Catch It at the Comic Shop March 17th, 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...

Beth's Pick:

Nightwing #78, by Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, Wes Abbott and Skan, published by DC Comics
The various Injustice series by Tom Taylor have been one of my favorite pandemic entertainment binges. I don’t want to spoil anything if you haven’t read Injustice (and you should, because it is great fun), but Dick Grayson’s storyline is absolute genius. Thus, I’m looking forward to Taylor’s run on Nightwing’s solo series. I dropped the book during the whole mucky Ric Grayson amnesia arc, but plan on making this one of the few DC books post Future State I’ll pick up in print. The previews for give off a definite Matt Fraction-era Hawkeye vibe, complete with a canine companion, and that is most certainly a good thing. Bruno Redondo’s art is dynamic, and Ardriano Lucas is using a bright color palette highlighting the fact Nightwing is not mired in the gloom of his mentor.

James' Picks:

Ultramega #1 by James Harren and Dave Stewart, published by Image Comics/Skybound

James Harren is a stunningly good artist. Particularly if what you want to see is monsters and weirdness and action. I adored his work on Rumble, and I'm thrilled to see him take on writing and art duties in this new supersized first issue of Ultramega, with colors from the master Dave Stewart. Dave Stewart makes good artists look great and great artists look even better, so I'm thrilled with this creative team.  I only read the first few pages of this 60(!) page first issue, but it was enough to get me hooked. There's a terrible disease that will seemingly turn people into Kaiju at random, and the only ones who are able to fight them seem to be profoundly lonely or damaged people who can turn into an Ultraman-type character.  Is it weird? Hell yeah. I'm thrilled to read more. Harren's gritty, cartoony-but-visceral style is perfect for bringing the extraordinarily weird to life, and I'm thrilled for this one.

Iron Man vol. 1: Big Iron by Christopher Cantwell and CAFU, published by Marvel Comics

If you're at all interested in Tony Stark, you should absolutely be reading the new Iron Man series from writer Christopher Cantwell and artist CAFU. Tony decides to take a slightly lower-tech, back-to-basics approach in his life, which goes fine until he starts running into all sorts of weird foes. But who's behind these various bad guys? I won't say. But what I will say is that Cantwell has a great handle on Tony's voice and I feel like he's exploring some interesting ideas.  The wonderfully unexpected co-star of this series is Patsy Walker, Hellcat. I didn't know I needed her in my life again, but she's a great, complex character, wonderfully brought to life by Cantwell and CAFU. CAFU is really incredible at remarkably detailed work that is realistic but doesn't feel stiff. This is a great book all around.

Mike's Picks:

Superman: Red and Blue by John Ridley, Clayton Henry, Brandon Easton, Steve Lieber, Marguerite Bennett, Jill Thompson, Dan Watters, and Dani, published by DC Comics
I'm all about superhero anthology as a form, and I'm even more in tune with DC turning the idea of Batman: Black and White on its head with this Superman: Red in Blue series. I've always thought Superman lends himself best to the anthology format - short stories that allow the creative team to get to the heart of what makes the Big Boy Blue Scout tick while avoiding getting bogged down by the sheer majesty of his existence. The first issue boasts a remarkable creative team, but I'm most intrigued to see who Dani, who wowed me with the deconstructed aesthetic she brought to Coffin Bound, approaches the optimism of Superman.

Ultramega 1 by James Harren, Dave Stewart, and Rus Wooton, published by Image/Skybound
On this book, Harren's style occupies the nexus of Jack Kirby, Phil Hester, and Scott McCloud with a healthy heaping of ultraviolence. This issue is wild and over the top in all the ways you want a Kaiju homage to be. Harren's story is deliberately manic, and his art is an exact complement for his story - grounded just enough in realism to make the insane in your face panels that much more expressive and weird.

Rachel's Pick:

Norse Mythology #6 (Dark Horse) by Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, Lovern Kindzierski, David Mack, Jill Thompson, Galen Showman

I recently rewatched Thor: Ragnarök, one of my favorite comic book movies of all time, and I again appreciated the relationship between Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. A similar energy is apparent in the latest issue of Norse Mythology #6 story and words by Neil Gaiman, script and layouts by P. Craig Russell, art and colors by Jill Thompson, and lettering by Galen Showman. Despite not having read the earlier volumes in this series, I wasn’t at all confused about the plot or motivations, which is a credit to all involved.  Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir has been stolen by Thrym, lord of the ogres. To get it back, Freya must marry him. Of course, Freya wants no part in this plan. So, it’s up to Loki and Thor to figure out some way to trick Thrym and retrieve Mjolnir. Unlike the MCU’s Avenger member, this Thor is a bit dense and occasionally needs things spelled out for him. Loki, however, remains the sneaky and snarky trickster god we know and love.  He continuously takes pleasure in seeing Thor cut down to size. The art by Jill Thompson builds the world of the gods. Her facial features are especially nice and do a lot to add to the humor of the story. I’ve been a fan of Neil Gaiman for years, and his writing here is filled with his characteristic wit, sarcasm, and underlying darkness.