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.
Max Robinson is reading…
Big Trouble in Little China/Escape from New York #1
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Daniel Bayliss
Colored by Triona Farrell
Lettered by Simon Bowland
“You can’t imagine my shame — Defeated by a moron like you and condemned to the hell of those killed by idiots!”
BOOM! loves its ’80s movie properties, so it’s practically inevitable that we’d get a crossover between its two John Carpenter movie-based books (with his full blessing, no less). The novelty of a comics crossover starring TWO DIFFERENT Kurt Russells is a great selling point and thankfully the first issue is a lot of fun. The plot, not that it really matters, finds America’s greatest truck driving hero-idiot Jack Burton transported By A Magic Scroll to the dystopian future Texas of Escape from New York. Jack’s naturally mistaken for Snake Plissken, who isn’t happy that someone’s trading in on his less-than-good name.
Guiding the crossover is Greg Pak, a criminally underrated writer on Big Two superhero books, who effortlessly understands what makes both of John Carpenter’s heroes tick. Naturally, Snake and Jack hate each other’s guts. Pak leans into the absurdity of the premise, delivering a story that hinges on a government storage facility full of magic relics and our heroes’ unlikely shared affinity for a blind old country singer. It’s also frankly refreshing that Pak (who is Korean-American) is in the driver’s seat when easily stereotypical characters like David Lo Pan and Wang Chi are in play
Artist Daniel Bayliss, paired with funky dark light-level neon colors provided by Triona Farrell, is a great fit for this book: His Jack and Snake each look like a passable caricature of Russell while feeling unique to each character, and his action scenes are dynamic and zippy.
Big Trouble in Little China/Escape from New York is exactly what it says on the tin and, going off the first issue, it’s going to be a fun trip. Here’s hoping they can get The Thing’s R.J. MacReady in on the action by issue 6.
Joe Stando is reading…
Written by Steve Orlando and Tom King
Art by Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia (colors)
Lettered by Deron Bennett
“Monsters have many faces. Gotham is under attack.”
So far, I haven’t missed an issue of the new run on Batman. Yet when I opened this issue, I was thrown right into a story that was four or five plot beats further along than last month’s Batman. This isn’t the first crossover the Bat-books have done in a while, with “Endgame” and the “Superheavy” status quo still pretty recent. But this kind of crossover is different. It’s reminiscent of “No Man’s Land” or other mega-arcs of yore, when every Batman-related book became one continuous saga, with various installments spread across different titles. In recent tie-ins, it’s pretty easy to just stick to your book and roll with a couple off-page events, but here, we’ve got all kinds of new monsters and transformations to contend with.
It doesn’t mean this issue is bad, by any means. Rossmo’s art is gorgeous, with a level of kinetic stylization that makes for good action scenes and a wonderful variety of creepy-yet-cool monster designs. The sequence where Clayface becomes living armor for Batman had me hollering. From a story perspective, it’s enjoyable, too, with a wealth of characters who generally get at least a moment or two in the spotlight. I always love seeing Batwoman in action, and the shift in the general status quo puts the focus on lesser-seen characters like Orphan and Spoiler. At this stage in the game, the story is essentially “Batman Family versus some kaiju,” which I’m completely sold on.
But the big shift in events between single issues of this book rankles. I understand that Nightwing has his own book, and if he’s gonna be transformed into a Man-Bat-esque monster and back, it’ll happen there and not here. But the intense crossover nature forces a decision between suddenly committing to three books at a time, or dropping all of them until the eventual trade collection of this novel. I actually bought Nightwing this week (although I haven’t had a chance to read it as of writing), so for the moment I’m edging into the former camp, but it takes a strong story to sustain that kind of financial obligation.
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!