Your Deadshirt New Comics Shopping List for: May 6th, 2015

It’s Wednesday and that means new comics. Let Deadshirt steer your wallet in the right direction with reviews (and preview pages) of titles out today from Image, Dark Horse, IDW, BOOM! Studios, Archie, MonkeyBrain, Oni, Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, Action Lab, and more!

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The Wicked + The Divine #10

Written by Kieron Gillen

Art by Jamie McKelvie

Colored by Matthew Wilson

Lettered by Clayton Cowles

Image

$3.50 (print) $2.99 (digital)

Wicked + Divine is a book I’ve admired for a while but, until last issue, hadn’t really connected with, not in the way I’d connected with the team’s previous work Phonogram: The Singles Club or Gillen’s work with Loki on Journey Into Mystery. However, last issue, something just clicked (no pun intended), and the entire narrative suddenly snapped into an intensely personal and relevant focus for me—a story not just about twee fandom and mythology wank, which is certainly a criticism that’s been leveled at the title, but a story about the chain and power of inspiration passed down from creator to reader, and the transformation that occurs when a consumer of media becomes a creator thereof—and the sometimes in-between path taken, that of the critic. It’s the kind of story that can only be made by people who’ve inhabited all of these roles, that combines Gillen and McKelvie’s unabashed fandom with their professional creator status and Gillen’s previous career as a videogame critic, all mashed up with a healthy dose of existential dread about the inevitability of death and how it powers the creative impulse.

It’s deep shit.

This issue continues that thematic thread incredibly successfully, taking the major revelation of last issue (Cassandra’s apotheosis into the threefold truth-goddess Urdr) and reinjecting it back into the book’s central plotline and mystery, with surprising yet utterly logical results. Series protagonist Laura is now no longer laboring under the hope that she was herself the twelfth god of the modern age, and that the honor has instead gone to the acerbic critic and journalist Cassandra, and the mystery of who attempted to kill Lucifer—which drove the series’ first arc—comes to a seeming conclusion as these plotlines collide.

McKelvie and Wilson continue to define the book’s world in a style perfectly in tune with the narrative; if you’ve seen McKelvie’s style, you know if it’s for you, and if it’s for you this book looks good. After an issue or two of some neat narrative tricks to give McKelvie a bit of a break, this issue ramps it back up to full speed, with some gorgeous double-page spreads and great background detail as the “Fandemonium” arc approaches its climax.

Again, If you wrote this book off initially as a bit too twee, or pandering to the concept of modern fandoms, I get that. It didn’t make me write it off, but it was definitely in the back of my head for the first half-dozen issues or so. However, it’s revealing itself to be far more personal, far more cerebral, far more nuanced, and far more timeless than it originally seemed, and if you’ve enjoyed Gillen and/or McKelvie’s work in the past, I’d urge another look. If you’re digging it so far, well, you sure won’t stop here.

– David Uzumeri

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

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Descender #3

Written by Jeff Lemire

Art by Dustin Nguyen

Lettered by Steve Wands

Image

$2.99

After a brutally heart-wrenching second issue, this installment pulls back the curtain on some curious plotlines that may hint at tiny Tim-21’s connection to the monsterbots known as Harvesters. As the story finds its footing, the aspect of the comic that remains consistently fresh is Dustin Nguyen’s incredible artwork. His organic watercolor style seems like it would clash with the futuristic setting of the story, but instead it breathes life into it. The artwork mirrors the story’s progress of focusing more on the characters in this issue; there are fewer breathtaking cityscapes than seen previously and more closeups of Quon’s haggard face.

While Descender is original science fiction, some of its themes give me a nagging sense of deja vu, especially with the idea of a robot messiah (I can’t help but be reminded of the problematic film I, Robot). Contrary to that, however, the concept of technology being woven into some kind of religion or spirituality, which seems to be the direction Lemire is shooting for, is incredibly intriguing. This heavy theme makes the scope of this story somewhat grand, but focusing all of this imaginative futurism into a tiny robot child (and his dog) keeps it accessible (and endearing) for the reader.

– Sarah Register

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Dead Drop #1

Written by Ales Kot

Art by Adam Gorham

Colored by Michael Spicer

Lettered by Dave Sharpe

Designed by Jared K. Fletcher

Valiant

$3.99

Terrorists have stolen an alien virus, and the government tasks X-O Manowar with retrieving it from an agent running across the city of New York. It’s a pretty thin conceit, but Ales Kot and Adam Gorham make it into a fun fight comic, keeping the book moving and showing that a lone, unpowered person can be a match for an ancient barbarian in alien power armor once you’re in close quarters. The terrorists have convinced the NYPD that X-O is a terrorist imposter trying to hurt an innocent (the actual terrorist or “terrorist” since their motives are unclear). Kot does a great job of giving the reader just enough information to know what’s going on without slowing the action of the book for a pure info dump.

Adam Gorham’s art is rough but kinetic; much like the story, it just moves. Valiant comics often feature much cleaner art than this, but it works with the conceit of the book. Gorham really brings the city to life as a third main character. As X-O’s quarry jumps over taxi cabs and parkours off of lampposts, you can feel the character of the city ooze through.

The comic is reminiscent of Warren Ellis & David Lloyd’s Global Frequency #6, in which a lone parkour runner must cross London to thwart a terrorist attack. But while that comic is brought to mind, Dead Drop manages to be its own thing telling a mostly self-contained story. Each of this series’ four issues will feature a different Valiant hero tracking the virus and, if they’re like this issue, they’ll serve as a good introduction to each hero and the Valiant universe as a whole.

– Jason Urbanciz

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Be sure to let us know what you picked up this week in the comments below, on Twitter or on our Facebook Page!

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