark, and terrific artwork from Steve Epting(!).  so, it's a very fun read and I highly recommend it.

Thanos #1 by Tini Howard and Ariel Olivetti, published by Marvel Comics
Thanos is having a big week. He's got a movie out this week (you might have heard about it), and what looks like an excellent new comic that will explore the early relationship between The Mad Titan and a young Gamora. I'm very excited for this book - Tini Howard has been doing some excellent work over at IDW/Black Crown, and I'm excited to see her fun, edgy storytelling applied to the Marvel Universe. With the talented Ariel Olivetti on art, this should be a fun read.

Rob's Picks:

Wizard Beach #5 by Shaun Simon, Conor Nolan, George Schall, Chad Lewis, Meg Casey, and Mike Fiorentino, published by Boom! Studios
Our hero learns that sometimes the journey for knowledge changes you, as he tries to save both his old home and his Uncle in the conclusion to one of the cutest books I've read all year. The weird, quirky monsters and wizards drawn by Conor Nolan remind me fondly of all the mini-comics I've read for over a decade, and the resolution to the various plots wrap up nicely, with a happy ending that I wasn't sure we were going to get. This is a beautiful, fun, all ages book.

Punk Mambo #1 by Cullen Bunn, Adam Gorham, Jose Villarrubia, and Dave Sharpe, published by Valiant
Valiant's magical side is my favorite part of the line right now. I've been waiting for Cullen to step in since this was announced awhile back, as he has a good ear for horror and Punk Mambo is such a fun character, sharing some traits with a certain trenchcoated blond from DC Comics but being her own woman. Add in a famous ghostly guest star, a plot that takes her into the heart of Voodoo myth and lore, and great linework from Adam Gorham, and you have a series that I highly recommend.

Ghost Tree #1 by Bobby Curnow, Simon Gane, Ian Herring, Becka Kinzie, Chris Mowry, and Takuma Okada, published by IDW
It's always a good time when we have a new Simon Gane book to read. His distinctive linework is a little more muted here, but the layouts are phenomenal, and when you get to the ghostly payoff pages (hey, it's not a spoiler when it's in the title of the book!), you'll linger to look over all the designs and details. Curnow is dealing in ancient legends here, from a different culture than Bunn in Punk Mambo, so it's a quieter take--so far. The art is awesome and I love ghost stories, so I'm in, and you should be, too.

Exorsisters Vol 1 by Ian Boothby, Gisele Legace, Pete Pantazis, and Taylor Esposito, published by Image Comics
Kate and Cate Harrow will help you out of a demonic jam, but you might not like the results. As they wind their way through some comedic cases, a more serious plot lurks, but doesn't alter how many quips we get or fun panels from Gisele Legace. This one feels inspired by manga without using much of the usual OEL tropes, which made it stand out. That and the laugh-out-loud lines from Boothby. I'm hoping for more, and after reading this collection, you will, too.

Mike's Picks:

Fearscape 5 by Daniel O'Sullivan and Andrea Mutti, published by Vault Comics
Vault has a few good books coming out this week, and I certainly recommend picking up as many as your budget and time allow. But if you can only buy one book this week, Vault or otherwise, it needs to be Fearscape. I've gushed over this series before, so I won't go into a ton of detail about how I think it's one of the finer marriages of literature and sequential art we've seen, or how the concept itself works both as a functional linear narrative and a metaphor for the creative process. I won't praise Mutti and O'Sullivan for doing more in individual panels than most teams can complete on a page, and I certainly won't tell you that I'm stunned at the level of tension they've managed to build in four issues. No. I won't gush. That would cheapen all of this, wouldn't it?

Ascender 1 by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen published by Image Comics
In the increasingly dense field of high concept science fiction comics, it's hard to find new ideas. Lemire and Nguyen's Descender was not only a highly original concept, it was also a masterclass in execution. What these two prolific creators managed to create and wrap up in forty some odd issues is nothing short of astounding, and that's exactly what I expect from Ascender.

Avant-Guards #4 by Carly Usdin and Noah Hayes, published by BOOM! Box
I didn't sleep on Avant-Guards inasmuch as I got sidetracked. But when I saw this issue on the docket for Wednesday, I went back and caught up. It's a great series that weaves slice of life with satire, much akin to its stablemate, Giant Days. If you've been sleeping on Avant-Guards or just got sidetracked like me, take this chance to jump back in, because the series is a real treat.

Full Bleed Comics & Culture Quarterly HC Vol 03, published by IDW Publishing
I am always of the opinion that all comic fans need exposure to the types of books they don't often gravitate towards, and anthologies are often the best way to increase that exposure. The Full Bleed series has been wonderful because it flexes genres and employs a diversity of creators that appeals to fans of different persuasions, be it mainstream superhero or experimental indie fare.

Goddess Mode by Zoe Quinn, Robbi Rodriguez, and Rico Renzi, published by DC Vertigo
I'm not sure if there is a better looking book on the stands than Goddess Mode. If you've been pulled in by the visuals of War of the Realms or Wasted Space, Goddess Mode will be right up your alley. It's intense, high concept cyberpunk with video game action and a color palette that makes you wonder what Rico Renzi sees when his eyes close. But if Rodriguez and Renzi's eye-catching art is enough to pique your interest, Quinn's twisty-turny plot fully matches that sizzle.

Sean's Picks:

Fearscape #5 y Ryan O’Sullivan and Andrea Mutti, published by Vault Comics
Oh man. I’ve been waiting for this one for awhile. It’s the finale of finales we’ve all been on pins and needles waiting for.. and that isn’t a cheap reference to a certain movie coming out later this week.  Fearscape has been a thrill ride of a comic taking us places you wouldn’t suspect as the reader takes side with the one person you love to hate. This series ending issue of Fearscape, I assume, will be cause of many discussions this weekend.. that is, of course, among those of us who haven’t gotten our Endgame tickets yet. So for the sake of conversation starters I highly recommend this comic to keep that conversation interesting.

Dark Red 2 by Tim Seeley and Corin Howell, published by Aftershock Comics
Vampires. Backwoods rural America. Hmm.. ok. I’ll bite. (Dad jokes are fun). So this comic just got off to a start last month and it’s riding the coattails of the vampire genre a tad late, but let me tell you something.. there’s nothing about this comic that resembles anyone’s coattail. The artwork compliments the story perfectly as it has carefully grounded itself in messy middle America. I’m so ready for this ride. It’s timely, even if the genre may seem a little overdue.

Queen of Bad Dreams #1 by Danny Lore and Jordi Perez, published by Vault Comics
I have kids so I have a modest amount of experience downplaying the relevance of dreams.. or, more specifically, nightmares. This is a story with a premise that gives me the creeps more than one would presumably expect. Figments of a dream running loose in our world only until a person of our kind tracks them down and makes a call:  reinsert it back to its origin, or grant them asylum in our world. This is a genius concept and one I’m not at all surprised at it being on the forefront of the next wave of Vault.

Metalshark Bro #1 by Bob Frantz and Kevin Cuffe and Walt Ostlie, published by Scout Comics
Apparently Scout comics has an imprint quite similar to the likes of TKO.. with one major difference. Where TKO releases a series in its entity all at once, Scout releases a first issue, or a “pilot”, and following it soon thereafter is the entire rest of the series. This approach of Scout seems a bit more market-safe and could bring us some incredibly daring comic book stories. Once such daring example is this one, Metalshark Bro. I cannot say that I am very familiar with the creative team here, and I am only mildly familiar with Scout.. but this comic fits up the alley to those who are coming down off the Murder Falcon high who may be in need of more metal on their pull list once MF comes to an end.

Ascender 1 by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen, published by Image Comics

This comic needs no explanation. This creative team needs little introduction. This story is everything I love about comics. The pictures are beautiful. The story is captivating. The characters are long-lasting. When Descender concluded late last year it was a hard page to turn. That final page of issue 32 was one of the more touching moments to comics. But.. it’s Lemire, so we’ve grown to expect nothing less. It is with my great pleasure to finally recommend the next chapter to this saga as we trade the robots in for wizards and magic. Lemire has not ever done a fantasy driven story and I see no one better suited to illustrate the exploration of narrative in Ascender then Dustin Nguyen. Go buy this book.