Catch It at the Comic Shop January 6th, 2021

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:

Scouts Honor 1 by David Pepose, Luca Casalanguida, Matt Milla & Carlos M. Mangual, published by Aftershock
In a world that emerges from a nuclear apocalypse comes the story of Kit, a young Ranger Scout who is brought up in a survivalist culture where the Ranger Scout Manual is their Ten Commandments. Apparently there is a hidden secret deep within the Scout tradition and this is Kit’s story of reckoning and discovery as it is uncovered. Pepose is a great storyteller and Casalanguida is an artist capable of translating a narrative mood into an illustrated page. This should be a really engaging read. 

Marvel Action Avengers 3 by Katie Cook, Butch Mapa, Protobunker & Valeria Lopez, published by IDW
Captain Marvel is about to enjoy her day off with a tasty sandwich and a snickerdoodle when her lunch is interrupted by Dr. Strange and his.. estranged cape. Strange and Carol proceed to embark on an issue long adventure to get his cape back from the White Rabbit. I do not recommend these Marvel Action series often enough. They are always loads of fun and are appropriate for all-ages giving anyone a palatable starting point to any character. The Avengers series in particular is always a good read and this newest issue gives us the reason for the why. Silly quips, a Flerken and a Snickerdoodle.. grab this comic and once you read it you’ll be scouring your brain for a young reader to pass it on to. 

Last Witch 1 by Conor McCreery, V.V. Glass, Natalia Nesterenko & Jim Campbell, published by BOOM! Studios
Saoirse is a young girl seeking an adventure on her birthday which also coincides with the one day that a witch wanders the forest. While attempting to match wits with a boy, her bravery is tested when her father upends her quest for bravery and forbids her to carry on and instead duties her with tending to her sick younger brother. As rebellious and adventurous young ones are, she manages to slip away and continue her journey. But not before things get rather unexpected. This is a fun and cute little story and stage is set for some fun antics. I enjoyed this first issue and I’ll be checking back in to see where the story goes. 

Happy Hour 3 by Peter Milligan & Michael Montenat, published by Ahoy Comics
This series resonates so well with me. The premise is ridiculous and relatable, and the timing of its existence is anything but coincidental. We last saw the dynamic duo of the rationally sad as they escaped the place where they were being held in order to “heal” them of their unhappiness. Now, loose and on the run attempting to find truth to the bizarre, they find themselves abducted and at center-stage of a celebratory weekend in a town that is laughing at their execution. As with most Ahoy titles, this one comes with extra prose and the main story itself is high-octane hilarious. 

Knock ‘Em Dead 2 by Eliot Rahal, Mattia Monaco, Matt Milla & Taylor Esposito, published by Aftershock
The first issue of this story began with an aspiring standup comedian searching for his “moment” on stage. When nothing seemed to land with his audience the unspeakable happens right as he gets some very helpful words of advice from a stranger. Now, as this young comedian settles into his new reality of being dead.. er.. undead(?), we see how his jokes land with his audiences in issue two. The art by Monaco is definitely my jam and suits this quirky horror comedy quite well.

James' Picks:

Eternals #1 by Kieron Gillen, Esad Ribic, and Matt Wilson, published by Marvel Comics

The Eternals are kind of a blank slate right now. I know they've been in stories since the 1970's when Jack Kirby created them. But who are they now, and what importance do they have? I don't know, and neither does anyone else. Enter the perfect writer to bring these interesting yet not-that-known characters, Kieron Gillen. These are mythic, godlike beings that have some sort of undetermined role on Earth. As the writer and co-creator of The Wicked + The Divine, Gillen and his co-creators explored the idea of gods as pop and social media stars. I'm thrilled to see what he does here. I'm doubly thrilled that his co-creator is the spectacular Esad Ribic. Ribic is better than just about anyone at bringing epic, iconic, larger-than-life characters and worlds to life, as he did in Thor: God of Thunder and Secret Wars.  I'm thrilled to see Ribic (with spectacular colorist Matt Wilson) bring these characters (about whom I know very little) to life.

King in Black:Return of the Valkyvries #1 (of #4) by Jason Aaron, Torunn Gronbekk, and Nina Vakueva, published by Marvel Comics

I don't really care about King In Black - I mean, it's been entertaining so far, but I'm not invested particularly in these characters. I do, however, care very much about Jane Foster, and her most recent role as Valkyrie in the eponymous comic. It only went for 10 or 12 issues, but I absolutely adored the comic. It was, as far as action-packed superhero comics go, a really thoughtful exploration of some heady ideas. And after Jane Foster concluded her time as The Mighty Thor, she absolutely deserved to be a superhero again, as she had proven herself to be among the greatest of all heroes. So I'm excited to get more Jane Foster as Valkyrie, in any form I can get.  

Join the Future TP by Zack Kaplan and Piotr Kowalski, published by AfterShock Comics

This is an excellent miniseries that came out last year, and I'm excited to see it collected and in the hands of more readers. This is a great story (written by Zack Kaplan) about the inevitable march of "progress", individualism, consumerism, and other interesting ideas. And it's brought to life by the incredibly talented Piotr Kowalski. I loved the first issue (review here), and strongly recommend giving this series a look.   

Crossover #3 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Dee Cunniffe and John J. Hill, published by Image Comics

Crossover was one of my favorite comics of 2020, and the first issue was up there as one of my favorite single issues of 2020 (review here).  To just  quote myself from my year-end favorites write-up: "Crossover is an absolute popcorn thrill ride of a comic, and some of the most fun I had reading a comic all year, which is why it's on this list even though only 2 issues have been released so far. It's a meditation on the significance of fiction and on our relationship to fictional characters. And it's also...a story about love and hope and community?  Above all of that, it's a stunning work of art that you can stare at slack-jawed all day. There's so much happening in Crossover, and the comic is just bursting with ideas (in the same way that the extraordinary artwork from Shaw and Cunniffe burst off of the page).  First, let me reassure you and tell you what I do not think this comic is about: I don't think this is intended to be any sort of Watchmen-style deconstruction of the superhero genre. This isn't a story about the world of superheroes; this is a story about us. Our relationship to fiction, our relationship to problems and fear, and ultimately our relationship to each other.  But, you know, there's also superheroes involved." 

 Mike's Picks:

Usagi Yojimbo 16 by Stan Sakai, published by IDW

I can’t think of a better way to start the new year than with a fresh Usagi Yojimbo arc. This issue kicks off the three part Tengu War. Following an attack by a low clan of feral Tengu monsters, Sojobo relates the story of the Guhin Tengu to Usagi, fearful that an age-old rivalry has been rekindled. Usagi and Sojobo decide to join forces to fend off the attack of these werewolf-like creatures. But how will this Tengu civil war play out? Sakai drops hints about Jotaro along with the history of the various Tengu tribes before ending the issue with the customary cliffhanger. This should be fun.

Eternals 1 by Kieron Gillen, Esad Ribić, published by Marvel Comics
This is exactly the type of book I love to see Kieron Gillen involved with because I always feel that he brings a mixture of respect for the canon that precedes and an ambition to honor said canon by extending and elevating the story. Esad Ribić’s exemplary work on large chunks of the Aaron Thor as well as Hickman’s Secret Wars demonstrates his ability as a majestic, expansive storyteller, providing exactly the kind of visuals that will enhance what I expect to be an ambitious epic from Gillen.

Rob's Picks:

Scouts Honor #1 by David Pepose, Luca Casalanguida, Matt Milla & Carlos M. Mangual, published by Aftershock
Panel Pal Pepose takes his talents for reimagining established media (see the excellent Spencer and Locke, as just one example) and hits up the Boy Scout Manual. In a world that's collapsed, it's the only Rule left standing. When a guide is taken as gospel, even the best intentions have consequences, which David explores through the character of Kit. I'm less familiar with his collaborators, but Pepose's reviewer's eye for talent really shines in picking artistic partners for projects. This looks like it's going to be a great way to start reading new comics in 2021.

Wrong Earth Night and Day #1 by Tom Peyer, Jamal Igle, and Others, published by Ahoy 
Ahoy mainstay Tom Peyer reunites with Jamal Igle to bring the two versions of Dragonfly together in a new series that does a great job of showing how the same character can be portrayed in different ways. These series have been fun, but I'm really excited to see Igle back, as he's one of my favorite artists and I don't see his work nearly enough. I don't know yet how much this requires reading the prior books, but I still urge you to give it a try, because this is a team that's guaranteed to bring you a great comic every month.

Harrow County Omnibus Vol 1 by Cullen Bunn, Tyler Crook, and Others, published by Dark Horse Comics
I can't imagine too many Panel Patter readers are new to Harrow County, but just in case you don't already own the trades, here's a chance to get them in collected form. This masterpiece created by Bunn (one of the best horror writers in comics) and Crook, along with help here and there by other creators, absolutely nails a Southern Gothic vibe, perfectly using the tropes associated with the genre to forge a story that's really damn terrifying. Bunn and Crook's pacing on this series is amazing, ramping up at just the right moments. And Crook's horror scenes really pop because of their comparison to the "mundane" surroundings. He'll give more than a few readers some nightmares. This story of a girl learning about herself and her legacy is one of my all-time favorite horror books, and now I have a great excuse to go re-read it.

Moriarty the Patriot Volume 2 by Ryosuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi, published by Viz
This one made my 2020 favorites list based on one volume alone, which is extremely rare. The creators are focusing on a young Moriarty, showing his path to being arguably the greatest criminal mastermind in literary fiction. This time around, he's thinking bigger than just small towns, with London in his sights. But there's complications aplenty, all of which are drawn so incredibly pretty. There's so much poetry in the linework, which often serves as a great contrast against the violence it portrays. This is a great series any fan of Holmes fiction should be picking up.