Catch It at the Comic Shop August 19th, 2020

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:

Yasmeen #2 by Saif A. Ahmed, Fabiano Mascolo & Robin Jones, published by Scout Comics
After the first issue of Yasmeen I knew that this wasn’t going to be an easy read. I knew that we were in for a story that was going to hurt as it went along. Here we have a story of a family, told simultaneously in two separate time lines; one from their past, living in Iraq during the ISIS takeover, and the other in the “now” charting their refuge in America. This second issue gives us significant progress in compassion toward the title character. Yasmeen is a broken human. She is a person with a past she left behind but has not forgotten. The horrors of this past are felt so vividly as Saif and Fabiano leave all the gruesome details to the human imagination. I foresee this series to become one of the more sought after pieces of graphic literature to help armor and understand refugees, immigrants, Muslim culture, and the painful reality that assimilation does to people like Yasmeen.

Artemis and the Assassin #4, by Stephanie Phillips, Francesca Fantina, Lauren Affe, Troy Peteri & Phil Hester, published by Aftershock
I adore this book. It’s so much fun and I don’t mind one bit getting lost in the art of the pages. Stephanie’s script and the art of Francesca’s give all the visual momentum needed for time-traveling sword-welding assassins, ninjas, soldiers, and... cowboys to kick some ass. This duo without a cause has been summoned to make the big decisions, and if we’ve learned anything from pop culture then we realize that killing someone while on a time traveling spree could have some nasty side effects. Go get this one, guys! It’s a fun and fast-paced genre crossing romp. A total blast!

Dead Day #2, by Ryan Parrot, Evgeniy Bornyakov, Juancho & Charles Pritchett, published by Aftershock
Dead Day is a story about a new holiday that had only happened a few times prior. Throughout the entire first issue we as readers were led through the details and introduced to characters all while assuming this “Dead Day “ was something similar to Dia de los Muertos. Apparently it has no similarities as pages turn. While the first issue spent most of its time setting stage and giving existence to the family that this story surrounds, and on the final page reveal had one of them riding off into the night with a stranger and a shotgun and a mission to kill. I’ll save the details as to which one so as you can go back and see for yourself. This second issue will bring more insight to the intent of the dead and the “day” and the mission. This is a fun read and I recommend it for those looking for a modest scare in a read that feels like a mystery.

Beth's Picks:

Spider-Woman #3 By Karla Pacheco and Pere Perez, published by Marvel Comics
I’ll admit up front I’m a Jessica Drew fangirl, so I get excited about any title she headlines. I was extremely disappointed when her last run—where Jess began balancing life as a superhero and a mom—ended, but overjoyed that this new series is off to a great start. The story delves into Spider-Woman’s somewhat convoluted backstory in a way that is intriguing to longtime fans, but comprehensible for new readers. And, while I am partial to the classic costume or the more contemporary jacket and goggles look (yes, I’m one of the few who dug that outfit), the strong art team is making the new black covert ops outfit grow on me.

FCBD 2020 Disney Masters Donald Duck Special By John Lustig, Dick Kinney, Evert Geradts, David Gerstein, Mau Heymans, Al Hubbard and William Van Horn, published by Fantagraphics
In this strange year where Free Comic Book Day has become Free Comic Book Summer, Duckburg seems like the perfect vacation destination. (Heck, it’s the closest I’m getting to travel right now.) “It’s Bats, Man” headlines this FCBD reprint collection and shows classic Disney Duck and “Last Kiss” writer John Lustig in fine form. For fans of Fethry Duck, the New Age health nut’s creation debut is also featured here. While the story was first published in 1964, it will probably still feel timely for those tired of hearing relatives drone on about the latest exercise fad or unproven medical cure they read about on Facebook.

Mike's Picks:

The Sky is Blue with a Single Cloud by Kuniko Tsurita, published by Drawn and Quarterly
This was definitely a book I wanted to check out, but I honestly didn’t know very much about it, so I didn’t feel quite comfortable listing it as a pick. However, I’ve read a few excellent reviews that provide more context, and I’ve perused the various previews to give myself a feel for the work. I’m new – incredibly new, like barely even in the door new – to manga, and I have no idea there was an alt-manga movement, a distinctly embarrassing blindspot, but one I admit nonetheless. I guess I had to remind myself that comics is a form, not a genre, and manga would be no different. But I digress. This book looks beautiful, and it seems like one that belongs on your shelf.

The Power of Shazam Book One: In the Beginning by Jerry Ordway, Peter Krause, Mike Manley, et al., published by DC Comics
Finally, the long overdue collection of the 1990s classic, The Power of Shazam, arrives on stands and shelves. Believe it or not, this series has never seen a collection in ANY form. The Power of Shazam was part of a great class of late 90s superhero reconstructions, presaged by Marvels, and shepherded along by books like Astro City or Alan Moore’s Supreme. These books turned the tide against the overly gritty antihero works that dominated the shelves and deconstructionist works that broke apart the superhero, often stripping them of the heroic essence in order to get at a more human take. What a book like The Power of Shazam did (and still does) was unapologetically embrace the superhero ideal in both substance and aesthetics. There are some quirky points that will stick out to contemporary readers, such as the mode of narration and internal dialogue. TPOS was a throwback even in its time., But what stands out more are the times qualities of heroic storytelling and classic Marvel family adventures that feel natural under the guidance of Ordway, Manley, and Krause. From Ordway’s painted covers (which I always thought were better than Alex Ross’s, but I’m just sayin’) to the Silver Age inspired art, The Power of Shazam is a testament to great superhero comics. It was one of the first series I collected in earnest, and it remains one of my favorites to this day. I’m happy I can finally add it to my bookshelf instead of having to dig in an old shortbox

James' Picks:

Transformers '84: Secrets and Lies #2 by Simon Furman and Guido Guidi, published by IDW Entertainment
Transformers were my favorite thing growing up as a kid - even more tha Star Wars. Much more, to be honest. But since I've gotten back into comics years ago, I never really read many Transformers comics (other than Transformers vs. GI Joe, which is its own weird, incredible thing). Truth, I always found their universe dense and kind of impenetrable, even though I heard really good things about the comics.  But as someone who loved the classic 80's comics and the cartoons, I can tell you that Transformers '84 is just the comic I was looking for. The art here is fantastic, and it totally evokes the classic art of my youth. And I find the story compelling and accessible, as it's basically a prequel to the original Transformers story. It's been a really entertaining read so far, and I'm excited to read more.  For fans of the classic 80's Transformers comics and cartoon, this is a great read.

Low #24 by Rick Remender, Greg Tocchini, and Dave McCaig, published by Image Comics
I'd sort of lost touch with Low. In part I think the publishing schedule has been pretty irregular, so I just haven't thought about this series as much. But Low is in its final arc, which gives me a chance to reflect and appreciate it. It's a really excellent sci-fi far-future series, that raises a ton of interesting themes and ideas, while also being a compelling human drama about the fight to survive and not just fade into oblivion. I reviewed the first arc years ago and really loved it. One thing that's been true throughout the series is that Greg Tocchini and Dave McCaig have combined for stunning art. It's weird and alien and beautiful and sometimes horrifying. Tocchini achieves effects and perspectives that I hadn't really seen in comics before, and he and McCaig on colors really bring this whole weird world to life. Low is a dense, engaging, and I think (ultimately) rewarding read, and I can't wait to see how it wraps up in this final arc.