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.
Max Robinson is reading…
Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Paul Pelletier (pencils) and Rob Hunter (inks)
Colored by Jeremy Cox
“CREATURE COMMANDOS, LET ‘EM HAVE IT!”
It’s a genuine shame that there are only a few more issues left of the now-cancelled Justice League United. Under Jeff Parker’s guidance, this book has turned into something really fun. Case in point, the current arc, which finds a ragtag team of DC heroes (and a coerced Vandal Savage) stuck in a French village beset by anachronistic armies from throughout history. This is the comics equivalent of a nacho platter, a pretense to essentially jam as many weird Bronze Age DC characters into the story as possible, everyone from Sgt. Rock’s Easy Company to G.I. Zombie and The Unknown Soldier (to say nothing of the Jack Kirby character who appears on the last page). Even with an overwhelmingly huge cast, Parker manages to toss in a number of really cool moments, as Batgirl learns the very real cost of war or Robot Man and Steel take turns saving each other’s metallic hides.
Pelletier, reteaming with his former Aquaman collaborator for this three-issue story, is a good fit for the kind of superhero free-for-all being told here—straightforward, dynamic comics storytelling that embraces the heavy demands of Parker’s script. He does a great job alternating between heavy action sequences (like a splash page of the Creature Commandos opening fire) to the issue’s more quiet moments (Stargirl flirting with Enemy Ace).
At a time when Commissioner Gordon is Batman and Superman’s not bulletproof, “War Zone” feels like a throwback to the kind of ’70s stories guys like Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru used to tell. And while I’m glad DC is embracing the future, I’m also glad they haven’t forgotten their roots.
Sarah Register is reading…
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art and Color by Phil Noto
Letters by Joe Caramagna
“Do you have a name?” “YRRRAAHHN!” “I don’t… know how to say that.”
After winning the Battle of Yavin with his trusty human sidekick, Han, Chewbacca sets off on his own secret mission but ends up stranded on a planet under the thumb of the Empire. Hoping to just fix his “hunk of junk” spaceship and skedaddle, Chewie instead finds himself reluctantly aiding an escaped slave named Zarro, a spunky young girl who manages to get herself tangled up in the Wookiee’s heartstrings (and his shedding fur).
While the story is somewhat of a sidequest it doesn’t feel like a throwaway thanks to Gerry Duggan’s impeccable understanding of an oft overlooked lead. In the regular Star Wars title, Chewie has Han or C-3PO to translate for him, but this tie-in leaves the big furball unable to communicate with his new pal, Zarro (or the reader, for that matter). Despite that setback, the story is still able to convey that wookiees are actually incredibly scary (a fact played out best in a pub scene where our hero manages to trump even Han’s rep for trouble), and that wookiees have a problematic history that resonates deeply with Chewie, a history that he sees reflected in Zarro’s current reality.
You have to respect that Marvel saved Phil Noto for this comic out of all the Star Wars titles. It makes me think that they love this character as much as I do. Noto’s breathtaking, candid art style is actually kind of perfect for a comic featuring a character with no real dialogue. There are many pages with nary a word bubble that still manage to tell you the whole story. Noto’s technique of blurring figures in the foreground that are not the focus of the panel makes the comic cinematic in scope, and there are some scenes that fit so seamlessly with the style of the films that it’s a little uncanny. I don’t know if it’s my love for Chewbacca or it’s the way Noto infuses this kind of nostalgia into his work, but I had a pretty emotional connection with this comic.
For me, Marvel’s only Star Wars dud thus far was Princess Leia (although 1 out of, what, 7? Not exactly bad), but I do appreciate the fact that just about every comic has managed to introduce a new canon female character. Zarro and Chewie make for a pretty endearing but badass duo, and I can’t wait to see how the two scoundrels mess with the Empire in the next issue.
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!