Soaring with the clouds and the Kaiju: Catch It Aug 18th, 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...

Kelli's Picks:

Go with the Clouds North by Northwest vol. 5 by Aki Irie published by Vertical [now Kodansha Books]
Aki Irie’s Go with the Clouds North by Northwest is part travel guide and love letter to Iceland and part mystery novel. Kei Miyama left Japan to live with his eccentric grandfather in Iceland. To stay occupied and make ends meet he works as a detective, taking simple jobs like finding stay dogs, tracking down runaways and lost lovers. Little does he know that his skills will be put to the test when his kid brother, Michitaka, is accused of murdering their aunt and uncle. Kei is also hiding a secret; he has a unique connection to and can communicate with mechanical objects. A useful ability to have as he continues to track down his illusive and increasingly violent brother. Meanwhile in Japan the police continue to dig into Michitaka’s troubled past. Slowly a portrait of a disturbed youth begins to build. Kei doesn’t believe for a moment that his brother is a killer, but can he continue to believe in his innocence as the evidence piles up? Go with the Clouds is not your conventional mystery story. I mean the main character communes with cars, cell phones and other electronics. His grandfather can communicate with and control birds and his kid brother can apparently kill people with his mind and a touch. The murder mystery is interspersed with tours of famous and not so famous spots in Iceland. Volume 5 sees Kei heading out to Laki, a mountain in the south of Iceland. He’s on a job, but he has Lilja, his love interest, in tow. They are like fire and ice so expect lots awkward flirting and the odd fight. Michitaka, meanwhile is making his way to Kei’s house, hoping to connect with his brother and assert his innocence.

Asadora Vol.3 by Naoki Urasawa published by Viz Media
Reading Asadora is like reading a Dan Brown novel but better, so much better. Actually, I’ve only read one Dan Brown novel, The Da Vinci Code. I crushed it in one night. Reading Urasawa’s manga is just like that. It’s two in the morning and you’re like, just a couple more pages, and I’ll go to bed. The next thing you know the sun is rising, your eyes are grainy and your alarm is about to go off. Asadora is the perfect combination of nostalgia, history, and adventure. The story spans 6 decades from 1959 to 2020 and follows the spirited Asa Asada who in 1959 lost her home and part of her family in a devastating typhoon. Her family’s disappearance may in fact not be connected to the typhoon, but rather to a mysterious creature that was sighted on the day the typhoon landed. In volume 3, Asa continues to investigate the creature that she believes is connected to her family’s disappearance. She discovers that she is not the only one who is interested in what occurred that day. The Japanese government and a disgraced scientist are also trying to track down the beast. A shadowy arm of Japan’s Self Defence Force reaches out to Asa, who is now an accomplished pilot and her guardian Kasuga with a difficult mission. To find and neutralize the creature. Kasuga, a veteran of WWII, an ace pilot and sharpshooter agrees to the mission. If you are looking for some light, fun summer entertainment then grab a cold drink and settle into a deck chair with a copy of Asadora.

James' Picks:

 Asadora Vol.3 by Naoki Urasawa published by Viz Media

I'm thrilled to be able to pick up volume 3 of this series. It's been a pure delight so far. Urasawa is a masterful creator, writer, storyteller, world-builder, artist, etc. 20th Century Boys and Pluto are absolute masterpieces, each is vast and epic in scope. But Urasawa is also at home in smaller, more intimate stories, such as the adventures of insurance investigator Master Keaton and charming heist story Mujirushi. Asadora is the story of a remarkable girl who will grow up into a remarkable woman, and hopefully save the world. She's a wonderful character, and I highly recommend you pick this up.

Kang the Conqueror #1 (of 5) by Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, and Carlos Magno, published by Marvel Comics
Kang is clearly very much in the zeitgeist after the events of Loki. I don't know much about the team or story, but this promises to tell the origin story of Kang, and I'm thrilled to read up on it. I've enjoyed Carlos Magno's art elsewhere, and this looks like a great read.

Mike's Pick:

Nightwing 83 by Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott, published by DC Comics

I can't say enough about what Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo are doing on Nightwing. It is my favorite superhero book on the stands. I love that the series is a return to the basics. It's sometimes difficult to describe what makes Tom Taylor such a good writer because I think what he does is so smooth and efficient that it belies his technique. Fundamentally, Taylor understands characters, and not just in context of their publication history. He understands how they interact with one another, and, more importantly, how they reveal themselves through each other. It's why he's so well suited for team books, why he works deftly with pairs, and why he was able to distill emotion from something as expansive as Injustice. With Nightwing, Taylor both returns Dick Grayson to his roots as a street level hero, stripping away years of excess and drama to reset the hero, allowing him to cope with the loss of Alfred and the events of Joker War. He accomplishes so much of this in the first arc through Barbara Gordon, who functions as a spunkier Jiminy Cricket type for Dick. All the while, Bruno Redondo is putting on a masterclass. The book is clean and bright, aided by Adiano Lucas' vivid palette. Redondo provides a bit of a silver age touch to this book. He makes the panels sharp, and he maximizes the space on the page with clever approach to layering. And the lighting. Wow, do Redondo and Lucas know how to capture different hues. The end result is a cinematic effect, but not the "wide screen action" type. No, it's more of art-house action, like Drive or Looper. Capping off all it is a sense of whimsy to the book. Taylor and Redondo know how to have fun. I mean, look at that cover! Certainly, the book is serious, but it's never dour. It doesn't dwell on itself; it doesn't eschew other facets - and that's important, because that is what always drew readers to Dick Grayson. He offers a more complete character than many superheroes, and Taylor has reinvigorated that dynamic.

Rob's Pick:

Elric Dreaming City
Original Story by Michael Moorcock
Adapted by Julien Blonde, Jean-Luc Cano, Julien Telo & Robin Recht
Published by Titan Comics

Elric is one of those characters who gets a bit lost in the sword and sorcery genre for some reason and doesn't seem to have the staying power in comics that others have achieved. Maybe it's because he's a bit mopey, but the guy has a good reason. You try being haunted by the God of Chaos and dragging around a cursed sword that eats souls. Regardless it's great to see Titan giving this a go, especially working in chronological order. I can't speak for the text of the adaptation based on the samples I've seen so far, but the art by Telo and Reht is perfect for the genre--realistic but with just enough style to keep it from feeling lifeless. The panel angles work well for this, too. Elric is a man of action and it needs to bleed out of the page. I hope this is the start of a long run for the character, who's bounced around from publisher to publisher over the years.

Sean’s Picks:

Killer Queens #1 by David M. Booher, Claudia Balboni, Harry Saxson & Lucas Gattoni, published by Dark Horse

Meet Alex and Max, the recently reformed galactic-assassin sass slingin’ queer duo with enough development to their character in this debut than some do in an entire first arc. Brought to us by the creative minds behind IDW’s Canto, and Image’s Fairlady, Booher and Balboni have got a shimmering gem on their hands. This book is gonna turn lots of heads, and at about half way through this debut my head literally did a repeat read through as I found myself looking at what instantly become my single most favorite series of panels in a comic book. Don’t sleep on this one. There’s a monkey with otters as henchmen. There’s sass slapping on every last page. This is how you do comics. This is about as fun as they possibly get.

Bermuda #2 by John Layman, Nick Bradshaw & Len O’Grady, published by IDW

Nick Bradshaw is drawing the pants off of John Layman’s story about the island called “The Triangle”. (Ok.. maybe that pun was better suited for my previous recommendation but, still, Bradshaw is doing next-level amazing illustrations here so don’t miss out)! Issue 1 had fish-men. Issue 2 has pirates. Both issues have Bermuda. And just to catch you up, Bermuda is not the island, she’s the girl, and she’s pretty stinkin badass. But she knows when to keep her mouth shut when the fish-people come scavenging. I can tell that this is going to be a fun title to share with the kids when it’s done and collected. I’m excited to share it with them. The story is adventurous and the visuals are ..well, I kind mentioned how fantastic they were at the top of this. Pick this one up!

Box #1 by Joshua Starnes, Raymond Estrada & Steve Dellasala, published by Red 5

If you are not aware of Raymond Estrada artwork yet [picks self up off floor] ..then now is as good a time as any. His style is rigid but organic, raw yet refined. There is an existence of pure and authentic life that manifests from the pages he creates. Now ..visualize all of those words and follow me over to Red 5 for a story that’s about to raise the bar to the phrase “…what’s in the box!?” Leo Bloom, a detective, is partners with ..a box. Why a “box”? Because it’s a magic box, of course. Think: a magician’s hat, or ..Santa’s sack (again with the ill-placed pun better suited for recommendation #1, Sean?!) but it’s a box. Leo can just about pull anything he wants from it. Ok, I’m listening. I’m at least here for the artwork. I’ll then stick around for the premise, because it’s just so wild and bonkers that I’m pretty sure it’s going to be phenomenal.