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…
Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1
Written by Gerard Way and Jon Rivera
Art by Michael Avon Oeming
Colored by Nick Filardi
“Super Powers” backup by Tom Scioli
“I find that children tend to try harder when awarded with some perceived rank, however meaningless. Much like an adult.”
Gerard Way’s second book in his Young Animal imprint — this time paired with co-writer Jon Rivera along with Powers artist Michael Avon Oeming on art duties — approaches the mundane reality of life as a third-stringer in the DC Universe. Former adventurer/recent widower Cave Carson is depressed, worries about his college-age daughter and, oh yeah, has a mysterious cybernetic eye that might be driving him insane. Way and Rivera ground a smattering of high concepts (including a fight to the death with a subterranean plant monster) in a keyhole look at Cave’s grief following the death of his wife. It’s an affecting portrayal of loss that feels extremely personal while also feeling set in a very lived-in corner of the DC Universe (even if Young Animal’s canonicity is dubious at best). One of DC’s bigger problems since the nu-52 reboot is the sense that those decade-long character relationships have been wholesale ditched. Scenes like Cave Carson talking shop with Will Magnus go a long way toward remedying that. The reveal of Cave’s best friend’s superhero alter-ego is one of the better reveals you’ll read in comics this year, to boot.
Oeming’s superhero work hasn’t always worked for me, but he’s a terrific fit for this book, giving the entire comic a contemporary Silver Age aesthetic. Filardi’s colors, a mix of earth tones with splashes of hypercolor, work in seamless tandem with the kind of story this team is laying down. And it almost goes without saying that the Super Powers backup by Tom Scioli — which gives us a brief glimpse at the kind of “mad men playing with action figures” mythology Scioli has invented for The World’s Greatest Superheroes — is beautiful and intriguingly weird even if I wish there were more pages included here.
Joe Stando is reading…
Infamous Iron Man #1
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Alex Maleev and Matt Hollingsworth (colors)
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
“I– I was just wondering if you beat a demon.”
So, I fell out of love with Bendis’s twin Iron Man books a while back. It wasn’t anything specific; I enjoyed the story of Invincible, and the art on International is top-notch. But in the shuffle of changes on my end (moving, a new job) and on Marvel’s (Civil War II), I gave up on the globe-trotting adventures of Tony Stark.
But I was intrigued enough by the post-CWII takes on the character to pick up this issue, and I’m cautiously optimistic. Bendis’s take on Doom was shaky early on (I’ll never forgive him putting a sarcastic “‘kay” in Victor Von Doom’s mouth), but it’s leveled off, with Doom more clearly turning over a new leaf in the wake of his new status quo. It’s not a kinder, gentler Doom so much as a snarky, smug one, but in a more approachable way. Maleev’s take on Doom’s new look is also great, with enough visual clarity and definition to work without being a photorealistic drawing of Vincent Cassel.
My big complaint with this book is that not quite enough happened. It looks like this book is trying not to blow the end of CWII completely, but it seems like something bad happens to Tony Stark. I’d much rather have this book come out guns blazing, with Iron Doctor Doom blowing people up in costume and avenging Stark’s likely death, than this wishy-washy open.
But this book also has the cool new Iron Man suit, and it looks like he’s gonna fight Ben Grimm next month. It’s hard to be dissatisfied with that.
Andrew Niemann is reading…
Black Panther #7
Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Pencils and layouts by Chris Sprouse
Inks and finishes by Karl Story
Colored by Laura Martin
Lettered by Joe Sabino
“I’m royalty uptown, baby.”
The start of “The Crew” arc is a great response to the mostly valid criticisms that Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther doesn’t have enough action in it. The book, so far, has been a stellar examination of Wakanda’s political turmoil and its relation to real life discussions of race and power. Last issue, Ezekiel Stane finally emerged as the puppeteer controlling the strings of racial turmoil, driving a wedge between T’Challa and his countrymen.
In this issue, the panther king calls in some black Marvel ringers, namely Luke Cage, Storm, Misty Knight, and one of my personal faves, Manifold, whom I haven’t seen since the Hickman Secret Warriors days. Coates has a great handle on how these characters interact; Cage walks right off the pages of David Walker’s Power Man and Iron Fist, and Misty appears in her suit from Captain America: Sam Wilson (though much less revealing). The action in the book is pretty excellent, showcasing the group trading zingers while taking down Stane and his army of metahumans.
However, several sequences slow down the main action as Changamire or Ramonda tell long-winded Wakanda stories that ultimately go nowhere within the context of the issue. I know Coates is focused on the big picture, but I wish he would give us an installment that is solid action all the way through and maybe save those exposition sequences for other issues. Regardless of its placement, Ramonda’s story of Oronde racing the cheetah is an excellent art showcase, even if regular series artist Brian Stelfreeze is absent on this issue. I like Black Panther a lot, and I hope the second arc revs up the action as much as the political commentary.
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!