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.
Sarah Register is reading…
Written by Charles Soule
Main Story Art by Steve McNiven (Ink), Jay Leisten (Pencils), Sunny Gho (Color)
Secondary Story Art by Brandon Peterson, Nolan Woodard (Color)
Letters by Clayton Cowles
“It is not my intention to cause you pain, Black Bolt. But this. Is exactly what it looks like.”
It seems appropriate that on the day that Marty McFly went to the future, Uncanny Inhumans would premiere with a time-hopping battle against Kang the Conqueror. If you recall in issue #0 (which is doubtful since it came out all the hell the way back in April), Black Bolt made a kind of deal with the devil in asking Kang to protect his son and heir to the royal Inhuman line while he went through terrigenesis. In this new issue, the devil’s come to collect his due by fighting Blackagar and his allies with time itself (so basically throwing atom bombs and T-Rexes at them). Meanwhile, Medusa is trying to hold New Attilan together back in NYC, but is struggling with a tension-filled relationship with the X-Men. (Maybe it has something to do with the Inhumans stealing the “Uncanny” title. Awkward.)
I really loved what Charles Soule did with his run on Inhuman, and I’m glad to see that he kept some of his more interesting new players in prominence with this Uncanny series. Notably, Reader is now working side by side with the king of Attilan himself. Reader’s power is that anything he reads comes true, which may have made him the most powerful Inhuman alive were it not for his tribe blinding him out of fear (just picture a little kid reading a fairy tale to life and you kind of understand their overreaction). Reader, along with all the Nuhuman kiddos, have kind of helped modernize the Inhumans without necessarily changing the original royal family, which I appreciate because Medusa and Black Bolt are pretty strong as is.
Steve McNiven vibes really well with Inhuman artwork because he’s got a knack for intense facial expressions—or basically all Black Bolt can do in any non-action panel. And BB gives a great WTF face on the last page of the main story, lemme tell you. Brandon Peterson, who takes over the art for an additional Soule story at the end of the comic, has less gritty, more wide-eyed faces fitting for a slightly more light-hearted though still action-packed story following gruff, noir detective turned Inhuman, Frank McGee, whose brilliant, beaming light powers are enhanced with some lovely color work by Nolan Woodard.
If it weren’t for the cast of compelling new characters, this story would fall a little flat for me. Maybe it was the extremely long Secret Wars interlude, but all the anticipation stemming from the Terrigen bomb and the Nuhumans has more or less dissipated. With this title absorbing some of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, I was expecting something a little bigger, but instead we’re kind of dealing with what could be boiled down to family drama. Super-powered, alien, semi-incestual family drama, sure, but the stakes aren’t exactly high, but I’ll keep coming back for Reader and his super seeing eye dog.
Joe Stando is reading…
Invincible Iron Man #2
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by David Marquez and Justin Ponsor (colors)
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
“So you gave up the armor, your face is all healed, here you are right in the middle of your fallen kingdom… but you’re still a world-class sorcerer.”
Two issues into the all-new, all-different take on Iron Man, and it’s already revealing some of its strengths—and some of its flaws. Bendis is telling a more expansive story in this book, which is why we’ve already had references to a cure for the mutant gene, a mystical artifact from Doctor Strange, and Doctor Doom himself, descended from godhood and looking handsome. While it’s still not clear how Secret Wars shakes out, Doom appears to have been laid low here on Earth at least, and teaming him up with Tony is a clever idea. I like the idea of a fast-paced Iron Man book where he’s trading blows and wits with various MU characters, and so far this seems like exactly that.
Artistically, the book is firing on all cylinders too. The new armor design is slick and cool, and the various features, like shapeshifting into a Hulkbuster configuration or becoming invisible, are communicated clearly and effectively. The full-page spread of Madame Masque also does a great and rare thing in a Bendis comic: it lets the art do the talking. Marquez and Ponsor are doing great work, and they’re actually given room to do it.
My only problem with the book is the overly Bendis-y dialogue. Bendis has a great mind for storylines and character arcs, but when it comes to dialogue, everyone’s overly quippy and cute. This is fine on a character like Spider-Man, and a perfect fit for Tony Stark, but when you’re communicating Victor Von Doom’s skepticism with a sarcastic “uh-huh,” you’re not really getting into the character’s head. Added to that is FRIDAY, Stark’s personal assistant A.I. that loooooves to bicker cutely with him, and there are just too many little ticks. Hopefully he’ll rein it in, especially if Doom is going to stick around.
But overall, it’s a good, fresh direction for Iron Man. As much as I loved Hickman’s Avengers and Superior Iron Man, Tony as a Machiavellian douchebag is pretty played out, and a new book in which he’s idealistic and pretty unambiguously heroic is just what the doctor ordered.
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!