Deadshirt is Reading… is a weekly feature in which Deadshirt’s staff offer brief recommendations for a diverse array of comics, from name-brand cape titles to creator-owned books to webcomics.
Dylan Roth is reading…
Lazarus is the terrifyingly believable story set in a future where nations have been replaced by feudal states, run by the handful of families who have hoarded the world’s wealth. Our heroine, Forever “Eve” Carlyle, is a genetically-engineered and technologically-enhanced enforcer for her family, who manipulates Eve with false love and affection. This issue, the conclusion of the first storyline, promises new layers of intrigue as the family begins to splinter, with Eve a pawn in their game. Lazarus excels at using sci-fi to shock you into considering your present-day world, while delivering compelling character drama to help the medicine go down. Bonus points awarded for a complex and chillingly plausible timeline of events leading from today to the setting of the story.
With just 4 issues in and a two-month hiatus before the series resumes, catching up on Lazarus is the best $12 a comics fan could spend right now.
Dominic Griffin is reading…
Being a fan of Phonogram, I knew Young Avengers was going to be up my alley, but once McKelvie started drawing Kate Bishop to look like British songstress Jessie Ware, I knew I was in love. Gillen continues the war on tumblr’s heart that he began with Journey Into Mystery. Here, the FBI’s most wanted Feels Terrorist turns his sights on the long standing relationship between Hulkling and Wiccan, adding some much needed conflict and drama to their otherwise idyllic teen romance. Artfully weaving in between series baddie Mother, the mysterious Not Patriot figure, and Leah, from Kid Loki’s past in JiM, while making room for much appreciated cameos from Ultimate Nullifier (from Joe Casey’s mini-series Vengeance) and various ex-loves of newly hipsterific Marvel Boy, the latest issue of YA manages to give readers a breather from the last few issues developments, while laying on the intrigue for the future. Did I mention it’s one of the most gorgeous, exciting, lovable superhero titles on the market?
You know you are reading a comic drawn by Howard Chaykin because all the women have big asses and someone ends up in lingerie. Seriously, every single time. Luckily, this book feeds this habit of his without coming off as context-less titillation. I caught up on this title a little late, but Fraction and Chaykin have put together my kind of book: a sexy, complex period piece about the golden age of television, a murder mystery at it’s center. The characters are well drawn and just the right blend of morally reprehensible and magnetic. Kid show hero Satellite Sam is found dead, and his shellshocked son has to navigate the sharks of the industry, his own demons, and boxes of his father’s naked conquests, one of whom may have been involved in his untimely demise. Riveting, exquisitely illustrated, and one of the smartest books out.
David Lebovitz is reading…
The start of the story is nod to the Trayvon Martin case, with a white “entitled society harpy” as a defendant who killed a “suspicious” black teenager. The details are the same — a struggle, no witnesses. The opposition tries to make it about a racist going after an unarmed kid, but — as Matt the lawyer put it — “evidence can’t overcome reasonable doubt” and she is found not guilty.
A broadcast highjack so subtle that only Matt can hear it reveals the names of the jurors in a way that frames the prosecutor and incites a major riot. Daredevil realizes that this is the work of a white supremacy group that has been buying its way into the justice system and he has to stop it. This is all in addition to Foggy Nelson’s battle with cancer.
The last panel of the piece took me aback. It’s a pretty big surprise.
This comic deals with everything a Daredevil story should — it demonstrates his strengths, exploits his weaknesses, and touches squarely on the emotional aspects of the legal system.
Waid and Samnee write efficiently, packing more story into one issue than other writers do in seven. This is the best Daredevil writing I’ve seen since Brubaker. With time, he might equal or surpass him. This is a must-follow.
Christina Harrington is reading…
I first heard about Mara at last year’s New York Comic Con while sitting in on a panel revealing new comics from Image launching in Winter of 2012. Mara sounded the most interesting out of the group and, going on faith and a few preview images, I started reading. Almost a year later, Mara #6 dropped this week, effectively ending the mini-series.
There’s a lot to Mara: in a future reshaped by numerous wars, Earth is a place where sports are king (Mara Prince’s is volleyball) and the players, gods. Mara starts the series off as a teenage superstar, until she starts manifesting superhero-like abilities — including super speed and flight. In the last book, Mara has rejected Earth and all of it’s inhabitants and has exiled herself to the moon. From there, she philosophizes on her humanity and on the humanity of those on Earth — including the parents that dropped her off at a sports training camp/boarding school when she was six years old and whom she never saw again.
For the most part, Mara succeeds in making the audience feel for it’s titular character. It’s not fair and it’s tragic that Mara is accused of cheating, stripped of her titles and rewards, loses her girlfriend, is put on a government watch-list, etc. This is especially effective as the layers of this new world is stripped away throughout Mara’s journey and we, the readers, start to see how corrupt the government, military, and media really are. But there are some missteps along the way, namely the amount of summary in the series. Like I said, there’s a lot to Mara: extensive world-, character-, and relationship-building, and the series could have benefited from a few more issues to flesh these things out properly. Still, Mara is one of my favorite new comics this year. The art is beautiful and striking, just like the protagonist. I’m hoping this isn’t the last we see of Mara Prince and I’m just happy something from Comic Con has kept me this entertained up until a week before this year’s Con. Here’s to hoping NYCC ’13 does the same thing.
Thanks for reading about what we’re reading! We’ll be back next week with a slew of suggestions from across the comics spectrum. In the meantime, what are you reading? Tell us in the comments section or on our Facebook Page.