Catch It at the Comic Shop September 18th, 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...

Sean's Picks:

Once and Future #2 by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora, published by Boom! Studios
Award for best supporting cast member in a comic book goes to...“Gram” in Once and Future! Well, to be fair, she’s way WAY more than a mere support in this story that is an instant grab that is hard to put down. The first issue of this comic brought to us by Kieron Gillen, of Die and Wicked + Divine fame, along with Dan Mora was everything to be expected; the dialogue was sharp, the visuals were anything but ordinary, and the pacing was on track with any of its creators’ preceding work. We were immediately introduced to a grandmother and her ginger-grandson as they went parading the darkness looking for a very specific supernatural threat: the resurrected force of King Arthur. “Gram”, who we now know is no stranger to hunting demons in the darkness, knows no reason for hesitation, for it is her grandson who stumbles on more than one occasion bringing folly to this otherwise deep dive in the British monarch and the supernatural. Upon reading this I was immediately hooked as an instant response after just a few page turns. Don’t be the only one *not* reading this. We have a well-paced and fun story being told here. Read with me.

Second Coming #3 by Mark Russell and Richard Pace and Leonard Kirk, published by Ahoy Comics
OMG, I adore this comic. There is nothing about this book that I dislike. It’s brilliance shines through no matter the spin you attempt to take. Even the haters will admit to you, with nearly no hesitation, that this is the *best* piece of blasphemy they’ve seen. Really. No kidding. Google it. The only disappointment for me has been that I have recently found vague confirmation that this will end at issue six. Huge bummer, but I guess all good things must come to an end… just ask the evangelicals. All kidding aside (let’s leave that for Russell as he keeps feeding Jesus Christ one-liners), Sun Man has now seen Heaven and Jesus is still hellbent on his own interpretation of what it means to follow Him. A story couldn’t be any more timely unless, of course, it was somehow biographical. Time will tell. Until then. Read.. laugh.. THEN ask for forgiveness. Well.. cuz Grace, right?

Steeple #1 by John Allison, published by Dark Horse Comics
Giant Days has become one my all time favorite comics. Strange to observe about myself since my favorites typically do not include stories of everyday happenstances. I say this not to say that Steeple will be exactly the same knowing that it is also from John Allison. What I am saying is that the dialogue and stories that I’ve come to love in Giant Days I would be remiss to not expect the same from this new title also. Put aside the college days and the interpersonal and relational missteps, and make room for a new story told by way of two wildly different women about the supernatural amidst a mini-rapture and a war between good and evil. This is solicited as a mini, though I’d hope for something more. Sure, Giant Days is ending, but let’s get this one hyped and keep John busy with another ongoing.

Black Hammer Age of Doom #12, By Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston, published by Dark Horse Comics
Oh man. Black Hammer has been an automatic read of mine ever since it was conceived. I have every floppy of every issue (including the spin-off’s) and even all the variants of the main book. Yea yea yea I’m a sucker for Lemire’s creator owned stuff. It’s rather pathetic maybe, but we all have our reasons to (how do the kids say...?) Stan. This issue of Black Hammer: Age of Doom is advertised as the final chapter of the main story, and with several more spin-offs scheduled for release it’s hard to say that we’ve seen the last of our new favorite Golden Age superheroes. This comes with a definitive beginning, middle, and now an end as it is all set in place with a final issue. It’s another bittersweet goodbye in comics, and I am convinced that this one will be as good as they get.

Farmhand Vol. 2 by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics
Rob Guillory doesn’t get enough credit for what he does. His art in Chew was some of the best on the stands when it was released monthly. Farmhand is not only equally as visually stimulating, but it also has dialogue and a story to match. This is a complete-package Guillory creation; the story, the characters, the visual puns all within the vivid detail of his PG-13 Saturday morning cartoon artistic approach. I really enjoy this book. It’s a fun read and the story has gotten darker with this second volume. Secrets have been revealed and we begin seeing more of the intent behind Grandpa Jenkins and his organic mission to grow body parts to heal the sick. This dark and campy joyride is fun as hell, and I dare you to read it and tell me otherwise.

Neil's Picks:
Once & Future #2 by Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain, published by Boom Studios
Issue one may not have been the best opening issue for me. It felt incredibly quirky in its delivery, which I wasn’t expecting at all. But Gillen grabs you with captivating characters and teases you with just the right amount of narrative to keep you wanting more. What looks to be a fun “modern” take on the King Arthur legend, filled with magic, monsters and battle-hardened Grandma’s... what isn’t there to like.

Spider-Man #1 by J.J. Abrams, Henry Abrams, Sara Pichelli and Olivier Coipel, published by Marvel Comics
How many of us were surprised to hear the announcement that J.J. Abrams and his son were to write a Spider-Man comic together? I know I was. Hence why I’m really intrigued to see what Abrams Sr. and Jr. can bring to the table. J.J. has already proven in film and television that he can write compelling and exciting scripts, see Super 8, Alias and something called Star Wars. But comics are a whole different medium and something I don’t think he’s dabbled in before. Though having Sara Pichelli on art really up’s the creative team. Her work on Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man run was stunning too say the least. Zdarksy’s run is going to be one tough run to follow.

James' Picks:
Head Lopper Vol. 3 TP by Andrew MacLean, published by Image Comics
I've been a fan of Andrew MacLean and Head Lopper for a very long time (and he's a local Boston guy, so that's cool too), so I'm thrilled that a broader audience is experiencing his excellent work. Head Lopper is a really fun series of adventure stories about a warrior who, you know, lops heads off of bodies, and the witch head he keeps carrying around with him, and their various adventures and misadventures. He's got a fantastic, dynamic style that is in the same general school as Mike Mignola (but to be clear, MacLean's style is very much his own and is instantly distinctive and recognizable) and is just a great storyteller overall.  This is a very fun read.

GI Joe #1 by Paul Allor and Chris Evenhuis, published by IDW Entertainment
I probably haven't read a GI Joe comic since I was a kid. As many kids growing up in the 80's were, I ewas a huge fan of the toys, the TV show and the comics. But in recent years, the only GI Joe comics I've read are Transformers vs. GI Joe (by Tom Scioli and John Barber) and GI Joe: Sierra Muerte (by Michel Fiffe); both of those are more quirky, auteur projects, rather than a proper GI Joe comic. But this new comic intrigued me. I was instantly drawn in by Chris Evenhuis' art style - it's incredibly clean, and feels almost like an animation style. I found it really appealing. I also found the story (by Paul Allor) pitch very appealing - Cobra has taken over, they've won. GI Joe has now become a clandestine, underground organization of freedom fighters.  I think it's a terrific idea, and having read the first issue I can tell you that this is a strong debut issue. The creative team pulls no punches; this is a lot different from the 80's cartoon where nobody actually ever seemed to get hit when the other side was shooting at them. Anyway, if you've ever been a GI Joe fan, I recommend giving this a read.

House of X #5 by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia, published by Marvel Comics
I've SO been enjoying reading the Powers of X and House of X books. Not just because I am completely in the tank for Jonathan Hickman (I am), and not just because Pepe Larraz, RB Silva and Marte Gracia are doing amazing work on art (they are). No, what I'm really loving about these books is that they have reinvigorated comics discussion for me, whether on Twitter or other places, this is a book that rewards really careful reads and rereads and every page holds many mysteries. I've been enjoying discussing, debating, and trying to figure these books out with a group of friends and acquaintances, and it's helped rekindle for me what I liked about the social aspect of comics.

Once & Future #2 by Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain, published by Boom! Studios
This is such a fun book so far. Dan Mora's art is wonderful, and Kieron Gillen is a hell of a storyteller and world builder (no kidding, right?).  You've got a grandma adventurer dragging her professor grandson (by gunpoint) on a quest relating to Arthur, Camelot, and the frightening possibilities those myths hold were they to become reality. This book is fantastical, and hints at much bigger, broader mysteries. But with Gillen writing, the book never loses its human touch. And really, Mora is doing amazing work on art. I highly recommend this one.