Deadshirt Is Reading… is a weekly feature in which Deadshirt’s staff, contributing writers, and friends-of-the-site offer their thoughts on Big Two cape titles, creator-owned books, webcomics and more. For more of our thoughts on this week’s new comics, take a look at Wednesday’s Deadshirt Comics Shopping List.
Christina Harrington is reading…
Written by Rachel Hastings, Mike Olsen, Justin Hook, and Jeff Drake
Art by Frank Forte, Brad Rader, Bernard Derriman, and Tony Gennaro
“We’ve got burgers, we’ve got fries / come on, put some jiggle in those thighs! “
My favorite cartoon family arrived in comic book shops everywhere this week with the first installment of their ongoing series. Each issue will feature a story from “Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction,” “Louise’s Unsolved Mysteries and Curious Curiosities,” and an original musical from Gene, as well as Burgers of the Day from Bob and letters from Linda. In this issue, Tina’s friend fiction is all about what her life would be like if she were a horse and joined the Equestranauts; Louise mistakes the school photographer for an alien; and Gene is tragically fused to his burger suit.
Bob’s Burgers is a fun show with a lot of heart, and this issue captured the energy and characters perfectly. Tina is suitably awkward and endearing. In “Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction Presents: My So Called Life as a Horse” there’s a full page where she tries to get her code name right, going back and forth between “Tina Belcher” and “Tinasus” and every permutation in between, with plenty of pauses. The timing is great, and the joke is Tina through and through. There are similar character-driven moments in both of the younger Belcher’s stories, too. The entire last page of “Louise’s Unsolved Mysteries and Curious Curiosities: Picture Day” reveals the over-zealous, and often paranoid, tendencies of Louise better than any joke I’ve seen on the show, and every ‘lyric’ from “The Boy in the Burger: The Musical” feels like something Gene would write.
Focusing on the bombastic Belcher children was a smart move, as each distinct child can be mined for outrageous scenarios that would otherwise be overlooked on the more reality-driven show, but even the spotlights on parental figures Bob and Linda are appropriately character based. Bob’s segment features a list of possibilities for the “Burger of the Day.” This issue’s themes are ‘TV Show Catchphrase’ and ‘Hits of the ’80s’ (favorites being “Some kind of burger and M*A*S*H*E*D Potatoes??” and “The Wake Me Up Before You Gogoji Berry Burger”), some complete with diagrams. The least successful section of this first issue was “Linda’s Letters.” In this segment, Linda writes a letter to Apparently You’re Parenting Magazine about a suggestion for a new column in which Linda will pair how many glasses of wine the reader should have with certain activities. The letter just didn’t land with me, personally (though “You’ll never cry harder, get angrier, or fall asleep faster.” is exactly what happens when I drink wine, so that’s uncanny), but I can see the potential in the concept, and I’m excited to see where it goes in issue two.
Bob’s Burgers #1 is a great extension of a great show, without sticking too closely to the conceit of the original. The colors and the art are stylistically similar to the cartoon, and this allows the content to be a little weirder and less grounded in reality than the show. The show is about the family interacting together, while this first issue already sets itself apart as a place for individual character attention. As these stories are in-canon, as Dynamite says, it’ll be interesting to see if there’s any push-back into the show, and if not, I’m content to sit with each character and to get to know them better.
Jason Urbanciz is reading…
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson (inks), and Laura Martin (colors)
“Hate never helped anyone, Mrs. Quinn.”
Three issues in, Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr.’s run on Superman isn’t breaking much new ground, but it is telling a darn good Superman story. Neil Quinn (aka Ulysses) was rocketed away from certain death on Earth as a boy and has returned with great powers to find that the planet and family he thought had died is still alive. Superman, sensing a kindred soul, aims to help him reacclimate to his world and discover who brought him home. Using a piece of the machines that have been attacking the both of them, Superman and his new friend track down The Machinist to his lair.
As I said, this comic isn’t breaking any new ground, I mean, Superman has met “strange visitors” that have an eerily similar backstory to his own many times in the last seventy-five years, but that doesn’t stop this comic from being good. But still, three years after the advent of the New 52, a throwback to old-school Superman is positively refreshing. Superman is kind, he’s honest, he’s hopeful, and that’s pretty great. Ulysses provides an interesting counterpoint to Superman, too. He’s similar but different because the world he was sent to was much harsher than Earth, and that has forced him to become somewhat harsher in turn.
The big thing that sets this apart from previous Superman comics is John Romita’s art. His style seems to have softened with this book, but the art is unmistakably his. His Superman is very dynamic, muscular, but still lithe. His art is tight but rarely uses the same panel layout from page to page, and that helps to move through a lot of dialog at the front of this issue. His design for The Machinist also isn’t especially original (dude in metal mask + homeless clothes), but the villain’s creations are fun. (This issue we get cyborg wolves following on his android army men and Titano in the previous chapters.)
As I said, this book is refreshing. It’s not a new take on Superman, but it’s good for an older take to be dusted off and presented again for a new audience.
Kayleigh Hearn is reading…
Written and drawn by Alan Davis
“I’m in your mind, Banner.”
Savage Hulk is, like the similarly-titled Savage Wolverine, a showcase for creators to give their own unique spin on the character in standalone arcs. I don’t usually read Hulk comics, but Alan Davis is one of my all-time favorite X-Men artists, so when I saw he was writing and illustrating a Hulk story guest-starring the Silver Age X-Men, I had to pick it up. Though the art is as fantastic as I was expecting, the storyline takes a turn for the muddled and strange.
Issue #3 picks up with Professor X and the X-Men trying an experimental cure for Bruce Banner’s transformations into the Hulk, but takes an unusual turn when his gamma radiation-infused powers are transferred accidentally into Marvel Girl. Jean Grey becomes a new She-Hulk (technically, timeline-wise, the first She-Hulk?) which presents a very big, very green problem for the X-Men. This plot development unfortunately feels like a diversion from the real conflict, which features a classic Hulk villain. This doesn’t read like an adventure guest-starring a Marvel heroine so much as an excuse for a woman to “Hulk out” and rip her clothes to shreds before donning a very out-of-character bikini. (Even Professor X says as much.) It felt more like I was looking at a “What if Superheroine X Became the Hulk?” fetish fan site than a real, published Marvel comic by an A-list artist, and it made for an odd reading experience. (Plus, “Jean Grey can’t control her dangerous power” is, dare I say it, a bit overdone.)
The storyline became much more interesting when it shifted back to Bruce Banner’s complicated psyche, as Professor X is pulled into his mind and discovers the Hulk’s inner torment. Alan Davis’s art is as smooth and fluid as ever, and he’s clearly having a blast populating the story with powerful mutants, rampaging hulks, and exploding robots. Hopefully the rest of his Savage Hulk story arc can recover from this unusual plot twist, and be more than a “Hey, remember when Jean Grey was She-Hulk?” bit of trivia.
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, on Twitter or on our Facebook Page!