April 10, 2019

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Catch It at the Comic Shop April 10th, 2019

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:

Low #21 by Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini, published by Image Comics
Low is on its final arc, and I'm glad it's back, and sorry it'll be ending (here's my review of vol. 1). It's been a really enjoyable, interesting science fiction series. It's a story that hits themes that seem to be close to Rick Remender's heart - the fight of the extraordinary person against the sink into oblivion.  It's a fun series with lots of weird twists. Most importantly, the art from Greg Tocchini is truly extraordinary. Tocchini has a soft, weird style with all sorts of amazing flourishes, that really brings to life the alien undersea world of the story.

The Batman Who Laughs #4 by Scott Snyder and Jock, published by DC Comics
This is the sort of comic that I want to dislike but I've really ended up enjoying a lot. Why did I want to dislike it? Because the combo Batman/Joker character feels gimmicky and ridiculous and looks over the top. But you know what? This is a fantastic comic. Probably my favorite Batman story at the moment.  Snyder really this scary character to life, and the art in this comic from Jock has (unsurprisingly) been absolutely stunning (which you would know from their prior collaborations on Detective Comics and Wytches).

Invaders #4 by Chip Zdarsky, Carlos Magno and Butch Guice, published by Marvel Comics
I love the whole concept of the Invaders, and that many of them are still around and they still have this bond, having fought through WWII together. I may also just be a sucker for WWII superhero stories. I'm also a sucker for "secret history" type stories where we learn about some heretofore unexamined part of the character's life.  We are apparently going to learn Namor's secret history. Is this a retcon? Sure, but I love a good retcon, and all comic storytelling is essentially one retcon after another. Anyway, this has been a fun series, and Chip Zdarsky has turned out to be a terrific comics writer in addition to being a wonderful artist.

Kirk's Picks:


Faithless #1 by Brian Azzarello and Maria Llovet, published by Boom! Studios
The Paul Pope cover is warning enough that you are wandering into sensual waters with Faithless. And it may not for everyone with it’s beautiful NSFW visuals (trust me on this. I tried reading our advance copy at the office on my break and I had to race to switch tabs on my computer in record time). The magic that the main character, Faith dabbles in draws the attention of someone who is deceptively more than she appears to be and the comic reads just as seductively as the stranger works. Azzarello showcases his talent for being keyed in to the societal zeitgeist of the time. His character’s dialogue is straight from the mouth of someone you know in your life right now and is a relief to read if you have been craving work from him outside of the Big 2.

Mike’s Picks:

The Complete Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Vol. 1 by Don Rosa, published by Fantagraphics 
I met Don Rosa at Baltimore Comicon this summer. As I waited in line, a boy ran up to the table and squealed, "Look mom, Ducktales." Rosa grunted and stared daggers at the boy. He repeated a similar declaration, and Rosa responded by loudly banging the obligatory and now famous "These aren't Ducktales . . ." placard loudly into the table as he grunted again. The mother and son recoiled in disgust, and lost was another potential fan of non-superhero comics. Later in line, he screamed at a woman who organized her prints on his table. But when people sat down with him, he was as gregarious and generous as one could be. When a fan sits in front of Rosa, there exists no other being. His attention is entirely undivided. He charges neither for autographs nor sketches (that he does on the spot), and borderline attempts to talk patrons out of buying a print as some sort of quid pro quo for his time and talents. When I sat in front of him, we talked for a few minutes, and I told him how I came to his comics when my mom briefly prohibited me from reading superhero books in the early 90s, restricting me to only Disney comics. He slammed my book down and told me "mouse comics" were Disney Comics, and what I held in my hand (despite his name adorned across the cover) was a Carl Barks' comic. He asked me if I wanted a sketch. I didn't. He closed the book and handed it back to me. I thanked him and left. Don Rosa is a complex genius, and The Complete Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck is a masterpiece that should be regarded alongside the output of the best 20th century cartoonists.

Hot Lunch Special by Eliot Rahal and Jorge Fornes, published by Aftershock Comics
A recent phenomenon, possibly spearheaded by Fargo and brought to comics by Seeley and Norton's Revival is the "rural noir." Rahal and Fornes add more city aspects to their midwestern noir, but the result is still an haunting exploration of the fleeting promise of the American Dream and the dubious status of America's Heartland

Detective Comics 1001 by Peter Tomasi, Brad Walker, and Andrew Hennessy, published by DC Comics 
Most people I know think Tomasi produced the best story of Action Comics 1000, and those same people tend to think his Detective Comics 1000 offering was one of that issue's worst. It was a bizarre amalgamation of everything that made his Action 1000 story remarkable (splash page format with an 80 year history distilled into a few pages without sacrificing much) and all that plagued his Super-usurper Brian Michael Bendis' offering, namely the shoehorning of a new villain meant to drive the sales of future books into a book designed specifically to celebrate the 999 books previously published. Arkham Knight has a little more credibility than Rogol Zaar and represents a tradition of DC Comics introducing characters from other media (Harley Quinn, Renee Montoya, Jimmy Olsen) into comics with a strong success rate. Dectective was one of the hottest books following Tomasi and Mahnke's takeover coupled with the lead-up to 1000, but its profile seems to have receded slightly in only two weeks. Nonetheless, Tomasi has proven himself to be DC's most reliable writer, if not its flashiest, and I'm confident that he, Walker, and Hennessey can pull off this latest arc.