Catch Up at the Comic Shop June 10th, 2020

When new books went on hiatus, the Panel Patter team dug into our bookshelves and longboxes for great comics that you might have missed that we hoped were still available in your favorite local bookstore or comic shop. Well, new comics are back (yay!) but there's still a ton of great older books to finish, so we'll be keeping Catch Up as a recurring feature for the foreseeable future. Enjoy and maybe find your next favorite book!

James' Picks:

Pax Romana by Jonathan Hickman, published by Image Comics
Pax Romana is, in my view, the purest distillation of what Jonathan Hickman's work as a creator is all about. It's hugely ambitious, it's a fascinating examination of complex systems, it's full of great infographics, it plays with all sorts of interesting philosophical ideas, and it's a hell of a lot of fun. The premise is that in the mid 21st Century, the Catholic Church funds research that leads to time travel, and sends a team back to Roman times in order to strengthen the Church and the Empire. Things don't exactly go as planned, which makes for a great story. This is jam-packed with maps, timelines, detailed discussions, and is just a really fun, smart, dense read.

Black Panther: The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Daniel Acuña, Jen Bartel, Kev Walker and more, published by Marvel Comics
I had mixed feelings about Ta-Nehisi Coates' first run writing Black Panther. I read the first year of the comic. I thought that he had a ton of really interesting ideas (not surprisingly, the guy's a genius and versed in a zillion subjects), I thought the story felt a little bogged down. I think a lot of writers from other formats, when they first come to comics, want to over-write their comics. However, Coates has improved significantly. And in the current run of Black Panther, Coates and his artistic partners are doing amazing work.  This whole extended story is called The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda, and the story is as fun as that sounds. Somehow, our T'Challa wakes up and he has no memory, and is a slave in the empire...of Wakanda?  Yes, that's right. He sent an expedition into space and somehow they ended up several thousand years in the past. And when they got to the past they not only survived, they conquered, building an empire that spans five galaxies. This is a super entertaining story, and it's got amazing art from Daniel Acuña, Jen Bartel, Kev Walker and others, and Coates is really trusting his artists to do their thing. It's a fun, smart, very entertaining book.