Catch It at the Comic Shop October 23rd, 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:

Money Shot #1 by Tim Seeley, Sarah Beattie, Rebekah Isaacs and Kurt Michael Russell, published by Vault Comics
Money Shot is the perfect comic for the whole family! If, you know, you want to get into trouble.*  But if you're looking for an engaging, hilarious, sexy, ribald sci-fi comic, I highly recommend Money Shot.  It's a few decades from now. There's a research team that has a gateway they can use to get to other worlds, but scientific research still isn't being properly funded. You know what people DO pay for though? Porn. But there's so much available online that people are losing interest and getting bored by anything and everything. But you know what might not bore them? Human-alien sex. That's the premise behind Money Shot which, for all its outrageous subject matter, is actually a very sweet comic.  The script from Tim Seeley and Sarah Beattie is hilarious. If you follow Beattie on Twitter, you know that's no surprise. Her deadpan raunchy, highly political humor is fantastically sharp. So it's a fun story, and the art from Rebekah Isaacs is very strong as well. She's got an engaging, accessible style that's a little "cartoony" but not overly so. She also smartly depicts the various people as attractive, but looking like real people with varied body types. Anyway, this is a fun. smart, raunchy debut, and I highly recommend it.

* One time a few years ago we accidentally sent our younger daughter to school (she was maybe 9 at the time?) with an issue of Bitch Planet in her backpack. Thankfully no one saw it there otherwise there might have been some tough questions. 

Marauders #1 by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, and Russell Dauterman, published by Marvel Comics
I was a little skeptical about the premise of this book at first.  Mutants sailing the seven seas as pirates, rescuing mutants and also selling mutant super-medicines. But then I saw a preview and I am completely sold. This book looks like a lot of fun, and the art seems completely delightful. Looks like there should be some fun interplay between Kitty (excuse me, Kate) Pryde and Emma Frost. And in general, good adventures and intrigue.

Immortal Hulk #25 by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, German Garcia and Alex Ross, published by Marvel Comics
If you haven't been reading Immortal Hulk, you're missing the very best Marvel Comics has to offer these days. This book is deep and intense and thoughtful. It's also an incredible example of intense body horror in comics. But it's also occasionally very funny. There's a ton of thoughtful Biblical references (not the obvious overdone ones), and as of last issue and now this issue, the comic also seems to involve the eventual death and rebirth of the universe and the role that the Hulk will have to play in that. So, I'd say Immortal Hulk is a pretty ambitious comic. And the art from Joe Bennett (primarily) has been really remarkable - intense and atmospheric and sometimes horrifying. This is the definition of a must-read book.

Sean's Picks:
Marvel Action Spider-Man #10 by Delilah Dawson & Davide Tinto, published by IDW Entertainment
If I am an apologist for anything it'd be for stories featuring Spider-Man. That feeling you get when you read the sound his webbing makes as it exits his wrists and onto evildoers: “Thwip! Thwip!” So many Spidey stories to tell with all the time to tell them. Having two school age children in the house gives me all of the reason to read these even though there isn’t any reasoning required. The consistent standout feature for the beloved Spider-Man has quietly been released twice monthly and geared mainly toward children. It's a fun, and new twist to the classic story with specific purpose to introduce characters to a new, younger audience. This particular Marvel Action title groups Peter Parker, Miles Morales, and Gwen Stacy all somehow occupying the same Earth , at the same school, and the same age. Not your traditional Spidey story, obviously, but it gets the job done when the actual mythos of Spidey is a literal convoluted cluster. It would take a lifetime to catch oneself up to speed with the many lives Peter Parker has led, and how many others he has crossed paths with. What better way to bring in new readers than with new stories featuring the three most beloved faces of the character? Most every young person has adored one of these Spider-People at some point growing up, so it suits as a natural transition. This week's issue is the beginning of a new arc that features what is being solicited as the Marvel Action debut of my favorite villain in the half century old epic urban saga. If you do decide to pick up this book, the time it may take you to realize you stopped caring that this is a child's comic book is significantly shorter than the time it has taken you to finish reading this short recommend.
Spider-Man Life Story TP by Chip Zdarsky & Mark Bagley, published by Marvel Comics
Chip really does know how to write Spidey. He gets him, really.. he really does. It is no easy task to take six decades of a classic superhero mythos and transform it into six monthly issues of successful storytelling. Zdarsky and Bagley did with Life Storywhat has traditionally been segmented for the dead and dying and wrote a book meant filed in the back aisles alongside the biographies. This is a dark story. It touches on the hard choices Peter had to face during the course of his time as the webslinger. When a story lasting as long as Peter Parker’s is condensed down to its core formula there really is no mistaking the blemishes in the tattered hues of the blues and reds for anything other than blacks and blues. I had simple gripes about this series as it was being put out monthly; they were silly things such as missed opportunities with decade specific art styles, and overlooked plot details that were skipped over entirely. Truthfully, when I read this comic collected as it's own story it deserves none of those critiques. This is a perfect telling of the most important fictional character to ever be created - don't @ me. It is sad, it is dark, it is heroic, it is triumphant, and most of all.. it is the story of Spider-Man with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Bad Reception #3 by Juan Doe, published by Aftershock Comics
The first issue of Bad Reception was 28 pages of unexpected brilliance. It took on a format of comic book storytelling and reduced it down to almost nothing while simultaneously cranking the suspense level up to heights only seen achieved by the few. The second issue, out last month, reasserted itself as a more traditional thriller with all the expected characters and various plot points presented. A specific reveal illustrated on the final page of that same issue caused my skin to crawl as my fingers went numb as I threw the book down and out of my hand. I remember audibly saying to myself in an empty room: “oh god!” and to cause immediate and out-loud involuntary responses to a written story is something in itself. There is one individual behind this comic, and his name is Juan Doe. The artist who brought us the hauntingly stunning illustrations within Dark Ark is now flexing his all-inclusive creator-owned content with Bad Reception. Do not ignore any hype you might see on this one, because all of it is justified with every reason to believe more should follow. Full disclosure… I’m forcing this one into my already crowded list of subscriptions. When a book is this good one would be foolish to look away. Don’t walk, run.

You Are Obsolete #2 by Matthew Klickstein & Evgeny Bornyakov, published by Aftershock Comics
I have an eerie yet strikingly emotional attachment to this story. I have been counting down to the day that I turn forty for nearly three and a half years now. Ever since I was unable to avoid the conversational labeling of being in my mid-thirties I have pulled up those boot straps and embraced the inevitable: closing in on 40. In May of next year I will finally reach that dreaded day, and according to this new series from Aftershock, that is the day in which I will die. In this story, every adult reaching forty lives this life no longer, and every child… is somehow a part of a mysterious omnipotence that everyone refers to as The Children. These tech obsessed children somehow control everything and we have just begun introductions in a story still young enough to not have its thumb on exactly what it is telling us. But no bother, Lyla Wilton is our feet and our eyes in the story all too similar to some other children. Most specifically those whom would congregate in the fields of corn. Unlike this flimsy comparison, the kids in You Are Obsolete haven’t religion as a means to an end, what they assume is a 21st century version of digital religion full of glowing blue screens and CCTV. I know nothing about the creative background for Matthew Klickstein, but with the artistic talent of Evgeny Bornyakov of Descendent fame, I have no reason to assume that this story will miss a hook-laden horror punch to the gut meant for nothing less than what it seems.
Second Coming 4 by Mark Russell, Richard Pace & Leonard Kirk, published by Ahoy Comics
I am unsure if I have recommended this series for every issue, and if I have not then I apologize. I’m most likely going to miss out on heaven because of this book, the blasphemy is just too rich to avoid. The religious satire is so.. current, and the social commentary is written as if no one is safe as Mark Russell narrates us through Pace and Kirk’s perfectly paired illustrations in Second Coming. By no means am I suggesting that Russell et al is a messiah of sorts, but they very well should be in respect to the oft avoided comedic angle in the pretense of religion. The new issue out this week will have Jesus Christ in prison as Sun Man wonders without a clue of his location. The search begins for the missing Christ.. again. It is a ridiculous premise, but somehow seems current as also relevant considering the foundation of story being told. Simply put, Jesus has come back to Earth (hence the title.. so not a spoiler, basically) with no appreciation from his father (God) accompanied by an absent need to care from any human noticing. I find this comic painfully ironic considering that 81% of Christians in America voted for the most vile living human currently in existence (too much?) as president with no end in sight for partisan apologetic tendencies. My favorite thing to do currently is to read this Second Coming on a Sunday morning, just because it feels as if there is no other way. I promise, read this and you won’t be able to disagree with me. With that, I dare you. Go pick up a copy and try.

Mike's Picks:

Invisible Kingdom: Walking the Path by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward, published by Dark Horse/Berger Books
Good gravy, can G. Willow Wilson craft a sci-fi story. For those of you who are fans of literary science fiction but who have yet to delve into Wilson and Ward’s wonderfully metaphorical series, take the plunge with this week’s trade release. Ward’s work has made for one of the more beautiful books on the stands, and Wilson, who is definitely firing on all cylinders – creates a story that has mixtures of Margaret Atwood, Philip K. Dick, and James S. Corey.

Batman: Curse of the White Knight 4 by Sean Gordon Murphy and Matt Hollingsworth, published by DC Black Label
I haven’t had the real opportunity to write about the second volume of Sean Murphy’s Elseworlds-cum-Black Label book because I had fallen behind on the series. Early reviews of this series seemed to complain that the initial issue felt a little flat compared to the previous series, a complaint I felt was fairly unwarranted seeing as the flawed analysis seemed to compare a first issue to an entire run. Nonetheless, issue was was somewhat heavy on the exposition just like – wait for it – issue one of the first volume. Seems to be Murphy’s style, and I’m fine with that because this series has been great, even if it doesn’t match the levels of creativity in the first series. It’s still some of the best Batman we’re getting.

Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration by Bryan Caplan and Zack Weindersmith, published by First Second
Border politics and immigration is likely the source of most people’s Thanksgiving dinner nightmare scenarios, and part of the reason why is that most of us, regardless of our stance, tend to respond with a gut reaction that has been cultivated by a specific moral worldview. An ethical approach – in this case, a fairly Singer-esque utilitarian model – and a scientific approach – think along the lines of Freakanomics – can help to set the stage for more educated conversations around the topic of immigration. Graphic nonfiction is a wonderful teaching tool, and Open Borders looks to open minds with an approach outside the more popular narrative route.