Catch It at the Comic Shop February 5th, 2020

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' Pick:

X-Men/Fantastic Four #1 by Chip Zdarsky and Terry Dodson, published by Marvel Comics
Chip Zdarsky has gone from being a hilarious guy and incredibly talented artist to - well, still being those things, but also being one of Marvel's best writers. The story he's telling in Daredevil (primarily with Marco Chechetto) is fantastic, and he's written some other great books like Spider-Man Life Story, and other Spidey books. Anyway, I'm thrilled to see his take on the new status quo of mutants. And I love the Fantastic Four, so I'm really interested to see his take on the tension between the two groups, particularly as it pertains to Franklin Richards, known to be an incredibly powerful mutant.  This story will be drawn by Terry Dodson who does some really wonderful art with gorgeous people. So it should be a fun read.

Mike's Picks:

Gideon Falls #21 by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, Dave Stewart, and Steve Wands, published by Image Comics
Gideon Falls is a series that never ceases to impress because it manages to consistently shift directions without conjuring a disconcerting feeling or creating the all-too-ironic predictable only in its unpredictability style of hackneyed storytelling. Gideon Falls is remarkable for the way it manages to both bend and meld genres, and the final issues of each arc have mined this model and helped the series to progress from psychological examination, to murder mystery, to multiversal time travel thriller, to whatever’s next.

Joker/Harley Criminal Sanity 3 by Kami Garcia, Mico Suyan, Jason Badower, and Francisco Mattina, published by DC Black Label
I had no anticipation of liking this comic. I’ve opined ad nauseum about the direction of recent Harley Quinn, but a funny thing happened towards the end of 2019: I read and enjoyed three books staring Harley. Each were different in their approach to Ms. Quinzel. Stepjan Sejic’s excellent Harleen was a fairly straightforward look at a more or less modern, or at least mature, Haley. What made it succeed, outside of Sejic’s lush artwork, was that it avoided the gratuitous trappings of most modern Harley books. Mariko Tamiki and Steve Pugh’s superb YA book, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass featured a completely new iteration of the character, but one that harnessed all that was great about the original incarnation of the character dosed with an invigorating amount of feminism. Garcia’s Harley in Criminal Sanity takes on a new role for the character. Instead of psychology, this Dr. Harleen Quinzell is a forensic pathologist, and the storyline is more reminiscent of Mindhunter, Criminal Minds, or Law and Order: SVU than it is a typical Batman or Harley book. And yes, the series is indeed violent, but it has yet to even border on the self-indulgent. I’m naturally curious to see how Jason Badower, filling in for Mike Mayew, fits into the dynamic Suyan and Mayew built in the first two books. Suyan and Mayew traded art duties to allow Garcia for shifts in tone to work between the all-too-reminiscent of chalk outline present day black and white narrative and the lush, painterly flashback sequences. Nonetheless, if you are a fan of the recent Elseworld-style reminagings of classic DC heroes and enjoy the shows mentioned above, Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity is worth tracking down two back issues before settling in to today’s issue.

Sean's Pick:

Gideon Falls #21 by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, Dave Stewart, and Steve Wands, published by Image Comics
Volume Four of the mind blowing series from Image comics comes to a close with issue 21. If you stumbled into sleep mode with this book, I beg of you to wipe the drowsy off of your face and get back on board. If Volume 1 laid the foundation, and Volume 2 introduced the origin.. then Volume 3 crafted the gears to the multiverse within GF that Volume 4 has turned upside down. Jeff Lemire is arguably telling one of his best ongoing stories yet, and Andrea Sorrentino keeps paneling out his beat illustrations the medium of comics can offer. Combine this dynamic duo of horror with the dreary and muted earth tones provided by the master of color, Dave Stewart, and there is every reason to expect a solid piece of fiction. If Volume 3 were the reason you trailed off this title, take note that there is always a brief lull and momentary buildup of momentum for every twisted and breathtaking drop on a roller coaster that leaves you wanted more. This is that coaster. This is that story. Line up and take a ride.