Happy Star Trek Day! And May the Fourth World Be With You! Catch Its for May 4th, 2002

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...

James' Picks:

Metal Society #1 by Zack Kaplan, Guilherme Balbi, Marco Lesko, and Troy Peteri, published by Image/Top Cow
I really connect with Zack Kaplan's work (and not just because he's a fellow Kaplan, I swear!). He's got a knack for coming up with terrific sci-fi ideas that are detailed and engaging and also accessible. I've really enjoyed his past work like Join the Future, Eclipse, and just recently, Break Out (and he's got an upcoming Vault book that I'm very excited about). So I think he's got another winner of an idea here in Metal Society. I've read the first issue of this new miniseries and I really enjoyed it. The concept is that humanity was wiped out and robots/AI became the dominant life form on Earth. But, ten years ago, the robots decided it would be interesting to actually start bringing back humans as a species. So they're growing humans to do the work that the robots don't want to do. All of this history and story is framed around a robot vs. human boxing/MMA match. We meet the (enhanced) human competitor and her robot opponent, and start to get a really good look at the weird new society that human have been brought back into. I wasn't really familiar with the work of artist Guilherme Balbi, but I was really impressed with this first isue! I thought it looked great. Really nice linework and character design, and very strong storytelling. The action and dramatic moments all worked very well. Balbi was very nicely complemented by very strong, grounded color work from Marco Lesko, and Troy Peteri provided excellent lettering that was additive to the story. So if you're looking for a fun new sci-fi read, I'd definitely recommend Metal Society.  


Deadly Class #52 by Rick Remender, Wes Craig, and Lee Loughridge, published by Image Comics

Deadly Class has been a staple of my modern comics reading experience. I think it first came out in 2013 - 2014(?) which was around the time I met a lot of  my closest comics friends. So I tie Deadly Class to a really positive time in my comics life, also when Twitter felt like a more fun, less toxic place. Anyway, all of that is to say that I'm going to really miss Deadly Class when it's done, but I feel like the buzz around the book has ben more muted in recent years, and I kind of associate the book with another era. But I don't want to take Deadly Class for granted, nor should anyone else. It's a really remarkable comic, starting as a story about a secret high school for assassins, but becoming so much more. It's a story about love, friendship, betrayal, adolescence, self-discovery, integrity, and a whole lot more. Of all of the big Rick Remender Image books of the last decade or so, this one always fet the most personal to me and maybe that's why it resonated with me the most (though I also loved Low and Black Science, a lot). The self-loathing and depression experienced by Marcus Arguello (the main character) hit me pretty hard in recent years, as I could very much understand and appreciate those feelings (as I went through challenging times). I know I haven't been that specific about this book, but it's a really special book. It's violent, vulgar, absurd, heartbreaking, and so many more things. It's also hilarious and really moving. And it's one of the most visually distinctive books I've read, thanks to the extraordinary, groundbreaking illustration from Wes Craig, and the bonkers atmospheric colors from Lee Loughridge (and also Jordan Boyd for a significant period of time). Craig's visual style is kinetic, but that word doesn't even begin to do it justice. It's like some combination of speed metal and ADHD on the page, with some of the coolest, most visually innovative design, layout, and storytelling I've seen. And the colors from Loughridge and Boyd have been an atmospheric explosion and those colors feel like a character in their own right. Anyway, Deadly Class is an extraordinary, really special book. I'm clarly not saying "start reading with 2-3 issues to go" but I'm saying seek this book out and read it, you'll absolutely be blown away. 

The Stone King TP by Kel McDonald and Tyler Crook, published by Dark Horse
I hadn't heard of The Stone King until recently, but it looks like it will be a very fun read. There's thievery involved, and what appears to be walking stone creatures? I'm not too familiar with writer Kel McDonald's work (but they have a lot of experience in the world of fantasy and the supernatural), but I know Tyler Crook and I know that Crook does amazing, extraordinary work such as in several different Black Hammer-related stories). Crook has a wonderfully detailed painted style, and that looks to be on full display in The Stone King. This absolutely looks like a fun pickup this week.